NFL Picks

Week 6 NFL Picks

Justin Herbert

Week 6 NFL Picks

This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. I’ve been Gridiron Expers’ Pick ‘Em columnist for the past few seasons, and I’m glad to be back at it again! We’re hoping to have even more 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. 

Welcome back… it’s time for Football!

Miami (-3.5)@ Jacksonville

Miami and Jacksonville will face off across the pond in London to kick off the Sunday slate. These teams sport a combined 1-9 record, with Jacksonville remaining winless for over a calendar year. There’s a chance QB Tua Tagovailoa returns from Injured Reserve for this contest, but if he doesn’t, it’ll be Jacoby Brissett running the offense. Currently, these two teams sport bottom-5 scoring offenses and defenses and are towards the bottom of the pack in all statistical categories, making this one of the harder NFL picks as you never know who’s going to show up. Miami will likely look to lean RB Myles Gaskin, who had a breakout performance last weekend. Otherwise, WR DeVante Parker is Questionable with a hamstring injury. Jacksonville will come in pretty healthy overall and will lean on the production of QB Trevor Lawrence and RB James Robinson to produce. Lawrence has been slowly improving this year and will need to lean on WRs Marvin Jones and Laviska Sheault to catch passes. Whether it’s Tua or Brissett behind center for Miami, I do believe the Dolphins’ defense is ever so slightly better than Jacksonville’s. After seeing the Jaguars try to contain Derrick Henry last week, it makes me believe that Gaskin will be able to find lanes and produce and that the Dolphins will find an avenue to win and cover.  Dolphins 23-16.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Baltimore (-3.5)

This game will be one of the weekend’s best matchups. Both the Chargers and the Ravens impressed many with their victories in Week 5. Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews were particularly impressive on Monday Night Football, leading the Ravens to a huge comeback win over the Colts. Los Angeles was equally as impressive, knocking off the then 3-1 Browns. Undoubtedly, both teams sport impressive quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and Baltimore’s Jackson. Jackson touts a dual-threat approach, while Herbert has been slinging the ball over the field. Herbert’s favorite target this year has been Mike Williams, who has been arguably the best WR in football through 5 games. RB Austin Ekeler and WR Keenan Allen also play large roles in the LA offense and will be important to watch on Sunday. Lamar Jackson has fewer weapons at his disposal but finds a way to make it work. Outside of Andrews, Jackson has hooked up with WR Marquise Brown on a few long balls this year, and the young speedster can change the game at any moment. The biggest downside to the Ravens’ offense is running back consistency, as Jackson is easily the focal point of their rushing attack. While I think this will be a shootout with two underperforming defenses, I give LA the slightest edge here, being that they have more weapons and can attack from more angles. I think that the Chargers’ staff will be able to gameplan to limit (not contain) Jackson, and outscore Baltimore for the upset. Chargers 28-27.

Minnesota @ Carolina (-1.5)

The Panthers have come back down to earth with 2 straight losses, while the Vikings’ roller coaster of a season continues. Although Minnesota sits at 2-3 on the year, their 3 losses are to very competitive teams (Bengals, Cardinals, Browns,) and all losses were one-score contests. Kirk Cousins leads a top-10 passing offense and has taken great care of the football this year, as evidenced by his 10:2 TD to INT ratio. RB Dalvin Cook’s status remains up in the air, as he’s missed 2 games this year. Alexander Mattison has ensured that the Vikings don’t miss a beat when Cook can’t go, as he’s turned in 2 stellar starts. WR Justin Jefferson is gaining steam and has caught his groove through 5 games. Cousins has been focusing on the dynamic Jefferson a bit more than veteran Adam Thielen the past few weeks. The Panthers are hoping for the return of RB Christian McCaffrey who would completely change the dynamic of their offense. Matt Rhule noted that he was hopeful the star RB would return, but anything can happen throughout the week. If McCaffrey does return, he’ll likely be eased back into action. QB Sam Darnold will need to continue to pepper WR DJ Moore with targets, and try to ramp up WR Robby Anderson in the meantime. When all is said and done, I think this will be a close game with the Panthers’ defense keeping Carolina in the game. Both of these teams rush the passer quite well, and whichever defense can get to the opposing QB more will help their team’s cause. I like Minnesota’s momentum currently, and envision Cousins leading a late drive to pull this one out for Minnesota on the road. Vikings 23-22. 

Green Bay (-4.5) @ Chicago

Chicago sits at 3-2, having knocked off the Raiders in Las Vegas last weekend, while Green Bay won their 4th in a row, outlasting Cincinnati in a crazy contest. The distinct difference between these teams is their offensive output. Chicago ranks 30th in the league in scoring offense, and dead last in yards per game and passing yards per game. They were having more success rushing the ball but recently lost David Montgomery to Injured Reserve. Chicago does boast the most sacks in the NFL (18.0 sacks) through 5 weeks, adding to the effectiveness of their 7th ranked scoring defense. They’ll have a tall task in containing Aaron Rodgers, who has bounced back from Green Bay’s Week 1 debacle with a vengeance. Rodgers is also flush with options, as he has one of the league’s best RBs in Aaron Jones, and the league’s best receiver in Davante Adams. Jones can also be a dual-threat, as he logged 3 receiving touchdowns in a game earlier this year. Chicago’s offensive woes begin with rookie QB Justin Fields, who has flashed some positive signs but isn’t producing at the level many have hoped. While Fields has weapons like Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, he’ll need to do more to get both involved consistently to make this offense tick. At this point, I don’t see Fields outdueling Rodgers on the big stage. I see the Green Bay offense being a bit too much for the Chicago defense to completely shut them down and will take Green Bay to win and cover on the road. Packers 27-21. 

Cincinnati (-3.5) @ Detroit

The Bengals lost a heartbreaker to the Packers last week, while Detroit suffered an even more crushing defeat to the Vikings in Week 5. Joe Burrow leads the 3-2 Bengals and has a dynamite trio of receivers to hone in on- Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. The rookie Chase has been the most impressive, averaging 91.2 yards per game and logging 5 scores. Burrow has been solid thus far but has turned the ball over just enough times to make people nervous about his consistency. Detroit sits at 0-5 despite having some competitive games this year. Jared Goff is running an offense that only has two major threats- D’Andre Swift and TJ Hockenson. While others like Jamaal Williams exist, they lack game-breaking potential… which makes it much easier to slow the Lions’ offense. The biggest factor to me here is the play of the Cincinnati defense, which ranks 7th in points against. Detroit ranks 25th in the same category and I think that Chase, Higgins, and Boyd are going to give them a ton of trouble on Sunday. Give me Burrow & Co. to take this one on the road and cover in the process.  Bengals 25-19.

Houston @ Indianapolis (-10.5)

Despite leading most of the game, the Texans just couldn’t put the Patriots to bed. Similarly, the Colts had an epic collapse on Monday Night Football. These teams both sit at 1-4, and this is a pivotal game for both. Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor lead the Indianapolis offense, which has underperformed aside from Taylor’s long receiving touchdown last Monday. Otherwise, the Colts’ offense ranks 21st in points per game, only to be outdone by the Texans who rank 29th. Rookie QB Davis Mills has been leading the Texans and hasn’t done much to help, logging just over 165 yards per game and an even 5:5 TD to INT Ratio. The lone bright spot for the Texans’ offense is Brandin Cooks, who is still finding ways to produce. I don’t expect this to be the most exciting game, but I do think the Texans will hang around long enough to make things interesting. I find this 10.5 point spread a bit lofty, and will take the Colts Moneyline, but like the Texans getting 10.5 in this one. Colts 28-20. 

Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) @ New York Giants

The Rams do look like one of the best teams in the league and are coming off of an extended rest. On the other hand, New York is battered and bruised as they look to host LA this weekend. The Giants will likely not have star RB Saquon Barkley for this contest, and it remains to be seen if they’ll have QB Daniel Jones, who remains in the league’s concussion protocol. To make things worse, prized free-agent acquisition Kenny Golladay is hurt again. The promising WR just can’t stay on the field and remains out with a knee injury. If Jones plays, it’d certainly help. However, his lone effective option would be WR Kadarius Toney, who flashed last week with a stellar 10 receptions for 189 yards. Unfortunately, the Rams will likely have the Giants outgunned. Matthew Stafford leads a potent offense for Los Angeles, which is flush with options like WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, and RB Darrell Henderson. Despite being on the road, I believe the Rams will win this game comfortably. I’ll be even more confident if Jones sits, however, even if he plays, he’ll be doing so with less preparation than usual. Look for the Rams to cruise to a road victory & cover on Sunday in New Jersey. Rams 35-18.

Kansas City (-6.5) @ Washington

Kansas City disappointed many as the Bills manhandled them on Sunday Night Football. Washington fell less ceremoniously, as New Orleans knocked them off on Sunday as well. These two defenses are the two worst in the NFL, with Washington having allowed 155 points through 5 weeks, compared to Kansas City’s 163 points allowed. Part of this stems from the lack of a pass rush, as both teams rank bottom 10 in sacks as well. The Chiefs will also be without RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who sprained his knee on Sunday. Without CEH, the Chiefs still have one of the league’s QBs in Patrick Mahomes, and an elite WR in Tyreek Hill. When you add star TE Travis Kelce into the mix, this Chiefs offense can hurt you in many ways. However, if the defense keeps underperforming, they’ll find themselves on the wrong end of shootouts. Washington has been impressive offensively, given the fact that backup QB Taylor Heinicke is running the show. Heinicke is honing in on star WR Terry McLaurin, and their chemistry has grown over the past few weeks. WFT also has RB Antonio Gibson, who has fought through a shin injury and produced admirably through 5 weeks. While many are underwhelmed with the KC defense, Washington’s has been barely better. Let’s not forget, Kansas City’s bottom ranking has come while playing the likes of Cleveland, LA Chargers, Buffalo, and Baltimore, while Washington is ranked 31st having played the Chargers, Bills, Falcons, Giants, and Saints. While both teams played tough opponents like LA and Buffalo, the Football Team also yielded a ton of points to the lowly Giants, Saints, and Falcons. Look for Mahomes to shine, and for the Chiefs’ defense to finally step up for one game. Chiefs 30-20.

Arizona @ Cleveland (-2.5)

The 5-0 Cardinals are underdogs in Cleveland this weekend against the 3-2 Browns. While Cleveland has fallen to quality opponents in the LA Chargers and the Chiefs, Arizona has yet to fall this season. Kyler Murray was a bit off last week but is still leading the league’s 4th ranked scoring offense. Murray has spread the ball out fantastically, passing for 1500+ yards and 10 TDs, and has contributed himself, rushing for 3 TDs of his own. What makes Arizona so dangerous is their balance. Their defense has been fantastic, and they rank 6th in scoring defense, 6th in INTs, and have logged 10.5 sacks on the season. Cleveland’s offense is much more tailored to the run game, as RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt form the league’s most dangerous dual threat. The duo has compiled 818 rushing yards and 234 receiving yards in only 5 weeks– leading Cleveland to be the #1 ranked rushing offense in the NFL. With a line that touts JJ Watt and Chandler Jones just behind him, Arizona will need to do all they can to slow down the Chubb & Hunt attack. Cleveland’s defense has also been quite good, ranking 11th in points against. When the chips are on the table on Sunday, I believe in Murray more than Baker Mayfield as the game gets late. While Mayfield has been great at times, he’s hampered by a partially torn labrum, and I worry about his ability to stage a late-game drive for the win. I also feel that Arizona has more options that can sting the Browns in the 4th quarter with the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk as options for Murray. Mayfield’s only truly dangerous option is Odell Beckham Jr., and the two just haven’t quite gelled yet. I’ll take Arizona to pull the road upset. Cardinals 28-25.

Las Vegas @ Denver (-3.5)

It’s been quite the week for the Raiders with the departure of Head Coach Jon Gruden. Now, Las Vegas will have to hone in their focus and travel to Denver for a divisional matchup. It’s never easy to play in Denver, but it’ll be especially hard with all of the distractions this week. After 3-0 starts, both teams have dropped their last two games. Luckily, one of them will bounce back here on Sunday. Despite getting off to a hot start, QB Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense has slowed down, totaling 23 points in the past two weeks combined. Denver hasn’t been much better, logging only 26 points since Week 4. QB Teddy Bridgewater did return from a concussion, which was a large boost to the Denver offense. Bridgewater has managed the offense quite well and has only thrown 4 interceptions thus far this season. WRs Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick have been his favorite options, and the Broncos tout a pretty even RB duo of Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams. Las Vegas’ best option is TE Darren Waller, but after getting 19 targets in Week 1, has been widely average. Las Vegas will need to get Waller more involved to make this offense as good as it can be. The Raiders also tout RB Josh Jacobs who is finally healthy and speedster Henry Ruggs III on the outside. They also have a fantastic complimentary player in Hunter Renfrow who has amassed 305 yards on 28 grabs this year, making him a reliable 3rd down target. With all of the distractions in Las Vegas this week, I find it hard to believe that everyone is focused on the Broncos. I see Denver winning this game by a field goal. Usually, without all of the off-field happenings, I’d take the Raiders, but not this week. Broncos 26-23.  

Dallas (-4.5) @ New England

While it’s never easy to play at Gillette Stadium, the Cowboys seem to be up to the task, sporting a 4-1 record. The Patriots sit at 2-3 with two razor-thin losses on their resume. If things had bounced just slightly different, the Patriots might be sitting at 4-1 as well. Dallas has won 4 in a row and Dak Prescott has this offense taking care of business, as they rank 2nd in the NFL in scoring. What makes Dallas so dangerous, though, is the breakout of their defense– mainly their secondary which leads the NFL in INTs. Most of the thanks can go to DB Trevon Diggs who is responsible for 6 of those 10 INTs and has been the best defensive player in football thus far. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have been a potent tandem in the Dallas backfield, leading them to a #2 ranked rushing offense through 5 weeks. Whether it’s Elliott or Pollard behind Prescott, opposing defenses always have to be on their toes and ready for the run. When Dallas isn’t running the ball, Prescott has been able to sling it to so many different effective options. CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Dalton Schultz all have over 280 yards on the season and have combined for 9 TDs through 5 games. This balance is deadly for opposing defenses. With all of that said, New England has quite the stout defensive unit, yielding the 5th least points in the league through 5 weeks. QB Mac Jones will need to do all he can to keep up with this dynamic Dallas offense. Jones has had an up-and-down season for New England and needs to be more consistent to take the Patriots to new heights. While WRs Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne have produced, neither has truly broken out. Additionally, the Patriots’ prized two Tight End signings, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith have been mostly ineffective. Jones will need to find ways to get these weapons involved to improve this offense. As of now, New England’s offensive attack isn’t consistent enough for me to believe they can hang with Dallas. On Sunday, I see Prescott & Elliott impressing many, and coming out of New England with a convincing road win. Cowboys 31-23.

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-4.5)

The Seahawks are going to be without Russell Wilson for a few weeks, and that’ll drastically change their offense. Adding concern to the mix is the neck of RB Chris Carson. With this chronic type of injury, Carson seems Questionable to play each week for the foreseeable future. While the Seahawks have elite WRs in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, they’ll have QB Geno Smith throwing the ball to them. Lockett thrives on the deep ball, so hopefully, Smith’s long throws are polished enough to keep Lockett dangerous. If Geno focuses on short to mid-range passes, Metcalf will need to exploit defenses through large chunk YAC plays. In any event, everyone will agree that Seattle is better with Russell Wilson at the helm. Pittsburgh has also been bitten by the injury bug, as they lost WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to a season-ending shoulder injury. Instead, QB Ben Roethlisberger will switch his attention to target monster Diontae Johnson, and big-play specialist Chase Claypool. Ben will need to keep himself healthy to do so, which is always a concern for the Steelers. At least rookie RB Najee Harris has been quite good for Pittsburgh, logging 505 all-purpose yards through 5 games, and scoring 3 TDs. The biggest edge I see in this matchup is the Pittsburgh defense. With star LB TJ Watt on the prowl, I worry Geno Smith will have the time to consistently make the right decisions when he drops back. Despite Pittsburgh’s struggles, Heinz Field is a tough venue to play. Despite Geno Smith’s experience, I have trouble seeing him roll into Pittsburgh and pulling out a road victory in his first start since 2017. Give me Big Ben & Co. to take this game by a TD. Steelers 26-19.

Buffalo (-4.5) @ Tennessee

At 4-1, Buffalo is the most impressive team in the NFL right now, especially after they dominated the Chiefs in Kansas City last Sunday Night. Tennessee also logged a less prestigious win, dismantling the lowly Jaguars. Buffalo’s shining star has been QB Josh Allen, who has thrown for 1,370 yards and 12 TD to only 2 INT and led the Bills to the league’s top-scoring offense. Without any outstanding rushing options, the Bills are flushed with solid receivers. Stefon Diggs has been quietly solid (28/374/1), Emmanuel Sanders has been more effective than anyone has expected (19/322/4) and TE Dawson Knox has been the biggest breakout surprise in the NFL (18/261/5.) To compound their effectiveness, Buffalo also touts the league’s top-scoring defense (points against.) Tennessee has had an up-and-down season. Their “low” was certainly an overtime loss to the Jets, but they’ve also had some highlights with wins over Seattle and Indianapolis. They tout the league’s best running back, Derrick Henry, who has already amassed 640 rushing yards and 7 TDs through only 5 games. QB Ryan Tannehill has done his job when needed, logging 1,251 yards passing and 6 TDs. He’s certainly not exceeding expectations, but part of that can be attributed to his star WRs missing some games. Julio Jones has only played in 3 of 5 contests, while AJ Brown missed one as well. Once Jones & Brown are healthy, this offense looks different. And with both players practicing on Wednesday, and an extra day of rest, I think we’ll finally see Tannehill with Jones, Brown, and Henry looming in the backfield, and this Tennessee offense at full-strength. You might think I’m crazy, but I think this is a trap game for Buffalo. Nissan Stadium is a very tough place to play, and you can bet that the crowd will be rowdy on Monday Night. Don’t forget– these Titans dominated the Bills last year in Buffalo, so their confidence will be sky-high. Look for the Titans to get Julio Jones back into the mix, along with AJ Brown. I see Jones & Brown contributing and distracting the Bills defense at the very least, leaving it to Derrick Henry to control the clock. With Henry ripping off big chunk runs, Buffalo will have to creep forward their linebackers into the box, allowing Ryan Tannehill to exploit play-action passing situations. If all remain healthy, which is a big “if,” I’m taking the Titans in a shocking upset on Monday Night. Titans 27-26.

Remember you can always you can also click over to see all the staff predictions for week 6 with more than a half dozen Gridiron Experts picking each game. Enjoy the games! Until next week…

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