Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter, which is also known as the “I didn’t get any sleep last night so I’m writing this on seven cups of coffee” edition.
To be honest, I’m starting to think that I better get used to the fact that I’m not going to get any sleep on any night where there’s a late NFL game this year, because apparently, every primetime game is going to be bonkers this season.
It started in Week 1 with the Buccaneers‘ wild Thursday win over the Cowboys and then it continued last night when the Ravens somehow managed to beat the Chiefs despite trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter. I would say that it was a good day for teams wearing purple, but then I remembered that the Vikings also exist and it definitely wasn’t a good day for them.
Thanks to Kansas City’s loss, we are now officially living in the upside down: The Chiefs are tied for last place in the AFC West and that’s because they’re in the same division with the ONLY TWO UNDEFEATED TEAMS in the AFC. Hello, Raiders and Broncos.
We have a lot to cover today, so let’s get to the rundown.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let’s get to the rundown.
1. Today’s show: Week 2 winners and losers, plus full recap
It’s Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 2, and let me just say, it’s probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 14 games from Sunday and I’ll be honest, we spent way more time talking about kickers than we usually do, but that’s what happens when three of the games come down to a field goal in the final second.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday’s action. For our winners this week, Wilson and Brinson each went with a surprising 2-0 team while I went with the only team in NFL history to pull off a comeback of 15 points or more in Seattle.
- Winner: Derek Carr and the Raiders. The Raiders had the deck stacked against them on Sunday: They had to fly across the country on a short week while dealing with multiple big injuries, and yet, they were still somehow able to upset the Steelers. Derek Carr was nearly unstoppable with 382 passing yards and two touchdowns and he’s arguably playing as well as he did in 2016 when he was an MVP candidate.
- Loser: Dolphins. Someone forgot to tell the Dolphins there was a game on Sunday, because they completely no-showed in their 35-0 loss to the Bills. To add insult to injury, Tua Tagovailoa had to leave the game in the first quarter due to a rib injury and there’s a chance he could miss more time, depending on the severity of the injury.
- Winner: Sam Darnold and the Panthers. The Panthers are arguably the most surprising team in the NFL through the first two weeks and a big reason for that is thanks to Darnold. The Panthers quarterback threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns. In three seasons with the Jets, Darnold only hit the 275-yard mark a total of six times — an average of twice per year. In two games with the Panthers, he’s hit it twice. I’m thinking he likes playing in Carolina.
- Loser: Chargers. The Chargers were a popular pick to be a dark horse playoff team in 2021, but after two weeks, it’s starting to feel like there’s a chance they could end up being the worst team in the division.
- Winner: Titans. With the Seahawks leading 24-9 at halftime of Sunday’s game, it looked like Tennessee was going to get embarrassed for the second straight week, but then the Titans suddenly remembered that they have the best running back in football. The Titans dominated the second half thanks in large part to three touchdowns from Derrick Henry, who totaled 182 yards rushing in the game. Before Sunday, the Seahawks had been 52-0 when leading by 15 or more at home. They’re now 52-1.
- Loser: Vikings. Minnesota lost to Arizona 34-33 on Sunday and I have no idea what Mike Zimmer was doing at the end of the game. You’re the coach of the Vikings, but have you ever WATCHED a Vikings game? There is no team worse at attempting potential game-winning field goals than the Vikings. In this game, Zimmer literally let 37 seconds run off the clock instead of trying to get closer for Greg Joseph’s game-winning attempt. Zimmer could have had his team run one or two more plays to get his kicker closer, but he decided to play it safe and safe lost it for him. It’s even more depressing when you consider that the Vikings radio announcer thought the kick went in, only to discover that it actually missed. You definitely want to listen to this radio call and you can do that by clicking here.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here.
2. Week 2 grades: Ravens get an ‘A’ for wild win
Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week Lamar Jackson was our valedictorian.
Here’s a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Ravens 36, Chiefs 35 (Click here for full recap)
- Chiefs takeaway: This was a great comeback by the Ravens, but Baltimore definitely got some help in the form of a total meltdown by Kansas City. After taking an 11-point lead with 6:50 left to play in the third quarter, the Chiefs wouldn’t score again and a big reason for that is because they turned the ball over on two of their final three possessions. Grade: C
- Ravens takeaway: This game was basically the Lamar Jackson show. The Ravens QB willed his team to a win with an unbelievable performance that included 346 total yards (239 passing, 107 rushing) and three total touchdowns (One passing, two rushing). Jackson also came through on the biggest play of the game when John Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 43 with just under a minute left to play. Grade: A
- Rams takeaway: This game was basically the “Cooper Kupp Show” for Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford went to Kupp early and often in a game where the receiver finished with nine catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp came up clutch with two catches for 54 yards and a touchdown on a fourth-quarter drive that ended with a TD that gave L.A. the lead. Although the defense struggled some to slow down the Colts, they did come up with several big plays and no play was bigger than the goal-line stand the Rams had on Indy’s opening possession. The Rams kept Indy out of the end zone on four straight plays from the 1-yard line. Grade: B
- Colts takeaway: The Colts lost this game because their red-zone offense was a total disaster and things got especially ugly in the first half. During the game’s first two quarters, the Colts got inside of the Rams’ 3-yard line TWO different times, but came away with ZERO points. The first drive ended after the Colts got stuffed on four straight plays from the 1-yard line and the second drive ended because Carson Wentz got picked off on a shovel pass. Grade: C
As for the other 24 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here.
3. Week 2 injuries: Carson Wentz goes down on ugly day for quarterbacks
Hopefully we won’t need to have an injury roundup every week, but there were so many injuries around the NFL over the weekend that we definitely needed one for today.
Here’s a look at the biggest injuries from Week 2, and as you’ll notice, most of the players on this list are quarterbacks:
- Carson Wentz dealing with injuries to both ankles. According to NFL.com, Wentz actually injured both of his ankles on Sunday, which could make things dicey for him going forward. Wentz was in so much pain that he couldn’t return to the game. The quarterback is undergoing tests today and we should find out soon if he’s going to miss any substantial time.
- Andy Dalton exits game with knee injury. The Bears QB was injured on a non-contact play in the first half. The upside for Dalton is that the team doesn’t believe he suffered an ACL injury. According to NFL.com, it appears that Dalton suffered a bone bruise, which means he should be able to return sooner rather than later.
- Tua Tagovailoa dealing with rib injury. The Dolphins QB had to exit the game in the first quarter on Sunday after suffering a rib injury. Although x-rays came back negative, it’s still not clear if he’ll be able to play against the Raiders this week due to the fact that he’s in “a lot of pain,” according to NFL.com.
- Tyrod Taylor suffers hamstring injury. The Texans QB was dicing up the Browns defense on Sunday before being forced out of the game with a hamstring injury. Taylor will likely miss Thursday’s game against the Panthers, but it’s unknown right now if he’ll miss any time after that.
- T.J. Watt injures his groin. The Steelers defensive star had to leave the game early on Sunday after suffering a groin injury. It’s not clear if he’ll miss any time going forward, but if he does, that would be a devastating loss for the Steelers defense.
- Eagles might have lost Brandon Graham for the season. According to ESPN.com, Graham tore his Achilles against the 49ers on Sunday. Starting offensive lineman Brandon Brooks was also injured against the 49ers, but it’s unclear if he’s going to miss any substantial time.
- Titans Taylor Lewan gets injured in warm-ups. The Titans’ starting left tackle didn’t play on Sunday after injuring his knee in warm-ups. It’s not clear how serious the situation is, but Lewan did injure the same knee that he once had ACL surgery on.
You can read more about all the injuries from Week 2 by clicking here.
4. Tom Brady is still breaking NFL records
At some point, there won’t be any NFL records left for Tom Brady to break, but we haven’t quite reached that point yet. However, we did take one step closer because Brady broke a record on Sunday.
Here’s a quick look at a few milestones that Brady has already hit this year:
- Brady and the Buccaneers break a scoring record. Brady and the Buccaneers have won nine straight games where they’ve scored 30 or more points, which is an NFL record. The Buccaneers broke a record that Brady set with both the 2007 and 2010 Patriots.
- Brady’s big day moves him closer to record. The Buccaneers quarterback threw five TD passes against the Falcons, which means he’s now thrown four or more TD passes in four straight games. That’s tied with Dan Marino for the second-most in NFL history. Brady can tie Peyton Manning’s record of five straight games if he throws four or more TD passes against the Rams on Sunday.
- Two weeks of touchdowns. Brady has thrown a total of nine touchdowns through the first to weeks of the season, which is the second-highest total through two weeks in NFL history. Only Patrick Mahomes, who threw 10 during the first two weeks in 2018, has more.
- Brady is on pace to smash the TD record. The NFL record for most TD passes in a season is 55 and Brady is on pace to smash it. Brady is currently averaging 4.5 TD passes per game, which puts him on a pace for 76.5. If Brady just averages 3.13 TD passes per game for the rest of the year, that will be enough for the record.
Brady has been so good this season that even Bill Belichick now thinks he might be able to play until he’s 50.
Tonight’s game isn’t just an NFC North showdown, it’s also a BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE in the division, which isn’t something you can usually say about a game when the Lions are playing. The winning team will be tied with the Bears for the top spot in the NFC North.
My good buddy Jared Dubin put our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Lions can win: If the Packers struggled with two things last week, it was stopping the run (The Saints rushed for 171 yards) and stopping the opposing team’s tight end (The Saints had two tight end touchdowns). Basically, if the Lions can get D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson involved early, that could put them in a spot where they could potentially pull off an upset. Those two create the biggest mismatches for the Lions and if either guy ends up having a huge game, that likely means this one will end up being close.
- Why the Packers can win: The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and if Rodgers does one thing well, it’s carve up the Lions. Well, he actually does a lot of things well, but that’s just one of them. The one thing the Packers will need is an improved performance from their offensive line. If the line is a disaster, things could get interesting, but if the line gives Rodgers time to throw, this one could get ugly for the Lions.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.
Dubin’s pick: Packers 28-20 over Lions.
My pick: Packers 31-21 over Lions.
If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Aaron Rodgers OVER 280.5 passing yards (-115): “The Lions secondary is arguably the worst in the league with Jimmy Garoppolo getting 314 yards through the air on just 17 completions. Rodgers was under this total (averaged 265 passing yards) in the two games he faced Detroit last year, but this could be game where he looks to right the ship.”
- ONE PROP I LIKE: First score of the game is a Packers TD (+109): I feel like the Packers are going to come out on a mission on Monday night to prove that last week’s loss was a fluke. The Packers don’t have a touchdown this season and I feel like they’re going to be pretty determined to get one early.
You can check out Sullivan’s full gambling preview by clicking here.
6. 2021 NFL Mock Draft
Two weeks into the season, there are six teams that are 0-2 and a seventh team will be joining that list tonight after the Lions-Packers game. Just because you’re 0-2 doesn’t necessarily mean your season is over, but it does mean you might want to start paying attention to all the mock drafts out there, because if your favorite team is 0-2, they’re likely headed for a high pick this year.
With that in mind, we figured that now would be a good time unveil Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft.
Here’s how Wilson sees the top eight shaking out in the 2022 NFL Drat (Note: Draft order was determined using the reverse order of SportsLine’s Super Bowl odds).
1. Texans: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
2. Lions: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
3. Jaguars: OL Evan Neal, Alabama
4. Jets: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
5. Giants: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
6. Bengals: DL DeMarvin Leal, Cincinnati
7. Eagles: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
8. Giants (from Bears): DE AIdan Hutchinson, Michigan
To check out the entire first-round mock draft, be sure to click here.
We’ll be periodically running these throughout the NFL season; that way, if your favorite NFL team is trash this year, you’ll have something to look forward to in the newsletter.