NFL: Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins

Merry Wednesday, everyone. The new year is nearly upon us, and the next holiday weekend will soon tee us up for a thrilling Bills-Bengals matchup (more on that below). John Breech decided to take the day to mentally prepare for such a massive spotlight on Joe Burrow, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest from around the NFL.

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 17 picks, Broncos coaching updates, Commanders quarterback news, and much more:

  1. Today's show: Week 17 betting trends, picks, predictions

Aaron Rodgers USATSI

Tyler Sullivan joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to break down all of Week 17's top matchups from a betting perspective. Here are some highlights:

  • The guys agree that the Bills-Bengals "Monday Night Football" game should be the highlight of the week, but that also makes it a tossup from a betting angle. Brinson leans Cincinnati as a slight road underdog.
  • Brinson is confident that Carolina (+3) can sweep the Buccaneers on its way to a potential NFC South title: "Tom Brady looks disinterested and miserable out there." Tampa, by the way, is 0-6-1 against the spread at Raymond James Stadium this year.
  • Sully just can't get on board with the Vikings despite their record, suggesting they are "fool's gold" and "ripe to be plucked in the first round" of the playoffs. He leans Packers (-3.5) on Sunday, noting Green Bay is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 vs. Minnesota.

Catch the full episode (and subscribe for daily NFL talk) right here.

2. Prisco's Picks: Patriots edge Dolphins, Panthers stun Buccaneers

Pete Prisco was blazing hot making Week 16 picks, going 13-3 against the spread and 5-1 on best bets. Now he's back, more confident than ever, with predictions for every single Week 17 showdown. Here's a sampling:

  • Patriots 24, Dolphins 20: The winner of this game will control its playoff fate. Miami will be without Tua Tagovailoa because of a concussion, coach Mike McDaniel confirmed on Wednesday. Teddy Bridgewater will start. That matters. The Patriots will win it.
  • Panthers 23, Buccaneers 22: This is likely for the division title. This is a tough spot for Carolina against Tom Brady on the road. Even so, I think they use the run game that ran for more than 300 yards vs. the Lions to win this game.
  • Packers 31, Vikings 24: The Vikings still have a chance at the top seed in the conference. But survival is more motivating than a seed. The Packers lost to the Vikings earlier this year, but I think Aaron Rodgers will have a field day here.

3. Broncos fallout: Russell Wilson's future, head coaching search

Russell Wilson USATSI

It's been a whirlwind of a week in Denver, where the Broncos will soon be looking for their third head coach in as many years. CEO and co-owner Greg Penner met the media Tuesday alongside general manager George Paton to address the state of the franchise, providing updates on Nathaniel Hackett's successor, Russell Wilson's future, and more. Some notable nuggets:

Interim coach: Senior assistant Jerry Rosburg, the former longtime Ravens special teams coordinator, will replace Hackett atop the staff for the remaining two games of the 2022 season.

The head coaching search: Penner said he will "lead a thorough process" that includes input from Paton and others in the ownership group, which includes his wife, Carrie; Rob Walton, Mellody Hobson, Lewis Hamilton, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They hope to cast a wide net for candidates, including current defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

Russell Wilson's future: Penner called the trade for Wilson a "long-term" decision, indicating the team remains committed to the former Seahawks star. "I don't think we made a coaching move based on Russ," Paton added. "That's not why we're getting a new coach, to turn around Russ. It's about the entire organization. It's about the entire football team. It's not just one player. It's not whether Russ is fixable or not. We do believe he is. We do."

Can the Broncos move on from Russ? Even if they wanted to, there isn't a clear path. But there are paths. Here's a detailed look at how Denver might be able to release Wilson late in the 2023 offseason, as well as potential suitors in the event the Broncos proactively attempt to trade the QB after this season.

4. QB news: Tagovailoa out indefinitely, Wentz back as QB1

Big news on the QB front in both Miami and Washington, where the backups are taking over for different reasons. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel confirmed Wednesday that Tua Tagovailoa has suffered at least his second concussion of the 2022 season and will be sidelined indefinitely while focusing on his health. Teddy Bridgewater is in line to start Week 17 against the Patriots, and possibly longer, while the NFLPA initiates its second investigation into Tagovailoa's latest head injury.

In Washington, meanwhile, Carson Wentz replaced Taylor Heinicke during the Commanders' Week 16 loss to the 49ers, and now he's officially back on duty as Washington's QB1, with coach Ron Rivera announcing Wednesday that the veteran will remain under center for Sunday's matchup with the Browns. The writing was on the wall: Heinicke, while feisty and initially more efficient than Wentz while filling in for the injured starter, struggled to protect the ball in the Commanders' recent 0-2-1 stretch. And Washington needs to get back in the win column to remain in the NFC wild card picture.

5. QB Power Rankings: Brock Purdy catapults toward top five

Brock Purdy CBS Sports illustration (Keytron Jordan)

Every week, we rank all 32 starting QBs from first to worst, identifying the trustiest and most talented signal-callers around the league. Some familiar faces reign supreme in Week 17's pecking order, with Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow headlining the best of the best. But how about the 49ers' Brock Purdy, who's been nearly flawless off the bench? With the playoffs around the corner, he's positioning himself to enter the top five at some point. He headlines our biggest movers of the week:

5. Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), +5
6. Brock Purdy
(49ers), +6
7. Aaron Rodgers (Packers), +4
9. Dak Prescott
(Cowboys), +6
17. Sam Darnold
(Panthers), +6

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Playoff projections, MVP watch, Colts drama

Hungry for more headlines? You came to the right place: