Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
With the regular season officially behind us, that means there are now only two things to talk about today: the playoffs. OK, so there's only one thing, but it's a big one.
Actually we'll be covering several things in today's newsletter. Not only will we have some playoff picks, but Pete Prisco will unveil his final regular season power rankings and we'll also be ranking the attractiveness of each open coaching job. Personally, if I could be hired by any team that has an available job, I would make my decision solely based on locale, so hello Cardinals, please give me a call. Alright, let's get to the rundown, but also, seriously, call me Cardinals.
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 2022 on the right foot.
1. Today's show: Ranking the open coaching jobs
For the past 18 weeks, the Tuesday morning podcast was pretty simple: It was Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I rehashing the Monday night game. However, with no Monday game this week, that means we had to come up with something else to talk about, and that's exactly what we did.
Since our favorite thing to do during the offseason is to rank things, we decided to rank the coaching vacancies. This is our collective rankings based on our combined votes. If you want to know our individual rankings, you'll have to listen to the podcast.
- 1. Broncos. On paper, the Broncos are probably the most talented team on this list, and it feels like all they need to compete in the AFC West is someone who can figure out how to fix Russell Wilson. This job is enticing, because if you make Wilson better, there's a good chance this team could become a playoff contender during your first year on the job.
- 2. Panthers. If Tom Brady leaves Tampa Bay, this job becomes even more attractive, because his exit will mean that the NFC South will be wide open for years to come. The Panthers have a lot of talent on defense plus several decent skill players. All this team needs is a franchise QB, and if that happens, there's no reason they can't compete for a division title in 2023.
- 3. Cardinals. The Cardinals are in the third spot because they have the one thing that the other two teams behind them don't have: a franchise quarterback. Of course, that might not necessarily be a good thing. Any new coach is going to have to make things work with Kyler Murray. (The QB is actually going to have some input on who gets hired, team owner Michael Bidwill said Monday.) One issue with Murray is that he almost certainly won't be available at the start of the season because he'll likely still be recovering from a torn ACL. There are a lot of questions facing anyone who takes this job, and that's just one of them.
- 4. Texans. The is definitely the most dysfunctional team in the NFL right now. The Texans hired David Culley in 2021 and fired him after just one season. They followed that up by firing Lovie Smith after just one season. Basically, the last two coaches have been set up to fail, which doesn't exactly make his an attractive job. One upside to the job is that the Texans have the No. 2 overall pick this year, so any new coach will likely have a chance to draft a franchise quarterback in April.
- 5. Colts. This team is in total disarray right now. They've been in quarterback purgatory since the retirement of Andrew Luck, and until they get that position figured out, they're going to have a tough time competing. The one upside of this job is that you'll be in the AFC South, which means if you turn the team around quickly, you'd have a realistic shot of winning the division in your first year.
If you want to listen to today's show, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here. If you don't feel like listening to a podcast today, our Jordan Dajani did his own ranking of the coaching jobs, and you can check out his list by clicking here.
In other coaching news, Cody Benjamin also graded every first-year head coach, and you can see how those grades turned out by clicking here. (Spoiler alert: the highest grades went to Doug Pederson and Brian Daboll.)
2. Prisco's final regular season power rankings
Welcome to Prisco's final regular season power rankings! If you read the rankings week, you're going to notice that not very much has changed since then, as 30 of the NFL's 32 teams are in the exact same spot that they were in last week. PETE DIDN'T EVEN TRY.
With that in mind, let's check out Prisco's top five, which are the same as his top-five from last week:
Dropped out: No one
Since this is the final ranking of the regular season, we're going to do something new this week: We're going to check out the biggest hits and misses from Prisco since the start of the season:
- First, let's focus on Prisco's worst overall misses this year, and one of the biggest was the Packers. Prisco had them at No. 2 overall going into the season, but for his final ranking of the regular season, he has them down to 16th.
- In Prisco's defense, most people thought the Packers were going to be good this year, so let's focus on another team: the Saints. Prisco was ridiculously high on the Saints going into the season, as he had them ranked SIXTH overall in his first power rankings. This week, they're all the way down to 22nd. That was a whiff.
- One team Prisco nailed was the Bills. He had them ranked first overall in Week 1, and that's where they ended up in his final regular-season rankings.
- One other team Prisco nailed was Chicago. The Bears were ranked 30th overall in his preseason ranking, and after clinching the No. 1 overall pick in Week 18, Prisco dropped them down to the bottom, which means the Bears will take home the title of the worst team in the NFL this year. The Texans held the bottom spot for most of the season, but the Bears were able to come in and steal it in the final week. Congratulations, Bears! By the way, the Bears were one of two teams that moved this week. They dropped down to 32nd (from 31st) while the Texans moved up to 31st after going into the week at 32nd.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.
3. Breech's picks for Super Wild Card Weekend
It's Tuesday, and that can only mean one thing: it's time for my weekly picks.
The wild-card round is the definitely the round of the playoffs I have a love/hate relationship with. I love watching it, but I hate picking the games. Just to give you an idea of how crazy things can get during the first weekend of the playoffs, consider this: Underdogs have gone 16-8 against the spread since 2017, which clearly means I should take every underdog to cover this week, but also, maybe I shouldn't, because they went 1-5 last season.
You can also throw home-field advantage out the window: Road teams are 11-9 straight-up in the wild-card round since the start of the 2018 season, which means I should obviously pick a few road teams to win this week, but also, maybe I shouldn't, because road teams went 1-5 last year.
You see what I mean? How am I supposed to make picks when none of this information helps me.
With that in mind, here are three of my picks for Super Wild Card Weekend.
- (4) Jaguars 34-31 over Chargers (5): The Jaguars defense can't stop the pass and the Chargers defense can't stop the run, so I feel like this is going to turn into a shootout. I'm kind of split here, but the Chargers went 1-3 in outdoor games this year, so I'm taking Jacksonville. LINE: Jaguars (+1)
- (6) Giants 27-24 over (3) Vikings: I don't trust Kirk Cousins in this game and I don't trust Daniel Jones, but I do trust Saquon Barkley. I think the Giants running back is going to have a huge day, leading the Giants to a win in a game that's going to go down to the wire. LINE: Giants (+3)
- (4) Buccaneers 20-17 over (5) Cowboys: If Tom Brady could have hand-picked his opponent for the wild-card round, I'm guessing he would have picked the Cowboys and that's mainly because if there's one team the Bucs will be extremely confident in beating, it's Dallas. For one, the Buccaneers already beat the Cowboys this season, and two, Brady has NEVER LOST TO THE COWBOYS IN HIS CAREER (7-0). LINE: Buccaneers (+3)
To check out the rest of my picks for the wild-card round, be sure to click here.
4. NFL schedule news: Home-and-away opponents for 2023
With the 2022 regular season officially in the books, now seems like a good time to start talking about the 2023 season. And thanks to the NFL scheduling formula, we can actually do that because we now know who the 17 opponents will be for all 32 teams.
Here are 10 of the biggest games that will be on the 2023 schedule:
- Cowboys at Bills
- Bengals at 49ers
- Bills at Chiefs
- Bengals at Chiefs
- Cowboys at 49ers
- Bills at Bengals
- Dolphins at Chargers
- Patriots at Giants
- Seahawks at Ravens
- Packers at Steelers
Of course, there's a chance the NFL landscape could undergo a total change over the next few months. With so many quarterbacks out there who could end up changing teams this offseason -- from Tom Brady to Derek Carr to Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Garoppolo --- games that don't look so sexy now could become much more attractive by the time the schedule comes out in May.
If you want to see the home-and away opponents for all 32 teams, then be sure to click here. The dates and times of each game will be released at some point during the spring.
5. Meet the newest podcast at CBS Sports: 'With the First Pick' is here just in time for draft season
With the NFL regular season now in the books, that means you're going to be hearing a lot more about the NFL Draft over the next three months. To help you get ready for the draft, we've started a new podcast here at CBS Sports, "With the First Pick," that covers the draft in-depth (listen and subscribe here).
If you want to know the needs for each team and who they should take, then you'll definitely want to be listening to this podcast every Monday until draft day.
- The show is co-hosted by Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. If you're a regular listener of the "Pick Six" podcast, then you already know Wilson. He's the guy who keeps the podcast afloat with his common sense. If you've followed football at all over the past decade, then you already know Spielman, who was the Vikings GM for 10 years. He also played a big part in constructing the current version of the team.
- On "With the First Pick," you'll get draft stories galore. For instance, on one of the first episodes, Spielman explained what it was like to be in the Vikings war room in 2020 and even revealed the one team he thought was going to steal Justin Jefferson from Minnesota. (You can see the clip here.)
The podcast is recorded every Monday afternoon, and for their latest episode, the two guys talked about what the Bears and Texans should do with the top two picks.
- What should the Bears do with the first overall pick? Spielman says there's no way the Bears should even consider taking a QB and that they should look to trade the pick. "I absolutely cannot envision moving on from Justin Fields," Spielman said. "He's still young, he's still in the developmental stage. ... They have so many needs across their roster -- offensively, defensively -- that if you have a quarterback in place, and now you have the No. 1 overall pick, the first thing I'm doing as a general manager, I'm trying to bail out of that first pick overall as quickly as I can and accumulate as many draft picks to help start rebuilding this roster."
- What should the Texans do with the second overall pick? The Texans need a quarterback, and the top two guys in the draft class right now are Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. "If I have both (quarterbacks rated) equal -- I'd be happy with either one -- then just sit there (at No. 2) because you know you're going to get one of the two. If I have one (QB) significantly above the other, I may even look at potentially trading with Chicago ... to make sure I secure my franchise quarterback and the guy I believe is going to lead our franchise for years to come."
During the latest episode, the two guys also talked about what the Panthers should do at ninth overall and what the Jets should do at 13th overall. Spielman also explained what he would do to fix the Cardinals if he was their general manager. The former NFL GM also said that if the Broncos are interested in Sean Payton, they should "do everything" they can to land the former Saints coach.
If you want to listen or subscribe to the podcast, you can do that here. I would highly suggest you do so.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Damar Hamlin released from Cincinnati hospital
It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL -- especially when it comes to coaching interviews -- and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Damar Hamlin released from hospital. The best news from Monday came from Cincinnati, where Damar Hamlin was released from the hospital. The Bills safety caught a flight back to Buffalo on Monday, where he will continue his recovery. One week ago, it wasn't even clear if Hamlin was going to live, so the fact that he's already been released from the hospital is nothing short of amazing. You can read more about his release here.
- Dolphins dealing with multiple injury issues. The Dolphins are dealing with some major questions at both quarterback and running back heading into their playoff game against the Bills. At QB, coach Mike McDaniel offered no clarity on whether Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) would be able to play on Sunday. If Tua can't go, the Dolphins could turn to Teddy Bridgewater, but he's dealing with a dislocated finger on his throwing hand, which could pave the way for rookie Skylar Thompson to start for the second straight week. At running back, Raheem Mostert broke his thumb in Week 18. It's looking like he won't be available for the wild-card round.
- Titans fire four assistants, including offensive coordinator. Not only are the Titans in the market for a new general manager, but they also need a new offensive coordinator after the firing of Todd Downing on Monday. Downing was one of four assistants who were let go, along with offensive line coach Keith Carter, secondary coach Anthony Midget and offensive skill assistant Erik Frazier.
- Brandin Cooks wants out of Houston. The Texans disgruntled wide receiver has wanted out of Houston for most of the past 12 months, and it seems he still feels that way. During an interview Monday, the 29-year-old Cooks said he absolutely does not want to be part of a rebuild. "I'm not looking at it as far as being a part of a rebuild, however that looks," Cooks said, via ESPN. "That's why I trust my camp and my representation to be able to get a map from here to there and to see what that looks like to be a part of something that has a trusted plan."
- Matt Ryan has no plans to retire. After a disastrous season in Indianapolis, there was some speculation that Matt Ryan might consider retirement, but that's definitely not the case. The Colts QB made it clear that he plans on returning in 2023. "Listen, I'm under contract, and until that changes, you kind of go to work," Ryan told The Athletic. Ryan has 12 million reasons not to retire. That's how much money he has guaranteed for 2023, which means even if the Colts were to cut him this offseason, he'd still get that money. However, if he were to retire, then the $12 million would be off the table.
- Sean McVay undecided about retirement. Although Ryan won't be retiring, McVay is still on the fence. The Rams coach gave a lengthy explanation about his thought process Monday. My take on this is that if you're giving that much thought about retirement, then you're probably leaning toward retirement.
In other news, Jim Harbaugh reportedly held a virtual interview with the Broncos on Monday. We're not going to list every coaching interview here, because it would triple the length of the newsletter, but if you want the latest updates on every coaching and GM interview being held this offseason, then be sure to click here so you can follow along in our tracker.