Last week our top picks clicked, but the lower tier went down in flames. It was a tough weekend slate after we crushed the week before. Let’s get back on the saddle and review Week 6 where we rate our most confident straight up pick (15) all the way to our least confident (1). The point spread on each game is in parentheses but these picks are not against the spread.
Week 5 Straight Up Record: 6-9 (74 of possible120)
15. (Confidence rating) Packers: 49ers at Packers (-9½): Monday night. The Packers lost to the Lions because Aaron Rodgers may not be sick but he’s not well. That said, a gimpy Rodgers is far better than a healthy C.J. Beathard, and the pressure that Green Bay will bring from the defensive front will make life miserable for the Niners offense.
14. Vikings: Cardinals at Vikings (-10): Some of Sportsbook Review’s best online sportsbooks are dealing the Vikings as high as 11½-point home favorites, which is great if you like the underdog Cardinals. After a huge win over the defending Super Bowl champs, the Vikings could be due for a letdown but not enough to lose this gimme game; however, it may be closer than it looks on paper after that emotional victory.
13. Bengals: Steelers at Bengals (-2½): The Steelers will be a huge public dog because their offense exploded against the woeful Falcons secondary last week. But the difference here is that the Bengals can actually play defense, and in a hotly-contested divisional game where the talent gap between these teams has been bridged, this is a great spot for the Cats to roar.
12. Rams: Rams (-7) at Broncos: The Denver defense is overrated, with the notable exception of Von Miler, and the Rams’ offense will feast both through the air as well as through the stellar Todd Gurley. If this is a track meet, then one side is running with Air Jordans while the other is fitted with cement shoes.
11. Patriots: Chiefs at Patriots (-3½): Sunday night. The Patriots came alive with the return of Julian Edelman last week, and the one thing New England and Kansas City have in common is a high-octane offense. But New England has a defense, the home-field advantage and Tom Brady. The Chiefs do not.
10. Jets: Colts at Jets (-2½): Sam Darnold should have a good time in the pocket picking apart a lousy Colts defense and a team that is dinged up on both sides of the ball. Don’t sweat it, just bet it.
9. Bears: Bears (-3) at Dolphins: Chicago has had two weeks to prep for the Dolphins and Mitchell Trubisky should be able to hammer the Fish with the short stuff by exploiting their weak linebacking pass defense. Despite the fact that the public will be licking up the road chalk, the high temps in Miami could make it a bit hot under the collar for the Bears so be careful with this one.
8. Redskins: Panthers at Redskins (-1): The Panthers were lucky to win their game against the Giants last week, while several critical mistakes cost the Redskins a humbling loss to the Saints. We suspect Washington will be poised for a bounce-back game against a middling Carolina defense and an offense that relies heavily on the ground game.
7. Browns: Chargers at Browns (+1): It must be a sign of the apocalypse when the Browns are this high on the totem pole. However, believe it or not the Browns are a solid team this season and the Bolts are a bit overrated. Expect the Browns defensive line to wreak havoc on Philip Rivers while Baker Mayfield connects against a suspect Chargers pass defense.
6. Jaguars: Jaguars (-3) at Cowboys: The Jags could not contain the KC juggernaut last week, but the opponent they’re facing in Week 6 is far from it. Blake Bortles scares us, but not enough to prevent us from betting that Jax gets the W here.
5. Eagles: Eagles (-3) at Giants: This is the Thursday night game and both teams are working on a short week. The key to the Eagles’ victory is their fierce pass rush against a porous Giants offensive line. Carson Wentz should be able to get back on track.
4. Texans: Bills at Texans (-8½): Normally the Texans would be higher on this list, but the status of Deshaun Watson is in question. Even if he does play, and he says he will, how healthy will he be and will that affect his performance? That said, the Texans are better than the Bills and should prevail even without their starter 100 percent under center.
3. Falcons: Bucs at Falcons (-3½): The Bucs have had two weeks to dwell on their humiliating loss to the Bears, while the Falcons have had just one week to wring their hands over their poor performance against the Steelers. In a game between two teams whose aversion to defense is worse than a fat guy’s reaction to an all-you-can-eat celery buffet, I’ll take Matty Ice and Julio Jones/Calvin Ridley over Jameis Winston and Mike Evans.
2. Titans: Ravens at Titans (+2): Counting on the Titans to blitz Baltimore’s Joe Flacco early and often because once they dominate the line of scrimmage, the Ravens’ offense will grind to a halt and allow Tennessee to win this defensive scrap.
1. Seahawks: Seahawks (-3) “at” Raiders: London’s calling and the NFL responds with two lousy teams to sate the European appetite for American football. Well, this one’s a coin flip on neutral soil, but while the Seahawks are bad – the Raiders are really, really, bad. We’ll take bad.