Friday, January 28, 2022

NFL Week 18 picks, plus Antonio Brown saga takes another twist, J.J. Watt improbably returning for playoffs

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I’m not sure how it happened, but we’ve finally reached the end of the regular season. In less than 72 hours, not only will the regular season be over, but we’ll also know who’s moving on to the playoffs. If you’re a fan of one of the 18 teams that won’t be headed to the postseason, don’t worry, we’re not just going to totally ignore you next week and that’s because we’ll be talking plenty about offseason coaching changes along with free agency and the draft. 

One thing we’ll also probably be talking about next week is Antonio Brown and that’s because no one does a better job of staying in the headlines than him. We’re on our fifth newsletter of 2022 and I’m pretty sure we’ve already reached our Brown story quota for the entire year. 

Speaking of Brown, we’ll be looking at his latest antics today, plus, we have some Week 18 picks and best bets, so let’s get to the rundown. 

Also, happy birthday to my sister, Rebekah, who’s only birthday wish this year is for the Bengals to win a playoff game. Of course, that’s been her wish on every birthday for the past 31 years, so I’m not sure this is actually going to help things. 

Remember, if you’re hanging out with family and/or friends this weekend, you should tell them all to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

1. Today’s show: Best bets for Week 18

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The NFL‘s decision to add another week to the regular season means a bonus week of bets bets. For today’s podcast, Will Brinson rounded up R.J. White and Pete Prisco for the 18th straight week so they could argue about who’s going to win every game being played this weekend, even the ones that don’t matter. 

The three guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game in Week 18 and we’re going to cover three picks from each person below. 

Pete Prisco (2-1 last week in picks featured here)

Will Brinson (2-1 last week in picks featured here)

R.J. White (1-2 last week in picks featured here)

The guys also have a parlay they like that pays out at +595.

  • Falcons (+3.5) to cover against the Saints
  • Washington (-7) to cover against the Giants
  • Buccaneers (-8) to cover against Panthers

If it hits, that parlay would win $595 on a $100 bet.

To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 18 — and there are quite a few — be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the trio give out their picks on YouTube by clicking here

2. NFL Week 18 picks

This is the final newsletter of the week, which means I feel morally obligated to cram as many picks as possible into this space. It’s also the first Friday picks newsletter of 2022, so let’s hope things get started off on the right foot with everyone hitting on all of their picks. 

The picks below will be coming from Tyler Sullivan and Jordan Dajani, along with CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones.

Here’s how things are going to work: I’m going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you’ll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on. 

  • Jonathan Jones: Chargers over Raiders (Los Angeles -160 moneyline). “If the Jags beat the Colts, these teams could both get in by tying and I have to say, wouldn’t we all sort of love to see these two teams kneel the clock out? Because the Colts will beat the Jags though, we won’t be able to see it. The better team wins here.” For the rest of Jones’ Week 18 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Will Brinson: Falcons 21-17 over Saints (Atlanta covers +3.5). “The Saints are the way more desperate team here, so they make sense as an obvious play. But they’re not … good. Taysom Hill and this offense can’t generate much of anything. The Falcons are a bad football team and finally eliminated from playoff contention. Atlanta’s been blasting bad teams and losing to good teams by a ton — the lone exception is the victory earlier this year over the Saints. The Falcons are going to care about this game because they can help knock their most hated rival out of the playoffs.” For the rest of Brinson’s Week 18 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Jordan Dajani: Patriots 24-13 over Dolphins (New England covers -6.5). “The Dolphins were eliminated from playoff contention this past week and now have nothing to play for. We saw how that affected the Browns on Monday night. The Patriots have a chance to win the AFC East. Also, New England is coming off of a 40-point win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and they should defeat Miami by at least a touchdown. At least.” For the rest of Dajani’s Week 18 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Tyler Sullivan: Rams 27-21 over 49ers (Los Angeles covers -4.5). “The 49ers have historically had the Rams’ number under Kyle Shanahan — they’ve won five in a row against the Rams — but I don’t believe that will be the case this go around largely because of the quarterback situation for San Francisco. Trey Lance still looks a bit too green to be duking it out against a team like L.A. and even if Jimmy Garoppolo does play he’ll be doing so with an injured thumb.” For the rest of Sullivan’s Week 18 picks, be sure to click here

3. NFL playoff clinching scenarios heading into Week 18

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With only three playoff spots still up for grabs as we head into the final week of the season, it might not feel like there’s going to be a lot of drama this weekend, but don’t be surprised if the opposite is true and that’s because 13 of the 16 games have playoff implications for at least one team. 

Here are some of the key clinching scenarios for the weekend. 

Titans will clinch the top seed in the AFC with:

  1. TEN win over HOU OR
  2. TEN tie + KC loss or tie OR
  3. KC loss + CIN loss or tie + NE loss or tie OR
  4. KC loss + CIN loss or tie + BUF win

Bills will clinch the AFC East title with: 

  1. BUF win over NYJ OR
  2. NE loss OR
  3. BUF tie + NE tie

Raiders clinch a playoff berth with: 

  1. LV win over LAC OR
  2. LV tie + IND loss OR
  3. IND loss + PIT loss or tie

Chargers clinch a playoff berth with: 

  1. LAC win over LV or tie

Colts clinch a playoff berth with: 

  1. IND win or tie against JAX OR
  2. LAC loss + BAL-PIT tie OR
  3. LAC loss + PIT loss + MIA win

Ravens clinch a playoff berth with:

  1. BAL win + LAC loss + IND loss + MIA loss or tie (On a personal note, I don’t think this one is going to happen). 

NFC

Cardinals clinch NFC West title with: 

  1. ARI win over SEA + LAR loss

Rams clinch NFC West title with: 

  1. LAR win or tie with SF OR
  2. ARI loss or tie

Saints clinch playoff berth with: 

  1. NO win over ATL + SF loss

49ers clinch playoff berth with: 

  1. SF win or tie with LAR OR
  2. NO loss or tie

Remember, these are only some of the playoff clinching scenarios for this weekend. If you want to check out every single one, then be sure to click here

4. Giants and Jets being sued for saying they play in ‘New York’ 

The Giants and Jets have been piling up the losses on the field this year and now, someone is trying to hand them another loss in the court of law. A fan in New York has filed a lawsuit against the two teams for using the name “New York” even though they don’t play in New York. As you may or may not know, both teams play and practice in New Jersey. 

The lawsuit covers multiple reasons why the fan is upset

  • Avoid New York taxes even though they cash in on the New York name. “The two teams artificially increased the revenue and value of their franchises by billions of dollars by using the ‘New York’ and ‘NY’ brand on their franchises.”
  • The name is misleading. “Many NFL fans who attend Giants or Jets games for the first time are unaware that these teams play out-of-state.”
  • The misleading names have cost New York billions. “The defendants have intentionally advertised and branded the Giants and Jets falsely, to increase their gross revenue and value of their franchises at the expense and to the detriment of Plaintiff and the class, the State and City of New York, and millions of NFL fans. The ripple effects of Defendants’ actions cost Plaintiff, the class and the State and City of New York billions of dollars in transportation costs, time, taxes and jobs.”
  • It costs New York fans serious time and money to go to a game in New Jersey. “Plaintiff and millions of class members have suffered damages by being subjected to expensive and time-consuming transportation from the City and State of New York to East Rutherford, New Jersey on game days to watch the Giants or Jets play, by either driving or mass transportation.”

The lawsuit is seeking $2 billion in monetary damages and $4 billion in punitive damages. The entire lawsuit is somewhat fascinating and you can check it out by clicking here. I am not a legal scholar, but I have to think there’s no way this lawsuit is going to win. The Giants have already responded to the lawsuit, saying that the case has “no merit.”

5. Antonio Brown saga takes another wild turn

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We’ve been writing about Antonio Brown all week, so I figured why not just finish the week off with one more Antonio Brown story. Just when you thought the Brown situation couldn’t get any crazier, it somehow got crazier over the past 24 hours. 

Here’s what we know: 

  • Brown allegedly snuck a female into his hotel room on Saturday. Due to COVID, the NFL currently has a strict rule in place that prohibits visitors to you hotel room, but Brown allegedly broke that rule on Saturday night with a social media influencer named Ava Louise.  
  • How this impacts the Buccaneers. Since Brown doesn’t play for the team anymore, he can’t be punished. However, this still could have an impact on the Buccaneers because Louise claims that she has since tested positive for COVID. In a social media post, she wrote told Tampa Bay to “test your team.”
  • Tom Brady finally weighs in on Brown’s release. The Buccaneers QB met with the media on Thursday and he completely ducked the question about Brown, who called out Brady for working with Alex Guerrero on Thursday. “I think there’s a lot of personal feelings, obviously,” Brady said. “I don’t think this is really the week to discuss it though.”

Based on everything that’s happened this week, there’s a good chance that this story is going to get crazier before things get back to normal. 

6. Rapid-fire roundup: J.J. Watt designated for return from IR

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. 

  • J.J. Watt likely to return in playoffs. The Cardinals pass-rusher suffered a devastating injury in Week 7 — he tore his labrum, biceps and rotator cuff — and at the time, it was assumed that his season was over, but apparently, that’s not the case. Not only has Watt been designated to return from IR, but he’s hoping to be back on the field for the first round of the playoffs. 
  • Baker Mayfield calls out Cleveland media member. After a report came out this week alleging that Baker Mayfield might ask for a trade, the QB responded on Thursday by calling the story “clickbait.” Mayfield might not end up asking for a trade, but that doesn’t mean the Browns are going to keep him. After a down year for the QB, it will be interesting to see if Cleveland decides to keep him around for the 2022 season. 
  • John Madden’s family to light the torch at Raiders game. With the Raiders getting set to play their biggest regular season game in years on Sunday, the team has invited the family of John Madden to light the Al Davis Memorial torch prior to kickoff. It’s a fitting gesture, considering Madden was the first person to light the torch back in 2011. 
  • Clinton Portis sentenced to six months in prison. The former NFL running back was given the jail time after being found guilty for the role he played in a nationwide scheme to defraud the NFL’s healthcare benefit program. For more details on the story, be sure to click here
  • USFL makes first coaching hires. The league announced four hires on Thursday and two of them have NFL ties. Former Chiefs coach Todd Haley has been tabbed to coach the Tampa Bay Bandits while former Chargers coach Mike Riley will be in charge of the New Jersey Generals. 
  • Justin Fields placed on COVID list. The Bears QB was expected to get the start on Sunday, but now that he’s on the COVID list, it’s unlikely he’ll play. If Fields is out, that means either Andy Dalton or Nick Foles will get the start.    

  • Jaguars getting busy with coaching interviews. The Jags already interviewed Todd Bowles this week, and at some point today, they’re also going to interview Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, according to ESPN.com. The Jags are also expected to talk to Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett in an interview that’s scheduled to go down next week. Hackett was on the Jags coaching staff from 2015 to 2018 before taking the Green Bay job in 2019. Hackett won’t be the only candidate getting interviewed next week as the team also plans to talk with former Texans coach Bill O’Brien, according to NFL.com

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