Happy midweek, everyone! John Breech is still busy basking in Jake Browning's prime-time win for the Bengals, so he's off today. In the meantime, you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest from around the NFL.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
We've got Prisco's Week 14 picks, backup quarterback grades, key injury updates and much more:
1. Today's show: Debating Prisco's Power Rankings
Pete Prisco joined Will Brinson on the latest "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to dissect and debate Prisco's latest Power Rankings, where the 49ers now reign supreme, the Chiefs are out of the top five and the Packers are surging.
- Even after Monday's upset of the Jaguars, Prisco isn't buying the Bengals, who sit at No. 20 in his latest rankings, and Brinson agrees: "They're gonna need to score 30 points a game with Jake Browning," he argued, to offset their defense.
- Why are the Packers approaching the top 10 in the Power Rankings? "Everybody's growing together," Prisco said, including quarterback Jordan Love. "That team is dangerous. And they will be a playoff team. Their schedule's a joke."
- Which 6-6 team has the talent to get out of the logjam of .500 teams? Prisco likes the Bills, calling them a "team that nobody wants in the postseason." He believes they're already better than the Browns, Colts and Steelers in the playoff race.
Catch the full episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Prisco's Picks: Cowboys get revenge, Chiefs edge Bills
Senior columnist Pete Prisco is 116-77 making straight-up picks this year. Now he's back looking to improve that record with. Here are a couple of his most notable projections:
- Browns 20, Jaguars 14: The Jaguars will likely start C.J. Beathard for the injured Trevor Lawrence, while Joe Flacco could start again for the Browns. The Cleveland defense is the better of the two, which will really challenge the Jacksonville offense. This will be a low-scoring game, but Cleveland will win it late.
- Chiefs 34, Bills 33: The Bills are coming off the bye, while the Chiefs are coming off a tough loss to the Packers on the road. The Bills need this in the worst way for their playoff hopes, while the Chiefs need it for seeding. This will be a high-scoring game, which will be won by the Chiefs late. It will be a classic.
- Cowboys 34, Eagles 30: This is the game of the week. The Eagles have big defensive issues, which you don't want going against this high-flying Dallas offense. The Cowboys didn't look good on defense against Seattle, either. The Eagles won the earlier meeting, but this time the Cowboys get revenge in a high-scoring game.
3. Grading emergency QBs: Which backups are thriving?
Believe it or not, up to a dozen different teams could be relying on backup signal-callers when Week 14 gets underway, mostly due to injury. So which clubs are actually in good hands? Wecurrently replacing injured starters, and these three topped the assessment:
- Jake Browning (Bengals): The former undrafted Vikings prospect "lit the world on fire" by dicing up the Jaguars for an overtime upset in prime time to close Week 13, showcasing perfect touch on crunch-time shots to Ja'Marr Chase. He may have physical limitations, but through two starts in place of Joe Burrow, he's completing 80% of his passes and averaging well over 8 yards per throw. That's called seeing the field, and it just might keep the Bengals in the mix for a wild card. Grade: A
- Tommy DeVito (Giants): The undrafted Illinois product was never supposed to see the field, spending the first two months of his rookie season on the practice squad. Then Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor went down, and he inexplicably brought some pizzaz back to the offense. While his best work has come against bad teams, he's mostly controlled the ball, scoring eight TDs and throwing just three picks across five games to keep Taylor on the bench and give Giants fans a fun story. Grade: B-
- Gardner Minshew (Colts): The former Jaguars fan favorite is best served coming off the bench, struggling with untimely giveaways. He has as many turnovers (12) as games played while relieving dynamic rookie Anthony Richardson. And yet, like Tommy DeVito in New York, his sheer charisma has helped keep an otherwise overlooked team in the hunt. Now 5-3 as a starter this year, he's got just enough downfield touch and freestyling mobility to play spoiler. Grade: B-
4. Injury report: Lawrence pushing to play, Kirk out 6-8 weeks
Here's the latest on the medical front from around the NFL:
- : The QB has a high-ankle sprain, but is pushing to play Sunday
- : The Jags' No. 1 wideout could be out anywhere between six and eight weeks
- Chargers designate Joshua Palmer to return: The WR has 21 days to be activated to the game-day roster
- : The DT, who has five sacks on the year, will miss at least four games
5. Playoff projections: Ravens swipe No. 1 seed, Packers in
Every week, John Breech compiles the latest SportsLine simulations to. Heading into Week 14, the computers anticipate a big shift in the standings down the stretch, with the Ravens now projected atop the AFC, the Seahawks booted from the NFC wild-card picture in favor of the Packers, and more.
Why the Ravens as the No. 1 seed? The Ravens (9-3) didn't even play a game in Week 13, but they were still one of the biggest winners and that's because of Kansas City's surprise loss to the Packers. The computer actually thinks that the top seed will go to the winner of Dolphins-Ravens in Week 17, and right now, the Ravens are being given the edge there.
What's behind the Packers' surge? No team helped itself in Week 13 more than the Green Bay Packers. Heading into the week, the Packers had a 51.7% chance of making the playoffs, but after their win over Kansas City, the computer is now giving them a 70.1% chance of getting into the postseason. Apparently, the computer seems to love Jordan Love.
6. Extra Points: Jets drama, QB rankings, Nickelodeon games
Hungry for more headlines? We've got you covered:
- : The QB circus never stops in New York
- : Brock Purdy is our new No. 1, but Jordan Love is also climbing the ranks
- : The Eagles and 49ers can secure tickets to the postseason
- : SpongeBob is coming to the booth
- : The longtime Packers kicker had been unsigned since the offseason
- : The Super Bowl-winning defensive back provides secondary depth