Happy Wednesday, all. We're officially three days away from the next round of playoff action. So buckle up! John Breech is taking the day to shop for extra snacks in anticipation of the Bengals game, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest from around the league.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
We've got divisional round picks, bold predictions, lots of coaching news, and more:
- Today's show: Divisional round bold predictions
Ryan Wilson, John Breech and Tyler Sullivan joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to forecast the next round of playoff action with bold predictions for each divisional showdown. Some highlights:
- Breech and Sully aren't so sure the Chiefs are going to roll over the Jaguars at Arrowhead. The former believes Patrick Mahomes will throw twice as many interceptions as Trevor Lawrence, and Sully predicts a five-touchdown day for Jacksonville's young quarterback, noting Kansas City has struggled to play red-zone defense.
- Wilson foresees a lot of scoring in the Cowboys-49ers showdown, predicting at least 65 combined points in a shootout.
- Brinson can't imagine the Bills and Bengals rematch unfolding without a surprise Damar Hamlin tribute, predicting that Tee Higgins will reveal he's wearing a Hamlin T-shirt under his jersey after scoring a touchdown.
Catch the full episode (and subscribe for daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Prisco's Picks: Bills edge Bengals, Cowboys stun 49ers
Pete Prisco is coming off a red-hot week of predictions, going 6-0 on straight-up Super Wild Card Weekend picks and 4-0 with best bets. Now, he's back with picks for every single divisional round game:
- Chiefs 34, Jaguars 28: The Chiefs will be a real problem for the Jacksonville defense, which has struggled at times against the pass. The Jags don't rush the passer that well, which is a big advantage for Patrick Mahomes. I do see the Jaguars scoring against a Chiefs defense that can be beat as Trevor Lawrence plays well. But Mahomes will put up big numbers.
- Eagles 30, Giants 28: The Giants impressed on offense in beating the Vikings last week, but this is a much tougher challenge for Daniel Jones and Co. The Eagles led the NFL in sacks and have five guys who had 10 or more. That's pressure. The Giants have been leaky at times on their line, which has to be a concern.
- Bills 34, Bengals 30: This is the game of the weekend if you love quarterback play. Joe Burrow vs. Josh Allen. The Bengals do have offensive line issues, with three starters possibly out, but ... this should be a shootout with both quarterbacks having big days. In the end, I think it's Allen and the Bills who will win it in the fourth quarter.
- Cowboys 27, 49ers 26: The 49ers will actually have an extra day of rest since they played last Saturday. But the Cowboys seemed to find their offense against the Bucs, especially Dak Prescott. It will come down to Brock Purdy against the Dallas pressure. This will be the best defense he has faced. The Dallas pass rush can be disruptive, which I think happens here.
3. Biggest questions facing eight remaining contenders
Eight teams remain in the hunt for a Lombardi Trophy, so we identified the most pressing questions facing each of them. Here's a sampling, with a look at one of the pleasant surprises out of the NFC East:
Giants: Can Wink Martindale match Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka?
In other words, as New York's offense rolls full steam ahead, with Daniel Jones emerging as a composed franchise QB under Daboll and Kafka's creative direction, can Big Blue's defense find a way to make its own schematic leap? Martindale took a decidedly more conservative approach against Minnesota, and it paid off late as the G-Men stopped Kirk Cousins and Co. to seal a road upset, but only after the Vikings spent much of the day moving the ball up and down the field. Azeez Ojulari's latest injury off the edge adds another potentially concerning wrinkle, even with Dexter Lawrence still owning the interior.
4. Rodgers addresses future, leaves door open for new team
Tom Brady's future is up in the air, and so is that of Aaron Rodgers. On Tuesday, for the first time since his Week 18 loss to the Lions, the Packers quarterback spoke publicly about the possibilities that await, telling the "Pat McAfee Show" that he's not ready to decide on his 2023 plans. Perhaps most notably, Rodgers seemed more open to the idea of playing elsewhere. He had previously suggested to reporters immediately following the season that Green Bay would be his home if he returned, but clarified to McAfee that he believes he can "win MVP again in the right situation," even if it's not with the Packers.
5. Hiring cycle: Colts eye Dan Quinn, Titans hire new GM
Multiple teams are still searching to fill top jobs. Here's the latest from the hiring cycle:
- Titans hire 49ers exec Ran Carthon as new GM: He spent six years in San Francisco
- Colts request interview with Dan Quinn: The Cowboys DC has received several inquiries
- Jets interview Nathaniel Hackett for OC: The ex-Broncos coach could be headed to New York
- Ben Johnson staying with Lions: The OC was considered a top head coaching target
- Bowles unsure of Byron Leftwich's future: The Buccaneers could be seeking a new OC
- Patriots eye Keenan McCardell for OC job: The former receiver is the Vikings' WRs coach
6. Trapasso's 2023 mock draft: Panthers move up to No. 1
Chris Trapasso dropped his latest first-round projection, and boy is it a splashy one. Take a look at his top 10, which is chock-full of trades and bold selections, especially at the QB spot:
1. Panthers (via Bears): QB Will Levis
2. Texans: QB C.J. Stroud
3. Cardinals: DL Jalen Carter
4. Colts: QB Bryce Young
5. Seahawks: DE Will Anderson Jr.
6. Lions: CB Devon Witherspoon
7. Raiders: LB Trenton Simpson
8. Falcons: DE/OLB Tyree Wilson
9. Bears: DL Bryan Bresee
10. Eagles: DE Lukas Van Ness