Washington Football Team v Dallas Cowboys
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Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I'm not going to tell you that you HAVE to watch tonight's game between the Seahawks and Cowboys, but I am going to say this: There's a very good chance that this will be the final Thursday game of the season between two teams that BOTH have a winning record. 

Another reason to watch is because the Cowboys are playing and everyone loves watching the Cowboys. Half the country loves to watch them win and half the country loves to watch them lose, so you'll have to watch just to see which half of the country goes to bed happy tonight. 

Speaking of tonight's game, we've got a preview coming in today's newsletter, plus we have some playoff projections that Packers fans are going to love. 

As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. Let's get to the rundown. 

1. Today's show: Two former NFL players break down the latest NFL news

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For today's episode of the "Pick Six NFL" podcast, we brought on two former NFL players to break down all of the latest NFL news: Brady Quinn and Leger Douzable

Host Will Brinson joined them during Thursday's show, and the three of them decided to try and predict whether Aaron Rodgers will return this year. Rodgers was back at practice on Wednesday, which we'll be covering later in the newsletter. 

Brinson asked Quinn and Douzable what their confidence is on a scale of 1 to 10 that Rodgers will actually play a game this year (One means no chance at a return this year, 10 means they think he'll be starting a game before the end of the month)

"I'm going to go with a hard two," Douzable said. "Will the Jets be able to squeak out three wins in a row, because that's the only way it makes sense for Rodgers to come back (in Week 16). If they do win three in a row, then they're back in this thing, but if they just drop one of those games, then it's almost, for sure over in regards to the Jets going to the playoffs."

The Jets are 4-7 and as Douzable notes, if they lose any of their next three games -- which are against the Falcons, Texans and Dolphins -- then it's almost impossible to see them making the postseason. 

As for Brady, he's giving Rodgers a slightly better chance of returning. 

"I just think he wants to prove to everyone that he can come back in this span of time and do something that we've never seen a professional athlete do," Quinn said. 

If you want to hear their full thoughts on Rodgers, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. The two also debated whether the Vikings should bench Joshua Dobbs, plus they made some predictions for tonight's game between the Seahawks and Cowboys. If you prefer your podcasts in video form, you can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Seahawks at Cowboys

The Seahawks (6-5) will be trying do something tonight that no other NFL has been able to do in more than a year: Beat the Cowboys in Dallas. In a streak that dates to September 2022, the Cowboys (8-3) have won 13 straight games at home, including five this year. Not only are the Cowboys 5-0 at Jerry World, but they've won all FIVE games by at least 20 points, which is the NFL record for the most wins by 20 points or more at home to start a season. 

My good buddy Jared Dubin put together CBS Sports' deep-dive preview for this game, and here's how he sees things playing out: 

  • Why the Seahawks can win: The Cowboys defense doesn't have a lot of weaknesses, but if there's one spot where you can definitely attack them, it's running the ball up the middle. That isn't exactly a strength for Seattle, but if they can get the ground game going, that will give them a fighting chance (The Cowboys are 0-2 this year when surrendering 115 yards or more on the ground, but 8-1 when they hold an opponent to under 115). Geno Smith also needs to take what the defense gives him. With Stephon Gilmore and DaRon Bland likely covering Seattle's two best receivers (DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett), Smith should be looking to get his running backs and tight ends involved in the passing game. 
  • Why the Cowboys can win: Dak Prescott has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this year, and tonight, he'll be going up against a Seahawks defense that has struggled to stop the pass, which should mean good things for Dallas. The Seahawks have had trouble pressuring the QB this year, which means Dak should have ample time to throw, allowing him to put up some big numbers. If that happens, it's hard to see the Cowboys losing. 

You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.

If you're thinking about betting on the game, here's one prop I like: 

  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Jason Myers OVER 5.5 points (-145). I'm actually surprised that this number is so low because Myers has been a scoring machine this season. The Seahawks have played 11 games and Myers has gone over 5.5 points in TEN of them. The Seahawks kicker has scored the fourth-most points in the NFL this year, while averaging 8.6 points per game. Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey has actually scored the most points in the NFL this year, but his over/under is set at 7.5, which I don't love. I could easily see a situation where the Cowboys score four touchdowns and one field goal, putting Aubrey at seven points. Taking Aubrey's over wouldn't be the worst thing since he's averaging nine points per game this season, but I'll be rolling with Myers here. 

My prime-time prop record is 18-9 this year. You can see our full betting preview from SportsLine here

Finally, if you're wondering who we're picking, here's who we have tonight: 

Jared's pick: Cowboys 31-20 over Seahawks
My pick: Cowboys 24-17 over Seahawks 

The Cowboys are favored by 9.5 so although Jared and I are both picking the Cowboys to win, we're making very different bets. He has Dallas covering while I have the Seahawks pulling off the cover as an underdog. 

You can see who all of our experts are taking over on our CBSSports.com picks page. Right now, all eight of us are taking the Cowboys to win, but only six of us are picking them to cover. 

3. Aaron Rodgers is back at practice: Here's what that means for a possible return in 2023

Less than three months after tearing his Achilles, Aaron Rodgers is already back at practice. For most NFL players, an Achilles injury usually means you're going be sidelined for nine to 12 months, but not Rodgers. The quarterback's surgery included a special "speed bridge" procedure with the expectation that it would speed up his recovery time and that's exactly what has happened so far. 

That being said, just because Rodgers is back at practice doesn't necessarily mean he'll play this year. Let's take a closer look at the situation: 

  • The Jets have 21 days to decide what to do. With Rodgers returning to practice, that means the Jets now have 21 days whether to decide to move him to the active roster. This means the decision on Rodgers will have to be made by Dec. 20. If that date passes and Rodgers hasn't been moved to the active roster, then he'll officially be out for the season. 
  • Rodgers has NOT been cleared for contact. Although Rodgers was at practice on Wednesday, he wasn't exactly practicing. For one, he still hasn't been cleared for contact, which means no 11-on-11 action. Rodgers, who was a limited participant in practice, was mostly doing individual drills. "This isn't so much getting ready to play as much as it is a progression in his rehab," Jets coach Robert Saleh said on Wednesday
  • Jets are trying to figure out if Rodgers is CAN return. When the Vikings started Justin Jefferson's 21-day practice window earlier this month, they did so knowing that he would be returning to the field at some point this season. However, that doesn't seem to the case with Rodgers. The Jets don't seem to have any idea whether Rodgers will actually be able to play. "We're not there yet," Saleh said when talking about the possibility of activating Rodgers. "Like a lot of guys coming off [injured reserve], they're usually not ready to play football. There's still a little bit of a health concern there and so you use these 21-day windows to see where they're at."
  • Does it even make sense for Rodgers to return? If Rodgers IS activated on Dec. 20, that would put him in line to start in Week 16 against the Commanders. If the Jets are hopelessly out of the playoff race, it doesn't make much sense to throw him out there and risk another injury. Before getting to Week 16, the Jets play the Falcons, Texans and Dolphins and they'll probably have to go 2-1 in that span to keep their playoff hopes alive. 
  • Rodgers doesn't seem so sure he'll be able to return. During an interview with Pat McAfee on Tuesday, Rodgers gave a pretty honest assessment about where he stands right now, "We're not where I can make a decision on playing, because health wise -- I'm improving steadily -- but I'm not at an ability to play at this point." Rodgers also went through what his through process is toward a possible return, "It's always been, first, am I healthy? And then, are we alive? Are we in it? Are we playing good enough to make a run? Can I step in and protect myself and play at the level that I'm capable of playing? But the first part is the health, first." 

If Rodgers actually ends up playing in a game this year, it will be an unprecedented return that will probably be studied by medical students for years to come. That being said, if I had to make an educated guess now based on his comments and Saleh's comments, I don't think we'll see him back in action this season.  

You can see our full story on Rodgers' return to practice here.

4. NFL playoff projections heading into Week 13 

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are a huge underdog in Dallas tonight, and if they lose, it will drop them to 6-6 on the season, which will put them in a dog fight for one of the final wild card spots in the NFC. 

So will they make it to the postseason? That's a question we wanted to answer, so we did some playoff projections for this week. To figure out who's going to make the playoffs this year, we had Stephen Oh of SportsLine simulate the rest of the season. We then used those simulations to project the 14 teams we expect to make the playoffs. 

Here's how our projection breaks down for both conferences: 

1. Eagles
2. 49ers
3. Lions
4. Saints
5. Cowboys
6. Seahawks
7. Packers

1. Chiefs
2. Ravens
3. Jaguars
4. Dolphins
5. Steelers
6. Browns
7. Texans

Even if the Seahawks lose tonight, our computer projection still thinks they'll get in. To me, the biggest surprise in the projection is that the computer has the Saints winning the NFC South despite the fact that they just lost a huge game to the Falcons in Week 12. If you want more details on the projection, including what the playoff chances are for all 32 teams, be sure to click here.  

5. Redrafting the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft

Now that we're heading into Week 13, we have a pretty good idea of which rookies are good this year and which ones have been struggling. With that in mind, CBS Sports NFL Draft guru Ryan Wilson decided to go back in time and REDRAFT the first round of the 2023 draft. 

Basically, if every team could do the draft over knowing what they know now, who would they pick? That's the question that Wilson did his best to answer here. 

If there was a redraft, here's what the top 10 would look like, according to Wilson: 

1. Panthers: QB C.J. Stroud (Actual draft slot: Second overall to Houston)
2. Texans: DT Jalen Carter (Draft slot: Ninth overall to Philadelphia)
3. Texans: QB Anthony Richardson (Draft slot: Fourth overall to Indy)
4. Colts: QB Bryce Young (Draft slot: First overall to Carolina)
5. Seahawks: CB Devon Witherspoon (Draft slot: Fifth overall to Seattle)
6. Cardinals: DE Will Anderson (Draft slot: Third overall to Houston)
7. Raiders: QB Will Levis (Draft slot: 33rd overall to Tennessee)
8. Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson (Draft slot: Eighth overall to Atlanta)
9. Eagles: CB Christian Gonzalez (Draft slot: 17th overall to New England)
10. Bears: OT Dawand Jones (Draft slot: 111th overall to Cleveland)

The biggest takeaway from Wilson's top 10 is that the Browns got an absolute steal in Dawand Jones. He was taken in the fourth round back in April, but Wilson thinks he would be a top-10 pick if the teams could draft all over again right now. The biggest loser in the redraft is probably Bryce Young, who goes from being the first overall pick to the third QB taken. 

If you want to how the rest of the redraft played out, be sure to click here

6. Extra points: Flacco might be starting for Browns this week; Leonard close to finding new home

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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. 

  • Browns might be turning to Joe Flacco. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski announced this week that Joe Flacco will be the backup QB on Sunday against the Rams. With starting QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson currently in concussion protocol, that means that Flacco could actually end up starting. The former Super Bowl winning QB started four games for the Jets last year, going 1-3. For more on Flacco, check out our story here
  • Steelers hoping to host NFL Draft in near future. With the 2024 (Detroit) and 2025 (Green Bay) NFL Draft locations already set, it appears the Steelers are hoping to jump in line after that. The team has submitted a request to host the draft in either 2026 or 2027
  • Eagles and Cowboys battling to land Pro Bowl linebacker. Former Colts Pro Bowler Shaq Leonard, who was cut last week, visited with both Philadelphia and Dallas this week and it appears that he plans on signing with one of those teams. According to multiple reports, Leonard plans on making his decision over the weekend.  
  • NFL suspends cameraman involved in Tyreek Hill celebration. In what can only be described as a bizarre decision, the NFL has suspended the camerman who handed Tyreek Hill a cell phone for a TD celebration earlier this year. Kevin Fitzgibbons said Wednesday that he's suspended for the rest of the season and "possibly for good." Hill reacted to the suspension on Twitter and he didn't sound thrilled with it, "I would comment but I could get fined." You can check out the full details of the story here
  • DeSean Jackson officially retiring. The three-time Pro Bowler will be holding a press conference on Friday in Philadelphia where he'll officially be retiring as an Eagle. He'll also be serving as an honorary captain for Sunday's game against the 49ers. 
  • Von Miller has warrant out for his arrest. The former Super Bowl MVP has a warrant out for his arrest stemming from a domestic violence case in Dallas, CBS Sports Senior NFL Insider Jonathan Jones has confirmed. The warrant is for a charge of assaulting a pregnant person, which is a third-degree felony. The Bills said they are gathering more information on the incident after learning about it this morning. This will certainly be a situation to keep an eye on.