NFL playoff picks for NFC and AFC title games, plus Patrick Mahomes injury update and Jared Goff on thin ice

You didn’t sign up for our Patrick Mahomes newsletter, but you’re getting it anyway this week. OK, so this isn’t actually a Patrick Mahomes newsletter, but it’s definitely going to feel like it is over the next few days because we’re going to be talking a lot about Patrick Mahomes.

For instance, did you know that Mahomes’ mom thought the Browns took a cheap shot on her son on the play that left him injured? Randi Mahomes was NOT happy about that hit. If you want to know more about that situation, be sure to click here.   

For everyone else, let’s get to today’s rundown. As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. You’ll definitely want to share that link with anyone you know who can’t get enough Patrick Mahomes news. 

1. Today’s Show: Will Deshaun Watson actually get traded?

After spending 72 straight hours together over the weekend, the Pick Six Super Friends trio of Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I decided we needed to take a break from each other for the sake of staying sane, so Brinson invited another guest on for Tuesday’s show and that guest was none other than CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

The main topic of the podcast was Deshaun Watson and whether he’ll actually end up getting traded. Watson has dominated headlines over the past week as things seem to get uglier by the day in Houston. During the episode, JLC details how the Watson situation got so ugly. If you’re a Texans fan, you’re definitely going to want to give the podcast a listen and that’s because JLC explained why he thinks the situation is salvageable and what would have to happen. 

Besides the Texans, Brinson and JLC also talked about the Lions‘ offseason, the Chargers hiring of Brandon Staley and who the Eagles should think about hiring. It’s basically the perfect Tuesday podcast. 

To listen to today’s episode — and subscribe to the podcast — be sure to click here.   

2. Your daily Patrick Mahomes injury update

The biggest story of the week in the NFL is obviously Patrick Mahomes, which means, I am morally obligated to bring you as many updates as possible on his injury situation. 

What we found out on Monday is that Andy Reid is not a doctor. The Chiefs coach met with the media on Monday and made it clear that he’s not going to have ANY say in whether Mahomes is allowed to play this weekend (The quarterback has to be cleared by an independent neurologist). 

“He’s in the protocol, and we’ll just follow that and see how he does here in the next couple days,” coach Andy Reid said Monday. “I just leave that with (athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and the docs because of the protocol it’s a no brainer for the coaching staff, you don’t have to think about it. … I can’t tell you from a medical standpoint where he’s at. I don’t know that.”

One interesting thing Reid did say is that Mahomes probably would have returned to Sunday’s game if his injury had happened before the NFL’s latest concussion policies were put into place. 

“There was a chance back in the day that Patrick comes back in [the game],” Reid said. “You saw him run up the tunnel. By the time he got to that point, he was feeling pretty good. But there’s a certain protocol you have to follow and that takes it out of the trainer’s hand and the player’s hand and the doctor’s hand.”

According to one report out of Kansas City, Mahomes actually tweaked a nerve on the hit from Cleveland’s Mack Wilson. From a brain trauma standpoint, that’s good news for Mahomes, but the Chiefs will still need to make sure everything is good with the nerve before he can play. As for Mahomes’ toe, Reid said that injury won’t be a problem this week. 

One more injury update: A couple of people asked me about the latest on Lamar Jackson, who suffered a concussion against Buffalo. Since Baltimore’s season is over, the Ravens don’t have to release any details about his status. However, he did get the OK to fly home from the game on Saturday night, which is good news as far as his prognosis.  

3. Breech’s conference title game picks 


If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s time for my weekly picks, but before we get to my picks for this week, I should have you know that they almost never happened because I almost retired from the picks game after the wild-card round. I went 2-4 straight-up and 0-5-1 against the spread. It was the picks equivalent of throwing three interceptions in your final game, which ironically enough, is what Drew Brees might have actually just done in the divisional round. 

Anyway, despite my struggles, I didn’t retire and I rebounded in the divisional round with a  3-1 record so let’s get to these title game picks. 

  • Buccaneers at Packers (-3.5): When these two teams played earlier this season, Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst games of his career. During the 38-10 loss, he threw just his third pick-six ever. It was also just the fourth game of his career where he threw multiple interceptions in a game where he was sacked four or more times. You can fool Aaron Rodgers once, but you cannot fool him twice. The Packers QB is playing at an MVP level and I think he out-duels Tom Brady here. Also, the kickoff temperature is expected to be 29 degrees and by principle, I cannot pick a Florida team to win in that kind of weather. PICK: Packers 30-23 over Buccaneers. 
  • Bills at Chiefs (-2.5): For me this pick is pretty simple: If you think Patrick Mahomes is going to be 100%, then you pick the Chiefs. If you don’t think Mahomes is going to be 100% or if you think he’s not going to play, then you pick the Bills. I think Josh Allen can out-duel a banged-up Mahomes and if Mahomes doesn’t play, I give Chad Henne a zero percent chance of winning. Actually, let’s make that one percent, because I thought there was a zero percent chance he would scramble for 13 yards against the Browns on a third-and-14 in the fourth quarter, but he did that, so I’m not going to rule anything out. PICK: Bills 27-24 over Chiefs. 

For a more in-depth look at why I’m picking those two teams, be sure to click here.  

4. Rams thinking about moving on from Jared Goff

Although Deshaun Watson has been stealing all the juicy quarterback headlines this offseason, the situation in Los Angeles is definitely one that’s going to be worth watching. After letting Jared Goff run the Rams offense for the past four years, it doesn’t sound like Sean McVay is quite ready to commit to the veteran for a fifth year at quarterback. 

Following the Rams’ 32-18 playoff loss to the Packers, McVay was asked if Goff would be the team’s quarterback going forward. 

“He’s our quarterback, right now,” McVay said. 

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. In his season-ending press conference that was held one day later, McVay got a chance to clear things up when he was once again asked about Goff and for the second time, he refused to commit to the former No. 1 overall pick. 

“What I’m evaluating is everything we do,” McVay said. “That includes the quarterback position, but that includes everything. I think it’s important — like I was kind of saying — to be able to take a step back, catch our breath, be able to look at everything the season encompassed and be able to create the most competitive situations at all spots and what we can continue to do to take steps in the right direction. That’s not exclusive to the quarterback, but it’s all-encompassing to our entire roster.”

McVay was then asked if there’s a scenario where Goff isn’t on the roster next season and he wouldn’t even answer that!

“Like I said, we’re in a situation that we’re in evaluation mode,” McVay said. “All those things are things that we’re moving forward, we’re looking forward. I can’t answer any of those questions until, like I said, I take a step back and evaluate everything that is in the best interest of the Rams.”

According to, the two don’t have a great relationship right now and they’re going to need “marriage counseling” if it’s going to work going forward. Of course, it’s going to be almost impossible for the Rams to move on — at least in 2021 — and that’s because of Goff’s cap hit. If the Rams were to cut him, they’d take a monstrous $65.5 million dead cap hit. Although a trade would knock that cap hit down to roughly $22 million, that’s still a gigantic hit to take in a season where the salary cap might only be $175 million. 

5. New general managers in Washington and Atlanta

After getting fired by the Panthers in 2019, it seems that Ron Rivera has decided to get the Carolina band back together in Washington. According to, the Football Team plans to hire Marty Hurney as their new general manager. Hurney is someone that Rivera is very familiar with and that’s because the two men spent five seasons together in Carolina (2011-12, 2017-19). Although Hurney got fired by the Panthers in 2012, he built the nucleus of the team that Rivera would later lead to Super Bowl 50 by selecting players like Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen in the NFL Draft

Hurney was fired again by the Panthers in December because he wasn’t on the same page as new owner David Tepper. Before being let go, he helped rebuild the Panthers defense by drafting edge rusher Brian Burns, defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker Jeremy Chinn in recent years. 

As for the Falcons, they found their newest general manager by raiding the Saints office. The team officially announced the hiring of Terry Fontenot, who will be heading to Atlanta after spending the past 18 seasons in New Orleans. Fontenot started as a marketing intern for the Saints before working his way up to assistant GM/vice president of pro personnel, which is the title he held in 2020. His duties in that position included recommending player acquisitions by evaluating players from all professional leagues, monitoring the waiver wire and supervising the advance scouting of upcoming opponents. 

The Falcons interviewed a total of five candidates before settling on Fontenot. The other interviews were with Falcons director of college scouting Anthony Robinson, Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown, former Rams scouting director Brad Holmes (who just got hired as Detroit’s GM) and former Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith. 

The hiring of Fontenot will also benefit the Saints, who will now receive a compensatory third-round pick in each of the next two drafts (2021 and 2022). The Saints get those picks as the result of a new rule the NFL put in place in November to promote the hiring of more minorities. 

6. 2021 Mock Draft plus combine changes

It’s not often that the NFL draft is making headlines five days before the conference title games, but that’s exactly what happened this week. Not only did Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields declare for the draft, but the NFL also made a pretty big announcement regarding the combine. Due to the pandemic, the event will be undergoing a big change this year. Instead of traveling to Indianapolis, all players will be put through on-field workouts during their respective school’s Pro Day. Also, all player interviews will be conducted virtually. This year will mark the first time since 1987 that the combine hasn’t been held in Indianapolis. 

With that news in mind, now seems like a good time to present you Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft and let me just say, this one is a DOOZY. Wilson got crazy and put three MOCK TRADES in his top-10 picks, including one that ends with the Steelers jumping up to the 10th overall pick to select Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement.  

Here’s a look at his top 10. 

  • 1. Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
  • 2. Jets: QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
  • 3. Panthers: QB Justin Fields (Ohio State) (Carolina mock trade with Miami)
  • 4. Falcons: QB Mac Jones (Alabama)
  • 5. Bengals: OL Penei Sowell (Oregon) 
  • 6. Eagles : WR Devonta Smith (Alabama)
  • 7. Lions: WR Ja’Marr Chase (LSU)
  • 8. Dolphins: WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) (Miami mock trade with Carolina)
  • 9. Broncos: CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
  • 10. Steelers: QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State) (Pittsburgh mock trade with Dallas)

If you want the details on each one of those mock trades along with the other 22 picks in the first round, be sure to click here so you can check out Wilson’s entire mock draft.

7. The Kicker!

After a disastrous divisional round for kickers, don’t be surprised if they rebound this weekend and that’s because for some reason, kickers never seem to miss in the championship round. I have no theory for why this happens, but the championship round seems to be the one round of the playoffs where kickers are always good. 

Over the past three years, there hasn’t been a single missed field goal in either of the conference title games as kickers have combined to go 18 of 18. If you go back five years, there’s only been one missed field goal as kickers have gone 29 of 30. Ironically enough, the one missed kick over the past five years actually came from Mason Crosby, who missed a 41-yarder against the Falcons in January 2017. Crosby is the only kicker left in this year’s postseason who hasn’t missed a field goal attempt all season. 

Speaking of not missing things, you guys probably won’t miss me tomorrow when I’m out. As always, Cody Benjamin will be here to fill you in with everything you need to know for Wednesday. As a long-time Eagles fan, there’s a 50% chance he turns tomorrow’s newsletter into a 3,000 word essay on who the Eagles should hire as their head coach, so be on the look out for that.  

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