Welcome to the Labor Day edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It's fitting that today is Labor Day and that's mainly because I spent my entire weekend laboring over my predictions for the 2022 NFL season. The NFL schedule has 272 games on it this year and I went through every single one of them over the weekend so I could pick a winner in each one. I haven't slept since Friday and I'm 98% sure I just took 17 weeks off my life due to the amount of Red Bull I ingested over the weekend, but the important thing is that my picks for the season are in and we'll be covering those in today's newsletter.
Who's going to make the playoffs? Who's going to win the Super Bowl? Who's going to finish with the worst record in the NFL? We're going to answer all of that today and we're doing it in celebration of the fact that there is ACTUAL NFL FOOTBALL being played this week. I'm so happy I could cry, but I'm not going to, because at this point, I'm pretty sure my tears would just be Red Bull.
Alright, you don't care about my Red Bull tears, so let's get to the rundown.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Best AFC team win totals to bet on
After going over every NFC win total on Friday, we thought it only made sense to cover the AFC win totals for today's episode of the Pick Six Podcast, so that's exactly what we did. For those of you who know nothing about gambling, win totals are the same thing as over/unders. Each team is assigned a win total in Las Vegas, and then you bet whether you think a team will go over or under that total.
For today's episode, not only did Will Brinson and I give our opinion on all 16 team win totals in the AFC, but we also revealed our four favorite over/under bets. Here's a look at our best bets:
Brinson's best bets
Bills OVER 11.5 wins (-140)
Jaguars OVER 6.5 (-120)
Chiefs OVER 10.5 (-125)
Breech's best bets
Chargers OVER 10 (-150)
Patriots UNDER 8.5 (-125)
Titans UNDER 9.5 (-155)
Best bets we agreed on
Ravens OVER 9.5 (-165)
Although Brinson and I both like the Ravens this year, he definitely likes them more. Not only does Brinson think the Ravens are going to hit their over, but he's predicting that they're going to make the Super Bowl. Sorry, Brinson, the Ravens are not making the Super Bowl and that's because the team I'm predicting to get to the Super Bowl out of the AFC will be the one getting to the Super Bowl (You'll have to keep reading the newsletter to get my prediction).
Anyway, if you want to hear us explain our over/under bets for every team in the AFC, you'll have to listen to the podcast, which you can do by clicking here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. AFC Predictions for 2022
As I mentioned at the top, I spent my entire Labor Day weekend going through all 272 regular-season games on the NFL schedule and after 72 straight hours of contemplating the 2022 season, my picks are finally in.
Here's my prediction for how everything in the AFC will break down this year:
AFC playoffs: 1. Bills 2. Chargers 3. Ravens 4. Colts 5. Chiefs 6. Bengals 7. Broncos
AFC Super Bowl team: Denver Broncos
This is usually the part where I would apologize to Broncos fans for jinxing their team, but after looking at my picks over the past seven years, I might not be a jinx! I've somehow correctly picked the AFC's Super Bowl team in four of the past seven years (Broncos in 2015, Patriots in 2017, Chiefs in 2019 and 2020).
3. NFC Predictions for 2022
I'll be honest, when I was doing my predictions over the weekend, I had no idea who I was going to pick to make the Super Bowl out of the AFC. However, the same can't be said about the NFC. I was sold on one team going into my predictions and nothing ended up changing my mind. The most surprising part of my NFC predictions is probably the fact that I have the Cardinals finishing in last place. I am already eagerly awaiting all the hate tweets I'm going to get from Cardinals fans.
Anyway, here's my prediction for how everything in the NFC will break down this year:
1. *Eagles: 11-6
2. *Cowboys: 10-7
3. Commanders: 6-11
4. Giants: 5-12
1. *Packers: 12-5
2. *Vikings: 10-7
3. Lions: 6-11
4. Bears: 4-13
1. *Buccaneers: 10-7
2. *Saints: 9-8
3. Panthers: 7-10
4. Falcons: 4-13
1. *Rams: 11-6
2. *49ers: 10-7
3. Seahawks: 6-11
4. Cardinals: 6-11
NFC playoffs: 1. Packers 2. Rams 3. Eagles 4. Buccaneers 5. Cowboys 6. Vikings 7. 49ers
NFC Super Bowl team: Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl winner: Broncos 31-24 over Packers
Besides trying to predict every team's final record, I also made eight bold predictions about the 2022 NFL season and you can check out all of those by clicking here.
4. Six teams that will likely have a bumpy season
The 2022 NFL season hasn't even started and CBSSports.com's Cody Benjamin is already out here trying to RUIN it for some people. After taking a look at every team in the league, Cody identified six teams that are probably going to struggle this year. I'm not saying that fans of the following six teams should give up on the season already, but I'm not not saying that. Here's a look at Cody's list:
- Bears. "The biggest issues for this team been glaring all offseason: Justin Fields' line looks like one of the iffiest in the NFL, and his receiving corps is chock-full of banged-up backups."
- Browns. "There's a reason they gave up so much to land Deshaun Watson: QB play matters, and they're poised to get passable production there, at best, for 64% of their schedule in a tough division. Interim No. 1 Jacoby Brissett can lean on the run, but what happens in a shootout?"
- Falcons. "The pass rush is lacking, the O-line is considered a deteriorating unit. And Marcus Mariota, who hasn't been a healthy or efficient starter in over a half-decade, will open as the commander of the ship." I think Cody is trying to say that none of those things are ideal.
- Giants. "Their new regime basically admitted this offseason that its dire financial state wouldn't permit a thorough restocking until 2023, which explains why an aging, banged-up Tyrod Taylor is their only alternative to Daniel Jones, who is perpetually auditioning for the QB job amid depleted supporting casts."
- Patriots. "In a division where the Bills and Dolphins boast more explosive upside, the old-school ground-and-pound approach doesn't seem as dangerous."
- Texans. "The one team that doesn't need an explanation for being on this list. They've relied heavily on free-agent leftovers for years, and it shows, especially on "D," where older reserves like Jerry Hughes and Christian Kirksey will be asked to start at premium positions. Lovie Smith, meanwhile, hasn't coached a winning team since 2012, making him a curious figurehead for a rebuild presumably geared toward unearthing young talent."
For Cody's full explanation on why he thinks each of these teams will have a bumpy season, be sure to click here.
5. Predicting offensive and defensive rookie of the year winners
I've told you we were going to bombard you with NFL predictions this week and we're going to keep doing that right now with our predictions for rookie of the year on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. For this prediction, we rounded up 10 or our writers here at CBSSports.com and asked them to predict who's going to win the two awards.
With that in mind, here's a look at our picks for OROY (Next to each player's name, you can see their Caesar Sportsbook odds for winning the award and how many votes they received):
George Pickens, Steelers (+1000): Four votes
Kenny Pickett, Steelers (+900): Three votes
Breece Hall, Jets (+1100): One vote (The lone Hall vote came from Jordan Dajani)
Romeo Doubs, Packers (+1400): One vote (The lone Doubs vote came from me)
On the defensive side of the ball, our writers all agreed to disagree with five different players receiving at least one vote.
Travon Walker, Jaguars (+850): Three votes
Aidan Hutchinson, Lions (+450): Two votes
Sauce Gardner, Jets (+1200): Two votes
Kayvon Thibodeaux (+600): One vote (The lone Thibodeaux vote came from Josh Edwards)
George Karlaftis, Chiefs (+2000): One vote (The lone Karlaftis vote came from Tyler Sullivan)
If you want to see everyone's full explanation for their vote, you can check that out by clicking here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Cowboys to sign Pro Bowl left tackle
It was a wild weekend 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.
- Jason Peters expected to sign with Cowboys. It looks like the Cowboys have found a replacement for Tyron Smith. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported that Peters and the Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal. One twist to this deal is that the nine-time Pro Bowler will start the season on the practice squad and then move to the active roster when he's ready. Peters has been in the NFL since 2004 and if the two-time All-Pro has anything left in the tank, it will definitely be a solid addition for the Cowboys.
- Rams should be healthy for opener. The Rams have been dealing with some major injury issues over the past few weeks with Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson all battling some sort of ailment. The good news for Los Angeles is that everyone should be good to go for Thursday. On Stafford's end, Sean McVay said his QB will have no limitations despite dealing with an nagging elbow injury for most of the offseason. As for Ramsey, McVay said that he'll be ready to roll for the game. There was some question about his health after the corner underwent shoulder surgery this offseason.
- Odell Beckham still has a locker in the Rams' locker room. Beckham is still a free agent and the Rams are doing their best to make sure he knows that he's wanted in Los Angeles by leaving his locker untouched. According to The Athletic, the receiver's locker and name plate haven't been taken down and it's looking like the Rams will likely keep it up until he either signs with them or signs with another team.
- Patriots making unique travel plans to Miami for regular season opener against Dolphins. The Patriots have lost seven of their past nine games in Miami so Bill Belichick is doing something different this week with New England's travel schedule: According to ESPN.com, the team will be traveling to Miami on Tuesday to get acclimated to the heat and humidity. I'm not sure spending five nights on South Beach is going to solve the problem, but we'll see.
- Browns sign two former Steelers. The Browns added some depth at two positions over the weekend with the signings of Joe Haeg (offensive tackle) and Jesse James (tight end). The two players have one big thing in common and that's that they both used to play for the Steelers. Haeg spent the 2021 season in Pittsburgh while James spent the first four seasons of his career (2015-18) with the Steelers.