Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

Since it's Thursday, that means there's actual football on tonight, but don't get too excited, because there's a 53% chance you might turn the game off before the first quarter is over. The Giants will be playing the 49ers tonight and nearly everyone is expecting this game to be a blowout. 

New York is currently a 10.5-point underdog, which is notable, because it makes them the first double-digit underdog in the NFL this season. 

So will the Giants actually lose by double digits? We'll be talking about that in today's newsletter plus, we'll also be breaking down all the drama that's happened in Chicago over the past 24 hours. 

As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. It's the perfect gift to get for your favorite football-loving friend at the start of the season. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here

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


For today's episode of the Pick Six Podcast, we brought on two former NFL players to break down all of the latest NFL news: Brady Quinn and Leger Douzable

They covered a multitude of topics during Thursday's show, which included doing a temperature check on Brandon Staley's hot seat. The Chargers coach already had a warm seat heading into the season and things have only gotten uglier with his team shooting out to an 0-2 start. Quinn thinks that Staley desperately needs a win in Minnesota on Sunday in a game where the losing team will fall to 0-3. 

"His seat is so hot, he can't sit down. If they lose this, you have to think [they might fire him before the season ends]," Quinn said. 

One of the biggest problems with Staley is his strength is supposed to be defense -- he's even calling the defensive plays -- and that side of the ball has been the weak link for the Chargers. 

"This is a defensive-minded coach," Douzable said. "That's your strong-suit and it's the defense that has sucked. In the past four losses, they've averaged 29 points per game and when you score 29 points, you're not supposed to lose. The defense has been awful."

Douzable spent eight years in the NFL playing on the defensive line, so he knows a little something about what it's like to play on an NFL defense. 

The Chargers have a Week 5 bye this year and if they head into that bye 0-4, it's hard to see Staley surviving the season (After playing the Vikings in Week 3, the Chargers play the Raiders in Week 4 before hitting the bye).

If you want to hear everything Quinn and Douzable had to say about Staley, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. The two also talked about whether the Browns are cursed, plus they made some predictions for tonight's game between the 49ers and Giants. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Giants at 49ers

The NFL clearly has a sense of humor, because that's the only way to explain why the league keeps putting Daniel Jones in prime time. The Giants QB has a 1-10 career record in night games, which is the worst record in NFL history for any QB with more than 10 starts. The Giants have lost those 10 games by an average of 12.4 points and the oddsmakers are clearly expecting another blowout with the 49ers currently favored by double digits (-10.5)

My good buddy Jared Dubin put together CBS Sports' deep-dive preview for this game, and here's how he sees the things playing out: 

  • Why the Giants can win: If the Giants are going to pull off the upset, they're going to need a miracle game from Daniel Jones. The Giants QB won't have Saquon Barkley and he'll be playing behind a suspect offensive line, but he will have Darren Waller and several other receiving targets -- like Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, and Sterling Shepard -- who could have some success getting open. If Jones can put up 300 yards between running and passing, the Giants might have a puncher's chance. 
  • Why the 49ers can win: The 49ers offense has been one of the best in the NFL through two weeks, and now, it gets to go up against a Giants defense that has ZERO sacks this season and hasn't forced a single turnover. Basically, the 49ers should be able to move the ball with ease against the Giants. Also, the 49ers defense -- with stars like Fred Warner and Nick Bosa -- should be able to manhandle the Giants offensive line. The 49ers are more talented at nearly every position and it would be a huge surprise if they lost. 

You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.

If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview. 

  • ONE PROP Tyler LIKES: Deebo Samuel OVER 4.5 receptions (-123): "With Brandon Aiyuk's status in question, don't be surprised if Samuel sees an uptick in targets. Even if Aiyuk plays, he's likely not 100% and Samuel has already gone over this total in each of his first two games and has 16 targets over that stretch (8 targets per game)." 
  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Jake Moody OVER 2.5 extra points (-145): I've been picking a kicker prop in every weekday primetime game this season, and after five games, my record is up to 5-0. If I somehow keep up this success, there's a 51% chance this will end with me personally bankrupting every sportsbook in America. OK, now that I've jinxed myself, I'm taking the OVER on this PAT prop because it's a number that 49ers kickers have been regularly hitting. Robbie Gould went over this number in the 49ers' final six games of the 2022 season and if you combine that with the fact that Moody has gone over this number in his first two games, that means the OVER has hit here in EIGHT straight regular-season games dating back to last season. That's good enough for me to go with it.  

You can check out Sullivan's full gambling preview by clicking here. Finally, if you're wondering who we're picking, here's who we have tonight: 

Dubin's pick: 49ers 27-13 over Giants
Sullivan's pick: 49ers 33-20 over Giants
My pick: 49ers 31-17 over Giants

Over on our CBS Sports picks page, all eight of us are taking the 49ers to win, but not everyone is expecting them to cover. You can see our picks for this game, along with all of our Week 3 picks, here

3. Chaos in Chicago: Defensive coordinator resigns, plus Justin Fields blames struggles on coaching staff

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I'm not sure what rock bottom is in the NFL, but I think the Bears might have actually hit it on Wednesday.

Here's a breakdown of all the drama that went down in Chicago:   

  • Defensive coordinator resigns. In a total stunner, Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams has decided to step down from his position. Williams gave this explanation after the team announced his departure, "I am taking a step back to take care of my health and family. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Chicago Bears, a storied NFL franchise with a rich history."  
  • Rumors fly about his departure. There were some wild rumors on Twitter about Williams' resignation, including one that he may have done something illegal and that the Bears' practice facility got raided by the FBI. The rumors were so rampant that the team actually had to issue a statement saying that there was no raid or police presence at Halas Hall. 

The resignation of Williams stole the spotlight from Justin Fields, who had it earlier in the day after he made some interesting comments about why the Bears are struggling on offense this year. 

  • Fields seemed to blame the coaching staff for his struggles. "You know, could be coaching I think," Fields said to reporters on Wednesday. "At the end of their day, they are doing their job when they are giving me what to look at, but at the end of the day, I can't be thinking about that when the game comes."
  • Fields implied there might be too many people trying to help him. "It's just that when you're fed a lot of information at a point and time and when you're trying to think about that info when you're playing, it doesn't let you play like yourself," Fields said. "You're trying to process so much information to where it's like, you know, if I just simplify my mind."
  • Fields walked back his comments. A few hours after his initial comments, Fields spoke to the media again and downplayed his earlier comments. "I'm not blaming anything on the coaches," Fields said. I'm never going to blame anything on coaches, never going to blame anything on my teammates. I will take every -- whatever happens in a game -- I will take all the blame."

Based on how things are going in Chicago, it seems like either Fields or coach Matt Eberflus won't be there next season ... or both. It's possible they're both gone.   

4. Rams and Vikings make trade: Cam Akers headed to Minnesota

The bizarre relationship between Cam Akers and the Rams is finally over. The running back was benched in Week 1 and then put on the trade block almost immediately after that. The Rams finally found a trade partner on Wednesday in the form of the Minnesota Vikings. 

Here's a look at the trade details: 

  • Vikings receive: Cam Akers, 2027 conditional seventh-round pick
  • Rams receive: 2026 conditional sixth-round pick

This deal makes a lot of sense for the Vikings and that's mostly because they've had the worst rushing attack in the NFL through the first two weeks. Through the first two games, the Vikings have just 69 rushing yards, which is the fewest by any NFL team through two games since 2019. Now, they'll be adding Akers, who had three straight games where he went over 100 yards to close out the 2022 season.  


If you read this newsletter regularly, then you know that we love to hand out grades, so we're going to give out some grades for this trade. 

Bryan DeArdo graded each team and here's what he came up with:

  • Vikings grade: B. "Give credit to the Vikings for actively trying to improve their situation at running back. It was clear after two weeks that they needed something to kickstart their ground game, and in Akers the Vikings have a former second-round pick who is familiar with coach Kevin O'Connell, who was the Rams' offensive coordinator during Akers' first two seasons in Los Angeles."
  • Rams grade: C. "It wasn't like Akers was going to be a key part of the offense, but the fact that the Rams barely got anything in return for Akers isn't great, especially given the fact that they reportedly spoke with multiple teams about him. That being said, the Rams really had no leverage in this situation. They wanted to trade Akers, other teams knew this and likely weren't willing to give up much."

You can check out Bryan's full explanation for each grade by clicking here

5. Will Anderson Jr. talks to CBS Sports: Texans rookie talks about his first sack and why he's motivated

As the first defensive player selected in this year's NFL Draft, Will Anderson came into the season with a lot of hype, and so far, he's quietly living up to that with one sack and three QB hits through two weeks. Before starting his preparations for Houston's game against the Jaguars this week, Anderson sat down with Bryan DeArdo for an interview. 

Here's a look at some key things that Anderson had to say. 

  • What was it like getting his first sack? The first sack of his NFL career came on a former NFL MVP (Lamar Jackson) in Week 1. "It was a surreal moment," Anderson said of the sack. "I had missed him like three times that game, and my coaches were like, 'Just keep rushing. Just keep rushing. ... 'It was crazy. When I sacked him, I was so hyped that I really didn't even know that I had sacked him. I wasn't surprised by it because I had prepared and practiced the right way; I have good practice habits."
  • What's it like going from the best team in college to one of the worst teams in the NFL? "It's been fun. For me, I'm all about growth and building and creating something new and on the up and coming of making history. That's what I'm all about. Just to be a part of a franchise like this, a great group of guys, a great coaching staff. It's really exciting. Nobody said that it was going to be easy. … We have to keep getting better and keep building that foundation. ... I'm really excited about it."
  • What are his thoughts on C.J. Stroud? "C.J.'s a phenomenal athlete. He comes to work and works hard every day. He's always one of the first people in the building and one of the last people to leave. ... I think the way he can operate an offense, get those guys going, and read different defenses so quick, it's really special. I'm really excited for him and his future."

To read the full interview with Anderson, be sure to click here.

6. Extra points: Saints starter suspended

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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. 

  • Marcus Maye suspended for three games. The Saints safety has been hit with a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. This means that Maye will miss games against the Packers (Week 3), Buccaneers (Week 4) and Patriots (Week 5). 
  • Bengals still unsure about Joe Burrow's status. The Bengals QB is dealing with a calf injury that could cause him to miss Monday's game against the Rams. Zac Taylor sounded hopeful that Burrow would be able to play, but didn't guarantee anything during an interview with Rich Eisnen. "It's been an encouraging early part of the week," Taylor said Wednesday. "I've learned enough in my five years here to not assume anything. We'll just take it day to day with him. He's been a little sore early in the week, but we'll see how it goes."
  • Former Chiefs starter turned doctor retires from NFLLaurent Duvernay-Tardif, who got his medical degree while simultaneously playing in the NFL, has decided to retire after nine seasons. Duvernay-Tardif spent five years as a starter on the Chiefs offensive line and even won a Super Bowl with Kansas City in 2019. 
  • Bills linebacker retires. The NFL actually got hit with two retirements today with veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey also calling it quits, according to Kirksey spent nine years in the NFL with the majority of his career coming with the Browns (2014-19). Kirksey started 17 games for the Texans last season but got cut in the offseason. Kirksey had signed with the Bills practice squad before making the decision to retire. 
  • Rookie quarterbacks banged up heading into Week 3. It's been a rough week for rookie quarterbacks. Bryce Young didn't practice on Wednesday and he won't be practicing Thursday due to an ankle injury, so there's at least an outside chance that he could miss Carolina's Week 3 game against the Seahawks (Andy Dalton would start if Young can't go). In Indianapolis, Anthony Richardson is still in concussion protocol, which means he could also miss Week 3. If he can't go, then the Colts will turn to Gardner Minshew for Sunday's game against Baltimore. 
  • Chandler Jones placed on NFI list. The Raiders saga with Jones took another twist this week with the team placing him on the Non-Football Injury list. As long as he's on that list, the Raiders don't have to pay him. Jones missed the team's first two games due to a bizarre set of circumstances that still hasn't been fully explained. The team says he's been placed on the NFI list due to a personal matter. You can check out all the details here
  • Ravens sign Kenyan Drake. With Justice Hill battling a possible injury, the Ravens added some insurance on Wednesday by signing Drake to their practice squad. Drake spent the 2022 season with the Ravens, so he's already familiar with how things work in Baltimore.