Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I should probably start things off here by saying that if you're not a fan of Tom Brady, then you might want to go ahead and skip today's newsletter, because we're going to be talking a lot about him after he led one of the miraculous comebacks of his career on Monday night.
If you went to bed with five minutes left in last night's game and the Saints leading 16-3, then you were probably shocked when you woke up to find out that the Buccaneers had somehow pulled off a miracle 17-16 win. I saw the entire thing happen and I still don't believe it. We'll be taking a look at how it happened, plus we'll be unveiling Pete Prisco's latest power rankings and making some early picks for Week 14.
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: Tom Brady saves the Buccaneers
The Buccaneers looked to be left for dead on Monday night, but then Tom Brady brought them back to life with two touchdown passes in the final three minutes to lead Tampa Bay to a wild 17-16 win over the Saints. The only thing wilder than the game was the podcast that Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I recorded afterward. We spent most of the podcast talking about Brady (and Andy Dalton, who was surprisingly amazing in the game).
Here are three key things from the game that we covered during the pod:
Tom Brady leads Buccaneers to a miraculous win. With 5:21 left to play in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay was trailing 16-3 and it didn't seem like there was any way the Bucs were going to be able to win, but then Tom Brady happened. The Buccaneers quarterback threw two touchdowns over the final three minutes to lead the Buccaneers to the stunning win. On the first scoring drive, Brady went 6 of 9 for 55 yards, including a 1-yard TD to Cade Otton that cut the lead to 16-10. On the second scoring drive, Brady went 8 of 10 for 63 yards, which included throwing the game-winning TD on a 6-yard pass to Rachaad White (You can see the highlights of Brady's key plays by clicking here).
Here are a view notes on the historic comeback:
- The 13-point comeback was the second-largest, fourth-quarter comeback of Brady's career, trailing only Super Bowl LI, when he came back from 19 points down to beat the Falcons.
- This marked the first time EVER in Brady's career where he won a game that he was trailing by 13 points or more in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Before Monday, Brady had been 0-34 in those situations.
- The TD pass to White came with three seconds left, which marks the latest go-ahead TD pass of his in career.
- Brady also picked up his 56th career game-winning drive, which extended his own NFL record.
- Brady also engineered his 44th career fourth-quarter comeback, which moved him past Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
The comeback was shocking because the Buccaneers offense did almost nothing through the first three-and-a-half quarters of the game. The Buccaneers totaled 130 yards on their two scoring drives to end the game after totaling just 168 yards in the entire game up to that point. This was an impressive comeback, even by Brady standards.
- Saints make some big mistakes down the stretch. Although Brady led a miraculous comeback, one reason it happened is because the Saints made some horrible decisions down the stretch. The most inexcusable play by the Saints came when Mark Ingram ran out of bounds just short of a first down with just under six minutes left (You can see the play here and if you click over, you can see that Ingram could have easily gotten the first down). After Ingram ran out of bounds, the Saints faced a third-and-1 at Tampa Bay's 44. The Saints decided to throw the ball on third down, but the pass fell incomplete, which stopped the clock. After failing on third down, the Saints punted on fourth-and-1 from Tampa Bay's 40, which set up Tampa Bay's first TD drive. After Tampa's first TD, the Saints got the ball back and immediately proceeded to go three-and-out. Taysom Hill appeared to make a third-down catch that would have iced the game, but he ended up dropping it after taking a big hit (You can see the play here). The Saints also came away with zero touchdowns on three red zone trips and they only have themselves to blame for letting the Buccaneers steal this win.
- Buccaneers now in the driver's seat for the NFC South title. If the Saints had won this game, it would have flipped the NFC South upside down because every team would have been within one game of first place heading into Week 14. Instead, the 6-6 Buccaneers are now in firm control of the division over the Falcons (5-8), Panthers (4-8) and Saints (4-9). If the Bucs can just go 2-3 in their final five games, that would likely be good enough to win the division. They hold tiebreakers over the Falcons and Saints, who would both likely need to win out to have any sort of shot to top an 8-9 Buccaneers team. As for Carolina, the Panthers would likely have to go 4-1 to even have a chance to steal the division title if the Bucs were to finish 8-9. It really can't be overstated: The Monday win was huge for Tampa Bay.
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 14
Pete Prisco had to work overtime on his power rankings this week after two of his top-five teams from last week lost (Miami and Kansas City). The Chiefs' loss opened the door for the Eagles to take over the No. 1 spot.
With that in mind, let's check out the rest of the top five:
- Eagles (up from No. 2 last week)
- Bills (up from No. 4 last week)
- Cowboys (up from No. 5 last week)
- Chiefs (Down from No. 1 last week)
- Vikings (up from No. 6 last week)
Dropped out: Dolphins
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 Seattle Seahawks. For some reason, Prisco decided to reward them for barely beating his 29th-ranked team (the Rams). The win over Los Angeles vaulted the Seahawks up six spots from 16th to 10th.
- The biggest jump in the AFC went to the Steelers. Following their win over the Falcons, Prisco bumped them up four spots from 26th overall to 22nd.
- The biggest drop this week went to Miami Dolphins. After Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an injury, the 49ers were forced to play a rookie seventh-round pick at QB and the Dolphins still couldn't beat San Francisco. For that, Prisco punished them by dropping the Dolphins five spots from third down to eighth.
- As for the bottom of the rankings, the Texans are in the cellar this week, and I'm starting to think they might be down there for the rest of the season. Not only did the Texans lose on Sunday, but they somehow managed to lose by 13 points even though they didn't give up a single offensive touchdown. That's definitely something that the worst team in the NFL would do.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's 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.
If you want more rankings, we also ranked the top playoff contenders in both the AFC (click here) and the NFC (check it out here).
3. Breech's Week 14 picks: Ravens and Chargers pull off upsets
If it's Tuesday, that can only mean one thing: It's time for my weekly picks.
Last week, I correctly predicted that the Bengals would beat the Chiefs and that helped boost me to an 11-3-1 overall record for the week. I am basically the Bengals of making picks right now: I've been getting hot over the past few weeks and now I feel unstoppable.
Here are three of my picks for Week 14:
- Ravens (+3) at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): The Ravens likely won't have Lamar Jackson here, which is why they're the underdog, but even with a backup QB starting, I still like Baltimore. Tyler Huntley is basically a mini-me version of Lamar Jackson and based on what he did in four starts last year, he might actually be able to provide a spark for a Ravens offense that's been in a rut over the past few weeks. PICK: Ravens 20-17 over Steelers.
- Lions (-1) at Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Here are some words I never thought I'd write: The Lions are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Not only have they won four of their past five, but they've averaged 31.75 points per game over the past four weeks. If the Lions want to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, they have to win this game and I think they'll do exactly that. PICK: Lions 27-24 over Vikings.
- Dolphins at Chargers (+3) (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): The Chargers biggest defensive weakness is stopping the run, but the good news for them is that the Dolphins might not be able to take advantage of that since they're one of the NFL's worst rushing teams. Brandon Staley is definitely on the hot seat in L.A., but he'll be able to stave off those talks for at least another week with a win here. PICK: Chargers 30-27 over Dolphins.
To check out the rest of my picks for Week 14, be sure to click here.
4. NFL Week 13 overreactions and reality checks
Everyone on the internet loves to overreact to things, and that's especially true when we're talking about the NFL. With that in mind, Jeff Kerr decided to take a look at several things that happened around the NFL in Week 13 to decide if we're all overreacting.
Statement: Jalen Hurts is the MVP front-runner (even if the odds says it's Patrick Mahomes).
Overreaction or reality: Reality. "Hurts has 29 touchdowns on the year (20 passing, nine rushing) while accumulating 3,549 combined yards (2,940 passing, 609 rushing) through 12 games -- an average of 295.8 per game. He's led the Eagles to the best record in football and is the best player on the best team. There's a significant case for Hurts to be made for MVP right now. Patrick Mahomes is still right there with 4,091 combined yards (3,808 passing, 283 rushing) and 32 touchdowns (30 passing, two rushing), which will make this final sprint for the league's top individual honor worth the hype."
Statement: The 49ers can win the Super Bowl with Brock Purdy.
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. "Purdy had a nice relief appearance for Jimmy Garoppolo, completing 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns against the Dolphins, but can Purdy lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl? San Francisco's defense is elite and can carry Purdy, but he'll have to make some key throws in January to get the 49ers to the promised land. Let's see how defenses adjust after game planning for him. Also, no rookie QB has ever led their team to a Super Bowl."
Statement: The Chargers will miss the playoffs.
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. "The Chargers sit only one game behind the Jets for the final wild-card spot in the AFC, so they still have a shot. The Chargers final three opponents have a combined record of 10-26-1. If the Chargers can split theeir next two games against Miami and Tennessee and then win those final three against easier competition, they can win 10 games -- which should be enough to get a playoff spot."
There are plenty more overreactions from Week 13, and if you want to check those out, be sure to click here.
5. Titans surprisingly fire GM Jon Robinson
In a stunning move the came out of nowhere on Tuesday, the Titans announced the firing of general manager Jon Robinson, who had been serving as the team's GM since January 2016.
Here's what we know:
- Why this move was stunning. Robinson's tenure with the Titans had largely been successful. In his six full seasons on the job, Tennessee made the playoffs four times while also winning two division titles. Not to mention, the Titans are on track to another playoff berth and division title this season. The Titans had a record of 66-43 under Robinson's watch. He was also in charge of hiring Mike Vrabel, who has been wildly successful during his time as head coach.
- Titans' explanation for the firing. Here's what controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk had to stay about the move, "Since becoming controlling owner in 2015, my goal has been to raise the standard for what is expected in all facets of our organization," Strunk said. "I am proud of what we have accomplished in my eight seasons of ownership, but I believe there is more to be done and higher aspirations to be met." This is a team that fired Mike Mularkey even though he finished 9-7 AND won a playoff game. It sounds like Adams Strunk feels that Robinson has reached his ceiling in Tennessee and that he's taken the team as far as he can.
- Loss to Eagles might have played a part in it. If Adams Strunk was on the fence about keeping Robinson, then the loss to the Eagles might have put her over the top. One of Robinson's biggest offseason moves was trading A.J. Brown to the Eagles and that has backfired in multiple ways. For one, the Titans offense has struggled this year without Brown, ranking 29th in total yards. Also, Brown absolutely embarrassed the Titans defense on Sunday with 119 yards and two touchdowns during the Eagles' 35-10 win over Tennessee.
There could certainly be more to this story and it won't be surprising if there's something larger at play because it's almost unheard of to not only fire a successful GM, but to do it 13 weeks into the season. Also, Robinson had just been given an extension back in February. It will be interesting to see if anything else comes out relating to this move.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: 49ers don't sound interested in Baker Mayfield
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.
- Kyle Shanahan comments on possibility of adding Baker Mayfield. The 49ers coach was asked about the possibility of adding Mayfield and let's just say he didn't sound very interested. "We look into everything, but that'd surprise me right now," Shanahan said. "I've always been a fan of his, but I feel real good about our players and we'll look into everything, but I feel pretty good with where we're at right now." It's possible Shanahan could be downplaying his interest so that no one claims Mayfield on waivers, but it's also very possible that he simply has no interest in signing the QB.
- Odell says joining Cowboys is a 'good possibility,' Jerry Jones pumps brakes The free agent receiver was in Dallas on Monday where he took in a Mavericks game with Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. While at the game, he was asked if he was going to sign in Dallas and he said "that's a good possibility." However, Jerry Jones said Tuesday that he's "not confident at all" in signing Odell unless the team gets to work him out first. Beckham hasn't been working out for teams during his free agency tour that included the Cowboys, Giants and Bills.
- Mike White to start for Jets. In news that won't shock anyone, Jets coach Robert Saleh announced that White would be starting this week against the Bills. However, Saleh did also say that he intends for Zach Wilson to play again this year. Either White is going to have a short leash going forward or Saleh is just saying these things to make Wilson feel better about the fact that he's been benched.
- Lamar Jackson unlikely to play in Week 14. The knee injury that knocked Jackson out of Sunday's game will likely keep him sidelined for Week 14. "He's probably less likely for this week, but it's not impossible," John Harbaugh said of Jackson playing against the Steelers, via NFL.com. "After that he'll become more and more likely." If Jackson can't go, then Tyler Huntley will get the start. The Ravens also added Brett Hundley for some QB depth, which makes it feel like Jackson almost certainly won't be playing this week.
- Peyton and Eli to coach the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl will be a flag football game this year, but that doesn't mean it won't be exciting. To spice things up, the NFL has tabbed the Manning brothers to coach the game. You can check out more details on that by clicking here.
- Packers absolutely want Aaron Rodgers back. Despite Green Bay's ugly 5-8 record, the team has made it very clear that it still wants Rodgers to return next season. Matt LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst both made that comment on Monday. "We made a big commitment to him this offseason, so that was obviously something that was really important to us," Gutekunst said, via ESPN. As for LaFleur, he didn't hesitate, saying that he 'absolutely' wants Rodgers back. Now, the only question is: Does Rodgers want to come back?
- Dolphins add former No. 1 overall pick. With left tackle Terron Armstead dealing with a pec injury, plus right tackle Austin Jackson being placed on IR, the Dolphins were in need of some depth on the offensive line this week, so they added some by signing Eric Fisher, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Fisher started 15 games at left tackle for the Colts last season.
- Man of the Year nominees announced. The NFL's 32 teams all announced their Man of the Year nominee on Tuesday morning and you can check out the full list by clicking here. Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott were two of the 32 players who are now a finalist to win the prestigious award, which will be handed out in February.
Bonus: NFL makes major changes to Week 15 schedule
When the NFL schedule was released back in May, the league announced that there would be three Saturday games played in Week 15, but at the time, it wasn't announced which teams would be playing in those games. With less than two weeks to go until those games kick off, the NFL finally revealed which teams will be playing on Saturday, Dec. 17 as part of a tripleheader.
Here's a look at the full schedule for that day (All games on NFL Network):
- 1 p.m. ET: Colts at Vikings
- 4:30 p.m. ET: Ravens at Browns
- 8:15 p.m. ET: Dolphins at Bills
The headline game here is obviously Dolphins-Bills. That game would go a long way toward determining who wins the AFC East title. We'll also find out if the Dolphins' high-flying offense can function in cold weather. If it can't, it's highly unlikely we'll see the Dolphins advancing very far in the playoffs.
The NFL also decided to flex the Sunday night game in Week 15. Going into Monday, the Sunday night game that week was supposed to be Patriots at Raiders, but that game has been moved to 4:05 p.m. ET.
The new Sunday night game in Week 15 will now be: Commanders at Giants (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC).
This game will be part of a unique scheduling quirk for the Commanders, who will be playing the Giants in back-to-back games. Washington played the Giants in Week 13, then will have a bye this week, before facing the Giants again in Week 15 (The Giants play the Eagles in Week 14, so won't be facing Washington in back-to-back games). This will mark just the second time since 1991 that an NFL team has played back-to-back, regular-season games against the same opponent