Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I'm guessing you've probably heard by now, but in case you haven't, THE NFL SCHEDULE WAS RELEASED LAST NIGHT. If you're wondering why I'm writing in all caps, it's because I haven't slept in three days, I've had 12 cups of coffee since yesterday morning and my brain is so fried that I'm not even sure what a color is anymore. Also, I've watched the Titans' schedule release video more times than I care to admit. If you haven't watched it yet, you can click here to see it. Apparently, more than six million people have already watched the video, which I'm not sure if that says more about the video or the people on Twitter.
Anyway, I'm guessing you already know what we're going to be covering today and if you guessed the NFL schedule, then you are correct. We're going to cover the schedule release, the schedule release and more schedule release. If you missed the schedule release, you.
As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. All right, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's podcast: Breaking down the schedule
I wasn't the host of today's episode of the Pick Six Podcast, which was probably for the best, because if I had been hosting, I would have demanded that we individually cover all 272 games on the 2023 NFL schedule. However, I was told that would take 19 hours, so we didn't do that. Instead of me as host, Katie Mox was in charge of things today and she was joined by me and Will Brinson and the three of us broke down the schedule.
First, we started off by going through the Week 1 games that we liked the most (Cody Benjamin actually ranked all 16 Week 1 games and you).
After that, we debated which team might take the biggest step back this year based on strength of schedule and Brinson and I both agreed that it would be THE EAGLES.
- The reason I'm worried about the Eagles: After their Week 10 bye, the Eagles will close the season by playing seven games over the final eight weeks against teams that made the playoffs last year. The brutal stretch includes games against the Chiefs, Bills, Cowboys, 49ers, Seahawks and Giants. The Eagles had the easiest schedule in the NFL last year and they road that wave all the way to the Super Bowl. This year, things aren't going to be so easy.
That being said, even though we expect the Eagles to take a step back this year, we don't expect them to miss the playoffs. Even if they regressed by three games off their 2022 record, they would still finish 11-6 in 2023, which would almost certainly put them in the playoffs
You can hear the rest of our schedule breakdown by listening to today's show here. You can also watch the entire thing on YouTube by clicking here.
2. 2023 NFL schedule: Best game each week
There are 272 games on the NFL schedule this year, and although I would like to talk about each one individually in this newsletter, I've been told that's not realistic, so instead, we're going to go through each week of the schedule and pick out the best game.
There are 18 weeks during the regular season and our Jared Dubin went through each week to find the best game. With that in mind, let's check out Dubin's take on what the best game is for each week of the season (Note: Dubin would like you to know that no team was allowed to appear on his list more than three times).
- Week 1: Lions at Chiefs. "The Lions of Detroit? In the best game of the week? Absolutely! The Lions were fun as all get-out last season, from Week 1 all the way through Week 18. Watching this young, fun team take on the defending champs in the season's opening salvo should be incredibly enjoyable for all."
- Week 2: Jets at Cowboys. "Aaron Rodgers has historically given Jerry Jones' team fits, and you know he always wants to stick it to Mike McCarthy. "
- Week 8: Bengals at 49ers. "Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins against the NFL's best defense? This is appointment TV. And not just because the game's on CBS."
- Week 12: Bills at Eagles. "Imagine all the fascinating matchups here. Philly's pass rush trying to pressure Allen while Stefon Diggs takes on one of the league's stingiest secondaries on one side of the ball, and Sean McDermott's defense trying to get a handle on what Hurts and Nick Sirianni bring to the table on the other."
- Week 14: Bengals at Chiefs. "The most recent two AFC champions, who have knocked each other out of the playoffs in each of the past two years, will get to square off in the second-to-last week of the season. Just set your schedule now so you can be in front of the TV."
- Week 18: Jets at Patriots "Are you interested in Aaron Rodgers vs. Bill Belichick in the final week of the regular season? I know I am. Especially considering there could be massive playoff implications at play here."
We covered six of the 18 weeks here and if you want to check out Dubin's full list,.
If you're still hungry for more schedule stuff, don't worry, we have you covered. If you want to see who's playing in the best revenge games,. We also ranked every Sunday night game and . Wait, did I mention that we also ranked every Monday night game? Because we did that too, and . And since you're probably now wondering, yes, we also ranked every Thursday night game, .
3. Winners and losers of the schedule release
Like everything in life, there were winners and there were losers during the NFL's schedule release on Thursday. Cody Benjamin sifted through all 272 games on the schedule to try and figure out who came out of the schedule release as a winner and who came out as a loser and here's what he came up with:
- Bears. "Chicago was already , matched up with the 15th-easiest slate in terms of opponents' 2022 win percentage, but all of a sudden they're also prime-time darlings, too! Just months after finishing 3-14, dead-last in the NFL to earn the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Bears are scheduled for at least four night games in front of a national audience."
- New York market. "The Giants are fresh off their first playoff run in a half-decade, and Aaron Rodgers has yet to take a snap as the Jets' new quarterback, but the two teams are booked for a combined 11 prime-time appearances in 2023. Things change quickly in the NFL, and suddenly it's hot to represent the Big Apple again."
- Amazon's Thursday night schedule. "The league stuffed this year's Thursday slate with marquee games. Here's a sampling of Amazon's Prime Video lineup: Vikings at Eagles, a second annual Week 2 meeting between NFC contenders; Lions at Packers, a Week 4 preview of a Thanksgiving clash between rivals; and Dolphins at Jets, another Aaron Rodgers spotlight for Week 13."
- Giants. "Only three teams enter 2023 with a tougher schedule in terms of opponents' 2022 win percentage, but on top of that, the G-Men will open the year with six of their first 10 games coming on the road."
- Patriots. "The opening four-game stretch alone is no joke: vs. Eagles, vs. Dolphins, at Jets, at Cowboys. An 0-4 start, while unlikely, isn't out of the realm of possibility."
- Cardinals. "Sometimes all you have to do to forecast a rough season is look at a team's roster. Sometimes all you have to do is look at the schedule. In the case of Arizona, well, you can do either, or you can do both, and nothing is overly promising."
If you want to see Cody's.
4. NFL schedule breakdown: One good thing and one bad thing on each team's schedule
The NFL spends a lot of time every year putting the schedule together and although the league does its best to make sure every team is happy, the fact of the matter is that making everyone happy is impossible when you're putting together a schedule that consists of 272 games.
With that in mind, I went through all 32 schedules to find one thing that should make each team happy about their schedule and one thing they're probably irate about. Let's check out three teams:
- One good thing for the Bills: One thing the Bills should like is that they'll be getting a huge rest advantage for two of their biggest games: They get 10 days off before facing the Bengals in Week 9 and they get a bye before facing the Chiefs in Week 14.
- One bad thing for the Bills: Toward the end of the season, the Bills have to play four straight games against team that made the playoffs last season, including both Super Bowl teams, which could make things rough down the stretch for Buffalo. Those games will come against the Eagles (Week 12), Chiefs (Week 14), Cowboys (Week 15) and Chargers (Week 16). The Bills do have a Week 13 bye, but even with that, it's still a rough stretch.
- One good thing for the Raiders: The Raiders won't be leaving Las Vegas a single time between Nov. 20 and Dec. 24. That 34-day stretch is the longest span that any team will go without playing a road game this year
- One bad thing for the Raiders: Not only are the Raiders one of just four teams that have to play their first two games on the road, but one of those games is a cross-country trip to Buffalo. The Raiders went 2-7 on the road last year and if they can't turn that around, they could be staring at an 0-2 start.
- One good thing for the 49ers: The 49ers were a dominant team at home last year, going 8-1. If they can be dominant again, they could get off to a hot start and that's because they have three straight home games starting in Week 3. During their three-week homestand, they'll face the Giants, Cardinals and Cowboys.
- One bad thing for the 49ers: The 49ers have to face four teams this year that will be coming off a bye, which is tied with the Rams for the most in the NFL. That means that for roughly 25% of their schedule, the 49ers will have to deal with teams that are much more rested than them. (Besides the Rams and 49ers, no other team will be facing more than two teams coming off a bye).
You can see one good thing and.
5. CBS Sports interview with the NFL's scheduling guru
If there's one thankless job in the NFL, it's definitely the one that Mike North has. As the league's vice president of broadcast planning, his team is in charge of putting the schedule together. Every year, they have to sit down and create a schedule of 272 gams that will make every team happy even though it's impossible to make every team happy.
As the schedule came out on Thursday, North sat down with CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones to answer some key questions about this year's schedule.
Q: How did the Lions end up in the Thursday night opener against the Chiefs?
North: "The truth of the matter is, you, me and nine friends could probably line up against Kansas City on (season) kickoff (day) and fans are still going to want to watch. Patrick Mahomes has become must-see TV. Whatever home opponent we gave to Kansas City for kickoff was going to be a great story. And the honest truth is we considered every single one of them. …We always talk about teams playing their way into national windows and I think we can safely say the Detroit Lions have done that."
Q: Four teams -- Cardinals, Texans, Falcons and Colts -- got zero prime-time games?
North: "That's what flexible scheduling is for. If those guys are frisky and relevant late in the year we'd love to find a window where we can reintroduce them to the nation."
Q: Why did the Packers get five prime-time games even though they're essentially an unproven commodity this year with Jordan Love at QB?
North: "They are a national brand. They have a national following. They're going to be well represented on our national television schedule. They are on the NBC schedule twice, ESPN twice, Amazon, Thanksgiving. This sure looks like a schedule where the National Football League is expecting the Green Bay Packers to be relevant and competitive."
Although the NFL is expecting the Packers to be competitive, they definitely put a giant safeguard in place in case the team turns out to be horrible. Three of Green Bay's five primetime games are after Week 12, which means they can be flexed out of the spot if they struggle in 2023.
Anyway, North answered several other questions and.
6. Extra points: Tom Brady might soon be a part owner of the Raiders
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.
- Tom Brady might buy a piece of the Raiders. Although Tom Brady is retired, he might not be out of the NFL for long. According to ESPN, Brady is in "deep discussions" to . If the purchase goes through, Brady wouldn't get any operational control of the team, but he would be partnering with Mark Davis for the second time in two months. Back in March, Brady in the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces, which are owned by Davis.
- Brett Favre withdraws lawsuit against Pat McAfee. The former Colts punter announced on his show Thursday that Favre has withdrawn his lawsuit. "I am pleased to report that based solely on me again clarifying these points now, with no settlement paid, Brett is withdrawing his suit against me." McAfee said. You .
- Jalen Carter could be facing more legal trouble. It turns out that Carter was on the night of a fatal car crash involving one of his former teammates at UGA. This won't impact Carter's criminal case -- because he's already pleaded no contest to charges stemming from the incident -- but it could be . Carter was named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed this week by the father of Devin Willock, the UGA player who died in the accident.
- Florida open to hosting Jaguars. The Jaguars could be forced to leave Jacksonville for and if that happens, the University of Florida would be open to hosting them, according to Athletic Director Scott Stricklin. Florida's campus is just a 90-minute drive from Jacksonville, which makes it a plausible solution if the Jags have to temporarily move.
- XFL title game is on Saturday. The XFL Championship game is happening tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET between the Arlington Renegades and DC Defenders. If that interests you at all, you can check out our breakdown and .