NFL: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs

Happy midweek, everyone! Spring workouts are underway around the NFL, and that means John Breech is taking the day to scour the internet for additional clips of Joe Burrow slinging the rock in Cincinnati. So you've got me, Cody Benjamin, here to deliver all the latest from around the league.

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 news on future NFL Draft sites, a big change to game-day protocol, and much more:

1. Projecting AFC South win totals: Beware the Texans

C.J. Stroud USATSI

In lieu of the "Pick Six NFL Podcast," which is on a break (find the full catalog of episodes right here), host Will Brinson has been diving into projected win totals for every NFL division, offering his own best bets for the 2024 season. Up next: the AFC South, where the Houston Texans are frequently tabbed potential Super Bowl contenders but could warrant more caution.

Let's start with Houston's 2023 season, which is primarily highlighted by a historic rookie performance out of C.J. Stroud. The Texans were one of the best stories of the season, but they also went 7-3 in one-score games and outperformed their point differential by almost a full game. This team had a losing record in November after falling to the Panthers (!). Like the 2022 Jaguars, they got white hot down the stretch against some questionable teams and won the division before beating Joe Flacco in a playoff game. I think Stroud's incredible and DeMeco Ryans has serious staying power.

(So) I'm bullish on the Texans but not to the extent of the market: Stroud is 12-1 to win MVP and this is a really steep win total for a team that now draws a first-place schedule with the ChiefsCowboys and Ravens notably on the docket down the stretch. At this point in the offseason I'd lean toward the under with the plus money knowing the Texans could win nine games, the division and I'd still cash without laying any juice.

Lean: Under 9.5 (+120)

2. NFL to test new first-down measuring system

It's not quite goodbye, but it soon could be. CBS Sports lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones reports the NFL intends to test an optical tracking system for line-to-gain (first-down) rulings starting this year, specifically in the 2024 preseason. After a "full preseason trial," it's possible the tracking system -- which utilizes cameras and specific markers on footballs -- will be implemented on a full-time basis for the regular season, with the traditional chain crews standing by as backups and serving as a "reference point for coaches, players and fans" on the sidelines.

3. Offensive infrastructure ratings: Chiefs remain No. 1

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes USATSI

Jared Dubin has a weighted system to determine the NFL offenses with the best setup for success, factoring in everything from quarterback talent to play-caller backgrounds. And now he's rolled out his 2024 rankings, sorting all 32 teams into tiers according to their proven assets. Unsurprisingly, the reigning Super Bowl champions come in atop the list, but they're joined by two other clubs in the top tier: the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers.

Other than San Francisco's offensive line, each of these three teams has a (top) rating ... in every category. We have the best quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) and play-callers (Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan) in the league right here, as well as its best offensive line (Detroit) and best skill-position group (Christian McCaffreyGeorge KittleDeebo SamuelBrandon Aiyuk, et al). Throw in Amon-Ra St. BrownSam LaPortaDavid MontgomeryJahmyr GibbsJared Goff and Ben Johnson in Detroit, plus Brock Purdy in San Francisco and Travis KelceRashee RiceMarquise BrownXavier Worthy and Isiah Pacheco in Kansas City, and it seems rather clear that this trio of teams is ahead of the pack. And the Chiefs, of course, are at the top of the entire pyramid. That's what having the best player in the league and a perfect synergy with one of the best offensive minds of all time will do for you.

4. Pittsburgh awarded 2026 NFL Draft

A month after Detroit set records for attendance by hosting the 2024 NFL Draft, we already have our next two draft hosts on the docket: Green Bay is confirmed for 2025, and the NFL officially awarded Pittsburgh the 2026 draft. Steel City had been vying to host the event in either 2026 or 2027, with plans to put the showcase near Acrisure Stadium and throughout downtown Pittsburgh. This marks the first time Pittsburgh will host the draft in nearly 80 years, with the city last serving the role back in 1947.

5. NFL eyeing Australia game, could go Down Under in 2025

Roger Goodell Getty Images

The NFL will be traveling overseas multiple times in 2024, with games slated for Germany, London and, for the first time ever, South America. But another first could occur as soon as 2025. Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's head of international affairs, revealed this week that Australia is under consideration as a future regular-season host. His comments came amid reports from Melbourne that the NFL would likely be scheduling at least one game Down Under in either 2025 or 2026, with the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a potential site.

6. Extra points: Rodgers shines, Fields eyeing QB1 duties

Hungry for more headlines? We've got you covered: