Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
It's fitting that the Packers and Cardinals played on the Thursday before Halloween because they gave us plenty of tricks and treats last night. The Cardinals tricked us into thinking they were a good team and the Packers treated us to a special performance from Aaron Rodgers, who willed his team to a win despite the fact that his top three receivers didn't play.
OK, I do think the Cardinals are a good team, but I don't think they're one of the top-three teams in the NFC. I'd take the Buccaneers, Packers or Cowboys over Arizona right now.
Fittingly, we actually debated who the top teams in the NFC are on today's episode of the Pick Six Podcast. As for today's newsletter, we'll take a look at Green Bay's 24-21 win, plus we'll marvel over how much money Roger Goodell is making and compare NFL teams to Halloween candy. That sounds like a lot, so we should probably get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Recapping the Packers' wild win over Arizona
The Packers' game against the Cardinals got billed as potentially the best Thursday game of all-time and somehow, it nearly lived up to the hype. In a wild win for Green Bay, the outcome wasn't decided until Kyler Murray threw an interception with just 12 seconds left to play.
The only thing wilder than the game was the podcast we recorded afterwards. If you missed the game, here's a quick rehash of what happened and what we talked about on the podcast.
- Cardinals fail on crazy final offensive play. After making a miraculous goal line stop with about 3:30 left to play, the Cardinals took over possession on their own one-yard line needing to go 99 yards to win the game. They didn't go 99, but they did go 94 before things got crazy. With 15 seconds left to play, the Cards had a second-and-goal from Green Bay's five-yard line and that's when all hell broke loose: Kyler Murray threw a pass in the end zone for A.J. Green, who NEVER turned around for the ball. With Green not paying attention, Rasul Douglas was able to tip the ball and pick it off, which iced the win for the Packers. Murray called it a "miscommunication." Kliff Kingsbury said the play would have worked if "Green knew the route to run." According to NFL.com, Murray signaled for a back-shoulder fade to Green, but Green missed the signal, which led to the interception. Basically, it sounds like it was Green's fault, but we don't know what was going through his head because he wasn't available for an interview after the game. If you want to try and figure out what happened, you can see the play by clicking here.
- Aaron Rodgers wills the Packers to a win. The Packers didn't have their top three receivers, top two corners and defensive coordinator, but they did have Aaron Rodgers and in the end, that's all that mattered. Rodgers didn't put up eye-popping numbers (182 yards, two touchdowns), but he came through every time the Packers needed him. He converted a fourth-and-three with a pass in the third quarter that set up an eventual touchdown. Also, both of his scoring throws went to Randall Cobb, who wouldn't have even been on the team if Rodgers hadn't demanded it during the offseason. Also, Rodgers got a lot of help from Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, who combined to average 4.4 yards per carry in the game (137 yards on 31 carries).
- Ugly night for Cardinals rookie Rondale Moore. Green wasn't the only Cardinals receiver who had a bad night and that's because Rondale Moore exists. Moore muffed a punt in the second quarter that the Packers recovered at Arizona's three-yard line. Although the Packers didn't get a touchdown after the muff, they did get a Mason Crosby field goal. In the second half, a Murray pass bounced off Moore's hands and got picked off by Green Bay. The interception set up the Packers at Arizona's 14-yard line and five plays later, they got a touchdown. Due to Moore's errors, the Packers scored 10 points while driving just 14 total yards, which ended up being the difference in the game.
To listen/watch today's episode on YouTube, be sure to click here. (Seriously, you can WATCH the podcast.) You can also check out our takeaways from the game by clicking here.
2. Today's show Part II: Best bets for Week 8
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 the recap of the Thursday game, Brinson politely asked me and Ryan Wilson to leave so that he could bring in Pete Prisco and R.J. White for a discussion about their best bets for Week 8.
Actually, Brinson only asked me to leave and let Wilson stay because Wilson has been one of the best pickers in the the country this season against the spread and Brinson wanted to pick his brain.
Anyway, the guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game, and we're going to cover three from each guy below plus Wilson's parlay.
Pete Prisco (2-1 last week in picks featured here)
- Steelers (+3) to cover against the Browns
- Buccaneers at Saints UNDER 49.5
- Falcons (-3) to cover against the Panthers
Will Brinson (1-2 last week in picks featured here)
- Bills (-13.5) to cover against the Dolphins
- Jaguars at Seahawks UNDER 43.5
- Patriots (+5) to cover against the Chargers
R.J. White (1-2 last week in picks featured here)
- Texans (+14.5) to cover against the Rams
- Seahawks (-3) to cover against the Jaguars
- Saints (+5.5) to cover against the Buccaneers
The guys also have a parlay they like that pays out +595. However, in a twist, the three let Wilson make the parlay since he has been so hot with his picks. Here's what Wilson is putting in his parlay for Week 8:
- Lions (+3.5) to cover against the Eagles
- Bengals (-10.5) to cover against the Jets
- Titans (+2.5) to cover against the Colts
That parlay will pay out $595 on a $100 bet.
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 8 -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the trio give out their picks on YouTube by clicking here.
3. Roger Goodell pulled in more than $100 million over past two years combined
Being NFL commissioner might be a thankless job, but it's a thankless job that pays millions, which is probably why you never hear Roger Goodell complain. For the past six years, we didn't know exactly how much Goodell was pulling in, but we now know how much he was paid in each of the past two years thanks to a story from the New York Times that came out last night.
Here are the details on Goodell's pay:
- Commissioner has pulled in nearly $130 million since 2019. According to the Times, Goodell pulled in $63,900,050 per year in each of the past two years. That means his pay was $127.8 million for fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21. The new salary number was revealed at the NFL owners meeting this week. Goodell's pay was mostly made up of bonuses (90% of it was bonus money), and it was extra over the past two years because he got a new CBA signed and lined the NFL's pockets with the league's new media deal. Goodell is currently working under a five-year contract that expires following the 2023 season.
- Why league employees might not be happy. Back in April 2020, the league made a big deal of the fact that Goodell was going to take a zero dollar salary due to the pandemic. That gesture rings kind of hollow knowing he made $63.9 million in a year where the NFL asked league employees to take a pay cut that ranged from 5% to 15%.
- Why Goodell's salary has been a mystery. The NFL used to hold tax-exempt status, which means the league had to report Goodell's salary. However, the league dropped the status in 2015 and since then, the NFL hasn't had to release any numbers related to Goodell's pay. His pay was only revealed this week because the Times had a source who was inside the owner's meeting.
- Goodell's total pay as commissioner. Goodell has been the NFL's commissioner since 2006, and although it's not clear what his pay was between 2016 and 2018, the Action Network estimates that he has made a total of $375 million during his 15-year career as commissioner. Not a bad job if you can get it.
Now that I know how much Goodell is pulling in, I've decided I'm going to go ahead and apply for his job whenever he retires.
4. NFL Week 8 picks
This is the final newsletter of the week, which means I feel morally obligated to cram as many picks as possible into this space. I once crammed 16 eggs into a carton that was only supposed to be able to fit 12, so I know I'm good at cramming.
With that in mind, we've got some Week 6 picks coming your way and those will be coming from Will Brinson, Tom Fornelli and Jonathan Jones along with CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora and CBSSports.com writers Jordan Dajani and Tyler Sullivan.
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.
- Will Brinson: Washington 27-21 over Denver (Washington covers +3). "What's amazing about both of these teams is the defenses have cratered completely. Everyone expected both of these clubs to have top-10 defenses and they're just not good." For the rest of Brinson's Week 8 picks, be sure to click here. Brinson is already on a roll this week. Not only did he pick the Packers on Thursday, but he picked the exact final score of the game.
- Jonathan Jones: Patriots over Chargers (New England +175 moneyline). "Belichick has been wildly conservative this year, and Brandon Staley has been firing from the hip on fourth-and-forever. I'm excited to see what Belichick has for Justin Herbert." For the rest of Jones' Week 8 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jason La Canfora: Lions over Eagles (Detroit +160 moneyline). "The Lions are overdue for a win, they play with passion and emotion and they have endured several improbable losses at home. Dan Campbell's offensive staff has some issues but his program looks better than Nick Sirianni's and it will show on Sunday." For the rest of La Canfora's Week 8 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tom Fornelli: Browns 23-21 over Steelers (Pittsburgh covers +3.5). "This strikes me as something of a problematic matchup for the Browns. This season, the Browns have given up a sack on 8.3% of their dropbacks, which ranks 27th in the league. Conversely, the Steelers defense has sacked opponents on 6.6% of their dropbacks this season, which ranks seventh in the NFL." For the rest of Fornelli's Week 8 best bets, be sure to click here.
- Jordan Dajani: Seahawks 26-21 over Jaguars (Seattle covers -3). "Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars have been slowly improving and are coming off of their first win plus a bye week, but Seattle provides a different kind of environment and the Jaguars have never won a game there." For the rest of Dajani's Week 8 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tyler Sullivan: Bengals 28-13 over Jets (Cincinnati covers -10). "The Bengals are the better team and are averaging 6.2 yards per play (third-highest in the NFL) this season. Meanwhile, the Jets are being outscored by an average of 15.8 points per game this season." For the rest of Sullivan's Week 8 picks, be sure to click here.
5. Contenders and pretenders: Halloween edition
Now that Week 8 has started, that means we're nearly halfway through the 2021 NFL season. And since we're almost at the halfway mark, now seems like a good time to figure out who's a pretender and who's a contender. Also, since Halloween is on Sunday, we've decided to do that by comparing teams to different types of candy.
Cody Benjamin decided to compare all 32 teams to a piece of candy and here are five of his best ones:
Bengals: Junior Mints
Cody's take: Surprisingly potent, they're the product of a perfect match: chocolate and mint -- i.e., Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase.
Broncos: Tootsie rolls
Cody's take: Not bad if you can dig a plain, old-school, uninventive approach, but a foundational trio of Vic Fangio, Pat Shurmur and Teddy Bridgewater was always going to be passable, and nothing more.
Cody's take: Their reputation and name recognition is starting to outweigh their value. Yes, Bill Belichick may have something in Mac Jones, but they still feel a year or two away from a fuller revitalization.
Cardinals: Pop Rocks
Cody's take: They are just too darn explosive. Every time you think you've got them pinned down, they remind you of their firepower. From Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins to Zach Ertz, they're like the Chiefs of years past in terms of pure offensive weaponry.
Cody's take: Between Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods and DeSean Jackson, the Rams are like an assembly of rock-solid pieces atop the sweet foundational glaze that is Sean McVay.
If you want to check out which type of candy your favorite team ended up being compared to, then be sure to click here so you can read Cody's entire story.
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.
- Dak has no idea if he'll be able to play Sunday. The Cowboys quarterback has been dealing with a calf issue and right now, he's not sure if he'll be able to play against the Vikings this week. As things stand, the decision is expected to be made Saturday. If Dak can't go, the Cowboys will be forced to start Cooper Rush.
- Baker Mayfield will start vs. Steelers. The Browns received a big boost Friday when head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that Mayfield will start Sunday after a one-game absence. Mayfield is still dealing with a torn labrum and shoulder fracture in his non-throwing shoulder, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, but he was medically cleared to suit up for the crucial AFC North showdown.
- Raiders reach settlement with Jon Gruden. The two sides have reached an undisclosed settlement, which means it's not clear how much the team will be paying Gruden. The former Raiders coach had $40 million in guaranteed money left on his deal when he resigned Oct. 11. For more details on this situation, be sure to click here.
- J.J. Watt dealing with multitude of injuries. When we mentioned Watt's injury yesterday, we only mentioned his separated shoulder. As it turns out, he's actually dealing with multiple other injuries, including a torn labrum, bicep and rotator cuff. The fact that he's likely out for the season now makes a lot more sense.
- Davis Mills to start for Texans. Although Tyrod Taylor has been activated from injured reserve, it seems he's not quite ready to return to the field yet. Texans coach David Culley announced Friday that Mills will be the team's starter Sunday against the Rams. The game will mark the rookie QB's sixth start of the season.
- Packers might soon be putting more stock for sale. If you've ever wanted to become an "owner" of the Packers, you might soon have a chance. The NFL has given the team approval to sell more stock, which means we'll likely see a stock sale in the near future. The Packers haven't sold any stock since 2011.
- Tom Brady reveals favorite moment of his 21-year career. Believe it or not, Brady's favorite moment was actually beating the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. If you want to hear his explanation, be sure to click here.