Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
Today is Aaron Rodgers' birthday, which I'm only mentioning because apparently his birthday wish was for Drew Brees to be struck by lightning. Just kidding. Brees did not get struck by lightning, and if you read that he did, you were lied to. It was all a publicity stunt, and .
One thing that is not a publicity stunt is the Bills' domination of the Patriots. Buffalo rolled through New England last night, and we'll be going over the key points of that game in today's newsletter. We'll also be taking a look at FOUR different upset picks we're making for Sunday.
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: Bills continue their domination of Patriots
For nearly 20 years, the Patriots bullied the Bills, but now, Buffalo seems to have the upper hand in this series. With Thursday's 24-10 win, the Bills have now won four of their past five against the Patriots. They've also won three straight in New England for the first time since 1992-94. Also, they're the first team to win three straight in Foxboro since the Jets did it from 2000-02. With the win, the Bills also became the first team to beat the Patriots by double digits in three straight games during the Bill Belichick era.
Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I got together after the game to record a 45-minute podcast about the Bills' win. Here are a few key points from the game that we went over:
- Josh Allen finally looks like Josh Allen. For the first time since injuring his elbow on Nov. 6, Josh Allen finally looked like Josh Allen. Not only did Allen look accurate -- he completed 66.7% of his passes -- but he totaled 243 yards in the game (223 passing, 20 rushing). Allen also threw two touchdowns, including a wild one to Gabe Davis where the QB was being pushed out of bounds (you can see the clip here). The big winner of Allen's return to normalcy was Stefon Diggs, who caught seven passes for 92 yards and a TD. Also, the Bills rushing attack continues to look strong, as the team finished with 132 yards on the ground. Their six highest rushing totals of the season have now come over the past six weeks.
- Patriots offense was embarrassingly bad. When Mac Jones is getting frustrated, you know something is wrong -- and Jones was irate Thursday night. The Patriots QB ripped into someone on the sideline in the second half (you can see the clip here). After the game, he explained that he was mad because he didn't feel like the team was taking enough shots downfield. Jones threw for 195 yards, but 69 of those came in garbage time late in the fourth quarter with the Bills leading 24-7. The Patriots did have some success moving the ball on the ground -- they averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 14 rushes -- but after the Bills went up 24-7 early in the third quarter, New England basically gave up on its ground game.
- Patriots' playoff hopes on life support. The loss to Buffalo drops the Patriots to 6-6 and, more importantly, to the ninth-overall seed in the AFC. Based on how things have played out so far, it seems like it's going to take at least 10 wins to make the playoffs. To hit that number, the Patriots would have to go 4-1 down the stretch, which won't be easy with three of their five remaining games coming against the Bengals, Dolphins and Bills.
- Bills put pressure on Dolphins and Chiefs with win. With three wins in a row, the Bills are almost right where they want to be. At 9-3, the Bills are currently leading the AFC East by a half game while sitting just a half-game behind the Chiefs for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. If the Dolphins lose to the 49ers on Sunday, that will put the Bills in the driver's seat for the division title. Also, if the Chiefs lose to the Bengals, then the Bills will move up into the top spot in the AFC. The Bills were the Super Bowl frontrunner to start the season, and after a short lull in early November, they're now playing like that again.
If you want to hear our entire recap of the game, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Today's show Part II: Best bets for Week 13
The best part about Friday -- besides the fact that it's Friday -- is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After recording the Thursday night postgame podcast with Wilson and myself, Brinson kicked us to the curb so that he could record his weekly picks show with Pete Prisco and R.J. White.
Those three guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over their best bets for every single game being played in Week 13, and we're going to cover three of those bets from each guy below. You actually might want to listen to them this week because they've combined to go an absurdly impressive 28-15-2 over the past five weeks.
Pete Prisco (1-2 last week in picks covered here, 22-13-1 on the season)
- Titans (+5) to cover against the Eagles
- Raiders (+1.5) to cover against the Chargers
- Commanders (-2) to cover against the Giants
R.J. White (2-0-1 last week in picks covered here, 22-12-2 on the season)
- Jets (+3) to cover against the Vikings
- Falcons (+1) to cover against the Steelers
- Cowboys (-11) to cover against the Colts
Will Brinson (2-1 last week in picks covered here, 17-18-1 on the season)
- Buccaneers (-3.5) to cover against the Saints
- Chiefs at Bengals OVER 53 points
- Jaguars at Lions OVER 51.5 points
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 13 -- and there are quite a few -- you can check out the episode on YouTube by clicking here.
3. Week 13 picks: Jets, Falcons and Bengals headline big week of upsets
This is the final newsletter of the week, which means we will be cramming as many picks as humanly possible into this space.
With that in mind, we've got four more Week 13 picks coming your way, and those will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco, along with Jordan Dajani, Tyler Sullivan and myself.
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. Every pick that was featured here last week ended up being correct, so let's see if we can make it two weeks in row.
- Pete Prisco -- Falcons (+1) 23-20 over Steelers From Prisco: "The Steelers are playing consecutive road games outside the division, and this one is on a short week. That's tough to do. It's also tough to prepare for the Falcons offense on a short week." For the .
- Tyler Sullivan -- Jets (+3) 24-21 over Vikings. From Sullivan: "New York ranks fourth in the NFL in fewest points per game allowed, third in yards per play allowed, and has the top-graded defense by Pro Football Focus. The Jets defense matches up well with this Vikings offense, while Minnesota's defense just allowed New England to put up 409 yards of total offense." For the rest of Sullivan's .
- Jordan Dajani -- Bengals (+2) 31-28 over Chiefs. From Dajani: "The Chiefs haven't lost since Oct. 16. It feels like they are due for a loss this weekend. I get that Patrick Mahomes is well on his way to his second MVP and that the No. 1 seed in the AFC is virtually reserved for Kansas City, but I think this is a time to buy Bengals stock. Cincinnati wins its third straight vs. Kansas City. Give me the upset." For the .
- John Breech -- Lions (+1) 27-24 over Jaguars. All seven of Detroit's losses have come against teams that currently have a winning record. On the flip side, they're undefeated against teams that currently have a losing record. The Jaguars have a losing record, so obviously, the Lions are going to win. For the .
4. Playoff scenarios: Two teams can clinch and two teams can be eliminated this weekend
Through 12 weeks of the NFL season, we still haven't seen a single team clinch a playoff berth AND we haven't seen a single team get eliminated, but both of those things could change Sunday.
For Week 13, we have two teams that could clinch a playoff berth and two teams that could officially be eliminated from the playoff race.
Here are the two teams that could clinch and what they need to do to clinch:
- Can clinch playoff berth with: Eagles win over Titans PLUS Giants win over Commanders PLUS Dolphins win over 49ers PLUS Rams win over Seahawks. (Yes, four things have to happen for Philly to get in.)
- Can clinch division title/playoff berth with: Vikings win over Jets PLUS Lions loss to Jaguars.
Here are the two teams that could be eliminated:
- Would be eliminated with: Bears loss to Packers PLUS Seahawks win over Rams.
- Would be eliminated with: Texans loss to Browns.
Remember, this just represents the easiest clinching/elimination scenario for each of these teams. For a look at every possible playoff-clinching scenario, be sure to click here.
5. Bold predictions for Week 13
There's nothing we love here more than making bold predictions, so we asked Jared Dubin to come up with them for Week 13.
With that in mind, let's take a look at his predictions:
- Aaron Rodgers beats the Bears one more time. "Rodgers has a 23-5 record against the Bears and he owns them. Also, the Bears defense just got torn up by Mike White and the Jets last week, so the bet here is that they can't deal with Rodgers, either, even if he is battling multiple injuries."
- Chiefs finally solve the Bengals. "The Bengals pulled off two comeback wins against the Chiefs last year, but that's not going to happen this time around. Kansas City has built its offense to take advantage of when defenses try to force them into the same types of throws that Cincinnati did last year, and with Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster, can repeatedly move the ball down the field in smaller chunks with relative ease. Cincinnati surely won't show up with the exact same plan anyway, but whatever it is, Mahomes, Andy Reid, and Co. will be ready for it and come away with a win."
- Cowboys come close to NFL single-game sack record. "Matt Ryan has been a sitting duck in the pocket for much of this season, getting dropped on a career-high 7.6% of his dropbacks and leading the league in yards lost on sacks despite sitting out two games. He's been sacked multiple times in eight of his 10 starts, and five-plus times in three of them. The NFL record for most sacks by one team is 12, and don't be surprised if the Cowboys get close."
- Dolphins or 49ers set NFL record for yards after catch. "The league record for yards after catch in a game was set by Washington back in Week 17 of the 2014 season, when it totaled 307 yards after catch in a game against the division rival Dallas Cowboys. With Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Christian McCaffrey all on the field at the same time this weekend, and with Mike McDaniel and Kyle Shanahan scheming them into position to succeed, one of these two teams is going to top that mark."
For a full look at Dubin's.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: New Pro Bowl format partially unveiled
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.
- NFL reveals a few more details about the Pro Bowl. There won't be an actual game this year, but there will be three flag football games on Sunday, Feb. 5, the league revealed this week. There will also be a strength and speed competition between offensive and defensive linemen, plus a best catch competition and a gauntlet that will double as a six-person relay. You can read more .
- Bills place Von Miller on injured reserve. The pass-rusher is after being placed on IR due to a knee injury he suffered on Thanksgiving. A player on IR has to miss at least four games, but last night's game against New England counts as one of those games, which means Miller will be eligible to return for Buffalo's Week 17 showdown with the Bengals.
- Deshaun Watson finally meets with reporters. The Browns QB held his first press conference of the regular season on Thursday, and well, he didn't have much to day. Watson refused to answer any non-football questions, which kept the press conference pretty short. If you want to know about what he had to say about returning to Houston this week, .
- Antonio Brown still on the lam. We told you Thursday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Brown, and although police stopped at his house to execute that warrant, Brown wasn't home, so he wasn't taken into custody. You can read more about the attempted arrest by clicking here.
- Dolphins made a run at Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers QB revealed a pretty interesting piece of information this week. Garoppolo revealed that the Dolphins when it came to trying to make a trade for him back in March. On one hand, it makes sense, because it would have reunited Garoppolo with Mike McDaniel, who spent five seasons in San Francisco. But if the Dolphins were trying to trade for Jimmy, it means that McDaniel might not have been completely sold on Tua Tagovailoa nine months ago, although he seems plenty sold on him now.