NFL playoff picks for AFC, NFC title games plus Super Bowl national anthem singer announced, Patriots hire OC

NFL playoff picks for AFC, NFC title games plus Super Bowl national anthem singer announced, Patriots hire OC
NFL playoff picks for AFC, NFC title games plus Super Bowl national anthem singer announced, Patriots hire OC

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!

First, I would like to start off with some bad news: I will NOT be singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl this year. I was hoping that the NFL would pick me, but once again, they have passed me over. It's getting insulting at this point. I'm not sure if it's because I can't sing or because I've never been nominated for a Grammy, but I'm sure both of those things played into it. 

Although I won't be singing the national anthem, the NFL revealed today who will be and we'll be covering that. I'll also be making my picks for the conference title games and we'll be taking a look at why Lamar Jackson might end up getting traded. 

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. Let's get to the rundown. 

1. Today's show: Will Lamar Jackson get traded?
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For the past 20 weeks, the Tuesday morning podcast was pretty simple: It was Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I rehashing the Monday night game. However, with no more Monday games this season, that means we had to come up with something else to talk about today, so that's exactly what we did. 

Brinson brought on Jason La Canfora and the two of them spent nearly 45 minutes breaking down the latest news and rumors around the NFL. La Canfora hosts a radio show in Baltimore and is dialed into the Ravens, so it was especially interesting to hear what he had to say about how the Lamar Jackson situation might play out. 

JLC thinks the Ravens will eventually trade Jackson this offseason. "To me, that's far and away the most likely outcome." Jackson has been eligible for a new contract since the end of the 2020 season, but the two sides haven't been able to hammer out a deal even though they've had nearly 24 months. "They've had years to sign this kid. It's over," JLC said. "If you're going to trade him, you need to come to this realization quickly." Why the Ravens need to act quick. The trade market for quarterbacks could be deep this year, which is why the Ravens need to decide as soon as possible if they're going to deal Jackson. "I think Aaron Rodgers is going to be dealt. You have Tom Brady out there. I think Ryan Tannehill l is going to be dealt. I think Derek Carr is going to be dealt. You might as well get ahead of all that and get [Jackson traded]." Potential landing spots. When it comes to possible landing spots, JLC pointed at the three teams that missed out on Deshaun Watson last season: The Panthers, Falcons and Saints. All three teams still need a quarterback and if one of them were to add Jackson, they would almost instantly become the favorite to win the NFC South in 2023. 

As for negotiations between the Ravens and Jackson, JLC thinks it's going to continue to be a stalemate. "I don't see Lamar doing them any favors." 

To listen to today's episode -- and to get JLC's thoughts on a multitude of other topics -- be sure to click here. You can " target="_blank"also WATCH today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Breech's conference title game picks: Both games go down to the wire

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

We are now two rounds into the playoffs and if I've learned one thing about my picks, it's that I should only be picking AFC games. So far this postseason, I'm 5-0 picking AFC games, but just 2-3 picking NFC games, so 49ers fans should probably keep that in mind when reading my NFC title game pick below. 

With that in mind, here are my picks for the AFC and NFC Championship games. 

(1) Eagles 23-20 over (2) 49ers. If you like offensive fireworks, then this is the game for you: Both teams rank in the top six in the NFL in points per game, offensive yards per game and rushing yards per game. On the other hand, maybe this game will turn into a defensive struggle and that's because both of these teams rank in the top eight for fewest points allowed. I think what I'm trying to say here is that these teams are pretty evenly matched, so I'm going to have to go with the quarterback I trust more and that's Jalen Hurts. No rookie QB has ever led their team to a Super Bowl and although Brock Purdy has been good this year, I don't think he's going to be the first rookie QB to break through to the big game. LINE: Eagles (-2.5) (3) Bengals 27-24 over (1) Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes hasn't been able to beat the Bengals when he's fully healthy, so I have a tough time seeing him beat them with an injured ankle. Joe Burrow has never lost in January (7-0), he's never lost a road playoff game (3-0) and I think we all know where I'm going with this pick. Burrow is 3-0 against Mahomes with all three games being decided by exactly three points and the Bengals are going for their third straight playoff win. So I'll just stick with this three theme and say the Bengals win by three. LINE: Bengals (-1.5)

To get my full take on both games, be sure to check out my conference title game picks by clicking here

3. Patriots hire Bill O'Brien as offensive coordinator
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Bill Belichick is bringing back an old friend to run New England's offense. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported that the Patriots are going to hire Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator. After a disastrous 2022 season where the Patriots didn't officially have an offensive coordinator while also letting let Matt Patricia call plays, it was clear they were going to be making a big change this offseason, and this move definitely qualifies as big.  

O'Brien reuniting with Belichick. One thing about Belichick is that he loves hiring coaches who he already knows, and O'Brien definitely falls into that category. O'Brien's first NFL job came in 2007 when he was hired to be an offensive assistant for the Patriots. O'Brien ended up spending five seasons in New England, with his final one coming in 2011 where he was the offensive coordinator for a 13-3 Patriots team that made it to the Super Bowl.  Why the Patriots needed someone new. With Matt Patricia calling plays, things got ugly in New England this past season. Not only did he regularly battle with Mac Jones on the sideline, but the Patriots ended the 2022 season as the worst team in the NFL in red zone efficiency, the sixth-worst team in third down efficiency and they also had the fifth-fewest first downs. By the end of the season, it was pretty clear they would need to make a change for 2023. It's unclear what Patricia's role will be next season -- or if he'll even be staying with the team -- but he definitely won't be calling offensive plays.  Mac Jones apparently happy with the hire. According to MassLive.com, Jones is "very" excited about working with O'Brien. The Patriots' new offensive coordinator is actually familiar with Jones, thanks to their short overlapping time at Alabama. O'Brien was hired as OC by Nick Saban in early 2021 while Jones was getting ready for the NFL Draft that year. With O'Brien trying to learn Alabama's offense, he said he actually got some help from Jones. 

Although there's been some speculation that the Patriots might try to make a play for a big-time QB this offseason, the hiring of O'Brien would seem to be a good thing for Jones, who likely now feels much secure in his role as the team's starter. 

4. Overreactions and reality checks from the divisional round

Everyone on the internet loves to overreact to things, and that's especially true when we're talking about the NFL. With that in mind, Jeff Kerr decided to take a look at several things that happened around the NFL during the divisional round to decide if we're all overreacting. 

Statement: The Cowboys need to move on from Dak Prescott. 
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. "Prescott wasn't good in Sunday's loss to the 49ers, completing 23-of-37 passes for 206 yards with one touchdown to two interceptions (63.6 rating). This was just another poor divisional round performance from Prescott, who still has yet to lead the Cowboys to a conference championship game. At the end of the day, though, the Cowboys will be stuck with Prescott's contract. Prescott still gives them their best chance to win, as owner/general manager Jerry Jones will try to tinker the salary-inflated roster or find a new coach to get the most out of Prescott (although Jones says McCarthy's job is safe)."

Statement: Brock Purdy will struggle against the Eagles' pass rush. 
Overreaction or reality:
 Reality. "Purdy was not great when facing pressure in Sunday's win, going just 3 of 11 for 24 yards with a 39.6 passer rating. When Purdy was blitzed, he finished 3 of 6 for 38 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and a 70.1 passer rating. This week, he'll be facing an Eagles pass rush that has 75 sacks this season (including the playoffs). The Eagles' pass rush will be the best pass rush Purdy has faced all year and it will be interesting to see how he responds."

Statement: Joe Burrow is the best QB in the AFC. 
Overreaction or reality:
 Overreaction. "This could easily be a reality, especially since Burrow continues to demonstrate his mastery of the Chiefs and Bills. So why isn't Burrow the best quarterback? He's 3-0 against Patrick Mahomes in his career and has never lost to the Chiefs, beating them in the AFC Championship game in Kansas City last year. However, Mahomes is set to win his second league MVP, has a Super Bowl title and has led Kansas City to the conference championship game in five consecutive seasons. If Burrow beats Mahomes next week, he'll have the title of the AFC's best quarterback for a long time. He's already on his way to legendary status regardless."

There are plenty more overreactions from the divisional round, and if you want to check those out, be sure to click here.

5. 'With the First Pick' mock draft: Four quarterbacks taken with top 10 picks
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With the 2022 NFL regular season now in the books, that means you're going to be hearing a lot more about the NFL Draft over the next three months. To help you get ready for the draft, we've started a new podcast here at CBS Sports that covers the draft in depth: "With the First Pick." (You can listen and subscribe here).

If you want to know the needs for each team and who they should take, then you'll definitely want to be listening to this podcast every Monday from now until draft day. 

The show is co-hosted by Ryan Wilson and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. If you're a regular listener of the "Pick Six" podcast, then you already know Wilson. He's the guy who keeps the podcast afloat with his common sense. If you've followed football at all over the past decade, then you already know Spielman, who was the Vikings GM for 10 years. He also played a big part in constructing the current version of the team. 

For this week's podcast, Spielman and Wilson talk about some quarterback moves that might happen. One team they spent some serious time talking about was the Raiders. Although the Raiders will be in the market for a QB since they're moving on from Derek Carr, Spielman doesn't think they'll be taking one with the seventh overall pick in the draft. 

Spielman's take: "Last year, if you look at what they did in free agency, they were very proactive in getting veterans on the team. It seems like Josh McDaniels, that's his personality, he wants to work with veterans. I see them getting more aggressive and going after a veteran quarterback. They're going to have enough money to go out and get a veteran quarterback to get with this veteran roster that they started to put together last year."

Spielman also added that McDaniels will most likely go after someone who has experience running his system, with the two most obvious names being Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. 

If you're wondering which teams might be looking for a quarterback in the draft, CBSSports.com draft analyst Josh Edwards ranked the five most likely teams to take a quarterback: 

Texans (own second overall pick) Panthers (own ninth overall pick) Colts (own fourth overall pick) Falcons (own eighth overall pick) Seahawks (own fifth overall pick and 20th overall pick)

If you want the full explanation for Edwards' list, be sure to click here

As for the podcast, you can listen or subscribe to today's episode by clicking here. You can " target="_blank"also check out Spielman and Wilson on YouTube by clicking here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: NFL reveals national anthem singer for Super Bowl

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 announces national anthem singer. Eight-time Grammy winner Chris Stapleton will be handling the national anthem before Super Bowl LVII. The NFL also announced that Babyface will sing "America the Beautiful" while actress Sheryl Lee Ralph will sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing." NFL also announces Super Bowl ref. We don't know which teams will be playing in the Super Bowl, but we do know who the referee will be: Carl Cheffers. We'll have more on this decision later this week, including how each team has done with Cheffers, but for now, we'll just point out that his crew threw the most penalty flags in the NFL this year. It will be the third Super Bowl for Cheffers, who was also the referee in Super Bowl LI (Patriots vs. Falcons) and Super Bowl LV (Buccaneers vs. Chiefs).  Patrick Mahomes update. The Chiefs QB definitely plans on playing this week. Mahomes shared an Instagram photo on Monday with a caption that said, "See you Sunday." Andy Reid was asked about Mahomes' health and he was slightly more cautious, "He mentioned it to you that he's going to play. That's his mindset, and then we'll just take it day by day and see how he does," Reid said, via ESPN.com. Reid said

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