NFL Game Picks: Week 6
With over a quarter of the 2018 NFL season already completed, we’re beginning to see how teams are shaping up. There is still a lot of football to be played, but it’s already becoming clear which teams are in for smooth sailing and which teams need to get to work fast in order to save their season. Here’s a look at what’s on the table for week six.
Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) @ New York Giants (1-4):
It’s been a rough two weeks for the Eagles, who have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since December 2016. But with the entirety of the NFC East struggling to find a leader of the pack, Philadelphia could make a statement with a Thursday night road win over the rival Giants. New York won’t go away easily though. Last week’s heartbreaking loss to Carolina was a slap in the face and another loss would mean a 1-5 start. Both teams are desperate for a win.
The pick: Philadelphia 26, NY Giants 17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-4):
While it’s true that Atlanta’s schedule thus far has been one of the most difficult in the NFL, virtually nobody could have predicted the dreadful 1-4 start that has befallen the Falcons. The offense did not look as sharp as it usually has against Pittsburgh in week five, but it's got a great chance to rebound Sunday with a home game against one of the worst defenses in the league in Tampa Bay. It’s do-or-die time for the Falcons, and this their best shot at getting back on track.
The pick: Atlanta 37, Tampa Bay 16.
Buffalo Bills (2-3) @ Houston Texans (2-3):
It’s odd to think that these two teams have the same record going into this game. On paper Houston looks like the much better team, but as we’ve all learned by now, the NFL never quite shakes out like that. Still, the Texans are favorites heading into this one, and for good reason. Deshaun Watson is starting to look sharper, and with DeAndre Hopkins on the field, there’s always a chance for Houston to score. The Texans should be victorious at home.
The pick: Houston 29, Buffalo 14.
Chicago Bears (3-1) @ Miami Dolphins (3-2):
The Bears come into this one as leaders of the NFC North, a position they’ve been relatively unfamiliar with in recent history. Chicago’s bye week did come at an unfortunate time, just one week removed from an offensive explosion against Tampa Bay, but the Bears are hopeful it won’t lessen their firepower in week six. Even if the offense flounders, Chicago’s dominant defense should make easy work of a struggling Ryan Tannehill. Bears win on the road.
The pick: Chicago 32, Miami 16.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (4-1):
Pittsburgh’s impressive week five showing against Atlanta is exactly the kind of win the team needed to revitalize itself. In just one week, the defense looked much improved from its former self, but can it keep up the pace? It won’t be easy to shut down a high-powered Bengals offense in Cincinnati. But if Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense can keep up the pace, then we could end up seeing a close contest. This could be one of week six’s best matches.
The pick: Pittsburgh 38, Cincinnati 31.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-2) @ Cleveland Browns (2-2-1):
Both Los Angeles and Cleveland came away with wins in week five, but it’s clear that the former was the more convincing team. It’s not easy to put up points on that stingy Ravens defense, but the Browns will have to do better than 12 to hang with the Chargers, especially with Philip Rivers playing some of the best football of his career. The edge goes to the visitors, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Brown win, considering how much they’ve improved.
The pick: LA Chargers 37, Cleveland 27.
Indianapolis Colts (1-4) @ New York Jets (2-3):
Like Atlanta, the Colts could very well have a better record if their schedule was easier. Andrew Luck is looking like his old self, and the return of Marlon Mack in the backfield is a boost. But it’s no easy task to go into East Rutherford and snag a win from a solid Jets defense. Overall, the game hinges on whether or not the New York offense shows up like it did last week. Considering Indy fields one of the worst defenses in the NFL, it’s not at all an unrealistic expectation.
The pick: NY Jets 33, Indianapolis 25.
Seattle Seahawks (2-3) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-4):
The first London game of the 2018 NFL season isn’t exactly an attention grabber. Neither team has looked especially impressive thus far, but the Seahawks have almost certainly been the better team. Oakland’s lone win is three-point overtime victory over Cleveland, while Seattle almost pulled off the upset over the powerhouse Rams at home last week. With an improving offensive line and run game, the Seahawks appear to be the favorites to take the first London win of 2018.
The pick: Seattle 23, Oakland 16
Arizona Cardinals (1-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1):
Josh Rosen looked solid in his first NFL victory, but he’ll need to make the next step quickly if the Cardinals want any chance of defeating the Vikings in Minnesota. After a rocky start, the Vikings have looked much sharper, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and a tight road win over Philadelphia is a huge morale booster. Minnesota opens as double-digit favorites heading into this one, and it’s not hard to see why. Vikings win big at home.
The pick: Minnesota 33, Arizona 9.
Carolina Panthers (3-1) @ Washington Redskins (2-2):
Carolina narrowly avoided defeat against the Giants next week, but a trip to Washington seems like a more difficult challenge. The Redskins will have to adjust too. After being picked apart through the air by Drew Brees last week, the Washington defense must contain Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey on the ground this week. The winner of this game takes the lead in its division, so there’s more at stake here than one might initially expect.
The pick: Washington 27, Carolina 23.
Los Angeles Rams (5-0) @ Denver Broncos (2-3):
This one looks lopsided, but there’s more to it than one might expect. Jared Goff has been on fire during these first five weeks, but a reason for that is his receiving corps. Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp have been offensive weapons, but both are questionable for this game with possible concussions. If Goff has his targets, the Rams should blow the Broncos out of the water. If Todd Gurley is all he’s got, we might end up seeing a different result.
The pick: LA Rams 42, Denver 25.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-3):
Perhaps the Jacksonville defense isn’t as rock solid as we once thought. Though Patrick Mahomes had his worst game of the season last year, he and the Chiefs offense still put up 30 on the Jaguars. Regardless, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are a much less dangerous threat. The defense can win this game, but Blake Bortles must manage the game better than he did in Kansas City. All things considered though, Jacksonville has the edge offensively and defensively.
The pick: Jacksonville 31, Dallas 17.
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) @ Tennessee Titans (3-2):
Once again, Tennessee proves to be the one team that’s hardest to figure out. Back-to-back wins against Jacksonville and Philadelphia followed by a loss in Buffalo is just bizarre. Baltimore, meanwhile, has a defense that’s yet to give up a second-half touchdown, but the offensive performance in Cleveland last Sunday left much to be desired. Overall, Baltimore looks like the better team, but you can never really tell for sure in the NFL.
The pick: Baltimore 19, Tennessee 9.
Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) @ New England Patriots (3-2):
In recent history, Kansas City has had New England’s number, including last year’s opening day victory in Foxborough. The Chiefs head there once again this year, and they look just as dangerous as they did a year ago. New England’s defense has looked better, but if Jacksonville couldn’t stop Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense, how will the Patriots? Anything can happen, but bet on the Chiefs coming up big against the Patriots once again.
The pick: Kansas City 38, New England 24.
San Francisco 49ers (1-4) @ Green Bay Packers (2-2-1):
With Jimmy Garoppolo done for the year, this game loses a lot of the luster that it once had. Matt Breida and George Kittle are questionable for Monday night too, and with last week’s loss to the struggling Cardinals at home, it seems like the 49ers have hit rock bottom. Green Bay has been iffy as of late, but this seems like an underhand pitch, especially in front of a raucous Lambeau Field crowd. Aaron Rodgers should lead the Pack to victory on Monday night.
The pick: Green Bay 32, San Francisco 18.
Byes: Detroit Lions (2-3), New Orleans Saints (4-1)
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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