Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
Look, I'm not going to sit here and pretend like last night's game was exciting, but we did get to witness something rare: The Panthers' 25-15 win over the Falcons marked just the fourth time in NFL history (and first since 20212) that a game has ended with a 25-15 final score.
At this point, Amazon should probably just roll with that as their tag line: "We can't promise you an exciting game, but there could be a weird final score so you should definitely watch." Going forward, I will only be watching "TNF" for the weird final scores (We've also seen final scores of 12-7, 27-22, 29-17 and 27-15 on Thursday this year)
We'll be recapping the Panthers' big win today, plus we'll be taking a look at the lawsuit against the Commanders and making some Week 10 picks.
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. Also, happy Veterans Day out there to anyone who served!
Let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Recapping Carolina's dominant win over Atlanta
After losing to the Falcons on Oct. 30, the Panthers got their revenge on Thursday with a dominating 25-15 over the Falcons. The Panthers defense, which racked up five sacks, was a bright spot for Carolina.
Following the game, Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I sat down together for roughly 30 minutes to talk about everything that happened. Here are a few key points from the game that we went over:
- Panthers beat the Falcons at their own game. The Falcons went into Thursday night with the fourth-best rushing attack in the NFL, but it ended up being the Panthers who dominated the game on the ground. The Panthers totaled 232 rushing yards, which is the most they've rushed for in a game since 2019. Carolina was led by D'Onta Foreman, who by rushing for 130 yards and a TD on 31 carries (Foreman was cut by the Falcons during the 2021 preseason). This marked the third time in the past four weeks that Foreman has topped 115 yards (Before that, he had only hit 115 yards one time in his five-year career). The Panthers also got a 41-yard TD from Laviska Shenault on a play that was originally ruled a TD pass before officials decided that it was a rushing TD because Shenault caught a lateral from PJ Walker (You can see the play by clicking here). The Panthers ran the ball 47 times in this game, which tied for their highest total since 2009.
- Falcons offense choked in prime time. The Falcons offense has actually been pretty impressive this year, but it choked big time on Thursday night. With heavy rains falling in Carolina, the Falcons decided it would be the perfect time to unleash Marcus Mariota and the passing attack, which turned out to be a horrible idea. Mariota finished 19 of 30 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw an interception and made several other ugly throws. As for that Falcons rushing attack, it averaged an impressive 5.52 yards per carry, but Atlanta only ran the ball 25 times, which was a season-low. Arthur Smith seemed to outthink himself in this game. It was almost like he thought he might catch the Panthers by surprise if he threw the ball, but the only surprise in this game was how bad the Falcons offense looked.
- Falcons might want to think about benching Marcus Mariota. With Mariota struggling on Thursday, Smith was asked after the game if he had thought about benching his starting QB. Although he answered 'no' to that question, he definitely didn't give a straight-forward response when he was asked if Mariota would be his starting QB in Week 11. "You can make it about the quarterback, how about the team?" Smith said, via PFT. "We had an opportunity at the end of the fourth quarter the last two weeks, and a lot of different ways, and a lot of different phases where we've got to get better." If Mariota was going to start in Week 11 against the Bears, then Smith could have just said he'd be starting, but instead, he offered that non-answer. You can interpret that however you want.
- Both teams are very realistically alive in the NFC South. The craziest thing about Carolina's win is that both teams are still very much alive in the NFC South. If the Buccaneers lose to the Seahawks on Sunday, that means the Falcons (4-6) will be tied for first and the Panthers (3-7) will be one game out. As crazy as it sounds, the Panthers aren't in a horrible spot. For one, they've already beaten EVERY other team in the NFC South this season and their division record (3-1) will give them a huge tiebreaking advantage if they somehow end up in a tie for first place at the end of the season.
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 10
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 10, 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're coming off a pretty solid Week 9 where they combined to go 6-2-1 and they've now gone 13-4-1 over the past two weeks.
Pete Prisco (1-1-1 last week in picks covered here, 17-9-1 on the season)
- Steelers (+1.5) to cover against the Saints
- Raiders (-4.5) to cover against the Colts
- Dolphins at Browns OVER 49 points
R.J. White (2-1 last week in picks covered here, 15-11-1 on the season)
- Giants (-5) to cover against the Texans
- Dolphins (-3.5) to cover against the Browns
- Chargers (+7) to cover against the 49ers
Will Brinson (3-0 last week in picks covered here, 14-12-1 on the season)
- Seahawks (+3) to cover against the Buccaneers
- Rams (-1.5) to cover against the Cardinals
- Lions at Bears OVER 48.5 points
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 10 -- and there are quite a few -- you can check out the episode on YouTube by clicking here.
3. NFL Week 10 picks: Buccaneers win in Germany, Raiders steamroll Colts
This is the final newsletter of the week, which means we will be cramming as many Week 10 picks as humanly possible into this space.
With that in mind, we've got four more Week 10 picks coming your way, and those will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco along with Will Brinson, 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 feature here last week ended up being correct, so let's see if we can make it two weeks in row.
- Pete Prisco -- Buccaneers (-2.5) 28-23 over Seahawks. From Prisco: "This is a brutal trip for the Seahawks. It's a tough one for Tampa Bay, but Seattle really gets the shaft. The Bucs showed something in coming back to beat the Rams last Sunday. Look for Tom Brady to keep that going. The Bucs win it." For the .
- Will Brinson -- Raiders (-4.5) 31-14 over Colts. From Brinson: "Jeff Saturday is replacing Frank Reich and 30-year-old Parks Frazier is being given the keys to design an offense for Sam Ehlinger on the shortest possible week. Josh McDaniels really, really, REALLY can't lose this game, at home, against this team, given the circumstances. Principle play on Las Vegas." For the .
- Tyler Sullivan -- Rams (-1.5) 27-23 over Cardinals. From Sullivan: "Kyle Murray is 1-7 straight-up and 1-6-1 against the spread against the Rams in his career (including playoffs). The QB has continuously struggled against division opponents, owning a 5-15 SU record and his yards per attempt and passer rating averages are all considerably worse against the NFC West than nondivision rivals. Based on all of this, I can't take the Cardinals" For the .
- Jordan Dajani -- Dolphins (-3.5) 28-23 over Browns. From Dajani: "I wrestled with this one. I feel like taking the Dolphins to cover this week is a trendy pick -- which I hate making in most cases. At the same time, the Dolphins are the better team. They are 3-1 at home -- including a win over the Buffalo Bills -- and they're undefeated when Tua Tagovailoa plays the entire game. I'm rolling with Miami." For the rest of .
- John Breech -- Chiefs 31-24 over Jaguars (+9.5). The high in Kansas City on Sunday is expected to be just 43 degrees, which I'm only noting because the Jaguars are 0-20 since December 2017 when the kickoff temperature is under 55 degrees. I'm not giving the Jags much of a chance here, but I do think they can keep this close because this feels like kind of a trap game for Kansas City. For the .
4. Washington, D.C., attorney general suing NFL and the Commanders
The attorney general for Washington, D.C., Karl Racine, announced this week that he would he going after the Commanders, and on Thursday, he revealed exactly how he's going to do that. Racine has filed a lawsuit against the Commanders that also names team owner Daniel Snyder, the NFL and Roger Goodell. The lawsuit revolves around the league's investigation into the workplace misconduct accusations made against the Commanders.
The NFL's investigation into the Commanders led to a $10 million fine for the team, but the league also shielded the franchise from any further controversy by NOT releasing a written report that would have included the findings of the investigation.
Here's what we know:
- The accusation. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of colluding to deceive and mislead customers about the investigation into the team's workplace misconduct in order to avoid losing revenue from the fan base. The lawsuit also alleges that the Commanders and the NFL violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act with "public misrepresentations, omissions, and ambiguities of material fact." Racine essentially filed this lawsuit under the guise of trying to protect consumers.
- What Racine is hoping to get out of this. The attorney general is seeking "financial penalties under the Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act for every incident in which the Commanders, Mr. Snyder, the NFL, and Commissioner Goodell lied to District residents dating back to July 2020." Racine had grounds to file the lawsuit because the Commanders have been aggressively marketing the team and making money off of fans who live in D.C.
- NFL responds to the lawsuit. The league responded to the lawsuit on Thursday with a strong statement. "We reject the legally unsound and factually baseless allegations made today by the D.C. Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell and will vigorously defend against those claims."
- Commanders respond to the lawsuit. "We agree with A.G. Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization -- for the first time -- in a court of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction."
There are a lot of details to this case and if you want to know everything, then.
5. The Raiders had a rough 24 hours
The Raiders season seems to be falling apart by the day and the past 24 hours might have been the ugliest yet for the last place team in the AFC West.
The Raiders lost three key players on Thursday:
- Darren Waller placed on IR. The Raiders star tight end has already missed three games this season, and now, he's going to miss at least four more after being placed on IR. Waller has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury all season and the Raiders clearly felt that they needed to give him plenty of time to heal so that he could return at some point this year without fear of aggravating the injury.
- Hunter Renfrow also placed on IR. The Raiders receiver has already missed two games this season, and now, he's going to miss at least four more after being placed on IR. Renfrow is dealing with multiple injuries (ribs and hamstring) and those injuries have slowed him down this season. Renfrow has caught just 21 passes for 192 yards through weeks, which is well behind his 2021 pace, when he caught a career-high 103 passes for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns.
- Blake Martinez surprisingly retires. Four days after leading the Raiders in tackles in their loss to the Jaguars, the linebacker shockingly decided to retire. "I have chosen to step away from this career at this time to focus on my family and future passions," Martinez wrote on Instagram. The move was surprising for two big reasons: For one, players almost never retire halfway through the season. Also, Martinez was in line to see a lot more playing time over the next few weeks after an injury to linebacker Divine Deablo. For more on Martinez's shocking decision, be .
Despite these losses, there's still a lot of pressure on the Raiders to beat the Colts this week. If they can't beat a team that's starting a backup quarterback with an interim coach and new play-caller, it's going to be a bad look for Josh McDaniels.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Josh Allen's status still up in the air
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.
- Bills mum on Josh Allen's status. The Bills QB hasn't practiced this week, but coach Sean McDermott refuses to rule him out for Sunday. During an interview on Friday morning, McDermott said the team is going to take things "one hour at a time" with Allen. The QB is dealing with a UCL injury in his right elbow. A similar injury in 2018 caused him to miss four games. If Allen can't go against the Vikings, that means Case Keenum will get the start and .
- Chargers cut ties with former first-round pick. The Chargers have officially given up on defensive lineman Jerry Tillery. The team cut ties with the former first-round pick, who was selected 28th overall in 2019. You can read more about .
- Jason Verrett out for year. The one-time Pro Bowl corner just can't stay healthy. The 49ers corner is out for the year after tearing his Achilles in practice this week. This injury comes after a 2021 season where he missed 16 games due to a torn ACL. He also missed 15 games in 2019 due to an ankle injury. In 2018, he missed the entire season due to another Achilles injury. Overall, Verrett has missed 69 games since making the Pro Bowl in 2015.
- Joe Thomas rips the hiring of Jeff Saturday. The former Browns offensive lineman ripped the Colts on Friday for their hiring of Saturday. Thomas' argument is that Saturday simply isn't qualified for the job. You can check out the entire clip by clicking here.