Games. Real games, people. They're finally on the books. That's right: It's schedule release day in the NFL! John Breech isn't here because he's fallen into a state of paralytic euphoria over the announcement that Andy Dalton might open the year in prime time for the Bears. So I -- Cody Benjamin -- will happily guide you through all the latest from around the league.
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 schedule leaks, the latest on Aaron Rodgers, more Tim Tebow buzz and much more:
- Today's show: Why Aaron Rodgers is probably stuck with the Packers
Aaron Rodgers is still a Green Bay Packer. And despite weeks and weeks of rumors and reporting regarding the reigning NFL MVP's apparent dissatisfaction with the team -- and increasing desire to play elsewhere -- CBS Sports' Pete Prisco doesn't think No. 12 is going anywhere. Joining Will Brinson on Wednesday's Pick Six NFL Podcast (listen and subscribe here), Prisco said he foresees an eventual mending of fences.
"The question is, will the Packers trade him? And the answer to that is no," Prisco said. "So either you play in Green Bay, or you don't play. And from everything I hear, the Packers are dug in. They're not gonna trade him. And nor should they. The Packers are a Super Bowl contender with Aaron Rodgers. If they trade him, they go to a four- or five-win team. And he knows that. This is more about money. I think he wants to be paid like the No. 1 QB in the league. And that's where this is really going, I believe."
No blockbuster move to the Broncos? No splashy relocation to Las Vegas? Not in Prisco's eyes. And that's regardless of how much Rodgers may want that, deep down.
"These guys are quarterbacks, they're not the guys making the decisions," Prisco argued. "Do they ask for your input? Maybe ... (but) we're getting to that point now where people are trying to look at the NFL as the NBA. It's not the same thing. It isn't. Two guys don't win titles. Now, Aaron Rodgers can influence a team in a big way, but you've gotta have more than the quarterback ... The Jordan Love (pick) was stupid. But the fact is, (Rodgers is) not making those decisions. Yeah, you're a powerful player in the NFL, but you're still just a quarterback. Nobody is bigger than the game, I'm sorry."
The NFL isn't officially unveiling the full 2021 schedule -- the biggest in league history, with a new 17-game slate -- until Wednesday night (8 p.m., NFL Network). But fans got an early sneak peek at this year's regular season not long after sunrise, with each major network announcing its Week 1 games. That's right. The entire Week 1 schedule is already out. Get your calendars, kids, because it's going to be a jam-packed Opening Weekend. Here's the full slate of CBS matchups lined up for Week 1 on Sunday, Sept. 12 (times Eastern):
- Steelers at Bills (1 p.m.)
- Jets at Panthers (1 p.m.)
- Jaguars at Texans (1 p.m.)
- Cardinals at Titans (1 p.m.)
- Chargers at Washington (1 p.m.)
- Browns at Chiefs (4:25 p.m.)
- Dolphins at Patriots (4:25 p.m.)
3. Ranking the Week 1 matchups: Buccaneers vs. Cowboys tops the list
What better way to ring in the Week 1 schedule than by ranking all 16 matchups? We did just that. Among the top 10 on our list:
- Bears at Rams (No. 6): No one's drooling at the idea of Andy Dalton leading Chicago in prime time, but there's an off chance Justin Fields shines enough to take over by (or during) Week 1. Even so, L.A. has Matthew Stafford now, and tons of offensive weaponry.
- Packers at Saints (No. 5): This one's intriguing precisely because of the uncertainty at QB. Let's say Aaron Rodgers isn't there. Everyone's going to want to see what Jordan Love -- or whomever is there -- can do. The Saints will presumably be starting the potential Jameis Winston era.
- Jets at Panthers (No. 4): Sam Darnold revenge game? You know it. The best part: Both of these teams have juice! The Panthers have play-makers around Darnold, while the Jets also spent to surround new QB Zach Wilson with talent.
- Cowboys at Buccaneers (No. 1): It's the first game of the year, so there's that. But you also couldn't script it much better than pitting Tom Brady and the reigning champs against America's Team, who'll be looking to reclaim their status as NFC East front-runners with Dak Prescott.
4. Reporter's notebook: Why Tim Tebow move shouldn't upset you
The Jaguars' plan to sign former QB and Major League Baseball hopeful Tim Tebow has been all the buzz this week, and plenty of current and former players are divided over the move. How on Earth did a guy who's never played tight end -- and hasn't taken an NFL snap in literally eight years -- wind up getting a tight end job? Take it easy, says CBS Sports senior reporter Jonathan Jones, because the Tebow addition -- significant or not -- isn't worth your frustration:
Are you, a fan, mad that Tebow is taking up a roster spot? No, you really aren't. This is not something on the professional level you've ever been mad about before. You have never once truly, deeply cared about the bottom of an offseason roster. You've never found it to be a crime against humanity that one guy with a connection to a coach got an opportunity because of that connection.
Tebow is getting this shot because of who he is and who he knows. He could surprise us all and make the final roster based on merit. Or he could fail spectacularly and have this blow up in Meyer's face.
5. Insider notes: Ben Roethlisberger falls way down annual QB tiers
Every year, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora assigns all 32 starting quarterbacks to a tier, combining past performance with future projection to identify everything from bona fide franchise signal-callers to obvious stopgaps. Ahead of the 2021 schedule release, JLC dropped his updated pecking order, and some of the placements might surprise you. Gone from the "bona fide" top tier are fallen stars like Carson Wentz, and new to the elite crop are young guns Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. But get this: La Canfora isn't buying any of the hype coming out of Carolina, New York and Pittsburgh, putting Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Ben Roethlisberger all the way in the "Good Luck" category:
I could see the Steelers experimenting with a new QB by midseason. When you take that kind of paycut to stick around to try to go out on something other than the terms of that ugly playoff loss to the Browns, chances are things won't get much better. Offensive line looks shaky at best. Lack of mobility a big problem. I just don't see this going well and things have been trending down since 2019.
Have never bought in to Jones and this is make-or-break time for him now with all the new toys he has; and make or break time for those who selected him. Too many fumbles for me and too high of expectations. Darnold has endured much in Gotham as well, and he moves on but I worry about all the hits he's already taken and what he's already been through. And that owner will have eyes for other QBs, too. This will be a true referendum on Panthers coordinator Joe Brady, and it may be too tall a task.
6. Rapid Fire Roundup: Tom Brady playing at 50, London games return
Want more NFL news? Good. Because we've got a couple of other important nuggets right here:
- Schedule leak roundup: John Breech compiles all the reported games on the 2021 slate
- London Games are back: The Dolphins, Falcons, Jaguars and Jets are all headed for overseas games in October
- Tom Brady playing at age 50: Buccaneers GM Jason Licht says it's not out of the question
- Davante Adams uncertain about Aaron Rodgers: The star receiver knows the Packers have an issue
- NFC South reset: Reassessing the entire division after the draft
- AFC South reset: Who's the favorite? A full and updated rundown