Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter.
Since it's Thursday, that means there's a game tonight and let me be the first to say: If you love train-wreck television, then you're going to love tonight's game between the Giants and Washington, because that's basically what every divisional game between two NFC East teams turns into. As someone who is a huge fan of train-wreck television -- I've been sucked into way more "Real Housewives" episodes than I care to admit -- I will definitely be watching all three hours of this game.
If you like to enjoy a beer while watching football, a fun game you can play tonight is to drink every time Daniel Jones loses a fumble. Actually, I take that back, don't do that. That guy has led the NFL in fumbles in each of the past two years and I'm not sure you would survive.
Anyway, we'll be covering tonight's game extensively in today's newsletter, plus we'll also look at why starting 0-2 is basically the kiss of death when it comes to making the NFL playoffs.
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: Giants-Washington 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.com writer Tyler Sullivan and the two went into full gambling mode.
Here are several props they like for the game:
- Darius Slayton OVER 2.5 receptions (-150). Not only did Slayton go over this number in Week 1 with three receptions, but at one point last season, he went over it in five straight games.
- Antonio Gibson OVER 90.5 combined rushing/receiving yards. Gibson rushed for 90 yards last week, which means he nearly hit this over without even including his receiving yards and that was against a tough Chargers defense. Gibson's numbers should only go up against a Giants defense that struggled against Denver.
- Sterling Shepard UNDER 59.5 receiving. Shepard went off last week with 113 yards, but don't look for that to happen again. Brinson expects Washington's defense to clamp down on the Giants receiver.
- LONG ODDS PROP: Logan Thomas scores a TD (+240). Dating to last year, Thomas has scored a touchdown in four of his past seven games, including getting Washington's only TD in Week 1. At +240, this bet is a solid value.
For more props and their actual prediction for tonight's game, be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode and subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there.
2. 'Thursday Night Football' preview: Prepping you for Giants at Washington
The NFC East was the worst division in football last year and although some people aren't happy about the fact that the NFL loves to force NFC East prime-time games upon us, I'm OK with it. I've found that NFC East games are usually so bad that they're good and I'm expecting nothing short of that tonight as the favored Football Team (-3.5) gets set to play host to a Giants team that they've lost to five straight times.
My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Giants can win: This all comes down to Daniel Jones. The Giants QB is somehow 4-0 in his career against Washington, which is crazy, when you consider that he's 4-19 against everyone else. In those four wins, Jones has averaged 225 yards passing and two touchdown passes per game. If Jones continues his hot streak against Washington, he'll give the underdog Giants a fighting chance to win.
- Why Washington can win: After Ryan Fitzpatrick went down last week, Taylor Heinicke came in at quarterback and diced up the Chargers, going 11 of 15 for 122 yards and a touchdown. Unlike last week, Heinicke will be getting all the first-team reps in practice this week, which means there's a good chance he could be even better against New York. The Giants had zero answers for Teddy Bridgewater in Week 1 and it's not going to be any easier to stop Heinicke this week.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.
Dubin's pick: Washington 20-10 over Giants.
My pick: Giants 23-20 over Washington (UPSET ALERT).
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Daniel Jones OVER 20.5 rushing yards (-115): "Jones logged 27 rushing yards last week on six carries against Denver. He could be on the run again as Washington boasts a solid pass rush and New York could continue to limit Barkley's touches." Note from Breech: Jones has averaged 30.8 rushing yards per game in four career starts against Washington.
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Graham Gano OVER 1.5 field goals (+100): Last Thursday, my prop prediction was that Tampa Bay would score the first TD of the game at +145 and since that one hit, I'm now feeling overly confident, so I'm going with another plus-money prop this week. With the Giants going up against a tough Washington defense, I think they'll take points whenever they can get them, which means I could see Gano kicking two or three field goals tonight.
You can check out Sullivan's full gambling preview by clicking here.
3. Why 0-1 teams NEED to win this week
With tonight's game featuring two teams that are both 0-1, now seems like a good time to point out that dropping to 0-2 is basically the kiss of death in the NFL. If that happens to your favorite team, it can basically put its playoff hopes to bed and start thinking about the NFL Draft.
Of the 26 playoff spots that were earned in the NFL over the past two seasons, none of them went to a team that started the year 0-2.
Here's a look at how teams have done since 1990 based on their record after Week 2:
- Teams that start 0-2: Of the 258 teams that have started 0-2 since 1990, only 30 of them (11.6%) have rebounded to make the playoffs. Of those 258 teams, only three of them went on to win the Super Bowl (1993 Cowboys, 2001 Patriots, 2007 Giants).
- Teams that start 1-1: Of the teams that were .500 after Week 2, 41.6% of them ended up making the playoffs (184 out of 442), which is a huge jump over 11.6%. Of course, only nine of those 442 teams (2%) went on to win the Super Bowl, so your odds don't improve that much there.
- Teams that start 2-0: Of the 255 teams that have started 2-0 since 1990, 62.7% of them ended up making the playoffs, which is a huge number. Teams that started 2-0 have also won 19 of the past 31 Super Bowls.
You don't want to say that a game in Week 2 is a must-win game, but based on recent NFL history, I'm going to go ahead and say it's must-win game for both the Giants and Washington tonight.
4. Raiders rundown: Team files complaint with NFL accusing Ravens of dirty hits
Although the Raiders pulled off a huge upset on Monday night, it appears they weren't completely happy after the game and that's because they felt like the Ravens were taking cheap shots on Hunter Renfrow.
According to the Athletic, Renfrow took so many dirty hits that the Raiders have filed a complaint with the NFL. It's not clear how many dirty hits the Raiders are complaining about, but at least one of the hits came from cornerback Marlon Humphrey while another one came from linebacker Patrick Queen. Officials did throw a flag on Queen's hit, however, they didn't penalize Humphrey for his late hit, which you can see here.
You know your hit was probably illegal if you apologize for making it and that's exactly what Humphrey did this week.
"I did hit Hunter Renfrow a little after the play," Humphrey said Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "I thought Derek Carr was out of the pocket. I apologized to him on the field. That was a play I wish I could take back."
It's not clear if the NFL will side with the Raiders, but if the league does, the Ravens players involved could be hit with a fine or if it's serious enough, the league could also hand out a suspension.
The Raiders didn't get to celebrate their Monday win for long and that's because their dealing with an absurd amount of serious injuries this week:
- Gerald McCoy is out for the season. The defensive tackle injured his knee on Monday against the Ravens and will miss the rest of the year.
- Denzelle Good will miss the rest of the year. The Raiders starting right guard tore his ACL in Monday's win and will miss the rest of the season. Both Good and McCoy were placed on injured reserve on Wednesday.
- Marcus Mariota is out indefinitely. The QB was only in for one play on Monday and although he turned it into a 31-yard run, he ended up getting injured on the play. Mariota aggravated an old quad injury and is now expected to be out for a "few weeks," according to NFL.com.
The beat up Raiders now have to travel across the country to face the Steelers on Sunday.
5. Cowboys star Demarcus Lawrence could miss up to two months
The Cowboys didn't record a single sack in Week 1 and it's only going to get harder from here on out after they lost their best pass rusher to injury. Demarcus Lawrence is expected to be out anywhere from six to eight weeks after breaking his foot in practice on Wednesday.
Lawrence is the team's best pass rusher and if you combine that with the fact that their second-best pass rusher (Randy Gregory) could also miss Sunday's game against the Chargers, it could be a long day for a Cowboys defense that's going to have to figure out how to slow down Justin Herbert. Gregory is on the COVID list and could play, but he'll have to record two negative tests before that can happen.
With Lawrence out on Sunday and possibly also Gregory, the Cowboys starting snaps at defensive end will likely go to Dorance Armstrong and Tarell Basham with Chauncey Golston and Bradlee Anae likely also getting plenty of work.
It's been an ugly week for the Cowboys. Not only did they lose a heartbreaker to the Buccaneers, but things have only gotten uglier since then:
- Starting right tackle La'el Collins is suspended for five games.
- Wide receiver Michael Gallup (calf) is out at least three games after being placed on injured reserve.
- Demarcus Lawrence could be out for up to two months, which means he likely won't be back on the field until November.
- Randy Gregory could miss Sunday's game against the Chargers.
The Cowboys had high expectations for 2021 and like last year, their season might end up getting derailed by injuries.
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.
- Ravens offensive line takes another hit. The Ravens have already placed left guard Tyre Phillips on injured reserve this week and it looks like they could soon be down another offensive linemen. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, there's a good chance left tackle Ronnie Stanley won't be able to play against the Chiefs on Sunday due to an injury.
- Urban Meyer addresses USC rumors. With the USC job now open, Meyer's name was immediately connected to it and although he said he's "committed" to the Jaguars, his body language was very interesting to watch on Wednesday. If you click here, you can see him fidget and look down as he answers the question, which is not usually how someone answers questions.
- Josh Gordon could be reinstated. The suspended receiver hasn't played in a game since December 2019, but that could soon change. The NFLPA has recommended Gordon for reinstatement, which means he now just needs Roger Goodell to sign off on it.
- Odell Beckham ruled out for Sunday. The Browns receiver tested his knee on the field before being ruled out against the Chiefs in Week 1, but there will be no testing this week. Beckham was officially ruled out on Wednesday, which means he won't be playing against Houston on Sunday.
- Happy 70th birthday Pete Carroll. The Seahawks coach turned 70 on Wednesday, which is actually kind of crazy and that's because he could become just the fourth head coach in NFL history to be on a sideline after turning 70. Once he takes the field against the Titans, Carroll will join Marv Levy, George Halas and Romeo Crennel as the oldest head coaches in NFL history.