NFL Week 6 Spread Locks
Football, and sports as a whole, mirrors life. And like life, it has a way of humbling you just when you think your shit don’t stink. We saw this humbling happen firsthand with three of the league’s rising stars in Week 5 — Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and the star of all stars, Patrick Mahomes.
Mayfield has been force fed crow by the pound since the season started. After peacocking all summer, thanks to a strong rookie season and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., Mayfield has been brought back down to earth in a big way. He has redefined the term “sophomore slump”, and put together one of the more pathetic performances on Monday Night Football for all to see.
He completed just eight of his 22 pass attempts, threw for zero touchdowns, but did manage to throw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble in a 31–3 loss to the 49ers. On the season Baker has twice as many interceptions (8) as touchdowns (4), and has completed 55.9% of his passes.
Lamar Jackson recently joined his draft classmate in the misery. Jackson has now had back to back weeks where he has looked less than stellar. Last week was a different story. In a rivalry game versus the Steelers, he was expected to have a good day. His day did not go as expected.
Jackson certainly had a more pleasant Sunday than Mason Rudolph, but throwing three interceptions to a single touchdown was not what anyone had in mind. The Ravens managed to escape with the win, but Jackson has now had consecutive weeks with multiple turnovers.
Finally, there is the new face of the league Patrick Mahomes. For most of his NFL lifespan we have viewed Mahomes as a video game character. Sunday night was the first time we have seen Mahomes look human. He got hurt when an offensive lineman stepped on his foot, and he never looked the same.
Unlike the week prior in Detroit where he managed to generate enough magic to get the win, the Colts did not relent. It was the first time that Mahomes wasn’t able to pull through with the chance to win the game.
The good thing about life, and football, are redemption. Each of these guys get a chance to forget last week by having a strong Sunday. And that message extends to folks, like myself, who got their ass handed to them. Let’s take a look at the slate.
Home teams are in CAPS.
Panthers (-2.5) over Buccaneers
London gets a solid encore game, after watching the Raiders shock the Bears last week. This matchup does have a bit of retribution at play — the Bucs beat the Panthers pretty handedly in their house in Week 2 — and will feature a lot of points.
These are not the same Panthers the Bucs defeated four weeks ago. Cam Newton is out, and Kyle Allen is in. Since Allen has taken over the Panthers are undefeated and the offense has looked noticeably better.
Having Christian McCaffrey helps a ton. Last week he put together the performance of the year, totaling 237 total yards and three touchdowns against a good Jaguars defense. The Bucs do have a solid run defense, but their secondary is susceptible to getting thrashed. Teddy Bridgewater lit that secondary up for four touchdowns in a blowout win. Allen, who like Bridgewater will be equipped with a gamebreaker in the backfield, is good enough to light it up as well.
The over (47.5) might be the best bet here, but the Panthers are the hotter team with the best player.
Prediction: Panthers 34, Buccaneers 28
CHIEFS (-4) over Texans
As noted in the intro, Mahomes was outed as a human being last week. The Chiefs have now failed to cover the last three weeks. While Mahomes can get back on track rather easily against a middle of the road Texans defense, the Chiefs defense’s Achilles heel was outed by the Colts: they can’t stop the run. They will be without star defensive tackle Chris Jones which will amplify that weakness.
Good news for Chiefs fans is the Texans do not run the ball well. Carlos Hyde, who the Chiefs sent to Houston, has done a serviceable job, but if the Texans are going to beat you its with Deshaun Watson. Another enticing game to take the over in (currently at 55), Mahomes gets right and wins a duel against a worthy adversary. Also, Bill O’Brien in a semi big game? No thank you.
Prediction: Texans 27, Chiefs 35
Seahawks (-1.5) over BROWNS
Is there something I’m missing here? Russell Wilson is in poll position to win the MVP right now. Baker Mayfield can’t hit the ocean from the sand. Freddie Kitchens couldn’t coach a Pop Warner team to a win right now. Why is this spread so low?
It could be the fact the Seahawks will be without Duane Brown and D.J. Fluker. That hurts the offense. But like I said, Kitchens has been a disaster as a coach and Baker has been equally dreadful. Wilson should have another strong outing against a Browns defense that surrendered 31 points to the 49ers last week and has not really looked good at all this season.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Browns 20
VIKINGS (-3) over Eagles
The Vikings have been tremendous at home this season. They have wiped the floor with opponents in their first two home games, winning by double digits in both.
To make their case even more enticing, Kirk Cousins looked like a quarterback last week in a road win versus the Giants, a week after being called out by Adam Thielen and subtweeted by Stefon Diggs.
All that good buzz shifts my focus to the Eagles. The Eagles did not really impress last week against the lowly Jets. They covered a large spread by accident (thanks Luke Falk and Adam Gase). If you can barely beat Falk, I simply cant’t trust you. Cousins’ ass nature may keep it close but his supporting cast led by Dalvin Cook should be enough.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Vikings 27
Saints (+2.5) over JAGUARS
How about Teddy Bridgewater going 3–0 as a substitute for Drew Brees? Up until last week it was in more of a game manager role. Finally, Bridgewater put together his best performance with a four touchdown explosion against the Bucs. If he has really gotten a hold of this Saints offense, Brees can take his time coming back.
Why are the Saints, the best team in the NFC, dogs this week? Two words, Gardner Minshew. Last week was Minshew’s first true taste of defeat but you can bet his confidence is unwavered. The Jags will follow their new leaders lead and keep this close throughout, but in the end the Saints have been able to win in any type of game. It’s tough going against the Minshew Magic but the Saints feel like the better team in every facet.
Prediction: Saints 20, Jaguars 16
Bengals (+11) over RAVENS
This is a simple one to explain. Too many points to trust with a team that has had trouble covering the smallest of spreads. Am I out on Lamar Jackson after two lackluster weeks? Hell no. Am I taking into account that better teams such as the Rams and Chiefs have failed to cover identical lines? Absolutely.
Nothing about the Bengals is good. Joe Mixon has 242 rushing yards in five games (yikes), but Andy Dalton has been able to move the football. Jackson should be able to get back on track in this one, however I like the Bengals to keep it relatively close, similar to their performance in Buffalo against a good Bills defense.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Ravens 30
Poo Poo Platter
Warning: Don’t spend much time watching the following three games.
Three truly appalling games this week including the return of Mediocre Marcus Mariota, continued presence of Adam Gase’s Jets and the 2019 Toilet Bowl.
DOLPHINS (+3.5) over Redskins
Welcome to the 2019 Toilet Bowl. God, what a garbage football game. This might honestly be the worst NFL game since Greg McElroy and the Jets battled Ryan Lindley and the Cardinals in a 7–6 barn burner that has no business being mentioned ever again.
There is a strong argument for the Redskins to win, the classic head coach just got fired win. Typically that would be enough to choose the Redskins, but while I can see the Redskins winning, I do not see it being an easy win.
Josh Rosen is a better quarterback than Case Keenum. At some point the Dolphins have to win a game, and did manage to hang with the Cowboys for a half. At home, and off a bye week, they should be well prepared and good enough to at least cover.
Prediction: Redskins 27, Dolphins 30
Cowboys (-7) over JETS
Jason Garrett is an awful motivator, but don’t worry I’ve got him covered. His team, who is tied for first place, are only seven-point favorites against the loser Jets. Sam Darnold being back is fun until you realize he might die behind the worst offensive line in football.
Nothing has gone right for the Jets under Gase and many Jets fans (myself included) probably hope this is another massacre so the chance of Gase being fired increases. Dak Prescott threw for 400 yards against the Packers last week and could easily do the same versus the Jets.
Prediction: Cowboys 34, Jets 14
BRONCOS (-2) over Titans
Another game that holds zero appeal. Once again the Titans failed to cover a spread and once again Mariota failed to impress. The only difference between their loss against the Bills compared to their other losses is Mariota wasn’t the reason for the loss. That role went to Cairo Santos who failed to put a field goal attempt on the screen, hooking attempts so bad out of camera shots the announcers didn’t have to say “no good”.
This pick is a straight homefield, better defense pick. The Broncos got on the board last week taking down the Chargers, and have looked decent against better teams than the Titans.
Prediction: Titans 16, Broncos 20
RAMS (-3) over 49ers
Finally a true test for the 49ers. The last undefeated team in the NFC has been tough to pin. How exactly are the Niners undefeated is really unexplainable once you try to give reasons. Jimmy Garoppolo has been a 40 degree day type of quarterback. The defense could be the reason, but then again, who is the best quarterback they’ve faced? Jameis Winston?
The Rams are not the juggernauts they were last season, but they are still good. Sean McVay’s team has lost back to back games for only the second time in his tenure. They have never lost three in a row. Todd Gurley will miss this one, as well as Aqib Talib, but they still have Aaron Donald.
To win this game the Rams have to force Jimmy G to win this game. Donald and the defensive line got beat up by Chris Carson, a bounceback performance against a talented Niners backfield will be the catalyst in a get right win.
Prediction: 49ers 14, Rams 21
Falcons (-2.5) over CARDINALS
At some point the Falcons have to win a game. The Cardinals are high off their first win of the season. David Johnson might not play. Is there anything else that can go right? If the Falcons manage to botch this Dan Quinn will be the second head coach given walking papers.
Matt Ryan should have his way with the Cardinals bad secondary. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu are all viable to go off, and if that fails Devonta Freeman is capable to run over the Cardinals. This is literally a borderline impossible game to lose, which is why I am suddenly certain they will find a way to blow this.
Prediction: Falcons 38, Cardinals 28
CHARGERS (-6.5) over Steelers
Keeping with the same theme of get right or go home games, if the Chargers lose this game just shoot Anthony Lynn into the sun. The Steelers are down to their third string quarterback, Devlin Hodges, while the Chargers are relatively healthy.
A truly pathetic outing against the Broncos at home was classic Phil Rivers, but something’s gotta give. If this were a double digit spread I’d be a little more timid, but if they just give Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler the ball 40 times they win this game with ease. If Rivers throws the ball 40 times, who the hell knows what happens.
Prediction: Steelers 13, Chargers 23
PACKERS (-4) over Lions
Prior to their bye week, the Lions did not really have a bad performance after their Week 1 tie in Arizona. They beat the Chargers and Eagles, and almost took down the Chiefs. Matthew Stafford hasn’t looked any different than usual. They still have not figured out that Kerryon Johnson is their best player, which is good news for the Packers.
Speaking of underused players, Aaron Jones finally got to get a lion’s share of the work and the result was a historic day. Jones scored four touchdowns, doubling his season total, and 182 total yards. It seems like that was a one time thing as Jamaal Williams is back Monday.
This should be a solid game that will come down to quarterback play. Give Aaron Rodgers the nod there, and give the Packers defense the nod over Detroit’s. It could be a tight cover, but one I think the Packers do at home.