Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
The Super Bowl countdown is officially on. Super Bowl LVII is just 12 days away, which means we're going to spend 12,000 words today breaking down the game. Actually, it turns out that 12,000 words is a lot, so we're going to go with a slightly lower number.
As far as the Super Bowl goes, we'll be looking at some early best bets in today's newsletter, plus we've got five early bold predictions for the BIG game AND we'll be looking at the 49ers QB situation.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Early best bets for Super Bowl LVII
During the NFL season, Will Brinson teamed up with R.J. White every Friday to make some best bets, and although today's not Friday, the two guys still decided to get together to make some EARLY best bets for Super Bowl LVII.
During their 40-minute show, the two guys picked out some of their favorite early bets in the game, which will feature the Chiefs and the Eagles. They also picked several props they currently like, along with one long shot bet.
Here's a look at three bets they currently like:
- Lean: Eagles (-2) to cover against Chiefs
- Lean: Under 49.5
- Lean: First quarter OVER 9.5 points (-125)
Brinson and White both seemed to be leaning Eagles right now, but they also left the door open for a switch to the Chiefs based on how Kansas City's injury report shakes out over the next two weeks. The Chiefs are dealing with a multitude of injuries on both sides of the ball from Patrick Mahomes' ankle to Willie Gay Jr.'s shoulder to L'Jarius Sneed's concussion. The Chiefs also have a banged-up receiving group with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman all dealing with injuries.
As for bets bets, here's what R.J. and Brinson like right now:
- Best bet: Jalen Hurts MVP (+125)
- Best bet: Jalen Hurts Over 1.5 passing touchdowns (-121)
- Best bet: Travis Kelce scores a TD (-107)
If you're picking the Eagles to win, then having Hurts as your MVP makes a lot of sense. On the Chiefs' end, the two guys love nearly every Kelce prop. Besides the anytime TD, they also like the OVER on his total of 76.5 receiving yards.
Here are a few other props they like:
- A.J. Brown OVER 70.5 receiving yards
- Patrick Mahomes OVER 287.5 pass yards
- Jalen Hurts UNDER 48.5 rush yards
Finally, they handed out one long shot bet, and that bet is for a dark horse MVP:
- Haason Reddick: 40-1 SB MVP
If you bet $100 on Reddick, you'd win $4,000 if he were to take home MVP. Reddick had the second most sacks in the NFL during the regular season with 16, and he has the most sacks during the playoffs with 3.5. He changed everything in the NFC Championship by injuring Brock Purdy on a clean hit where he also forced a fumble. If Reddick tallies two or three sacks against Mahomes while also forcing a turnover in the Super Bowl, it wouldn't be completely crazy to see him win MVP. Over the past 10 years, two defensive players have been voted Super Bowl MVP (Von Miller and Malcolm Smith), so it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility.
To listen to today's episode -- and for every early best bet that the two guys made -- be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. 49ers QB situation uncertain after Brock Purdy diagnosed with serious injury
After Brock Purdy led the 49ers to the NFC title game, it seemed like he was playing well enough to earn a chance at the starting job heading into the 2023 season. Now, those hopes are up in the air, because there's a chance he might not even be ready for the start of the 2023 season.
There's finally some news on the injury Purdy suffered against the Eagles. Here's what we know:
Purdy diagnosed with serious injury. The 49ers QB suffered a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow after taking a hit during the first quarter of the NFC title game. According to ESPN, Purdy is currently seeking a second opinion to determine whether he needs surgery. In a best-case scenario, Purdy could be back within six months, but if he has to undergo Tommy John surgery, that could extend the timeline. According to NFL.com, Purdy is hoping the UCL just needs to be repaired. The TJ surgery would only likely happen if he needed a total reconstruction.
With Purdy sidelined indefinitely, that leaves the 49ers with a lot more questions than answers about their QB situation heading into the offseason.
Here's what the 49ers QB situation currently looks like:
- Brock Purdy has a torn UCL. Right now, it seems like the best-case scenario for Purdy is that he would be back on the field around Aug. 1, which means he'll miss every offseason practice and the start of training camp. The problem for the 49ers here is that this is the best-case scenario and there's no guarantee he'll be able to play by Aug. 1.
- Trey Lance has a surgically repaired ankle. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft fractured his fibula in Week 2 and hasn't played since. Right now, there's no timeline for when Lance is expected to be back on the field, and that's mostly because he had to undergo a SECOND surgery, which took place Dec. 30.
- Jimmy Garoppolo is set to be a free agent. Garoppolo is expected to soon be fully recovered from a broken foot he suffered in December, but that doesn't really help the 49ers, because he's scheduled to be a free agent. These two sides almost divorced last offseason, but they came together to hammer out a one-year deal just before the start of the season. It's unlikely the 49ers would re-sign him, but based on their current situation at QB, there's always a chance they could be desperate enough to keep Garoppolo for one more year.
If the 49ers look to sign a veteran QB, the one name you'll probably hear tossed around is Tom Brady. He wanted to sign with the 49ers in 2020, but Kyle Shanahan wasn't on board with the idea. This time around, Shanahan might view Brady as the perfect bridge QB. You could sign him for one season, which would give Purdy and Lance time to fully heal, and then you could let those two battle it out for the starting spot in 2024.
3. Five early bold predictions for the Super Bowl
Between now and Super Bowl Sunday, we will be making a lot of predictions about the game, so I thought I'd get things started off early here by offering five bold predictions from our Jordan Dajani.
- 1. Jalen Hurts sets a Super Bowl record. "The great Steve McNair owns the Super Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback, as he rushed for 64 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV. Hurts hasn't hit 64 rushing yards since Week 14, but we say he gets at least 65 rushing yards in Super Bowl LVII."
- 2. C.J. Gardner-Johnson makes case for Super Bowl MVP. "The versatile defensive back is going to play a large role in the Super Bowl. "Ceedy Duce" should have a hand in helping to defend Kelce in the passing game, and also as a blitzer. In the Super Bowl, Gardner-Johnson will record 1.5 sacks and an interception that will put him in the conversation for Super Bowl MVP."
- 3. Patrick Mahomes gets sacked a postseason-high five times. "The Eagles had the most sacks in the NFL this year. Our bold prediction is that Mahomes is sacked five times -- which would be a career postseason high for him. Mahomes has been sacked five times just once, back in 2018 against the Arizona Cardinals. In his first Super Bowl appearance against the San Francisco 49ers, Mahomes was sacked four times. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV -- where he had a banged-up offensive line -- Mahomes was sacked three times."
- 4. Travis Kelce THROWS a TD pass. "Kelce has attempted just one career pass in the playoffs. That attempt went for a two-yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The prediction here is that Kelce will throw a touchdown to Kadarius Toney in the red zone -- a little "special" against Philly, if you will."
- 5. The game goes into overtime, but the under still hits. "This is the seventh Super Bowl matchup between the top scoring offenses from each conference. Interestingly enough, both teams scored exactly 546 points this year, including playoffs. Our bold prediction is that the Chiefs and Eagles will score the same amount of points in regulation on Feb. 12, forcing the game to overtime. Despite OT, the under of 49.5 will still hit, with the final score being 23-20, Eagles."
If all of Jordan's predictions come true, then there's a 99% chance that Super Bowl LVII will end up being one of the craziest Super Bowls of all-time. If you want to see his full explanation for each prediction, be sure to click here.
4. Ranking the 12 losing playoff teams' chances of making the Super Bowl in 2023
The NFL playoffs started with 14 teams, and now that we're down to two, that means there are 12 teams from this year's postseason that didn't make it to the Super Bowl. The only reason I'm pointing that out is because Cody Benjamin decided to rank those teams based on who has the best chance of getting to NEXT YEAR'S Super Bowl.
Here's how that list breaks down:
Just for the record, I did not have to beg Cody to put the Bengals at the top of the list; he did that on his own. Although I totally agree with Cody's top-two teams, I do think the Jaguars and Vikings are ranked a little high. Also, I'd probably drop the Buccaneers to 11th just because they have no idea who their QB is going to be next year, and even if it's Tom Brady, that doesn't guarantee they'll be any good.
Anyway, to read Cody's full explanation for his rankings, be sure to click here.
5. Biggest questions of the NFL offseason
With only the Chiefs and Eagles left standing, that means the offseason is now in full swing for 30 teams, which means we should probably spend a little more time talking about the offseason in these parts, so that's exactly what we're going to do right now.
Jeff Kerr took a stab a ranking the biggest questions of the 2023 offseason. here's what he came up with:
- 1. What will Tom Brady do? "For the third time in the last four years, the NFL world will revolve on Brady and what he decides to do next season. The soon-to-be 46-year old Brady has a few options to consider, including actually retiring and taking the 10-year, $375 million contract with Fox. Going back to Tampa Bay appears unlikely for Brady, so there will be a few options available. What about the Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, or Miami Dolphins? Are those franchises enough to entice Brady to play another season -- or two? This offseason will be a crucial one for Brady and the franchises that are a quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders."
- 2. Will Aaron Rodgers finally move on from the Packers? "With the Packers having Jordan Love entering the final year of his rookie deal, will Green Bay and Rodgers finally decide to part ways? The New York Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator in an attempt to lure Rodgers, and the Las Vegas Raiders do have Davante Adams in case Rodgers wants to reunite with him. There will certainly be a bidding war for Rodgers on the trade market if the Packers decide to deal him."
- 3. Will the Ravens get a long-term deal done with Lamar Jackson? "Jackson's future with the Ravens is as uncertain as they come, especially as both sides were unable to come to a long-team deal prior to the quarterback's self-imposed deadline before the season. The Ravens can certainly franchise Jackson this offseason and try to work out a long-term deal, but does Jackson even want to be in Baltimore at this point?"
- 4. Will Sean Payton return to coaching? "Payton seems to be down to two options at best: Arizona or Denver. Does he even want to lead any one of these franchises? Or will he wait another year for more openings and a better gig?"
- 5. Where will Derek Carr end up? "The Raiders will be moving on from Carr this offseason, but which team will Carr be going to? Will Carr be the consolation prize after the fates of Brady, Rodgers, and Jackson are decided? Or will he be the first domino to fall?"
Kerr actually listed a total of 10 big questions for the 2023 offseason, and you can see all 10 of them by clicking here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: 2023 salary cap shooting up, plus Vic Fangio drama continues
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.
- Salary cap shooting up for 2023. NFL teams got some good news Monday, and that news is that the salary cap will be going up to $224.8 million for the 2023 season, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reported. That's a $16.6 million increase over last year's cap of 208.2 million, marking the largest increase in the history of the salary cap. It's also a monstrous two-year increase over the $182.5 million cap in 2021.
- Vic Fangio drama continues. Over the weekend, it was reported that Fangio would be signing with the Dolphins to be their defensive coordinator, but that still hasn't happened yet, and now we know why. Fangio told Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle that he hasn't made any decisions about his future. One possibility here is that Fangio is waiting to see if the 49ers' DC job comes open. If DeMeco Ryans gets hired by the Texans, that means the 49ers will be in the market for a DC. Fangio has a history with the team, as he was its DC from 2011 to 2014.
- Dolphins not expected to pursue Tom Brady. Although the Dolphins have made multiple plays for Brady over the past few years, they will not be joining the Brady sweepstakes this year, according to ESPN.com. That's mostly notable because it limits Brady's options for next year if he's planning to play another season.
- Tyler Huntley named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. The Ravens QB only played in SIX games this season, and he wasn't overly impressive in those games. Still, he's now headed to the Pro Bowl. If you want to know how or why that's happening, be sure to click here to check out the story.
- Derek Carr also added to the Pro Bowl. We're only mentioning this here for the sentimental factor. With Carr's career in Las Vegas likely done, the Pro Bowl will almost certainly be his final game ever in a Raiders uniform. The best part for him is that he gets to basically play it in his own backyard since the Pro Bowl Games will be held in Vegas.
- DeMeco Ryans takes himself out of consideration for Broncos' job. In another sign that Ryans is planning to take the Texans job, the Denver Gazette is reporting that the 49ers defensive coordinator has withdrawn his name from the head coaching search in Denver. Don't be surprised if the Texans hire Ryan at some point in next 24 to 48 hours. As for Denver, the Broncos seem to be running out of head coaching candidates. Besides Ryans, the Broncos have talked to Sean Payton, Dan Quinn, David Shaw, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Caldwell, Raheem Morris and current Broncos' defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.
In other coaching news, the Cardinals are continuing their interviewing spree this week. We mentioned yesterday that Arizona will be interviewing both Bengals coordinators this week, and now you can add Mike Kafka to the list. The Giants offensive coordinator will be interviewing for the job today, according to NFL.com. We're not going to list every bit of coaching news here, because it would quadruple the length of the newsletter, but if you want the latest updates on every coaching and GM interview being held this offseason, then be sure to click here so you can follow along in our tracker.