Last week was a so so effort. With a 6-8-1 mark against the spread, the season mark now stands at 47-42-4. On to week 7. Picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk, and all spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of writing.
Broncos (-1) at Cardinals- It is hard to feel good either way here. Denver needs this one to keep alive whatever playoff hopes they may have and Arizona is just plain bad with a rookie quarterback who is taking his lumps. However, Denver is that team that plays up and down to its competition. They had the Chiefs and Rams on the ropes but got flattened by the Jets. The Broncos rediscovered their pass rush last week. That gives them the benefit of the doubt, but this pick is made with a nervous gulp. Den 24 Ari 20
Titans at Chargers (-6) (London)- The Titans are not as bad as they showed last week, but they did give up 11 sacks against Baltimore. That is very worrisome here, as the Chargers pass rush is among the best the league as to offer. Lac 24 Ten 13
Bills at Colts (-7.5)- The Colts have one win and the Bills have two. However, Josh Allen is hurt, Nathan Peterman continues to set records for quarterback futility, and Derek Anderson who has started just four games since 2011 will get the call for Buffalo at quarterback in this one. Anderson has been with the Bills for less than two weeks. On the other side, despite a lack of wins, Andrew Luck has 16 touchdown passes in six games. There is more to this league than quarterbacks, but some matchups are just that simple. Ind 27 Buf 10
*Panthers at Eagles (-5)- Last week’s thumping of the directionless Giants does not do much to change the perception that the Eagles are miles away from last year’s Super Bowl winning team. Like Minnesota and the Titans, Carolina will attack Philly with a straight-ahead physical approach. The Eagles lost those two games and will struggle here too. Car 24 Phi 17
Browns at Bucs (-3)- The Bucs offense has scored 27+ points in four of five games this year. More importantly, the Browns had their chance to announce themselves as legit contenders and sit at the big kid table last week and laid an egg. It is time to bail on them. TB 30 Cle 20
Lions (-2.5) at Dolphins – Ever since the Lions dismal start, they have won two of three, are fresh off a bye and still very relevant in a crowded NFC North race. All of these things added to the fact that the Lions have no quarterback questions make them the smart play here. Det 27 Mia 20
Texans at Jaguars (-5)- The AFC South is the hardest division in football to figure out. At different times on the still young season, the Titans and Jaguars have both looked ready to run away with it, but the Titans have lost two in a row and Dallas almost doubled its season point total while playing Jacksonville last week.
The Colts and Texans might have the best teams on paper but have dug an early hole. The point is matchups within this division are nearly impossible to predict. The Jags were embarrassed last week though. Teams like that often come back strong the next week. Jac 21 Hou 14
Vikings (-3) at Jets- The complementary pieces around rookie quarterback Sam Darnold have had a field day against the Broncos and Colts defenses the last two weeks. No way that happens here. The Vikings defense got torched by the Rams on a short week not long ago. Thus, their numbers are skewed a bit. That defense is still one of the best around and we will see that here. Min 21 Nyj 13
Patriots (-3) at Bears- The Patriots are looking more and more like themselves with each passing week. Meanwhile, Chicago had the same chance Cleveland did last week and got shredded by Brock Osweiler. Enough said. NE 28 Chi 20
*Saints at Ravens (-2.5)- The Ravens’ offense has been very inconsistent this year. In their four wins, Baltimore has had to hold opponents to a combined total of 31 points. It is hard to imagine the defense holding Drew Brees and crew to a low enough point total for the team to win. NO 21 Bal 20
*Cowboys at Redskins (-1.5)- Ever since Dallas beat Detroit in the final seconds, the whole team has developed a great understanding of what the team is about, Ezekiel Elliott and the defense. Even if there are limitations, knowing what a team does best can go a long way. The Redskins are the streakiest team in football. They could easily win this game, but go with the known commodity. Dal 27 Was 24
Rams (-10) at 49ers- The 49ers were a surprisingly tough out in Green Bay last week, but that is about as well as this team can play. A little drop off here is reasonable to expect and that should be enough for the undefeated Rams to turn this one into a rout. Lar 31 SF 17
*Bengals at Chiefs (-6)- People are blinded by Kansas City’s offense, which is understandable. However, the defense is as bad as the offense is good. Regardless of how offensively friendly the league has become, if you do not play at least a little defense, it will catch up with you before long.
Yards are not always a telling statistic, but the Chiefs are on pace to give up the most ever. The only team the defense has contained this year is Jacksonville. Yippy. Cincinnati’s offense is almost as deep as Kansas City from a personnel standpoint.
All any team with a decent offense has to do against the Chiefs is hope the defense can get one or two stops. The Bengals have enough raw athleticism on that side of the ball to get that done. Cin 38 KC 35
Giants at Falcons (-5.5)- Two teams that have talent and had high expectations going into the year will do battle here. The Falcons are still loaded and productive on offense. The Giants have Saquon Barkley and not much else. As we saw last week, that has not been and will not be good enough most weeks. Atl 30 Nyg 17