Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It's a huge day here and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Bengals homer and the Bengals won last night, I'm saying that because today is the TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of me writing this newsletter. The anniversary is actually tomorrow, but we can't celebrate tomorrow because there's no newsletter on Saturdays, although maybe I can introduce that for Year 3.
Of course, this newsletter would be pretty boring if no one was reading it, so I'd like to thank everyone who opens this thing up every day. I'd also like to thank everyone who has emailed me or tweeted me or run me down at the grocery store to tell me they enjoy reading this thing. You guys have stuck around even though I talk way too much about the Bengals, which is slightly ironic, since we'll be talking a lot about the Bengals today.
We'll also be taking a close look at Tua Tagovailoa's injury situation, plus we'll be making some picks for Week 4.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Recapping the Bengals' win over the Dolphins
The Bengals knocked off the AFC's final undefeated team on Thursday night with a 27-15 win over the Dolphins. Although the win was huge for Cincinnati, the Bengals win was overshadowed by the head injury suffered by Tua Tagovailoa.
During our podcast for today, we spent a lot of time talking about Tua's injury, which we'll cover in-depth later on in the newsletter, but for now, we're going take a look at why the Bengals won.
If you missed the game, here's a quick rehash of what happened and what we talked about on the podcast:
- Bengals offense came alive in the second half. Although Joe Burrow made some big throws in the first half, he looked erratic for most of the first two quarters, completing just 8 of 15 passes for 73 yards on the Bengals' first four possessions of the game. However, Burrow caught fire after that and the thing that seemed to get him going was a 59-yard TD pass to Tee Higgins with 2:50 left to play in the second quarter (You can see the play here). Including that throw, Burrow would finish the game by going 12 of 16 for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Once Burrow came alive, the Dolphins' banged up secondary struggled to stop the Bengals offense. Higgins ended up being Burrow's favorite target on the night, catching seven passes for 124 yards. The best news for the Bengals is that Burrow's long ball appears to be back: The quarterback completed three passes that went for 35 yards or more.
- Bengals defense steps up in big spots. The Bengals defense wasn't perfect, but it did come up with some huge plays when the team needed it most. For instance, the Dolphins drove down inside of Cincinnati's 5-yard line on TWO different possessions in this game, but on both of those possessions, the Bengals defense buckled down and forced a field goal attempt. If either of those possessions had ended with a TD, it could have changed the game completely. Also, Vonn Bell came up with two big interceptions with the biggest one coming in the second half when he iced the win by picking off Teddy Bridgewater with just 3:17 left to play. At the time of the pick, the Dolphins were only down 20-15 and they were driving to take the lead. The Dolphins had reached the Bengals' 26-yard line before Bell came through with the clutch play. The Bengals defense also crushed the Dolphins on third down, holding them to just two conversions on 10 attempts.
- Teddy Bridgewater wasn't bad. After Tua went down late in the second quarter, Bridgewater entered the game in a tough situation, but he made the most of it. Bridgwater's first play came on a third-and-17 and he almost turned it into a first down with a 16-yard throw to Trent Sherfield. At that point, the Dolphins could have gone for it on fourth-and-1, but instead, Mike McDaniel called for a 52-yard field goal attempt and the Dolphins ended up getting zero points because the kick was blocked. On his first full possession of the game, Bridgewater led his team on a 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a 7-yard TD pass to Chase Edmonds (Teddy ended the first half 6 of 7 for 71 yards and a TD). In the second half, Bridgewater connected with Tyreek Hill for a 64-yard gain that set up a field goal that would give Miami a brief 15-14 lead in the third quarter. Bridgewater also drove the Dolphins deep into Bengals territory before throwing a pick that essentially ended the game. The Dolphins backup QB ended up throwing for 193 yards and a TD in the loss.
We talked about those three things plus more and if you want to hear our entire recap of the game, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Tua Tagovailoa injury update and details
The excitement of this game quickly died down in the second quarter after Tua suffered an ugly injury following a sack by the Bengals that took place with just under six minutes left to play in the first half.
Here's what we know:
- How the injury happened. On a second-and-7 play from the Bengals' 40-yard line, Tua took a shotgun snap and rolled left. When he couldn't find anyone open, he started to scramble and that's when Josh Tupou got a hold of him. The Bengals nose tackle slammed Tua down and as as soon as the Dolphins' QB hit the ground, it was pretty evident that something was wrong (You can see the play here). Tua was later diagnosed with a concussion.
- Tua taken off the field in a stretcher and hospitalized. The Dolphins training staff tended to Tua for nearly 10 minutes before the quarterback was taken off the field in a stretcher. Just before halftime, the Dolphins announced that Tua had been taken to the hospital and that he was "conscious and has movement in all his extremities."
- Tua travels back to Miami with the team. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel revealed after the game that Tua would be discharged from the hospital and be able to travel home with the team. "All of his teammates, myself, we're all very concerned. The best news we can give is that everything is checked out that he didn't have anything more serious than a concussion. He'll be flying back with us here on a plane."
- The controversy. A concussion is always bad news, but in this situation, it's especially bad news because Tua appeared to also suffer a head injury in his Week 3 game against the Bills. In that game, Tua got hit and clearly wobbled off the field (You can see the clip here). The Dolphins claimed Tua suffered a back injury on the hit and he ended up re-entering that game in the second half. Due to the nature of Tua's injuries, many people were calling on the Dolphins to keep him sidelined for Week 4.
- The NFLPA is investigating the Week 3 injury. The NFLPA is currently looking into NFL also looked into the Tua situation and the league found that concussion protocols were followed during the Bills game. . Concussions are handled by an independent neurologist, so that neurologist would have had to clear Tua before he could go back in the game. Once he's cleared, it's on the Dolphins to decide whether they feel comfortable enough to put him in. If the NFLPA finds that Tua did suffer a concussion in Week 3, that could set the stage for some serious consequences, because in that case, there's no reason he should have been on the field in Week 4, let alone the second half of Week 3. The
No matter how you look at it, this is a messy situation. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported that Tua wore a neck brace on the flight home as a precaution. The good news for Tua is that all of his initial scans came back negative. However, he will undergo an MRI at some point today to check for any further damage.
3. Today's show Part II: Best bets for Week 4
The best part about Friday -- besides the fact that it's Friday -- is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After recording the postgame podcast with Wilson and I, Brinson kicked us to the curb so that he could record his weekly picks show with Pete Prisco and R.J. White.
Those three guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game being played in Week 4 and we're going to cover three from each guy below. Two of our three guys finished Week 3 with a winning record, so you're definitely going to want to check out their best bets for Week 4.
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 4 -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast.
4. NFL Week 4 picks
This is the final newsletter of the week, which means we will be cramming as many Week 4 picks as humanly possible into this space.
With that in mind, we've got four more Week 4 picks coming your way and those will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco, along with Jordan Dajani, Tyler Sullivan and myself. We usually also have picks from Will Brinson, but I guess he decided to take the week off.
Here's how things are going to work: I'm going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you'll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on.
- Pete Prisco: Saints (+2.5) 21-17 over Vikings. From Prisco, "The Saints have major problems on offense right now, which is never a good thing. The Vikings haven't looked the same on offense either. Where is Justin Jefferson? This could be a low-scoring game, which I think the Saints will find a way to win." For the .
- Tyler Sullivan: Cowboys (-3) 24-17 over Commanders. From Sullivan, "Not only has Cooper Rush played well and kept the offense afloat, but Dallas' defense continues to look like a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Dallas should get a win at home by more than a field goal to cover the spread." For the rest of Sullivan's .
- Jordan Dajani: Titans (+3.5) 27-24 over Colts. From Dajani, "I think the Titans are the better team in this matchup, but it does frighten me that they have been outscored 57-7 in the second half this year, while the Colts own the biggest fourth-quarter yard margin vs. opponents (+316). Still, getting the Titans at +3.5 feels like good value. " For the rest of .
- John Breech: Bills (-3.5) 37-30 over Ravens. Although Lamar Jackson has been great this season, their defense has been the opposite of great. Through three weeks, the Ravens are surrendering an average of 353.3 passing yards per game, which is an insanely high number when you consider that NO OTHER TEAM in the NFL is even surrendering 300 yards per game. Now, that same defense has to face the QB who leads the NFL in passing yards and I don't see that ending well for them. For the .
To check out our expert picks for every game that's being played in Week 4, be sure to click here.
5. Saints likely turning to Andy Dalton
The Saints are dealing with some major injuries as they get ready to face the Vikings in London and one of those injuries is Jameis Winston, who . Winston has been dealing a back injury for multiple weeks and it appears the Saints have decided that the best course of action is to let the injury heal.
Here's a look at the Saints' injury situation and what it means:
- Andy Dalton likely to start. With Winston listed as doubtful, that means Dalton will be in line to make his first career start with the Saints. Dalton started six games last season for the Bears and went 3-3 in those games, which is somewhat impressive when you consider that the Bears went 3-8 in games where Dalton didn't start.
- Dalton vs. Cousins Part II. If Dalton is starting, it will mark the second time that he's faced Kirk Cousins in London. The last meeting came in 2016 when Cincinnati and Washington played to a 27-27 tie. Both quarterbacks seem to struggle in primetime, so putting them in the 9:30 a.m. kickoff slot is probably for the best.
- Dalton could be missing a few weapons. The Saints definitely won't have Michael Thomas on Sunday as he's already been ruled out due to a foot injury. The Saints also have Alvin Kamara dealing with a rib injury and he's been listed as questionable.
The game between the Vikings and Saints will be the first London game of the year for the NFL and it will be kicking off at 9:30 a.m. ET on NFL Network.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Former Cowboys tight end dies
It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Gavin Escobar dies in rock climbing accident. The former Cowboys tight end was found dead in California on Wednesday after an apparent rock climbing mishap. The 31-year-old had been climbing with a partner, 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh, who also died in the accident. Escobar was a second-round pick of the Cowboys in 2013 and spent five seasons with the team. If you'd like to know more about the tragic accident, .
- Chiefs-Buccaneers game will be staying in Tampa. The NFL had considered moving this game to Minneapolis due to Hurricane Ian, but that won't be happening. The league announced that the Sunday night showdown between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will be staying in Tampa.
- Bengals defensive starter placed on injured reserve. The Bengals defensive front took a huge hit on Thursday with D.J. Reader (knee) being placed on injured reserve (This happened before Thursday's game). The move means that Reader will have to miss at least four weeks, but it's looking like he's going to miss at least six weeks, according to ESPN.com.
- Pro Bowl participation will be mandatory. With the Pro Bowl switching to a new format, there was some question about players would even want to take part, but as it turns out, they won't have a choice. The , they will be required to attend. The new format will included a 7-on-7 flag football game along with a full week of skills challenges in the lead-up to the game.