Week 6 is here, and the NFL is still a murky pool of uncertainty. The Chiefs are good, the Giants are bad, and pretty much everyone else is whizzing around in between, varying wildly from one week to the next. How can Jacksonville be good when they lost to the Jets? Well they can be good by limiting Blake Bortles and picking off Big Ben five times. The Ravens just struggled against Pittsburgh, but then they dominated a Carr-less Raiders.
This season continues to be intensely odd, just like my picks. While my best bets sit at a resoundingly disappointing 4-11, the rest of my picks have gone 37-20-2, or 64.4%. How is that possible? I just don’t know, but at this point I’m not going to question it. I’m still going to give you three picks that I legitimately believe to be safer than the rest, but just maybe we should start backing the other ones…
Detroit Lions (+4.5) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Lions suffered a disappointing home defeat against the Panthers last week, which included a victimization of Matthew Stafford as his protection schemes crumbled at the feet of a fierce blitz package and talented defenders. You know what the Saints lack? Both of those things. Oh they have good players on defense. Cam Jordan has long been a favorite of mine and Marshon Lattimore is looking as good as he was projected to be, but the other nine players on the Saints starting defense lack the same range of talents when it comes to killing quarterbacks.
This week should be much easier on Stafford’s body and far easier for the Lions to get a ground game going. While facing Drew Brees in the Superdome is never easy, the Lions defense should be able to slow them enough to keep the game close all day, and when you’re getting more than a field goal that’s all you really want.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-4.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
The Chiefs big-play offense is insane. They are averaging 32.8 points a game, Alex Smith is completing 76.6% of his passes at 8.8 yards an attempt. Those numbers all lead the league, as does their 6.6 yards per play and Kareem Hunt’s 7 runs of 20+ yards. In short then, the Chiefs offense is pretty good.
You know what’s not good? The Steelers. This year they were meant to be an AFC powerhouse once again. The Killer B’s were going to tear down the league, only Big Ben isn’t what he used to be, Le’Veon Bell’s missed preseason is affecting the entire running game, and Antonio Brown is making a lot of noise on the sidelines. Things are far from strong in the Steel City and after getting torn to shreds by the Jaguars they now have to try and stop the Chiefs in Arrowhead. No thank you.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-2.5) over Los Angeles Rams
The Jaguars are 3-2 and have put up the most dominant five-week stretch of pass defense we have ever seen. The gap between them and the #2 pass defense (22.1%) is the same as that between #2 and #9. AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey have the best completion percentage against of any corners in the NFL.
We saw the impact that a good secondary had on the Rams offense last week as the Seahawks held them to just ten points, and the Jaguars are better. While Todd Gurley should find some joy on the ground, so will Leonard Fournette.
Eagles (+3.5) over PANTHERS
RAVENS (-6) over Bears
TEXANS (-9.5) over Browns
Packers (-3) over VIKINGS
FALCONS (-11.5) over Dolphins
JETS (+9.5) over Patriots
49ers (+10) over REDSKINS
Buccaneers (-1.5) over CARDINALS
BRONCOS (-11.5) over Giants
Last Week: 9-4-1 (1-2-0)
Overall: 41-31-2 (4-11-0)
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