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Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I'm going to make today's newsletter as dramatic as possible since we didn't really get any drama over the weekend. There were four games played and only one of them went down to the wire. Although we got stuck with three blowouts, I actually thought it was a solid weekend of football.  

In a span of 36 hours, we saw: 

  • Two favorites get blown out in Texas (Browns and Cowboys). 
  • The fourth-coldest game in NFL history (Chiefs over Dolphins). 
  • The Lions won their first playoff game in 32 years. 
  • Also, we saw two teams score at least 45 points, which hasn't happened twice in a single playoff round since 2009. 
  • And let's not forget, we saw two of the most efficient QB performances of ALL-TIME. Both Jordan Love and C.J. Stroud finished with a QB rating of 157.2, which means they are now tied for the fourth-highest QB rating in a playoff game in NFL history. 

We'll be covering all of that, plus more in today's newsletter, 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. Getting your friends signed up is a great way to help them start 2024 off on the right foot. 

1. Today's show: Biggest questions after the first four games of the wild-card round


If I fall asleep while writing the newsletter today, it's because I haven't slept in two days. I stayed up way too late to celebrate my birthday on Saturday and then I stayed up way too late again last night to record a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson.

The three of us touched on our biggest takeaways from Super Bowl Wild Card Weekend. Here are a few of the biggest questions that we tried to answer: 

  • Will Mike McCarthy get fired? After watching the Cowboys suffer a total meltdown in the playoffs, Brinson and I are both convinced that McCarthy is going to get canned (Wilson thinks Jerry Jones will keep him around). McCarthy has definitely proven that he's good enough to get the Cowboys to the playoffs, but it's hard to see him winning a Super Bowl in Dallas. Jones is 81 and he's going to want to hire someone who can win him a Super Bowl ASAP, and I can think of one former Patriots coach who might fit that Bill. 
  • How far can the Texans go? There were two shockers in Texas. Not only did the Cowboys get beat down in Dallas, but we also saw the Texans pull off an upset against the Browns. The Texans will either play the Chiefs or the Ravens in the divisional round and I think they're good enough to beat either team. The Texans kind of remind me of the 2021 Bengals: A team with a good QB that came out of nowhere to make the Super Bowl. 
  • Did the Chiefs finally flip the switch? It seems kind of impossible to believe that the defending Super Bowl champion could be overlooked heading into the playoffs, but that seems to be the case with the Chiefs. Although they struggled through parts of the regular season, they dominated the Dolphins on Saturday night and they now look like a legitimate threat to win the AFC. This team has more postseason experience than anyone and as long as they have Patrick Mahomes, they feel like a team that can win it all. 

We recorded two shows over the weekend and you can listen to our Saturday show here where we covered Houston's win over Cleveland and Kansas City's win over Miami. If you want to listen to our recap show that covered Sunday's games, you can do that here. You can also watch each of those episodes on YouTube: The Saturday recap is here and the Sunday recap is here

2. Breaking down Super Wild Card Weekend

Since things got so wild over the weekend, we thought it would make sense to at least take a brief look at what happened in each game, so that's what we're going to do here.

  • (4) Texans 45-14 over (5) Browns. This was a beatdown from start to finish. The Browns defense had no answers for C.J. Stroud, who threw for 274 yards while also tying the rookie record for TD passes in a playoff game with three. Stroud had four completions in the game that went for more than 25 yards, including a 76-yard TD to Brevin Jordan. The Texans defense also came up big by putting the game away with two pick-sixes on Joe Flacco in the second half. Flacco actually played well in the first half, but the wheels fell off the wagon for him in the second half with his two pick-sixes coming on consecutive possessions in the third quarter. The Houston touchdowns turned a 24-14 game into a 38-14 Texans lead. The Browns defense, which went into the game as the top unit in the NFL, got embarrassed by a Texans offense that was able to move the ball at will. 
  • (3) Chiefs 26-7 over (6) Dolphins. With a kickoff temperature of minus-4, this was the fourth-coldest game in NFL history and Miami was simply no match for the arctic elements. Tua Tagovailoa didn't even throw for 200 yards as the Dolphins were held to a season-low seven points. Although Miami's offense never got on track, the cold weather wasn't a problem for a Chiefs offense that piled up more than 400 yards. Patrick Mahomes wasn't perfect, but he did throw for 262 yards and most importantly for the Chiefs, he seems to have found a receiver he trusts in Rashee Rice, who caught eight passes for 130 yards and a TD. We also saw Mahomes' helmet SHATTER and you can read about that here
  • (7) Packers 48-32 over (2) Packers. In the biggest upset of the wild-card round, the Packers went into Dallas and absolutely embarrassed the Cowboys. Jordan Love finished the game with a passer rating of 157.2, which is tied for the fourth-highest ever in an NFL postseason game. Love threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns for a Packers offense that didn't have any trouble moving the ball through the air or on the ground. Aaron Jones led the rushing attack with 118 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Romeo Doubs also exploded for 151 yards and a touchdown in the first playoff game of his career. The Packers defense also came up big with four sacks and a pick-six by Darnell Savage that effectively put the game away in the second quarter. It was a dominant performance by the Packers, who led 48-16 before the Cowboys were able to score two touchdowns in garbage time. We took a look at why the Packer had so much success carving up the Cowboys defense and you can check that out here
  • (3) Lions 24-23 over (6) Rams. The Lions picked up their first playoff win in 32 years and they did it by beating an old friend in Matthew Stafford. Although Stafford put up huge numbers -- he threw for 367 yards and two touchdowns -- the Lions defense stopped him when it counted the most. Not only did they hold the Rams to zero touchdowns on three red zone possessions, but the Lions defense also came up with a stop in the final minutes after the Rams had driven into Detroit's territory with the Lions clinging to a 24-23 lead. Jared Goff didn't put up the numbers that Stafford did, but he was just as impressive, going 22 of 27 for 277 yards and a TD. 

With the Lions' win, that means the Dolphins now have the NFL's longest active drought without a playoff win. Miami hasn't won in the postseason since 2000 (You can see a full list of the longest active droughts here). 

As for the the wild-card round, we have two more games coming tonight and we'll be previewing both of them below.

3. Monday preview, part I: Prepping you for Steelers at Bills

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills

This game was supposed to be played on Sunday, but it got pushed to today after Buffalo got buried in a blizzard over the weekend. If the Bills win, they'll earn a divisional round date with the Chiefs. If the Steelers win, they'll head to Baltimore in the divisional round to face the Ravens. Although today's game is being played, there's still going to be plenty of snow on the ground with more possibly falling during the game (You can read more about the weather here). 

Here's a look at why both teams should feel good about their chances of winning:

  • Why the Steelers can win: For most of the season, the Steelers had one of the worst offenses in football, but things changed after Mason Rudolph showed up. The Steelers have gone 3-0 with Rudolph as their starter and that's mostly because he's done a good job of making Pittsburgh less one-dimensional. The Steelers now have a solid passing game to compliment their rushing attack. The Steelers are 10-1 this season when they score 16 points or more, which is something they've done in each of Rudolph's three starts. If Rudolph can hit a few deep shots and the Steelers are able to control the ball on the ground, they might be able to pull off the upset. If you need more convincing, we made a list of three reasons why the Steelers can win this game and you can check that out here
  • Why the Bills can win: The Steelers won't have T.J. Watt in this game, which is a huge loss for Pittsburgh team that has gone 1-10 without Watt on the field in his career. With no Watt to rush the passer, that could open things up for a Bills offense that ranked in the top-8 in passing yards during the regular season with 244.4 yards per game. Basically, there's a good chance Josh Allen could go off and it's hard to see Buffalo losing if that happens. If the bad weather keeps Allen in check though, the Bills might have to rely on their ground game, which shouldn't be an issue, considering the Steelers ranked in the bottom half of the NFL at stopping the run. 

The Steelers-Bills game will be kicking off at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS and you can also stream the game on Paramount+. 

If you're thinking about betting on the game, here's one prop I like: 

  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Josh Allen OVER 39.5 rushing yards. With the weather expected to be ugly, I won't be surprised at all if Allen ends up with a high rushing total. If it gets windy it won't be easy to throw the ball, which means Allen will likely look to run more than usual. Allen also tends to run more in the playoffs: He's gone OVER this number in five of his past six postseason games. 

My prime-time prop record is 21-14 this year. 

Finally, if you're wondering who we're picking, here's who we have in a game where the Bills are favored by 10 points: 

Pete Prisco's pick: Bills 27-13 over Steelers
My pick: Bills 27-17 over Steelers

You can see who all of our experts are taking over on our CBSSports.com picks page.

4. Monday preview, part II: Prepping you for Eagles at Buccaneers

The winner of this game will be getting an all-expense paid trip to Detroit to face the Lions in the divisional round. Although the Eagles are a 3-point favorite, they definitely won't be a full strength and that's because A.J. Brown has already been ruled out. 

Here's a look at why both teams should feel good about their chances of winning:

  • Why the Eagles can win: When it comes to stopping the pass, the Buccaneers defense has been one of the worst in the NFL this year. The Bucs gave up an average of 248.9 yards per game in 2023, which was the fourth-worst number in the NFL. If Jalen Hurts can take advantage of that, that should open things up for the entire Eagles offense, but it won't be easy. For one, Hurts has only thrown for more than 200 yards TWICE in his past eight games and let's not forget, he also won't have A.J. Brown. The Eagles were able to make a Super Bowl run last year because Hurts kept having huge games and they're once again going to need that tonight if they're going to win. 
  • Why the Buccaneers can win: Remember when we mentioned that the Buccaneers defense was bad at stopping the pass? Well, the Eagles defense was worse. During the regular-season, the Eagle surrendered the SECOND-MOST passing yards in the NFL. The good news for the Buccaneers is that they're built to take advantage of that with a receiving corps that includes two players who both topped 1,000 yards in 2023 (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin). That being said, Baker Mayfield is dealing with both ankle and rib injuries that had him questionable for this game. If that doesn't slow him down, the Buccaneers offense could have a big night. 

The Eagles-Buccaneers game will be kicking off at 8:15 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN. 

If you're thinking about betting on the game, here's one prop I like: 

  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Jake Elliott OVER 6.5 points (-105). Although the Eagles offense has been struggling, Elliott still managed to OVER this number in five of seven games to close the season. Elliott also went over this number in all three of Philadelphia's postseason games last year.  As he proved last season, Nick Sirianni has no problem settling for field goals in the playoffs and I won't be surprised if we see two or three attempts from Elliott tonight. 

My prime-time prop record is 21-14 this year. 

Finally, if you're wondering who we're picking, here's who we have tonight in a game where the Eagles are favored by three points: 

Pete Prisco's pick: Buccaneers 27-24 over Eagles
My pick: Buccaneers 23-16 over Eagles

You can see who all of our experts are taking over on our CBSSports.com picks page

5. Divisional round playoff schedule is out


Even though the wild card round isn't even over yet, we already know that divisional round schedule and that's because the NFL announced it on Sunday night. The two teams that got a bye over the weekend -- the Ravens and 49ers -- could both be playing on Saturday, with Baltimore hosting the early game and San Francisco hosting the nightcap ... unless the Steelers win today, which would bump the Ravens to Sunday.

With that in mind, here's a look at the playoff schedule for the divisional round. 

Saturday, Jan. 20

  • Texans at Ravens/Chiefs, 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC). If the Bills beat the Steelers on Monday, then the Texans will be playing in Baltimore. On the other hand, if the Steelers win, this game will be Texans at Chiefs. 
  • Packers at 49ers, 8:15 p.m. (Fox). This will mark the 10th time that these two teams have met in the postseason, which is a new NFL record. Two of those playoff meetings have come over the past four years with Kyle Shanahan's 49ers going 2-0 against Matt LaFleur and the Packers. 

Sunday, Jan. 21

  • Eagles/Buccaneers at Lions, 3 p.m. ET (NBC). After going 30 years without hosting a playoff game, the Lions won't be waiting quite as long to host their next one. Detroit will be the home team here in what will be their first divisional round home game since January 1992. 
  • Chiefs at Bills or Steelers at Ravens, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+). If the Bills beat the Steelers on Monday, then this game will be Bills at Chiefs. However, if the Steelers pull off the upset, then the Ravens will be hosting Pittsburgh in the final game of the divisional round. 

You can see the full playoff schedule here

6. Extra points: Jim Harbaugh set to interview with Chargers

It's been 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. 

  • Chargers to interview Jim Harbaugh. One week after leading Michigan to the national championship, Harbaugh will be meeting with the Chargers about their head coaching job. Harbaugh has already hired Don Yee as his agent, which makes it seem like he's planning to make the jump to the NFL this year IF he can find the right team. Harbaugh spent four years as the 49ers coach during a span where he led them to three straight NFC Championship games. 
  • All-Pro teams released. The Associated Press released its All-Pro team on Friday, which is the All-Pro team that the NFL recognizes each year. This is the only award that comes out before "The NFL Honors Show" in February. The 49ers had FOUR players on the first-team offense with Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Trent Williams and Kyle Juszczyk all getting the nod. You can see the full All-Pro team here
  • Maxx Crosby will explore trade if Raiders don't hire Antonio Pierce. The Raiders star has put his foot down when it comes to the team's coaching search. Crosby made it clear that he will NOT be a happy camper if the Raiders hire someone besides Antonio Pierce. He also hinted that he might seek a trade if Pierce isn't hired. The ball is in your court Mark Davis (You can read the full story on Crosby here). 
  • Head coaching tracker. Speaking of Pierce, one reason Crosby sounded the alarm bells is because other teams are now talking to him. The Falcons have already interviewed Pierce and the Titans are expected to follow suit. If you want to stay up to date on all the coaching interviews going on around the NFL, be sure to follow our coaching tracker here