Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter.
Not only is it Friday, but it's the best kind of Friday: It's a Friday before a holiday weekend. Also, it's the last Friday before the start of the NFL season, and just in case you're wondering, I'm not being paid every time I write the word "Friday," even though it kind of seems that way right now.
With Sunday football on the horizon, this is my last weekend off until February, so obviously I'll be doing what any normal person in my situation would do: Drinking as much beer as possible.
Coming Monday, I'll be unveiling ALL of my predictions for the entire 2021 season. Less than a month ago, I was entirely convinced my Super Bowl pick was going to be Rams-Colts, but in a shocker, I don't even have Indianapolis in the playoffs (That's a sneak peek of what's coming Monday).
Anyway, for today, you're going to get a few Week 1 picks from a gambling guru plus some rookie of the year predictions from our staff, so let's get to the rundown.
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.
1. Today's show: Early Week 1 picks
It's officially "Gambling Week" on the Pick Six podcast, which means if you want to win money betting on the NFL this year, then you're going to want to listen to every episode that we put out this week.
For today's show, Will Brinson was joined by the Wizard of Odds himself, Kenny White, and the two of them went through the NFL Week 1 schedule looking for the best bets on the board. Since the NFL season is starting with Cowboys-Buccaneers, we're also going to start there.
The Buccaneers opened as a 6.5-point favorite, but they're now currently favored by 7.5 points. Even though the spread has gotten bigger, Kenny still loves Tampa Bay in this spot.
"I like Tampa a lot, even at 7.5. I think they're in far better shape," White said.
Another interesting game will come on Monday night when the Raiders host the Ravens in Las Vegas in a game where Baltimore is favored by 4.5. Even though Lamar Jackson has a career record of 13-4-1 against the spread in road games during his career, White actually likes the RAIDERS to cover.
"I think the Raiders are a fairly decent team," White said. "With that home crowd [and the Raiders] playing at home on a Monday night. They pulled that big win last year against New Orleans in their home opener without a crowd. The crowd is just going to help everything. It's going to be full, it's going to be crazy."
One of the most fascinating games to bet in Week 1 is Packers at Saints. The game was supposed to be played in New Orleans, but it got moved to Jacksonville due to the damage that Hurricane Ida caused in Louisiana. However, Kenny won't be betting on the Saints (or the Packers in this game) and that's because he wants to see how Jameis Winston does as the quarterback in New Orleans before he starts betting Saints games.
"This was going to be a strong play for me [picking the Saints to cover in New Orleans], but I kind of backed off it [after the game was moved]," White said. "I'm going to wait to see what the Saints put on the field and how they play together before I start betting on them."
For more Week 1 takes, be sure to check out today's show.
To listen to today's episode -- and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there -- be sure to click here.
If you want some Week 1 picks from our staff here at CBSSports.com, then you're going to want to click here.
2. Bills won't renew lease in Buffalo if new stadium deal doesn't get done
When it comes to getting a new stadium, the Bills and the city of Buffalo haven't even really started negotiating yet, but the team has already made a threat: They won't be renewing their lease in Buffalo if there's no stadium deal in place.
It's a strong threat and it will likely bring an urgency to negotiations as the two sides try to work out a new stadium deal.
Here's everything you need to know about the situation so far:
- Bills lease at Highmark Stadium expires on July 31, 2023. With the lease expiration coming up in 2023, that gives everyone just under two years to hammer out a new stadium deal. The Bills negotiate their lease with Erie County and the state of New York, which is the same two entities that will be negotiating the new stadium deal. If no new deal is reached, the Bills could conceivably play somewhere else as soon as the 2023 season.
- Bills have proposed a $1.4 billion stadium. The Bills are hoping to build a smaller stadium that would seat 60,000 fans and cost just $1.4 billion. The Bills want the stadium built in time for the 2027 season, which is one reason why they want to get a stadium deal done so soon. The Bills want the public to pay for half the stadium and if that happens, the team will sign a lease at their old stadium through 2027 and then move into the new stadium when it's ready.
- Austin, Texas has already been floated as a relocation possibility. The Bills are definitely playing hardball. Back in early August, Austin was floated as a possible landing spot for the Bills if they don't get a new stadium in Buffalo. Austin might not be a serious option now, but the longer things go without the Bills getting a new stadium deal will make it more likely that the team moves.
Basically, the Bills have made it as clear as possible that they'd consider leaving Buffalo if they can't get a new stadium deal done, which is going to make this a situation to watch closely over the next 22 months.
3. Who's going to take home offensive rookie of the year? Here are our staff picks
Between now and the start of the NFL season, we're going to be bombarding you with NFL picks and predictions here, so get mentally prepared. For today's prediction, we rounded up 10 or our writers here at CBSSports.com and asked them to predict who's going to win both the offensive rookie of the year award and the defensive rookie of the year.
Over the past six years, this award has been won by either a quarterback or a running back, so not surprisingly, you'll notice that all 10 of our writers ended up voting for a quarterback or a running back here.
With that in mind, here's a look at our picks for OROY (Next to each player's name, you can see their odds for winning the award and how many votes they received):
Mac Jones, Patriots (+450): Three votes
Najee Harris, Steelers (+1000): Three votes
Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (+350): One vote
Justin Fields, Bears (+700): One vote
Trey Lance, 49ers (+700): One vote
Zach Wilson, Jets (+700): One vote
Javonte Williams, Broncos (+2200): One vote
On the defensive side of the ball, our writers seem pretty convinced that Micah Parsons is going to walk away with the Rookie of the Year award this year.
Micah Parsons, Cowboys (+600): Six votes
Patrick Surtain II, Broncos (+800): One vote
Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins (+900): One vote
Kwity Paye, Colts (+1100): One vote
Joe Tryon, Buccaneers (+2000): One vote
If you want to see everyone's full explanation for their vote, you can check that out by clicking here.
4. Three reasons why the Buccaneers will repeat as Super Bowl champions
It's been more than 15 years since the NFL has seen a repeat champion, which is something that Buccaneers will be trying to do this year. The Buccaneers actually have one big thing in common with the last back-to-back champ and that is Tom Brady.
The last repeat happened from 2003 to 2004 when Brady led the Patriots to back-to-back titles. So what will the Buccaneers need to do to match Brady's former team?
Our Tyler Sullivan made a list of three reasons why the Buccaneers will once again end the season holding the Lombardi Trophy:
- They have continuity. The last team to return all their Week 1 starters from their Super Bowl winning season was the 1979 Steelers and it just so happens that they ended up repeating as champions.
- They have a favorable schedule. When you look at strength of schedule, the Buccaneers actually have one of the four easiest schedules in the NFL this year. Eleven of Tampa's 17 games will be played against teams that finished .500 or worse last year.
- Tom Brady should be even better this year. Brady didn't get an offseason to learn the Buccaneers offense last year, which is a big reason why he struggled early. However, he caught fire late in the year: "Over his final nine games of the 2020 season (including playoffs), Brady completed 64.1% of his passes for 2,739 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. If you project that out over a 17-game regular season, Brady's looking at over 5,100 yards passing and around 47 passing touchdowns." That stat is from Tyler and that stat should scare every team in the NFL.
If you want a full explanation on Sullivan's three reasons, be sure to click here. On the other hand, if you're feeling better about the Chiefs' chances of winning the Super Bowl, then you're going to want to click here for three reasons why Kansas City can win it all.
5. Three-time Super Bowl champion David Patten dies at age 47
Former Patriots receiver David Patten, the man who caught Tom Brady's first career postseason touchdown pass, died on Thursday night in South Carolina at the age of 47. The Richland County coroner's office told The Post and Courier that the cause of death was a motorcycle accident.
Patten played for five teams over a 12-year NFL career, which included a highly successful four-year stint in New England. Patten played for the Patriots from 2001 to 2004 and won three Super Bowl rings during his time in New England.
Here's a look at his career:
- Patten carried the Patriots to their first Super Bowl win. During the 2001 postseason, Patten almost single-handedly carried the Patriots through the playoffs. Not only did he have eight catches for 107 yards in the famous snow game against the Raiders, but he also scored New England's only offensive TD in the Patriots' 24-17 AFC title win over the Steelers.
- Patten caught Tom Brady's first career postseason TD. Patten's stellar 2001 postseason continued in Super Bowl XXXVI when he caught an 8-yard TD pass in New England's 20-17 upset win over the Rams. Not only was it the first scoring pass of Brady's postseason career, but it was also the only offensive TD the Patriots would score in the game.
- Career numbers. In his 12-year career, Patten caught 324 passes for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns. In 2004, he averaged 18.2 yards per reception, which ranked fifth in the NFL. Besides his 24 receiving touchdowns, he also recorded one kickoff return for a touchdown in his career, which came in 1998 while he was playing with the Giants. Patten was also the second-leading receiver on the Patriots' 2004 Super Bowl team.
It was remarkable career for a player who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. For a more detailed look back on Patterson's life and career, you can click here.
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.
- Former NFL first-round pick found dead. Keith McCants, who was taken with the fourth overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, was found dead in Florida on Thursday. He was 53. Authorities believe that McCants' death was caused by a drug overdose. You can read more about McCants by clicking here.
- Raiders sign K.J. Wright. After spending 10 years in Seattle, the former Seahawks linebacker has a new home. The 32-year-old is signing a one-year deal with the Raiders. The move will reunite him with Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was Wright's DC in Seattle for two years.
- Vikings sign long-time Steelers punter. The Vikings are likely going to be making a switch at punter after signing Jordan Berry on Thursday. Berry was the Steelers punter for six seasons, but his time in Pittsburgh ended this week when the team dumped him in favor of rookie Pressley Harvin.
- Seahawks sign former Baylor basketball player. The Seahawks have added a monstrous tight end to their practice squad in the form of 6-foot-5, 250-pound basketball player Mark Vital. For more details on this unique situation, be sure to click here.
- Falcons sign Giants leading rusher from 2020. The Falcons have beefed up their running back depth by signing Wayne Gallman. If you faintly remember that name, that's because he was the guy who took over the Giants running back job after Saquon Barkley was injured last season. Gallman ended up leading the team in rushing with 682 yards and six touchdowns on 147 carries.