Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
After a wild weekend of NFL action, Week 4 ended with a blowout, and to be honest, that was probably for the best because I'm not sure I could've mentally handled another suspenseful game. Of the 16 games played in Week 4, 15 of them were within one score in the fourth quarter, which was the most in NFL history for one week. However, there was definitely no suspense Monday night as the 49ers dominated the Rams, 24-9.
We'll be going in-depth on the 49ers' dominating win in today's newsletter, plus we'll be moving on to Week 5 with some picks and Prisco's Power Rankings.
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: Recapping the 49ers' dominating win over the Rams
The 49ers win over the Rams wasn't that exciting, but Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I more than made up for that with all the excitement we brought in our postgame podcast. We spent roughly 45 minutes debating which team is going to win the NFC West and whether the Rams are in trouble. (Seriously, the Rams might be in trouble.)
With that in mind, here are three key things from the game that we talked about during the podcast:
- 49ers offense appears to have figured things out. After San Francisco's loss to Denver last week, Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo looked like they wanted to strangle each other, but this week, they now seem to be on the same page. For Monday's showdown with the Rams, Shanahan drew up a game plan that took advantage of what the 49ers do best: Short throws into open space. The 49ers love doing that because it allows their athletic receivers to get some yards after the catch, and no one is better at getting those than Deebo Samuel. The 49ers receiver caught six passes for 115 yards, including a wild 57-yard touchdown that you can see by clicking here. The 49ers are at their best when their rushing attack is also working, and Jeff Wilson kept it humming against the Rams with 18 carries for 74 yards and a TD. As for Garoppolo, he wasn't flashy, but he didn't make any mistakes on a night where he threw for 239 yards and a TD.
- 49ers might have the best defense in the NFL. Through four weeks, the 49ers have given up the fewest yards in the NFL and allowed the fewest points. They've been one of the best defenses, and they showed why against the Rams. Matthew Stafford was hit with pressure nearly every time he dropped back to pass on a night where he was sacked seven times. (Nick Bosa had two sacks.) Not only did the 49ers come up with several big sacks, but they also came up with two big turnovers, including a pick-six by Talanoa Hufanga that iced the game in the fourth quarter.
- The Rams need help on offense. The Rams offense is a shell of its former self, and there seems to be two reasons for that: The offensive line is having a disastrous season, and Matthew Stafford has no weapons outside of Cooper Kupp. The O-line problem is definitely the bigger one right now, because it doesn't matter how many weapons Stafford has if he doesn't have time to throw the ball. Stafford got sacked seven times, which isn't good news for the Rams considering how badly he struggles under pressure. Since the start of the 2021 season, the Rams are 3-6 in any regular season game where Stafford gets sacked multiple times and 11-1 when he doesn't. The problem for the Rams is that there's no easy fix for their O-line issues because a lot of it has to do with injuries. If the Rams don't figure out something soon, their season could start to fall apart very quickly.
We talked about those three things, plus everything else you could possibly want to know about Monday's game. If you want to listen to the rest of our recap, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Prisco's Power Rankings heading into Week 5
It was a crazy week in the NFL, but apparently, it wasn't crazy enough for Pete Prisco to shake up the top five spots in his power rankings. For the second straight week, the same five teams are in Prisco's top five, although the order is slightly different this week.
Here's a look at Prisco's top five teams heading into Week 5:
Dropped out: No one.
I'm not going to spoil the rest of the power rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets. Here's what has changed since last week.
- The biggest jump this week went to the New York FOOTBALL Giants. After watching them beat the Bears, Prisco was so impressed that he moved them up seven spots from 23rd to 16th. Their reward for making such a big move is a free trip to London this week to play the Packers.
- The biggest jump in the AFC went to the Bengals, and no, I didn't pay Prisco to give them a nice bump. Following their win over the Dolphins, the Bengals jumped up five spots from 18th to 13th. Is this ranking still too low? Yes. Will I let Prisco know on Twitter? Probably.
- The biggest drop in Prisco's Power Rankings went to the Steelers. After watching them lose to the Jets, Prisco has clearly lost all faith in Pittsburgh, dropping them six spots from 22nd to 28th.
- As for the bottom of the rankings, this one wasn't too difficult for Prisco. There's only one winless team in the NFL, and that winless team is ranked 32nd overall: The Houston Texans.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's Week 5 Power Rankings, can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you
3. Breech's Week 5 picks: Cowboys shock Rams in L.A.
If it's Tuesday, that can only mean one thing: It's time for my weekly picks.
If this is your first season with us, here's how the formula works around here: I stay up until an insane hour every Monday night so that I can give you my picks every Tuesday morning. This newsletter will feature three of my picks, and then if you feel like reading the rest of them, you can do that below.
Last week, I predicted that the Dolphins would lose their first game of the season and that's exactly what happened, so let's just go ahead and assume that all of my picks will be right this week.
Here are three of my picks for Week 5:
- Colts at Broncos (-3.5) (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime): The Colts and Broncos have single-handedly set football back 97 years with their offensive play this season, and I'm not exaggerating. The Pottsville Maroons averaged more points per game in 1925 (22.5) than the Colts and Broncos are averaging right now, and the Maroons did it before anyone really knew what the forward pass was. Both these offenses are bad, so I'm going with the team that has the better defense. PICK: Broncos 20-16 over Colts.
- Cowboys (+4.5) at Rams (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): At the rate things are going for Matthew Stafford, he might not make it through the season playing behind this version of the Rams' offensive line. Stafford has taken the second-most sacks in the NFL, and now, he has to go up against a Cowboys defense that has recorded the second-most sacks. That seems like a disaster waiting to happen for Stafford. PICK: Cowboys 23-20 over Rams.
- Bengals (+3) at Ravens (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): The Bengals swept this series last season for one big reason and that was Joe Burrow, who absolutely shredded Baltimore's defense. He threw for 416 in one game and 525 in the other. And the thing is, the Ravens haven't really fixed anything when it comes to stopping the pass. They've given up the most passing yards in the NFL this season at 315.3 yards per game, which is an ugly number when you consider they're the only team in the NFL that's even given up 300 yards per game through the air. I think Burrow goes off in a Bengals win. PICK: Bengals 34-31 over Ravens.
To check out the.
4. NFL coaches on the hot seat: Matt Rhule's chair is on fire
With the NFL season headed into Week 5, now seems like a good time to talk about which coaches are on the hot seat, so that's exactly what we're going to do today. CBSSports.com's Cody Benjamin took the temperature of every seat around the league so he could determine whose is the hottest.
With that in mind, here's a look at the coaches who are on the hottest seat right now:
- Panthers coach Matt Rhule. "He says all the right things, but his teams rarely do them. The chief issue, as anyone with eyes could've predicted, remains the QB spot, where every one of his gambles -- Baker Mayfield being the latest and current -- have come up short. The Panthers are now a combined 11-26 since he took over."
- Commanders coach Ron Rivera. "You can be a beloved teacher and still fail as a head coach. Like Rhule, Rivera has shuffled through QBs as is the Washington tradition, and he still seems light-years away from landing a true franchise arm. His once-tough defense is also a sieve. He is now 27-38 since 2017, his last winning season as coach of the Panthers."
SEAT IS WARM, BUT COULD SOON GET VERY HOT
- Colts coach Frank Reich. "It's not all his fault Indy has cycled through starting QBs on an annual basis, but they're on pace to make just one playoff appearance (with no wins) from 2019-2022... He and general manager Chris Ballard are probably a package deal, having run the QB carousel while failing to fix other horses on the carousel. Regardless, owner Jim Irsay is notoriously aggressive when it comes to addressing leadership problems."
- Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett. "After Denver's lucrative addition of Russell Wilson this offseason, Hackett's going to get a decent leash to make that pairing work, even if it takes until 2023. But if the wonkily conservative game plans and ill-timed decisions keep haunting the offense to the point that not even Russ can keep them competitive, perhaps the new ownership group will get impatient."
To see Cody's.
5. NFL Week 4: Overreaction or reality
Everyone on the internet loves to overreact to things, and that's especially true when we're talking about the the NFL. With that in mind, Jeff Kerr decided to take a look at several things that happened around the NFL in Week 4 to decide if we're all overreacting.
Situation: Falcons can make the playoffs with their newfangled rushing attack.
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. "The Falcons have rushed for 200-plus yards in two of their four games, but let's not dig the rabbit hole and make them a playoff team yet. The Browns were without three of their starting four defensive linemen (including Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney), which allowed backup running backs Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley to gash them for 140 yards on the ground."
Situation: The Ravens are choking away the AFC North.
Overreaction or reality: Reality. "Baltimore could easily be 4-0 after four weeks. Instead the Ravens sit at 2-2 and blew two huge leads in the fourth quarter -- at home no less. Sunday was inexcusable as Lamar Jackson threw two fourth-quarter interceptions and John Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in a tie game late in the fourth quarter... These are games the Ravens have to win. They're in a three-way tie for the AFC North lead when they should be controlling the division."
Situation: Colts can't win games unless Jonathan Taylor shows up.
Overreaction or reality: Reality. "Indianapolis needs Jonathan Taylor to move the chains and control the game in order to win football games. When Taylor rushes for less than 70 yards, the Colts are 0-2. The Colts need a strong performance from Taylor to win games, which isn't boding well for their playoff chances, especially with Taylor now nursing an ankle injury."
There are plenty more of overreactions from Week 4 and if you want to.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Steelers turning to Kenny Pickett, Javonte Williams out for the year
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.
- Kenny Pickett taking over as Steelers starting QB. After making his debut in Week 4, the Steelers QB job now belongs to Kenny Pickett. Pickett was on top of the Steelers depth chart that was released today, which means he'll likely be seeing the first start of his career on Sunday against the Bills. The Steelers have a tough slate of games coming up (Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Eagles), and if Pickett can win any of those over the next four weeks, that would be extremely impressive. For a look at what Pickett brings to the Steelers offense, .
- Tua out for Week 5. The Dolphins won't be taking any chances with Tua's health this week. The team has already Teddy Bridgewater will be getting the start. Tua is currently in concussion protocol, and with all eyes on the Dolphins right now, it's not surprising that they're playing it safe here by keeping him on the bench. , which means
- Dak Prescott likely not coming back this week. Don't look for Dak to be on the field in Week 5. For Prescott to play, he needs to be able to grip the ball with his injured thumb, and right now, he can't do that. During an interview today, Jerry Jones said Dak isn't gripping the ball "well enough to play," which means we'll likely be getting at least one more week of Cooper Rush.
- Javonte Williams out for the year. The Broncos running back suffered a devastating knee injury in Week 4 that will according to NFL.com
- Randy Gregory out two to six weeks. The Broncos also suffered a big injury on the defensive side of the ball with Gregory. The pass-rusher is expected to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery this week, which could sideline him for up to six weeks, according to NFL.com.
- Russell Wilson is also dinged up. As if the two other injuries aren't bad enough, Wilson is also dealing with an injury issue. According to NFL.com, the Broncos QB has a sore right shoulder. Although he'll likely play Thursday, it will be interesting to see if the shoulder impacts his ability to throw the ball.
- Shaquille Leonard out for Thursday. The Broncos aren't the only team facing multiple injury issues in the lead up to Thursday's game. The Colts have already ruled out Leonard, who suffered a concussion in Week 4. Colts star Jonathan Taylor is also dealing with an ankle injury, and his status is up in the air.
- Cordarrelle Patterson placed on IR. The Falcons have been one of the NFL's biggest surprises through four weeks, and a big reason for that is because of Cordarrelle Patterson. Unfortunately for the Falcons, the running back won't be on the field for at least the next four weeks after undergoing a knee procedure that forced the team to put him on injured reserve. Through four games this year, Patterson had rushed for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He also topped the 120-yard mark in two of Atlanta's first three games.
- Commanders to activate Brian Robinson Jr. The Commanders running back could soon turn into the best story of the 2022 season. Robinson is this week, and there's a chance he could be on the field against the Titans on Sunday. If that happens, it would be a remarkable recovery for Robinson, who was shot twice during an attempted robbery just five weeks ago.