Football is here. Well, not yet, but tomorrow, which is pretty darn close! John Breech is taking the day off to order some extra Andy Dalton Bears jerseys, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to guide you through all 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 Week 1 picks, QB power rankings, season predictions and much more:
1. Today's show: What are the Buccaneers' chances of repeating?
Brady Quinn returned to the "Pick Six NFL Podcast" on Wednesday for a jam-packed preview of the 2021 season. The first topic at hand: What are the chances Tampa Bay will make it two in a row? Brady, for what it's worth, is buying the Bucs as one of the top seeds, if not the top seed, in the NFC. But he's not sure their decision to bring back so many familiar faces will bring them another title.
Here's what else you'll get on today's pod:
- Are the Cowboys actually the best team in the NFC East?
- Is this actually Aaron Rodgers' final season in Green Bay?
- Can we already forecast Urban Meyer's Jaguars tenure?
- Which first-round QB has the best chance at success?
Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
Can you believe it's actually time to start picking games again? Pete Prisco can! Our trusty old pal has projections for every single Week 1 matchup. Here are some of his most intriguing predictions for Opening Weekend:
- Buccaneers 28, Cowboys 24: The Cowboys do have Dak Prescott back, but the Tampa Bay defense will be better this year and Dallas will be without All-Pro guard Zack Martin.
- Chiefs 28, Browns 26: I think the Chiefs will win the game behind Patrick Mahomes, but the Browns will again keep it close.
- Patriots 23, Dolphins 17: The Dolphins and Brian Flores will throw a ton of looks at Mac Jones, who saw a lot of vanilla stuff in the preseason. But it will be a challenge for Tua Tagovailoa as well.
3. Insider notes: Don't rule out Cam Newton returning to Patriots
New England cut Newton when it declared Mac Jones QB1 for the 2021 season. But according to NFL insider Jason La Canfora, the Pats might be the former MVP's best future landing spot:
Clearly The Hoodie still holds a special place for the former MVP, and this league works in mysterious ways. We have seen other Patriot homecomings in the past (Kyle Van Noy being one of the more recent) and there was not an immediately hot market for Newton's services, which is not surprising considering how lukewarm things have been the last two times he has been available.
If Mac Jones were to go down, given the construct of this roster and with an offensive line that looks stout and a defense that should have more bite, why wouldn't Belichick give Cam another look? He knows the system, they know what works for him and they have never been averse to altering the scheme from week to week to do whatever it takes to win.
4. Staff predictions: Josh Allen and the Bills are favorites to win it all
Eleven of us at CBS Sports teamed up to predict everything from Super Bowl champion to Defensive Player of the Year this week. And, surprisingly, neither of last year's Super Bowl teams -- the Chiefs and Buccaneers -- were favored to win it all in 2021. Here's a look at the top selections for some of the biggest accolades:
- Super Bowl champion: Buffalo Bills
- NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes
- Offensive Player of the Year: Josh Allen/Dak Prescott
- Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt
- Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan
5. QB Power Rankings: Mahomes starts at No. 1, Stafford cracks top 10
We're back to ranking all 32 starting quarterbacks on a weekly basis. This week, to kick off the new season, none other than Patrick Mahomes opens 2021 as the top dog. Here's the full top 10 from our first edition of the year:
- Patrick Mahomes
- Aaron Rodgers
- Russell Wilson
- Josh Allen
- Tom Brady
- Justin Herbert
- Dak Prescott
- Lamar Jackson
- Ryan Tannehill
- Matthew Stafford
6. Seventeen reasons the 2021 season will be the best ever
In celebration of the NFL's first-ever 17-game regular season, Jordan Dajani compiled 17 different reasons the 2021 campaign will be the best in league history. Yes, you read that right. The full list is worth a read, but here's a sneak peek at some of his top reasons:
- Fans are back in the stands after a 2020 season with limited or no attendance
- Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will go head to head for the first time
- Aaron Rodgers is entering what could be a "Last Dance" with the Packers