NFL

Ranking all 32 NFL teams, plus early picks for Week 12 and 49ers look like one of the best squads in the NFC

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

We usually start things off on Tuesday by recapping what happened on “Monday Night Football,” but that game was a blowout, so instead we’re going to start things off by honoring the 10th anniversary of the greatest play in NFL history: the ‘butt fumble’. 

On Nov. 22, 2012, Mark Sanchez gave us the gift that keeps on giving. In a Thanksgiving game against the Patriots, the Jets quarterback ran into the butt of his own offensive lineman and then immediately proceeded to fumble the ball, which the Patriots returned for a touchdown. If you want to see the ‘butt fumble’ in all of its glory, be sure to click here

Alright, we’re done going down memory lane. Let’s get to the rundown. 

By the way, the rest of this week is going to be a little different around here. We won’t have a newsletter on Thanksgiving Day, so the next time you’ll hear from me after today will be Friday. Cody Benjamin will be manning the newsletter tomorrow so that I can get an early start on my Thanksgiving wine drinking. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends — and everyone you hang out with at Thanksgiving — 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. A Pick Six subscription makes an excellent — and also inexpensive — holiday gift. 

1. Today’s show: Recapping the 49ers‘ blowout win over Arizona


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Although this game ended in a 38-10 blowout win for the 49ers, it was actually kind of close early on with the Cardinals leading 3-0 after the end of the first quarter. Then the wheels fell off the wagon for Arizona, and then the wagon crashed into a wall. 

Following the game, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I spent 35 minutes talking about the game, plus we also dissected the NFC playoff picture. Here are three key things from the game that we covered during the pod: 

  • The 49ers offense put on a show in Mexico. The 49ers have so many offensive weapons that sometimes it feels like there’s no way they could utilize them all, but they definitely managed to utilize them all against the Cardinals. From Christian McCaffrey (107 total yards) to George Kittle (84 receiving yards and two touchdowns) to Deebo Samuel (94 total yards and a rushing TD) to Brandon Aiyuk (two touchdowns on as many catches), the 49ers got offensive contributions from almost everyone. The 49ers scored a season-high 38 points and have now averaged 30.3 points per game over their past three games. (To put that in perspective, they averaged 15.7 points per game through the first three weeks of the season.) The offense is at its best when Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well, which brings us to our next point. 
  • Jimmy Garoppolo had one of his best games of the season. Garoppolo diced up the Cardinals secondary with a 20-of-29 performance with 228 yards and four touchdowns, the latter of which tied a career-high. More importantly, Garoppolo didn’t make any mistakes. The 49ers QB didn’t throw any interceptions, which means he’s now gone three straight games without throwing a pick, which is the longest streak of his career. Since trading for Garoppolo in 2017, the 49ers are now 14-0 in any game where he doesn’t throw an interception. Garoppolo doesn’t have to be great, but if he plays above average football, the 49ers are almost impossible to beat. 
  • The Cardinals look done. Arizona had high hopes for the 2022 season, but at 4-7, this team looks done. You could blame this loss on the fact that it didn’t have Kyler Murray on the field, but it’s not like it has been winning games with Murray. Colt McCoy wasn’t horrible (24 of 34 for 218 yards), but as the game wore on, it became pretty clear that the Cardinals offense was just being overwhelmed by a 49ers defense that registered three sacks, eight QB hits and nine tackles for a loss. There were some impressive performances for the Cards from players like Greg Dortch (nine catches for 103 yards) and DeAndre Hopkins (nine catches for 91 yards), but that’s about it. 
  • 49ers take over first place in the NFC West. The rest of the NFC better take note, because the 49ers feel like the one team in the conference that no team is going to want to play come playoff time. This was a huge win for the 49ers because it moved them up to first place in the NFC West, and that jump to first place vaulted them up from the seventh seed in the NFC playoffs to the third seed. With the way the 49ers are playing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them overtake the Vikings for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. However, getting to the top spot might be too much to ask since the 49ers (6-4) are three games behind the Eagles (9-1) with just seven games remaining. 

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 12

I live in Nashville and I’m probably going to get a lot of high-fives today because Pete Prisco is finally putting some respect on the Titans‘ name. With Tennessee now 7-3, Prisco has moved it into the top-five for the first time all season. That was the only big change at the top of Prisco’s Power Rankings this week. 

Here’s a look at his top-five: 

  1. Chiefs
  2. Eagles
  3. Dolphins (up from No. 4 last week)
  4. Bills (up from No. 5 last week)
  5. Titans (up from No. 7 last week)

Dropped out: Vikings

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 Detroit Lions, who are now in the top 20 for the first time in forever. Following their dominating 31-18 win over the Giants, the Lions moved up six spots from 26th to 20th. 
  • The biggest jump in the AFC went to the Raiders, but I think it was a pity jump more than anything. Following their win over the Broncos, Prisco had to move them ahead of Denver, so that’s exactly what he did. The Broncos are 27th this week, so Prisco put the Raiders at 26th, which moved them up three spots from their spot on the list last week.  
  • The biggest drop this week went to the Vikings. If you lose a home game by 37 points, you’re going to fall in the rankings, and that’s exactly what happened here. The Vikings dropped four spots from third to seventh following their embarrassing 40-3 loss to the Cowboys
  • As for the bottom of the rankings, the Texans are in the cellar this week, and I’m starting to think they like it down there. The Texans are so bad that even their coach is willing to admit that they’re bad.  

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 12 picks: Patriots upset Vikings on Thanksgiving night

Bill Belichick
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If it’s Tuesday, that can only mean one thing: It’s time for my weekly picks. 

As we head into Week 12, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it’s Thanksgiving week and and we’re getting THREE games Thursday. And the bad news is that, actually, there is no bad news. There’s only more good news: I’m going to pick all three Thanksgiving games below and cross my fingers that things go as well as they did last week when I went 10-4 with my picks. 

Here are my Thanksgiving picks for Week 12:  

  • Bills at Lions (+9) (Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ETCBS): The Bills are in an offensive rut, and the Lions are playing their best football of the season. This game feels like it will be a lot closer than most people think. PICK: Bills 30-27 over Lions. 
  • Giants at Cowboys (-9) (Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox): I don’t think the Giants are going to forfeit Thursday, but honestly, they might want to at least consider that option because I’m not completely sure they’re going to have enough players to field a team. Even if the Giants were healthy, I probably wouldn’t pick them to win. Since they’re not healthy, I definitely won’t be picking them. PICK: Cowboys 31-17 over Giants.  
  • Patriots (+3) at Vikings (Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): If you’ve ever seen Kirk Cousins play in prime time, then you know I have to pick against the Vikings here. Cousins basically turns into a pumpkin every time he plays in a prime-time game, and I expect the Patriots to smother him up and turn him into pumpkin pie. Also, the Patriots have not surrendered a touchdown in the month of November, and there’s no way I’m picking against that. PICK: Patriots 23-16 over Vikings. 

To check out the rest of my picks for Week 12, be sure to click here.

4. QB news: Jets won’t commit to Zach Wilson for Week 12

Your family Thanksgiving with your crazy uncle isn’t the only place where there will be some drama this week, as the Jets could also have some QB drama. New York is one of multiple teams that has an unsettled QB situation heading into Week 12.  

Here’s a look at the multple teams that could be starting a new QB on Sunday: 

  • Jets won’t commit to Zach Wilson for Week 12. The only thing worse than the way Wilson played Sunday was his postgame press conference. The QB rubbed some teammates the wrong way by not taking any responsibility for the Jets’ offensive struggles. With the locker room ready to revolt, Robert Saleh sounds ready to bench Wilson. We took a look at whether that decision could make some sense, and you can check out our story here
  • Panthers undecided on QB for Week 12. The Panthers started Baker Mayfield in Week 11, and after that didn’t work out in a 13-3 loss to the Ravens, the team is back at square one. At this point, it’s unclear who will be starting this week against the Broncos, but coach Steve Wilks has three options; Mayfield, P.J. Walker or Sam Darnold
  • Texans could make QB change. After a disastrous game from Davis Mills in a 23-10 loss to Washington on Sunday, Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to Mills going forward. “We’re not pleased with where we are. Do we need to do some things differently? Yes, and we will,” Smith said, via PFT. The Texans will be traveling to Miami to play the Dolphins on Sunday, and if Mills gets benched, the QB job would go to Kyle Allen
  • Vague details on Justin Fields injury. The Bears QB is dealing with a left shoulder injury, but no one seems to know how serious it is. NFL Media reports that he dislocated his shoulder, but PFT reports that he didn’t. The only thing we know for sure is that Fields is banged up. Bears coach Matt Eberfluss said his QB is “day-to-day,” and there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to start Sunday against the Jets. If Fields can’t go, Trevor Siemian will get the start. 
  • Matthew Stafford in concussion protocol. The Rams QB missed Week 10 with a concussion before returning in Week 11, but now he’s back in concussion protocol after being knocked out of Sunday’s loss to the Saints. At 3-7, the Rams season feels all but over, so it might not be worth rushing Stafford back. The Rams play the Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City. 

Speaking of Stafford, the NFLPA is monitoring his situation because of how vague the Rams have been with details of whether he was actually in concussion protocol Sunday. 

5. NFL Week 11 overreactions and reality checks

Zach Wilson
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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 11 to decide if we’re all overreacting. 

Statement: The Cowboys are the second-best team in the NFC. 
Overreaction or reality: Reality. “A 37-point victory over the Vikings should be enough to convince the NFL how good the Cowboys are. The Cowboys are a very good football team that had a hiccup against the Packers. They’re two games behind the Eagles in the NFC, but Dallas is showing why Philadelphia is the only team in the conference that has a leg up on them. A 40-3 final score over an 8-1 team on the road is enough proof.”

Statement: The Ravens will end up as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. 
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. “Baltimore barely beat a struggling Carolina team at home Sunday, improving its record to 7-3 on the year, and they’ve led by double digits in all 10 games. The Ravens have the easiest schedule remaining in the NFL and are just one game behind the Chiefs for the best record in the AFC, so getting home-field advantage is a possibility. But we need to see the Chiefs stumble for two more games before Baltimore can enter that conversation.”

Statement: The Jets have to bench Zach Wilson. 
Overreaction or reality:
Reality. “Wilson is costing the Jets a shot at a playoff spot one week at a time. The Jets quarterback went 9 of 22 for 77 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions (50.8 rating) as the Jets put up just three points in a loss to the Patriots. The Jets had 103 total yards against New England, including just TWO in the second half! The Jets have a great roster with an elite defense — and Wilson is costing them a playoff spot. Joe Flacco or Mike White may be better at this rate.”

There are plenty more overreactions from Week 11, and if you want to check those out, be sure to click here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Broncos cut Melvin Gordon

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. 

  • Melvin Gordon gets dumped by Broncos. It seems the Broncos have finally gotten tired of Gordon’s fumbling issues. Less than 24 hours after Gordon fumbled the ball at the 5-yard line against the Raiders, the Broncos have decided to part ways with him. Gordon also fumbled inside the 5-yard line against the Seahawks in Week 1, and you could argue that those two fumbles both cost the Broncos a win. Latavius Murray will likely now be getting most of the carries in Denver. 
  • Commanders activate Chase Young. The Commanders defense has been on a roll over the past few weeks, and it should be even better going forward with Young set to return. Young hasn’t played since tearing his ACL in November 2021, but by putting him on the active roster, that means he’ll almost certainly be making his debut in the next week or two. If the Commanders want to play it extremely safe, they could choose to hold him out until after their Week 14 bye. 
  • Kyle Pitts placed on IR. The Falcons tight end suffered an MCL injury on Sunday, and because of that, the Falcons have placed him on injured reserve, which means he’ll have to miss at least four games. With only six games left on Atlanta’s schedule, it won’t be surprising if we don’t see Pitts play another down this year.  
  • Jameson Williams returns to practice. The 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, who tore his ACL in January, is now practicing with the Lions. The Lions have a three-week window to activate Williams, which means there’s a chance we could see him on the field in the near future. 
  • NFLPA making collusion accusations. The NFLPA is claiming that the NFL’s 32 owners are colluding in an effort to prevent players from getting fully guaranteed contracts. That claim was made in a memo obtained by The Athletic, and you can read more about the situation by clicking here



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