“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.”
I promised myself that I’d never use those lyrics in this newsletter, but I’ve heard the “Friday” song roughly 19 times this week and apparently it’s because Rebecca Black just came out with some new music for the first time in 10 years. I have to say though, she really missed the boat by not making a song for each day of the week. A “Tuesday” song could have been a huge hit.
Anyway, Rebecca isn’t lying, it is Friday and we have a jam-packed newsletter for you today. We’re going to predict the Texans’ 2021 record, plus we’re going to rank the NFL’s top 10 tight ends. We’ll also be covering the Bears’ situation in Chicago and you know what, I’m going to stop yapping so we can get to the rundown.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share the link.
1. Today’s show: Dissecting every big QB competition
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
It’s not often that there are five or more quarterback jobs up for grabs in the same year, but that’s exactly what we’re getting in the NFL heading into the upcoming season. When training camp kicks off in late July, the Bears, Broncos, 49ers, Patriots and Saints are all expected to be holding a QB competition. With that in mind, Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I spent Friday’s episode of the Pick Six podcast dissecting each of those competitions.
Here’s what we agreed upon during our 45-minute conversation:
- Three competitions seem to have a clear winner: We usually don’t agree on much, but for some reason we all agreed on who’s going to end up as the Week 1 starter for the Bears (Andy Dalton), Saints (Jameis Winston) and 49ers (Jimmy Garoppolo). In Chicago, Matt Nagy is continuing to insist that Andy Dalton will be the opening day starter and there’s no reason to doubt him. The Bears open the season on the road against the Rams and I’m guessing Nagy doesn’t want to see Justin Fields get scarred for life by playing in a game where he might get sacked nine times by Aaron Donald. None of us expect Dalton to start very far into the season, but we do expect him under center in Week 1. (To hear our take on the Saints and 49ers battles, you’ll have to listen to the podcast.)
- Rookie with the best chance to win the job: Mac Jones. Although Cam Newton showed flashes of being good last year, the fact of the matter is that he was inconsistent. Of course, he had several things working against him in 2020 like the fact that he didn’t get an offseason to learn the Patriots offense and the fact that he came down with COVID during the season. That being said, Newton has struggled to consistently play well and stay healthy over the past few years and if that trend continues, it won’t be surprising at all if Jones ends up winning the QB competition.
- Competition is completely up in the air: Broncos. Our advice here is that the Broncos should cancel their QB competition and do everything they can to trade for Aaron Rodgers.
To listen to today’s episode — and to follow the podcast — be sure to click here.
2. Bears could be leaving downtown Chicago
The Chicago Bears have been playing at Soldier Field since 1971, but that’s something that could be changing in the near future. There’s been a lot of speculation over the past few months that the Bears are thinking about moving and after not commenting on the situation for weeks, the team finally confirmed on Thursday that a move could eventually be on the table.
Bears president Ted Phillips announced that the team has made a bid to purchase a chunk of land in Arlington Heights, Illinois, which sits roughly 35 miles outside of Chicago.
“We recently submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property,” Phillips said in a statement. “It’s our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our organization and its future. If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential.”
The land the Bears bid on is a 326-acre space that is currently occupied by the Arlington Park race track.
Here’s a quick look at the situation and how realistic it is that the Bears will eventually move:
- Bears don’t own the land yet. Churchill Downs Inc. is the current owner of the land and the company has multiple bids on the property, so there’s no guarantee that the Bears will win the bid. Before anyone can even think about the possibility of the Bears building a stadium, they have to get the land. Churchill Downs Inc. is definitely selling the land, but we won’t know the identity of they buyer until they announce it.
- Bears lease at Solider Field runs through the 2033 season. One thing that could throw a wrench into any plans of leaving Soldier Field is that the Bears have a lease to play there for the next 13 seasons. When asked about the lease back in April, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes didn’t seem too concerned. “I know there’s contracts involved and lease agreements,” Hayes said. “But a good attorney will tell you, you can always get out of those.”
- Bears get blasted by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Lightfoot sees the Bears’ bid as nothing but a ploy by the team because they want the city to help pay for some renovations at Soldier Field. In a statement released Thursday, Lightfoot said the Bears need to focus less on moving and more “on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October.” I don’t think Lightfoot is messing around.
Even if the Bears want to leave Soldier Field, they can’t move forward with any new stadium plans until they own the land in Arlington. If they end up winning the bid, that’s when things will get interesting.
3. Predicting every game on the Texans’ 2021 schedule
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Now that the month of June is here, that means the dead part of the NFL offseason is upon us and although things can get kind of boring during this period, we’re going to keep things spicy around here by going through and predicting every game on each team’s 2021 schedule.
There are 32 teams and we’ll be doing one team per day until we make it through every team. Today, we’re going to continue our run through the AFC South by taking a closer look at the Houston Texans.
Our Jeff Kerr went through Houston’s entire schedule and picked out all the games the Texans are going to win and all the games they’re going to lose. If you’ve followed the Texans at all this offseason, you won’t be surprised to hear that Kerr is predicting that their 2021 season is going to turn into a total disaster.
So how bad will things get? Could they go 0-17?
Here’s a look at how Kerr sees the Texans doing in three key games, along with the final record he sees them ending up with:
- Week 1: Jaguars at Texans. “This will be the start of what looks to be a very rough year for the Texans.” Prediction: Jacksonville beats Houston.
- Week 12: Jets at Texans. “The Jets are a better team, but this is the week Houston gets its first win of the season. Rookie Davis Mills throws for three touchdowns as Houston pulls off the surprising upset that allows the Texans to end their 0-10 start to the season. There will be no 0-17 team in the league this year. ” Prediction: Houston beats New York.
- Week 18: Titans at Texans. “The Texans’ rebuild back to a contender can officially begin after the franchise has their worst season in its young history. Houston will lock up the No. 1 pick after this loss to Tennessee.” Prediction: Tennessee beats Houston.
Overall, Kerr is predicting that the Texans will end the season with a 1-16 record and no one will be surprised if that happens.
If you want to see Kerr’s prediction for each game, click here to check out his entire story. Coming on Monday, we’ll be finishing up our adventure through the AFC South by predicting the Jaguars’ final record.
4. Ranking the top 10 tight ends heading into 2021
As you may or may not have noticed, we love to rank things here at CBSSports.com and because of that, we thought we would spend the next few weeks ranking every position group heading into the 2021 season.
From running backs to receivers to quarterbacks to kickers, we’re going to be ranking everyone and since there’s a zero percent chance that you’re going to agree with each ranking, I’m going to be sharing the Twitter handle of each author so you can argue with them about their ranking on social media.
Today, we’re going to be ranking the top 10 tight ends heading into to the 2021 season. This list was put together by Jordan Dajani and if you’d like to tell him how perfect it is, or if you’d like to argue with him, you can do that by clicking here.
Top 10 tight ends
1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2. George Kittle, 49ers
3. Darren Waller, Raiders
4. Kyle Pitts, Falcons
5. T.J. Hockenson, Lions
6. Mark Andrews, Ravens
7. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
8. Noah Fant, Broncos
9. Hunter Henry, Patriots
10. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
Ranking tight ends isn’t easy and that’s mainly because you have to make a decision on whether to have Kittle or Kelce at the top. The only question mark on this list is probably Kyle Pitts and that’s because he has yet to play a single down in the NFL. If you want a detailed explanation of the ranking (and why Pitts made it), be sure to click here so you can check out Dajani’s entire story.
5. Ranking the seven new head coaches
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I told you we love to rank things here and I wasn’t kidding. Not only are we ranking tight ends today, but we’re also ranking the seven new coaches who were hired this offseason. However, this ranking is going to come with a twist and that’s because it’s not being put together based on who’s the “best” coach. Instead, Jason La Canfora ranked the new coaches based on multiple factors, including ownership, front office, roster and recent history.
For instance, some might view Robert Saleh as the “best” coach hired this offseason, but if he doesn’t have the infrastructure in place around him to be successful, then his career in New York could go south quickly.
So which team has put their new coach in the best position to succeed? Let’s check out La Canfora’s rankings.
1. Brandon Staley, Chargers
2. Urban Meyer, Jaguars
3. Nick Sirianni, Eagles
4. Dan Campbell, Lions
5. Arthur Smith, Falcons
6. Robert Saleh, Jets
7. David Culley, Texans
If you want an in-depth explanation for why La Canfora ranked each coach the way he did, then you’re going to want to click here so you can check out the entire story.
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.
- Bills receiver calls COVID protocols a joke. Cole Beasley is not happy about the NFL’s updated COVID protocols and we know that because he shared that information with everyone on Twitter. The Bills receiver is especially upset with the NFLPA. If you want to read all the details on this story, be sure to click here.
- Jaguars sign former Vikings first-round pick. Since being taken with the 23rd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Laquon Treadwell hasn’t exactly had a successful career. After fizzling out with both the Vikings and Falcons, Treadwell is going to get a chance to turn things around in Jacksonville and that’s because the Jaguars have decided to sign him.
- Raiders also add a former first-round pick. The Raiders added some depth to their defense by signing linebacker Darron Lee this week. Lee was taken by the Jets with the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but he never found any success in New York. After just three seasons with the Jets, Lee moved on to Kansas City in 2019 and Buffalo in 2020.
- Buccaneers season tickets sold out. Good luck getting a Buccaneers ticket this year. The team announced on Thursday that season tickets for the 2021 season are sold out. This is believed to be the earliest that the Buccaneers have ever sold out of season tickets.
- Ex-NFL commissioner worried about gambling’s impact on the game. Although Roger Goodell has finally decided to embrace gambling, his predecessor still doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is worried that we could start seeing point-shaving cases now that gambling is everywhere.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick could be Washington’s QB for awhile. Fitzpatrick is 38 years old, which makes it seem like he might not be in the NFL much longer, but don’t tell that to Ron Rivera. The Washington coach thinks Fitz-magic could have a few more good seasons in him, “There’s nothing that says Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t be the guy for a while,” Rivera said. “If this dude continues to play at the level he has and with [Tom] Brady showing everybody that these veteran guys can do it — just ask Phil Mickelson, he’ll tell you — then why not? Why would we want to move on?” Well Ron, you’re going to want to move on because Fitzpatrick has never played well in two consecutive seasons and there’s no reason to think that will change now.
Happy Father’s Day
As someone who writes an NFL newsletter for a living, I would be a horrible son if I didn’t end things here by wishing Happy Father’s Day to my dad, who played 14 years in the NFL. If you’ve ever wondered how I became a huge Bengals homer, it’s because I didn’t have any choice, I was born into it. My dad (Jim Breech) spent 13 years with the team (1980-1992) and 29 years after his retirement, he’s still the Bengals all-time leading scorer.
Here are a few other nuggets about his career:
- He holds the NFL record for most overtime kicks without a miss (9-for-9).
- He led the AFC in scoring twice.
- He scored at least one point in 186 consecutive games, which is the third-longest streak in NFL history.
- One of only four kickers in NFL history with multiple field goals of 40 yards or more in a single Super Bowl.
- Second-highest scoring game by a losing kicker in Super Bowl history (10 points in Super Bowl XXIII).
- He currently somehow still holds the honor of being the last Bengals player to score a point in a Bengals playoff win. He is 65, so that kind of tells you how bad the Bengals are at winning playoff games.
He’s also the reason I have a weird obsession with knowing everything there is to know about kicking, so Happy Father’s Day to my dad and every dad who’s reading this.