Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
As the resident Bengals homer here at CBSSports.com, I was going to make the entire newsletter today about the Bengals, but I didn't want everyone to quit reading halfway through, so I decided to at least mention a few of the other teams in the NFL.
In case you haven't looked at the AFC standings over the past 24 hours, the Bengals are currently at the top. That's right, if the playoffs started next week, the Bengals would be the No. 1 seed in the conference. The only thing more surprising than that is that the Raiders would be the second seed. I'm 99% sure we're living in the upside down because that's the only way to explain how the top two teams in the AFC are a team that went 4-11-1 last season and a team that saw its head coach resign two weeks ago.
Alright, we've got a lot to cover today, so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Week 7 winners and losers, plus full recap
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 Week 7, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 11 games from Sunday and as the resident Bengals homer on the podcast, I made sure to take multiple victory laps on both Brinson and Wilson, who I think are finally conceding that the Bengals might actually be good.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For our losers this week, we all went with quarterbacks. Wilson picked one who's never been on the loser's list while Brinson and I went with quarterbacks who seem to lose every week.
- Winner: Buccaneers. The Bucs are taking care of business. Their win over Chicago marked the third time this season that Tampa Bay has won a game by 20 or more points. They don't play down to their competition and they're destroying everyone in their path.
- Loser: Patrick Mahomes. There's a first time for everything and this marks the first time that Mahomes has been listed in the losers section, which is almost fitting, because this is also the first season in Mahomes' career where the Chiefs are playing like a team that might not make the playoffs.
- Winner: Derek Carr. The Raiders quarterback is playing the best football of his career and in what may or may not be a coincidence, he seems to have gotten even better since the resignation of Jon Gruden.
- Loser: Sam Darnold. The Panthers quarterback was so bad against the Giants that it's almost like he was daring Panthers owner David Tepper to go out and trade for Deshaun Watson.
- Winner: City of Cincinnati. The city with the best chili now has the best football team in the AFC. Thanks to their win over the Ravens, the Bengals are now officially in the No. 1 spot in the conference and they're looking more and more like a team that's going to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
- Loser: Jared Goff. Losing to his old team was bad enough, but to add insult to injury, he was basically the reason they lost. The Lions had a wild game plan where nearly everything worked -- they ran two fake punts and a successful onside kick -- but they didn't pull off the upset because Goff threw an ugly fourth quarter interception in the end zone in a game the Lions trailed 25-19. He then followed that up one possession later by throwing another interception. It wasn't a good day for Goff.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. 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.
Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Patriots got an 'A+' for embarrassing the Jets.
Here's a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Patriots 54-13 over Jets (Click here for full recap)
- Jets takeaway: The Jets lost quarterback Zach Wilson to a knee injury in the first half and then things only got worse from there. The Jets defense had no answers for anything the Patriots did as New England piled up 551 yards and 54 points. The yardage total was the most the Jets have given up in a game since 1998. The points total was the most they had given up in a game since 1979 when they surrendered 56 to, yup, you guessed it, the Patriots. Grade: D-
- Patriots takeaway: At times in this game, it almost looked like the Patriots offense was playing against air. The Patriots were able to move the ball at will and that's mostly because both Mac Jones and Damien Harris had career days. Jones threw for 307 yards, marking the first time in his short career that he's hit the 300-yard mark. As for Harris, he went over 100 yards for the second week in a row and third time this season. Grade: A+
- Colts takeaway: The Colts offensive game plan on Sunday night was pretty simple: They either gave the ball to Jonathan Taylor or threw it long and hoped for a defensive pass interference penalty. Surprisingly, the strategy actually worked well because the Colts ended up drawing three PI flags for 97 yards. Running the ball also worked as Taylor piled up 107 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Grade: B
- 49ers takeaway: The 49ers looked sharp on their first drive of the game, but then everything fell apart after that. After driving 78 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession, the 49ers would only have ONE other drive in the game of more than 40 yards and that didn't come until fourth quarter when it was way too late. Jimmy Garoppolo was an absolute disaster, throwing two picks and losing a fumble. Those three turnovers alone led to 14 points for the Colts. Grade: D
As for the other 18 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here.
3. Tom Brady throws 600th career TD pass, has to make trade with fan to get it back
There wasn't very much drama on the field during the Buccaneers' 38-3 blowout win over the Bears on Sunday, but there was definitely some drama off the field after Tom Brady threw his 600th career touchdown pass.
Here are some details on what went down in Tampa.
- Brady becomes first player in NFL history to throw 600 touchdowns. The Buccaneers quarterback needed two TD passes to reach the milestone number and he got his second one near the end of the first quarter when he hit Mike Evans for a nine-yard score.
- Evans GAVE AWAY the touchdown ball. Evans clearly didn't realize that he had the milestone ball because he ended up giving it away to a fan in the stands. The receiver clearly felt bad about this because apologized for giving it away on Twitter after the game.
- Buccaneers fan wanted to keep the ball. The Buccaneers fan who ended up with the ball (Byron Kennedy) actually wanted to keep it. When the team asked him to return it, he wasn't so sure. "I said basically that I really want to keep it," Kennedy told the Athletic. Kennedy actually filmed himself getting the ball and you can see that video by clicking here.
- Buccaneers bribe Kennedy. To get the ball back, the Buccaneers made Kennedy an offer he couldn't refuse: They gave him another football plus a $1,000 gift card to the team store plus they promised to give him a signed Tom Brady jersey.
- Brady also promised to give Kennedy a gift. Brady doesn't actually keep his milestone footballs very often, but he wanted the 600th TD ball and now that he has it, he's promised to reward Kennedy for the goodwill gesture. "I don't keep too many things. In that circumstance, I just felt like that might be a good one to keep. He's going to get something nice in return. We'll get him a helmet, a couple of jerseys or some other stuff. It was really cool of him to do that."
- The football was valued at more than $500,000. Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions estimates that the Brady ball could fetch more than $500,000 if it was to be sold, which means Kennedy just gave away $500,000 in exchange for a football, a jersey and a $1,000 gift card. Not a great deal for him. If the Buccaneers want to do this guy right, they'll make sure to throw in season tickets for the next 10 years plus maybe a trip to every Super Bowl during that period.
Although giving up the ball probably felt like a gut punch, Kennedy definitely made the right decision. If he had kept the ball, he probably would have had to move out of Tampa because he would have forever been known as the Buccaneers fan who didn't give Tom Brady his football back. He would've been this generation's Bartman.
4. Seven crazy facts from Week 7
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 seven crazy facts about Week 7:
- Washington pulls off NFL rarity. During the Football Team's 24-10 loss to the Packers, they didn't punt a SINGLE TIME, making them just the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to have zero punts in a game where they scored 10 or fewer points.
- Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson both dealing with defeat. The 2018 MVP (Mahomes) and 2019 MVP (Jackson) both lost by 24 points on Sunday, which is the worst loss for both quarterbacks in their careers. Before Sunday, Mahomes' largest loss was by 18 points while Jackson's largest loss was by 15. Also, Jackson had never lost in the month of October before this week.
- Joe Burrow torches Ravens. The Bengals QB threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns, which is notable, because it makes him the first player ever to throw for more than 400 yards and at least three touchdowns against the Ravens in Baltimore. Four other quarterbacks -- Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Eli Manning -- have hit those numbers against the Ravens, but none of them did it IN Baltimore. One thing those quarterbacks have in common is that they all won at least one Super Bowl.
- Cardinals' win over Texans ends with final score that's never been seen before in NFL history. The 30-5 final score in the Cardinals-Texans game marks the first time in NFL history that a game has ever ended with that score. It was the 1,068th different final score in NFL history.
- Kyle Pitts going off. With 163 yards against the Dolphins, Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts became the first rookie tight end with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Raymond Chester, who did it with the Raiders in 1970.
- Bears struggling with the pass. Seven weeks into the season, the Bears still have yet to finish with 200 passing yards in a game, marking the first time since 2008 (Titans) that a team has made it through the first seven weeks without hitting that number.
- Zach Ertz makes NFL history. The Cardinals tight end scored a touchdown against the Texans on Sunday, marking the second straight week that he's scored a TD. The twist here is that he played for the Eagles in Week 6, which makes him the the first player in NFL history to have a receiving touchdown with two different teams in consecutive games of the same season.
If the Cardinals trade him this week, he could catch a TD with a third team in Week 8... but I'm guessing that's not going to happen.
Playing in Seattle used to be a huge home-field advantage for the Seahawks but not this year. Through two home games, the Seahawks are 0-2 and if they fall to 0-3 with a loss tonight, that will also drop them to last place in the NFC West, a full five games behind the Cardinals. Basically, this is game they can't afford to lose.
My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Saints can win: The most talented offensive player on the field in this game is likely going to be Alvin Kamara and if the Saints are going to win, it's likely going to be because they gave him a lot of touches. The Seahawks have one of the worst defenses in football, which means Kamara could put up some big numbers tonight both on the ground and through the air.
- Why the Seahawks can win: The Seahawks would obviously love to run the ball, but the Saints have one of the best run defenses in football, which means this game is likely going to fall square on the shoulders of Geno Smith. If Smith can complement the Seahawks ground game by making the occasional big play, the Seahawks will definitely have a chance to pull off the upset.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. The Seahawks are currently a four-point underdog in a game where heavy rain is expected.
Dubin's pick: Saints 27-13 over Seahawks.
My pick: Saints 19-16 over Seahawks.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Jameis Winston UNDER 26.5 passing attempts (-130): "Not only could the weather deter the Saints from deploying a prolific passing attack, Winston has gone under this number in all but one game this season."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Alvin Kamara OVER 127.5 rushing and receiving yards (-115): The Seahawks have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and since Kamara is the biggest weapon on the Saints, I'm going to go ahead and assume that he's going to have a huge game.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
It was a busy weekend 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.
- Zach Wilson could be out for up to a month. The Jets QB injured his knee on Sunday and that injury turned out to be a strained PCL, which is expected to keep him sidelined for the next two to four weeks.
- Russell Wilson could be back sooner than expected. The Seahawks QB is having the pin in his finger removed this week, according to NFL.com. With the pin out, Wilson could make an immediate return from IR and if that happens, he'd be eligible to return to practice after Seattle's Week 8 game against the Jaguars.
- Patriots secondary takes a hit. Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones has decided to undergo shoulder surgery, which is going to knock him out for the rest of the 2021 season, according to NFL.com.
- Jaguars lose D.J. Chark for the year. After fracturing his ankle a few weeks ago, it appears Chark won't be making a return this year. Jaguars coach Urban Meyer announced on Monday that Chark will miss the rest of the 2021 season.
- Vikings and Broncos pull off weekend trade. With the Broncos desperate for linebackers, they decided to pull off a trade for Minnesota's Stephen Weatherly. To acquire the Vikings linebacker, the Broncos are sending a 2022 seventh-round pick to Minnesota. They'll get a 2023 seventh-round pick back from the Vikings.
- Former Patriots receiver Chris Hogan calls it a career. After 10 NFL seasons, Hogan has decided to hang up his cleats for good. Hogan played for a total of five teams in his career -- the Bills, Patriots, Saints, Panthers and Jets -- but his most impressive work definitely came with New England. The two-time Super Bowl winner went over 500 yards in two of his three seasons with the Patriots, which is a number he never hit with any other team. Hogan also had 128 yards and a TD in the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. For more details on Hogan's career, be sure to click here.