NFL

Packers at Cardinals picks, plus NFL owners meetings get testy and one trade every NFL team should make

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!

We’re all a part of history today and that’s because for the first time ever, the Thursday game might be the most exciting game on the NFL schedule this week. Usually, I spend half the week complaining about the bad matchup in the Thursday night game, but not this week. This week, we’re getting the undefeated Cardinals against the 6-1 Packers

The only downside to this game is that neither team will be at full strength, with the Packers missing an offensive star (Davante Adams) and the Cardinals missing a defensive star (J.J. Watt), but I don’t care. I’m still pumped for the game. 

We’ll be going in-depth on Packers-Cardinals in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll be dissecting the NFL‘s owner meetings, which have gotten kind of testy this week. We’ll also be going over trades that every team needs to make before the deadline. That’s a lot to cover, 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. Alright, let’s get to the rundown. 

1. Today’s show: Packers-Cardinals betting preview


USATSI

If you’re planning on betting any money on tonight’s game, then you’re going to want to make sure to listen to today’s episode of the podcast before you place any bets. For today’s show, Will Brinson brought on CBSSports writer Tyler Sullivan, and the two went into full gambling mode. 

Here are several props they like for the game: 

  • Chase Edmonds OVER 44.5 rushing yards (-115). Not only has Edmonds gone over this total in three of the past four weeks, but for this game, he gets to go up against a Packers defense that hasn’t been great at stopping the run. Green Bay is surrendering 120.9 rush yards per game, which ranks in the bottom third of the NFL.  
  • Kyler Murray UNDER 276.5 passing yards (-110). The Packers have given up the sixth-fewest passing yards in the NFL this year, which means the Cardinals might go into this game with a game plan that features more running than usual. Also, Murray has gone under this number in each of Arizona’s past four games.     
  • Aaron Jones OVER 60.5 rushing yards (-115). With Davante Adams and Allen Lazard both out, it might not be easy for the Packers to throw the ball, which is why it won’t be surprising if Aaron Jones has a big night. Jones has gone over this number in two of the past three weeks.
  • Long shot prop: Aaron Rodgers to score the first TD of the game (+3000). The Packers quarterback is going to be down a few receivers Thursday night, which is going to limit his options on goal line plays. If the Packers get inside Arizona’s five-yard line, one of Green Bay’s best options might be for Rodgers to call his own number and scramble for a TD. Rodgers already has two rushing touchdowns this year, plus this prop pays out $300 on a $10 bet, which gives it some nice value. 

For more props and their actual predictions for tonight’s game, be sure to click here so you can listen to today’s episode. If you’d rather watch today’s show, you can now do that on YouTube!

2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Packers at Cardinals

With the undefeated Cardinals facing the 6-1 Packers, this feels like it could end up going down as one of the best Thursday night games ever. However, the game has lost about 2% of its luster over the past week due to the fact that several key players won’t be on the field. Green Bay won’t have Davante Adams, who’s been knocked out due to COVID. The Packers will also be missing Allen Lazard and defensive coordinator Joe Barry. 

On the other side, the Cardinals won’t have J.J. Watt, who is not only expected to miss tonight’s game, but might be out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his shoulder this week. Despite those absences, this is still a huge game and it might go a long way toward deciding who gets the top seed in the NFC. 

My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game at CBSSports, and here’s how he sees it playing out:

  • Why the Packers can win: Just because Aaron Rodgers won’t have his favorite weapon (Davante Adams) tonight doesn’t mean the Packers can’t win. As a matter off fact, Rodgers and the Packers are actually 6-0 in the past six games where Adams didn’t play. One reason for that is because the defense doesn’t know who to focus on. When Adams is out, Rodgers does a fantastic job of utilizing every weapon he has, which means we could see a surprise hero for the Packers from a group that includes receivers Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Equanimeous St. Brown and Malik Taylor along with tight ends Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis
  • Why the Cardinals can win: The Cardinals are the highest-scoring team in the NFL, and there’s a good reason for that: Opposing defenses have no idea how to defend them. DeAndre Hopkins might be the star receiver, but Kyler Murray does a good job of getting the ball to everyone as Arizona has five players (Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and Edmonds) with at least 30 targets. The Cardinals are almost certainly going to put up a lot of points, and it’s not going to be easy for the short-handed Packers to keep up. 

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

Dubin’s pick: Cardinals 31-26 over Packers.
My pick: Cardinals 37-30 over Packers. 

If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview. 

  • ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Aaron Jones OVER 34.5 receiving yards (-115): “He’s only gone over this number twice this season, but Jones will likely see increased work in the passing game with the Packers limited at receiver. He’s averaging four targets per game this season, but expect that number to be closer to six on Thursday, which gives us a great opportunity to go over.”
  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Mason Crosby OVER 2.5 extra points (+105): Crosby has gone over this number in five of the Packers’ past six games, which almost makes it feel like a lock. Even with the Packers missing several key players, it feels like they should be able to score three touchdowns and if that happens, Crosby is almost certainly going to hit the over. The best part of this prop is that it’s plus value, which is something you don’t usually get from a kicker who’s on a team that regularly scores more than three touchdowns per game.   

You can check out Sullivan’s full gambling preview by clicking here.

3. NFL owners meetings get testy 

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 12: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell watches action prior to a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Inglewood, California.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NFL’s fall league meeting has been going down this week, which is notable because it marks the first time in nearly two years that the NFL owners have been able to meet in-person. That being said, they might want to think about going back to Zoom meetings, because it appears they’re not getting along so well. 

The meetings got a little testy this week and here are a few reasons why: 

  • NFL owners mad at Stan Kroenke. According to ESPN.com, the Rams owner is trying to renege on his promise to pay millions of dollars in relation to a lawsuit filed by the city of St. Louis against both Kroenke and the NFL. Kroenke has been covering the legal fees in the case, but he doesn’t believe he’s responsible for paying the settlement if the NFL loses the case. (The settlement could reach into the billions of dollars.) Kroenke is reportedly thinking about to suing the league to get out of the indemnification agreement he signed when the Rams moved out of St. Louis following the 2015 season. This is a situation that’s going to get a lot uglier before it gets better.
  • Raiders owner calls on NFL to release Washington report. Raiders owner Mark Davis put some pressure on the NFL by calling on the league to release all the emails from the Washington Football Team investigation. This is an awkward look for the NFL because you have an owner publicly questioning the decision-making of Roger Goodell. Raider Jon Gruden was forced to resign due to several emails from the investigation that leaked out. Now, Davis wants the public to see all the emails so that everyone can be held accountable for their actions. 
  • Washington denies leaking the emails. At this point, it’s still unknown who leaked the emails that forced Gruden out, but one theory is that Washington owner Dan Snyder did it to take some heat off his team. Washington co-owner (and Snyder’s wife) Tanya Snyder denied that during the meeting. According to The Washington Post, she brought up the subject unprompted and then let the other owners know that her franchise had nothing to do with the leaked emails. If the NFL wants to investigate something, maybe they should investigate who leaked the emails. There’s only a short list of people who had access to them, and you’d have to think this is something they’d be able to figure out if they put any effort into it. 
  • NFL updates Rooney Rule, makes changes to hiring cycle for coaches. Starting with the upcoming season, all NFL teams must interview two external minority candidates for all general managers and coordinator openings. This rule was already in place for head coaching jobs, but now has been expanded. Speaking of head coaches, the timeline for interviewing candidates has been expanded. Teams can now interview a candidate with two weeks left in the season, but only if the head coach who started the season is no longer employed by the club. (For example, the Raiders can start interviewing candidates in Week 16 since they no longer have the coach who started the season with them.) 

4. One trade each team should make before the deadline 

With the NFL trade deadline less than one week away, we thought today would be a good day to look at one trade that each team needs to think about making before the deadline hits Nov. 2.

Cody Benjamin pored over the needs of every team and came up with one potential deal for all 32 teams. For some teams, this involved trading away a star player, but for other teams, it involved acquiring a player that will help them make a playoff run.  Basically, some teams will be buyers and some teams will be sellers. 

With that in mind, here’s a look at what Cody is proposing for five different teams: 

  • Browns should trade away Odell Beckham: “Is Odell still good? Absolutely. Why has he been so consistently quiet in Cleveland? Your guess is as good as ours, but the injuries haven’t helped. The Browns could use him for a playoff run, but they should at least take calls before his value dips further.”
  • Broncos should trade away Melvin Gordon: “He’s probably a touch underrated these days, but the Broncos are showing themselves after that mirage of a 3-0 start. It’s time to tear it down. Javonte Williams is already in tow as the back of the future, and Gordon could help a contender.”
  • Dolphins should trade away Xavien Howard: “He’s usually been a ballhawk when healthy and motivated, but he’s also been eyeing new destinations for a while. At this point, Miami needs to be thinking about rebuilding, not committing, to its current defense. Howard would still net a decent pick or two.”
  • Packers should acquire Brandin Cooks:Cooks makes all the sense in the world as a proven, nimble outside target to plug in opposite Davante Adams. What better way to show Aaron Rodgers you’re all in on his latest title run?”
  • Chiefs should acquire Emmanuel Ogbah: “Not only does Ogbah have familiarity with Kansas City, but he’s actually thriving off the edge right now. That should be music to the Chiefs’ ears, considering their defensive issues this year. Miami shouldn’t have a problem taking the call at 1-6.”

If you want to see Cody’s proposed list of all 32 players who should be traded, then be sure to click here

5. J.J. Watt likely out for the season

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt (99) in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at State Farm Stadium.
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth time in six years, J.J. Watt will miss significant time. The Cardinals pass-rusher suffered a shoulder injury during Arizona’s 31-5 win over Houston on Sunday, and although he played part of the game with the injury, it turned out to be more serious than anyone thought. 

Here’s what we know about the situation: 

  • How the injury happened. Watt separated his shoulder in the second quarter while trying to make a tackle on Texans QB Davis Mills. Despite the injury, Watt finished the game, which likely made things even worse on his shoulder. 
  • Watt to undergo surgery soon. Watt hasn’t scheduled surgery yet, but once he undergoes the operation, he’s expected to be out at least three months, according to NFL.com. The reason Watt hasn’t undergone surgery yet is because he’s getting a second-opinion on his shoulder, according to 98.7 FM in Phoenix. If that opinion is more positive than his initial diagnosis, there’s a chance he’ll be able to return during the regular season, but the more likely scenario is that he’ll need surgery. 
  • Is there any chance Watt returns this year? With a three-month return timeline after surgery, there is actually a chance that Watt returns for the playoffs. If he’s ready to play three months from now, that would be the end of January. Thanks to the expanded NFL schedule, that could open the door for him to potentially play in the NFC title game (Jan. 30) or the Super Bowl (Feb. 13) if the Cardinals make it that far. 

That being said, it’s almost certain that Watt won’t be returning for any regular season action, which means he’ll be finishing the year with one sack and 10 tackles, including five that went for a loss.  

6. Rapid-fire roundup

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. 

  • Mark Ingram headed back to New Orleans. The Texans running back is headed back to his old stomping grounds after Houston and New Orleans pulled off a trade Wednesday. Although the deal is still being finalized, the Texans are expected to get a late-round pick in exchange for Ingram, according to NFL.com. Ingram spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Saints and is the second-leading rusher in franchise history. 
  • 2023 NFL combine will be in one of these three cities. The 2022 NFL combine will be in Indianapolis, but after that, things are up in the air. Right now, the three finalists for 2023 are Indy, Dallas and Los Angeles. According to CNBC, Dallas is currently the front-runner to land the event. 
  • Tyrod Taylor set to return. After dealing with a hamstring injury for the past five weeks, the Texans are finally going to be getting Taylor back. Taylor has been designated to return off injured reserve, which means he’ll be back on the field in one of the next three games. If he can’t go this weekend against the Rams, he’ll either be on the field in Week 9 against the Dolphins or in Week 11 against the Titans. (The Texans have a Week 10 bye.)
  • Brett Favre repays $600,000. It took more than a year, but Brett Favre has finally repaid the money that he owes to the state of Mississippi. Favre received a total of $1.1 million in funds from two non-profit organizations, but the money was illegally distributed. The money was supposed to used to help the poor, but instead went to people like Favre. The Hall of Famer had already paid back $500,000 and now has paid back the entire total…except for the interest. The state of Mississippi is still expecting to get $228,000 in interest from Favre. The lesson here is that the interest will kill you. 



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