Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

For everyone hoping that I'd be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl this year, I have some bad news: The NFL has decided to go in another direction. I'm guessing it's because they saw me do karaoke once, which led them to quickly realize that I don't have a single shred of singing talent. Although I won't be singing the national anthem, the NFL revealed today who will be and we'll be covering that in today's newsletter. 

We'll also be taking a look at why the Cowboys decided to keep Mike McCarthy plus, we'll be ranking the divisional playoff games from most watchable to least watchable. 

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

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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: Brady Quinn and Leger Douzable.

Host Ryan Wilson joined them during Thursday's show, and the three of them had an interesting conversation about how important experience is for a quarterback in the playoffs. On one hand, you have Patrick Mahomes, who has more playoff wins (12) than every other quarterback in the divisional round combined (11).

On the other hand, you also have two quarterbacks with almost zero playoff experience as both C.J. Stroud and Jordan Love both made their first career postseason start last week. 

Quinn said it can help to be a veteran quarterback in this situation, because you're almost certainly going to be playing with more desperation, knowing how difficult it is to get to the divisional round. 

"There is wisdom in 'Hey, we've been here before. We know how to prepare ourselves, prepare our body, we know how to make adjustments in-game,' which is always a huge piece of how things operate once you get to the playoffs where things speed up," Quinn said. "For guys like Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, they understand how hard it is to this point."

That being said, Quinn also pointed out that Love and Stroud will have less pressure on them this week, which can be good thing for a quarterback. 

"It's nice to be Jordan Love and C.J. Stroud to be able to just go out there and say, 'No one is expecting us to win, no one is expecting us to come close. I can go out there and play free,'" Quinn said. 

If you want to hear Quinn's full thoughts on the situation, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. The guys also broke down why it can be tough to go from a coordinating job to a head-coaching job in the NFL. If you prefer your podcasts in video form, you can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Why the Cowboys decided to keep Mike McCarthy

After taking 72 hours to think things over, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has decided to bring back Mike McCarthy for another season. Although McCarthy led the Cowboys to a division title this year, there had been some serious speculation about his future because of his inability to win in the playoffs. The Cowboys got blasted by the Packers 48-32 on Sunday, which dropped McCarthy's postseason record to 1-3 in Dallas. 

If you're wondering why the Cowboys are keeping McCarthy, who has a 42-25 record in Dallas, Jones gave an explanation on Wednesday night. 

  • Jones thinks the Cowboys are close. "I believe this team is very close and capable of achieving our ultimate goals and the best step forward for us will be with Mike McCarthy as our head coach. There is great benefit to continuing the team's progress under Mike's leadership as our head coach."
  • McCarthy has already proven he can win in Dallas. "Mike has the highest regular-season winning percentage of any head coach in Cowboys history and we will dedicate ourselves, in partnership with him, to translating that into reaching our post season goals. Certainly, Mike's career has demonstrated postseason success at a high level, and we have great confidence that can continue."
  • You can't pin the Packers loss solely on McCarthy. "Our loss on Sunday is shared by everyone here, not just Coach McCarthy. Our players. Our coaches. Our front office. Myself. There is accountability for our results. I am accountable for our results. The lens we use to view and evaluate Coach McCarthy is holistic. While we're all disappointed with the result on Sunday and with our playoff record, I am 100 percent supportive of him as our head coach and ability to reach our goals."

So does Jones' explanation actually make sense? Our guy in Dallas, Garrett Podell, was at nearly every Cowboys practice this season and he made a list of three reasons why it made sense to keep McCarthy. 

1. Dak Prescott has shown some major growth under McCarthy. 
2. He's been consistently good in the regular season. 
3. The Cowboys had bad injury luck in 2023. 

Garret also came up with three reasons why bringing McCarthy back might end up being a bad idea and you can check those out here. McCarthy spoke with the media on Thursday and during that press conference, McCarthy said that he knows "how to win" and that he'll "get over that [playoff] threshold." 

"I have total confidence in that," McCarthy said. 

The Cowboys coach met with Jones at some point this week in a meeting that went on for more than three hours. 

McCarthy and Dak are now tied together at the hip. As things currently stand, both guys have a contract that expires after the 2024 season and if the Cowboys don't get it done next season, Jones could possibly look to turn the page on both of them. 

3. Ranking the eight remaining playoff quarterbacks

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As we head into the divisional round, Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback left in the playoffs who already has a Super Bowl ring, but does that make him the best QB who will be playing this weekend?  

Cody Benjamin decided to rank all eight quarterbacks who will be playing in the divisional round and Mahomes is not at the top of his list. Let's take a look at Cody's ranking: 

1. Josh Allen
2. Patrick Mahomes
3. Lamar Jackson
4. Brock Purdy
5. C.J. Stroud
6. Jordan Love
7. Jared Goff
8. Baker Mayfield

One interesting thing about this list is that the top two quarterbacks are playing each other, which means one of them will be going home this weekend. Also, with Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield also facing off, that means one of the bottom two quarterbacks will be playing in the NFC Championship. 

If you want to see how Cody came up with his rankings, you can check out his full story by clicking here. If you want to argue with Cody about his list on Twitter, then feel free to click here

4. Divisional viewing guide: Ranking the four playoff games from most watchable to least watchable

We've already ranked every quarterback in the divisional round today, and now, we're going to rank every game in the divisional round by how watchable it is. 

Tyler Sullivan handled the rankings, and here's what he came up with: 

  • 1. Chiefs at Bills, 6:30 p.m. ET, Sunday (CBS): "I mean, there's no way this game wasn't going to be No. 1. Anytime Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen square off against one another, it's a must-see event."
  • 2. Packers at 49ers, 8:15 p.m. ET, Saturday (Fox): "The Niners have been the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl for most of the second half of the season, so seeing what they look like coming out of the bye week will also be fascinating. Of course, there's also the coaching matchup that will loom large in this game. When 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington from 2010-2013, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was his quarterbacks coach. They also had that same dynamic when they were in Atlanta with the Falcons from 2015-2016, so they have plenty of history with one another."
  • 3. Texans at Ravens, 4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday (ABC/ESPN): "This is an 'A+' quarterback matchup. On one side you have the presumptive league MVP in Lamar Jackson while C.J. Stroud, the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite, stands on the other. Both have been box-office hits this season, and I'm fascinated to see how Stroud -- who threw for three touchdowns against the Browns last week -- can manage against this stout Baltimore defense."
  • 4. Buccaneers at Lions, 3 p.m. ET, Saturday (NBC): "Truth be told, there really is no bad game in this divisional round slate. So while Buccaneers-Lions may sit at the bottom of these rankings, it should be a fantastic game to watch unfold. Detroit is fresh off its first playoff victory since 1991 and will be hosting its second straight home playoff game after not having one for three decades."

If you want to check out Tyler's entire rankings, be sure to click here

5. 15 key facts to know about the divisional round

The research team here at CBS Sports came up with 15 key facts that you need to know about the divisional round and we're going to cover five of them here, so let's do it. 

  • 1. Patrick Mahomes hitting the road for the first time: "Patrick Mahomes makes his 16th career playoff start on Sunday night in Buffalo, but his first on the road. His streak of 15 straight playoff starts without a true road game is the longest streak by a QB in NFL history (Peyton Manning: 12 is second-longest)."
  • 2. Why you might want to bet on the Ravens to win it all. "The Ravens have the MVP favorite at quarterback, the league's top rushing offense and top scoring defense. ... The Ravens are the fourth team since 1970 with a first-team All-Pro QB and No. 1 scoring defense. The other three teams all won Super Bowls (1972 Dolphins, 1978 Steelers and 1996 Packers)."
  • 3. Packers could join rare club. "Only four teams have won multiple playoff games as a TD underdog since 1970 (1996 Jaguars, 2001 Patriots, 2007 Giants, 2012 Ravens). The last three won Super Bowls. After beating the Cowboys as a seven-point underdog, the Packer could join that group with a win over the 49ers."
  • 4. Divisional round dominated by first-round quarterbacks. "There's a record seven former first-round QBs starting this weekend, the most in a divisional round ever (C.J. Stroud, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Jordan Love). Five were traded up for. The lesson? Be aggressive, move up and get your guy, plus have a succession plan (RE: Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love, Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes and Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson)."
  • 5. Big stage Stroud: "C.J. Stroud can become the first QB to beat the No. 1 scoring defense (Ravens) and No. 1 total defense (Browns) in the same postseason (in different games) since Steve McNair did it in 1999 for the Titans."

If you want to see check out all 15 key facts, be sure to check out Doug Clawson's full story here

6. Extra points: NFL reveals national anthem singer for Super Bowl LVIII


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. 

  • NFL announces national anthem singer. Country music Hall of Famer Reba McEntire will be handling the national anthem before Super Bowl LVIII. The NFL also announced that Post Malone will sing "America the Beautiful" while actress/singer Andra Day will sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing." You can get the full details of the announcement here
  • Falcons schedule second interview with Bill Belichick. The Falcons seem to have their eyes set on the six-time Super Bowl winning coach. Just three days after interviewing Belichick, the Falcons have already set up a second interview with the former Patriots coach, CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones has reported. There had been some speculation that Belichick might be interested in the Cowboys job, but now that Mike McCarthy is returning, it won't be surprising at all if the Falcons end up hiring Belichick in the very near future. If you want to stay up to date on every interview, you'll definitely want to click here to follow our coaching tracker
  • Jason Kelce hasn't made a decision about retirement. The Eagles center is pumping the brakes on those retirement reports that came out on Tuesday. According to Kelce, he hasn't decided what he's going to do in 2024. "I just don't think you're in a position after a game like that to really make that decision," Kelce said on his "New Heights" podcast. "There's too much emotion in the moment." You can read more about Kelce's comments here
  • Aaron Donald's future is up in the air. It seems that there's at least a small chance that the Rams star could be done in Los Angeles. Sean McVay was asked if this week if Donald would be returning in 2024 and he didn't exactly say yes, "I think those conversations occur at the appropriate time," McVay said. "There's so much emotion that takes place right after a game and after a season that I think. … And even I was reading earlier, you see Jason Kelce, there's all these assumptions and things like that and so I think you give guys the chance to really just digest the season, coaches and players alike, and then we'll address all those things at the right time." Donald, who is headed into the final year of his deal, will have $30 million of his 2024 salary become fully guaranteed on March 17, so you can bet we'll know a decision about his future by then. 
  • Patriots introduce their new coach. Jerod Mayo's introductory press conference was held on Wednesday and he seems pretty pumped about making history in New England. "You better believe being the first Black coach here in New England means a lot to me," Mayo said. You can read more about Mayo's introduction here
  • Nick Sirianni's status still up in the air. Although Mike McCarthy is keeping his job in Dallas, there's still been no word about Nick Sirianni. The Eagles coach is expected to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie at some point this week. According to the Athletic, Lurie is expecting Sirianni to have a plan for improving the Eagles, which would potentially include the hiring of new coordinators. Lurie fired Doug Pederson just three seasons after Pederson won Philly's only Super Bowl, so it's certainly possible that Lurie could end up dumping Sirianni here.