Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

The news you've been waiting for all season is finally here: The 2024 Pro Bowl rosters have been revealed!

OK, so that's not actually that exciting, but we do have some exciting stuff in the newsletter today. Not only do we have results of our latest MVP poll, but we also decided to rank the top wild card games that we want to see in the opening round of the playoffs. And yes, we will be taking a look at the Pro Bowl rosters, because it is kind of exciting. 

As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. Let's get to the rundown. 

1. Today's show: Two former NFL players break down the latest NFL news


For today's episode of the "Pick Six NFL" podcast, we brought on two former NFL players to break down all of the latest NFL news: Leger Douzable and two-time Super Bowl champion Bryant McFadden.

Host Ryan Wilson joined them during Thursday's show, and the three of them had an interesting conversation about whether it's smart to bench your starters in the final week of the season when you've already clinched a playoff spot. The 49ers and Ravens are two of the many teams around the NFL that have decided to rest their starting quarterbacks this week.

The decision by those two teams means that Brock Purdy and Lamar Jackson will be going three weeks without playing in a game before they suit up again in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

On the Ravens' end, Jackson won't be playing, but Douzable thinks Baltimore will still go for the win with most of their other starters out there against the Steelers. The Ravens were in the same situation in 2019 and they benched their starters and that decision backfired. After getting three weeks off, the Ravens looked rusty in a 28-12 loss to the Titans

"I think that's in the back of their heads," Douzable said of the Titans' loss. "If they rest everyone this week, that's three weeks off before they play again."

Douzable also noted that the Ravens would probably go for the win just because they don't want to see another AFC North team in the playoffs. 

"The last thing you want is a divisional foe to get into the playoffs, a team that's in your division, that knows you, who you already lost to this year, " Douzable said. 

McFadden was on two Super Bowl teams in Pittsburgh. In 2005, the Steelers were a wild card team on their way to winning the Super Bowl, but in 2008, the Steelers got a first-round bye. McFadden said if your team is hot, you don't want a bye and you don't want to rest your starters, but if you're banged up, the bye is a good thing. 

"I see it from both sides, some teams that are playing some of their best football -- for example, Buffalo -- if Buffalo gets into the playoffs, they don't need a bye because they've been playing some of their best football," McFadden said. 

If you want to hear their full thoughts on the situation, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. The three guys also broke down the playoff picture as we get ready to head into the final week of the season. If you prefer your podcasts in video form, you can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. MVP watch: Lamar Jackson looks like a lock to win his second MVP

Although we had a tight MVP race for most of the season, it doesn't look like there's going to be much drama as we head into the final week of the season, at least if our MVP poll here at CBS Sports is any indication. 

To figure out who has the upper hand right now, we rounded up 12 writers and had them vote on who they think will win the MVP. Under the new voting rules that were implemented last year, the 50 media members who vote on the award will each get to name up to five players on their ballot, so that's exactly how we handled the voting here.  

Here's a look at our top five heading into Week 18, along with each player's point total. (A player got five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.)

1. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (60 points)
2. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (33)
3. 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey (31)
4. Bills QB Josh Allen (27)
5. 49ers QB Brock Purdy (17) 

Jackson was the unanimous MVP in our poll this week. We had 12 writers send in a ballot and all 12 writers had Jackson at the top. The race for second place did have some drama with four different players receiving at least one vote (McCaffrey, Prescott, Purdy and Matthew Stafford).  

Unless we see Dak Prescott throw 11 touchdown passes against the Commanders in Week 18, it seems pretty clear that Jackson will win his second MVP. Jackson won't be able to hurt his case this week and that's because he won't be playing on Saturday against the Steelers. 

Overall, a total of nine players received at least one vote. If you want to see a full list of every player who got a vote, then be sure to click here

3. Pro Bowl rosters revealed: 49ers lead way with nine players

Getty Images

There will be 88 players in Orlando for this year's Pro Bowl, and those players were revealed on Wednesday night when the NFL announced the official rosters for both the AFC and NFC. The rosters were decided with input from fans, players and coaches, with each group counting one-third toward the vote. 

Here are a few nuggets about this year's Pro Bowl rosters: 

  • 49ers have the most Pro Bowlers. The 49ers had nine players named to the initial roster, which was two more than any other team (The Ravens and Cowboys both had seven players). Not to be outdone, the Dolphins and Eagles both had six players named to the Pro Bowl. One thing to keep in mind is that if any team makes the Super Bowl, their players will NOT be participating in the Pro Bowl Games. 
  • Party like it's 1999. Not only are Tua Tagovailoa and Brock Purdy both headed to the Pro Bowl for the first time, but they've also been named the starting quarterbacks in the game. This marks the first time that each conference will have a first-time Pro Bowler at starting QB since the 1999 season (2000 Pro Bowl) when Kurt Warner (NFC) and Peyton Manning (AFC) were in the game. Tua was one of three AFC quarterbacks selected for the Pro Bowl, joining Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. In the NFC, Purdy will be joined by Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford. 
  • Rookie party at the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl will feature 28 players who have been selected for the first time, including five rookies: Sam LaPorta, Marvin Mims, Puka Nacua and Devon Witherspoon
  • Holy Hill. Tyreek Hill has been in the NFL for eight years and he's made the Pro Bowl every season, which makes him the first receiver in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons. 
  • Four teams got shut out. There were 28 teams that had at least one Pro Bowl representative, which means there were four teams that got shut out. Those teams were the Packers, Patriots, Commanders and Panthers.

If you want to see the full roster for each conference, then be sure to click here. One of the biggest snubs this year was Bills QB Josh Allen. If you want to see our full list of snubs, then be sure to head here

Remember, there's no actual Pro Bowl "game" this year. Instead of a standard NFL game, the rebranded Pro Bowl Games will be a week-long celebration that will include multiple events. In the week leading up to the game, players will participate in multiple skills competitions (You can check those out here). The week in Orlando will conclude on Feb. 4 with a flag football game between the AFC and NFC. The two teams will once again be coached by Peyton and Eli Manning

4. Ranking the top wild card games we want to see

One thing we love to do here heading into the final week of the season is to take a peek ahead to the first round of the playoffs and what that might look like. With that in mind, Tyler Sullivan decided to rank the top-five wild card games that he wants to see next week.  

Let's take a look at three of the games on his list: 

  • 1. Rams at Lions. I'm not sure if this would be a Matthew Stafford revenge game or a Jared Goff revenge game, but it would definitely be must-see TV. Stafford spent 12 seasons with the Lions and never got to play a home playoff game, but if this game happens, he'll finally get to see what it's like for Detroit to host a postseason game. How this game can happen: Lions will clinch the third seed with a loss to the Vikings OR a win by the Cowboys or Eagles. The Rams will clinch the sixth seed with a win over the 49ers or a loss by the Packers against the Bears
  • 2. Bills at Chiefs. These two teams gave us one of the wildest playoff games of all time during the divisional round of the 2020 season. That was the famous "13-second" game where the Chiefs got into field goal range on a 13-second drive that allowed Harrison Butker to send the game to overtime where Kansas City would win it 42-36. This would be quite the wild card game. How this game can happen: Chiefs have clinched the three seed, so the Bills would need to finish as the sixth seed. The easiest way for that to happen: The Jaguars (vs. Titans), Steelers (vs. Ravens) and Bills (vs. Dolphins) would all have to lose in Week 18. 
  • 3. Bills at Dolphins. Although these two teams will be facing each other in Week 18, there's actually a chance that they could face each other again in the wild card round. How this game can happen: The Bills have to lose to the Dolphins, PLUS the Steelers OR Jaguars have to lose, but not both. 

You can check out Tyler's full rankings here

5. Projecting the 2024 QB market: Justin Fields gets traded, Kirk Cousins stays put

With only 14 teams making the playoffs, that means the offseason will officially be starting on Monday for the 18 teams that don't make the postseason. Those teams will immediately begin to try and improve their roster for 2024. If you want to be a contender in the NFL, you have to have a good QB, so Cody Benjamin decided to take a look at the QB market for 2024. 

What's going to happen? Here are three big moves that Cody is predicting: 

  • Kirk Cousins re-signs with Vikings. "In a contract year, Cousins went on a tear before suffering the first serious injury of his career, and Minnesota's slew of turnover-happy replacements underscored his steady hand. The Vikings would be smart not to overcompensate for his loss, overlooking longer-term upside for the sake of yet another reunion."
  • Falcons trade for Justin Fields. "The Bears' failure to give him a reliable supporting cast, coupled with his own turnover woes -- he has 41 in 39 games -- has them in position to reset with the No. 1 overall pick, plus another top-10 pick. Should Chicago move on? Not necessarily. Fields clearly has unteachable NFL-caliber tools, and those picks could finally improve his weaponry. But it's possible, if not probable, they'll prefer to start fresh. The projection here is that he'll be traded to the Falcons in exchange for a 2024 second- and fourth-round picks."
  • Russell Wilson signs with Steelers. "At 35, it's clear Wilson is no longer the elite dual threat he once was. But his downfield touch returned at points in 2023, and he should have a decent market after his inevitable release, especially with Denver already paying his 2024 salary. The projection here is that Wilson signs a three-year, $90 million deal ($30 million per year) with the Steelers."

Cody made predictions for a total of 11 quarterbacks and you can check out every player on his list by reading his full story here

6. Extra points: Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and other playoff quarterbacks getting Week 18 off

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. 

  • Patrick Mahomes won't be playing in Week 18. The Chiefs QB will be spending Week 18 on the bench. With the Chiefs locked into the three seed, Andy Reid has decided to let Blaine Gabbert start on Sunday against the Chargers
  • Lamar Jackson also getting the week off. The Ravens QB won't be playing in Week 18, which is an interesting decision by John Harbaugh, because it means that Jackson will go three weeks without playing. With Jackson out, the Ravens will be turning to Tyler Huntley against the Steelers on Saturday. 
  • Rams and 49ers both sending their quarterbacks to the bench. The Rams actually have something to play for, but Sean McVay clearly doesn't care, because he has decided to rest Matthew Stafford this week. With Stafford out, the Rams will be turning to Carson Wentz, who will be going up against Sam Darnold. Darnold is starting in place of Brock Purdy, who is getting the week off. With Purdy out, that means he'll be going three weeks between games like Lamar Jackson. The Rams could clinch the sixth seed with a win, but if they lose, they could drop to the seventh spot. 
  • Joe Flacco also getting rested in Week 18. Joe Flacco spent the first 11 weeks of the season on his mom's couch, and now, he'll be getting another week of rest. The Browns have decided to give their 38-year-old quarterback a week off before the playoffs start. With Flacco out, the Browns will be starting Jeff Driskel, who will be facing his old team (Bengals) on Sunday. 
  • Vikings going back to Nick Mullens. The Vikings still have an outside chance to make the playoffs and with their season on the line, they'll be turning to Mullens, who will be making his third start of the year. If the Vikings want to make the playoffs, they have to beat the Lions and then also have the Seahawks, Packers and Buccaneers OR Saints all lose. 
  • Sam Howell to start for Commanders. Howell got benched last week, but then got to start anyway after Jacoby Brissett got injured in practice. This week, the Commanders are letting Howell start again and he'll be facing a Cowboys team that needs to win on Sunday to clinch the NFC East title. 
  • Tyreek Hill's house catches on fire. The Dolphins receiver had to leave practice on Wednesday after his $6.9 million house caught fire. Fortunately, no one was harmed. The fire was apparently started by a child who was playing with "matches or a lighter." If you want to see video of the fire, be sure to check out our full story here