NFL Week 4 picks, plus Prisco’s power rankings and Tom Brady addresses his momentous return to New England


Welcome to the Pick Six Newsletter! 

If you turned the Eagles-Cowboys game off at halftime last night so that you could get some sleep, I have some good news for you: You made the right decision. All you missed in the second half was the Eagles doing their best impression of the Jets, and if you’ve watched the Jets play at all this season, then you know that’s not a good thing. 

Of course, I don’t even know why I’m talking about that game because the only thing anyone is talking about this week is TOM BRADY‘S RETURN TO NEW ENGLAND. We’ll be covering that in today’s newsletter in addition to rehashing the Cowboys 41-21 win for everyone who slept through the second half. Also, you’ll be getting power rankings from Pete Prisco and some Week 4 picks from me, so you’re definitely going to want to stick around. 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. 

1. Today’s show: Recapping the Cowboys’ dominating win over the Eagles

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 27: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his second half touchdown with Dak Prescott #4 while playing the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For the first time all season, we got a dud in primetime and I have to say, I mostly blame the Eagles. (Before you say that Bears-Rams and Lions-Packers were also both duds, I will point out that both of those were one-score games in the second half, which made them watchable. This one was a blowout from the second quarter on.)

Just because there’s a blowout doesn’t mean we get to skip the podcast, so we buckled down and recapped the game for Tuesday’s episode of the podcast. 

Here are three key things from the game that we touched on: 

  • Dak is back. This game was Dak Prescott’s first one in Dallas since breaking his ankle back in October, and he definitely didn’t seem to be dealing with any PTSD. The Cowboys quarterback was nearly perfect in against Philly, completing 21 of 26 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Prescott was so good that it opened things up for the Cowboys’ rushing attack, which totaled 160 yards.  
  • Dan Quinn has worked a miracle. Last season, the Cowboys had arguably the worst defense in football. This year, they hired Dan Quinn, and now, they look like one of the best units in the league. The Cowboys’ pass rush gave Jalen Hurts fits with Osa Odighizuwa recording 1.5 of the Cowboys two sacks. Micah Parsons also had a dominating performance, and if the first three weeks of the season are any indication, he’ll be anchoring this unit for years to come. The defense basically iced the game in the third quarter when Trevon Diggs recorded a 58-yard pick-six off of a bad pass from Hurts. 
  • Eagles looked lost on offense. It’s almost like the Eagles forgot to install the rushing portion of their game plan for Monday’s game, because their ground game was nonexistent. The Eagles’ running backs only had a total of THREE carries in this game. Some teams will abandon their running game in a blowout, but the Eagles didn’t even TRY to run, even when this game was close. This was a one-score game for the entire first quarter, and the Eagles didn’t call a single run. With zero ground game, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your QB, and it was pressure Hurts wasn’t quite ready to handle just yet. 

We talked about those three things plus everything else you could possibly want to know about Monday’s game, so be sure to check it out. To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here.

2. Prisco’s Power Rankings heading into Week 4

When it comes to Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings, there’s some big news this week: For the first time this season, we have a new team at the top. The Buccaneers had been in the top slot ever since they won the Super Bowl back in February, but Prisco finally dropped them down after they lost to the Rams on Sunday. 

Here’s a look at Prisco’s top 5 teams heading into Week 4, which includes his new No. 1 team. Overall, there are two new teams in the top 5 this week: 

  1. Rams
  2. Cardinals
  3. Packers
  4. Buccaneers
  5. Bills

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 last week: 

  • After three weeks, Prisco is finally putting some respect on the Bengals‘ name. Following their win over the Steelers on Sunday, Cincinnati made the biggest jump of any team this week, moving up eight spots from 25th to 17th.    
  • For the second straight week, the biggest tumble went to the Steelers, who fell eight spots from 14th to 22nd. The drop by the Steelers means they’ve now fallen 15 spots over the past two weeks, which might be a record for Prisco’s Power Rankings. I’ll have to check with our power ranking historians before I can say that for a fact. (Note: I don’t think we actually have any power ranking historians.)  
  • The biggest jump in the NFC this week went to the Vikings, who vaulted up eight spots following their big win over the Seahawks. Prisco moved them up from 26th to 18th, and I’m guessing they’ll make another big leap if they can beat the Browns in Week 4. 
  • In news that might surprise you, the Jaguars are NOT ranked dead last anymore. Even though they lost by double-digits to the Cardinals in Week 3, Prisco was so unimpressed with the Jets that he moved them to the last spot in his rankings. The Jags moved up to No. 31, which might be the highest spot they reach all season.      

If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco’s Week 4 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 4 picks

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates a third quarter touchdown throw by Matthew Stafford #9 in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Inglewood, California. 
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

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

I’m not saying you have to read them this week, but if they go anything like last week’s picks, you’re definitely going to want to. For Week 3, I went 12-4 straight up and 11-5 against the spread, and that record actually would have been better if I hadn’t been dumb enough to take Washington over Buffalo. I’m never picking Washington to win another game. 

With that in mind, here are three of my picks for Week 4:  

  • Chiefs (-6) at Eagles: This is a nightmare game for the Eagles. Not only do they have to face Kansas City on a short week, but they’re going to be facing an angry Chiefs team that’s coming off two straight losses. Patrick Mahomes has lost two games in a row twice in his career, and both times, he avoided a third straight loss by winning in a blowout (35-3 and 30-6). Also, I think Andy Reid still hates the Eagles for firing him, so the Chiefs will have some added motivation this week. PICK: Chiefs 38-27 over Eagles. 
  • Cardinals at Rams (-6): I’m not sure what the biggest coaching mismatch is of Week 4, but this one might be on the list. Since Kliff Kingsbury took over as Arizona’s coach in 2019, he’s 0-4 against Sean McVay, and the Rams have won those four games by an average of 13.8 points per game. This game will probably be slightly closer than that, but not by much. PICK: Rams 30-23 over Cardinals. 
  • Jaguars at Bengals (-7.5): This is one those picks that I’m not going to overthink: The Bengals are actually good and the Jaguars are not. This is a battle of the past two No. 1 overall picks (Trevor Lawrence vs. Joe Burrow), and I only have faith in one of them right now, especially since Lawrence is on pace to throw roughly 500 interceptions this season. PICK: Bengals 27-17 over Jaguars.  

To check out the rest of my picks for Week 4, be sure to click here

4. One thing we learned about each team in Week 3

Now that all 16 games from Week 3 have been played, Cody Benjamin decided to wade through the aftermath to figure out what we learned about each team. For some teams, like the Cowboys, this was a good thing because we learned that they’re almost certainly the best team in the NFC East. For other teams, like the Giants, this was a bad thing, because it’s starting to look like they might be the worst team in the NFC East.

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

  • Bills: We can stop worrying about Josh Allen. “Despite an uneven start to the season, there’s no present reason to worry about Josh Allen. Against Washington’s supposedly stingy defense, he lit it up through the air with 358 yards and four touchdowns.”
  • Bears: Not even Justin Fields can save this offense. “Matt Nagy just can’t get this thing right, and it doesn’t help he’s still deploying a subpar unit in the trenches.”
  • Colts: The Carson Wentz trade isn’t working out so well. “If it wasn’t clear already, Frank Reich’s entire offense is a mess. Injuries are to blame, but there are so many other factors here. Three games in, and the Carson Wentz gamble has paid zero dividends, for a variety of reasons..”
  • Rams DeSean Jackson can still ball. “We already knew after two games Matthew Stafford was bound to enter awards talk playing under Sean McVay, but Week 3 had a surprise revelation: DeSean Jackson is still an elite weapon, giving L.A. yet another toy to deploy.”
  • Steelers: Big Ben looks ready to retire. Ben Roethlisberger looks older by the week, and if that doesn’t change soon, they might be the worst team in the division. Easy to say after the loss to Cincy, perhaps, but what are they offering besides Najee Harris and a few standout defenders?”

If you want to see the one thing we learned about all 32 teams, you can check out Cody’s entire story by clicking here

5. Tom Brady addresses his return to New England

Oct 27, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with quarterback Tom Brady (12) after defeating the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium.
Greg M. Cooper / USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one game that no one is talking about this week, it’s Buccaneers at Patriots. Just kidding, everyone is talking about it. It’s only Tuesday and I already feel like this might be the most hyped-up regular season game of all-time. 

For the first time this year, Brady offered some extensive comments on the game while recording his podcast Monday night. (Yup, Brady has a podcast.) Brady is the co-host of “Let’s Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray.”  

Here’s what Brady had to say about this week’s game: 

  • He won’t be reminiscing about his time in New England. “I’m not going to necessarily reminisce. I don’t think this is the moment for that. I’ll have plenty opportunities to reminisce about my football career — none of it, none of which I really care to do right now because I’m so much in the moment. I’m not going to be thinking about 20 years of history. I’m going to be thinking about one night of football, a Sunday night game coming off a really tough loss.”
  • He’s not expecting Patriots fans to welcome him home with open arms. “I wouldn’t expect that — a homecoming. I mean, I think they’re there to root for their team, and their team is the Patriots. I think they’re gonna cheer for their team as I would expect them to, and I think if they know anything about me, they’re gonna know that I’m going out there to try to win the football game, so I think they’ll respect that about me.”
  • Brady has nothing bad to say about his time with Bill Belichick. “I think there’s definitely great lessons I’ve learned from him. He’s a great football coach, and he does a great job for his team. And, you know any player, I think they would just hope that their coaches give them everything they got. I’m sure every great coach wants every player to give them everything they got. And I think that’s what makes a great relationship.”
  • He might have his dad committed. Brady’s father recently blamed Belichick for the split, saying that the Patriots coach wanted  the quarterback “out the door.” Brady didn’t sound too thrilled with the fact that his dad shared that tidbit. “Comments made by Thomas Edward Brady, a 77-year-old insurance company CEO who should know better at this point in his life, doesn’t necessarily reflect the views or positions held by his son, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.,” Brady said, via ESPN. “Furthermore, should Tom Sr. continue to speak out on behalf of his son without the express written consent, Tom Jr. reserves the right to eventually put him in a home against his will. That’s all I have to say.”

Brady and Belichick will both be meeting with the media later this week, and there’s a 100% chance they’ll be asked about each other, so stay tuned for more possible comments. 

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. 

  • Josh Gordon signing with the Chiefs. Just hours after getting reinstated to the NFL, Gordon quickly found a new team to play for. The receiver announced on Twitter that he’s headed to Kansas City, which actually seems like a good fit for him. Gordon averaged 15.8 yards per reception the last time he was on the field in 2019, and if he can give the Chiefs that kind of production, it will make them even harder to stop. 
  • Richard Sherman visiting the Buccaneers. The free agent corner is headed to Tampa to make his first visit with a team since the start of the regular season, according to NFL.com. If the Buccaneers make a solid offer, it’s possible Sherman could be on the roster before this week’s game against the Patriots. 
  • Bears have no idea who will be starting on Sunday. After Justin Fields’ disastrous outing against Cleveland, Matt Nagy hasn’t decided who will be starting in Week 4 against the Lions. If Andy Dalton is healthy enough, he’ll most likely be the starter, but if he can’t go, then Fields or Nick Foles could end up starting.  
  • Broncos lose K.J. Hamler for the season. The wide receiver tore his ACL against the Jets on Sunday and is now done for the season. The second-year player will finish 2021 with five catches for 74 yards. 
  • Patriots lose James White to a hip injury. The running back won’t get to see his old pal Tom Brady on Sunday and that’s because he’ll be missing the game due to a hip injury, according to NFL.com. Right now, it’s not clear how serious the injury is. White might only miss this week’s game, but there’s also a possibility that he could be placed on IR, which would cause him to miss at least three games. 
  • Christian McCaffrey not going on IR. The Panthers running back injured his hamstring in Week 3, and although those can be dicey injuries, it looks like the team is expecting him to return sooner rather than later. The Panthers won’t be placing him on injured reserve, which means they likely feel he’ll be able to play at some point in the next three weeks. (If he was place on IR, he’d have to miss at least three games.)
  • Bengals receiver says Steelers gave up. The rivalry between the Bengals and Steelers just got a little juicier thanks to a postgame comment from Tyler Boyd. The Bengals receiver said the Steelers basically gave up at the end of the game. “The last plays of the game for them, they gave up,” Boyd said. “You could see it. They had three drops in a row.” The Steelers will probably be filing away that comment away for when the two teams meet again in Week 12. 





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