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Week 6 NFL Picks

Coaching is a disaster league-wide, new tactics with Carson Wentz, and the Colts should consider an NIL deal. Oh, and Steve Kerr is lying.

(I knew my picks were due for a reckoning. It came last week. Sorry.)

Last Week:   5 – 9 – 1
Season:        41 – 34 – 4

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Commanders 12 at Bears 7
I thought Ron Rivera’s singling out his quarterback was unfair. I also think it’s good for Carson Wentz. It’s year seven for Wentz. While Wentz has been passively criticized before, no coach has come straight out and pointedly said what Rivera did this week. Then, after Thursday’s victory, Rivera went to bat for Wentz with an impassioned defense of Wentz as his quarterback. I can’t remember the last time anyone came that strong to defend Wentz. It probably won’t change the destiny of Wentz’s season (perhaps his last as a default starter), but who knows. As they say, “When all else fails… fresh tactics!”

Ensuring Nuclear Bunkers Are In Proper Order (Bye Week)

Lions
While a 1-4 start was certainly not what the Lions were hoping, I’m not so sure it qualifies as a disappointing start. Hear me out… Detroit is a real football team again. They’ve been respectable and perhaps more importantly to fans outside Detroit, entertaining in every game until last week. Injuries have simply been too much. Hopefully the bye week will make them whole and the Lions find a way to crawl back into the playoff race.

Titans
Many (raising my hand) left the Titans for dead after Week 2. Three weeks later and they appear destined to win the AFC South again. I’m trying not to use the weak schedule excuse as the reason for their resurgence, but I’m still not convinced they’re a good team. Tennessee is among the bottom third in nearly every significant statistical category… except wins.

Raiders
I think the Raiders found themselves over the last two weeks. A rough first month under Josh McDaniels makes their margin of error razor thin the rest of the season, but I’m not burying them just yet.

Texans
I don’t feel anything about the Texans. Dameon Pierce is fun, though.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

49ers at Falcons
The roughing the passer crisis is real and needs addressing. Everyone was on board when they eliminated head shots and hits below the knees. This, however, is too much. The NFL has to eliminate the bodyweight rule. Quarterbacks are still football players, after all. Getting hit is part of the game. Keeping the pile-driving suplex illegal is perfectly fine, but any normal tackling fashion that results in a player landing on a quarterback must be legalized. Football is an aggressive sport. Sometimes you just have to live with the consequences of that reality. FALCONS +5

Patriots at Browns
Spiderman meme game alert. Both offenses are going to try to win the game on the ground with their two-headed backfield and hope their less-than-stellar quarterback doesn’t need to win the game in the 4th quarter. We saw how that went for Jacoby Brissett last week. There’s a recent surge of “New England could be a playoff team” from the media. I just don’t see it. Feels foolish to doubt Bill Belichick, but their schedule is a mess in December. The Patriots will likely spend the next month winning games and media adoration (CHI, @NYJ, IND, NYJ) only to finish 2-5 or 3-4 in their final seven games (@MINN, BUF, @AZ, @LV, CINC, MIA, @BUF). Stay off the bandwagon. It’s going to crash around Christmas. PATRIOTS +2.5

Jets at Packers
How much longer until Aaron Rodgers finds himself in a Jordan Poole situation? I don’t care if you’re the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, or that you’re not really to blame for the loss in London. At some point, you have to shut up and be part of the team and not above it. It’s shocking to say, especially with Rodgers under center, but Green Bay finds themselves in dire straights when they neglect the run game. With a two score lead at the half against the Giants, the Packers should’ve pounded the run in the 2nd half. Instead, they threw the ball at a 2-to-1 ratio. I can’t remember the last time I lacked this much confidence in picking the Packers after a loss. At home. Against the Jets. Yikes. PACKERS -7

Jaguars at Colts
We’re only in Week 6 and the Jaguars are far from panic mode. However, let’s say the Trevor Lawrence from the last two weeks sticks around for the majority of the season and Jacksonville finds itself with yet another top ten pick. I can’t imagine they give up on such a prized and unanimously beloved quarterback prospect after just two seasons. On the other hand, Lawrence has been so bad the last two weeks that Doug Pederson reportedly texted Carson Wentz about reuniting for the 2023 season. (Just Kidding.) Speaking of drafting a quarterback in the first round… the Colts need a franchise quarterback. No duh, right? What if the Colts went all in on one of this year’s prize prospects with an out of this world NIL deal? Hey Bryce Young, we think you’re great. Here’s $25 million. Just remember us in late April, hmmkay? COLTS -2.5

Vikings at Dolphins
Been a rough couple of weeks for the Dolphins, to say the least. From 3-0 atop the AFC to 3rd place in the AFC East. Thankfully, some good news is on the way. Teddy Bridgewater returned to practice Thursday, albeit in limited fashion, and after the Vikings on Sunday Miami has three get right games in a row (PITT, @DET, @CHI). I don’t trust the Vikings in any situation at any location, so I already feel horrible about this pick. VIKINGS -3

Bengals at Saints
I know I just said the 1-4 Raiders and Lions can still get themselves into the playoff hunt, so this may seem contradictory, but it feels like it’s getting late early for 2-3 Bengals. Cincinnati’s offense just can’t get right in 2022. What’s surprising is their offensive stats aren’t far off their 2021 output. Scoring is the only glaring difference. The Bengals are five points behind their average score from a year ago. Additionally, they’re clearly struggling to get the ball in Ja’Marr Chase’s hands this season. The offensive line continues to struggle and Zac Taylor lost his mind inside the red zone last Sunday night. Good news? The Saints love giving up points. BENGALS -2

Ravens at Giants
About a decade ago, drafting running backs high in the draft was unanimously declared a poor personnel move. When the Giants took Saquon Barkley 2nd overall in 2018 it came with many a side eye from NFL folk. Those folks looked silly during Barkley’s rookie campaign and were then justified over the following three seasons. Now healthy, Barkley is again proving his doubters wrong. There’s simply no reason, given the lack of talent on that offense, for the Giants to be 4-1 right now. Opposing defenses have only one weapon to scheme against and they’ve been unable to limit what Barkley does for the Giant offense. I don’t necessarily think Barkley changes the narrative on drafting running backs early in the first round, but he’s undoubtedly the most impactful running back we’ve seen since LaDainian Tomlinson. (Apologies to Derrick Henry.) GIANTS +5.5

Buccaneers at Steelers
Week 5 was a tough one for coaches. We already mentioned Zac Taylor’s whoopsie, but he was far from alone. Brandon Staley actively tried to lose, Nathaniel Hackett thought it was 2016 and Matt Ryan was still lethal, and Kliff Kingsbury Kliff Kinsbury’d for what felt like the 20th week in a row. Coaches are out their minds of late. That’s why it feels good to have stable coaches like Mike Tomlin in league because their teams are always well prepared and ready to compete. Or not. The Steelers are a mess, and while Tomlin isn’t making obvious mistakes during the game, he’s not doing so hot behind the scenes. Pittsburgh has lost four straight. They blew a double digit 4th quarter lead to the Jets at home and then completely no-showed in Buffalo. The spark that Kenny Pickett was supposed to bring to the offense fizzled pretty fast and the vaunted Steeler defense surrendered 45 points in three consecutive quarters spanning the Jets and Bills games. Nonetheless, I believe Tomlin will right the ship and at least bring the Steelers back to respectability. I just don’t know that it’ll result in winning games any time soon. STEELERS +9

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Panthers at Rams
Matt Rhule is gone and the Panthers can hopefully move forward. Then again, David Tepper doesn’t give off vibes of competent ownership, so maybe Panther fans should brace themselves for the worst. Either way, it was time for Rhule to go. The team, outside of a 3-0 start in 2021, never found its footing. It certainly didn’t help that the quarterback situation was never settled during his tenure, but Rhule looked in over his head. The Chip Kelly comparisons made sense with one very significant exception: Rhule never traded Carolina’s best players for pennies on the dollar simply because he didn’t like their attitude. So keep your heads up, Carolina. At least you still have talented players. RAMS -10

Cardinals at Seahawks
Geno Smith is the better and more exciting quarterback in this matchup. He’s owed $3.5 million this season before he’s a free agent. The other quarterback is owed AND guaranteed $189.5 million over the next 5 years. Make wise choices, people. Speaking of wise choices… Steve Kerr is a heckuva liar. His press conference pertaining to Draymond Green returning to the team was Oscar worthy. Kerr sounded crushed about the current state of the team in the aftermath of the fight and how the video coming to light was devastating to the team’s culture. Bull****. The Warriors leaked that video. Don’t believe their lies. Green wants a new contract and the Warriors cannot simply refuse to offer their defensive lynchpin of the past 7 years a new deal without the fan base erupting. They needed an out and they found it with the video. Now they can either lowball Green and force his hand out of town or use his tumultuous history… now on video… as the reason to move on. CARDINALS -2.5

Bills at Chiefs
We’ve all been waiting for the rematch since the chaotic ending of their Divisional Playoff thriller eight months ago. It’ll probably disappoint if held to that standard but let’s hope for a close contest nonetheless. At some point, the Chiefs need to find a consistent downfield threat. It’s the only thing missing from their offense right now. They don’t run the football in a dominating fashion but they’ve been effective at running it when needed thus far. I’ve also been slightly surprised by the ineffectiveness of JuJu Smith-Schuster. He and Patrick Mahomes haven’t clicked yet. From the outside looking in, I’d argue Mahomes doesn’t trust Schuster in the offense. The Bills offense, meanwhile, is firing on all cylinders. It’ll be interesting to see if this is where the injuries in their secondary finally catch up to them. CHIEFS +2.5

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Cowboys at Eagles
I’m not often confident about my teams. In fact, I’m more likely to find the bad than the good. On that note, I’m overly confident the Eagles win Sunday night. Cooper Rush won’t be able to do enough for the Cowboys. Yes, the Dallas defense is insanely good and they’re fed up with hearing about Jalen Hurts, but the Eagles don’t turn the ball over. Dallas’ limited offense has thrived off turnovers in Dak Prescott’s absence. I don’t think Philadelphia (lowest giveaways in the league) will allow them the same opportunities. Additionally, Nick Sirianni is no dummy. Nothing slows a relentless pass rush more effectively than a punishing ground game. The Eagles entire offensive line is trending toward playing. I should be concerned with how confident I am. COWBOYS +6.5

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Broncos at Chargers
Poor Russell Wilson. Despite all the success and all the money and all the Ciara, it can’t feel good to get booed out of your own stadium a month into the relationship. I was dumb enough to believe the Broncos would figure this out, and while there’s plenty of time left to do so, I just don’t think the right pieces are in place. Nathaniel Hackett is drowning on live television every week and Wilson plays like he’s 43 not 33. Worst of all, it’s beginning to look like Wilson’s teammates have lost faith in him. The quotes after their ugly loss to the Colts were not ones of hope and belief in their quarterback. Instead, it was shoulder shrugs, frustration and a resignation to their current state of despair. CHARGERS -4.5

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