Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
We're going to start off today with some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there is football on tonight (Vikings at Eagles). The bad news is that if you don't have an Amazon Prime subscription, you won't be able to watch it.
If you haven't heard, Thursday night games are now on Amazon (as they were last year), which means the only way you'll be able to watch the game is if you have an Amazon Prime subscription. I have no idea if it's worth the $139 per year I pay for it, but my wife tells me it is and I guess I'll take her word for it since she is Amazon's No. 1 customer.
If you don't feel like shelling out $139 for an annual subscription, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial here, which will allow you to watch the game. Amazon did not pay me to get you to sign up, which is my fault, because I definitely should have asked for a cut. Anyway, we'll be previewing tonight's game in the newsletter, plus we have a lot more to cover, so let's get to the rundown.
As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. It's the perfect gift to get for your favorite football-loving friend at the start of the season. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here.
1. Today's show: Brady Quinn breaks down what the Jets should do now that Aaron Rodgers is out
For today's episode of the Pick Six podcast, we brought on two former NFL players to talk about the Aaron Rodgers injury. First up, we had Brady Quinn, the former first-round pick who knows a thing or two about how difficult it can be to play quarterback in the NFL. We also brought on Leger Douzable, who spent three NFL seasons with the Jets, so he knows what the fans in New York are feeling right now.
One of the main topics the guys discussed with host Will Brinson was what the Jets should do at QB for the rest of the season.
Should the Jets stick with Zach Wilson?
Quinn thinks the Jets should stick with Wilson, just so they can find out what they have in the former No. 2 overall pick.
"He's your starter," Brady said. "You now get an opportunity to let him play this season. Maybe he plays well, maybe he's grown. Rodgers has taught him a lot, he's going to hang around to continue to mentor him. Maybe he helps Wilson mature into the player you thought he was."
If the Jets stick with Wilson, that puts them in a better situation to figure out their future. If he struggles, then they know it's time to move on. If he plays well, they can think about keeping him as a backup if Rodgers returns, but they can also think about keeping him as the starter if Rodgers decides to retire.
Will Aaron Rodgers retire?
Quinn doesn't think so. "I think he's probably got a sense and a feel for how great it was to be a Jet and how different it was and really wants to tap into what that's going to be for 2024," Quinn said.
Quinn also noted that Rodgers could be helped by the fact that he injured his left Achilles. When you're a right-handed QB, you usually plant on your right foot, so you feel pressure on every throw. If Rodgers had injured his right side, that could have been an issue, but it shouldn't be here.
If you want to hear everything Quinn and Douzable had to say about the Rodgers situation, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Vikings at Eagles
I already mentioned this at the top, but I'm going to mention it again for all the people who don't bother reading the introduction: If you want to watch tonight's game, the only way to do it is by subscribing to Amazon Prime. This will be the only reminder you get all season. If you don't have Prime and you don't want to spend money to watch tonight's game, you have three options: You can move to Minnesota, you can move to Philadelphia (the game is shown on local TV in both markets) or you can sign up for a free 30-day subscription to Prime right now by going to this link. The free trial will allow you to watch the next five Thursday games before you have to decide whether you actually want to pay for Prime.
Anyway, my good buddy Jared Dubin put together CBS Sports' deep-dive preview for this game, and here's how he sees the things playing out in a game where the Eagles are currently favored by six points:
- Why the Vikings can win: Kirk Cousins isn't usually a quarterback , but he might be tonight. He could have a huge game and that's because the Eagles will be missing with cornerback James Bradberry and safety Reed Blankenship both ruled out. The Eagles will have Darius Slay to try and slow down Justin Jefferson, but they won't have much else. If Cousins can get other parts of his passing attack going, he could have a big night, which could lead to a Vikings win.
- Why the Eagles can win: In 2022, the Eagles forced the fourth-most turnovers in the NFL. They followed that up by opening the 2023 season with a win over the Patriots where they forced two turnovers. Now, they get to face a turnover-prone Kirk Cousins, who threw an interception while also losing two fumbles in Week 1. If the Eagles can fluster Cousins, the Vikings are going to have a hard time scoring points. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings struggled to slow down Baker Mayfield last week, so Jalen Hurts could be in line to have a huge game. Speaking of Mayfield, he , and if the Eagles do the same, that could cause even more trouble for Minnesota.
You can get. If you want to read about Cousins' primetime struggles, .
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP Tyler LIKES: Jordan Addison OVER 39.5 receiving yards (-117): "All of the attention will be paid to Jefferson in this game. With a depleted secondary thanks to All-Pro corner Bradberry ruled out for this matchup, the trickle-down effect of Philadelphia putting in its top talent to slow down Jefferson should open up opportunities for Addison, who went over this total in his NFL debut last week with 61 receiving yards."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Jake Elliott OVER 7.5 total points (-109): Although the Eagles love to go for it on fourth down in the right situation, they also proved last week that they're not afraid to kick field goals (Elliott hit four against the Patriots). Including the playoffs, Elliott has gone over 7.5 points in four of his past five games, and the only game where he didn't go over 7.5 in that span is a game where Jalen Hurts didn't start at quarterback. It won't be surprising at all to see Elliott make at least two field goals and two extra points, which would give him what he needs to hit the over.
You can. Finally, if you're wondering who we're picking, here's who we have tonight:
Dubin's pick: Eagles 30-23 over Vikings
Sullivan's pick: Eagles 30-24 over Vikings
My pick: Eagles 27-17 over Vikings
Over on our CBS Sports picks page, all eight of us are taking the Eagles to win, but not everyone is expecting them to cover. You can see our picks for this game, along with all of our Week 2 picks, here.
3. Aaron Rodgers breaks his silence following his devastating injury
It took nearly two days, but Aaron Rodgers finally offered his first public comments since Monday night, when he was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles against the Bills.
- Jets QB is 'heartbroken.' The injury definitely took an emotional toll on the four-time MVP, who admitted that he's heartbroken. "I'm completely heartbroken and moving through all of the emotions, but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love," Rodgers wrote on Instagram.
- Rodgers also made it sound like he doesn't plan on retiring. At 39, there's no guarantee Rodgers will be able to make a comeback from a torn Achilles, but he sounded pretty confident that he might be able to return at some point. "The night is darkest before the dawn. And I shall rise yet again," Rodgers wrote.
- Robert Saleh thinks Rodgers will play in the NFL again. The Jets coach was asked Wednesday if he thought Rodgers might retire, and it sounds like Saleh thinks his QB might end up returning. "I'd be shocked if this is the way he's going to go out," Saleh said, via the team's official website. "But at the same time for him, he's working through a whole lot of head space, and things that he needs to deal with and that will be the last thing I talk to him about."
If there's one player out there who might have an idea of what Rodgers is going through, it's JJ Watt. The former NFL star suffered several brutal injuries in his career, and he talked about the Rodgers situation this week during an interview with CBS Sports, .
4. One thing each team needs to fix heading into Week 2
When it comes to Week 1, some teams definitely looked better than others, but the fact of the matter is that no one was perfect. I mean, sure, the Cowboys won 40-0, but Dak Prescott only scored 6.27 points for my fantasy team. GET IT TOGETHER DAK. Anyway, with Week 2 kicking off tonight, Jeff Kerr decided to take a look at one thing each team needs to fix before they take the field this week.
Let's take a look at three of his suggestions:
- Cowboys: Find Brandin Cooks. "Dallas didn't exactly need Cooks on Sunday during its 40-point destruction of the Giants. Cooks was getting open throughout the night, which opened up the offense for other opportunities. The Jets secondary is one of the best in the NFL, though, so Dallas will need to target Cooks again and use his route-running to move the chains."
- Falcons: Use Drake London and Kyle Pitts. "What's the point of drafting these players high in the first round if they don't get targets? Pitts had just three targets and London had one, as Desmond Ridder threw just 18 passes (completing 15 of them)."
- Steelers: Run the ball more. "The Steelers only had 10 carries in Sunday's loss to the 49ers -- and one of them was Kenny Pickett. Going three-and-out on four of the first five possessions (with an interception on the other possession) could be avoided by giving the ball to Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. That's on Matt Canada."
If you want to see what Kerr suggested for the other 29 teams in the NFL,.
5. Building the NFL's ultimate 53-man roster
Anyone can build an ultimate 53-man roster for the NFL, but not everyone can do it like Joel Corry. As a former NFL agent, Corry thought it would be fun to build a 53-player all-star team with one rule: He has to stay under the salary cap.
Basically, what he came up with is the best team you could possibly buy using the NFL's own rules. The salary cap this year is $224.8 million, so Corry built the best team he could while also staying under that number.
Here's a list of the offensive players on his list, along with their 2023 cap number:
QB: Jalen Hurts, Eagles ($6.16 million million)
RB: Christian McCaffrey, 49ers ($3.42 million)
WR: Tyreek Hill ($12.90 million)
WR: A.J. Brown, Eagles ($8.32 million)
WR: Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($4.18 million)
TE: George Kittle, 49ers ($9.58 million)
LT: Trent Williams, 49ers ($12.37 million)
LG: Joel Bitonio, Browns ($6.73 million)
C: Creed Humphrey, Chiefs ($1.53 million)
RG: Zack Martin, Cowboys ($11.76 million)
RT: Lane Johnson ($14.72 million)
That's the entire offense, and Corry has spent just $91.67 million, which is less than 41% of his budget. If you want to know how he spent the rest of his money and how much he spent on defensive players,.
6. Extra points: NFL now has an official stadium in London
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.
- NFL announces partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Under terms of this new partnership, the NFL has agreed to play at least TWO games per year at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium through the 2029-30 season. The stadium opened in 2019 and has already hosted multiple games. If the Jaguars continue to play one game per year at Wembley Stadium, that means London will be hosting at least three games per season for the foreseeable future.
- NFL eyeing Spain for a possible international game. On top of the London games, it looks like the league is also looking to expand to Spain. According to Football Zebras, the league is looking to schedule a game in Madrid for the 2024 season.
- Pro Bowl running back set to make NFL return after three years away. Tarik Cohen is returning to the NFL. The former Bears running back, who hasn't played since 2020, is . Cohen has been battling multiple injuries in his career, including , but the 2018 Pro Bowler was productive when he was healthy, so it does make some sense for the Panthers to take a flyer on him here.
- NFLPA calls for grass in all stadiums. On the heels of the Aaron Rodgers injury, the NFLPA is calling for grass to be installed in every NFL stadium. However, it's unlikely the NFL will be pushing for this since the league that the injury rate doesn't change much when games are played on artificial turf vs. grass.
- Chase Claypool in the doghouse. There's a chance the Bears receiver could be inactive this week. Claypool appeared to not be giving his best effort on every play in Week 1, and the Bears definitely noticed. Coach Matt Eberflus was asked if Claypool might be inactive this week and , "We're looking at all possibilities right now," Eberflus said. He could have shot down the idea, but instead, he kept the door wide open for Claypool being benched.