Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter.
After all the controversy about emails this week, I've made a big decision: I'm dumping emails and going back to handwritten letters. I don't have anything to hide, I just like handwritten letters better. So if you email me a question and I haven't gotten back to you, it's because I'm writing your answer out longhand and then putting it in the mail. It's also possible I haven't gotten to your question because I have 1,407 unread emails in my inbox. I hate my inbox. That's the real reason why I'm quitting emails.
Anyway, we have a big game tonight and that's because we all get to spend our Thursday night with TOM BRADY. I don't know about you, but I'll definitely be eating some gluten-free quinoa tacos while watching this game, because that's what Tom would want.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Buccaneers-Eagles betting preview
If you're planning on betting any money on tonight's game, then you're going to want to make sure to listen to today's episode of the podcast before you place any bets. For today's show, Will Brinson brought on CBSSports writer Tyler Sullivan, and the two went into full gambling mode.
Here are several props they like for the game:
- Tom Brady OVER 298.5 passing yards (-115). Brady leads the NFL in passing with 353.4 yards per game, so it feels like this should be a lock. However, just keep in mind that it hasn't been easy for teams to throw on the Eagles. Philadelphia is surrendering just 194.8 yards per game through the air, which is the third-best number in the NFL.
- Antonio Browns OVER 62.5 receiving yards (-115). Brown has gone over this number in three out of four games he's played in this year, and he's become one of Tom Brady's favorite targets over the past two weeks with 19 targets in the past two games.
- Jalen Hurts OVER 8.5 rushing attempts (+115). Hurts has gone over this total in three out of five games this year. The Buccaneers currently have the best rush defense in football, so this feels like a game where Hurts' ability to scramble for yardage might be the only way for Philly to move the ball on the ground.
- Long shot prop: Zach Ertz to score the first TD of the game (+1400). After only getting four targets through the first two weeks of the season, Ertz has been targeted 21 TIMES over the past three weeks. Basically, Jalen Hurts is starting to look his way, and if the Eagles get into the red zone early, it won't be surprising if he goes to Ertz. Hurts to Ertz. That's fun to say.
For more props and their actual predictions for tonight's game, be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. If you'd rather watch today's show, you can now do that on YouTube!
2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Buccaneers at Eagles
On paper, the Buccaneers are the more talented team, but you might as well crumble up that piece of paper and set it on fire because Tampa Bay is definitely going to be limping into this game. For one, Tom Brady has been dealing with a sore thumb all week, so who knows how he'll look throwing the ball tonight. Also, the Buccaneers won't have Rob Gronkowski or Lavonte David. Edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul and center Ryan Jensen are also banged up but expected to play.
Will Tampa Bay's injuries be enough to open the door for an Eagles upset?
My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Buccaneers can win: Tom Brady leads the NFL in completions, pass attempts and passing yards, and the problem for the Eagles is that there aren't many teams in the NFL that have a strong enough secondary to slow down the Buccaneers passing game. Even if you stop Mike Evans, you still have to deal with Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin. If the Eagles can't stop Tampa's passing game, it's likely going to be a long night for Philly.
- Why the Eagles can win: The Buccaneers aren't the only team that will likely put up huge passing numbers tonight. Don't be surprised if Jalen Hurts also has a big night. The Buccaneers will be going into the game with the NFL's worst passing defense -- they surrender 314.4 yards per game -- so if Hurts can take advantage of that, then the Eagles should have a puncher's chance to win, and as everyone in Philadelphia knows, anyone with a puncher's chance to win could easily end up pulling off the upset. Just ask Rocky Balboa about that.
Dubin's pick: Buccaneers 36-20 over Eagles
My pick: Buccaneers 30-23 over Eagles
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Tom Brady OVER 1.5 rushing yards (-115): "My favorite Brady prop of the bunch here is the Over on his 1.5 rushing yards. He's gone over this total in four of his five games played this season and would essentially just need a short QB sneak to hit as long as he's not costing you by taking a knee in victory formation."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Jake Elliott OVER 6.5 points (-115): This is a pretty low number for a kicker. (To put Elliott's total in perspective, Ryan Succop's over/under is 8.5.) The Eagles kicker has gone over this total in each of his past two games, and Nick Sirianni has shown he has no problem attempting field goals even in situations where going for it would make sense.
3. Reaction to Jon Gruden resignation from around the league
As NFL players and coaches meet with the media this week, one of the most popular topics has been the resignation of Jon Gruden. There were a lot of different reactions to the news, so we decided to round up a few of the most notable ones, starting with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
- Derek Carr wants to see all NFL emails released. "If we just started opening up everybody's private emails and texts, people would start sweating a little bit. ... Hopefully not too many. But maybe that's what they should do for all coaches and GMs and owners from now on, is open up. You've got to open up everything. See what happens." Carr also said he loves the man, but "hates the sin."
- Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia. "We have to be accountable to our words and our actions. No one person is bigger than the Raiders shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It's important to live those ideals and carry them into the future."
- Aaron Rodgers says Gruden's resignation was the best for all parties involved. "It was surprising to see that the thing went so quickly, but I think that was probably the best decision for all parties involved. Hopefully we can all as a league learn and grow from this. Hopefully it puts people on notice who have some of those same opinions. Like, 'Hey man, it's time to grow and evolve and change and connect. That s--t doesn't fly.'"
- Rams coach Sean McVay was surprised by the situation. McVay started his career on Gruden's Tampa Bay staff back in 2008 and has been close to the former Raiders coach ever since. "I just think it's a really unfortunate circumstance. So, I'm sad for the many people that have been negatively affected, anybody that was offended by this. There's a lot of families. There's a lot of things that go into this and there's a lot of people that have been affected and that's what I'm sad about. It's kind of a sad commentary all around and it's an unfortunate thing that we're even talking about it right now."
- Chargers coach Brandon Staley offered words of wisdom. "Hopefully, all of us can learn from this, that it's about bringing people together for me, so that people can become the people that they dream about. For me, leading this football team and being someone, hopefully, we can be a light for those people in those emails that not everybody's like that, that there's far more people that will love you than the opposite."
- 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan calls it a lesson for everybody. "I think it's a lesson for everybody, I mean, not just people in sports. I mean, it's not OK to think those things, and it's definitely not OK to say those things. When you're in the limelight and stuff, whether it's sports or anything else, but when more people know you, there's a little more of a responsibility to that. And you're going to have to pay the consequences when you do something wrong like that. And it is unfortunate."
Reaction has been coming in all week and it's been all over the place. Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib took a personal day Wednesday, according to general manager Mike Mayock. Nassib is the first openly gay player in NFL history and Gruden's emails included several homophobic comments.
4. Details on NFL's new Monday playoff game
Less than a month ago, the NFL announced that it would be adding a Monday playoff game this year, but at the time, the league didn't really reveal any details about the game. Well, that changed this week.
Here's what we now know about the Monday playoff game:
- ESPN will be keeping "Monday Night Football" in the postseason. ESPN has been airing Monday games during the regular season since 2006, and it'll now also have the Monday playoff game. ESPN has signed a five-year deal that will keep the Monday playoff game on the sports network through the 2025 season. After that, the game will go up for bidding again.
- The Monday game will feature a Manning Cast. Peyton and Eli Manning have been so popular on Mondays this year that ESPN will be bringing them out for the Monday playoff game. The Manning Cast will air on ESPN2 while the regular broadcast will air on both ABC and ESPN.
- New playoff schedule for Super Wild Card Weekend. For the first time ever, there will be three days of games during the opening round with two games on Saturday (4:35 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. ET), three on Sunday (1:05 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET), and one on Monday (8:15 p.m. ET). Of those six games, two will air on CBS, two will air on NBC, one on ESPN and one on Fox. One of those CBS games will be a Nickelodeon game on Jan. 16, so mark your calendar accordingly.
- ESPN/ABC will soon be getting two playoff games. ESPN has been airing one playoff game per year since 2014, but that number will increase in the near future. Starting in 2023, ESPN will get to air a divisional playoff game along with the Monday wild card game. ABC will also be airing the Super Bowl following the 2026 season, which will mark the first time since February 2006 (Super Bowl XL) that the network has gotten to air the NFL's biggest game.
The playoffs don't even start until Jan. 15 this year. To put into perspective how late that is, the first Super Bowl was played on Jan. 15.
5. Washington to retire Sean Taylor's jersey number
Nearly 14 years after his death, the Washington Football team has decided to retire No. 21 in honor of Sean Taylor. The ceremony will take place Sunday before Washington's game against the Chiefs. Besides the number retirement, players will also wear a No. 21 decal on their helmets.
Taylor, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, spent three and a half seasons with the team but didn't get to finish his fourth season because he was gunned down during an attempted burglary in November 2007. Taylor was named to the NFL's all-rookie team in 2004 and made two Pro Bowls in his shortened career.
The fact that this retirement announcement came on such short notice definitely raised some eyebrows around the NFL, with many people speculating that the team decided to do it to deflect some attention off of the controversy that has enveloped the organization this week. From Jon Gruden's emails (they were discovered as part of an investigation into Washington) to allegations that the team offered hush money to victims of sexual harassment, it hasn't been a great week.
The team claims that Taylor's ceremony had been in the works for months and that the bad week of press had nothing to do with it.
"We have been planning this weekend's tribute to Sean Taylor since before the start of the season in partnership with Sean Taylor's family and as part of our Alumni weekend activities," the team said in a statement.
In instances like this, the celebration is usually announced months in advance, but in this case, the team admitted they didn't do that.
"We apologize to fans who would have liked more notice and will continue to share with fans ways we will be celebrating Sean Taylor's legacy over the next month," the team said.
Sean Taylor definitely deserves this honor. It's just too bad it's going to happen at a time when there's such a dark cloud hanging over the organization. Taylor will become the third member of the organization to have his number retired, joining Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49).
6. Rapid-fire roundup
It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Colts owner makes wild Super Bowl promise to fans. Jim Irsay jumped on Twitter this week and made a pretty wild promise to Colts fans: He said the team is going to win two Super Bowls before the decade is over. I am so sure that won't happen that I'll print out his tweet and eat it if it does.
- Colts could have a new kicker Sunday. Rodrigo Blankenship is dealing with a hip injury, so to provide some insurance at the kicker position, the Colts decided to sign Mike Badgley on Wednesday. If Blankenship can't go Sunday, then the Money Badger will be kicking for Indy.
- NFLPA petitioning NFL to release Washington emails. The NFLPA wants the NFL to release every email from the investigation into the Washington Football Team. However, don't expect that to happen, because the league has said it's going to keep up all 650,000 emails under wraps. Check that, it won't be able to keep ALL the emails under wraps because someone in the league office decided to let the Gruden ones slip out.
- Tua practices, could start this week. The return of Tua Tagovailoa could come this week. The Dolphins quarterback has been practicing, and there's a chance he could be on the field Sunday against the Jaguars. The only downside is that jumping on a plane for eight hours isn't ideal when you're coming off an injury, and that's what Tua will have to do this week since the Dolphins' game is in London.
- The state of Mississippi wants $828,000 from Brett Favre. The state of Mississippi is going to sue the Hall of Fame QB if he doesn't write them a check for $828,000 in the next 30 days. Favre received a total of $1.1 million in funds from two non-profit organizations, but the money was illegally distributed. The money was supposed to used to help the poor, but instead went to people like Favre. The quarterback has paid back $500,000, but he now owes $600,000 plus $228,000 in interest. Man, interest really adds up.