JACKSONVILLE -- Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I'm writing to you today from the lobby of my hotel in Jacksonville where there are plenty of Jaguars and Bengals fans still floating around. The Jaguars fans keep checking their phones in hopes of getting the latest updates on Trevor Lawrence's injury while the Bengals fans are walking around in a total daze. I'm guessing they're still shocked that Jake Browning was somehow able to lead the Bengals to one of the biggest upsets of the NFL season.
The Bengals' 34-31 win could end up having massive ramifications on the AFC playoff race, and that's mostly because the Jaguars could be missing Lawrence for a period of time. We'll take a look at the latest details on his injury, plus we'll be breaking down Cincinnati's win and going over Pete Prisco's latest power rankings.
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. All right, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Early bets for Week 14
With Week 13 officially in the books, we decided to get an early jump on Week 14 by revealing some of our best bets for the upcoming week of NFL action.
During today's episode, Katie Mox and Will Brinson were joined by SportsLine gambling gurus Emory Hunt and Alex Selesnick.
The crew covered several of their favorite early bets for Week 14, and we're going to look at a couple of those below.
- Hunt: Steelers (-6) to cover against the Patriots. In a game that will , Hunt is comfortable taking the Steelers to cover. "I'll lay the six points here with Pittsburgh. There's no one on that quarterback depth chart with New England who can deal with the pressure they're going to see (from the Steelers defense). This is going to be an ugly day for New England. They may get shut out again."
- Brinson: Chiefs (-3) to cover against Bills. The Chiefs have won 10 straight games after a loss, which is the longest active streak in the NFL, and Brinson thinks the streak will continue Sunday. "I like the Chiefs in this spot. They're coming off an embarrassing loss in prime time (to the Packers). You get the Bills, you need to find a way to win and Buffalo's defense is so decimated by injury."
If you want to hear the rest of the props and early best bets for Week 14, you can do that by listening to the show here. You can also watch today's show on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Bengals stun Jaguars: Breaking down the game, plus the latest details on Trevor Lawrence's injury
The Bengals pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the season Monday night with a wild 34-31 win over the Jaguars in overtime. It was Cincinnati's first road win in a Monday game since 1990, and it made the Bengals only the second team this year to win as a double-digit underdog. (The Cardinals were the other when they beat the Cowboys back in Week 3.)
This is where we usually hand out grades, but there's a lot to go over here, so we're going to break down the game and take a look at the latest on Lawrence's injury instead:
- Jake Browning turns into Joe Burrow. In just his second career start, Browning had one of the most impressive games of the season by ANY quarterback. Browning completed 86.7% of his passes for 352 yards, making him just the 10th QB in NFL history with a completion percentage of at least 85% while also throwing for at least 350 yards in a game. (You can see the full list here of quarterbacks who have pulled that off.) Browning's completion percentage was the third-highest in Bengals franchise history and the highest ever for any QB making his first or second career start. Browning was so good that the Bengals only punted once in the game. His biggest highlight was a 76-yard TD pass to Ja'Marr Chase in the second half that gave the Bengals a 21-14 lead (you can see the play here). With Browning running the show, the Bengals piled up a SEASON-HIGH 491 yards.
- Ja'Marr Chase to the rescue. One reason Browning was so good Monday was because Chase caught everything thrown his way. The aforementioned 76-yard TD was one of 11 receptions Chase had on the night for a total of 149 yards. Although the long TD was definitely a big play, Chase also came up clutch in overtime with two catches for 25 yards that help set up Evan McPherson's game-winning field goal. (Chase made a spectacular 17-yard catch in OT that you can see here.) Chase now has six career games with at least with 10 receptions, 100 yards and a receiving touchdown, which is the most by any player in NFL history through their first three seasons.
- Bengals might have exposed the Jaguars defense. Jaguars fans probably weren't completely surprised to see Browning have a huge game, and that's because the Jags defense has been one of the worst in the NFL at stopping the pass. Following Monday's game, the Jags are now surrendering an average of 261.7 yards per game through the air, which ranks 30th in the NFL. For Jacksonville, the biggest surprise in this game might have been the fact that it couldn't stop the run. The Bengals went into Monday with the NFL's WORST rushing attack -- they were barely averaging 75 yards per game -- but Cincinnati steamrolled the Jags for 156 yards. The Bengals averaged 5.03 yards per carry, and because the run game was working so well, the Jags had to respect it, which opened things up for Browning and the passing attack. The Jags may have been caught off-guard by a Bengals rushing attack that's done almost nothing all season. In Browning's first start last week, the Bengals only ran the ball 11 times; on Monday night, they flipped their game plan and ended up running the ball 31 times.
Although the Jags' defense could end up being a problem for them down the stretch, the bigger issue for Jacksonville is the health of Lawrence. Here's.
- Lawrence was injured by friendly fire. Lawrence injured his ankle with just under six minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, and the injury happened after a teammate accidentally stepped on his ankle. After Lawrence went down, he tried to get up, but then he immediately fell to the ground again. Once he realized he couldn't put any pressure on the ankle, he took off his helmet and slammed it to the ground, which caused an audible gasp from the crowd (you can see the full play here). Lawrence was having an impressive game before his injury, going 22 of 29 for 258 yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars had driven down to Cincinnati's 23-yard line before Lawrence's injury took place.
- Lawrence diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain. The good news for the Jags is that Lawrence did NOT break his ankle, but the bad news is that he's still dealing with a high-ankle sprain, according to head coach Doug Pederson. "Everything's stable and looks good," said Pederson, who did not rule out Lawrence for Sunday's game against the Browns. Jacksonville will see how its franchise QB progresses throughout the week.
- C.J. Beathard would start if Lawrence is out. If Lawrence can't go, that means that Beathard would be in line to make his first start since 2020. The downside for Beathard is that the Jaguars have a brutal schedule coming up. Over the next two weeks, they'll be facing two of the top defenses in the NFL (Browns in Week 14, Ravens in Week 15). Beathard actually held his own on Monday, going 9 of 10 for 63 yards, but things won't be as easy when his opponent has an entire week to prepare for him.
If you want to check out our full takeaways from the game, be sure to click here.
3. Prisco's power rankings heading into Week 14
With that in mind, let's check out the top five this week:
- 49ers (up three spots from last week)
- Eagles (down one spot from last week)
- Cowboys (down one spot from last week)
- Dolphins (up one spot from last week)
- Ravens (up one spot from last week)
Dropped out: Chiefs
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 Prisco's last power rankings:
- The biggest jump this week went to the Packers. With Jordan Love suddenly looking like one of the best quarterbacks in football, Prisco decided to move the Packers up six spots. Following its win over Kansas City, Green Bay made the jump from 19th to 13th.
- In the AFC, the biggest jump went to the Chargers, who pulled off their first shutout in nearly 10 years when they beat the Patriots, 6-0, on Sunday, Sure, it was just the Patriots, but a shutout is a shutout and Prisco rewarded them for their big win by moving them up three spots, from 25th to 22nd.
- The biggest drop this week went to Pittsburgh. After suffering one of the most stunning losses of Week 13 to the Cardinals, Prisco dropped Mike Tomlin's team down NINE spots, from ninth to 18th.
- Now, let's talk about the worst team in the NFL. The Panthers have been ranked 32nd for the past few weeks, and nothing will be changing this week. Carolina is still ranked dead last, but I will point out that the Patriots are inching closer toward possibly stealing their spot at the bottom.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's Week 14 power rankings, can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you
If you love when we rank things, we actually have more rankings for you today. We ranked every AFC playoff contender, which you can see here. And if you're a fan of an NFC team, don't worry, we didn't leave you guys out. We.
4. Breech's Week 14 picks: Cowboys beat Eagles, Bills upset Chiefs
It's Tuesday, which can only mean one thing around these parts: It's time for my weekly picks.
As most of you know at this point, this is the part of the newsletter where I give you three picks and then we cross our fingers and hope all three picks are right. I went 11-1-1 against the spread last week, so let's just assume that all of my picks are going to be right this week.
Here are three of my picks for Week 14.
- New England (2-10) at Pittsburgh (7-5) -- Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Amazon): Both of these teams are so bad on offense that I won't be surprised if this game ends in a 0-0 tie. As a matter of fact, I will be rooting for a 0-0 tie. I don't think it will happen, but look, if I'm going to be forced to watch this game, I need something to root for. PICK: Steelers 13-10 over Patriots.
- Jacksonville (8-4) at Cleveland (7-5) -- Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS): Since the start of the 2018 season, the Jaguars are 1-12 in any game where the kickoff temperature is 45 degrees or below. The kickoff temperature is expected to be 45 on Sunday. Also, the Jaguars have faced two defenses this year ranked in the top five and averaged SIX points per game in those contests, and that was WITH Trevor Lawrence. They might not have Lawrence in this game. PICK: Browns 20-13 over Jaguars.
- Buffalo (6-6) at Kansas City (8-4) -- Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS): This truly feels like a coin-flip game and I'm rolling with the Bills for two reasons: First, they're going to be desperate. At 6-6, they can't really afford any more losses if they want to stay in the AFC playoff race. Second, the Bills will be coming off a bye, which I think is a huge advantage in a game like this, especially when you consider that the Chiefs had to play the Sunday night game in Week 13. PICK: Bills 30-27 over Chiefs
To check out the rest of my picks for Week 14,.
5. NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14
With only five weeks left to play in the NFL season, now seems like a good time to break down the playoff picture.
Here's a look at the top-seven teams from each conference:
1. Dolphins (AFC East leader, 9-3)
2. Ravens (AFC North leader, 9-3)
3. Chiefs (AFC West leader, 8-4)
4. Jaguars (AFC South leader, 8-4)
5. Steelers (7-5)
6. Browns (7-5)
7. Colts (7-5)
First teams out: Texans (7-5), Broncos (6-6), Bengals (6-6)
The AFC playoff race was flipped upside down Monday night. If the Jaguars had won, they would have been the top seed in the AFC heading into Week 14, but now, they're sitting at 8-4 and clinging to just a one-game lead in the AFC South. When it comes to the No. 1 seed, there's a very good chance it could be decided Week 17 when the Ravens host the Dolphins. The Bengals also were able to sneak back into the playoff picture with their win. They now face the Colts in Week 14 in a game that suddenly has huge playoff implications.
1. Eagles (NFC East leader, 10-2)
2. 49ers (NFC West leader, 9-3)
3. Lions (NFC North leader, 9-3)
4. Falcons (NFC South leader, 6-6)
5. Cowboys (9-3)
6. Vikings (6-6)
7. Packers (6-6)
First teams out: Rams (6-6), Seahawks (6-6), Buccaneers (5-7)
With Seattle falling apart, the NFC wild-card picture is looking very different heading into Week 14. The Seahawks, who have lost three in a row, are now on the outside looking in heading into Week 14. The biggest winner of the Seattle's meltdown is the Packers, who are now in the seventh spot. If I had to pick the three wild-card teams right now, I'd say the NFC East second-place team plus the Packers and Rams. The Cowboys could take over first place in the NFC East this week with a win over the Eagles, and if that happens, it would open the door for the 49ers to steal the one seed.
If you want a full look at the playoff standings,.
6. Extra points: Eagles land Shaq Leonard
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.
- Shaq Leonard set to sign with Eagles. The former Colts linebacker is officially headed to Philadelphia. The three-time Pro Bowler was deciding between the Eagles and Cowboys, and after taking the weekend to think about it, he chose Philly. It's a huge addition for an Eagles defense that was in serious need of some depth at linebacker. You .
- Zach Wilson apparently hesitant to start again for the Jets. The Jets QB situation has officially gone from bad to crazy. According to The Athletic, the Jets want to give the starting job back to Zach Wilson, but he doesn't sound too interested in taking the job back. You .
- Titans fire their special teams coach. The Titans had a nightmare special teams performance Sunday, and they responded to Craig Aukerman on Monday. During their overtime loss to the Colts, the Titans had TWO of their punts blocked in the second half, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Titans punter Ryan Stonehouse was hit so hard on the second blocked punt that he ended up suffering a season-ending knee injury.
- Commanders unlikely to make in-season firing. Ron Rivera might eventually get fired by the Commanders, but it won't happen until after the season. According to PFT, the team's new ownership group believes that Rivera has earned the right to finish the year, but after that, all bets are off.