Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
If I learned one thing from watching football yesterday, it's that the good teams might be bad and the bad teams might be good, which is just as confusing as it sounds. I went to bed confused last night. Just when I thought the Bills looked like the best team in the AFC they went out and lost to the Jaguars. Just when I thought the 49ers might make a move in the standings, they went out and lost to Colt McCoy. Just when I was ready to name the Cowboys as the best team in the NFC, they went out and fell behind 30-0 to the Broncos.
If all the good teams are actually bad, maybe that means we should just let the Texans and Lions play in the Super Bowl. Just kidding. I don't ever want to see the Texans play a game ever again. I cried myself to sleep last night just thinking about how badly their offense played.
With so many upsets in Week 9, who were the winners and losers of the week? Glad you asked, we'll be covering that plus a bunch more today, so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Week 9 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 9, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 12 games from Sunday and we spent most of the podcast trying to figure out who's a fraud and who's an actual contender, which was nearly impossible after all the upsets.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For our winners this week, Brinson and I each went with a quarterback who was making his first career start while Wilson decided to go a different route.
- Winner: Josh Allen. No, not that Josh Allen, the other Josh Allen. In a battle of Josh Allens, Jacksonville's Josh Allen out-Josh Allen'd Buffalo's Josh Allen with a crazy performance that included a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery for the Jaguars.
- Loser: Vikings. This team finds a new and exciting way to lose every week. This week, they blew a double-digit lead and then lost in overtime. They've made losing an art form, which isn't easy to do.
- Winner: Mike Vrabel. Over the past four weeks, the Titans have played the Bills, Chiefs, Colts and Rams. Some people thought they would go 1-3 or 2-2 during that span, but they went 4-0 thanks to Vrabel, who always has his team ready to play in big games. The most impressive part of the win over the Rams was that they did it without Derrick Henry.
- Loser: Bengals. After fooling everyone into thinking they were good, the Bengals have now lost two in a row. Two weeks ago, this team was the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, but now they're down to 10th after consecutive losses.
- Winner: Broncos defense. They dumped Von Miller and then immediately proceeded to play their best game of the season. Apparently, addition by subtraction is a real thing.
- Loser: Kyle Shanahan. I think we probably need to stop calling him a coaching genius, because a genius doesn't lose to a quarterback who only has eight career wins. A genius also doesn't lose to a division rival playing without its two best players.
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, and remember, if you watch the episode on YouTube, you'll see me in full costume.
2. Week 9 grades: Falcons get a 'B+' for stunning the Saints
Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Falcons got a 'B+' for going into New Orleans and shocking the Saints.
Here's a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Falcons 27-25 over Saints (Click here for full recap)
- Falcons takeaway: If you've seen one Falcons collapse, you've seen them all, but one thing most Falcons fans haven't seen is a collapse that ends with a win. Despite blowing an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Falcons still managed to pull off the upset thanks to a 64-yard catch from Cordarrelle Patterson that set up Younghoe Koo's game-winning field goal as time expired. It was fitting that Patterson came up with the big play because he made plenty of them on a day where he caught six passes for 126 yards. Matt Ryan crossed the 300-yard mark for the third time in four weeks, throwing for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Falcons limited the Saints to just three points through the first three quarters. This was the Falcons' first game since the Braves won the World Series and if we learned one thing here, it's that everything seems to be coming up Atlanta this year. Grade: B+
- Saints takeaway: In this game, Trevor Siemian made his first start in more than two years and the problem for the Saints is that he looked like a quarterback who was making his first start in more than two years. During a disastrous first half, the Saints only crossed Atlanta's 45-yard line one time and they never came close to scoring. The Saints offense did make a miraculous comeback in the fourth quarter only to watch their defense melt down over the final minute of the game. Grade: B-
Dolphins 17-9 over Texans (Click here for full game stats)
- Dolphins takeaway: The Dolphins' offense didn't do very much in this game, but that didn't matter, because their defense did enough to win it. The Dolphins had Tyrod Taylor running for his life for the better part of four quarters. Not only did they pick him off three times, but they also sacked the Texans quarterback a total of five times, with 2.5 of those coming from Emmanuel Ogbah. This win wasn't pretty, but when you're 1-7 going into a game, you can't really complain about what your wins look like. Grade: B-
- Texans takeaway: With Tyrod Taylor making his first start in seven weeks, it was expected that he might be a little rusty on Sunday, but the way he played, it looked like his arm was actually made of rust. The Texans QB had one of the most embarrassing outings of his career in a game where he threw three interceptions. Those picks led to 14 points for the Dolphins and in a defensive struggle, that was the difference. Despite Taylor's struggles, the Texans did make four trips into the red zone, but they came away with zero touchdowns. Grade: D
As for the other 20 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here.
3. Latest updates on Odell Beckham and Aaron Rodgers
The situations involving Odell Beckham and Aaron Rodgers both took interesting turns over the weekend. On Rodgers' end, he decided to hold an interview that can only be described as bizarre. On Beckham's end, he's finally been released by the Browns, but we still don't know where he's going to end up.
Here's a quick look at the two situations.
- Browns restructure Odell's contract before releasing him: It took some haggling, but Beckham and the Browns finally restructured the receiver's contract over the weekend. Under terms of his new deal, any team that claims Beckham will owe him the rest of his 2021 pay, which is $7.25 million. Also, the final two years of his deal were voided out, which means he'll become a free agent after the 2021 season unless he works out a new deal.
- Beckham now headed to waivers. Since it took until Saturday to hammer out his new deal, Beckham won't officially be put on waivers until today, which pushes his timeline back by 24 hours. Basically, teams will have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to put in a claim, so don't look for any action on the Beckham front until tomorrow.
- Only nine teams currently have enough cap space to claim him on waivers: According to Overthecap.com, the only teams with enough salary cap space to add him are: the Jaguars ($28.02 million), Eagles ($21.44 million), Broncos ($15.26 million), Seahawks ($13.34 million), Panthers ($11.49 million), Washington ($11.12 million), Chargers ($10.36 million), Steelers ($10.15 million) and Bengals ($8.15 million). This doesn't mean those are the only only teams that can claim him, but it does mean that any other team will have to pull off some major salary cap gymnastics between now and Tuesday at 4 p.m. if they want to add him.
- Don't look for a bad team to claim him. According to ESPN.com, Beckham wants to play for a playoff contender and he might potentially cause issues if a bad team claims him, which means it's highly unlikely you'll see a team like the Jaguars or Eagles make a claim even though both teams have the cap room to do it. The Lions currently have the top spot in the waiver order (you can see the entire order by clicking here), but they only have $2.35 million in available cap space, which is why you likely won't see them make a claim even though they could use a receiver.
- Beckham will hit free agency if he goes unclaimed. With his contract number so high, there's definitely a possibility that Beckham could go unclaimed. If that happens, then he'll become a free agent and he'll be able to sign with the team of his choosing.
- Favorites to land Beckham. According to Pro Football Talk, the Seahawks, Saints and 49ers are considered the favorites to get Beckham. The Seahawks probably have the best shot at him since they have the highest waiver priority and the most cap room, which means they can afford Beckham. The Saints have less than a $1 million in cap space, so adding Beckham won't be easy.
There were some very interesting things said in Rodgers' talk with Pat McAfee, but we're going to focus on the NFL-related stuff that came out of the interview with McAfee.
- Rodgers explains why he didn't get vaccinated: The Packers QB said he didn't get vaccinated because he has an allergy to an ingredient that is in the mRNA vaccines. This may be true, but the NFL clearly didn't buy his explanation because if it did, he would have been given a medical exemption for his lack of a vaccination. He was not given an exemption.
- Rodgers explains why he said he was 'immunized' back in August. According to NFL.com, Rodgers "received a homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor to raise his antibody levels" and he was hoping that would be enough to give him the same status as a vaccinated player. However, the NFL shot that request down, which is why he's labeled as an unvaccinated player.
- Rodgers knowingly violated the NFL's COVID protocols: The quarterback made it clear that he thought some of the NFL's protocols "are not based in science," so he didn't follow them. The main one is that he didn't wear a mask at press conferences even though he knew he was breaking the rules. It will be interesting to see how the NFL reacts to this because it would be like getting a speeding ticket for going 55 in a 35 and then telling the officer that you didn't agree with the speed limit so you didn't follow it and therefore, you shouldn't be given a ticket. I tried that once, it didn't work.
- Rodgers will likely be fined, but not suspended. According to the protocols agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA, a player can be fined $14,650 for a first offense, but if there are repeated offenses, they can be fined a total of one game-check. In the most serious of circumstances, a player could be suspended for up to four games for conduct detrimental to the team. According to NFL.com, Rodgers will be hit with a fine if he gets punished, but not a suspension.
You can read more about Rodgers' interview by clicking here.
4. Nine crazy facts from Week 9
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 eight crazy facts about Week 9:
- Browns join rare club. The Browns became the first team since 1967 -- and just fourth in NFL history -- to record a passing TD, a rushing TD and a defensive TD that all went for 60 yards or more (The 1967 Chargers, 1966 Chiefs and 1966 Washington are the other three teams to pull that off).
- Jaguars pull off one of the biggest upsets of the past 30 years. If you go by the point spread, the Jaguars' win over the Bills was the seventh biggest upset in the NFL since 1990. The Jaguars closed as a 15.5-point underdog, which is one reason why their win seemed so improbable. Unfortunately for the Bills, they've now been on the losing side in three of those seven upsets (You can read more about that here).
- Cowboys give us another sports book rarity. The Cowboys were favored by 10 points against the Broncos, so it was stunning to see them fall behind 30-0 at one point in the game. It was even more stunning when you consider that they were the first double-digit favorite to trail by 30 in a game since 2001 when the heavily favored Colts lost to the Patriots 44-13. That game is better known as the first start of Tom Brady's career.
- Josh Allen makes history against Josh Allen. The Jaguars Josh Allen made NFL history by becoming the first player to sack a quarterback with the same name. He then made more history when he became the first player to pick off a quarterback with the same name.
- Texans join rare club with ugly start. At one point this season, the Texans were 1-0, but that was forever ago. After the loss to Miami, Houston is now 1-8 on the season, making the Texans just the 12th team in NFL history to lose eight straight after starting 1-0 (The last team to do it was the 2020 Jaguars).
- Lamar Jackson ties Michael Vick record. With 120 rushing yards against the Vikings, Lamar Jackson now has 10 career regular season games with 100 yards or more on the ground, which is tied with Michael Vick for the most by a QB in NFL history. Call me crazy, but I think Lamar is eventually going to break this record.
- Chandler Jones is now the Cardinals' all-time sack leader. With one sack against the 49ers, Chandler Jones now has 67 in his Cardinals career, which is a new franchise record. Jones passed Freddie Joe Nunn, who tallied 66.5 during a career with the Cards that spanned from 1985 to 1993. The amazing thing about Jones holding the record is that he's only been with the team since 2016.
- Home sweet home isn't so sweet for the 49ers. Thanks to their loss to the Cardinals, the 49ers have now lost eight straight home games, which is tied with the Lions for the longest active streak in the NFL. Being tied with the Lions in any statistic is embarrassing, but especially this one .
- Cardinals have the best record in the NFL. At 8-1, the Cardinals currently have the best record in the NFL. That's notable for two reasons: For one, in the Super Bowl era, they've NEVER finished as the top seed in the NFC. If you go back even further, they've only finished the season with the NFL's best record a total of one time in franchise history and that came all the way back in 1948.
5. Monday preview: Prepping you for Bears at Steelers
The Bears and Steelers both benefitted from all the upsets that happened on Sunday and they could benefit even more with a win tonight. Although the Bears are just 3-5, they could jump from 12th to ninth in the NFC standings with a win. As for the Steelers, a loss would hurt because it would drop them from second place in the AFC North to last place.
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 Bears can win: The Bears are expected to get David Montgomery back for tonight's game, which is a huge deal, because they're going to be able to need to run the ball well if they're going to pull off the upset. Having both Montgomery and Khalil Herbert in the backfield won't just help the ground game, but it should also help the passing game because both guys can catch the ball out of the backfield. The Steelers are good at rushing the passer, so it won't be surprising if Justin Fields is forced to check down to his running backs early and often. Basically, the Bears are going to need a big game from their running backs.
- Why the Steelers can win: The Bears have one of the worst rush defenses in football and they're not going to have Khalil Mack tonight, which should pave the way for Najee Harris to have a huge game. If Harris gets going, it's hard to imagine the Steelers losing. The Steelers defense should also give the Bears' fits, which makes it feel like this is going to be a low-scoring defensive struggle.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. The Steelers are currently a 6.5-point favorite.
Dubin's pick: Steelers 20-17 over Bears.
My pick: Steelers 20-13 over Bears.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Najee Harris OVER 81.5 rushing yards (-115): "Harris has seen 20-plus carries in each of the last three games and is going up against a Bears run defense that's giving up 125 yards per game this season. Chicago was also just run over by Elijah Mitchell for 137 yards in Week 8. With the type of volume Harris is projected against and the opponent he's facing, he should be in a position to go over."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Steelers field goal to be the first scoring play of the game (+275): I'm going to get a little wild here with this prediction. The Steelers are going to be fired up since this is a home primetime game, so if the Bears get the ball first, I think Pittsburgh will force a punt. This feels like a game where the Steelers will score the first points, but the Bears do have a decent defense, so I'll say Chicago holds them to a field goal and that Chris Boswell ends up with the first points of the game.
You can check out Sullivan's full gambling preview by clicking here.
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:
- NFL Honors award show is switching dates. This show is usually held the night before the Super Bowl, but for this year -- and every year going forward -- the show will be held the Thursday before the Super Bowl, which means it will be airing on Feb. 10, 2022. NFL Honors is where the league hands out all its big awards like MVP and rookie of the year.
- DeSean Jackson signs with Raiders. With Henry Ruggs no longer on the team, the Raiders didn't waste any time finding a deep threat to replace him. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson reported on Sunday that the Raiders have signed Jackson, who was cut by the Rams last week.
- Henry Ruggs facing up to 46 years in prison. Ruggs was already facing charges of driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving, but now, the prosecution has added two more charges in the form of another DUI charge (DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm) and another reckless driving charge. Ruggs is facing nearly five decades in prison if he's found guilty on every charge.
- DeVante Parker placed on injured reserve. The Dolphins receiver was placed on IR over the weekend due to a hamstring injury. The move means he won't be allowed to return until Week 12 at the earliest.
- Calvin Ridley on the non-football illness/injury list. The Falcons receiver announced last week that he was going to step away from football to get his mind right. This move means that if he wants to return, he won't be able to do it until Week 12 at the earliest.
- Mac Jones called out by Panthers players. Haason Reddick has accused Jones of a dirty play that led to an injury for Carolina's Brian Burns. Reddick says that Jones purposely twisted Burns' ankle and based on the clip (which you can see here), it appears Reddick might be right. If the NFL agrees, it could hit Jones with a fine or even a suspension if it's deemed serious enough.
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