Good afternoon, everyone. Week 4 is upon us, and the headlines couldn’t be spicier this week, with Tom Brady set to return to Foxborough for a showdown with his old team (plenty more on that shortly). John Breech can’t be here while taking his weekly day off to rewatch Joe Burrow highlights, so you’ve got me — Cody Benjamin — to guide you through the latest from around the NFL.
This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let’s get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don’t want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
We’ve got Brady vs. Bucs predictions, QB Power Rankings, some 49ers rumblings and more:
Today’s show: Previewing Tom Brady’s return to New EnglandTom Brady
Brady Quinn joined Will Brinson on Wednesday’s “Pick Six NFL Podcast” to chime in on a few big topics ahead of Week 4: The Bears’ dysfunctional offense, and Tom Brady’s anticipated showdown with Bill Belichick. The guys discussed an ideal game plan for the Patriots (run the ball, take pressure off Mac Jones, etc.), but both are confident in Tampa Bay’s chances.
“All the money’s gonna be on the Bucs and Brady,” Brinson said. “Everyone’s gonna bet on the Bucs minus-6. I get it. I understand why. I just feel like Tom Brady’s gonna go in there … and try to light the Patriots up, and he wants the Buccaneers defense to light Mac Jones up so he can say, ‘Wow, you really made a great decision, Bill, you have this rookie instead of me.'”
Catch the entire discussion (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
2. Prisco’s picks: Rams edge Cardinals, Bucs cruise past Patriots
Pete Prisco is vowing to improve his predictions record in October. Can he deliver? He’s got picks for every single Week 4 game out now. Here are some of the most notable projections:
Cowboys 27, Panthers 20: Without Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers won’t be the same team. Dallas will force Sam Darnold into some turnovers that turn into points. Dak Prescott will play well again.Rams 37, Cardinals 33: This is the game of the week, featuring two undefeated teams. The Rams are playing better football, best in the NFL. They are also at home, so they have a big edge.Buccaneers 28, Patriots 19: The emotions will be high for Brady. But when it gets down to playing football, Tampa Bay is the much better team. They are playing consecutive road games, but it won’t matter.3. Insider notes: Expect more Trey Lance as 49ers’ season unfoldsTrey Lance
Insider Jason La Canfora has dissected each of the first-round rookie quarterbacks three games into their respective careers, and he’s got different reads for each. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, for example, look overmatched and under-supported; whereas Jones is still keeping the Patriots from expanding their offense and Justin Fields has seemingly been thrown into a system built for a stationary QB like Andy Dalton. Perhaps most interesting among La Canfora’s analysis is his outlook for Trey Lance:
I can’t help but wonder … with all the injuries to running backs and the uncharacteristic issues the 49ers are having running the ball, if we don’t see more Lance very soon. I heard it was quite possibly in Week 3, though the Packers jumping to an early three-score lead may have impacted that … Lance isn’t there just to hold a clipboard. And his potential is limitless. Just one passing attempt thus far, but I can’t imagine that by the time October closes he isn’t on the field with greater regularity.
Want more on the rookie QBs? Check out our Week 3 grades on the first-rounders.
4. Coach hot seat rankings: Giants’ Joe Judge tops the list
Patrik Walker has been keeping tabs on head coaches under the most pressure, and this week, he’s got no doubts about which one sits firmly atop the list of candidates to be replaced sooner rather than later: The Giants’ Joe Judge.
It’s tough to argue that anyone is on a hotter seat than Judge right now, depending on how you view the mood of owner John Mara, although he left little room for interpretation going into the season. Mara noted this offseason that “everyone is on the hot seat” in New York — from Judge to general manager Dave Gettleman to himself … Add on an 0-3 start and lack of progression from Daniel Jones despite the return of Saquon Barkley and, well, Judge has a lot to answer for lately … If the Giants don’t right the ship quickly and make noise in the division (and more), Judge better be ready for a tense conversation with an “impatient” Mara.
5. QB Power Rankings: Derek Carr is the Riser of the Week
CBS Sports Graphic
Every week during the season, we rank all 32 starting QBs. Ahead of Week 4, the honorary star is none other than Carr, who’s been let loose by Jon Gruden during the Raiders’ surprising 3-0 start. He’s now just outside of the latest top 10, which is as follows:
Aaron Rodgers (+3)Patrick Mahomes (-1)Russell Wilson (-1)Tom Brady (-1)Dak PrescottMatthew Stafford (+1)Justin Herbert (-1)Josh Allen (+1)Kyler Murray (-1)Lamar Jackson6. Rapid-fire roundup: Colts trade rumors, underrated QBs and more
Hungry for more NFL content? Good, because we’ve got some other nuggets right here: