NFL Game Picks: Week 6
Danny Murray and Zac Kaye make their picks for every NFL game in Week 6:
With five weeks gone, the NFL is starting to show why it’s a league of parity. Last week’s edition of the NFL game picks was the first to dip below .500, as only 7 of the 15 games were predicted correctly. The age-old adage “any given Sunday” rings true. Still, two perfect teams remain (New England and San Francisco), as do four winless teams (Cincinnati, Miami, NY Jets and Washington). All six of these teams are in action this week. Which undefeateds finally fall and which winless squads get that coveted first win in Week 6? Let’s find out with another edition of the NFL game picks.
New York Giants (2-3) at New England Patriots (5-0)
Who’s going to beat the Patriots? So far, New England has outscored its opponents 155-34 through five weeks. Sure, those opponents have a combined record of 5-18, but the point remains that the New England defense has been dominant, allowing only two touchdowns so far. New York seriously has its work cut out. With both Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman likely out for Thursday’s match, the Giants will be playing with scraps on offense. The G-Men enter Gillette Stadium as 17-point underdogs. They may cover that spread, but they won’t get the outright win.
Prediction: New England 24, NY Giants 10
Carolina Panthers (3-2) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
The second London game of the year is also the first rematch of the year, as these two teams already met in Week 2. Tampa Bay had the upper hand last time, but the script has been flipped. Carolina looks like a playoff contender once again thanks to Kyle Allen’s solid quarterbacking performance in place of the injured Cam Newton, as well as Christian McCaffrey, who looks like the NFL MVP through the first quarter of the season. Tampa Bay has been hanging around, but that offense is still totally inconsistent. The Panthers get their revenge across the Atlantic.
Prediction: Carolina 22, Tampa Bay 17
Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
A rough season for Cincinnati gets rougher. The Bengals gave both the struggling Steelers and Cardinals their first wins in consecutive weeks and now must travel to division-leading Baltimore in Week 6. Sure, the Ravens didn’t look their sharpest in Pittsburgh last week, but they should be able to rebound quite nicely against Cincinnati. After all, the Ravens field the league’s No. 1 scoring offense, while the Bengals take the NFL’s No. 31 defense on the road. Lamar Jackson returns to his early season form and seals the home win for the Ravens.
Prediction: Baltimore 30, Cincinnati 16
Seattle Seahawks (4-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-3)
Although Patrick Mahomes gets all the headlines, Russell Wilson has truly been the NFL’s best quarterback through five weeks. With 12 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a completion percentage of 73.1, Wilson has been nearly unstoppable. He’ll take that firepower to FirstEnergy Stadium this week, as he and the Seahawks take on the struggling Browns. Baker Mayfield hasn’t looked at all like his incredible 2018 rookie campaign, and the Cleveland defense has only allowed fewer than 20 points once. Wilson and company stay hot with a road victory.
Prediction: Seattle 29, Cleveland 12
Houston Texans (3-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
It’s the matchup we’ve all been waiting for. Two of the NFL’s highest-touted offenses duke it out, each led by a dynamic, young quarterback with MVP aspirations. Despite a couple weaker outings recently, Patrick Mahomes has been the more consistent of the two, though Deshaun Watson’s highs have been higher, already posting two 350-yard, three-touchdown outings in 2019. Neither defense really stands out, so we should be in the for the high-stakes, high-scoring duel that we’ve craved. With the home crowd on his side, Mahomes outduels Watson in an epic offensive showdown.
Prediction: Kansas City 39, Houston 35
Washington Redskins (0-5) at Miami Dolphins (0-4)
Texans-Chiefs might be the best game of the week, but all eyes should really be on this spectacle. The two worst teams in the NFL go head-to-head in a battle for tank supremacy. The Redskins are an absolute mess, and the firing of Jay Gruden just five weeks into the season proves that. Oddly enough, the Dolphins are in a better position despite having been outscored 163-26 this season. The bye week can do wonders for morale, and Josh Rosen doesn’t look half bad in the starting role. If there was ever a week for Miami to snag a win, it would be this one.
Prediction: Miami 15, Washington 10
Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) at Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
There might not be a more hot-and-cold team in the NFL than Minnesota (though the Titans could certainly give the Vikings a run for their money). A week after an ugly, ugly outing in Chicago, Kirk Cousins looked just dandy against the Giants, tossing a pair of touchdowns on 306 yards. The Eagles have looked far more consistent on all fronts, putting together back-to-back wins against the Packers and Jets. Considering how volatile this Minnesota team is, the smarter and more reliable choice here is a Philadelphia team that has looked better every single week.
Prediction: Philadelphia 22, Minnesota 16
New Orleans Saints (4-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Ever since Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury, the mission for the Saints has been to stay afloat until his return. They’ve more than accomplished that task, posting a 3-0 record with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Though each of Bridgewater’s victories have come in one-score games, New Orleans remains a Super Bowl contender nonetheless. A trip to Jacksonville against rookie sensation Gardner Minshew presents a challenge, as does a solid Jaguars defense, but the Saints are able to pull it out once again to maintain Bridgewater’s perfect record as the starter.
Prediction: New Orleans 29, Jacksonville 18
Atlanta Falcons (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (1-3-1)
The season is quickly escaping from the Falcons. Dan Quinn is supposedly a defensive mastermind, but his team gave up 53 points and 592 yards last week. Just three years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, Quinn has found himself on the hot seat. He’ll get his easiest test so far against an inexperienced Arizona team that fields one of the worst offensive lines in the league. If Quinn and the Falcons can’t pull out a win in the desert, things could get ugly in Atlanta. Fortunately for the Falcons, the bleeding finally stops with a win in Week 6.
Prediction: Atlanta 25, Arizona 14
San Francisco 49ers (4-0) at Los Angeles Rams (3-2)
No one could have predicted the 2019 season to go this well for San Francisco. Yes, there was plenty of promise to buy into with a young, exciting defense and an all-time great offensive play caller for a head coach in Kyle Shanahan, but the 49ers have exceeded all expectations. They’ll face their toughest challenge so far with a Week 6 visit to the rival Rams, which are angry after a missed field goal killed their chances of a Thursday night win in Seattle. Los Angeles rebounds by handing the 49ers their first loss of the season in another tight NFC West contest.
Prediction: LA Rams 32, San Francisco 28
Dallas Cowboys (3-2) at New York Jets (0-4)
Sam Darnold has a lot of cleanup work to do. The Jets left a mess in his absence, dropping all three of their contests against Cleveland, New England and Philadelphia by a combined score of 84-23. Week 6 isn’t exactly a warm welcome back, as Darnold takes on a solid Dallas team. After starting 3-0, the Cowboys have had their weaknesses exposed by the Saints and Packers in back-to-back weeks, but this is the perfect kind of game for Dallas get back on track. Despite Darnold’s best efforts, the Cowboys enter the Meadowlands and leave with a win.
Prediction: Dallas 29, NY Jets 17
Tennessee Titans (2-3) at Denver Broncos (1-4)
The Titans have always been inconsistent on the offensive end, and last week’s 7-point outing against Buffalo is proof. That Tennessee defense is something special, but it doesn’t mean much if the offense can’t do a thing. As for the opposition, Denver finally got the monkey off its back last week, defeating the Chargers on the road for the team’s first win of the season. The defense is slowly working its way back into its usual groove, and Phillip Lindsay looks ready to continue his role as the star back. The Broncos ride Lindsay to their second win of the season on Sunday.
Prediction: Denver 17, Tennessee 13
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-3)
Perhaps the NFL’s two most disappointing squads face off on Sunday night. The Steelers have a bit more of an excuse, as both Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph have taken nasty injuries, leaving Devlin Hodges to lead the black and gold for the foreseeable future. The Chargers have had their share of injuries too, but there’s no reason for the offense to be as erratic as it has been with Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon all available as weapons. Los Angeles disappoints once again with a shocking Sunday night loss to Pittsburgh.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, LA Chargers 19
Detroit Lions (2-1-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-1)
The NFC North is stacked from top to bottom, and as it stands today, these are the division’s top two squads. Green Bay has traditionally dominated this matchup, but the Lions have turned on the jets recently, taking the last four meetings between these two teams. Fresh off a bye and boasting a top-10 offense, Detroit looks ready to continue that streak. Of course, Aaron Rodgers might have something to say about that. With both teams looking well-rounded on all ends, this should be one of the best games of the week. In thrilling fashion, Matthew Stafford leads Detroit to its fifth straight win over the Packers.
Prediction: Detroit 26, Green Bay 24
Byes: Buffalo Bills (4-1), Chicago Bears (3-2), Indianapolis Colts (3-2), Oakland Raiders (3-2)
DJ Bauer is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.