Hello everyone, and welcome -- finally -- to the midway point of Super Bowl Week! I promise the big game is actually going to happen. In fact, we're drawing so close that John Breech had to take the day off just to track down all the Bengals at their Los Angeles hotels and leave them encouraging little sticky notes. Just kidding, he's busy giving all kinds of analysis on CBS Sports HQ and the like. You go, John. Meanwhile, I, Cody Benjamin, will be happy to guide you through the latest from around the NFL.
This is the Pick Six newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
We've got coaching-hire reactions, Senior Bowl buzz, Super Bowl picks and much more:
- Today's show: Grading Saints' hire, betting on Bengals
Brady Quinn joined Will Brinson for Wednesday's "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to run through a series of headlines in the lead-up to Super Bowl LVI. Among the hot topics:
- Saints hire Dennis Allen as head coach: And both guys, despite mixed reactions elsewhere, actually like the decision. "With so much unknown about what the Saints are gonna do," Brinson said, "I think it makes it easier for everyone involved." Quinn, meanwhile, pointed to his own experience working alongside Allen, defending the coach's expertise of the little things.
- Betting on the Bengals: While Cincinnati may be the underdog in the big game, the guys discuss why it's actually really tough to bet against them. Will Joe Burrow actually win it all in just his second season? It feels like a reasonable wager.
- Opening Night takeaways: Lots of coaches and players spoke to the media during the unofficial pep rally of Super Bowl Week, but what did they actually have to say? Brady plays "Read Between the Lines" to dissect some top quotes.
Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL content) right here.
2. Insider notes: Panthers like Kenny Pickett as potential top-10 pick
While the Bengals and Rams prepare for the Super Bowl, the rest of the NFL is digging into the offseason -- none more than teams desperate for a new QB. The buzz coming out of the Senior Bowl, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, is not only that Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett is emerging as the consensus top QB prospect, but that the Panthers may barely let him escape the top six:
Word is, the Panthers are taking a strong shine to Pickett, which makes sense on multiple levels. The Panthers own the No. 6 pick. "I don't think he makes it past the Panthers," said one evaluator who has done extensive work on Pickett. "Their owner (David Tepper) is a huge Pitt booster. He hasn't invested draft capital in a quarterback yet. He has to know the Steelers like him (Tepper is a former minority investor in the Steelers). I think that's a fit." (Another) AFC scout said: "We think he's going to Carolina."
3. Super Bowl QB breakdown: Burrow vs. Stafford
We know the Bengals and Rams have a lot more than QBs going for them, but to downplay the signal-callers' impact in this game would be a disservice to the star power under center. In our breakdown of the big game's passers, we're highlighting both Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford's playoff resumes, recapping their journeys to this point, and offering keys to victory for each QB. Here's a sneak peek at one Super Bowl goal for each guy:
Burrow: Take what's there
Burrow's charisma has sometimes overshadowed his technical skills as a QB, but he's been really efficient for much of the year, leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.4). The offensive line in front of him hasn't always held up, however, as evidenced by the playoff-record nine sacks he absorbed against Tennessee. That just means that making quick decisions -- even if they're more safe than spectacular -- will come in handy if the Rams' ferocious line comes to play.
Stafford: Trust the game plan
Stafford has thrived when he's played within Sean McVay's setup, whether that means leaning early on a Sony Michel- and Cam Akers-fueled run game, or getting early short-range targets to Odell Beckham Jr., or unleashing kill shots to Cooper Kupp. When he's tried too hard to salvage a slow start or extend a late lead, relying more on his arm strength than his football IQ, he's thrown himself into trouble. That happened in Detroit and again down the stretch in L.A.
4. Super Bowl platter: Predictions, snacks, commercials, more
Check out all the latest on our coverage in the run-up to the big game:
- Ranking every Super Bowl QB matchup: Burrow vs. Stafford clocks in at No. 29 on the all-time list
- Tyler Sullivan's game-day prediction: A major mismatch has him leaning Rams in a one-score game
- Predicting NFL Honors winners: Who will officially win MVP, Coach of the Year and other accolades?
- Staff picks for Super Bowl snacks: We give you our recommendations for game-day eating
- Previewing Super Bowl commercials: Specifically, the most anticipated movie and TV trailers
5. Snyder launches investigation into new Washington allegations
After a U.S. House Oversight Committee discussion saw six former Washington Commanders employees target team owner Daniel Snyder as the overseer -- and direct culprit -- of sexual harassment in the organization, Snyder has hired an independent legal team to investigate new allegations made by ex-staffer Tiffani Johnston. Snyder initially -- and vehemently -- denied Johnston's allegations, which included alleged inappropriate touching from the owner during a work outing.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Rodgers' future, Titans extend Vrabel, more
Hungry for more headlines? Good, because we've got more right here:
- Titans give Mike Vrabel, Jon Robinson new deals: Tennessee's leadership is locked up for the long haul
- Aaron Jones believes Aaron Rodgers will return: The Packers QB has yet to announce his 2022 plans
- Joe Judge returning to Patriots: The ex-Giants coach is officially back with Bill Belichick
- Rob Gronkowski eyeing the Bengals?: The Bucs tight end is dropping hints about his next stop
- Projecting the 2022 Hall of Fame class: Resident historian Bryan DeArdo forecasts lots of WRs