Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter.
Just when you thought this week couldn't get any crazier, it somehow has. We started off the week with some salacious Urban Meyer video, and now we have a Cowboys player (La'el Collins) SUING the NFL. I have to admit, I'm already having flashbacks to Ezekiel Elliott suing the NFL in 2017. I mean, I watched 41 straight hours of "Law and Order" that year just so I could get better versed with our legal system in an effort to understand the case, so I'm ready for whatever gets thrown my way by this new case.
Not only will we be covering the lawsuit today, but we'll also be covering everything that happened with Stephon Gilmore. If you read anything on the internet yesterday, you probably thought he was being released, but then the Patriots pulled a fast one and traded him to Carolina. We'll have the details on that fast deal, plus we'll be making some Rams-Seahawks picks, 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. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Rams-Seahawks 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:
- Cooper Kupp OVER 6.5 receptions (-145). Not only is Kupp averaging 7.5 receptions per game, but he's already gone over this total three times in four weeks this season. If the first four games of the season are any indication, Matthew Stafford will be looking to him early and often.
- Matthew Stafford OVER 5.5 rushing yards (-110). If Stafford proved one thing last week, it's that he'll take off and run if there's no other option. The Rams QB rushed for 21 yards in Week 4, and the bet here is that he totals at least six rushing yards against the Seahawks.
- Darrell Henderson anytime TD (+127). The Seahawks have the worst rushing defense in the NFL this year, and if the Rams get inside the 10-yard line, you can bet they're going to do their best to take advantage of all the holes in Seattle's rushing defense.
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!
2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Rams at Seahawks
Going into Week 4, the Seahawks were sitting at 1-2 and in last place in the NFC West, but in a span just five days, they might turn the division standings upside down. With a win over the Rams on Thursday, the Seahawks would move into second place in the division. That being said, this is an equally big game for the Rams, who can't exactly afford another division loss after falling to the Cardinals on Sunday.
My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Rams can win: Since Sean McVay took over as Rams coach, the Seahawks have had a nearly impossible time figuring out how to stop his offense. In the past eight meetings between these team teams, McVay has gone 6-2 and that includes last year's playoff game when McVay won with a combination of John Wolford and Jared Goff playing QB. With Matthew Stafford running the show, it won't be surprising if that offensive success continues. If that happens, it's hard to picture the Rams losing, especially since the Seahawks have one of the worst defenses in the NFL through four weeks.
- Why the Seahawks can win: Like most Seahawks games, this all comes down to Russell Wilson. The Rams have one of the most athletic defenses in the NFL, and because of that, they're usually able to keep Wilson in the pocket, which forces him to make plays with his arm instead of his legs. To take some pressure off Wilson, the Seahawks could use a big night from their ground game, but there's no guarantee that's going to happen since Chris Carson is questionable with a neck injury and might not play.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.
Dubin's pick: Rams 31-23 over Seahawks
My pick: Rams 26-23 over Seahawks
NOTE: The Seahawks will be wearing their fluorescent green uniforms, which they are 4-0 in, so now I'm kind of worried about my pick.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Russell Wilson OVER 24.5 completions (-120): "The Rams have allowed the second-most completions in the league, giving up an average of 29 per game through the first four weeks. While Wilson has yet to go over this number this season, Chris Carson (neck) being held out or limited for this game could bump his passing attempts higher."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Matthew Stafford OVER 0.5 interceptions (+110): For this prop to hit, Stafford just has to throw one interception, and I won't be surprised if that happens in Seattle. The Rams have only played one road game this season and Stafford threw a pick in that game. Not to mention, Seattle is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, and I won't be surprised if the crowd noise leads to at least one mistake by Stafford.
- Long shot prop I'm thinking about betting: Cooper Kupp to score multiple touchdowns (+500). Kupp has scored at least two touchdowns in two out of four games this year and there's no reason to think he can't do it against the Seahawks. The Rams receiver is one of Matthew Stafford's favorite targets, especially in the red zone, so don't be surprised if Kupp ends up scoring multiple touchdowns.
You can check out Sullivan's full gambling preview by clicking here.
3. Panthers trade for Patriots star Stephon Gilmore
The Stephon Gilmore saga definitely took a wild twist Wednesday. Although it was originally reported that the Patriots were going to release him, they ended up working out a deal with the Panthers to send Gilmore to Carolina in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Here's everything you need to know about the situation.
- Why Gilmore ended up being traded instead of released. The Patriots' plan worked to perfection here: The team leaked the news that they were going to release Gilmore early Wednesday knowing that he wouldn't be officially released until 4 p.m. ET. That was basically New England's way of telling other teams, "We would love to trade him and we're taking all calls between now and 4 p.m. ET." The Panthers ended up making a call and the two sides got a deal done.
- Why the Patriots dumped an All-Pro corner. Gilmore was not happy with his contract and made it clear he wanted a new one before returning to the field this year. With the corner set to come off injured reserve in a few weeks, the Patriots either had to give him a new deal or dump him. By trading Gilmore away, the Patriots picked up some major salary cap space. Going into Wednesday, they were just $54,000 under the cap, but now they've got plenty of breathing room because the trade freed up roughly $7 million in cap space.
- Gilmore will likely be playing for the Panthers before the end of the month. Since he's on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, Gilmore is not eligible to play during the first six weeks of the season, which means he won't be allowed to play until Week 7 at the earliest. Panthers' GM Scott Fitterer said Wednesday that he expects Gilmore to be on the field for that Oct. 24 game against the Giants. The Panthers will be paying him the roughly $6 million that he's owed on the rest of his contract and as of right now, the two sides haven't talked about a new deal.
- Gilmore is likely happy with the move. This will basically be a homecoming for the All-Pro corner. Gilmore is from Rock Hill, South Carolina, which sits roughly 30 miles away from Charlotte. Also, Gilmore owns a house just a few doors down from Fitterer in Charlotte, so if the two need to talk about a new contract during the offseason, it likely won't be hard for one guy to find the other.
- Panthers GM has been busy. This trade marks the second time in less than two weeks that Fitterer has made a trade for a talented corner. Back on Sept. 27, the Panthers pulled off a trade for Jaguars corner C.J. Henderson. During his first year on the job, Fitterer has also made trades for QB Sam Darnold, DE Darryl Johnson and K Ryan Santoso.
If this trade proves one thing, it's that the Panthers are trying to win now. Gilmore is in the final year of his deal, so there's no guarantee he'll be returning to Carolina in 2022.
4. Cardinals are NFL's final undefeated team
With Week 5 kicking off tonight, now seems like a good time to point out that there's only one undefeated team left in the NFL: the Arizona Cardinals.
Through four weeks, the Cardinals have been nearly unstoppable on offense. Not only have they totaled more yards than any other team, but they're also the highest-scoring team in the NFL at 35 points per game.
Here are a few nuggets about the Cardinals' undefeated start:
- Being the final undefeated team doesn't guarantee a Super Bowl win. Since 2000, the final undefeated team has only ended up winning the Super Bowl one time, and that came in 2006 when the Peyton Manning and the Colts pulled it off. Although only one team has won the Super Bowl, 10 teams have made it to the Super Bowl, with the most recent one coming in 2019 when the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl after starting 8-0.
- Being the final undefeated team does pretty much guarantee a playoff spot. Since 2000, only three teams have failed to make the playoffs after being the final undefeated team: the 2002 Chargers, 2014 Eagles and 2016 Vikings.
- This is the fourth time in the Super Bowl era the Cardinals have been the final undefeated team. The Cards have a mixed history when they've been the final undefeated team. When it happened back in 2014, they started 3-0 and ended up getting all the way to 9-1 before tumbling to an 11-5 finish. Their season would eventually end with a loss in the wild-card round. In 1974, the Cards started 7-0 but went 3-4 down the stretch to finish 10-4 during a season that ended with a loss in the divisional round. In 1966, the season of the first Super Bowl, the Cardinals started 5-0-1 but melted down over the final few weeks of the season and ended up missing the playoffs with an 8-5-1 record.
The Cardinals have the best record in football, but staying on top isn't going to be easy, especially since they play in arguably the most difficult division in the NFL.
5. Cowboys' La'el Collins suing NFL
Cowboys offensive lineman La'el Collins is so upset with his five-game suspension that he's actually suing the NFL over it. Collins is seeking an injunction that would allow him to play this week even though he still has two games left on his suspension.
Here are some details on the case via NBC Dallas:
- Why Collins got suspended. The Cowboys lineman missed multiple drug tests and the NFL contended that Collins wasn't cooperating with the league. That's an important distinction, because under the new CBA, a player can't be suspended for missed tests (only fined), but he can be suspended for not cooperating with the league.
- Details of the case. The NFLPA was actually able to get Collins' five-game suspension reduced down to two games back in November 2020, but that wasn't enough for Collins. The Cowboys starter then appealed the suspension in arbitration and after looking at the details of the case, the arbitrator reinstated the five-game suspension. After that, Collins' camp wasn't happy that the suspension was announced while he still had another appeal pending.
- Why the NFL probably feels good about its case. Under CBA rules, these cases are decided by an arbitrator and two different arbitrators ruled in the league's favor. It's hard to imagine a judge overruling that, but crazier things have happened. Speaking of crazier things....
- Collins gets a favorable judge. The suit was filed in Texas state court, but has been transferred to a federal court, according to documents obtained by sports legal expert Daniel Wallach. The twist here is that the case has been assigned to Judge Amos Mazzant III, who overturned Ezekiel Elliott's suspension in 2017. (The case didn't end there, though, because it eventually got transferred to New York).
It's not clear when any decision will be made, but time is of the essence here so it's possible the judge could make a ruling in the next 24 hours. At the minimum, the judge could issue an injunction, which would allow Collins to play until the case is decided.
Since 2017, the Cowboys tackle has started in 48 of a possible 52 games for the Cowboys. Three of those four missed games have come this year due to the suspension.
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.
- Bears name Justin Fields their starting QB. It appears Matt Nagy has finally come to his senses. After hinting that Andy Dalton would be the starter this week, Nagy changed his mind and has decided to go with his rookie quarterback. After watching Fields win in Week 4, this was the right decision. The only surprise is how long it took Nagy to make it.
- Packers sign former Cowboys Pro Bowler. Less than 48 hours after being surprisingly cut by the Cowboys, Jaylon Smith already has a new home. The linebacker reportedly agreed to terms Thursday morning with the Packers, who are in dire need of some help at linebacker due to the injury to Za'Darius Smith.
- Baker Mayfield dealing with partially torn labrum. The Browns QB has been struggling with his accuracy over the past two weeks and now we know why: He's dealing with partially torn labrum. The injury won't require surgery, but Mayfield is definitely going to be in some pain while he plays going forward. With Mayfield struggling, opposing defenses may start to focus more on stopping the Browns' ground game.
- Details on DEA investigation of Washington's trainer. According to NBC Sports Washington, the DEA investigation into WFT trainer Ryan Vermillion is related to a "possible diversion of prescription drugs" to people who didn't need them. The NBCSW report also states that the team doesn't believe any players were involved.
- Texans owner doesn't rule out a possible Deshaun Watson trade. The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 2, which means the Texans have less than four weeks to decide whether they want to trade Watson. During an interview this week, Texans owner Cal McNair didn't sound opposed to making a trade, "We'll just wait and see," McNair said, via SportsTalk 790. "It's a day-to-day thing. [General manager Nick Caserio] is in charge of that. We'll see how that works out."