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NFL Week 6 Picks, Odds: Browns shock Steelers, Bear (!) Wins, Titans / Texans shootout

As mentioned in the Friday Pick Six Podcast, we have seen an increase in call handling, up to almost a full holding flag per game since last week. That may not sound like a big deal, but it does cost a ton – when you start calling for more holdings, you reduce scoring and you drag games.

Will we see another increase this week? Or will the NFL continue to emphasize scoring? At some point there will be a drop below it in celebration, but I don’t think that will happen this week (I may be wrong, my choices have not been spot on in the last few weeks). I think we see a lot of scoring and a couple of uprisings.

Without further ado, all my weekly bets:

Chicago (4-1
) Carolina (3-2)

1 pm ET (Fox)
Spread the point: Panther, -2.5

I really don’t like this game from a betting perspective, however, I decided to take a new angle on the Bears and their fans this season. Instead of picking them up to lose 24-3 per week and hearing the dirt from them when they win, I’ll take a triple-level troll move here and start picking them up to win each week. Yes, I will sacrifice my personal ATS record in the hopes of losing to Bear every game that progresses. Let’s warm up!

The Choose: Bears 17, Panthers 16

Baltimore (4-1) Philadelphia (1-2-1)

1 pm ET (CBS)
Spread the point: Ravens -7.5

For a hot minute there, I leaned on the bail to my “Carson Wentz shocks the world with a backdoor cover” … and I decided to do it. The Ravens are just a better team and they are not afraid to blow up a bad team. We haven’t seen a NOVA game from Lamar Jackson yet and I think we’ll get this one this week. He and Marquise Brown are hanging for a couple of marks on a porous Eagles defense and Lamar is running for another couple himself.

Selection: Ravens 41, Eagles 17

Atlanta (0-5) in Minnesota (1-4)

1 pm ET (Fox)
Spread the point: Vikings -4

Anyone who has read my columns of choice over the years knows that I am a fan of Dead Cat Bounce. If you don’t know what that means, it usually involves a team shooting its coach and then playing well next week. Players recognize this as something (Brady Quinn mentions how everyone fills up energy in a notch when the coach is canned because you realize everyone’s work is on the line) and it shows well on the line of stat and results. We saw the Texans take care of business against the Jags last week after Bill O’Brien was fired. I think the Falcons will do something similar and try to unleash it against a porous Vikings defense. Matt Ryan will comment on Arthur Blank’s comments and is looking to prove something. Big day for him, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

The Choose: Falcons 35, Vikings 28

Cleveland (4-1) at Pittsburgh (4-0)

1 pm ET (CBS)
Spread the point: Steelers -3.5

Really, really, really want to pick Browns here. I think they are legit at 4-1 – the first time since 1994 – but the specific circumstances surrounding this game make me quite aware. We do not know if Odell Beckham will play, after the star receiver was sent home sick on Thursday. Baker Mayfield should have gone well, but he crashed this week. The Steelers never lost to Cleveland at home under Mike Tomlin. Ben Roethlisberger EXCEEDS the Browns because they passed it in 2004 and he still has a chip on his shoulder. But you know what? I do not care. I am here to LIVE. Give me Cleveland. Love this game too, as well.

The Selection: Browns 31, Steelers 28

Houston (1-4) in Tennessee (4-0)

1 pm ET (CBS)
Spread the point: Titans -3

I no longer doubt Mike Vrabel’s team. What a wonderful effort against Buffalo without practice. He went to the Whole Belichick and convinced his team to be motivated by rotating the COVID protocols. It worked and Tennessee looked great against Buffalo. They used a formula – lowering the scope of the zone and forcing an impatient quarterback who wanted to run to beat them by reading the whole field and being overly aggressive in the short windows – to release Josh Allen. We saw the Vikings do the same thing against Deshaun Watson and it worked really well. I think we’ll see a repeat this week and the Titans could win this game. I also love over 53 here, but if you go that route you need Watson to lob up the points late, which Allen and Buffalo did not.

The Choose: Titans 31, Texans 24

1 pm ET (Fox)
Spread the point: Giants -2.5

I will not be able to complicate things here: the Giants should not expand on any football game today.

The Choose: Washington 17, Giants 14

Cincinnati (1-3-1) in Indianapolis (3-2)

1 pm ET (CBS)
Spread the point: Indianapolis -8

Make a major mistake assuming Joe Burrow could attack in the back against the Ravens and their defense. I think Indy will be different – their defense is good, but they are willing to let the teams hang by not closing the red zone and playing to avoid / melt the clock in the second half. That should be enough to allow Joe Burrow to get through the backdoor getting more than one touchdown. If Darius Leonard does not play, I would like Joe Mixon’s prop overs and use him on DFS. I love Jonathan Taylor props either way. Coming breakout game for him.

The Choose: Colts 21, Bengals 14

Denver (1-3) in New England (2-2)

1 pm ET (CBS)
Spread the point: Steelers -9.5

There are nearly 20 quarterbacks under the age of 25 who have won a football game – home or not – against Bill Belichick in 20 years. That’s not much. The Pats are not the same at their peak, but they did bottle Patrick Mahomes the other day. I think they can handle Drew Lock and / or Brett Rypien. With the return of Cam Newton and the rise of Damien Harris, we will surely see this game that ends up being a low-score slog with a late score in New England defense.

The Choose: Patriots 28, Broncos 14

Detroit (1-3) in Jacksonville (1-4)

1 pm ET (Fox)
Spread the point: Lions -3

The Lions are better than 1-3, will come a farewell, have a very good pass offense and play against the worst defense in football. The Jaguars can’t stop anyone and lack full efficiency when it comes to their red zone performance and / or their kicking game. Gardner Minshew should pass this game – the Lions are not good at defense either – but I’ll take the better quarterback and the better team here that puts points. If Matt Patricia had exploded another double digit lead he might have been looking for a job.

The Choose: Lions 35, Jaguars 31

4:05 pm ET (CBS)
Spread the point: Dolphins -8

Again, things will not get complicated here: I will not bet on the combination of the Jets and Adam Gase again, especially since they removed Joe Flacco and Frank Gore.

The Choose: Dolphins 24, Jets 13

Green Bay (4-0) at Tampa Bay (3-2)

4:25 pm ET (Fox)
Spread the point: Packers -1

Remaining late game between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The Packers are probably the better team here, but it’s kind of a desperate game for the Buccaneers, who fall 3-3 after losing to the Bears last week. The Packers are no longer saying goodbye but the Bucs are also getting a 10 day break as well. I was interested to see how the Tampa run defense responded to the loss of the Vita Vea. One of the best running defenders in the NFL just a few years into his career, losing him could unlock Aaron Jones in a big way. I regret this pick if it has a problem, but I tend to think that Brady – who caught a backhanded insult from Jamaal Williams this week – will come out with guns blazing for this fight and will home business care.

The Choose: Buccaneers 28, Packers 24

8:20 pm ET (NBC)
Spread the point: 49ers +3.5

Like the Philly game, I would buy as low as possible a dog here. The 49ers are a team that wants nothing to do. They just lost to the Dolphins in a terrific way home. The Rams are playing well and everyone will be with them. Give me Jimmy Garoppolo a bounceback / buy-low spot, with the 49ers fast attack and a big stage for George Kittle. Kyle Shanahan will not only lie down and be steamrolled again at home, especially in a massive division game against a rival in the 49ers who desperately needs to achieve a win in the upcoming major division games. They will hang close or win straight.

The Choose: 49ers 24, Rams 21

Kansas City (4-1) at Buffalo (4-1)

5 pm ET (NFLN)
Spread the point: Leader -3.5

Like the Titans, the Chiefs showed the ability to play multiple zone covers and limit an explosive offense passed to a fast quarterback. They should be able to do this against the Bills here – I’m a little worried that they could hand over the shots to Stefon Diggs like they did to Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholar for Las Vegas last week, but I think they can cook Steve Spagnuolo a defense to slow down Buffalo. I don’t think Buffalo can stop the Chiefs’ offense today. Oddly, this may be a right place for Patrick Mahomes and Co.

The Choose: Chiefs 35, Bills 28

Cardinals (3-2) Dallas (2-3)

8:20 pm ET (ESPN)
Spread the point: Cardinals -1.5

Andy Dalton in prime time? Yes, I fade him. I think Dalton will really play well in this area, with Chandler Jones for the Cardinals and the weapons he has. But the Cowboys are dealing with major offensive issues on the line and the unprotected Dalton is a problem. The Cowboys’ defense is impressive and Kyler Murray / DeAndre Hopkins should not hit them in the air.

The Choose: Cardinals 28, Cowboys 21

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