NFL Week 6 Picks
After a season where I won the Gridiron Experts Staff Pick ‘Em contest, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. Last year, I went 64.5% straight up, and 55.4% against the spread… so I’m hoping to replicate that success this year. Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am.
In Week 5, we had an average week. My picks were 8-7 straight up and 8-7 against the spread. My lock of the week didn’t come through, though. (4-1 for the season). We’ll look to rebound this week.
You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with the staff.
NY Giants @ New England (-16.5)
The Patriots keep rolling and things seem to keep getting worse for the Giants. While the “Danny Dimes” excitement has diminished, Saquon Barkley remains sidelined, and the G-Men also lost WR Sterling Shepard and TE Evan Engram to injury. Wayne Gallman is also injured, adding insult to injury. Seemingly, the only player left to shut down is Golden Tate who just played his first game of the year last week. Facing the Giants’ miserable secondary, Tom Brady might have his best game of the year. I’m afraid to see what Bill Belichick does to New York on Thursday night in Foxborough. Patriots 33-13.
Carolina (-2.5) @ Tampa Bay
What did we learn from the Panthers’ win versus Jacksonville last week? Christian McCaffrey isn’t human. This year, McCaffrey has 866 total yards of offense… through 5 games. With production like that, Carolina doesn’t need backup QB Kyle Allen to do all that much to win games. Allen has played mistake-free football thus far, as he hasn’t thrown an interception through 3 games. Combine McCaffrey with WRs Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore and the Panthers are rich with weapons. Tampa Bay has played to a 2-3 record thus far, with impressive wins over the Panthers (Week 2) and the Rams. Aside from Week 1, they’ve been competitive in every single game so far this year. In Week 2, Jameis Winston played mistake-free football, and the Bucs held McCaffrey to only 53 total yards. I don’t expect either of those things to happen again this week. Look for McCaffrey to be highly involved in the game plan and to come out with revenge on his mind. I think the Panthers defense will exploit Winston this time around and cause multiple turnovers, giving Carolina a revenge win on the road. Panthers 27-23.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-11.5)
Cincinnati is just so bad. Sitting at 0-5 and fresh off a loss to the Cardinals, the Bengals will have to face division-leading Baltimore in Week 6. The Ravens have lost 2 of their last 3 but did rebound with a win in Pittsburgh last week. Lamar Jackson has come back down to earth a bit as of late after his blazing hot start. Jackson’s 1,271 passing yards and 308 rushing yards are among the highest in the NFL for QBs. Mark Ingram has also provided consistent production, scoring 6 TDs on 372 yards rushing. Cincinnati has limited weapons, including WR Tyler Boyd and RB Joe Mixon. With recent injuries, things drop off a cliff from there, though. The Ravens defense is formidable enough to contain the limited threats that Cincinnati poses, and I expect the Ravens to win this one and cover comfortably at home. Ravens 24-10.
Seattle (-1.5) @ Cleveland
This might be recency bias, but the Browns looked so very awful on Monday night. In their 31-3 loss to the 49ers, the Browns totaled 180 total yards, turned the ball over 4 times, and allowed their QB to take 4 sacks. Baker Mayfield was 8-22 for 100 yards and 2 INTs while Odell Beckham caught 2 balls for 27 yards. So much for the electric Cleveland offense everyone was expecting. Seattle, on the other hand, held off the Rams on the back of Russell Wilson, who threw 4 TD passes. Wilson has been fantastic this year, throwing for 1,409 yards and 12 TD to 0 INT. He’s added 2 rushing TDs and is one of the early candidates for league MVP. WR Tyler Lockett has been his favorite target. Lockett has pulled in 30 balls for 379 yards and 3 TDs, including one of the prettiest ever TD catches you’ll ever see on Thursday Night. I’m very high on Wilson & Co. this week, and I think the 4-1 Seahawks will take care of business and cover the spread comfortably on the road. Seahawks 28-17. (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
New Orleans @ Jacksonville (-1.5)
The Saints are fresh off a victory over the Buccaneers at home where Teddy Bridgewater threw for 314 yards and 4 TDs. WR Michael Thomas continued his successful run, reeling in 11 of 13 targets for 182 yards and 2 TDs. He’s truly been one of the game’s best and is near impossible to contain once he gets going. Alvin Kamara had a mediocre game from his standards and will look to rebound against this Jaguars squad. Gardner Minshew II fell just a bit short last weekend in Carolina, as his comeback attempt fell short. Minshew did throw for 374 yards and 2 TDs in the game, where he targeted DJ Chark 11 times. Chark, one of the league leaders in yardage, produced with 8 catches for 164 yards and 2 TD. Leonard Fournette is also coming around, as he logged another quality game with 108 yards and a TD. In the end, I feel that the Saints’ defense will contain Minshew & Co. in this one. The combination of Bridgewater, Kamara, and Thomas should produce as usual and the Saints will pull the upset in Jacksonville. Saints 24-20.
Houston @ Kansas City (-4.5)
Kansas City took a tough loss on Sunday Night Football, but Patrick Mahomes wasn’t himself as he was slowed by an ankle injury. He threw for 321 yards and only 1 TD while taking 4 sacks. TE Travis Kelce wasn’t his usual self either. While he netted 70 yards, he only caught 4 of 10 targets for the Chiefs. Kansas City might see the return of Tyreek Hill in this one, and I expect that to cause a major spark. Surely his return will take some of the safety attention away from the middle of the field where Kelce roams. Houston put up 53 points last week en route to a blowout win over the Falcons. Deshaun Watson had one of his best games ever, throwing for 426 yards and 5 TDs. The major beneficiary of Watson’s success was WR Will Fuller who tallied an eye-popping 217 yards and 3 TDs on 14 receptions. While you can’t expect this type of production weekly out of Fuller, it certainly showed how dangerous he can be when he’s healthy. DeAndre Hopkins is still one of the game’s best and had a “quiet” day logging 88 scoreless yards. Hopkins can pop off at any time. Both secondaries are a bit shaky in this one, so there’s certainly a chance that it becomes a shootout. In the end, with the return of Hill and a week to heal up, I like Mahomes to bounce back and for the Chiefs to take this one at home, covering in the process. Chiefs 33-27.
Washington (-3.5) @ Miami
This is probably the least exciting game of the year so far. These teams are a combined 0-9 and there are not many positive things you can say about either offense or defense to this point. Rookie WR Terry McLaurin has made his mark for the Redskins, logging 308 yards on 19 receptions and 3 TD so far this year. Otherwise, no one stands out on either side. QB Case Keenum looks likely to start, provided his injury has subsided… but does it really matter? I’ll take Washington to win & cover because I prefer their defense, and simply think the Dolphins are that bad. Redskins 17-13.
Philadelphia @ Minnesota (-2.5)
In this matchup, we have two teams coming off of blowout wins over New York teams. The Eagles dismantled the Jets at home 31-6, while the Vikings took out the Giants in East Rutherford by a score of 28-10. Kirk Cousins finally had a decent game for the Vikings, and Adam Thielen finally broke out as well. Thielen logged 7 receptions for 130 yards and 2 TD. One consistent X-Factor for the Vikings this year has been Dalvin Cook, who was electric as usual on Sunday with 218 total yards. The combination of Thielen on the outside and Cook coming out of the backfield is worrisome for an Eagles defense that has struggled defending the pass so far this year. Additionally, let’s not forget Stefon Diggs still exists and has the ability to break out at any moment. For Philly, Carson Wentz has been pretty solid so far this year, throwing for 1,152 yards and 10 TD to no INT. The backfield is a true timeshare between Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders and seems to be working out just fine as of now. The Eagles sport their own elite receiving options in TE Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery, but will likely be without deep-threat DeSean Jackson for the 5th straight game. Overall, I think that these offenses are pretty similar, but Minnesota gets the edge due to Dalvin Cook being the best player on the field. I think that Minnesota’s pass defense is also going to be a challenge for the Eagles to overcome. I like the Vikings to win this one at home and cover the spread. Look for Thielen and Diggs to exploit the average Eagles secondary in the process. Vikings 27-23.
Atlanta (-2.5) @ Arizona
The Cardinals notched their first win of the season on Sunday, bringing their season record to 1-3-1. While the win was over the lowly Bengals, the Cardinals are surely enthused by the progress of rookie QB Kyler Murray. The Oklahoma product has thrown for 1,324 yards so far in this young season, but only has 4 TD compared to 4 INT. Murray has been leading on the explosive David Johnson out of the backfield, who has logged 511 total yards through 5 games. With that said, Johnson’s back has been bothering him and he’s questionable for this contest. RB Chase Edmonds would fill in for Johnson if he did indeed miss time. Edmonds provided a spark spelling Johnson last week, as he took 8 rushes for 68 yards, and added 3 catches for 18 yards as well. Larry Fitzgerald paces the passing game for Arizona, as he always has. The veteran WR has continued to produce and should have a solid game against an awful Atlanta secondary. With QB Matt Ryan at the helm, the Falcons are littered with elite offensive options. They have one of the game’s best WRs in Julio Jones, who is second on the team in yardage to TE Austin Hooper. The tight end’s breakout has been a welcome sight for Atlanta fans and he’ll look to continue his success against the Cardinals who are notoriously terrible at covering the TE. I believe that Julio Jones will break out in this contest after an average performance last week. When you combine the uncertainty clouding Johnson and the experience of Ryan, I like the Falcons to break out of their rut and cover on the road. Falcons 28-24.
San Francisco @ LA Rams (-3.5)
The 49ers made a statement on Monday Night Football. Their defense was elite and gave QB Baker Mayfield fits. The Rams, on the other hand, lost a heartbreaker to Seattle on Thursday Night Football. San Fran sported an elite rushing attack on MNF with Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman combining for 211 on the ground, with each back scoring once. Jimmy Garoppolo played mistake-free football, throwing for 181 yards and 2 TD compared to 0 INT. George Kittle is a huge X-factor for the 49ers and can break a game open with one lapse of coverage. For the Rams, Jared Goff has his usual trio of receivers to throw to. Even though Brandin Cooks is in the concussion protocol, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods provide reliable, game-breaking options for Goff to sling to. With RB Todd Gurley looming in the backfield, it’s clear that the Rams can light up the scoreboard on any given Sunday. Both of these teams have quality defenses and their own elite starts. The Rams DL sports veteran DT Aaron Donald, who many believe is the best player in the game. The 49ers, on the other hand, have a budding star in the young Nick Bosa. Richard Sherman is also finding his groove again for the 49ers and will play a factor in this contest. With the Rams are coming off an extended rest and San Francisco on short rest, I think Sean McVay & Co. will be up to the task in this one. I see this game being close in the 4th quarter and trust Goff over Garoppolo to lead his team to a late win. Give me the Rams by the slimmest of margins. Rams 28-27.
Tennessee @ Denver (-2.5)
The Titans dropped a heartbreaking game to the Bills at home last week. Cairo Santos missed 4 field goals in a game that the Titans lost by 7. Tennessee has since released Santos and signed… Cody Parkey. What could go wrong? The Titans sit at 2-3 but might have a different record if it wasn’t for Santos’ shanks (he also missed a late FG in Tennessee’s 19-17 Week 2 loss to the Colts.) The Broncos, on the other hand, surprised many by dominating the Chargers on Sunday. Phillip Lindsay totaled 147 yards and scored to pace the Broncos. Courtland Sutton has also experienced a nice breakout year for Denver, totaling 401 yards and 3 TD receiving. The Titans’ secondary is one of the game’s best right now and both Sutton and Sanders are nicked up right now with leg injuries. Not a great combination. Derrick Henry is the Titans’ top offensive weapon, as he’s logged 485 yards and 5 TD this year. The passing game is widely predicated on which Marcus Mariota shows up. On the surface, Mariota’s 1,116 yards and 7 TD to 0 INT stat line is respectable. However, he’s simply managed games thus far and needs to do more to help his team win. Rookie WR AJ Brown has flashed greatness and leads the team in receiving, while Corey Davis and Delanie Walker are other potential sparks for this Tennessee offense. Denver has a nice home-field advantage in the altitude, but I don’t see this becoming an offensive shootout by any means. I think the Titans defense has the tools to cause turnovers and make Joe Flacco’s afternoon very, very long. Give me the Titans to pull the upset on the road in an ugly game. Titans 21-20.
Dallas (-7.5) @ NY Jets
Sam Darnold will make his return for the Jets in this one and it couldn’t have come sooner. However, he’ll be greeted by a Cowboys team that is coming off a tough loss to the Packers. Aside from giving up 34 points in that contest, the Cowboys have been very strong on defense this year and touts a Top-10 squad when it comes to points against this year. The offense is also high octane with one of the game’s best in Ezekiel Elliott pacing the attack. QB Dak Prescott has thrown for 1,606 yards and 11 TD, but has thrown 6 INT as well. If Prescott can control the ball, he can break the game open. WR Amari Cooper has been amazing so far this year, logging 512 yards and 5 TD thus far. With WR Michael Gallup experiencing a nice little breakout as well, the Cowboys offense could pop off at a moment’s notice. The winless Jets have far less elite options but do have a game-breaker in Le’Veon Bell at RB. With that said, Bell has only rushed for 201 scoreless yards on 71 carries… that’s a measly 2.9 YPC. He’s produced in the receiving game, but he’ll need to be better overall if the Jets want to succeed. WRs Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson will certainly be in a better spot with their QB back. All things considered, I think the Cowboys have too much juice on both sides of the ball. I think they’ll win this game and cover comfortably, even on the road. Cowboys 28-17.
Pittsburgh @ LA Chargers (-6.5)
Devlin Hodges is currently the starting QB for the Steelers. I’m not going to sit here and rationalize them beating the Chargers. The only chance the Steelers have in this one is if their defense shuts down LA and James Conner exploits the Chargers porous rushing attack. With that said, I don’t think it’ll happen. Conner will get his yardage, but I expect the Chargers to key in on stopping the run and forcing Hodges to beat them. If he does, good for him… but I won’t be the one to pick it. Look for Keenan Allen to continue his fantastic season in this one and for Austin Ekeler to prove he’s not just a backup. Chargers 24-13.
Detroit @ Green Bay (-4.5)
The Packers are fresh off an incredibly impressive performance where they knocked off the Cowboys in Dallas. Aaron Jones had 4 TD in one of the most dominant offensive performances of the year. Aaron Rodgers has been good (not great) this year, logging just over 260 yards per game and a 6:1 TD to INT ratio. He’ll certainly hope to have WR Davante Adams back, as he’s been on the shelf with a toe injury for the last week. On the other side, Matt Stafford has been quietly solid this year, averaging 280 yards per game and adding 9 TDs. He relies on WRs Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones to pace the receiving corps, while Kerryon Johnson leads the ground game. The Packers defense is for real, though and if they decide to continue to lean on Jones, they should be able to control this game from wire to wire. If Adams comes back, it will be the icing on the cake. I like the Packers to win and cover this one on Monday Night at Lambeau. Packers 30-24.
Enjoy the games! Until next week…