Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I’m not sure how it happened, but we are officially just two weeks away from the start of the NFL season, which is good news for most teams, but probably not good news for the Cowboys. Based on how things are going in Dallas, I’m starting to think there’s roughly a 30% chance that Dak Prescott is going to open the season without an offensive line in front of him.
The Cowboys took a major injury hit on the line last night with the loss of Tyron Smith, and we’ll be covering that in today’s newsletter. Plus, we’ll be unveiling our All-AFC South team and ranking the best preseason games to watch this weekend.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Let’s get to the rundown.
1. Today’s show: The best NFL bets to make on divisional winners for 2022
With just two weeks to go until the start of the NFL season, you might be wondering who you should bet on to win each division. If you are wondering that, then you’re definitely going to want to listen to today’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast. For today’s show, Will Brinson brought on Tyler Sullivan and the two of them offered some hot tips on who you should bet to win each division.
Here’s what they came up with in the NFC:
Of all the teams listed above, the 49ers have the longest odds to win their division. The guys like the Niners as the best value pick in the NFC, even though San Francisco will have a new quarterback under center this year.
“In their minds, they improved at quarterback,” Sullivan said of replacing Jimmy Garoppolo with Trey Lance. “We’ll see what Trey Lance looks like (but) they traded up for Lance, they moved on from Jimmy Garoppolo, they feel like a team that just got better at the most important position, and I don’t know how you ignore that when you’re looking at the futures bets.”
The two also liked the Eagles a lot before Smith’s injury, and now, they like Philadelphia even more.
If you want to hear their picks for each division in the AFC, you’ll have to listen to today’s episode, which you can do by clicking here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Cowboys offensive line takes major hit
The Cowboys offensive line took a huge hit Wednesday night with an injury to Tyron Smith. Smith fell to the ground at practice after attempting to make a block on linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. After going down, the offensive lineman appeared to immediately grab his left leg. You can see a video of the injury by clicking here. (The video isn’t gruesome, but it does give you an idea of how quickly an injury can happen in the NFL.)
- Smith likely won’t be back until December at the earliest. According to NFL.com, Smith suffered an avulsion fracture of the knee. For anyone out there who didn’t go to medical school, this is an injury where the hamstring tendon at the back of knee rips off the bone. There’s no guarantee Smith will be able to play this year, and even if he does return to the field, it won’t happen until December the the earliest. Smith has been dealing with multiple injuries over the past two years, which have caused him to miss a total of 20 games since the start of the 2020 season.
- One option for the Cowboys at left tackle. The loss of Smith is going to leave a sizable hole on the offensive line in Dallas, and it’s not going to be easy for the Cowboys to replace him. One option for Dallas could be rookie Tyler Smith, who was the 24th-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Although Smith was drafted to potentially be the left tackle of the future in Dallas, he’s played almost exclusively at left guard during training camp. However, he could be available to move because the Cowboys could simply start Connor McGovern at left guard. Coach Mike McCarthy had actually said on Wednesday that if the season started today, McGovern would start over Tyler Smith at the left guard spot.
- Two other options for the Cowboys. The Cowboys also have two other offensive linemen — Josh Ball and Matt Waletzko — who could end up filling in at left tackle, but neither guy has very much experience. Ball was a fourth-round pick in 2021 who didn’t play a single snap last year. As for Waletzko, he’s a rookie who has been dealing with a shoulder injury for the past few weeks.
- State of the Cowboys offensive line. After losing two starters to free agency — Conner Williams and La’el Collins — the Cowboys were already going to be going into the season with a revamped offensive line. Now, due to Smith’s injury, they’re going to have to once again re-shuffle the deck.
The Cowboys could also sign a free agent, but if they’re going to go that route, they need to do it now with the regular season opener just 17 days away. To put it bluntly, this is a disastrous injury for the Cowboys, and it’s not going to be easy to fix.
The only upside for the Cowboys is that their Week 1 opponent — the Buccaneers — might be the only team in the NFL that’s dealing with more offensive line issues than Dallas.
3. 2022 All-AFC South team: Colts lead the way with 11 players
The Texans are expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year, and if you need proof of just how bad their roster is, just wait until you check out our All-AFC South team.
Jared Dubin went through all four rosters in the division to create one Super Team that consisted of 27 players (12 on offense, 12 on defense plus three special teams). Of the 27 players on the All-AFC South team, only THREE of them play for the Texans.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the offense for the AFC South’s all-division team:
QB: Matt Ryan, Colts
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Colts
WR: Brandin Cooks, Texans
WR: Christian Kirk, Jaguars
WR: Michael Pittman, Colts
TE: Brevin Jordan, Texans
FLEX: Derrick Henry, Titans
OT: Laremy Tunsil, Texans
OT: Braden Smith, Colts
OG: Quenton Nelson, Colts
OG: Brandon Scherff, Jaguars
C: Ryan Kelly, Colts
Overall, there were 11 Colts players on the team with six coming on defense and five coming on offense. The Titans produced eight players while the Jaguars had five players, with two of those coming on special teams.
If you want to see the defensive side of the AFC South’s All-Division team, plus the special teams representatives, then be sure to click here.
4. NFL Preseason Week 3: Ranking the best games to watch
With Week 3 of the preseason starting tonight, you might be wondering which games you should be paying attention to this weekend. Between now and Sunday, there are a total of 16 games on the schedule.
If you don’t want to watch all 16 games, I have some good news: We now know which games to focus on this weekend because Shanna McCarriston made a list of the most watchable games. You can check out three of the games on her list below:
- Packers at Chiefs (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network). “Could this be a possible Super Bowl preview? It certainly could be. These teams are both favorites in their conference, and with star quarterbacks, it’s easy to imagine both teams getting to the big game this year.”
- Patriots at Raiders (Friday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NFL+). “The Patriots will be facing a familiar face, as they go against their former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is now the head coach of the Raiders.”
- Rams at Bengals (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, NFL Network). “Six months after Super Bowl LVI, we’re getting a rematch. This game will be a lot different than the championship, when the Rams defeated the Bengals 23-20, but it’s still a rematch.”
One other game I’d like to mention is 49ers at Texans, which is being played tonight at 8:15 p.m. ET. Not only is there a chance we’ll get to see Trey Lance in action, but this will also mark the first game ever to be exclusively shown on Amazon. The internet company will be exclusively streaming every game in the Thursday night package this year and the fun starts tonight. If you want to watch, you’ll need a Prime subscription, plus the password to your Amazon account, which I’m only mentioning because I have no idea what my password is so I’m going to have to figure that out before tonight.
Anyway, if you want to check out Shanna’s full list of must-watch games, be sure to click here. If you want to know what the full Week 3 schedule looks like for this weekend, you can check it out by clicking here.
5. NFL gamblers seem to love the Eagles, but hate the Buccaneers
There are interesting NFL bets made every year, and with the season right around the corner, those interesting bets continue to trickle in. We’re going to take a look at few of them today and when we do, you’ll notice one thing: Gamblers seem to love the Eagles, but hate the Buccaneers.
- Two big bets placed on the Buccaneers finishing with the worst record in the NFL. With Tom Brady now 45 years old, it seems that NFL gamblers are starting to feel confident that this will finally be the year his team totally collapses. A bettor at Ceasar Sportsbook has bet $300 at 350-to-1 odds that the Buccaneers will have the worst record in the NFL this year. If that happens, the gambler will pocket a cool $105,000. The other big worst-record bet also came in at Caesars Sportsbook. This gambler bet $250 that the Bucs would have the worst record at 450-to-1 odds, which means they’ll pocket $112,500 if the Buccaneers implode. Overall, there is more money being bet on the Bucccaneers to finish with the worst record than almost every other team. Only the Seahawks, Bears, Browns and Steelers have received more money bet on them.
- Second anti-Brady bet. The Buccaneers over/under is 11.5, and right now, Tampa Bay’s under is the most lopsided under bet at Caesars Sportsbook, with a whopping 88% of bettors taking it.
- Gamblers high on the Eagles. On the flip side of things, everyone loves the Eagles. According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Eagles have attracted the most money and fourth-most tickets to finish with the NFL’s best record in 2022 at 25-to-1. And it’s not just that, either.
- Everyone is betting everything Eagles. The Eagles are one of just four NFL teams — along with the Dolphins, Cowboys and Lions — to have received a $1,000+ bet to win the Super Bowl, to have a player receive a $1,000+ bet to win MVP, and to have their coach receive a $1,000+ bet to win Coach of the Year.
As for me, I will not be making any major bets on the Eagles and I will not be betting against Tom Brady, just in case you were wondering what my betting strategy will be this year. My rule of thumb is to never bet against Brady because betting against Brady almost always ends up costing you money, so I will not bet the under or on the Buccaneers to have the worst record.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Jon Gruden could be in more hot water
It’s been a wild 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.
- NFL claims Gruden sent derogatory emails during his time as Raiders coach. With the NFL facing a lawsuit from Gruden, the league is now claiming that the former Raiders coach sent several derogatory emails while he was with the team. That would be a huge difference in the Gruden’s lawsuit against the league because it would allow the NFL to try to move things to arbitration. For more details on this situation, be sure to click here.
- JC Tretter retires. After eight NFL seasons, Tretter has decided to call it quits. Tretter was the Browns’ starting center for the past five seasons before being released this year. There was some speculation that the Buccaneers might call him after Ryan Jensen got injured, but that never happened, and now, no NFL teams will be calling him because he’s decided not to play football anymore.
- Dolphins-Eagles joint practices canceled for Thursday. The two teams were supposed to have a joint practice today, but that got canceled because the Dolphins are dealing with a non-COVID sickness that is running rampant through their locker room. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported that the issue is a stomach bug for the Dolphins.
- Giants receiver out for the season. The Giants have taken multiple injury hits during training camp, and they took another one Wednesday after receiver Collin Johnson was ruled out for the season due to a torn Achilles. The Giants claimed former Ravens receiver Jaylon Moore off waivers in an effort to add some depth.
- NFL player gets traded for second time in nine days. The Titans added some depth in the secondary Wednesday by making a trade with Philadelphia for Ugo Amadi. (The teams also swapped late-round picks in the deal.) The most notable part of this trade is that it marked the second time in nine days that Amadi has been dealt. Amadi started training camp with the Seahawks, but was traded to Philly on Aug. 15.
- Colts sign new punter. After losing their starting punter (Rigoberto Sanchez) to a season-ending injury this week, the Colts are hoping they now have his replacement after signing Haack. The veteran played for the Bills last season, but lost his job in Buffalo to rookie punter Matt Araiza.