Hello and happy Wednesday, folks. John Breech is living large amid Joe Burrow's surge back into the MVP conversation -- so large, in fact, that he took the day off and decided to hand the news-delivery duties to Cody Benjamin, yours truly.
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 Week 8 predictions, QB power rankings, trade deadline grades, and more:
- Today's show: Week 8 betting preview, picks, predictions
John Breech and Tyler Sullivan joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to preview this weekend's games from a betting perspective. Some highlights:
- Sully thinks Mac Jones will be back under center for the Patriots (-1.5) against the Jets, but Brinson thinks the bigger factor here is Bill Belichick's distaste for New York: "He hates the Jets, and he's angry because the Bears just embarrassed him." Breech also notes that Jets QB Zach Wilson hasn't shown anything to suggest he can move the ball on tough defenses.
- The Lions are on a historical scoring drought, Breech notes, scoring just six points in their last two games. He likes Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins (-3.5) to take care of business on the road, adding that Miami is 6-1 straight-up in its last seven games as three-point favorites.
- Brinson is shying away from the Colts (-3) as home favorites against Washington because of the total unknown that is Sam Ehlinger, who's replacing Matt Ryan at QB: "Maybe Frank Reich's got a bunch of stuff up his sleeve, read-option stuff ... but I would have a hard time laying three here."
Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Prisco's picks: Buccaneers edge Ravens, Seahawks halt Giants
Pete Prisco has been staying in the green with his straight-up picks this year. Now he's back for more, logging predictions for every single Week 8 matchup. Here's a sampling:
- Buccaneers 27, Ravens 19: The Ravens have improved on defense, but their passing game is struggling a bit. This is a game where Tom Brady and the Bucs get it going. Look for some deep shots for big plays as the Bucs get the upset.
- Jets 24, Patriots 20: The Jets have suffered some big injuries, including to rookie running back Breece Hall. That will matter down the road, but not here. The defense will limit the Pats offense, no matter who plays quarterback. New York keeps rolling.
- Seahawks 27, Giants 20: This is a long trip for a second straight road game for the Giants. They are also banged up on the offensive line. The Seahawks can run it, while the Giants can't stop the run. Look for another big game from Kenneth Walker III as Seattle gets to 5-3 and stays atop the NFC West.
3. Trade deadline grades tracker: Cowboys add solid DL depth
The 2022 trade deadline is fast approaching on Nov. 1, and already we've had three different deals go down in the last week. We're tracking all the notable moves (and grading them), including Dallas' recent bet on D-line help:
Cowboys get: DT Johnathan Hankins, 2024 seventh-round pick
Raiders get: 2023 sixth-round pick
Dallas' defense has been a terror for most opponents, but the one area of weakness was run support, which makes Hankins (6-3, 340) an ideal plug-and-play option on the interior. With eyes on a playoff run, the Cowboys are renting a proven run stuffer who may well end up a full-time starter on their front. Las Vegas is fine to swap picks and unload a 30-year-old losing snaps to younger investments, but it's possible the Raiders' own top-10 run "D" could now take a hit in the event of injuries.
Cowboys grade: B+
Raiders grade: B-
4. Rodgers suggests some Packers need to be benched
Green Bay is 3-4, on a three-game losing streak, with the high-powered Bills up next in Week 8. And while Aaron Rodgers is generally optimistic about his team's chances of turning things around, he also isn't hiding from the fact his offense needs to get its act together. Appearing on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday, the reigning MVP suggested that mental errors are dooming the Packers on as many as 20% of their snaps, and argued that some teammates might need to be benched.
"It's definitely not just one play here or there," Rodgers said. "If we have 50 plays and we have 10 missed assignments or mental errors, that's 20% of the time. That's way too high. In the past we're looking more like, less than 10%. ... I think guys who are making too many mistakes shouldn't be playing. (Maybe we've got to) start cutting some reps. And maybe guys who aren't playing, give them a chance."
5. QB Power Rankings: Justin Fields, Geno Smith soar up list
Every week, we rank all 32 starting QBs from first to worst. And the pecking order saw some major movers ahead of Week 8. Justin Fields broke out as a dual threat in Monday night's big Bears upset, and he was one of the top risers. Here's a look at others who made a big leap -- or took a big fall -- in the rundown:
12. Seahawks' Geno Smith (+6)
15. Broncos' Russell Wilson (-2)
20. Giants' Daniel Jones (+2)
21. Bears' Justin Fields (+6)
22. Commanders' Taylor Heinicke (+2)
6. Three trades Steelers should make before deadline
Pittsburgh may not be considered a contender league-wide, but the Steelers have put up a fight with rookie Kenny Pickett under center. And Bryan DeArdo, resident Steel City expert, has three trade proposals for the AFC North squad ahead of the deadline:
- Acquire Robert Quinn or Jerry Hughes: The Steelers have just 12 sacks this season, with 6.5 of them coming from third-year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. That's a far cry from the past five years, when the Steelers held at least a share of the lead in sacks each season while recording at least 50 sacks per year over that span. T.J. Watt's absence has clearly hurt.
- Trade Mitchell Trubisky to the Colts: Barring another injury to Kenny Pickett, Trubisky appears destined to spend the remainder of the season on the sideline after being demoted midway through the season's fourth week.
- Field offers for Chase Claypool: Desperate teams do desperate things, so it's certainly possible that a team makes the Steelers an offer they can't refuse. If such an offer is placed on the table, the Steelers should listen and possibly take action. Such a trade would have to include multiple picks as well as a receiver that can replace Claypool in Pittsburgh's lineup.