NFL Week 6 Picks
Picks by Brad
I enjoy finding a common thread in the games I am picking and this week that commonality is “Who the hell is gonna play quarterback?” Coincidentally, this is the perfect time to introduce you to another angle of sports handicapping: off the board. This means that no line is established (and therefore the book will not be accepting wagers). This is almost always related to player status, most often injuries in particular. All three of these games started the week off the board because of uncertainty at QB. And as the old adage goes “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.” Here we go!
Green Bay Packers (4-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-2); Line: Packers by 3
It looks like Case Keenum will start for the Vikings, as Sam Bradford has been officially diagnosed with “wear and tear” on his (twice) surgically repaired knee. The short week after playing on Monday Night Football definitely doesn’t help. And in case things weren’t murky enough, Teddy Bridgewater is eligible to play next week after starting the season on the PUP list. Minny has played good defense and will put up a fight against their division rival, but it won’t be enough because the Cheeseheads have no questions about who will be under center for them. As he proved again last week in Dallas, there is no reason to ever bet against Aaron “Old Spice” Rodgers in a one possession game. Packers 27, Vikings 13
San Angeles Chargers (1-4) @ Oak Vegas Raiders (2-3); Line: OFF
The team with no home games on the schedule travels to Oakland which soon will be no one’s home. It’s beginning to look like a lost season for the Raiders who appear completely rudderless without Derek Carr. The silly lightning bolt team was able to suck just a little bit less than the abysmal New York Giants last week so I will take them to set up a win-win. Either they’re falling to 1-5 or I get to be right about this pick! Chargers 24, Raiders 20
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) @ Tennessee Titans (2-3); Line: OFF
I read this week that some advanced metrics have the Titans as the worst team in the NFL when Matt Cassel is in at quarterback. I can only assume that common sense eliminated the Browns from consideration. (That was a cheap shot!) Mariota is day to day and so is Luck which means that this game might look a lot different come Monday night. Wins against the surprising Jags and first place Seahawks seem like eons ago for Mularkey’s boys who couldn’t do anything on offense against the Dolphins last week. However, I love home teams in prime time games and I am pretty sure there is no Peyton Manning statue being unveiled in Nashville this week. Titans 27, Colts 17
Picks by Chris
Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) @ Carolina Panthers (4-1); Line: Panthers by 3.5
A fight between divisional leaders, the NFC East leading Eagles take on the NFC South leading Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte and I don’t think it’s going to be close. These teams both enter the contest at 4-1 on the season but there are some funny numbers at play here. Offensively, the Eagles are sixth best in points per game, third best in total yards per game, eighth best in passing yards per game, and fifth best in rushing yards per game according to NFL.com. Comparatively, the Panthers record hides the fact they are just eighteenth in points per game, eighteenth in total yards per game, seventeenth in passing yards per game, and nineteenth in rushing yards per game. Through five games, I believe Carson Wentz has been the better quarterback and I think the key to this game will be the turnover battle. But…but the Panthers beat the Patriots and the Lions! Even Father Time can’t hide this failure of a defense and it barely counts as win if you let an injured Matthew Stafford almost mount a three-score comeback with under nine minutes to go in the fourth.
Panthers drop another home game to the Eagles, 21-34.
Miami Dolphins (2-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-1); Line: Falcons by 13
This match-up is kind of like the inexplicable human fascination with watching a real live train-wreck occur. We don’t tune in to watch Jay Ajayi run the football anymore, we simply enjoy listening to the chorus of Matt Moore chants after every failed Jay Cutler pass attempt. We know Adam Gase will abandon any semblance of an effective offensive strategy to indulge the masses fascination with Jay Cutler’s sour demeanor. About the only hope for the Dolphins here is if Julio Jones swaps jerseys with Jarvis Landry, and even then you’ll still have to deal with the fact that Smokin’ Jay Cutler is your quarterback.
Falcons over the Dolphins, 31-14.
Detroit Lions (3-2) @ New Orleans Saints (2-2); Line: Saints by 5
I never know how much to account for when a team has a bye week moving into a match-up, but in this case, I think the Saints are going to walk away with a victory. Defensively they have struggled through four games, and their offense has looked out of sync, but Drew Brees still looks like a top-tier quarterback and that’s half the battle in the NFL. Willie Snead is back from his suspension, and Alvin Kamara has looked fantastic out of the backfield. They sent their latest experiment/distraction to Arizona and now they can just focus on football. The Lions are the better team, but it’s anyone’s guess how Matthew Stafford is feeling after a painful second half against the Panthers pass rush last week.
I think this one comes down to the wire, so I’m calling it 28-24 in favor of the Saints.
Picks by Danny
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-3); Line: EVEN
The Bucs can’t make a field goal and the Cardinals’ offense is a mess, but both these teams are capable of playing good football in bursts. I don’t think the Cards will be able to salvage this season, but I do think they’ll come alive long enough for an upset. Veterans, Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald will create just enough offense to get the W. While the Cards strong front seven will harass Jameis Winston into a couple of picks. Cardinals 23, Buccaneers 20
Los Angeles Rams (3-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2); Line: Jaguars by 2.5
Admittedly, I have not watched an entire Jaguars game this year. But I have seen the Rams play several times. The Rams have talent, but they lack grit and until they show me they can withstand a wave of adversity, I’m going to have a hard time picking them against quality opponents on the road. I expect with Leonard Fournette and a strong defense, the Jags will eek out a close win at home. Jaguars 20, Rams 17
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-0); Line: Chiefs by 4