We come to you live with this special breaking-news report: In the wake of a second-straight disappointing finish for Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as an unequivocal prime-time dud from Andy Dalton in Dallas, Pick Six newsletter man and resident Bengals fan John Breech has officially hung up the cleats. That's right, folks. Breech is done. He can't do it anymore. That means I, Cody Benjamin, will be guiding you through this week's latest from around the NFL. Sound good? If it doesn't, just know I'm only kidding. Breech is only out on Wednesdays, when he schedules some off time to go scream into his lucky Bengals pillow.
Anyway, enough with the shenanigans! Gosh, why didn't you just tell me to shut up and get to it earlier? Because we've got plenty to catch you up on. (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 7 picks, blockbuster trade ideas and so much more:
1. Today's show: Ranking contenders and pretenders across the NFL
Brady Quinn joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's Pick Six NFL Podcast (listen and subscribe!) to discuss the Miami Dolphins' big move to Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback: Why now? Can Miami actually make a playoff run with the rookie under center?
But they also dove into a juicy ranking of contenders and pretenders across the NFL. Should we actually believe in teams like the Chicago Bears (5-1) and Buffalo Bills (4-2)? And are undefeated clubs like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans capable of carrying their dominant records into December and January? Brady and Brinson offered opinions on all the top "contenders" in each conference, so you'll want to give the podcast a listen, but here's a sneak peek at their rulings:
- BILLS: Pretenders
- COLTS: Pretenders
- STEELERS: Contenders
- TITANS: Contenders
The guys were united in declaring the Bills unlikely to sit atop the AFC by season's end, despite Buffalo's 4-0 start to the year. Brinson suggested "we probably got a little ahead of ourselves on the Josh Allen hype train." Quinn, meanwhile, countered that Allen should be "afforded the opportunity to have a bad game" but agreed with Brinson that Sean McDermott's defense just isn't good enough right now. They were also unanimously bullish on the Steelers, with Quinn predicting a potential AFC Championship upset of the Kansas City Chiefs and indicating Ben Roethlisberger hasn't even fully hit his stride yet.
We've got a bunch of important matchups on tap in Week 7, with several rivalry contests set to have big implications on division races. In his full slate of Week 7 predictions, Pete Prisco has a couple of major upsets shaking up the standings. Among them: A Washington Football Team win over the slumping Dallas Cowboys, and an NFC West stunner involving the unbeaten Seattle Seahawks.
Cowboys (-1) at Washington
The Cowboys (-1) have two victories and they are in first place. And they've looked awful getting there. The defense is historically bad. Washington is fighting and scrapping, but it is limited in terms of talent. They do have talent on their front seven, which won't be good for Andy Dalton and his banged-up line. This will be a WFT upset as the defense plays well.
Pick: Washington 24, Cowboys 21
Seahawks (-3.5) at Cardinals
The Cardinals are playing on a short week having played Monday night, but they have to feel good about the way they played in that game. Seattle is coming off a bye, so there's a big edge in rest. The Seattle defense has major issues, while the Arizona defense seems to be growing as a unit. I think both teams will score a lot and Russell Wilson vs. Kyler Murray will be a treat, but it's the Cardinals who win it.
Pick: Cardinals 32, Seahawks 30
3. QB Power Rankings: Mahomes unseats Wilson, Tannehill surges
Cody Benjamin (yours truly) delivered his latest rundown of all 32 starting QBs on Wednesday, and for the first time in weeks, a new No. 1 stood atop the list: None other than Patrick Mahomes. While presumptive MVP favorite Russell Wilson has long held the top spot in the rankings, Mahomes' ultra-efficient performance in Kansas City's important win over the Buffalo Bills helped vault him up the board. Ryan Tannehill also saw a big jump, landing just outside the top 10, while Jared Goff plummeted from No. 8 all the way down to No. 16 after his rough Monday night loss to the Niners.
Here's a look at my latest top 10:
- Patrick Mahomes (+1)
- Russell Wilson (-1)
- Aaron Rodgers
- Kyler Murray (+2)
- Ben Roethlisberger (+2)
- Josh Allen (-2)
- Lamar Jackson (-1)
- Deshaun Watson (+1)
- Derek Carr (+1)
- Tom Brady (+1)
4. Ten trades that should happen before the deadline
The 2020 NFL trade deadline (Nov. 3) is just around the corner, so it's time to start using our imaginations! It's always hit or miss as to whether teams will be active during the season, and with salary-cap uncertainty on the horizon, that's doubly the case this year. But it wouldn't be a deadline without floating all kinds of fun hypotheticals. This week, Cody Benjamin (hey, that guy sounds familiar) posed 10 different deals that make sense for both sides, and none was bigger than a blockbuster involving star receiver Julio Jones:
The Raiders have been shopping for No. 1 WR types since Mike Mayock arrived, from Antonio Brown to present-day prospects like Henry Ruggs. Jones is a clear step above them all, in that he's everything Mayock and Jon Gruden wanted in AB -- a bona fide, nearly un-coverable play-maker -- minus the off-field antics. What Derek Carr has right now is working, but now that Las Vegas is very much alive in the AFC West race, the time is now to pounce. Manipulating the cap would be well worth his killer size and instincts.
5. Mock draft: Dolphins get Tua a familiar weapon
It's never too early to look ahead to 2021, as Chris Trapasso did with his latest mock draft. And boy does he have some big changes projected for the AFC East, with three of the first eight picks belonging to either the Jets or Dolphins. Among the most interesting selections on Trapasso's first-round lookahead are a new QB for New York and a new weapon for Tua Tagovailoa:
No. 1 (Jets): QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
There'll be a new head coach of the Jets next season, and he'll walk into a situation inheriting Lawrence. Not bad.
No. 6 (Dolphins): WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Time to give Tua Tagovailoa more weapons and pair him with Waddle, his former Alabama teammate who is absolutely dynamic both underneath and down the field.
6. Teaser rankings: Bet on Justin Herbert and the Chargers
R.J. White, who is 4-1-1 this year on his Teaser of the Week picks, loves him some Justin Herbert in Week 7 against the Jaguars. If you're looking for a teaser bet to make, he's got your explanation, plus all kinds of other forecasts for this week's action:
I tend to be a little cautious teasing the Chargers, because they're the type of team that seems to lose outright often as six- or seven-point favorites, but this is a great spot for them. They're coming off a bye and still looking for their first win under their new QB despite the rookie impressing since he took over in Week 2. A great antidote for losing? A matchup with the Jaguars, a team that beat the Colts in Week 1, stayed close against the Titans in Week 2 then fell apart over the next four weeks.