Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
Since it's Thursday, that means there's an actual NFL game being played tonight, although I use the word "game" very loosely and that's because the Dolphins are involved. Watching actual Dolphins play football would arguably be more exciting than what we've seen from Miami this year.
Even though the Ravens-Dolphins game might not be that exciting, it's still football, so we'll be covering it extensively in today's newsletter. We'll also be covering Cam Newton's return to Carolina! Honestly, I thought I would see a cat speak English before I'd see Newton return to the Panthers, but here we are. On that note, let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Ravens-Dolphins betting preview
If you're planning on betting any money on tonight's game, then you're going to want to make sure to listen to today's episode of the podcast before you place any bets. For today's show, Will Brinson brought on CBSSports writer Tyler Sullivan, and the two went into full gambling mode.
Here are several props they like for the game:
- Lamar Jackson OVER 232.5 passing yards (-130). The Ravens have played eight games this season and Jackson has gone over this total in seven of them. Most teams are so focused on stopping the run when they play the Ravens that it leaves things open for Jackson to dice them up through the air.
- Mark Andrews OVER 3.5 receptions (-110). Andrews has gone over this total in six of Baltimore's past seven games and there's no reason to think he won't do it again against a Dolphins defense that has been struggling to stop anyone this year.
- Jaylen Waddle OVER 60.5 receiving yards (-115). In what might come as a surprise to most people, the Ravens are giving up the second-most pass yards per game in the NFL this year, which could open the door for Waddle to have a big night.
- Long shot prop: Marquise Brown to score the first TD of the game (+800). Brown has six touchdown catches on the season, which leads the Ravens, so we know that Lamar Jackson likes to look for him once Baltimore gets near the end zone. At +800 (win $80 on a $10 bet), this prop is a pretty solid value.
For more props and their actual predictions for tonight's game, be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. If you'd rather watch today's show, you can now do that on YouTube by clicking here!
2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Ravens at Dolphins
I'm not going to lie, tonight's game feels like a total mismatch. However, I'll definitely still be watching and that's because it seems like every primetime game has gone down to the wire this year. One reason I won't be sleeping on the Dolphins is because they're surprising good in November home games. Since 2018, they're 5-1 at home in November.
My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game at CBS Sports, and here's how he sees it playing out:
- Why the Ravens can win: This one comes down to simple math: Not only do the Ravens have one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL (427.9 yards per game, which ranks second in the league), but they get to play one of the worst defenses in the NFL. (The Dolphins are surrendering 391.6 yards per game this season, which is the third-most in the league.) Basically, it could be a huge night for the Ravens offense and it's tough to imagine the Dolphins keeping up.
- Why the Dolphins can win: The Dolphins are only averaging 17.2 points per game -- the fifth-lowest number in the NFL -- and that's probably not going to get much better tonight considering it's not even clear who their starting QB is going to be. (Tua Tagovailoa is banged up and Jacoby Brissett will get the start if he can't go.) This basically means that if the Dolphins are going to pull off the upset, they're likely going to need a miracle game from their defense. If the defense can force multiple turnovers and give their offense short fields to work with, that will likely be the one way the Dolphins can win here. Also, the Ravens do have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL, so if the Dolphins can take advantage of that, they might be able to pull off the upset.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. The Ravens are currently favored by 7.5 points.
Dubin's pick: Ravens 30-17 over Dolphins.
My pick: Ravens 30-20 over Dolphins.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Marquise Brown OVER 4.5 receptions (+130): "Lamar Jackson has thrown in Brown's direction 26 times over the last two weeks and the receiver has gone over this prop in five games this year. The Hollywood, Florida, native will certainly want to show out in front of his hometown Thursday, so he could be in for a big game."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Justin Tucker OVER 7.5 kicking points (+105): The Ravens kicker is averaging 8.4 points per game this season, so getting plus money on him scoring more than 7.5 points feels like a pretty solid value. Also, he's gone over 7.5 points in two of Baltimore's past three games, which includes scoring 10 points in the Ravens' Week 9 win over the Vikings.
3. NFL playoff projections heading into Week 10
With nine weeks of the NFL season officially in the books, that means we're exactly halfway through the year, which makes right now the perfect time to start talking about the playoffs. When it comes to the postseason, the only thing anyone wants to know is whether their favorite team is going to make it, which is why we decided to do some projections!
To figure out who's going to make the playoffs this year, we had Stephen Oh of SportsLine crunch some numbers. We used those numbers to project the 14 teams we expect to make the playoffs.
Here's how our projection breaks down for both conferences:
The biggest surprise in the AFC is that the Browns and Chiefs are both projected to miss the playoffs. Also, as a noted Bengals homer, I will publicly make it known that Oh will not be getting a Christmas card from me this year since he's leaving Cincinnati out. In the NFC, the only real surprise is that the Vikings are projected to get the seventh seed.
According to Oh's projections, the Bills are currently the team favored to win it all. If you want more details on the projections, including what the playoff chances are for all 32 teams, be sure to click here. Besides playoff projections, we also had seven of our NFL writers (INCLUDING MYSELF) make midseason predictions on who's going to make the playoffs and you can see those predictions by clicking here.
4. NFL midseason predictions
With Week 10 kicking off tonight, that means we had to hurry up and get out our midseason predictions today since it will no longer technically be midseason after the Thursday night game starts. With nine of the NFL's 18 weeks in the bag, we decided to round up seven of our writers and then asked each of them to predict how the rest of the season is going to break down.
Here is what they are predicting:
Super Bowl winner
Rams (2 votes)
Packers (2 votes)
Bills (1 vote)
Buccaneers (1 vote)
Chiefs (1 vote)
Personal note: I voted for the Packers, but only because they were my preseason pick and I'm not going stab the preseason version of myself in the back by going against the pick.
Coach of the Year
Mike Vrabel (3)
Kliff Kingsbury (3)
Matt LaFleur (1)
We also voted on multiple other awards, including offensive and defensive rookie of the year. If you want to see the results of those votes, be sure to click here.
5. Cam Newton returning to Carolina
Nearly 20 months after kicking him to the curb, the Carolina Panthers are now crawling back to Cam Newton. The Panthers currently have a precarious situation at quarterback, and they're attempting to address it by adding their former signal-caller.
Here's what we know about the situation:
- Panthers agree to terms with Newton after meeting with him Thursday. According to The Charlotte Observer, Newton met with Panthers coach Matt Rhule and team owner David Tepper at some point Thursday morning. Apparently, the meeting went well because the Panthers announced at 12:05 p.m. ET that Newton had officially agreed to terms with the team.
- Newton has been a free agent since August. Newton was a free agent because the Patriots surprisingly cut him Aug. 31. At the time, Newton made it clear that he wanted to keep playing, but one reason he wasn't getting many calls is because he wasn't vaccinated. (An unvaccinated player has to go through a five-day waiting period before they are allowed to visit with a team, which most teams don't like dealing with, because if they need a player, they want that player in their facility ASAP.)
- Cam spent nine years in Carolina. Newton was drafted by the Panthers with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 and spent nine seasons there before being cut in March 2020. The twist here is that Rhule was the one who decided to move on. Getting rid of Newton was his first big move he made after being hired as coach in January 2020. Since letting Newton go, Rhule has made some bad moves in the QB department: First, he signed Teddy Bridgewater and then in 2021, he decided it would be a good idea to trade draft picks for Sam Darnold. Rhule is basically 0-for-his-NFL career when it comes to making good QB decisions.
- Why the Panthers needed Newton right now. The Panthers were in need of a quarterback because Sam Darnold was placed on injured reserve this week. Darnold (shoulder) is likely going to be out four to six weeks, which means, even in the best-case scenario, he wouldn't be back on the field until Week 14 (Dec. 12). The Panthers do have P.J. Walker, but clearly they don't want to put their season in the hands of the former XFL QB.
Another twist here is that if Newton ends up as the Panthers starter, his first game could potentially come in Week 11 against Washington, which just so happens to be coached by Ron Rivera, the same Ron Rivera who coached Newton for nearly nine years in Carolina.
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.
- Odell Beckham update. According to NFL.com, Beckham plans to mull over his free agency decision for a few days, which means we might not see him sign with anyone today. As we mentioned yesterday, the teams with the most interest continue to be the Chiefs, Packers, Seahawks, Patriots and Saints.
- Browns get extension done with starting guard. It's been a busy week for the Browns. Not only did they sign offensive guard Wyatt Teller to an extension, but they also got their other starting guard under contract Wednesday when they gave Joel Bitonio a three-year extension worth $48 million.
- Cowboys lose Randy Gregory for multiple weeks. Mike McCarthy announced Thursday that Gregory will likely be out for the rest of the month after suffering a calf strain in practice. According to ESPN.com, Gregory could end up on IR, which means he wouldn't be eligible to play again until Week 13 (Dec. 2).
- Cowboys also add kicker. With Greg Zuerlein on the COVID-19 list, the Cowboys needed to add a kicker in case he can't play Sunday, so that's exactly what they did. That kicker is Lirim Hajrullahu, who spent time on the Cowboys practice squad earlier this year. However, he's never kicked in an NFL game.
- Vikings player hospitalized with COVID complications. The NFL hasn't had to deal with a serious case of COVID yet this season, but that changed this week with Minnesota's Dakota Dozier. According to ESPN.com, the offensive lineman was hospitalized because he was having trouble breathing due to COVID.
- Jets name Mike White starting QB for Week 10. Although Zach Wilson seems to be getting healthier, the Jets aren't quite ready to turn back to him. Jets coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday that White will be the team's starting quarterback this weekend against the Bills. White injured his forearm against the Colts in Week 9. The upstart QB had thrown for 95 yards in less than one quarter of play before being injured.
- NFL reviewing Dalvin Cook situation. The Vikings running will be allowed to play for now even though he had a lawsuit filed against him that contained some serious allegations, "The matter will be reviewed under the personal conduct policy," an NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Pro Football Talk. "We will continue to monitor developments but there's no change to his status as this is a civil complaint." For more details on Cook's legal situation, be sure to click here.
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