Tuesday, June 6, 2023

NFL Week 14 picks plus Prisco’s Power Rankings and recapping the Patriots’ wild win over the Bills on ‘MNF’

NFL Week 14 picks plus Prisco's Power Rankings and recapping the Patriots' wild win over the Bills on 'MNF

Here’s everything you need to know about the NFL for Dec. 7


Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!

Before we start here today, I’d like to first point out that it is the year 2021, which I’m only noting because anyone who watched the Patriots beat the Bills last night might be confused about what year it is since New England basically used a game plan from 1964 to win the game.

With gale force winds swirling in Buffalo, Bill Belichick and the Patriots decided to totally give up on the pass. And when I say “totally give up,” I mean they only threw the ball THREE TIMES in their 14-10 win. After the game, Bills coach Sean McDermott said that we shouldn’t give too much credit to Belichick for New England’s win, which is exactly what I would expect someone to say after getting thoroughly out-coached. 

We’ll be covering all the details from New England’s win in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll be taking a look at Prisco’s latest power rankings, 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. A Pick Six subscription makes an excellent and also inexpensive holiday gift.  

1. Today’s show: Recapping New England’s wild win over Buffalo


Orchard Park, NY – December 6: New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) is off to the races on a first quarter touchdown run. The Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots in a Monday night NFL game at Highmark stadium in Orchard Park, NY on Dec. 6, 2021.  Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

If you blinked at any point during Monday’s game, you might have missed it because it was over in a flash thanks to the Patriots deciding to run the ball on nearly EVERY play during their 14-10 win over the Bills. 

After the game, Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I also did some running, but we were running our mouths, so I’m not sure if that counts. Here are three key things from the game that we touched on during the podcast:

  • Patriots’ crazy game plan pays off. With blustery 60 mph winds blowing in Buffalo, Josh McDaniels and the Patriots coaching staff came up with a crazy game plan for Monday night: Don’t throw the ball. And the craziest part is that the plan worked. In a game plan straight out of 1950, the Patriots ran the ball 46 times while only throwing three passes. The plan worked because the Patriots’ run game was so effective. Damien Harris totaled 111 yards, including a 64-yard TD run in the first quarter that gave New England an early lead. Overall, the Patriots totaled 222 yards on the ground. 
  • Bills offense makes one too many mistakes. Although the Patriots only threw three passes, the Bills wanted no part of that game plan. They tested Mother Nature by letting Josh Allen sling the ball around 30 times — and it was almost enough to win. But in the end, the Bills simply made too many mistakes. The first came in the first quarter when Matt Breida lost a fumble on a drive that had just gotten inside of New England’s 30-yard line. Three plays after the fumble, the Patriots scored on a 64-yard touchdown. The Bills then made their way to the red zone TWICE in the fourth quarter but came away with zero points due to a missed field goal by Tyler Bass and a failed fourth-down conversion. Against some teams, you can make that many mistakes and win, but not against the Patriots. 
  • Patriots etch their name in the NFL record book. I briefly mentioned it, but it’s definitely worth mentioning again: The Patriots only threw THREE passes in this game, and that’s one reason why this is a game we’ll probably be talking about for ages. The three passes were the fewest in franchise history and the second-fewest by a winning team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. (The Bills threw two passes in a win back in 1974.) It was also tied for the second-fewest pass attempts in any game in the Super Bowl era. The Patriots ran the ball on 93.9% of their plays, marking the first time since 1978 that a team ran the ball on at least 90% of its plays. 

Besides those three things, we also spent some serious time trying to figure out who’s going to make the playoffs out of the AFC. To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here. You can also watch Monday’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Prisco’s Power Rankings heading into Week 14

Prisco actually got some sleep on Monday night and that’s because for the first time all season, he didn’t make a single change to the top five of his power rankings. Not only do we have the same top five as last week, but every team is ranked in the exact same spot. Basically, if you memorized last week’s top five, then you already know this week’s top five. 

With that in mind, here’s a look at Prisco’s top-five teams heading into Week 14:

  1. Cardinals
  2. Packers
  3. Buccaneers
  4. Patriots 
  5. Chiefs

I won’t spoil the rest of the Power Rankings here, but I will give you a few nuggets. Here’s what has changed since last week: 

  • The biggest jump this week went to the Washington Football Team. It took four straight wins, but Prisco has finally started to notice. Following its win over the Raiders on Sunday, Prisco moved the franchise up eight spots from 23rd to 15th. Washington is now the highest-ranked 6-6 team in Prisco’s power rankings.   
  • The biggest drop in the AFC this week went to the Las Vegas Raiders. After watching them lose to Washington, Prisco decided to punish them by dropping them five spots from 12th down to 17th. 

  • The biggest tumble in the NFC went to the 49ers, who also fell five spots. After falling flat on their face in a 30-23 loss to the Seahawks, Prisco decided to drop them from 11th to 16th. 
  • The biggest news in this week’s ranking is that we have a new LAST PLACE team. The Lions had been in the cellar for so long that I just assumed they would be there all season, but after beating the Vikings on Sunday, Prisco decided to bump them up one spot to 31st. The new team at the bottom of the rankings is the Jacksonville Jaguars! Congratulations, Jacksonville. 

If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco’s Week 14 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything. 

3. Breech’s Week 14 picks


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass during a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It’s Tuesday, and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for my weekly picks. 

Thanks to the Patriots’ win last night, I ended up finishing Week 13 with a 10-4 record, which I definitely needed because my November was so bad that it almost made me want to retire from making picks. Fortunately for everyone, though, I am NOT retiring. Although Ravens fans are probably going to start rooting for me to retire since I’m picking their team to lose for the second straight week. 

With that in mind, here are three of my picks for Week 14.  

  • Dallas (-4) at Washington: If there’s one team Dak Prescott has absolutely owned in his career, it’s Washington. Since his rookie year, he’s 7-1 against Washington with an average margin of victory of 13.7 points. And if you look at the one thing this Washington defense doesn’t do well, it’s stop the pass. The unit is giving up more than 263.9 yards per game through the air this year, which is the third-worst number in the NFL. Dak might throw for 700 yards. PICK: Cowboys 30-23 over Washington. 
  • Baltimore at Cleveland (-2.5): This is a tough game to pick because I have no idea what either of these offenses are going to look like this week and that’s because they’ve both been bad lately. It has been MORE THAN A MONTH since either of these teams scored 20 points in a game, so it kind of feels like the first team to 20 is going to win and I’m going to say that team is going to be the Browns, but only because I think the Ravens defense is going to struggle a little bit in its first game without Marlon HumphreyPICK: Browns 20-17 over Ravens. 
  • Buffalo (+3) at Tampa Bay: Since being hired by the Bills in 2017, Sean McDermott has actually done a pretty solid job of slowing down Brady. In six meetings, Brady has thrown more total interceptions than touchdowns against McDermott’s defenses. I feel like the Bills are going to be desperate here, because if they don’t win, they could be staring down the barrel of missing the playoffs, which would be pretty embarrassing for a team that started the season 4-1. PICK: Bills 30-27 over Buccaneers. 

To check out the rest of my picks for Week 14, be sure to click here

4. One thing we learned about each team in Week 13

Now that all 14 games from Week 13 have been played, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin decided to wade through the aftermath to figure out what we learned about each team.

Here’s a look at what we learned about five teams: 

  • Cardinals: Kyler Murray didn’t lose a step while he was out with his injury. “The MVP candidate wasted no time returning to form post-injury, totaling four scores in a too-easy rout of the Bears to keep Arizona atop the NFC.”
  • Texans: They should start Davis Mills for the rest of the season. “There’s really nothing to be gained by going back to Tyrod Taylor at this point. Maybe some veterans would prefer him, but will they even be on the roster in a month?”
  • Broncos: Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the answer at QB“He’s been serviceable, at best, for much of the year. Against the Chiefs on Sunday night, he crumbled. Teddy was always a rental, but he’s now proven to be a subpar one.”
  • ColtsThey are built for the postseason. “Tough running, efficient passing, stingy defense? Sounds like a winning recipe — the kind that Tennessee once had and the Patriots now flaunt. Frank Reich’s got this group ready for the winter.”
  • 49ers: They need Deobo Samuel. “Otherwise there’s too much pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo to throw his way to victory. The 49ers are positioned for a wild card spot, but in order to make a run, their offense has to be clicking on the ground.”

If you want to see the one thing we learned about each of the 23 other teams that played in Week 13, you can check out Cody’s entire story by clicking here.

5. NFL hit hard by COVID: Keenan Allen and 10 other players placed on COVID list


CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 05: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers walks across the field before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The NFL hasn’t had to reschedule any games this year due to COVID, but the ongoing pandemic could still have an impact on the playoff race, as we’re seeing multiple players miss games each week due to testing positive for COVID.

On Monday alone, the NFL announced that 11 players had been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Here’s a look several key players who could miss action in Week 14 due to a positive COVID test. 

  • Chargers WR Keenan Allen. With the Chargers playing the Giants this week, they might be able to survive without Allen. However, if their leading receiver misses Week 15, that one would definitely sting. In Week 15, the Chargers have a Thursday game against the Chiefs, which is why there’s a chance that Allen could miss it. 
  • Saints DT Cameron Jordan. The Saints season is spiraling out of control, and it could get even uglier if they lose to the Jets on Sunday. Jordan is one of their best defensive players and if he’s not available, that could pave the way for a Jets upset.
  • Packers QB Jordan Love. Love might not qualify as a “key” player, but the Packers would definitely prefer to have him available, especially because he could be getting pivotal first-team reps this week if Aaron Rodgers continues rests his toe ahead of a “Sunday Night Football” showdown with the Bears. 
  • Raiders RB Jalen Richard. The loss of Richard could hurt because the Raiders don’t have a lot of depth at running back right now after losing Kenyan Drake for the season. 
  • Bills LB A.J. Klein. The 30-year-old has started multiple games this year and is a solid role player for a Bills defense that could definitely use him on the field for this week’s game against the Buccaneers. 

According to ESPN.com, each one of these players tested positive, which means it’s unlikely they’ll be able to play Sunday. However, vaccinated players could have a chance to play if they record consecutive negative tests that are taken at least 24 hours apart. As for unvaccinated players, they’re automatically out for at least 10 days if they test positive. 

6. Rapid-fire roundup

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. 

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick officially done for the season. The Washington QB hasn’t played since Week 1 due to an injured hip, and now it’s official that he won’t be returning this season. According to NFL.com, Fitzpatrick has made the decision to undergo surgery on the hip
  • Corey Davis out for the year. Jets coach Robert Saleh announced Monday that Davis will undergo core muscle surgery, which is going to sideline him for the rest of the season. That means Davis will finish the year with 34 catches for 492 yards and four touchdowns.  
  • Daniel Jones likely out Week 14. The Giants QB didn’t play in Week 13 due to a neck injury, and it appears that injury is going to keep him out for at least one more week. According to ESPN.com, Jones is likely going to miss Sunday’s game against the Chargers, which would pave the way for Mike Glennon to make his second consecutive start if he clears concussion protocol. In Week 13, Glennon and the Giants lost to the Dolphins, 20-9. 

  • Raiders lose Kenyan Drake for the year. The Raiders running back won’t be returning this season after he broke his right ankle during Sunday’s loss to Washington. Drake will finish the season with 254 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. 

  • Julio Jones designed for return from IR. The Titans have been dealing with a lot of bad injury news over the past few weeks, but they finally got some good news Monday and that news is that Jones should be able to return soon. The receiver was activated from injured reserve, which means the Titans now have three weeks to move him to the active roster. Jones (hamstring) has been on IR since Nov. 13. 

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