Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
It's champagne-popping season in the NFL, and that's because the last remaining undefeated team finally went down last night with the Commanders' surprising 32-21 win over the Eagles. As you may or may not know, the 1972 Dolphins pop open champagne every year when the final undefeated team loses, and I was also drinking champagne, because that's just what I do every Monday night.
So how did the Commanders pull off the biggest upset of the NFL season? We'll be covering that in today's newsletter, plus we'll be making some early picks for Week 11 and unveiling Pete Prisco's latest power rankings.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get them to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Commanders spoil Eagles' quest to go undefeated
The Commanders shocked the NFL on Monday night with their win over the Eagles. Washington was an 11-point underdog last night, making it just the third team this season to pull off a win as a double-digit underdog (Panthers over Buccaneers and Jets over Bills are the other two).
Following the game, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I spent five minutes in total shock before breaking down how the Commanders were able to pull off the upset. Here are three key things from the game that we covered during the pod:
- Commanders offensive game-plan worked to perfection. If you want to beat the Eagles, one way to do it is to keep their high-powered offense off the field, and the Commanders did exactly that by eating up the clock with an impressive offensive game-plan Monday. The Commanders ran the ball 49 times, which was the most runs they've had in a game since 2002. All those runs kept the clock moving, and because of that, Washington had the ball for more than 40 minutes (40:24), which was the team's second-highest time of possession over the past five years. The Commanders also kept the clock running by converting 12 third-down attempts -- their most in a game 2013.
- Commanders rushing attack wasn't sexy, but it got the job done. Brian Robinson (79 yards) and Antonio Gibson (44 yards) were the perfect one-two punch, and they consistently came up with big runs when Washington needed them. Despite running the ball 49 times, the Commanders only finished with 152 yards, making them the first NFL team since 2005 to run the ball at least 49 times without topping 155 yards.
- Eagles lost turnover battle for the first time this year. Going into their game with the Commanders, the Eagles had only turned the ball over THREE times all season, so it was a total surprise to see them beat that total in one game Monday night. The Eagles turned the ball over four times, with three of the four coming in the second half. The most painful was a Quez Watkins fumble that came after Watkins caught a 50-yard pass (you can see the play here). If Watkins doesn't fumble, the Eagles would have had the ball inside of Washington's 25-yard line while trailing 26-21 with just under six minutes left to play. This game marked the first time all season that the Eagles lost the turnover battle, and the first game all season where they trailed at any point in the second half.
- Controversial play went against the Eagles. The most controversial play of this game came in the fourth quarter on a Dallas Goedert fumble. The officials should have overturned the play because a defender clearly pulled Goedert's face mask. (The facemask, which you can see here, was so bad that it's almost impossible to believe the officiating crew missed it). There was also a controversial play when Philly's Brandon Graham got called for unnecessary roughness for a hit on Taylor Heinicke, but in this case, the officials got the call right, even if most fans thought it was a dumb call. Heinicke had given himself up and Graham still hit him even though he tried to stop (you can see the play here). The Graham penalty came on third down with 1:45 left to play and gave Washington a free first down. If Graham doesn't get penalized, the Eagles would have gotten the ball back with a chance to win. (The score was 26-21 at that point. The final score of 32-21 happened because the Commanders scored a TD on the final play of the game after returning an Eagles fumble for a TD).
- Commanders QB decision. Taylor Heinicke got the start last night because Carson Wentz is on injured reserve, but that won't be the case anymore going forward. Wentz is eligible to return this week, which means the Commanders are going to have to make a decision at QB. If I'm Ron Rivera, the decision is easy: You stick with Heinicke, who has gone 3-1 in four starts while Wentz has been on IR (Went went 2-4 to start the season). Heinicke, who threw for 211 yards against the Eagles, is making smart decisions and seems to be providing a spark for the offense that Wentz hasn't been able to provide. With Washington (5-5) now back in the playoff race, it makes sense to ride the hot hand.
We talked about those three things, plus everything else you could possibly want to know about Monday's game. If you want to listen to the rest of our recap, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Prisco's Power Rankings heading into Week 11
With the Philadelphia Eagles going down Monday night, the big winner in Prisco's Power Rankings ended up being the Kansas City Chiefs, who took over the top spot from Philly.
Here's a look at the top-five this week.
- Chiefs (up from No. 2 last week)
- Eagles (down from No. 1 last week)
- Dolphins (up from No. 6 last week)
- Bills (down from No. 4 last week)
Dropped out: Cowboys
I'm not going to spoil the rest of the power rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets. Here's what has changed since last week.
- The biggest jump this week went to the Green Bay Packers. Following their win over the Cowboys on Sunday, Prisco rewarded the Packers by moving them up TEN spots from 28th overall to 18th overall.
- The biggest jump in the AFC went to the Indianapolis Colts. Apparently, Prisco was impressed with Jeff Saturday, who led Indy to a win over the Raiders. The Colts moved up three spots from 24th to 21st this week.
- The biggest drop this week went to the Broncos, who are now getting dangerously close to the bottom of the power rankings. Following the Broncos' 17-10 loss to the Titans, Prisco punished them by dropping them five spots, from 22nd down to 27th.
- As for the bottom of the rankings, if the Broncos are going to get there, they're going to have to beat out Houston. The Texans are in the cellar this week and don't seem like they're going to be giving up that spot anytime soon.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's Week 11 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.
3. Breech's Week 11 picks: Titans top Packers on Thursday night
If it's Tuesday, that can only mean one thing: It's time for my weekly picks.
If this is your first season with us, here's how the formula works around here: I stay up until an insane hour every Monday night so that I can give you my picks every Tuesday morning. This newsletter will feature three of my picks, and then if you feel like reading the rest of them, you can do that below.
Last week, I went 5-9 and all of my picks were horrible -- even the ones I got right -- so let's hope I got all the suck out of my system as we head into Week 11.
Here are three of my picks for Week 11:
- Titans (+3) at Packers (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime): The Packers' biggest defensive weakness is stopping the run, and that's not a weakness you want to have when you're facing Derrick Henry. Green Bay is just one of seven teams in the NFL this year that's surrendering at least 140 yards per game on the ground through the first 10 weeks. PICK: Titans 20-17 over Packers.
- Jets at Patriots (-3) (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Since the start of the 2001 season, Belichick is 53-5 in home games where the other team is starting a first or second-year QB, and Zack Wilson falls into that category. Not to mention, Wilson is 0-3 all-time against the Patriots with seven interceptions and a QB rating of 50.5. I clearly can't back him in this spot. PICK: Patriots 23-20 over Jets.
- Raiders at Broncos (-2.5) (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): This game is giving us two of the most disappointing teams in the NFL playing against each other, which means we're going to find out who the bigger disappointment is. Based on what I've seen from the Raiders over the past few weeks, I'm going to say it's them. PICK: Broncos 19-16 over Raiders.
To check out the rest of my picks for Week 11, be sure to click here.
4. Raiders owner Mark Davis gives Josh McDaniels a vote of confidence
If my team were 2-7 and coming off a disastrous loss to the Colts, I'm not sure I'd view that as the right time to give my coach a vote of confidence, but that's exactly what Raiders owner Mark Davis did Monday.
Here's what Davis had to say about Josh McDaniels' future with the Raiders:
- Davis says McDaniels is doing a fantastic job "I like Josh. I think he's doing a fantastic job. That's why I hired him," Davis said, via NFL.com. I'm not sure if fantastic means what Davis thinks it means. Not only is McDaniels 2-7, but he has the worst record of any first-year coach, including Nathaniel Hackett.
- Davis understands the fans' frustrations. "You want to win and at the end of the year be the one holding the trophy," Davis said. "Obviously, we're not there yet. I know it's frustrating for the fan base. I feel for them. I'm a fan as well."
- Davis is not going to judge McDaniels after just nine games. "People in today's world want instant gratification," Davis said, via ESPN. "The guy's coached nine games. We're 2-7 -- not the results we're looking for, but at the same time we've lost six one-score games with the ball and a chance to win at the end." This is a fair point and probably the only one I would have made if I were Davis.
- McDaniels still has Davis' backing. "I gave him my vote of confidence when I signed him to a contract to be coach of the Raiders. That's when I gave it to him," Davis said. "Rome was not built in a day." Rome also didn't collapse overnight, so Davis better feel comfortable with the direction of his team if he's going to keep McDaniels on board.
It's been a rough 48 hours for the Raiders. Derek Carr got emotional after the team's 25-20 loss to the Colts. That was followed up with some interesting comments from Davante Adams, who said this week that there are not enough guys who are "fully bought in." If there are guys who aren't buying in, that seems like a coaching issue and something that the Raiders need to get fixed soon.
5. NFL Week 10 overreactions and reality checks
Everyone on the internet loves to overreact to things, and that's especially true when we're talking about the the NFL. With that in mind, Jeff Kerr decided to take a look at several things that happened around the NFL in Week 10 to decide if we're all overreacting.
Statement: The Cowboys are out of the NFC East race.
Overreaction or reality: Reality. "Dallas blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against Green Bay, marking the first time in franchise history they've lost after entering the fourth quarter with a 14-point lead. The collapse also significantly damaged any hope Dallas had of winning the NFC East. The Cowboys are (TWO OR THREE) games behind the Eagles with eight games to play, and Philly currently has the the head-to-head tiebreaker in hand. The Cowboys have the Vikings next Sunday and the Giants on Thanksgiving. Good luck catching Philadelphia."
Statement: Kirk Cousins can lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl.
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. "The Vikings are Super Bowl contenders and one of the best teams in the league, yet it's fair to question if Cousins can get them to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. The Vikings won because of Bills errors, not because of Cousins and his play (he threw two picks against the Bills). They're a Super Bowl contender, but Cousins has to play better to get them that first title the franchise has been seeking."
Statement: Josh McDaniels should be fired next week.
Overreaction or reality: Reality. "The Raiders' last three weeks have gone like this: Shut out by Saints, blown 17-point lead to Jaguars, and lost to a head coach with no professional or college college experience. This is a 2-7 Raiders team that has given up 20-plus points in every game this season, has a quarterback upset over the team's performance, and has no sense of direction on either side of the ball. McDaniels needs to be let go -- he's not an NFL head coach."
There are plenty more overreactions from Week 10, and if you want to check those out, be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Odell Beckham Jr. suing Nike
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.
- OBJ suing Nike for millions. The free agent receiver has filed a lawsuit against the shoe company accusing Nike of withholding millions from him. Odell is currently seeking more than $20 million in the lawsuit, which you can read about here.
- Baker Mayfield to start for Panthers. With P.J. Walker dealing with an injury, the Panthers announced that Mayfield will be the starter Sunday against the Ravens. The former Browns QB has played eight career games against Baltimore, going 3-5 in those starts.
- Cooper Kupp has a high-ankle sprain. Kupp's injury appears to be worse than previously thought. According to ESPN, Kupp has a high-ankle sprain. He is slated to undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve, which means he'll miss at least four games. However, coach Sean McVay has yet to rule Kupp out for the season.
- Zach Ertz likely out for the season. When Ertz first got injured Sunday, there was some hope that he would only be out a few weeks, but it looks like he's now going to miss the rest of the season, according to NFL.com. The tight end injured his knee during the first quarter of Arizona's 27-17 win over the Rams.
- Cardinals release running back who started multiple games for them this season. The Cardinals surprisingly decided to cut ties with Eno Benjamin on Monday. Benjamin started three games while James Conner was out with an injury, but with Conner now healed, the Cardinals had no room on the roster for Benjamin.
- Chase Young to be activated this week. Less than 24 hours after upsetting the Eagles, the Commanders got more good news: Chase Young is expected to activated this week, and there's a very real chance that he could play in Week 11 against the Texans. Young hasn't played since tearing his ACL last November.
- Raiders add former first-round pick. With the Raiders looking to add depth on the defensive line, they added Jerry Tillery on Monday. The former first-round pick was claimed off waivers from the Chargers, who released him fewer than four years after selecting him with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.