Details on Panthers’ firing of Frank Reich, plus Bears-Vikings ‘MNF’ best bets and Week 12 winners and losers

Today’s not just any Monday, it’s Cyber Monday! Since everyone loves to get a discount on Cyber Monday, we’ve got a deal for you today: Everything in the CBS Sports store is 25% off until midnight if you use the promo code “CYBER.” I would highly suggest that everyone who is reading this purchase at least $75 worth of Pick Six gear (You can click here to find the store). I already own a Pick Six hoodie and I might buy two more since they come in various colors.

Alright, I promise I won’t ask you to buy anything else in today’s newsletter, but we should probably move on because we have a lot to cover, including the firing of Frank Reich. The Panthers dumped their coach this morning and we’ll be covering that, plus handing out some Week 12 grades and naming some winners and losers.

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: Biggest questions after Week 12
    If I fall asleep while writing the newsletter today, it’s because I stayed up until 2:01 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson.

The three of us touched on our 10 biggest takeaways from Week 12. Here are a few of the biggest questions that we tried to answer:

Will the Steelers make the playoffs? For the first half of the season, I thought the Steelers were a house of cards and it would only be a matter of time before their season started to completely fall apart. However, I’m starting to think they’re going to stick around. The Steelers have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the AFC and I think they’ll be able to squeeze out enough wins to make it to the postseason.
Will the NFC South winner finish under .500? The Falcons are currently in first place in the NFC South with a record of 5-6. Every team in the division seems to be in total disarray. The Falcons have had QB problems all season, Derek Carr hasn’t been cutting it for the Saints, Tampa Bay’s offense is bad and the Panthers just fired their coach. Based on that, if I had to bet money right now, I’d say the division winner finishes with a losing record.
Are the Broncos for real? If you win five games in a row in the NFL, I think that automatically makes you for real and that’s exactly what the Broncos have done (They’re tied with the Eagles for the longest-winning streak in the league). Russell Wilson is starting to look like the Russell Wilson that the Broncos thought they were getting last year and the defense has been forcing turnovers at a torrid pace. The Broncos are 6-5 right now and I think they’ll end the season 9-8, and if that happens, they’ll certainly have a shot at making the playoffs.
To check out the rest of our takeaways from Week 12, be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the episode on YouTube here, which you’ll want to do if you want to see my sad Bruno costume.

  1. Panthers fire Frank Reich: All the details you need to know
    After just 10 months on the job, Frank Reich is already done in Carolina. Panthers owner David Tepper announced on Monday that Reich has been fired following a 1-10 start. Considering Tepper dropped an F-bomb when leaving the locker room following Carolina’s loss to the Titans yesterday, it’s not a surprise at all that this move is being made.

Here’s what you need to know about the situation.

Panthers offense wasn’t working. A big reason Reich was hired is because he’s an offensive mind, but through 11 games, the Panthers offense looked broken. Bryce Young has the third-worst QB rating through 12 weeks, the Panthers rank 30th in passing yards per game and they averaged just 15.7 points per game with Reich, which ranked 29th in the NFL. The Panthers haven’t topped 15 points in any game since Week 6. It’s easy to see why Tepper got frustrated.
Tepper loves to fire coaches. The Panthers job might not be a popular one and that’s because Tepper has a quick trigger finger when it comes to firing people. Since purchasing the Panthers in 2018, Tepper has now fired three coaches in Ron Rivera, Matt Rhule and Reich.
Reich makes unfortunate history. Reich also got fired by the Colts in November 2022, which makes him the first coach in NFL history to be fired in back-to-back seasons. In Carolina, Reich was fired after just 11 games, which means he had a shorter coaching tenure than both Nathaniel Hackett (15 games) and Urban Meyer (13 games). This is the earliest a coach has been fired in his first season with a team since 1978 when the 49ers dumped Pete McCulley after just nine games. Of course, if Carolina has the 49ers’ luck, then they’ll be in good shape because San Francisco hired Bill Walsh after firing McCulley. Reich is just the sixth coach since 1970 to get fired before finishing his first year with a team.
Reich’s replacement. Carolina will now be coached by special teams coordinator Chris Tabor for the rest of the season. The 52-year-old knows a thing or two about watching a coach get fired and that’s because he was a Browns’ assistant from 2011 thru 2017. Tabor also spent four seasons (2018-21) with the Bears before joining the Panthers’ coaching staff in 2022.
You can read our full story on the firing here. If you’re wondering who might replace Reich, we took a look at a few options here.

  1. Week 12 grades: Eagles and Bills both get high marks
    Every week I team up with four of my colleagues here at to hand out grades, and this week, the Bills and Eagles both walked away with a grade in the ‘A’ range.

Here’s a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:

Eagles 37-34 over Bills (OT) (Click here for full game stats)

Bills takeaway: “Josh Allen did all he could to lead the Bills to victory, but just came up short to a magnificent second half by Jalen Hurts. The Bills had their miscues (again) with two missed field goals and Allen’s interception in his own territory, but they played well enough to beat any team in the league on this cold, rainy day. This was a loss Buffalo couldn’t afford, but the Bills know they can compete with the top teams in the league and that confidence should help with Kansas City and Dallas on the horizon. If Allen continues to play like this (339 pass yards, 81 rush yards, 2 pass TD, 2 rush TD), the Bills will be in the playoffs.” — Jeff Kerr. Grade: A-
Eagles takeaway: “There’s nothing else you can say at this point. The Eagles are never out of a football game. Not with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, the player who has the NFL record with eight consecutive wins when trailing by double digits and 14 straight wins against winning teams. Hurts was phenomenal in the second half, going 14 of 20 for 137 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for the winning 12-yard score in overtime to get the Eagles to 10-1. Jake Elliott hit a 59-yard kick in the rain to tie it and force overtime. The Eagles defense didn’t give up the winning touchdown in OT either, as the Bills had the ball first — allowing Hurts and the offense to win the game. This is a clutch football team.” — Jeff Kerr. Grade: A
Broncos 29-12 over Browns (Click here for full game stats)

Browns takeaway: “Things got out of whack for the Browns after Dorian Thompson-Robinson suffered a concussion early in the second half that knocked him out of the game. At that point, the Browns trailed by just five points, but then they proceeded to watch the Broncos score 12 unanswered points in his absence. Cleveland struggled to protect backup P.J. Walker, who was sacked four times in his short stint, including a late safety. While the wheels came off at that point, the Browns were sluggish to start this game offensively. They were able to reach the red zone twice in the first half but ultimately settled for field goals. When they finally got into the end zone at the start of the second half to cut the lead to just two points, the defense immediately let the Broncos travel 70 yards down the field to kick a field goal to go up by five. That was just one example where complementary football wasn’t firing on all cylinders for Kevin Stefanski’s team as they had their three-game winning streak snapped. They also committed three turnovers on the afternoon, which resulted in 10 points in favor of Denver.” — Tyler Sullivan. Grade: C-
Broncos takeaway: “This was a hard-nosed win for Denver, which extends the club’s winning streak to five games and puts it over .500 for the first time this season. The Broncos came out of the gate moving the football on the ground and finding tremendous success, including first-half rushing touchdowns by Samaje Perine and Russell Wilson. They also picked up chunk plays through the air when they needed to. While the offense did its job, the defense was particularly stellar for Denver. They were stout early in the red zone against Cleveland and forced three fumbles throughout the game, two were turned into points by the offense. They also put points on the board themselves with a late safety that capped a 15-0 run to end the game. Don’t look now, but Broncos Country is getting hot.” — Tyler Sullivan. Grade: A
As for all the other grades that we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here.

  1. NFL Week 12 winners and losers: Sean Payton has revived the Broncos
    You can’t have a week of NFL action without having winners and losers, so we have some winners and losers.

Cody Benjamin came up with this week’s list, which you can check out below.


Sean Payton. “The Broncos were once 1-5, and Payton inexplicably appeared on track to outdo even Nathaniel Hackett as leader of a hapless Denver program. Now they’re 6-5, squarely in the AFC playoff race, after cruising past the Browns on Sunday.”
Matthew Stafford. “For weeks, Stafford has been fighting just to survive behind the Rams’ shuffling O-line. On Sunday, he got Kyren Williams back in the lineup, and Los Angeles’ ground game exploded all the way back. He slung it pretty well himself, too, tossing four scores and spreading the ball all over Jonathan Gannon’s defense to lead a rout of the Cardinals.”

Mac Jones. “Bill Belichick refused to name him the starter all week, then trotted Jones out anyway. The saddest part is anyone could’ve predicted what would come next: Even with a bad Giants defense in front of him, Jones tossed two ugly picks to warrant yet another benching, this time at halftime. “
Sean McDermott. “For a while on Sunday, his Bills looked poised to put the Eagles down handily, which would’ve been a huge accomplishment for a team looking to fully restore its playoff stride. But then McDermott’s defense allowed Jalen Hurts to revert to MVP form in the second half, and his decision to “ice” Eagles kicker Jake Elliott, then forfeit a potential 20-second offensive drive, at the end of regulation backfired.”
If you want to see Cody’s full list of winners and losers, be sure to click here.

  1. Monday preview: Prepping you for Bears at Vikings
    The Vikings (6-5) are currently in the thick of the NFC playoff race, but the Bears (3-8) could throw a wrench into things by pulling off an upset tonight in Minnesota.

My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game here at, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:

Why the Bears can win: When it comes to throwing the ball, Justin Fields hasn’t been putting up huge numbers this season. In seven starts, Fields has only thrown for more than 215 yards a total of two times. If the Bears are going to win, Fields is likely going to need to have a big game through the air against a Vikings defense that is susceptible to the pass. The Vikings are 0-2 this season when their opponent throws for 265 yards or more.
Why the Vikings can win: Although the Vikings have struggled to stop the pass this year, the same holds true for the Bears, which could set the stage for Josh Dobbs to have a big game. Dobbs will be facing a Bears defense that surrenders an average of 245.9 yards per game through the air, which ranks 25th in the NFL. The Bears have also given up the second-most touchdown passes (22). Basically, it won’t be surprising if K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson all have a big night. If the Vikings can avoid turning the ball over, they should win. The Vikings are 4-1 this season when they commit one turnover or less in a game.
You can get a full preview of the game from Jared by clicking here.

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

ONE PROP I LIKE: Cairo Santos OVER 6.5 points (+110). When Justin Fields is playing, Santos usually puts up big numbers, which is why I love this prop and I love it even more because it’s at plus money. In the last three games that Fields has started, Santos has gone over 6.5 points each time, scoring 10, 7 and 16 points. Also, opposing kickers are scoring an average of 7.8 points against the Vikings this year, which is another reason why I like this prop.
My prime-time prop record is 17-9 this year.

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

Jared’s pick: Vikings 24-20 over Bears
My pick: Vikings 24-21 over Bears

The Vikings are favored by 3.5 so although Jared and I are picking a similar score, we’re making very different bets. He has Minnesota covering while I have the Bears pulling off the cover as an underdog.

Over on our picks page, seven of our eight experts are taking the Vikings to win.

  1. Extra points: Aaron Rodgers hoping to return to practice soon
    It was a busy weekend 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.

Aaron Rodgers eyeing early December for possible return to practice. The Jets QB is hoping to return to practice less than three months after tearing his Achilles. According to multiple reports, Rodgers is eyeing Dec. 2 for a possible return. That date also happens to be Rodgers’ 40th birthday, so it’s probably not a coincidence that he’s looking to return then.
Jets rolling with Tim Boyle again. The Jets offense was bad with Zach Wilson and it was even worse with Tim Boyle in Week 12, but despite that, Boyle will be getting another start this week when the Jets play the Falcons. In Week 12, the Jets had just 50 yards of offense through three quarters against the Dolphins before piling up some yardage in garbage time.
Shaq Leonard set to visit Cowboys. The Cowboys could soon be adding some serious depth at linebacker. Leonard, who was cut by the Colts last week, is expected to visit with Dallas on Tuesday, CBS Sports HQ Senior NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported.
Justin Tucker is no longer the most accurate kicker in NFL history. The Ravens kicker missed a 44-yard field goal against the Chargers last night, which dropped his career accuracy rate to 89.93%. The miss dropped him to No. 2 on the NFL’s all-time accuracy list, behind Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo, who has made 90% of his field goals in his career.

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