Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter. 

There’s only one story that matters in the NFL right now and that’s the health of Bills safety Damar Hamlin

What happened to Hamlin on Monday night was difficult to watch and it’s a reminder that NFL players are risking their health with every snap of the ball. We’ve seen some serious injuries over the years, but none of them were like the one suffered by Hamlin, who actually went into cardiac arrest on the field after taking a shoulder to the chest. It was an emotional situation that wasn’t easy for anyone to watch and it was one of the scariest moments in NFL history. 

We’ll be covering everything we know about Hamlin’s situation in today’s newsletter, and we’ll have some other football stuff — but that doesn’t really matter right now. 

1. Latest details on Damar Hamlin

Last night’s game gave us one of the scariest moments in NFL history when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after making a tackle on Tee Higgins during the first quarter at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. 

Here’s a quick timeline and everything we currently know about the situation: 

  • Hamlin collapses on the field. The incident happened after Tee Higgins caught a pass from Joe Burrow. Hamlin went in for the tackle and took a shot to the chest. Hamlin went down while making the tackle, but then immediately shot back up like everything was fine. However, just a few seconds later, he collapsed on the field. 
  • Hamlin taken to hospital. The Bills safety went down at 8:55 p.m. ET and by 9:25 p.m. ET, he was already in an ambulance on the way to the University of Cincinnati medical center. During the nearly 30 minutes he was on the field, Hamlin was given immediate medical attention that included CPR. Hamlin’s famliy was at the game and they rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital. 
  • NFL postpones game. Twenty-three minutes after the injury happened (9:18 p.m. ET), the NFL announced that the game would be temporarily suspended. By 10 p.m. ET, the league decided that the game would be fully postponed. There have been several reports that the NFL initially wanted the game to continue after the players were given a five-minute warm-up, but the league has denied this
  • Bills announce that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. At 1:48 a.m. ET, we got our first official update about Hamlin. In a tweet, the Bills revealed that he went into cardiac arrest on the field. “Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment.” He is currently in critical condition at the UC Medical center.
  • Some Bills players stay in Cincinnati. The Bills’ bus left Paycor Stadium just before 12:30 a.m. ET.  The team made the decision to fly back to Buffalo on Monday night, but it also allowed players to stay in Cincinnati to be with Hamlin if that’s what they wanted to do. One of the players who visited Hamlin first was Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Bengals coach Zac Taylor was also seen at the hospital on Monday night. 
  • Hamlin’s family in ‘good spirits.’ As of Tuesday morning, the only update on Hamlin that has come out came from his marketing representative, Jordon Rooney, who did an interview with “Good Morning America.” Here’s what Rooney had to say, “I will say that he’s fighting, he’s a fighter,” he said. “At the moment, he’s sedated. The family is in good spirits. We’re honestly just taking it minute by minute, hour by hour.” The family also released a statement just before noon on Tuesday asking that everyone keep Hamlin in their prayers. 

With fans watching the situation unfold while sitting helplessly at home, many of them wanted to help, so that’s what they did. 

  • Fans donate nearly $4 million to Hamlin’s charity. The Bills safety started a charity just before his rookie year in the NFL and that charity had a GoFundMe. As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised just $2,900, but in the 14 hours after his injury, that number jumped to nearly $4 million. It was amazing to see fans show this kind of support for Hamlin and you can read more about it here
  • Hundreds of fans show up at hospital. After the game was postponed, hundreds of Bills AND Bengals fans made the decision to go to the hospital to hold vigil

Hamlin’s injury took a serious emotional toll on everyone, especially his teammates. Before leaving the field, many Bills players were in tears, including quarterback Josh Allen, who got a hug from Joe Burrow. 

2. Breech’s Week 18 picks


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After seeing what happened to Damar Hamlin, everything else seems so trivial right now. We’re going to move on with the newsletter, but our thoughts are with the Bills safety. 

Anyway, here are three of my picks for Week 18:   

  • Titans (+7) at Jaguars (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC): I don’t want to pick the Titans, but there is no team in the NFL that’s better than the Titans at winning games they’re not supposed to win. In their past 15 games as an underdog of five points or more, the Titans are 11-4 against the spread and 8-7 straight up. This feels like a game where the Titans will be giving the ball to Derrick Henry 50 times and then crossing their fingers and hoping that he can carry them to win. PICK: Titans 20-17 over Jaguars. 
  • Texans at Colts (-2.5) (1 p.m. ET, CBS): No team has been better at losing this year than the Texans and they have every reason to want to lose this game since a loss will clinch the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That being said, the most Texans thing ever would be for them to win a game they need to lose. For once, I think the Texans will end up doing what’s best for the organization, which is losing this game. PICK: Colts 23-16 over Texans
  • Lions at Packers (-4.5) (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): If there’s one time you should never pick against Aaron Rodgers, it’s when he’s playing a regular-season home game in December or January. Over the course of his career, Rodgers is 28-4 in that situation and with a playoff berth on the line, there’s no way I’m picking against him. PICK: Packers 27-24 over Lions

For the rest of my Week 18 picks, click here.

3. Ranking Sean Payton landing spots

The former Saints coach has made it clear that he would like to return to the sideline in 2023 so we decided to rank the best landing spots for him. Back in December, it was reported that Payton wanted to coach the Rams, Chargers or Saints, but those jobs might not come open, so they didn’t make the cut here. 

With that in mind, here are the top-five jobs for Payton, according to Cody Benjamin:   

  • 1. Cardinals. “No team is more ripe for a total organizational reset. GM Steve Keim is on indefinite leave, and coach Kliff Kingsbury, though signed for years to come, has now finished four straight seasons in a slump.”
  • 2. Cowboys. “Mike McCarthy may appear safe for now, logging at least 12 wins in his last two seasons running America’s Team, but owner Jerry Jones has admittedly had wandering eyes during his tenure, saying before this season Dallas needs to be “viable in the playoffs” to win his trust. If the Cowboys happen to go one-and-done in the postseason for a second straight year, failing to log their first playoff win since 2018, why wouldn’t Jones reconsider a blockbuster pursuit of his old pal?”
  • 3. Buccaneers. “This scenario is predicated almost entirely on Tom Brady re-signing with Tampa Bay during or ahead of free agency. TB12 feels far more likely to retire or suit up elsewhere, but if the plodding, predictable direction of Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich is discarded, and Brady has the chance to team up with Payton, as the two reportedly conspired to do early in the 2022 offseason, then Bucs ownership would surely do everything possible to seal the deal.”
  • 4. Colts. “If anyone’s bound to go the unorthodox route and ship a premium pick for a splashy hire, it’s owner Jim Irsay, right? It helps that Indianapolis is badly in need of a long-term reset under center, giving Payton the potential power to handpick his own signal-caller, and/or seize true personnel control from holdover general manager Chris Ballard.”
  • 5. BroncosRussell Wilson is likely tied to Denver for at least another season, which works both for and against a potential Payton pursuit: on one hand, there might be no other candidate better qualified to rejuvenate the former Seahawks star; on the other, Payton may be uninspired by the idea of fixing Wilson at this point in the QB’s career.”

To check out the rest of Cody’s rankings, be sure to click here.

4. NFL Week 17 overreactions and reality checks


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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 in Week 17 to decide if we’re all overreacting. 

Statement: The Eagles are going to blow their chance at the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. 
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction. “This team just isn’t the same without Jalen Hurts, who is expected back for the must-win game this week against the New York Giants. The Eagles will clinch home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a win and and the Giants may be resting their starters. Expect Hurts and the Eagles to get back on track.”

Statement: The Dolphins will make the playoffs. 
Overreaction or reality: Reality. “How can a team that’s lost five in a row still have a shot at the playoffs? Of all the wild card contenders left in the AFC, the Dolphins have the most plausible scenario for getting in: They just need to beat the Jets (who have also lost five in a row) and have the Patriots lose to the Bills.”

Statement: Patrick Mahomes has locked up the MVP award. 
Overreaction or reality:
 Reality. “Mahomes has had a historical season. The Chiefs QB joined Tom Brady and Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks with multiple 5,000-plus passing yard seasons in NFL history and became the seventh quarterback in NFL history with multiple seasons of 40-plus passing touchdowns

There are plenty more overreactions from Week 17, and if you want to check those out, be sure to click here.  

5. Rapid-fire roundup: Lions-Packers tabbed for Sunday night finale

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 full Week 18 schedule. As things stand right now, the final game of the 2022 season is going to be Lions vs. Packers on Sunday night. Of course, that could change, depending on whether the NFL decides to reschedule any games due to the Damar Hamlin situation. As for the rest of the Week 18 schedule, you can check it out here.  
  • Titans pick a QB for Week 18. The Titans have decided that Josh Dobbs is going to be their starting QB for their Week 18 showdown against the Jaguars. With the AFC South title on the line, the Titans could have turned to Malik Willis, but they felt more comfortable going with a QB who will have been on the roster for less than three weeks when this game kicks off on Saturday.
  • Lamar Jackson might miss another week. The Ravens QB hasn’t played since Dec. 4 and there’s no guarantee he’s going to be back for Baltimore’s regular-season finale against the Bengals. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that he’s not sure if Jackson (knee) will even be able to practice this week. 
  • Bryce Young declares for 2023 NFL Draft. In news that won’t come as a surprise to anyone, the Alabama QB has declared for the 2023 NFL Draft along with his teammate Will Anderson. Both players are expected to be top-five picks with Young likely going to Houston if the Texans clinch the No. 1 overall pick. 
  • Jim Harbaugh will make jump to NFL if he gets an offer. We mentioned yesterday that the Broncos have reached out to Jim Harbaugh, which is now much more notable, because Harbaugh is is apparently planning to make the jump to the NFL this year if he gets a coaching offer. According to the Athletic, Harbaugh is ready to make the move back to the NFL after eight seasons at Michigan. The Broncos, Panthers and Colts jobs are all currently open and all of those would likely be at least somewhat intriguing to Harbaugh (He played for the Colts and Panthers during his career, so he’s familiar with those organizations, and he’d likely view the Broncos job as an opportunity to revive Russell Wilson’s career).  

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