After a soft Week 5 slate, Week 6 promises more competitive matchups than most weeks this season. It is a truly mixed bag, and with it, some of the top teams in the league. Here’s how our picks look heading into a stretch in which we will see 12 of 16 games (including the Monday Night Football game on ESPN) decided by four points or less.
NEW ENGLAND (-9) at DALLAS
I can’t imagine Patriots fans are happy about having to play a road game this weekend. Tom Brady can play that way. Yes, the Patriots have already played three road games — one against Houston, one against Jacksonville and the other on the road in the division with a Seattle squad that I think is a better team than New England. But I expect Brady and Bill Belichick to make things easy for themselves, and win comfortably. I think the Cowboys can cover. Dallas does not look that good right now, and if not for Ezekiel Elliott and Cameron Fleming, the Cowboys would not be a pick against the spread this week. Facing the Patriots in a short week, Dallas may have to overcome some early nerves in order to beat the Patriots.
For the record, I picked Dallas to win in Week 1, and I picked them to win in Week 7.
CHICAGO (-8.5) at CAROLINA
After a brutal start to the season, I think the Bears can use this game as a springboard to win four of their final five regular-season games. Jay Cutler’s injury is a big blow, but one that the Bears are in a pretty good spot to overcome. Chicago has one of the best running games in the league, and with Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham each having started a game this season, the Bears have ample options for anything Carolina throws at them. The Panthers have a golden opportunity to right themselves after starting 2-3, but they are one of the worst pass defenses in the league, and the Bears have the talent to exploit it. I don’t trust Chicago to cover a huge point spread, and I think the Panthers will win the game by a pretty comfortable margin.
SEATTLE (-2.5) at NE
It’s hard to pick Seattle as a division favorite given the team’s lackluster run defense and the unpredictability of its passing attack. The Seahawks are susceptible to big plays when they make them. Russell Wilson is at his best when the team he’s playing with — or when he isn’t being pressured — is on the other side of the ball. The Rams, who feature an elite defense and a formidable offense, came in with a 2-3 record, so they aren’t in Seattle’s class. If the Seahawks win outright, I’ll take Seattle, but I’m anticipating a close game. I think the Rams win by four points, and I think they make it look easy in the process.
MIAMI (-3) at LARIMER
Maybe you’re a conspiracy theorist who really, really thinks the Dolphins should be playing at home. That’s fine. Give me another team with a quarterback like Brock Osweiler. Call me crazy, but I’ll take Miami here. You’ve got to love Lamar Miller, and Sony Michel isn’t really a threat yet. The Dolphins are the better team right now, and they’ll beat the Lions — the Lions don’t really deserve the record they have — but not by that much.
CINCINNATI (-1) at WASHINGTON
Before the season, the Bengals and Redskins were supposed to be division opponents. Now, that part is completely gone. Cincinnati is already in last place in the AFC North, and Washington is surging in the NFC East. What a difference a week makes. If Washington can hold onto its lead, the Bengals will be forced to go for two points. It just doesn’t feel like a great matchup.
Last week: 5-8