Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
If I learned one thing from Week 2, it’s that you should never turn off an NFL game. With the Giants trailing the Cardinals 28-7 in the second half, I almost turned off the game so I could clip my toe nails (which was way more exciting than anything the Giants were doing at that point), but thankfully, I didn’t, because the Giants ended up winning 31-28.
I also almost turned off the Commanders game when they were trailing 21-3 to Denver, but then I remembered that they were playing the Broncos and no one knows how to blow a lead better than the Broncos (Denver has now lost an NFL-record nine straight games where it led at halftime).
I could keep going, but we’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so let’s get to the rundown.
As always, here’s your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. It’s the perfect gift to get for your favorite football-loving friend at the start of the season. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here.
1. Today’s Show: 10 takeaways from Week 1
If I sound tired right now, it’s because I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson. The three of us touched on our 10 biggest takeaways from Week 2.
Here are a few of the takeaways we covered:
Brandon Staley might be on the hot seat. It doesn’t seem possible, but the Chargers keep chargering. This team finds a new way to lose every week and a key part of that seems to be Staley, who seems to be having an identity crisis. The Chargers PUNTED from Tennessee’s 44-yard line on a fourth-and-1 in the first half. Two years ago, Staley would have never punted that ball, but now, he just seems so unsure of himself on the field. If he can’t get the ship turned around soon, he might not last the season in L.A.
Joe Burrow’s slow start is concerning. As the resident Bengals homer on the podcast, it pained me to say this, but I’m a lot more concerned about the Bengals’ 0-2 start this year than I was last year. Not only has Burrow looked off through two weeks, but he also aggravated his calf injury, which means that even if he plays, he’s likely not going to be 100% over the next few weeks. Also, Burrow’s accuracy has been off: Going into Monday, he’s 0 for 12 on passes of 15 or more air yards this season, which makes him the ONLY QB with multiple starts and zero completions of 15 or more air yards.
Sean Payton might not be able to fix the Broncos. Payton might have bitten off more than he can chew in Denver. Last week, the Broncos’ blew a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter. This week, things got even worse with Denver blowing a 21-3 lead in a 35-33 loss to the Commanders. You know you have problems when your defense gets diced up by Sam Howell, and that’s exactly what happened in this game. The good news for Payton is that Russell Wilson seems to be playing better, but the bad news is everything else. Wilson’s biggest play on Sunday was a 50-yard Hail Mary on the final play that you can see here.
Raiders takeaway: For the first five minutes of this game, the Raiders looked like the better team, but then the Bills spent the next 55 minutes exposing every hole on the Raiders’ roster. Josh Jacobs, who missed all of training camp, still looks rusty and Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t good enough right now to carry the offense on his own. The defense was rarely able to pressure Josh Allen, who diced up the Vegas secondary for three touchdowns. If the Raiders learned anything today, it’s how far they still have to go if they want to be in the upper-echelon of NFL teams. Grade: F
Bills takeaway: Forget everything you saw in Week 1. The Bills team that was being hyped up all offseason finally showed up for a game and that team absolutely destroyed the Raiders. A big reason the blowout win happened is because Josh Allen played smart football. After turning the ball over four times last week, Allen rebounded by completing his FIRST 13 passes of the game on a day where he threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Allen also got a lot of help from a Bills rushing attack that totaled 183 yards on the ground. Overall, the Bills barely broke a sweat in this dominating win and they look like a Super Bowl contender again following their ugly Week 1 loss to the Jets. Grade: A
Seahawks takeaway: If we were handing out individual grades, Geno Smith would definitely be getting an “A+” for the way he played in Detroit. Not only were the Seahawks missing both of their starting tackles, but DK Metcalf had to leave the game at one point, which should have been a recipe for disaster, but not for Smith. The Seahawks QB responded by carrying the team on his back with a wildly impressive performance where he threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning 6-yard TD pass to Tyler Lockett in overtime. Although the Seahawks defense struggled for most of the day, the unit did come up with one HUGE play with Tre Brown’s pick-six of Jared Goff. The most impressive thing for the Seahawks is that they won this game even though their kicker and defense both struggled. Once they put it all together, this team is going to be difficult to beat. Grade: B+
Lions takeaway: It’s good to be aggressive, but Dan Campbell might have been too aggressive in this game. The Lions coach had his team go for it on three different fourth downs and they failed twice, including a fourth-and-2 from their own 45-yard line late in the third quarter at a point where Detroit had the lead in the game. The Lions were also hurt by turnovers, including two lost fumbles and a pick-six thrown by Jared Goff, which was his first interception in 383 attempts. The Seahawks scored 14 points off those three turnovers and that ended up being the difference in the game. The Lions are good, but not good enough to overcome mistakes like that. Grade: C
3. 13 crazy facts from Week 2: Rams rookie makes NFL history
Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are 13 crazy facts about Week 2:
Rams rookie makes history.Puka Nacua totaled 15 catches against the 49ers, which is the most receptions ever by a rookie in a single game in NFL history. Nacua now has 25 receptions on the season, which is the most ever by a player in his first two career games, surpassing Earl Cooper, who had 19 in 1980. Nacua is also the first player in NFL history with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in each of his first two career games.
Broncos aren’t a second half team. The Broncos have lost nine straight games in which they led at halftime. That’s the longest such streak in NFL history.
Sean Payton joins rare club that he probably doesn’t want to be in. Payton is the second head coach in NFL history to lose each of his first two games with a new team by two points or fewer. The only other coach to do it was Paul Schissler with the 1933 Chicago Cardinals.
Giant problem. The Giants were outscored 60-0 to start the season, the second-most points allowed before a team scored its first points in the Super Bowl era. The 1978 Colts were outscored 86-0 to start their season, which is the only team that has been worse than the Giants. The Colts finished 5-11 that year.
Danny Dimes might be back. Daniel Jones is the only player in Giants history to do all of the following in a game: record at least 250 passing yards, at least 50 rushing yards, along with two passing touchdowns and one rushing TD. No Giants QB had ever done that in a GAME; Jones did this all in the SECOND HALF against Arizona.
Comeback kids. The Giants overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Cardinals, which is tied for the largest comeback in Giants history. The Falcons defeated the Packers after trailing by 12 points entering the 4th quarter, their largest fourth-quarter comeback since 1993 vs. Steve Young and the 49ers. As for the Commanders, they overcame an 18-point deficit, which was their largest comeback since 2015.
This is the most Chargers stat ever. The Chargers are the 33rd team in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) with 50+ points and zero turnovers through two games They are the only team to start 0-2.
Jared Goff’s streak is finally over. The Lions QB threw a pick-six against the Seahawks, which was his first interception since November 2022. Goff went 383 pass attempts without throwing a pick, which will go down as the third-longest streak in NFL history, trailing only Aaron Rodgers (402) and Tom Brady (399).
NFC is dominating the AFC. Through two weeks, the NFC is 6-0 against the AFC, which marks the first time since 1977 that one conference has been unbeaten against the other through two weeks.
Football is a young man’s game. With two rushing touchdowns against the Texans, Anthony Richardson (21 years and 118 days old) became the youngest quarterback in the Super Bowl era to score multiple rushing touchdowns in a single game, breaking a mark that was previously held by Lamar Jackson (21 years and 357 days old when he first did it in 2018).
Jaguars can’t beat the Chiefs. In their past 13 games, the Jags have gone 9-4, which breaks down like this: They’re 0-3 against the Chiefs and 9-1 against everyone else.
Cowboys are crushing everyone. With their 30-10 win over the Jets, the Cowboys are now just the fifth team in the Super Bowl era to score at least 70 points and allow 10 or fewer points through their first two games of a season. The Cowboys join the 1966 Oilers, 1967 Raiders, 1970 Lions and 2019 Patriots. Unfortunately for Dallas, none of those teams went on to win the Super Bowl.
Tua owns Belichick. Thanks to the Dolphins‘ win on Sunday night, Tua is now 5-0 all time against Bill Belichick, which is the best record that any QB has against the Patriots coach. Tua is also just one of four quarterbacks who are 5-0 or better against a Super Bowl-winning head coach, according to ESPN Stats and information. The other quarterbacks in that group are Russell Wilson (vs. Doug Pederson), Peyton Manning (vs. Tom Coughlin) and Chris Chandler (vs. Mike Ditka).
The NFL is throwing a curveball at us tonight by giving us the first Monday doubleheader of the season. If you’re wondering why this is happening, it’s one of the perks that ESPN got in its new media contract with the NFL. There will be a total of three Monday night doubleheaders each season over the course of the deal with one game airing on ESPN and one game airing on ABC.
The twist with the doubleheader is that one game will be kicking off earlier than usual. The Saints will be facing the Panthers in a game that will be starting at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. This is a big game for both teams, but it’s arguably bigger for the Panthers, because, if they lose, they’ll fall to 0-2, which will put them two games behind the Buccaneers and Falcons, two NFC South rivals that are both 2-0.
My good buddy Cody Benjamin did a deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:
Why the Saints can win: The Saints pass-rush was a big reason why they won last week. In a 16-15 win over Tennessee, Ryan Tannehill faced constant pressure, which led to three sacks AND three interceptions, and that was from a veteran quarterback. Tonight, the Saints defense will get to go up against a rookie in Bryce Young and he’ll be playing behind a Panthers offensive line that didn’t look great in Week 1. If Cameron Jordan and the Saints defense can put a lot of pressure on Young, it’s hard to see him having much success, which will almost certainly mean that the Saints escape Carolina with a win.
Why the Panthers can win: The best thing the Panthers can do in this game is to get their rushing attack going, which will take a lot of pressure off Bryce Young. In Week 1, the Saints surrendered five yards per carry to Tennessee’s running backs, so it’s very possible that Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard will have some success. If the Panthers can get the ball going on the ground, that will negate the Saints’ pass-rush and make Carolina tough to beat.
If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Jordan Dajani has put together a full gambling preview.
ONE PROP JORDAN LIKES: Juwan Johnson OVER 23.5 receiving yards (-119): “This number is too low. Johnson caught three of five targets for 36 yards in Week 1.”
ONE PROP I LIKE: Blake Grupe OVER 6.5 points (-125): I’ve handed out three prime-time kicker props this season and they’ve gone 3-0, so let’s see if we can keep the streak going. Last week, Grupe scored 10 points and I think we’ll see more of the same tonight. More of the same would be Derek Carr moving the Saints offense down the field, but not being able to get them in the end zone, which leads to more field goals for Grupe.
Cody’s pick: Saints 27-16 over Panthers Dajani’s pick: Saints 23-13 over Panthers My pick: Saints 24-17 over Panthers
Over on our CBSSports.com picks page, six of our eight experts are taking the Saints to win straight up. However, when it comes to the spread, we’re split almost evenly with five us on the Saints (-3) and three of us on the Panthers.
Instead of having one game kick off after the other, the two games tonight will actually be played simultaneously for a good chunk of the evening with the Browns and Steelers starting at 8:15 p.m. ET on ABC. Putting two games on at the same time on a Monday night seems like a horrible decision, but I’m not in charge of that stuff.
Anyway, my good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:
Why the Browns can win: The Browns beat the Steelers handily when these two teams met for the first time last year in Week 3 and a big reason for that was Nick Chubb. The Browns are going to be short-handed at some key positions tonight like right tackle (Jack Conklin is out for the season) and wide receiver (Amari Cooper likely isn’t playing). With that being the case, it will make sense for them to lean on Chubb, and if he gets going that should help the Browns control the flow of the game.
Why the Steelers can win: The easiest way to beat Deshaun Watson is to put pressure on him, and the Steelers are good at doing that with one of the best pass-rushers in football on their roster in T.J. Watt. Watson seems to implode when he’s under pressure: During his time with the Browns, he’s 20 of 52 (38.5%) for 244 yards (4.7 per attempt) with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Also, Watson is going to be missing his starting right tackle (Conklin) and likely won’t have his No. 1 receiver (Cooper). Basically, this sets up as a game that the Steelers defense can dominate.
If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan has put together a full gambling preview.
ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Deshaun Watson OVER 25.5 rushing yards (-115): “With star offensive tackle Jack Conklin out of the season, there’s going to be a drop-off in protection for Deshaun Watson. Considering that he’ll be facing T.J. Watt and a strong Steelers pass rush, the Browns quarterback could be flushed out of the pocket and forced to scramble a bit in this game and that’s not even mentioning the designed runs he’ll get in this offense. … Watson rushed five times last week for 45 yards and a touchdown and I expect that to remain a part of his game here.”
ONE PROP I LIKE: Chris Boswell OVER 5.5 points (-123): Boswell only scored one point last week in a game where the Steelers offense struggled, but that’s actually good for betting purposes this week, because I think the oddsmakers are undervaluing him. This total feels WAY too low for Boswell, who has gone over 5.5 in four of his past five games dating back to last season. It won’t be surprising if this game turns into a defensive struggle that features a lot of field goals and if that happens, Boswell should easily hit the over here.
You can check out Sullivan’s full gambling preview by clicking here. Finally, if you’re wondering who we’re picking, here’s who we have tonight:
Dubin’s pick: Steelers 16-13 over Browns Sullivan’s pick: Browns 23-20 over Steelers My pick: Steelers 23-20 over Browns
Over on our CBSSports.com picks page, five of our eight experts are taking the Browns to win straight up and to cover the spread in a game where Cleveland is currently favored by two points.
6. Extra points: Joe Burrow aggravates his calf injury
It was a busy weekend 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.
Joe Burrow could be hobbled for the next few weeks. Not only did the Bengals lose on Sunday, but to add insult to injury, Burrow aggravated his calf injury. At this point, it’s not clear how serious it is, but even if he can play, he’s not going to be 100%, which isn’t ideal for a Bengals offense that’s been struggling through two weeks.
Cam Akers likely to be traded. There was some drama between Akers and the Rams last season and it appears the two sides did NOT resolve their issues. Not only did Akers get benched this week, but the Rams are now looking to trade him. You can check out the full details of the situation here.
Aaron Rodgers sounds like he’s planning to play in 2024. The Jets QB underwent a special type of Achilles surgery that involves a “speed bridge,” and thanks to that fact, he could be back sooner rather than later. Not only does Rodgers sound like he plans on playing next season, but he also hinted that he might be able to play in the postseason if the Jets are able to make it. You can see his full comments here.
Tom Brady’s ownership stake in the Raiders hasn’t been finalized. Before Brady becomes a part owner of the Raiders, he has to be approved by NFL owners, which hasn’t happened yet. On the surface, that’s not odd, because they don’t meet again until October, which is when the approval will likely happen. However, since Brady doesn’t own any part of the team yet, that means he’s actually free to return this year. Although it definitely sounds like he doesn’t want to play, the Jets might want to think about giving him a call and offering him anything he wants because Zach Wilson definitely isn’t going to salvage their season.