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Details on Jon Gruden’s resignation plus NFL Week 6 picks, Prisco’s Power Rankings and wild ‘MNF’ game recap

Written by on October 13, 2021

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!

If you know anyone who would make a good NFL head coach, you might want to give them the Raiders‘ phone number, because they’re now hiring after the stunning departure of Jon Gruden on Monday night. The Raiders coach basically had no choice but to resign after several emails leaked where Gruden used both misogynistic and homophobic language, and this was after an email leak last week where he used racist language. 

Gruden’s departure overshadowed what was easily the most entertaining Monday night game of the year: The Ravens came back from a 22-3 deficit to beat the Colts 31-25 in overtime. We’ll be talking about both of those things today plus we’ve got some Week 6 NFL picks for you and Prisco’s Power Rankings, so let’s stop wasting time and 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. 

1. Today’s show: Recapping the Ravens’ wild win over the Colts

If you decided to go to bed during the third quarter of this game because the Colts were up 22-3, I have some bad news for you: You missed one of the wildest Monday night comebacks ever. 

The only thing more exciting than Monday’s game was the podcast we recorded afterwards. Here are three key things from the game that we touched on: 

  • Lamar Jackson can actually throw the ball. After a rough first half the saw the Ravens only score three points — the fewest ever in a first half with Jackson — the electrifying quarterback rebounded with a second half that might go down as one of the best by any QB in NFL history. After halftime, Jackson completed 29 of 32 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns. One TD pass came with 39 seconds left to play and another came on the game-winner in overtime. Overall, Jackson threw for a franchise-record 442 yards. He also finished the game with the highest completion percentage in NFL history for a QB who threw 40 or more passes (86%). The Ravens also got huge performances from Mark Andrews (11 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns plus two 2-point conversions) and Marquise Brown (nine catches for 125  yards and two touchdowns). 
  • Colts did everything right until the fourth quarter. For the first three quarters, the Colts absolutely dominated this game. Defensively, they did such a good job of shutting down Baltimore’s offense that the Ravens were forced to punt on their first four possessions of the game. The Colts also ended the Ravens’ streak of 43 straight games where they rushed for at least 100 yards. Offensively, Carson Wentz showed that he can still play at a high level. The Colts QB threw for 402 yards and two touchdowns, and despite the loss, his performance was good enough that the Colts probably feel like they still have a good chance of winning the AFC South despite being two games out.   
  • The kicker meltdown continued. Week 5 was one of the worst weeks in NFL history for kickers and that continued on Monday night. Despite the fact that Rodrigo Blankenship was dealing with a hip injury, the Colts still attempted multiple kicks and that plan backfired with Blankenship missing both an extra point and a 47-yard field goal as time expired that would have won the game. The Colts special teams also had a huge gaffe when they let Calais Campbell barge through the line to block a 37-yard field goal with 4:35 left to play that likely would have iced the game. If the field goal had made it, it would have put the Colts up two scores (28-17) and it’s unlikely the Ravens would have been able to come back. Basically, Campbell’s block is what made the comeback possible.   

We talked about those three things plus everything else you could possibly want to know about Monday’s game, so be sure to check it out. To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here. You can also watch Monday’s episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach

In a span of just 24 hours, Jon Gruden went from coaching in a game to being out of a job. Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders on Monday after a New York Times story leaked more of his personal emails. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the situation: 

  • Gruden came under fire last week. The controversy with Gruden started last week when the Wall Street Journal published a story that revealed that Gruden had used racist language to describe NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email. 
  • The final nail in the coffin. After apologizing for the Smith email, it appeared that Gruden was going to keep his job, but then the New York Times dropped a bomb. In a story published Monday, the Times published emails where Gruden “denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem.” Not only were these emails worse, but some of them were sent as recently as four years ago, which made it a horrible look for Gruden. In the emails, Gruden also referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as a a “f—–t” and a “clueless anti football pu–y”
  • Gruden announces his resignation. A few hours after the Times story came out, Gruden was done. The coach announced his resignation with a simple statement just after 10 p.m. ET: “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
  • Raiders knew about Gruden’s emails. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that the Raiders knew about all of the emails on Friday night, but decided to still let Gruden coach in Sunday’s game, which isn’t a great look for Raiders owner Mark Davis. 
  • Raiders name an interim coach. Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will be taking over as interim coach. This stint will mark the first time that Bisaccia has served as a head coach. However, he does have plenty of NFL experience. Bisaccia has been in the league since 2002 when he got a job with Gruden in Tampa Bay. Since then, Bisaccia has coached for four different teams: Buccaneers (2002-10), Chargers (2011-12), Cowboys (2013-17) and Raiders (2018-present). 
  • Gruden’s situation raises a lot of questions about the NFL’s handling of the situation in Washington. The only reason the NFL had access to Gruden’s emails is because they were discovered as part of the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team. During that investigation, the league went through more than 650,000 emails and somehow, Gruden’s were the only ones that got leaked. Washington was investigated for workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment and the fact that not one email from that investigation has been leaked makes it seem like the league was out to get Gruden. Even if Gruden deserved to lose his job — and he did — that doesn’t excuse the NFL here. The league never offered any sort of written report or findings about the Washington situation, which is mind-boggling to say the least. 

Mike Florio over at Pro Football Talk is calling on the NFL to release its findings from the Washington investigation, which is something the league definitely should do unless it’s trying to hide something. This is the same league that gave us a 243-page report on Deflategate, so the fact that there’s no report on Washington does seem a little odd. If the NFL doesn’t release that report, it makes it seem like someone in the league office was targeting Gruden, which might be possible considering the language he used against Goodell and supposedly used against other owners. 

If you’re wondering who might replace Gruden, our Patrik Walker put together a list of candidates who could end up getting the Raiders job and you can see that list by clicking here

3. Prisco’s Power Rankings heading into Week 6

After one of the wildest weeks of the NFL season, Pete Prisco made some major changes to his power rankings: Of the NFL’s 32 teams, 27 of them are in a new spot compared to last week. It’s almost like Prisco blew up his entire ranking system and started over. 

I’m guessing Cowboys fans would like to see him blow up his system again because he still doesn’t have Dallas in the top five. PUT THE COWBOYS IN THE TOP FIVE, PETE. 

Here’s a look at Prisco’s top 5 teams heading into Week 6, and as you’ll notice, it doesn’t include the Cowboys: 

  1. Cardinals
  2. Bills
  3. Packers
  4. Rams
  5. Chargers

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 Titans and the Bears tied for the biggest jumps of the week with both teams moving up eight spots. The Titans moved up from 18th to 10th, which seems like kind of a big jump for a team that only beat the Jaguars. As for the Bears, they moved up from 21st to 13th after Justin Fields‘ second straight win.
  • The biggest tumble in this week’s rankings went to the Washington Football Team. After losing to the Saints, the Football Team fell six spots from 20th down to 26th. A big reason Washington is struggling is because its defense is a shell of what it was last year, although maybe I shouldn’t say that, because it’s kind of an insult to shells. 
  • The biggest fall in the AFC went to the Browns, who tumbled down four spots from fifth to ninth. That might seem like a big drop, but it’s probably worth noting that the Browns are the highest ranked 3-2 team in Prisco’s rankings.  
  • In news that probably won’t surprise you, the Jaguars are ranked dead last, which is probably going to be the case as long as Urban Meyer is there.      

If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco’s Week 6 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. 

4. Breech’s Week 6 picks

It’s Tuesday, and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for my weekly picks. 

Last week, I went 12-4 straight up and 9-6-1 against the spread. Basically, my picks actually went pretty well, except for the fact that I picked the Jets to win. The Jets can’t even win games in our country so I have no idea why I thought they were going to win a game in London. If you ever see me thinking about picking the Jets in the future, please immediately talk me out of it. 

With that in mind, here are three of my picks for Week 6:  

  • Dolphins vs. Jaguars (+3.5) in London: This game presents a true dilemma for me: I’ll hate myself if I pick the Jaguars, but I’ll also hate myself if I pick the Dolphins, so since this is a lose-lose situation for me, I’m taking the Jags because England is the only country on earth where they’re actually good at winning games. PICK: Jaguars 23-20 over Dolphins. 
  • Cardinals at Browns (-2.5): If the Cardinals have had one huge issue during their 5-0 start, it’s that they can’t stop the run. They’ve given up the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL this year and you know who’s really good at running the ball? The Cleveland Browns. If I’m Kevin Stefanski this week, I’m ripping out the part of the playbook that has all my passing plays and setting it on fire. After I’m done doing that, I’m explaining to my team that we’ll be running the ball 60 times against Arizona. PICK: Browns 30-27 over Cardinals. 
  • Raiders at Broncos (-3.5): The Raiders were in a downward spiral before this whole Jon Gruden thing happened and now that they’re dealing with the shock of losing their coach in the middle of the season. I have a feeling that they’re going to crash-and-burn in Denver. PICK: Broncos 27-17 over Raiders.  

To check out the rest of my picks for Week 6, be sure to click here

5. One thing we learned about each team in Week 5

Now that all 16 games from Week 5 have been played, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin decided to wade through the aftermath to figure out what we learned about each team.

Here’s a look at what we learned about five teams: 

  • Bills: They’re better than the Chiefs and might be the best team in the AFC. “Unlike Kansas City, the Bills actually have a defense, and on top of that, an arsenal of weapons that can score as quickly as any team in the NFL.”
  • Broncos: That 3-0 start was a mirage. “Remember the 3-0 start? This team is in trouble now. Teddy Bridgewater led a comeback effort against Pittsburgh, but neither their defense nor Vic Fangio is overly inspiring in a division that’ll be tough all year.”
  • Dolphins: They look like one of the five worst teams in the NFL. “With each passing week, they feel more like a lock for a top five pick. Even when Tua Tagovalioa returns, they offer so little offensive juice, and their banged-up defense is no match for contenders, either.”
  • Jets: They’re arguably the worst first half team in the NFL. “Seriously, when has Mike LaFleur’s offense looked prepared out of the gate? They still haven’t scored a single point in the first quarter all season. Zach Wilson is not the entire problem, but it’s hard for him to be the solution amid the circumstances.”
  • Washington: Their defense is terrible. “After five games, this seems safe to say: Ron Rivera’s defense is not good. You can call it Jack Del Rio’s, if you’d like. Why is it so bad suddenly? Blame can be spread around. But they’re surrendering 400+ yards per game.”

If you want to see the one thing we learned about each of the NFL’s 32 teams, you can check out Cody’s entire story by clicking here

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. 

  • NFL reveals three German cities that could host a game in 2022. The NFL will soon be holding a game in Germany and when that happens, the game will be played in one of the three following cities: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. Those three cities were named the finalists to host a regular season game. The NFL is hoping to have the game in Germany in 2022, but might have to hold off until 2023 due to the World Cup. 
  • Trey Lance dealing with a knee sprain. The 49ers are on a bye this week, but one injury worth watching is Trey Lance’s. The QB is dealing with a knee sprain that could end up keeping him out of the team’s Week 7 game against the Colts. If that happens, that presumably means Jimmy Garoppolo would start, but that’s only if he’s healthy enough to play. In the off chance that both guys have to miss the game, the 49ers would turn to Nate Sudfeld.  
  • Chiefs lose Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a few weeks. The Chiefs running back won’t be on the field the next few weeks due to a knee injury. Edwards-Helaire has been diagnosed with an MCL sprain that’s going to sideline him for multiple games. Although it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return, he’ll almost certainly be out for the rest of October.  
  • Steelers eyeing Anthony Miller. With JuJu Smith-Schuster out of the season, the Steelers are in need of some wide receiver help, which is why they’re bringing in Miller. According to NFL.com, the former Bears receiver is expected to undergo a physical today and if he passes that, it won’t be surprising if the Steelers end up signing him.    
  • Lions center Frank Ragnow out for the season. The Lions Pro Bowl center is having surgery on his toe this week that’s going to knock him out for the rest of the season, according to NFL.com. That’s a devastating loss for a team that seems to be dealing with a new devastating loss every week. 

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