Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
We haven't even finished Week 5 and we already have our first firing of the NFL season. The Panthers dumped Matt Rhule on Monday in a move that wasn't all that surprising. Going into Week 5, Rhule was already on the hot seat and that seat became hotter than the surface of the sun after the Panthers got destroyed by the 49ers on Sunday.
We'll be covering Rhule's firing today along with all of our other normal Monday stuff so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Week 5 winners and losers, plus full recap
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 5, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 14 games from Sunday, which means we likely spent some time talking about your favorite team.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. Here's a look at who made our list.
- Winner: Josh Allen. The man threw a 98-yard touchdown on the third play of the game against the Steelers and had 348 yards passing by halftime. Allen looks unstoppable and so do the Bills.
- Loser: Matt Rhule. The Panthers coach didn't even make it to Week 6.
- Winner: Cooper Rush. Brinson has named Cooper Rush his winner after every game that Rush has won for the Cowboys and I'm starting to think that he's going to keep doing this until Rush finally loses.
- Loser: Jerome Boger. The long-time NFL ref will probably be getting free TB12 products for life after bailing out the Buccaneers on Sunday. Late in the fourth quarter of Tampa Bay's win over the Falcons, Boger threw a flag for roughing the passer after Brady got sacked for a 10-yard loss on third down with three minutes left to play. The horrible flag gave the Bucs a first down and allowed them to win the game You can see the play and judge for yourself whether it was roughing the passer by clicking here.
- Winner: Taysom Hill. It took five years, but it appears the Saints have finally figured out how to unlock Hill's talent. The Saints jack-of-all trades had one of the most impressive performances of the season with four total touchdowns (three rush, one pass) and 112 rushing yards in a win over the Seahawks. Hill joined Archie Manning as the only other player in Saints history to rush for three touchdowns and throw for a TD in a single game.
- Loser: Kliff and Kyler. These two combined to make two ugly mistakes in a span of roughly 10 seconds on Sunday and those mistakes ended up costing the Cardinals big time. On Murray's end, he decided to slide down for a nine-yard gain when he could have easily gotten 10 yards on a second-and-10. At the time of the slide, there was under 30 seconds left to play and the Cards had no timeouts, so Kingsbury called for a spike. The problem is that Kingsbury only called for the spike because he thought Murray had gotten a first down. The third down spike made it fourth down, and at that point, the Cards had to try a field goal that they ended up missing. A QB who doesn't know where he is on the field and a coach who isn't sure what down it is in a key situation doesn't seem like an ideal combo for winning games.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. To listen to today's episode, be sure to click here. You can also watch the entire episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Panthers fire Matt Rhule
After less than three seasons with the Panthers, Matt Rhule's disastrous time in Carolina has finally come to an end. Rhule went into the season on the hot seat and that seat only got progressively hotter with the Panthers getting off to a 1-4 start. The final straw for Panthers owner David Tepper came Sunday when Carolina got blown out 37-15 by the 49ers at home.
Here's a quick look at Rhule's time in Charlotte.
- It was a disastrous tenure. Rhule was the Panthers coach for 38 games and in those games, he compiled a 11-27 record. Things got especially ugly over the past 12 months with Rhule going just 3-16 since Week 4 of last season. The Panthers actually started the 2021 season with a 3-0 record, but things fell apart after that. Rhule's .289 winning percentage was the fifth-worst in the NFL since his hiring and the four teams that were worse all fired their coaches during his tenure.
- The Panthers had zero offense under Rhule. During his time in Carolina, Rhule went 1-27 in any game where his opponent scored at least 17 points. Basically, every Panthers opponent knew that they could beat Carolina by simply scoring 17 points due to the ineptitude of the Panthers' offense.
- Rhule gambled on the QB position and lost. The Panthers coach made two big trades during his time in Carolina and both deals ended up being spectacular failures. First, the Panthers brought in Sam Darnold, and after it became clear that he wasn't going to fix things, the Panthers made a trade for Baker Mayfield, who has arguably been worse than Darnold. Rhule also had Teddy Bridgewater for a season, but that didn't work out so well for the Panthers, either.
- Steve Wilks taking over in Carolina. With Rhule out, Wilks has been named the interim coach for the rest of the season. The Panthers' defensive pass game coordinator/secondary coach does has some head coaching experience as he was the Cardinals' head coach in 2018. Wilks has also spent plenty of time in Carolina, having been on the Panthers' staff from 2012 through 2017.
The bottom line with Rhule is that he was a good college coach who just couldn't cut it in the NFL, which we've seen happen time and again. The upside for Rhule is that the Panthers still owe him more than $40 million for the remaining four and a half years on his contract. Of course, there is offset language in the deal, so if Rhule takes a college coaching job, the Panthers won't have to pay him any amount he's paid at his new job. (For example, if the Panthers owed him $8 million for 2023 and a college team paid him $5 million, then the Panthers would only owe him $3 million). Rhule spent time at Baylor and Temple before taking the Panthers job.
3. Week 5 grades: Giants get an 'A+' for upsetting Packers, Vikings get a 'B' for taking care of Bears
Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Giants got an 'A+' for somehow storming back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Packers in London.
Here's a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Giants 27-22 over Packers (Click here for full recap)
- Giants takeaway: On paper, it didn't seem like the Giants were going to have much of a chance to beat the Packers on Sunday: Not only did they go into Week 5 with a banged-up starting quarterback (Daniel Jones), but they were also missing several key receivers. With his options limited on offense, Giants coach Brian Daboll decided to throw the kitchen sink at the Packers: He devised a game plan with offensive coordinator Mike Kafka that kept the Giants offense one step ahead of the Packers defense for nearly the entire game. That game plan involved some surprising QB runs from Jones along with several Wildcat plays with Saquon Barkley at quarterback. The Giants defense also shut down Aaron Rodgers in the second half, limiting him to just 76 passing yards. Grade: A+
- Packers takeaway: Apparently, the Packers forgot to pack their second-half game plan for their trip to London. After playing a nearly flawless first half, the Packers absolutely fell apart in the second half. The most shocking part was how easily the Giants were able to move the ball on what's supposed to very good Packers defense. The other surprise is that it seemed like the Packers gave up on the run. Even though A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones combined to average 5.1 yards per carry and even though the passing game was struggling at times, the Packers called more than twice as many passes (39) as runs (19) for their two running backs. They also didn't give their stud running backs a chance to get a first down near the goal line late in the game, a move that Jones himself seemed to question after the game. Grade: C-
Vikings 29-22 over Bears (Click here for full game stats)
- Bears takeaway: In years past, the Bears might have packed it up and mailed it in after falling behind 21-3 in a game, but not this team. With Justin Fields making big play after big play in the second half, the Bears fought back to take a 22-21 lead. This was easily the most competent the Bears offense has looked all season and the unit got a small spark from David Montgomery, who returned to the lineup with 82 yards and a TD on 16 touches. Defensively, the Bears had no answers for what Minnesota was doing in a game where the Vikings only punted once. Grade: B-
- Vikings takeaway: When your QB is completing every pass he throws, it makes it much easier to win in the NFL and that's exactly what Kirk Cousins was doing on Sunday. The Vikings QB started the game by completing his first 17 passes, which set a franchise record. Although Cousins cooled down after that, he did heat up again during a fourth quarter where he led a game-winning TD drive that ended with him scoring on a QB sneak. Justin Jefferson continued to be an unstoppable force as he had another huge game with 154 yards on 12 catches. Although the defense struggled at times, Cameron Dantzler more than made up for those struggles by stripping the ball from former Vikings receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette with under one minute left to play. The Vikings are a force in the NFC North and they're now all alone in first place. Grade: B
As for the other 24 grades we handed out on Sunday,.
4. Eleven crazy facts from Week 5
Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are 11 crazy facts about Week 4:
- Historical Super Bowl hangover. It's not often that the Super Bowl hangover hits both teams that played in the Super Bowl, but that seems to be happening this year. With the Bengals and Rams both at 2-3, this season marks just the third time in NFL history that both teams from the prior year's Super Bowl both have a losing record after five weeks. The only other times is happened came after Super Bowl XXII (Washington-Denver) and after Super Bowl XXXIII (Denver-Atlanta).
- NFC East is on a roll. With the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys all winning on Sunday, the NFC East now has three teams with four wins or more. Since divisional realignment in 2002, this marks just the fourth time that a division has pulled that off through the first five weeks of the season. The NFC East joins the 2002 AFC West, 2008 NFC East and 2020 AFC North (via ESPN stats and info).
- Goose eggs are gone. With the Texans' win over the Jaguars, every team now has at least one win. This marks just the third time since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 that every team has at least one win through the first five weeks. The only other times it happened came in 1990 and 2018.
- Steelers suffer biggest loss in 33 years The Steelers' 35-point loss to the Bills on Sunday was the team's biggest loss since 1989, when they got destroyed by the Browns 51-0 in their season opener.
- Josh Allen and Gabe Davis tie franchise record. On the third play from scrimmage against the Steelers, Allen hit Davis for a 98-yard TD, which is tied for the longest play in franchise history. The last time the Bills had a scoring play that long came in 2009, when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Terrell Owens for a 98-yard score.
- Allen lights up the Steelers in the first half. The Bills QB threw for 348 yards in the first half, which is the second-highest first half total for any NFL quarterback over the past 30 years. Only Patrick Mahomes (359 yards) has topped that first-half mark since 1991.
- Jalen Hurts on the verge of history. The Eagles QB scored two rushing touchdowns on Sunday, marking the seventh time in his career that he's rushed for multiple scores. That's tied for the second-most in NFL history and trails only Cam Newton, who did it 10 times. The crazy part is that Hurts accomplished his feat in just 35 games while it took Newton 148 games to set his record.
- New York, New York. The Jets and Giants are both 3-2 following wins on Sunday, which marks the first time they've been over .500 together since Week 9 of 2015.
- Herbert is the comeback kid... but only against the Browns. Over the course of his career, Justin Herbert is 2-8 in any game where his team trails by 14 points or more at any point. The twist here is that both of those wins have come against the Browns, including Sunday's 30-28 win where the Chargers trailed 14-0 at one point.
- Packers tight end joins exclusive club. With this TD catch against the Giants, Marcedes Lewis became just the seventh player in NFL history to catch a TD after turning 38. Lewis joins Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Charlie Joiner, Irving Fryar, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten.
- Justin Jefferson has Hall of Fame company. Jefferson finished with 154 yards against the Bears, marking the sixth time he's topped 150 yards in his career. That ties him with Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Lance Alworth for the most games with 150 yards receiving through the first three seasons (via NFL research).
- Taysom Hill makes history. With four total touchdowns against the Seahawks, Hill became just the third player in NFL history to record three rushing touchdowns, one passing touchdown and 100 rushing yards in the same game. Hill joins Ronnie Brown (2008) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2005).
- Super Cooper. With seven catches against the Cowboys, Cooper Kupp now has 49 on the season, which is the most in NFL history through five weeks. Kupp broke the record of 47, which was shared by T.J. Houshmandzadeh (2007) and Adam Thielen (2018).
If you see any other fun facts, feel free to tweet them at me.
The final game of Week 5 is giving us an AFC West showdown between the Chiefs and Raiders. This is a series that the Chiefs have absolutely dominated over the years with 13 wins over the Raiders in their past 15 games. If the Raiders want to have any chance of winning the AFC West this year, they'll probably need to steal this game, because if they lose, they'll be three full games behind the Chiefs just five weeks into the season.
My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Raiders can win: The Raiders got a strong performance from Josh Jacobs (144 yards, two touchdowns) last week and if he can anywhere near those numbers, that should open things up for Derek Carr to have some major success. The Raiders theoretically have enough firepower to hang with the Chiefs thanks to weapons like Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, who hasn't played since Week 2.
- Why the Chiefs can win: Like every Chiefs game, the Chiefs can win because they have Patrick Mahomes. Despite adding several new faces, the Chiefs offense hasn't lost a step this season and it seems to be getting better every week. The Chiefs have so many weapons that it's hard for a defense to figure out who it should key in on. If the Chiefs turn this into a shootout that gets into the 30s, it's hard to imagine the Raiders keeping up.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview (odds via Caesars Sportsbook). You can, but if you don't feel like clicking over, here's one prop from both of us for tonight's game (We put out props for the Monday and Thursday night games each week and I've hit four straight props, so it might be time for me to retire. Need to quit while I'm ahead).
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Travis Kelce OVER 70.5 receiving yards (-119): "Kelce has gone over this receiving total twice this season and the Raiders present a favorable matchup. Kelce averages 76.6 receiving yards per game against the Raiders in his career and currently has the sixth-most receiving yards vs. the franchise all time."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Daniel Carlson OVER 6.5 total kicking points (-119) or OVER 1.5 field goals: I'm tossing both of these props in here because Carlson has gone over BOTH totals in all four games that the Raiders have played this season. He's scored at least seven points in every game this year and he's averaging 10.5 points per game on the season. As for his field goal total, Carlson has hit at least two field goals in SEVEN straight games dating back to last season.
Finally, if you're wondering who we're picking, here's who we have tonight in a game where the Chiefs are currently favored by seven points:
Dubin's pick: Chiefs 30-17 over Raiders
Sullivan's pick: Chiefs 33-24 over Raiders
My pick: Chiefs 34-27 over Raiders
Over on our CBSSports.com picks page, we have a clean sweep with all eight of our experts picking the Chiefs to win and cover against the Raiders.
6. Week 5 injuries and rapid-fire roundup: Dolphins, 49ers hit hard; Browns pull off rare trade
Hopefully we won't need to have an injury roundup every week, but there were so many injuries around the NFL over the weekend that we definitely needed one for today.
Here's a look at the biggest injuries from Week 4:
- 49ers hit with a rash of injuries. The 49ers were hit hard by the injury bug on Sunday with Nick Bosa (groin), Robbie Gould (knee), Emmanuel Moseley (knee) and Jimmie Ward (hand) all being lost to injury. Moseley's injury is the most serious with the cornerback with the 49ers fearing a torn ACL. If Bosa or Ward has to miss any significant time, that would be a tough loss for a 49ers defense that has been one of the best units in the NFL through five weeks.
- Dolphins hit hard by injuries. The Dolphins lost three key players to injury on Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater (elbow), Terron Armstead (toe) and Tyreek Hill (foot) all leaving the game early due to various injuries. Bridgewater was evaluated for a head injury and although he passed concussion protocol, he was ruled out due to the NFL's stricter concussion policy that was implemented over the weekend. As for Armstead and Hill, we should find out more today about their injuries.
- Ravens lose starting safety. During the first half of Baltimore's win over the Bengals on Sunday night, Marcus Williams dislocated his wrist. Coach John Harbaugh said after that game that he expects Williams to miss a significant period of time.
- Rashaad Penny out for the season. The Seahawks running back fractured his fibula during Sunday's loss to the Saints. According to NFL.com, Penny is going to miss the rest of the season.
- Baker in a walking boot. Baker Mayfield was wearing a walking boot on his left leg following Carolina's loss to the 49ers. It's not clear how serious the injury is, but Mayfield is expected to undergo an MRI Monday to determine the severity of the injury. The good news for Mayfield is that early x-rays came back negative.
- Lions player taken off the field in an ambulance. There was a scare in Foxboro on Sunday after had to be taken off the field in an ambulance after suffering an apparent neck injury. The good news here is that Smith had movement in all his extremities and he was discharged in time to fly back to Detroit with the Lions
We've also got a quick round-up of news, which includes the Browns making a trade for a Falcons linebacker.
- Browns make trade for former Pro Bowler. The Browns added former Pro Bowler Deion Jones on Sunday after making a trade with the Falcons. Under the terms of the deal, the Browns will be getting Jones and 2024 seventh-round pick while the Falcons will be getting a 2024 sixth-round pick.
- Deshaun Watson can return to Browns facility today. In other Browns' news, Deshaun Watson is allowed to report to the team's practice facility today. Although Watson still has to sit out six more games due to his suspension, he's now allowed to attend meetings and he can also participate in things like game planning and other early game preparation. One thing Watson won't be able to so is practice. The QB isn't eligible to return to the field for practice until Nov. 14.
- T.J. Watt likely won't be back until after Steelers' bye. Since drafting T.J. Watt, the Steelers have never won a game where he doesn't play (0-8) and things could be getting worse because he's now expected to be out longer than anticipated. Watt underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and now isn't expected to return until some time after the team's Week 9 bye, which means he won't be on the field until mid-November at the earliest.
- NFL and NFLPA agree to new concussion protocol. After a week of haggling over details, the two sides have finally implemented a new concussion protocol. The major change is that a player will not be allowed to return to the game if he exhibits any signs of 'Ataxia,' which is abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue. The new policy is why Teddy Bridgewater wasn't allowed to return to Sunday's game even though he cleared concussion protocol.
- Russell Wilson dealing with shoulder injury. According to NFL.com, the Broncos QB on Friday that involved getting a platelet-rich plasma injection in his shoulder. Wilson is reportedly dealing with a strained latissimus dorsi, which is an injury more commonly seen in baseball players. The QB is going to attempt to play through it, but it will be interesting to see what the Broncos do if it becomes clear that playing through it isn't possible.