Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I’ll be honest, it’s a minor miracle that there’s even a newsletter today and that’s because there’s no reason my computer should still be functioning after I threw it through my TV last night following the AFC Championship Game. As the official Bengals homer here at CBSSports.com, that was the only normal way I could think to react. Just kidding, I didn’t throw my computer through my TV, but I thought about it.
The officiating crew definitely gets an “F” for the game, but I don’t blame them for Cincinnati’s loss. The Bengals had plenty of chances to win and they just couldn’t do it.
The only consolation here is that we’re now getting a Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl, which should be awesome. We’re getting the No. 1 scoring team in the AFC against the No. 1 scoring team in the NFC. If you’re wondering how often that happens, we’ll be answering that in today’s newsletter plus, we’ll be looking at the winners and losers from the weekend and recapping the conference title games.
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: Winners and losers of the conference title games
It’s Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about the conference title games. And let me just say, it’s probably for the best that you listen. Brinson and Wilson gently walked me through all my emotional pain as I went through the five stages of grief.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday’s action. Here’s a look at who made our list.
- Winner: Andy Reid. Not only is he headed back to the Super Bowl, but he gets to face the team that fired him back in 2012. Sure it’s been 11 years since he was let go, but you have to think there’s nothing Reid would love more than to get revenge on the team that dumped him after 14 seasons in Philadelphia.
- Loser: The mayor of Cincinnati. The mayor of Cincinnati made a video earlier this week that he probably now regrets. From that video to “Burrowhead” to Eli Apple talking trash on Twitter, the Bengals got a little too cocky going into the AFC title game and the Chiefs made sure to call them out for everything they did.
- Winner: Eagles defense. The Eagles offense didn’t even put up 275 yards against the 49ers, but this still turned into a blowout thanks to a defense that spent the entire game beating up on every quarterback that the San Francisco threw out there. The Eagles racked up three sacks and forced three turnovers against a 49ers offense that couldn’t do much of anything.
- Loser: Joe Burrow. Not only did Burrow get beat up — he got sacked five times — but he also threw two interceptions, including one that came in the fourth quarter with just under seven minutes left to play. The loss to the Chiefs marked Burrow’s first-ever January loss in the NFL, his first-ever loss to Mahomes and the Bengals first-ever loss in an AFC title game.
- Winner: The Kelce family. The Kelces will be making history in the Super Bowl when they become the first brothers to play against each other in the big game with Travis playing for the Chiefs and Jason playing for the Eagles. The Kelce parents now have two weeks to decide who they’re going to cheer for to win.
- Loser: Kyle Shanahan. The playoffs are just one never-ending nightmare for this guy. Not only was he the offensive coordinator for a Falcons team that blew a 28-3 lead in a Super Bowl, but his three playoffs losses in San Francisco have ended with a blown 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl (2019), a blown 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of an NFC Championship (2021) and his team being forced to play a fourth-string QB. Shanahan might be cursed.
Not only did we go over each game, but we also took a very early look at the conference championship matchups. To listen to today’s episode, be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Looking at the conference title games
Since there were only two games over the weekend, we thought it would make sense to at least take a brief look at what happened in each game, so that’s what we’re going to do
Here’s a quick look at each game:
Chiefs 23-20 over Bengals
- Mahomes shows off his magic. With Mahomes playing on a hobbled ankle, he wasn’t expected to play at an MVP-level, but he did anyway. Mahomes threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, including one TD pass to Travis Kelce that came on a fourth-and-1 in the second quarter. Mahomes also threw another clutch TD when he hit Marquez Valdez-Scantling for a 19-yard score on a third-and-10 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. Oh, and he also set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal with a 5-yard run that turned into a 20-yard gain after Joseph Ossai was flagged for roughing the quarterback (You can see the penalty here). Mahomes wasn’t perfect — he lost a key fumble in the second half — but with a banged-up receiving corps, he did just enough to win the game.
- Bengals get sacked. Going into Sunday, Chiefs sack master Chris Jones didn’t have a SINGLE sack in his playoff career, but that changed in a big way against the Bengals. Jones picked up two sacks against Burrow on a night where the Chiefs racked up a total of five. The Bengals patchwork offensive line just couldn’t handle the Chiefs’ pass rush. Burrow was sacked three times on the Cincinnati’s first eight offensive plays and although things got slightly better after that, the Bengals offensive line got overwhelmed in the fourth quarter.
Eagles 31-7 over 49ers
- 49ers ran out of quarterbacks. The 49ers were already down to their third-string quarterback going into this game (Brock Purdy), so they couldn’t really afford to lose anyone else at that position, but that ended up happening anyway. The 49ers got hit with a nightmare situation when Purdy (elbow) went down with an injury. He was then replaced by Josh Johnson, who also left the game with an injury (concussion). At that point, it looked like the 49ers were going to have to turn to their emergency QB (Christian McCaffrey), but instead, Kyle Shanahan decided to throw Purdy back in the game, even though he couldn’t throw the ball. With the 49ers trailing 21-7 at the point, the game was basically over.
- Not a great day for Kyle Shanahan. The day got off to a rough start for the 49ers coach and only got worse from there. On Philadelphia’s first offensive possession, DeVonta Smith caught a 29-yard pass on fourth-and-3. The only problem is that the pass should have been ruled incomplete (You can see it here). Shanahan didn’t challenge the play and the Eagles ended up scoring a TD two plays later. Later in the first half, Shanahan decided to run a two-minute drill with Josh Johnson, a decision that totally failed when Johnson fumbled a snap with 70 seconds left in the second quarter. The Eagles recovered the ball and then scored four plays later. With 90 seconds left in the first half, the game was tied 7-7, but Philly led 21-7 at the half thanks to two touchdowns in 1:20 of action.
- Eagles defense suffocates the 49ers offense. The Eagles defense was so good in this game, the 49ers might not have done much better even if Purdy had managed to stay healthy. In his only possession of the game, Purdy got rocked by Haason Reddick, who forced a fumble that Philly recovered. That was one of three sacks and one of three turnovers that the Eagles would force in the game. Offensively, the Eagles did get a franchise postseason record four rushing touchdowns, but they weren’t overly impressive on offense in a game where they totaled just 269 yards.
3. Eleven crazy facts from the conference title games
Every Sunday night I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are 11 crazy facts from the divisional round:
- Eagles nearing all-time sack record. With three sacks against the 49ers, the Eagles now have 78 on the season, which is the third-most in NFL history. Only the 1984 Bears (82 sacks) and the 1985 Bears (80 sacks) have more. The Eagles need just five sacks to break the record, which means they’ll have an outside chance to make that happen in the Super Bowl.
- Eagles rushing record, Part I. The Eagles scored four rushing touchdowns against the 49ers, which gives them 39 for the season. Not only is that an NFL record, but it breaks a mark that had stood since 1924 when the Frankford Yellow Jackets ran for 38.
- Eagles set rushing record, Part II. With one rushing touchdown against the 49ers, Jalen Hurts now has 15 for the season, which is the most in NFL history for a QB in a single season. Hurts tops the mark of 14, which was set by Cam Newton in 2011.
- Miles Sanders pulls off rare feat. With two rushing touchdowns against the 49ers, Sanders became just the third player in NFL history to score multiple rushing touchdowns in an NFC Championship Game. The only other players to pull that off are Hall of Famers John Riggins (Washington in 1983) and Emmitt Smith (Dallas in 1994), which means no running back outside the NFC East has ever accomplished that feat.
- Eagles on a super roll. With their 31-7 win, the Eagles are now just the fifth team in NFL history to win consecutive playoff games by at least 21 points. The only other four teams to pull that off all went on to win the Super Bowl (1978 Steelers, 1985 Bears, 1988 49ers, 1989 49ers).
- Rookie losing streak continues. Brock Purdy became the fifth rookie in NFL history to start a conference title game and like the four rookies before him, he came up empty. Rookie quarterbacks are now 0-5 all time in conference title games.
- Andy Reid tops Tom Landry. The win by the Chiefs means that Reid now has 21 playoff wins for his career, which moves him past Tom Landry for the second-most in NFL history. The No. 1 name on the list is Bill Belichick, who currently has 31 postseason wins in his coaching career.
- Travis Kelce moving up in the record book. With a TD catch in the second quarter, Kelce now has 15 career postseason touchdown receptions, which is tied with Rob Gronkowski for the second-most all time, trailing only Jerry Rice (22). Kelce also now has the second-most postseason receiving yards in NFL history (1,467), once again, trailing only Rice (2,245). Kelce passed Julian Edelman, who was second on the list.
- Dynamic duo. Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes have now connected on 13 career postseason touchdowns, which is the second-highest total in NFL history. Only Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have more with 15. There’s an outside chance that Mahomes and Kelce could pass their record of 15 during the Super Bowl. Of course, if they don’t do it this year, it seems like there’s a good chance they could accomplish it in the future.
- Saturday advantage. The Chiefs and Eagles both won this week after playing on Saturday in the divisional round, which seems to be turning into a huge advantage. The Bengals and Chiefs both played on Sunday in the divisional round and that one extra day of rest for Philly and Kansas City seems to be helping: Teams that play on Saturday in the divisional round have now gone 19-9 in the conference title round since 2010.
- Bengals get sacked. Joe Burrow got sacked five times on Sunday, which was notable, because that was the Bengals magic number this year. The Bengals went 0-4 when Burrow was sacked five times or more, but 14-1 when he was sacked four times or less.
If you see any other fun facts, feel free to tweet them at me.
4. Early odds for Super Bowl LVII
When it comes to the Super Bowl, the oddsmakers never waste any time getting the first point spread out. As soon as the clock hit zero in the Chiefs’ win over the Bengals, oddsmakers around the country released their opening point spread for the game.
Let’s take a look at where things currently stand (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Super Bowl LVII (Sunday, Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona)
(1) Chiefs vs. (1) Eagles, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox)
Opening line: Pick’em
Current line: Eagles (-2)
If you love offensive fireworks, then this is the game for you. For just the seventh time in NFL history, the Super Bowl is giving us the highest-scoring team in the AFC against the highest-scoring team in the NFC. The last time that happened came in Super Bowl LI when the Patriots beat the Falcons and if this game goes anything like that, then it should be a thriller.
This game will also feature two No. 1 seeds for just the eighth time since the playoffs were expanded in 1990. In a twist, the last time the top two seeds made it to the Super Bowl also involved the Eagles. Back in February 2018, Philadelphia beat New England 41-33 to earn what is currently the only Super Bowl title in Eagles history.
Another big storyline to watch involves Andy Reid, who will be trying to get revenge on his former team. Reid was fired by the Eagles after the 2012 season and he’ll now be the fifth coach in NFL history to face his former team in the Super Bowl. The four coaches that came before him are 2-2 against their former teams with Jon Gruden (Super Bowl XXXVII vs. Raiders) and Weeb Ewbank (Super Bowl III vs. Colts) picking up the wins (The losses went to Pete Carroll and Dan Reeves).
Also, this game will give us two historical firsts. The most notable one is the fact that Super Bowl LVII will be the first Super Bowl where each team has a Black starting quarterback with Patrick Mahomes taking on Jalen Hurts.
Travis and Jason Kelce will also be making history as the first set of brothers to face each other in the Super Bowl. We’ll have plenty more on these two teams over the next two weeks, but for now, that’s all you’re getting.
5. NFL Draft order is almost set: Top 30 teams locked in
With the 49ers and Bengals now done for the season, that means we just took two steps closer to finalizing the NFL Draft order for 2023. The most notable thing about this week’s draft order is that you’ll notice that the Broncos now have the 30th overall pick, which they indirectly got from the 49ers. If you want to know how that happened: The 49ers sent the pick to Miami when they traded up to get Trey Lance in 2021. The Dolphins then traded the pick to Denver to land Bradley Chubb back in November.
With that in mind, here is the official order for the top 30 spots in the draft:
1. Bears (3-14)
2. Texans (3-13-1)
3. Cardinals (4-13)
4. Colts (4-12-1)
5. Seahawks (9-8) (via 5-12 Broncos)
6. Lions (8-9) (via 5-12 Rams)
7. Raiders (6-11)
8. Falcons (7-10)
9. Panthers (7-10)
10. Eagles (14-3) (via 7-10 Saints)
11. Titans (7-10)
12. Texans (3-13-1) (via 7-10 Browns)
13. Jets (7-10)
14. Patriots (8-9)
15. Packers (8-9)
16. Commanders (8-8-1)
17. Steelers (9-8)
18. Lions (9-8)
19. Buccaneers (8-9)
20. Seahawks (9-8)
21. FORFEITED BY DOLPHINS for Tom Brady tampering
22. Chargers (10-7)
23. Ravens (10-7)
24. Vikings (13-4)
25. Jaguars (9-8)
26. Giants (9-7-1)
27. Cowboys (12-5)
28. Bills (13-3)
29. Bengals (12-4)
30. Broncos (via 13-4 49ers)
Now we know most of the draft order, you might be wondering how the first round will play out and we have the answer right here in Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft, so be sure to click over. As for the rest of the draft order, it will officially become finalized after Super Bowl LVII.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Cowboys part ways with offensive coordinator, who appears headed to Chargers
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.
- Kellen Moore out in Dallas. After four seasons as the offensive coordinator in Dallas, Moore has been dropped by the Cowboys. According to the team, the move was a “mutual decision to part ways.” The writing was pretty much on the wall for Moore last week after Mike McCarthy refused to give his OC a vote of confidence when asked if Moore would be returning. It’s not clear what the Cowboys will do next, but it’s very possible that McCarthy could end up calling plays for Dallas in 2023. Fortunately for Moore, he’s already landed on his feet. According CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones, the Chargers have strong interest in hiring Moore to run their offense.
- Justin Herbert has surgery. If Moore lands in L.A., he won’t get to work with Justin Herbert right away. The Chargers surprisingly announced over the weekend that Herbert had surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Jan. 25. The team said that Herbert is expected to be cleared to play by the spring.
- Damar Hamlin speaks publicly for first time since injury. For the first time since his Jan. 2 injury, the Bills safety spoke on camera. Hamlin released a video on social media and during the six-minute recording, he thanked the dozens of people who helped him survive his cardiac arrest. You can see the entire video by clicking here.
- Cardinals making a play for Bengals coordinators. After interviewing multiple candidates for their open head coaching job, the Cards aren’t quite done yet as they’ll be interviewing two more this week. Arizona has decided to bring in Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to interview for their open coaching job, according to NFL.com.
- Dolphins set to hire Vic Fangio. The former Broncos head coach, who is one of the smartest defensive minds in the game, is taking his talents to South Beach. According to NFL.com, Fangio has agreed to a three-year deal with the Dolphins that will make him the highest-paid coordinator in the league.
- DeMeco Ryans is top candidate for Texans job. There’s a good chance Ryans has coached his final game with the 49ers. According to NFL.com, Ryans is the front-runner for the Texans head coaching job. The two sides plan to meet this week and there’s a good chance that meeting will end with Ryans getting hired.
- Broncos held secret meeting with Jim Harbaugh. Although Harbaugh said he was going to stay at Michigan, he still took a second interview with the Broncos, which was held in Ann Arbor last week, according to NFL.com. So is Harbaugh still in the race? At this point, it’s hard to say because it’s not clear who the front-runner for the job is. The Broncos liked DeMeco Ryans, but it’s looking like he’ll be heading to Houston, which leaves the job in Denver completely up in the air right now.
In other coaching news, the Falcons raided the Saints to make their defensive coordinator hire. Atlanta is bringing in Ryan Nielsen, who served as the co-defensive coordinator in New Orleans in 2022. We’re not going to list every bit of coaching news here, because it would quadruple the length of the newsletter, but if you want the latest updates on every coaching and GM interview being held this offseason, then be sure to click here so you can follow along in our tracker.
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