NFL

Bills vs. Patriots predictions for Thursday night, plus Kyler Murray drama and easiest remaining NFL schedules

Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter! 

Not only is it Thursday, but it’s also Dec. 1 and as such, I’d like to formally welcome everyone to the month of December, which is easily one of the three best months of the year, unless you’re Kyler Murray, who probably hates December. Not only does he have a 5-8 career record in the month, but his month has already gotten off to a rough start after Patrick Peterson called him out for being selfish. 

We’ll be covering that in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll be taking a look at tonight’s AFC East showdown between the Bills and Patriots. Also, since it’s December, I need to watch “Elf” at least three times per day, so I need to get this newsletter over with so I can squeeze in those viewings in before “Thursday Night Football,” so let’s get to the rundown. 

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. 

1. Today’s show: Brady Quinn breaks down the latest NFL news


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If you’re going to listen to just one episode of the Pick Six podcast every week, then you should definitely make sure that you’re listening every Thursday, because that’s when Brady Quinn joins the show. For today’s episode, the former first-round pick chatted with Will Brinson about multiple topics, including Aaron Rodgers’ future in Green Bay.

Two years ago, it didn’t seem possible that Rodgers would ever be open to being benched for Jordan Love, but Quinn thinks that will eventually happen this season.  

“Once they’re mathematically eliminated, I think he’d be open to that discussion,” Quinn said. “Ultimately, this whole idea is going to be crafted this way: They need to see what they have in Jordan Love whether that’s to trade him after the season or decide on his fifth-year option if they’re going to keep him and they’d look to move from Aaron Rodgers, but that’s a little more difficult because of what it’s going to take considering his contract.”

Rodgers actually talked about the possibility of being benched on Wednesday and you can check out his comments here. As for Brady, he feels like there’s a chance that Rodgers might not return to Green Bay in 2023. 

“He’s not getting cut due to his contract, but he could get traded,” Quinn said. “I will throw out that possibility. Never underestimate the ability for some team that’s desperate to make a move and give up an absolute fortune to [get Rodgers].”

If Love does play this year and the Packers like what they see, that’s definitely going to create some drama for them this offseason. 

If you want to hear Brady’s full thoughts on the topic — and everything else the two guys talked about on today’s podcast — then be sure to click here. Brinson and Brady also talked about whether Russell Wilson can be fixed while also trying to figure out why the Ravens are struggling on offense. The two guys also had a conversation about our next topic in the newsletter: Kyler Murray. 

2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Bills at Patriots

For the fourth time in less than a year, the Bills and Patriots will be facing each other, and this one is big for both teams. The Patriots (6-5) are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the AFC playoff picture and they can’t really afford a loss. As for the Bills (8-3), they’re currently tied with Miami atop the AFC East and a win here would put a lot of pressure on the Dolphins to win Sunday in San Francisco. 

My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:

  • Why the Bills can win: The Bills can win because they have Josh Allen. Bill Belichick is arguably the smartest defensive coach in NFL history, but he hasn’t been able to figure out how to stop Allen. In his past two games against the Patriots, including last year’s wild-card game, Allen has averaged 311 passing yards and four touchdowns per game. The Bills QB has been nearly unstoppable when facing New England over the past two seasons and if that continues, it’s hard to see Buffalo losing this game. 
  • Why the Patriots can win: The Patriots have lost four of their past five against the Bills and in those four losses, they’ve been outscored by 18.5 points per game (35.5-17). One thing the Patriots absolutely need to do tonight is control the clock. If the offense can move the ball on the ground with Rhamondre Stevenson and if Mac Jones can keep the chains moving with short passes that keep the Bills off-balance, that should shorten the game and give the Patriots a chance to win. One thing the Patriots can’t afford is for this to turn into a shootout because they don’t have the offensive weapons to keep up with Buffalo. 

You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.

If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview (odds via Caesars Sportsbook). You can check out Tyler’s full gambling preview by clicking here, but if you don’t feel like clicking over, here’s one prop from both of us for tonight’s game.

  • ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Josh Allen OVER 42.5 rushing yards  (-135): “The Bills QB has already gone over this number seven times this season, including four of his past five games. Since Week 3, Allen has averaged 55 rushing yards per game and he averaged 51.5 yards in two games against the Patriots last season.” 
  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Tyler Bass OVER 1.5 field goals (-115): The Bills love using Bass and they’ve proven that over the past few weeks. The Bills kicker has hit at least two field goals in four of his past five games, including a Week 11 performance against the Browns where he hit SIX field goals. Also, the Patriots have one of the best red zone defenses in the NFL — they give up a TD just 51.5% of the time, which is the seventh-best percentage in the league — and because of that, it won’t be surprising if the Bills have to settle for several field goals in this game. 

Finally, if you’re wondering who we’re picking, here’s who we have tonight in a game where the Bills are 3.5-point road favorites: 

Dubin’s pick: Bills 27-17 over Patriots
Sullivan’s pick: Bills 28-21 over Patriots
My pick: Bills 24-17 over Patriots

Over on our CBSSports.com picks page, we have one bold expert taking the Patriots while everyone else is riding the Bills. 

3. Q&A with Josh Allen: Bills QB goes one-on-one with CBS Sports


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Josh Allen has a huge game tonight and like any smart quarterback, he prepared for it by doing a one-on-one interview with CBSSports.com’s Jeff Kerr earlier this week. Over the course of the interview, Allen answered a variety questions and I’m going to supply you with some of his most interesting answers below. 

  • On what it’s like to prepare for a Bill Belichick defense. According to Allen, Belichick is always trying to do their best to confuse you. “The Patriots do such a good job at showing you different looks. They can show you a zone look and play man out of it. They can show you a man look and play zone out of it. There’s so many different ways that they can cause you to be a step slower or a second slower, which can be a huge difference.”
  • Does he think he’s in a mini-slump and if so, how is he going to get out of it? “I just have to trust my teammates. Trust my eyes, make good decisions. All I try to do is to help this team win football games, no matter which way I do it. If I have to turn and hand the ball off 35 times a game or throw it 35 times a game. Whatever is asked for me to do is what I’m willing to do. Sometimes it may not always be pretty. I understand that. The main goal of this game, especially for me, is to win — in any way we can.”
  • How are the Bills handling the pressure of having been the Super Bowl favorite for most of the season? “Our expectations in our locker room are much higher than what anybody else has said or can say about us. We have a goal to win the Super Bowl. That’s everyone’s goal at the start of the year. Everything that we do inside and outside this building is to try to win a Super Bowl. We got some great leadership and leaders here. Our locker room is fantastic. We got guys that care about each other, care about their jobs, and when you have a group that is collectively fighting for the same thing and they do things the right way — typically you’re going to have success.”

You can read the entire interview with Allen by clicking here.  

4. Kyler Murray drama: QB responds after getting called out by Patrick Peterson 

One of the most entertaining podcasts here at CBS Sports is the “All Things Covered” podcast, and that’s partly because it’s co-hosted by a current player, Patrick Peterson. The Vikings corner regularly offers unfiltered opinions, and he started some drama on Wednesday with one of those opinions. 

Here’s what happened

  • Peterson calls out Kyler Murray. At one point in the podcast, co-host Bryant McFadden said that he felt like Kyler Murray was throwing Kliff Kingsbury under the bus with some of his comments over the past few weeks, and that’s when Peterson shared his opinion about the Cardinals QB, “Kyler Murray don’t care about nobody but Kyler Murray. That’s just a matter of the fact.” If that’s true, that’s not a great look for Murray. 
  • One instance of Murray throwing Kingsbury under the bus. After the Cardinals’ 25-24 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, Murray was asked about a failed fourth-and-1 and he basically blamed it on Kingsbury, “Schematically, we were kinda f—-d,” Murray said. That’s what you say when you’re blaming your coach for a bad play call. 
  • How Murray reacted to Peterson’s comments. As you can imagine, Peterson’s comments did NOT sit well with Murray, who responded to them on Twitter. “This isn’t true,” Murray wrote. “You on some weird shit [Patrick Peterson] you got my number, if you really felt like this as a ‘big bro’ or ‘mentor’ you supposed to call me and tell me, not drag me so your podcast can grow.”

Murray and Peterson were teammates for two seasons in Arizona before the cornerback left the desert to sign with the Vikings. For what it’s worth, Peterson isn’t the first person ever to call out Murray. Back in March, Larry Fitzgerald’s dad wrote on Twitter that Murray is “spoiled.” 

As for Peterson’s podcast, the corner also took a back-handed shot at Cardinals GM Steve Keim during the episode. You can watch his entire segment on the Cardinals by clicking here and you can listen to all of Wednesday’s episode by clicking here. You can also go here if you want to check out the podcast feed

5. The teams with the easiest remaining strength of schedules


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If you want to make your own playoff projections, one way to make an educated guess about who will be getting in is to look at the remaining schedule for each playoff contender. For instance, although the Giants are currently in the sixth spot in the NFC, it’s not going to be easy for them to stay there because they have the most difficult remaining strength of schedule out of any team in the NFL. Over their final six games, the Giants will only play one team that currently has a losing record (the 4-7-1 Colts). 

In the AFC, if you’re trying to predict who’s going to get the top seed, the Chiefs seem like the best bet right now and that’s because they have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the NFL. A big reason for that is because they still get to play the Texans, plus they have two games against the Broncos.  

Here’s a look at the five teams with the easiest remaining schedules:

1. Chiefs (Opponents have a .371 combined winning percentage)
2. Ravens (.403) 
3. Panthers (.411)
4. Falcons (.421)
5. Vikings (.428)

Here’s a look at the five teams with the most difficult remaining schedules:

1. Giants (.688)
2. Bears (.625) 
3. Commanders (.600)
T-4. Bengals (.591)
T-4. Jets (.591)

Out of the five teams stuck with a difficult schedule, four of them are currently in playoff contention, and based on their schedules down the stretch, it won’t be surprising if we see a few of them fizzle out over the final six weeks of the season.  

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Odell’s free agency tour is about to start

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.

  • Odell Beckham Jr. visiting three teams over the next week. It looks like the free agent wide receiver is finally about ready to sign with a team. Beckham will likely make his decision in the near future after visiting with three teams, and those are the Giants, Bills and Cowboys. Odell will be in New York today followed by trips to Buffalo and Dallas. For more on his free agency tour, be sure to head here
  • Broncos coach not thinking about benching Russell Wilson. The Broncos QB has been bad this season, but Nathaniel Hackett hasn’t thought about benching him. “Not even a thought,” Hackett said of the possibility. “Not even a question. Russ is our quarterback.” Hackett also doesn’t believe the gossip that Wilson has lost part of the locker room with his poor play. 
  • Kyle Pitts out for the rest of the year. The Falcons tight end decided to undergo surgery on his knee after injuring his MCL and that decision will officially end his season. Pitts shared a picture of his surgically repaired knee on Wednesday
  • Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford both out this week. If it seems like every Rams player is injured, that’s because they are. When the team plays the Seahawks this week, they’ll be missing multiple players, including Donald (ankle) and Stafford (concussion), who have both been ruled out. Donald missing the game is a bigger surprise and that’s because it will mark the first time in his nine-year career that he’s missed a game due to injury.   
  • Arrest warrant issued for Antonio Brown. Police in Hillsborough County (Florida) have issued an arrest warrant for Brown that involves a misdemeanor battery charge. The incident involves the mother of Brown’s children, and you can read more details here
  • John Hadl dies at 82. The former Chargers QB helped put the team on the map during their early AFL years. Hadl spent 11 seasons with the Chargers (1962-1972) and won an AFL title with them. He finished his career with 33,503 passing yards, 244 TD passes, more than 1,000 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns while compiling an 82-75-9 record as a starting quarterback. Even after he left the Chargers he was still productive. During the 1973 season, he finished second behind O.J. Simpson in the MVP voting while playing for the Rams. The Rams went 12-2 that year with Hadl leading them to an NFC West title. 



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