Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
If today's newsletter is completely incoherent, it's because my brain is still trying to process everything that happened in the NFL over the weekend. After attending the Bengals-Titans game on Saturday, I was pretty sure there was no way that any of the other divisional games would top it in terms of excitement, but then THEY ALL topped it. Somehow, each game was progressively better than the one before it and by the time the Bills-Chiefs game got to overtime on Sunday night, I think I had spit out my coffee three different times, which was crazy, because I wasn't even drinking coffee.
We'll be recapping all four games from the weekend, plus taking a look at what Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers might do this offseason. We'll also take an early look at the two conference title games, which means there's a lot to cover, so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Full recap of divisional round
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about the divisional round, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We spent nearly three hours over two different shows -- we also recorded a show after the Saturday games -- recapping the craziest playoff round in the history of the NFL.
Here's a brief look at the topics we touched on from each game:
- Bengals 19-16 over Titans. Although Joe Burrow got beat up in the game -- he got sacked an NFL-record-tying nine times -- he still managed to throw for 348 yards to propel the Bengals to one of their biggest wins in franchise history. The Bengals wouldn't have won this game without Evan McPherson, who hit four field goals, including the game-winner from 52 yards out as time expired. On the Titans' end, they just made way too many mistakes. Not only did Ryan Tannehill throw three interceptions, including one that came on the first play of the game, but the Titans also failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Bengals' 35-yard line with just over seven minutes left to play.
- 49ers 13-10 over Packers. The 49ers didn't score a single offensive touchdown, but they were able to pull off the upset in Green Bay thanks to some stellar special teams play and a defense that shut down Aaron Rodgers. On the special teams' end, not only did the 49ers block a field goal in the first half, but they also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown to tie the game at 10 with just 4:41 left to play. Robbie Gould then punched San Francisco's ticket to the NFC Championship Game with a 45-yard field goal as time expired.
- Rams 30-27 over Buccaneers. Tom Brady almost pulled off another improbable comeback, but Matthew Stafford mustered up just enough magic in the final minute to lead Los Angeles to the win. At one point, the Buccaneers trailed 27-3, but they managed to tie things up at 27 after a wild fourth quarter. The Rams were able to escape with the win, though, after Stafford connected with Cooper Kupp for a 44-yard play with under 10 seconds left. The pass play set up a 30-yard walk-off field goal by Matt Gay. The Rams won even though they turned the ball over four times.
- Chiefs 42-36 over Bills in OT. Patrick Mahomes threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns as the Chiefs were able to hold on to beat the Bills in what will likely be remembered as one of the most exciting playoff games in NFL history. Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for an 8-yard TD in overtime to steal the win. Mahomes also engineered a 44-yard drive in the final 13 seconds of regulation to set up Harrison Butker's 49-yard field goal, which tied the game and sent it to OT. I'll stop talking about this game now, because it was so crazy that it's going to have its own section in the newsletter today.
Not only did we go over each game, but we also took a very early look at the championship round. To listen to today's episode -- and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there -- be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today's episode on YouTube by clicking here. We also recorded a show following the wins by the Bengals and 49ers on Saturday and if you want to watch that on YouTube, just click here.
2. Chiefs' win over Bills was an instant classic
After a divisional round weekend that opened with three straight crazy games, it didn't seem possible that the Bills-Chiefs game would be able to top the previous games, but not only did it do that, it was so good that it almost made me forget that any other games were played over the weekend.
Let's take a closer look at the game.
- Game gets wild in final two minutes. The two teams combined to score 25 points in the final two minutes of the game, which set a playoff record for the most points scored in the final two minutes of a game (It was also the second-most in NFL history for the final two minutes, behind only the 28 scored by the Ravens and Vikings in 2013).
- Bills scoring plays in the final two minutes. The first score in the final two minutes came when Josh Allen connected with Gabriel Davis for a 27-yard TD on FOURTH-AND-13. After the Chiefs responded, Allen and Davis hooked up again for another TD with just 13 seconds left to play. Overall, Davis had four catches for 201 yards and four touchdowns, with the four scores setting an NFL playoff receiving record.
- Mahomes was magic. At the two-minute warning, Mahomes only had 190 passing yards in the game, but then he almost DOUBLED that total. After the two-minute warning, and including overtime, Mahomes went 10 of 13 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning TD pass to Travis Kelce. He also threw a 64-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill with 1:02 left to play that gave the Chiefs a 33-29 lead.
- Did I mention Mahomes was magic? Although Mahomes threw two late touchdowns, that wasn't even the most impressive thing he did. The most impressive thing he did was engineer a 44-yard drive in 10 seconds to set up Harrison Butker's game-tying field goal at the end of regulation. With the Chiefs trailing 36-33 and just 13 seconds left, Mahomes got his team in field goal range by throwing a 19-yard pass to Tyreek Hill followed by a 25-yard pass to Kelce. Those two plays took just 10 seconds off the clock, which left three seconds for Butker to hit the game-tying field goal from 49 yards away.
- We all witnessed history. If you feel like you were watching a historical performance, you're right. Both quarterbacks had 300 or more passing yards and three or more touchdown passes to go along with 50 or more rushing yards and zero interceptions. It was the first time in NFL history that BOTH quarterbacks in a game hit all of those numbers.
- Heartbreak for Bills fans. The loss to the Chiefs marked the FOURTH time in franchise history that they've lost a postseason game on the final play. It also happened in the 2019 wild card round when the Texans hit a game-winning field goal along with the Music City Miracle in the 1999 wild card round and of course, Scott Norwood's missed field goal on the final play of Super Bowl XXV. If you see a Bill fan today, please hug them.
- Andy Reid is on a roll. The win by the Chiefs was the 19th playoff victory in Reid's coaching a career, which is the third-most in NFL history. Reid could move into a tie for second overall with Tom Landry if the Chiefs beat the Bengals this week. Bill Belichick is at the top of the list with 31 wins,
The only downside of the Chiefs' win is that Allen and the Bills' offense didn't get to touch the ball in overtime. After the game, the NFL's overtime rules once again came under scrutiny, so I decided to come up with three ways to fix OT and you can check those out by clicking here.
3. Twelve crazy facts from the divisional round
- Home sweet home. The Chiefs will be hosting the AFC title game for the fourth straight year, which sets an NFL record for most consecutive times hosting the game. Thanks to the win, Reid also became the first coach in NFL history to lead multiple teams to four consecutive conference title games (He led the Eagles to four straight NFC title games from 2001-04).
- Home sweet home Part II. Thanks to the Rams win, SoFi Stadium will become the first stadium in NFL history to host both a conference title game and a Super Bowl in the same year. The Rams could also become the first team to play both games at home. They're also the third team to make the conference title game in a year where their stadium is hosting the Super Bowl (2017 Vikings, 2020 Buccaneers).
- High drama in the divisional round. With all four games ending on a walk-off score, it marks the first time in NFL history that there has been four game-winning scores with no time left in a single postseason. Basically, this had never happened before over an ENTIRE postseason and we got to see it happen in a 48-hour period.
- Top seeds go down. The losses by the Titans and Packers mark the first time since 2010 that both one seeds were knocked out in the divisional round. Eleven years ago, the top seeds were the Patriots and Falcons, who lost to the Jets and Packers.
- Road teams rule the divisional round. The road teams going 3-1 in the divisional round marks just the third time since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 that the road teams have done that well in the divisional round. The only other times it happened came in 2008 and 1971. Road teams have never gone 4-0 in the round.
- Bengals end another drought. The Bengals are in the AFC title game for the first time since the 1988 season. Cincinnati's appearance ends the NFL's longest drought without playing in a conference title game. The Browns, who haven't made it since 1989, now have the NFL's longest drought. The Bengals also picked up their first road playoff win in franchise history.
- Aaron Rodgers can't beat the 49ers. The Packers QB is now 0-4 against the 49ers in the playoffs. That's the most playoff losses by a starting QB against a single opponent in NFL history.
- Goulden foot. After hitting two clutch field goals against the Packers, Robbie Gould now holds the NFL playoff record for most field goal attempts without a miss. In his postseason career, Gould is 20-for-20. To put that in perspective, only one other kicker in NFL history has even attempted at least 12 playoff field goals and made them all (Chris Boswell).
- Money McPherson. Bengals kicker Evan McPherson had four field goals against the Titans, making him the first kicker in NFL history to hit four field goals in multiple games in the same postseason. McPherson has also hit every field goal he's attempted on the road this year (15 of 15).
- Titans might want to avoid the top seed in the future. The Titans have been the top seed a total of three times in franchise history and they're 0-3 as the AFC's No. 1 seed. Not only did they get upset this year, but they also lost as the top seed in 2008 and 2000.
- Titans bully Joe Burrow. The Titans' defense sacked Burrow a total of nine times, which tied the NFL single-game record for the playoffs. Despite the sacks, the Titans still lost, making them the second team in NFL history to lose in a playoff game with nine sacks.
- Rams lose fumbles, but win game. The Rams lost four fumbles against Tampa Bay, but they still managed to win, making them the first team since the 1975 Steelers to win a playoff game despite losing four fumbles.
Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are 12 crazy facts about the divisional round:
4. Tom Brady mum about future; Aaron Rodgers will take time to think about options
With the Buccaneers and Packers both losing, that means retirement watch is now on for both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. In Tampa Bay, there was speculation over the weekend that Brady was thinking about retiring with CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reporting that many of his teammates were bracing for a possible announcement at some point in the coming weeks.
In Green Bay, no one knows what Aaron Rodgers wants to do. Last season, he wanted out and when the Packers wouldn't trade him, he contemplated retirement. With the Packers' season coming to a shocking ending for the third straight year, it's not clear if he'll want to return to Green Bay.
Here's what each quarterback had to say after their loss:
- Tom Brady mum about future: After winning the Super Bowl last season, Brady immediately announced that he would be returning for 2021. However, Brady wasn't ready to announce anything after Tampa Bay's loss to the Rams. "I haven't put a lot of thought into it, so you know, we will just take it day by day and kind of see where we are at," Brady said, via ESPN.com. "I'm not thinking about anything past five minutes from now." My personal guess is that Brady returns and that's because he's been saying for years that he wants to play until he's 45, and he turns 45 in August, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see him stick to his guns by giving us one more season.
- What Aaron Rodgers had to say: Rodgers was also mum about his future after watching his team lose to the 49ers, "I'm going to take some time and have conversations with folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision -- obviously before free agency or anything gets going on that front. It's fresh right now," Rodgers said.
- Why Rodgers might want out. Heading into 2022, the Packers are an estimated $45 million over the salary cap, which means there will be a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason. Rodgers is clearly aware of this, which is why one thing he said should worry Packers fans, "I don't want to be part of a rebuild if I'm going to keep playing. So a lot of decisions in the next couple of months." Unless the Packers work a salary cap miracle, they might be forced to have at least a small rebuild and if that happens, it will be interesting to see if Rodgers does everything he can to force his way out. If I had to guess right now, I'd say he's not in Green Bay next season.
With Rodgers and Brady both contemplating their future, it's going to be an interesting offseason in the NFL.
5. Early odds for the AFC and NFC title games
We'll be covering the AFC and NFC title games here all week, so I won't dive into these two games very much today, but I didn't want to completely ignore them, so here are the early odds for each game. Not surprisingly, the two home teams are favored.
Sunday, Jan. 30
(4) Bengals at (2) Chiefs, 3 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening line: Chiefs -7
Current line: Chiefs -7
This is a rematch of a game that was played just three weeks ago. Back on Jan. 2, the Bengals beat the Chiefs 34-31 in a thriller, but despite that win by Cincinnati, the oddsmakers still aren't giving the Bengals much of a chance in the AFC title game as the Chiefs have opened as a seven-point favorite. One big reason the Chiefs lost the last time around is because Joe Burrow went off for 446 yards and four touchdowns (Ja'Marr Chase finished with 11 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns). The Chiefs are 11-1 in their past 12 games with their only loss coming to the Bengals, but that game was played in Cincinnati and this one will be in Kansas City.
Sunday, Jan. 30
(6) 49ers at (4) Rams, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox)
Opening line: Rams -4
Current line: Rams -3.5
The 49ers are the underdog in this game even though they swept the season series between these two division rivals. Back in Week 10, the 49ers won 31-10 in a game where Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions, including a pick-six. The second meeting came just 15 days ago when the 49ers came back from 17-0 deficit to beat the Rams 27-24. That game marked the first time in Sean McVay's career that his team lost a game where it was leading at halftime. Not only did the 49ers sweep the season series, but they've actually won six in a row against the Rams. Over the past three seasons, the Rams are 0-6 against the 49ers and 31-12 against everyone else.
6. NFL Draft order is partially set: Top 28 picks are locked in
With four more teams out of the playoffs, that means four more teams now know where they'll be drafting come April. The biggest losers this week are the Dolphins and Lions. Not only did the Lions have to watch their former QB win a big playoff game, but they also have the Rams' first-round pick in 2022 and the win by Los Angeles on Sunday means that pick is going to be at the bottom of the first round.
On the Dolphins' end, they have the 49ers' first-round pick and because of San Francisco's win, the pick will be in one of the bottom four spots of the first round.
With that in mind, here is the official order for the top 28 spots in the draft:
7. Giants (via Bears)
10. Jets (via Seahawks)
15. Eagles (via Dolphins)
16. Eagles (via Colts)