NFL Week Six Previews and Predictions

NFL Week Six Previews and Predictions

The middle of October brings week six of the NFL schedule and the first of the bye weeks this season. As the season begins separate the good teams from the bad, some teams are looking to rediscover what made them great in recent years, while others are not discovering what it is like to play to their full potential and become a championship contender. So, as Atlanta, New Orleans, the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers enjoy the start of the fall foliage, here are my previews and predictions for all the week six action in the NFL.

Tampa Bay (4-1) at Philadelphia (2-3): What can Tom Brady do for an encore this Thursday night after posting his 400+ yard/five TD performance last week against Miami? Brady and the Buccaneers will head north as a 7-point favorite and take on the Eagles, a team that may be able to offer more resistance than other teams have so far this season. Philly enters this game averaging just 195 yards/game, good for third best in the league, and they may be aided by Brady’s sore right thumb, something fans saw wrapped up after last week’s game. While Brady is expected to play, the short turnaround and travel may hinder his ability to make deep throws. The bettors are still behind Brady and the Bucs by a 3-to-1 margin, but the computers are taking the Eagles and the points … but having never seen a computer make a tackle, I am taking Tampa Bay to win/cover.

Miami (1-4) vs. Jacksonville (0-5):  So last week London got to see the Falcons defeat the Jets, this week they get to see Dolphins/Jaguars … I thought the NFL wanted Europe to LIKE America’s game?  This will now be the 30th NFL International Game, and there hasn’t been one that featured two teams with a winning record. Hard to believe Miami hasn’t won since opening day and the talk about Urban Meyer being fired only took a month and a video of him at his own restaurant with a friendly patron. This could be one of those places on the schedule where Jacksonville finds a win.  True they have been bet up to a 3.5-point underdog, but even if Miami sees the return of Tua Tagovailoa, it is likely the lefty QB will be rusty and hesitate to run coming off a rib injury. I believe getting away from the US for a while will help Meyer and his team, which means taking the 3.5 points is a wise play here as you wake up Sunday morning with some NFL football.

Cincinnati (3-2) at Detroit (0-5):  Having the Lions finally found another cat in their cage they can beat?  Considering the big difference in record, these two teams don’t look at that different on paper.  This is why despite being winless so far, Detroit is just a 3.5-point home underdog to a Bengals team who barely scores more points than they do and puts up similar amounts of passing and rushing yards.  I am feeling a letdown after Cincy lost at home to the Packers last week, and like the Jaguars, the Lions are due to catch a break and find a win.   The Bengals need to win this game to get their ship righted again, but I think Detroit might be able to pull off an upset, or at least make their sweat up until the final play, so I am taking the Lions +3.5 to cover if not win.

Green Bay (4-1) at Chicago (3-2):  With the Bears going to Las Vegas and winning a game that will be remembered for different reasons, this NFC North battle will be for first place in the division.  The Packers are riding a four-game winning streak while the Bears have won two straight, yet it is the visitors who are favorited by 4.5-points in Soldier Field Sunday.  If the computers are right and Chicago can hold Green Bay to less than 24 points, then this will be a close game … this year, with Aaron Rodgers’ I don’t give a damn attitude, I see 31 or 34 points on the scoreboard for the Packers this weekend, which means a win for road team and complete control of the division.  Taking Green Bay -4.5 to win by ten to earn win number five.

Houston (1-4) at Indianapolis (1-4):  This AFC South showdown is still, at least on paper, for second place in the division since Jacksonville still resides in the division.  Otherwise, this game of difficult teams to watch will likely only be seen in a small number of houses and by an intimate gathering of friends and family members.  The Colts are a 9.5-point favorite in this game with bettors drawn to the point spread like a moth to a flame, something that often doesn’t end well for the moth.  The Colts could have defeated Baltimore last week and they will win and cover this week to make up for their heartbreaking loss to save what little hope they have this season.

Kansas City (2-3) at Washington (2-3):  If you would have told DC football fans in the preseason they were going to have the same record as their Week Six opponents, most of them would have probably signed up for it.  Sadly, for both of these teams and their fans, each of these squads enters play this week below .500 and struggling to find their way this season.  This is finally the week where I believe Andy Reid will have the full attention of his team and actually know what to do with it.  After all, they were dominated on their own home field by Buffalo last week and are now facing the possibility of being a Wild-Card team and not a division winning entering the postseason.  That’s why I am with the 90-plus percentage of the bettors (and against the computers) who are not worried about an upset here.  Take KC -7.0 to win/cover and get back to .500.

LA Chargers (4-1) at Baltimore (4-1):  If I told you that the Chargers visit the Ravens this week averaging more points per game on offense, would you believe me?  Well, it is true, although the different is only one more point (28 to 27) in favor of LA.  That’s why you are only seeing Baltimore listed as a 3.0-point favorite despite the heroics of QB Lamar Jackson last week, who mounted a late-game comeback and managed not to hurt his hip with a TD flip at any point during the game.  The Chargers are learning how to win games that last year they lost, which is why they are 4-1 this season and would have been 2-3 last year at best.  Their comeback win over the Browns was impressive and has me hopefully they can build upon that in making their cross-country trip this week.  Plus, as many people know, I am very much pro Justin Herbert and con Lamar Jackson, making this a difficult bet, but easy to find the tiebreaker with.  Chargers +3.0 to keep it close.

LA Rams (4-1) at NY Giants (1-4):  SoCal’s NFC team is also on the east coast this week as the Rams pay a visit to the Giants with each team going in different directions.  LA is playing well, and if it wasn’t for an undefeated Cardinals team, would be leading the NFC West.  That while Big Blue is playing small this year and was hit hard by the injury bug last week in another loss.  It appears that head coach Joe Judge is another failed selection from the Bill Belichick coaching tree with the once proud franchise closer to blowing things up this offseason than saving their season and turning things around in 2021.  Of course the Rams have found new life this season thanks to QB Matthew Stafford joining forces with Sean McVay in returning LA to a Super Bowl caliber team.  The number is big (Rams -10.5) but I am laying the points and taking LA over NY here.

Minnesota (2-3) at Carolina (3-2):  Did you know there’s only one NFC North team who has scored more points than they have allowed so far this season, and that that team is the Vikings at +4?  Did you also know that three of those points came on a game-winning FG last week against Detroit in what likely turned Minnesota’s season around?  Their reward, facing a Panthers team who is hoping to get their best weapon back in Christian McCaffery, their all-world star who, without, the team was unable to win over the last two weeks.  If Carolina wants to return to their winning ways, a home win here as a slight one-point favorite would be a good start since they face the Giants and Falcons over the next two weeks, meaning that 6-2 is not out of the question.  With that said, I think the Vikings are a better team and will prove it on Sunday as the Vikings now there is no more margin for error and getting to .500 could be their leaping off point for the remainder of the season.  Give me Minnesota +1 to win and turn the NFC North in a three-team race again.

Arizona (5-0) at Cleveland (3-2):  How loudly would this game be called (wait for it) a Super Bowl preview if the Browns had held on and defeated the Chargers last week?  Even so, there may be some that would like to see these two teams reach Miami in mid-February and what would surely be an entertaining game.  For now, however, they are a Week Six matchup and an interesting one indeed.  With wins over the Rams and the Titans, the Cardinals stand as the last undefeated team in the league with credibility behind their record.  Meanwhile the Browns return home and look to boost their record during a three-game homestand that starts this week.  To do that their defense needs to play much better than it has recent in support of their offense; something that bettors don’t see happening, but the computers do.  Arizona is a 2.5-point underdog with two-thirds of the early money coming backing the Cardinals to stay undefeated.  I am one of those people in the majority since Arizona is playing better right now and until proven otherwise, is the better team by far.  Taking the Cards +2.5 to win outright, with a few points in my pocket for insurance.

Dallas (4-1) at New England (2-3):  Is America’s Team back to residing in Dallas and not New England?  Did you ever think you would see a day when nine out of ten people would favor the Cowboys over the Patriots in any football game?  Dallas rides into New England on a four-game winning streak having only lost to Tampa Bay in Week One while the Patriots are playing as well as can be expected with a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones.  Yet some are calling this one their Upset Special of the Week, mainly because their crazy computer sees a close game, as do the oddsmakers who are only giving Dallas -4.0-point road favorite status in this contest.  I don’t see Jones matching up well against a Dallas defense doing a good job of mixing up their coverages and keeping QBs guessing, and even if they can move the ball, scoring TDs instead of FGs has been their problem all season, making their offense difficult to pick here.  The Cowboys are as good as QB Dak Prescott plays, and right now he is an elite quarterback on the stat sheet and in the standings.  Taking Dallas to win and over and move another game closer to an NFC East crown.

Las Vegas (3-2) at Denver (3-2):  With the NFL doing all it could to make sure the Raiders showed Jon Gruden the door last week, Las Vegas will fly over the Rockies and take on a Broncos team who is also reeling over the last few weeks.  The Raiders still rank well in the computers because of their early season success, but bettors are split on this game, backing the home favorited Broncos at a nearly equal pace as the visitors from the desert.  The crazy computers are saying you won’t need the 3.5-points Denver is laying since they see a Broncos’ blowout win … I think it was clear the Raiders were distracted last week by Gruden and heading out on the road and having people no longer believe in you and your chances to win is just how this team wants to play.  I also don’t believe Denver is good enough talent wise to matchup with Las Vegas, making this a strangely easy pick for me.  Raiders +3.5 to win outright but not shy about cashing with the points late.

Seattle (2-3) at Pittsburgh (2-3):  Hard to believe both of these teams are below .500 in October, but at least the Sunday Night Football hosts have their quarterback, albeit a shell of what he once was.  Seattle comes east for this matchup with Geno Smith filling in for Russell Wilson, who is missing the first game of his career after a fluke injury last week against the Rams … Not exactly how NBC would have wanted this game to be hyped when they picked it for Week Six.  Despite their bumpy road to Pittsburgh, Seattle is getting a slight majority of the early betting in their favor, with those laying down their cash taking the 5.0-point on the road since many still expect a close game regardless of the eventually winner.  Maybe with a full week to prepare Smith can work on some things to help him perform better, but it is difficult for me to bet against the Steelers in this matchup knowing that falling to 2-4 could spell the end of their season halfway into October.  Taking Pittsburgh to win by ten, get back to .500 and keep hope alive in the Steel City.

Buffalo (4-1) at Tennessee (3-2):  Buffalo, the conquering heroes of the AFC continue their campaign against division favorites as they travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans.  Fresh off their dominating Sunday Night performance last week at Kansas City, the Bills take on the AFC South leaders in another game that could ensure the AFC’s Road to the Super Bowl travels through Buffalo this January.  With visions of the Titans falling to the Jets two weeks ago and after seeing how well the Bills played on both sides of the ball last week, it is easy to understand how Buffalo is a 5.5-point road favorite.  Quarterback Josh Allen, just as he did last season, is starting the year as the AFC MVP and could emerge as an NFL MVP candidate if he plays well again on the road in this contest.  More importantly, this game could give them a tiebreaker of the Titans or throw both into a 4-2 dead heat, leaving open the chances that Tennessee and not Buffalo would host any future playoff game rematch.  For me, knowing that Ryan Tannehill is still in Tennessee, and knowing how easy it is for Jets fans to pick against their former QBs, this pick is easy for me.  Taking Buffalo to win and cover, and in doing so, ending Week Six with nearly full control of the AFC and the NFL season completes the first third of their 2021 schedule. 

 

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