Bet you never thought you'd be getting a Wednesday newsletter on the same day an NFL game would be played! But that, friends, is what's happening today, thanks to the infamous Thanksgiving Outbreak of Baltimore. I am not John Breech, as you may have come to expect; this is Pick Six fill-in Cody Benjamin (also known as The Man With Two First Names™). But on NFL game days, we're all on the same team anyway! So let's get right to it.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. (Please do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive it every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
Today, we've got all kinds of Steelers-Ravens preview material, NFL coach hot-seat rankings, a spicy 2021 mock draft and much more:
Wednesday Afternoon Football, anyone? In case you forgot, the Steelers and Ravens are finally squaring off (or are they?), but this much-anticipated rematch will look quite a bit different than anyone expected a few weeks ago. No Lamar Jackson. No Mark Ingram or J.K. Dobbins. No Mark Andrews. But guess what? The game still matters a ton for Baltimore, which is 6-4 and desperately needs to make up ground in the AFC North; and Pittsburgh, which is looking to clinch a playoff berth as the NFL's last undefeated team.
Emory Hunt joined Will Brinson on Wednesday morning's Pick Six Podcast (listen and subscribe right here!) to preview the matchup and predicted that the Ravens will "lean a little bit more into their run game," even if it means feeding fill-in Gus Edwards. While Hunt doesn't think the Ravens can overcome Lamar Jackson's absence with Robert Griffin III starting at quarterback, he does foresee the game going down to the wire:
"I see more of the under hitting here, and if anything, I can see Baltimore, just off sheer pride, keeping this one close because of the continuity between these teams," he said. "I can see 20-13 or something like that. It's gonna be a tight game."
On a separate Wednesday edition of the Pick Six pod, Brady Quinn took a bigger-picture approach to Wednesday's game, specifically targeting the NFL for the way it postponed this Ravens game rather than forcing Baltimore to suit up on Thanksgiving a la the Broncos on Sunday.
Denver did not get the benefit of the doubt, Quinn argued, "because they're not a playoff team."
Brinson echoed those concerns: "The NFL's willingness to throw competitive balance and fairness out the window in extreme fashion like this is pretty bothersome." (You can also listen to that episode and subscribe here.)
2. Wednesday preview: Who's out, how to watch, betting guide
There's a lot to catch up on ahead of Wednesday's big AFC North showdown. With that in mind, the CBS Sports crew has you covered with all kinds of must-read material for today's action:
- How did we get here? If you need a refresher on how this AFC North rivalry went from Thanksgiving night to Wednesday afternoon, Shanna McCarriston has a full timeline of the delays, how they affect both sides, and more.
- How do I watch the game? Great question! Resident Steelers expert Bryan DeArdo has all the info you need to catch this Wednesday afternoon showdown, including who's in and who's out. Just make sure you get your work done, too!
- Betting guide: Tyler Sullivan has all kinds of good nuggets on the Steelers-Ravens point spread, prop bets and predictions. This is one weird game, so you'll want to check out all the latest gambling trends beforehand.
3. Coach hot seat rankings: Chargers' Anthony Lynn in danger
Patrik Walker hasn't had to work too hard to identify the head coach on the hottest seat in 2020 (hint: he "runs" the New York Jets), but his latest roundup of coaching jobs in jeopardy is especially notable because of a new addition: Anthony Lynn. Patrik's got four other coaches who could be ripe for replacement on his list, but Lynn's inclusion is both notable and justified:
(It's) not simply that the Chargers are losing; it's how they're losing. Lynn routinely hasn't been able to close out games, and as the team sits at 3-8 on the year, they've now lost two games in overtime and are averaging a point differential of only minus-4.5 when they do lose. So yes, in maddening fashion, Lynn makes the Chargers hyper-competitive, but not for entire games.
4. 2021 mock draft: Panthers, Washington add new franchise QBs
We're getting far enough into the 2020 season that some fans are right to turn one eye toward 2021, when their favorite teams will (hopefully) be more competitive. So we should all send some thanks to Chris Trapasso, who's doing us the service of already projecting the 2021 draft. If you're a Panthers or Washington Football Team fan, you'll want to pay extra attention to his latest mock, where he forecasts a couple of intriguing top-10 QB selections:
Hello. I would love this fit -- Wilson in Joe Brady's spread offense would be dynamic, and the team will probably look for an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater for the long term.
8. Washington: QB Trey Lance, NDSU
Another mentor project for Alex Smith, as he spends a year teaching and starting in front of another athletic, rocket-armed quarterback.
5. Teaser pick rankings: Bet on the Niners to stay hot
Betting expert R.J. White is looking to restart a win streak with his Teaser of the Week picks, and looking ahead to the Week 13 slate, his best bet might surprise you a little. The San Francisco 49ers were all but left for dead a few weeks ago, what with Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle joining what seemed like half the team on injured reserve, but R.J. loves him some Niners against the Buffalo Bills, who are 8.5-point favorites as they enter with an 8-3 record atop the AFC East:
Both these teams impressed last week, with the Bills defense finally finding some success against the Chargers and the 49ers pulling off an upset win against the division rival Rams. Both teams benefited from defenses that have gotten healthy after dealing with absences early in the year, and I think this game could be a little lower scoring than we think as a result. That should make it easier for the 49ers to keep it within one score the entire game, even on a neutral field.
6. Inside the Eagles' collapse: Who's going to get the axe?
There might not be a more disappointing team in 2020 than the Philadelphia Eagles, who somehow can't even find ways to lead the historically bad NFC East. So what gives? What lies ahead? And, more grimly, who's going to pay the price for this season, barring some kind of miraculous turnaround? Cody Benjamin knows the Eagles inside and out (just take my word for it), and he proposes that team owner Jeffrey Lurie must make at least one major change before 2021:
The first priority for Lurie should not, and likely will not, be determining (Carson) Wentz's future. It should be determining the future of those around him -- those tasked with salvaging, supporting and/or replacing him ... Put it like this: Whether it's Wentz or (Jalen) Hurts or someone else, do you want any of those guys being shepherded by the current staff, or surrounded with "talent" culled by the current front office?