NFL Week 9 picks and power rankings, plus trade deadline moves, Buccaneers-Giants controversy

It’s Election Day, which is kind of ironic, because I think if the New York Giants could vote on something right now, it would be to get rid of the officiating crew that was in charge of their game last night. 

The Giants came close to pulling off an upset against the Buccaneers in a 25-23 loss, but that upset didn’t happen because of a controversial pass interference no-call on a two-point conversion by New York with just 28 seconds left to play. On the play, the refs actually threw a PI flag on Tampa Bay’s Antoine Winfield Jr., but then they ended up picking up the flag, which effectively ended the game. If you want to judge for yourself whether it was interference, you can see the play by clicking here and you should probably do that now in case you run into a Giants fan at any point for the rest of the day. 

Anyway, not only is it Election Day, but it’s also the NFL trade deadline. Any team hoping to make a deal will have to make it happen by 4 p.m. ET today. As much as I want to sit here and ramble on about all the trades I think need to happen, we need to move on, because we have a huge newsletter today: Pete Prisco’s weekly power rankings are out, I’ve got my Week 9 picks ready to go and we even have some news about the NFL potentially expanding the playoffs. Oh, and we’ll also be talking about the trade deadline.  

1. Today’s Show: Buccaneers’ win over Giants ends in controversy

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think one of the best games of Week 8 would involve the New York Giants, but that’s exactly what happened after they nearly upset the Buccaneers on Monday night. As always, I stayed up late with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson so we could talk about the game, which Tampa Bay won 25-23.  

If you’re wondering why the Buccaneers won, here are three quick reasons:

  • Daniel Jones was below average. The Giants arguably outplayed the Buccaneers in this game, but that didn’t show up on the scoreboard because of the multiple mistakes that Jones made. Not only did was he inaccurate with nearly ever ball he threw downfield until New York’s final drive, but he also threw two back-breaking interceptions in the second half that led to 10 points for Tampa Bay. 
  • Tom Brady got hot. I’m guessing Brady hates night games because it means he’s up way past his bedtime, but if that’s the case, he didn’t show it on Monday. After an average first half of football, Brady caught fire in the second half, completing 12 of 16 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. 
  • The refs hate the Giants. New York’s final offensive play of the game was a two-point conversion attempt with 28 seconds left that would have tied the game, but they didn’t convert, because Antoine Winfield Jr. broke up Daniel Jones’ pass to Dion Lewis. Although officials originally threw a flag for pass interference, they eventually picked it up the flag, which gave Tampa the win. 

As for the podcast, we spent most of our time debating two things: Whether the officials made the right call by waving off the flag and whether the Giants should start thinking about moving on from Daniel Jones after this season, especially if they have a top-three pick in the NFL Draft

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

2. Pete Prisco unveils his Week 9 power rankings

No one loves to rank things more than Pete Prisco. During the offseason, he’ll rank everything from his favorite brand of cat food to his favorite episode of “Gilmore Girls.” However, this isn’t the offseason, which means you’re getting another weekly dose of Prisco’s Power Rankings. 

For Week 9, Prisco has the same top five as he did last week, but in a slightly different order. Here’s a look at the top five teams in his rankings this week: 

  1. Steelers
  2. Chiefs
  3. Seahawks (Up one spot from last week)
  4. Buccaneers (Up one spot from last week)
  5. Ravens (Down two spots from last week)

I’m not going to spoil the rest of the power rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets: 

  • The Cleveland Browns took the biggest tumble this week, dropping five spots from ninth to 14. Man, it was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it Browns fans? The biggest tumble in the NFC went to the Rams, who dropped from 10th to 15th.   
  • It seems that Prisco is starting to show some respect for the Raiders and Dolphins. Last week, neither team was in his top 15, but now, both of them are after they each moved up five spots. The Raiders are now 12th while the Dolphins are one spot behind them.  
  • The Colts made the biggest jump of any team this week, moving up a total of six spots from 13th to seventh. I’ve been trying to tell Prisco for weeks that the Colts are actually good and it appears that he finally listened.  
  • In a surprise to no one, the Jets are still ranked last.  

If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco’s Week 9 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything. 

3. Breech’s Week 9 NFL picks 

If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s time for my weekly picks. Before we get to the part where I share two of my picks with you, I would just like you to know that I definitely won’t be sharing my Thursday pick and that’s because I apparently have no idea how to pick Thursday games. Through nine weeks, I’m 0-6 straight-up picking Thursday games. I’ve actually been so bad that it’s arguably impressive. Not that you should care, but I’m picking the Packers in this week’s Thursday game. 

Anyway, let’s get to the part where I give you two of my favorite picks. Last week, I gave you the Steelers upsetting the Ravens, and because of that, I’ve decided to go to the upset well once again with Baltimore. 

  • Seattle (-2.5) at Buffalo: The Bills defense seems to be getting worse every week and when you’re getting worse every week, the last guy you want to be facing is Russell Wilson. I know it’s only Week 9, but Wilson might dice up the Bills so badly that we’ll just decide to give him the MVP award on the spot after this game. PICK: Seahawks win 34-27 and cover. 
  • Baltimore at Indianapolis (+3.5): I don’t know what happened to 2019 Lamar Jackson, but he hasn’t shown up for many games this year. Lamar seems to struggle when he plays against good defenses and the Colts have a good defense. PICK: Colts win 23-20 and cover. 

To check out the rest of my picks for Week 9, be sure to click here

4. NFL Trade deadline: Here’s what you need to know

If you aren’t in the mood to watch 24 straight hours of election coverage, the good news for you is that there should be plenty of NFL action to take your mind off the election and that’s because the trade deadline is at 4 p.m. ET today!

The only problem with that deadline is that this newsletter will hit your inbox way before that, which means I can’t include every trade. To fix that problem, we’ve created an NFL trade deadline tracker that will keep a running list of every deal that goes down today. To get to the tracker, just click here, and if I were you I would also bookmark that page. 

Here’s a quick rundown of all the trades and some news that we’ve seen over the past 24 hours:

Finally, for the latest trade rumors and commentary on trades as they happen, be sure to follow our trade deadline live blog here, which is separate from our trades tracker. 

5. Week 9 early odds: Packers in situation no NFL team has ever won in

Every week, I spend way more hours than I probably should looking at gambling trends, and let me tell you this, there is an absolutely crazy one this week. The Packers are heading to San Francisco for a Thursday game, which is important to note, because since the return of “Thursday Night Football” in 2006, no NFL team has won or covered the spread when traveling two or more time zones west for a Thursday game. 

Since 2006, this exact situation has happened a total of 11 times and the teams traveling west have gone 0-11 straight up and 0-10-1 against the spread. 

Two of my other favorite trends from this week:

  • Denver at Atlanta (-4): The Falcons are not good against AFC teams. In their past 14 games, they’ve gone 2-12 straight-up and 1-13 against the spread. 
  • Seattle (-2.5) at Buffalo: The Seahawks apparently love playing in the Eastern time zone. Including the playoffs, the Seahawks have won 10 straight games in Eastern time and have gone 8-1-1 against the spread in those games. 

You can check out the rest of the Week 9 early odds by clicking here

6. NFL playoffs could be expanded for the 2020 season

If you’re the fan of a completely average NFL team, I have some good news for you: Their chances of making the playoffs might soon be going up and that’s because the NFL is thinking about expanding the postseason for 2020. 

As you may or may not know, the NFL playoffs have already been expanded once this year — from 12 to 14 teams — but apparently, there could be ANOTHER expansion coming with the playoff field going from 14 to 16 teams. 

The second expansion is part of a contingency plan being mulled over by the NFL. Basically, the league would go this route if there are any more games lost due to the pandemic. If that happens, there could be a situation where not every team plays the same amount of games. If a 9-6 team gets in over an 9-7 team, the 9-7 team probably isn’t going to be thrilled. In an effort to cut down on situations like that, the NFL would add an eighth playoff team to each conference. 

The proposed playoff expansion would come with two wrinkles:

  • No one would get a bye. Under the 14-team system, the top seed in each conference will get a bye to the divisional round. However, if the playoffs expand to 16 teams, everyone will be playing on the wildest Wild Card Weekend ever. Biggest potential losers with this change: Seahawks, Steelers. 
  • Winning your division won’t guarantee you a home game. According to, seeding would be carried out by winning percentage. All four divisional winners will still be guaranteed a playoff spot, but they won’t be guaranteed one of the top four seeds. Biggest loser with this change: The winner of the NFC East. 

To give you an example of how drastically the new seeding formula would change things, let’s look at the NFC playoff picture real quick. The Eagles are currently the fourth seed, but they would drop to being the eighth seed and would have to face the No. 1 seed in the first round. Ouch. 

In the AFC, the Dolphins and Raiders, who are both 4-3, would be battling it out for the eighth and final playoff spot. The NFL only makes the right decision about 50% of the time and let’s hope this is one of those times. EXPAND THE PLAYOFFS. 

7. The Kicker!

A big reason the Buccaneers won last night is because of Ryan Succop, so here are two fun facts about Tampa Bay’s kicker.

1. He made more field goals on Monday than he did during the entire 2019 season. Succop went 4-for-4 against the Giants, which is rather amazing when you consider that he went 1-for-6 during his final year with the Titans  in 2019. 
2. He’s possibly the best Mr. Irrelevant in NFL history. Succop was the 256th and final pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and he’s been one of the very few final picks that has lasted more than a decade in the NFL. 

Alright, I’m out until Thursday. Cody Benjamin will be taking the reins of the newsletter tomorrow, which is probably for the best, since I’ll most likely be up until 4 a.m. drinking straight vodka and watching election coverage sprinkled in with trade deadline news. 

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