Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
As someone who lives in Nashville, I can confirm that no one in this city slept last night after Tennessee’s wild 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills. It’s probably for the best that Buffalo lost, because this town was filled with Bills fans yesterday and I’m not sure there would have been enough alcohol in this entire city to support a victory party for Bills fans.
We’ll be talking a lot about that game in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll also have my Week 7 picks and Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings, so let’s get to the rundown.
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1. Today’s show: Recapping the Titans’ crazy win over the Bills
The only thing crazier than the Titans’ wild win over the Bills was the podcast we put out afterwards. After the game, I joined Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson, and we spent roughly 45 minutes going over every aspect of Tennessee’s win. We probably could have spent three hours talking about the game, but we didn’t want to overdo it, so we decided to cut it down to 60 minutes.
With that in mind, here are three key things from that game that we touched on:
- Titans win with wild fourth down stop. With 22 seconds left to play and the Titans leading 34-31, the Bills faced a fourth-and-1 from Tennessee’s 3-yard line. Bills coach Sean McDermott could have taken the easy field goal to send the game to overtime, but instead, he went for the win. On the play, the Bills called a QB sneak, but it didn’t work, because Josh Allen slipped and got stopped for no gain (You can see the fourth down play here). It was one of the very few times in the game where Allen didn’t come through for his team. The Bills QB threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, but it was all for nothing because he couldn’t convert the fourth-and-1. The Titans defense got beaten up by the Bills for the better part of four quarters, but it came up with a big play when it needed it the most.
- Derrick Henry was unstoppable. With the Titans passing game basically non-existent in the first half, Derrick Henry kept Tennessee in the game by rushing for 96 yards and a TD in the game’s first two quarters, including a 76-yard TD run. Henry also tacked on two more touchdowns in the second half in a game where he finished with 143 yards and three touchdowns. Henry wore down the Bills defense, which opened things up for Ryan Tannehill, who had a huge second half, completing 14 of 17 passes for 145 yards (That was after going 4 of 12 for 71 yards in the first half).
- Bills defense falls apart. Through the first five weeks of the season, the Bills had arguably the best defense in football: They surrendered the fewest yards and the fewest points. However, both of those things changed on Monday night. The Bills simply had no answers for anything the Titans did. Derrick Henry steamrolled them in the first half and then when he slowed down in the second half — he only rushed for 47 yards — the Titans receivers picked up the slack. A.J. Brown caught seven passes for 91 yards, which all came in the second half. Julio Jones also had one of the most amazing catches of the NFL season when he pulled in a 48-yard grab that bounced off the head of a Bills defender (You can see the play by clicking here). The Bills defense simply seemed confused by everything the Titans did.
We talked about those three things plus everything else you could possibly want to know about Monday’s game, so be sure to check it out. 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 Monday’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Prisco’s Power Rankings heading into Week 7
The biggest loser in Buffalo’s loss to the Titans on Monday night might not have been the Bills. I’m starting to think it was Pete Prisco and that’s because he had to stay up way past his bed time to get his rankings done. Most Monday games don’t have a huge impact on his rankings, but with the Bills losing, Prisco had to stay up late and reshuffle his entire top 10 (The only team in the top 10 that’s in the same spot as last week is the Cardinals).
With that in mind, here’s a look at Prisco’s top 5 teams heading into Week 7:
I’m not going to spoil the rest of the power rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets. Here’s what has changed since last week:
- Three teams tied for the biggest jump this week as the Vikings, Steelers and Colts all moved up seven spots. Minnesota led the pack, making the move from 22nd to 15th. The Steelers were right behind them with a jump from 23rd to 16th while the Colts shot up from 24th to 17th.
- The biggest tumble in this week’s rankings went to the Chicago Bears. After losing to the Packers, the Bears fell six spots from 13th to 19th. I’m guessing Bears fans won’t be mad about this since it’s not their decision to be mad about anything anymore since Aaron Rodgers now owns them.
- For the second straight week, the biggest fall in the AFC went to the Browns, who tumbled down five spots from ninth to 14th. The Bills also dropped five spots after their loss to the Titans, going from second to seventh.
- We also have some big news at the bottom of the rankings: THE JAGUARS ARE NO LONGER IN LAST. After beating the Dolphins, the Jags jumped up from 32nd to 28th. Prisco apparently hates cats though, because after moving the Jags out of the cellar, he now has the Lions ranked as the worst team in the NFL.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco’s Week 7 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.
3. Breech’s Week 7 picks
It’s Tuesday, and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for my weekly picks.
Last week, I went 10-4 straight up and 7-7 against the spread. However, despite that mediocre record against the spread, it might go down as my greatest week of picks ever and that’s because not only did I predict that a team on a 20-game losing streak would win, but I predicted the exact final scored of the Jaguars-Dolphins game (23-20). When I retire from writing in 34 years, I’m 94% sure that will be remembered as my greatest accomplishment.
With that in mind, here are three of my picks for Week 7:
- Washington at Green Bay (-9.5): Remember last year when Washington’s defense was awesome? Well, this year, it’s the opposite. Washington has given up 30 or more points in each of its past three games, and now, they have to face a Packers team that is averaging 31 points per game at home. PICK: Packers 31-20 over Washington.
- Patriots (-7) at Jets: This pick comes down to one thing: If I’m getting Bill Belichick against a rookie quarterback, I’m taking the Patriots. We all know Belichick is a defensive mastermind and when you put him up against a rookie, it’s almost unfair. It would be like be going up against Joey Chestnut in a hot dog eating contest. I don’t even like hot dogs. Belichick is 11-1 in his past 12 games against rookie quarterbacks. The Patriots’ two wins this year have both come against rookie quarterbacks and one came against Zach Wilson back in Week 2 and he looked absolutely lost against the Patriots defense, throwing four interceptions. PICK: Patriots 24-16 over Jets.
- Lions at Rams (-15): I’m not sure if this is more of a Jared Goff revenge game or a Matthew Stafford revenge game, but I am sure that the Lions are going to get throttled. The Rams defensive line is going to eat Goff alive and although I want to say I don’t mean that literally, I can’t be sure. PICK: Rams 41-17 over Lions.
To check out the rest of my picks for Week 7, be sure to click here.
4. One thing we learned about each team in Week 6
Now that all 14 games from Week 6 have been played, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin decided to wade through the aftermath to figure out what we learned about each team.
Here’s a look at what we learned about five teams:
- Bills: The Bills defense is suddenly a concern. “They had no answers for the Titans as Monday night’s shootout wore on, even if a better QB sneak would’ve changed the final outcome.”
- Bears: The Bears offense hasn’t been better with Justin Fields. “While they started with energy against the Packers, Justin Fields still isn’t changing their offense. Schematically and philosophically, he is. But the overall production is still lackluster.”
- Browns: Turning to Case Keenum this week might not be the worst thing. “Crazy as it sounds, they might benefit from starting Case Keenum on Thursday. Not because Baker Mayfield deserves to be benched, but because he — like the rest of the team — is banged up, and Kevin Stefanski needs an excuse to simplify things.”
- Packers: Aaron Rodgers owns the entire NFC North. “He told Bears fans he owns them, but the fact is, his presence alone still makes Green Bay the far-and-away favorite to win this division and make a title run.”
- Dolphins: It might already be time to blow things up and start over. “Maybe this is going too far, but it sure feels like they need another overhaul this offseason. This is Year 3 of Brian Flores’ tenure, and 2020 — which was partly buoyed by Ryan Fitzpatrick — is increasingly looking like an anomaly.”
If you want to see the one thing we learned about each of the 28 teams that played in Week 6, you can check out Cody’s entire story by clicking here.
5. Tom Brady might play until he’s 55
At the rate things are going, I’m starting to think that Tom Brady is never going to retire. A few years ago, Brady said his goal was to play in the NFL until he’s 45, but now that he’s almost 45, Brady has given some serious consideration to possibly playing until he’s 50.
Now, he’s not just thinking about playing until he’s 50 because he’s also thinking about the possibility of playing until he’s 55 (For anyone out there who hates math, that would be 11 more seasons of Brady AFTER this one).
From a physical standpoint, Brady thinks he could pull it off.
“I really think I can play as long as I want,” Brady said recently. “I could literally play until I’m 50 or 55 if I wanted to. I don’t think I will obviously … my physical body won’t be the problem.”
Of course, don’t expect to see a 55-year-old Brady out on the field and that’s mostly because he’s apparently already decided that he’s not going to try and play that long.
“I think it’ll just be, I’m missing too much of my life with my family,” Brady said.
At age 44, Brady is having one of the best seasons of his career. The Buccaneers quarterback leads the NFL in completions, pass attempts, and passing yards. He also ranks second in the NFL in touchdown passes, and it’s also probably also worth noting that he’s on pace to break his career-high in passing yards by more than 25 yards per game.
Basically, every team in the NFL needs to send a thank you note to Brady’s family, because if it wasn’t for them, no one else would win a Lombardi Trophy until after he retired in 2032.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
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.
- Baker Mayfield getting a second opinion on his shoulder. This isn’t great news for Mayfield’s availability this week. Usually when you get a second opinion, it’s because you didn’t love the first opinion. Mayfield re-injured his shoulder against the Cardinals on Sunday and with the Browns playing on Thursday this week, it won’t be surprising if he can’t go. However, as of today, Baker did say he’s expecting to play.
- Packers will soon be getting back their starting left tackle. The Packers survived the first six weeks of the season without their starting left tackle, David Bakhtiari, who was on injured reserve recovering from an ACL tear that he suffered last season. Bakhtiari is expected to practice this week, which opens a three-week window for him to return.
- Jaguars release kick Josh Lambo. The fourth most accurate kicker in NFL history is officially a free agent. After watching Matthew Wright nail two big kicks in London, the Jags decided to give him the job, which left Lambo as the odd man out. Although Lambo has historically been accurate, he went into this season coming off a hip injury he suffered in 2020 and it appeared to have a major impact on him as he missed all three field goals he attempted. That’s a huge number for a kicker who had only missed four field goals in the past four seasons COMBINED.
- Seahawks have talked to Cam Newton. With Russell Wilson out, the Seahawks have been talking to some free agent quarterbacks and one of those quarterbacks was Cam Newton. Although the two sides did have a conversation, it’s unlikely the Seahawks are going to sign Newton, according to NFL.com.
- Texans cut Whitney Mercilus. It’s not often that a veteran pass-rusher becomes available this late in the season, but that’s what’s happening here. After 10 seasons in Houston, Mericilus has been released, according to ESPN.com. Although the 31-year-old has lost a step, he still has three sacks, three quarterback hits and 12 tackles through six games. The Texans are also expected to release kick returner Andre Roberts.
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