Week 6 is a very weird one in the NFL. There are four (yes, four) double-digit favorites as the slate opens and that does not include a New England Patriots team that is laying more than a touchdown against the New York Jets. From a totals perspective, those kind of significant spreads can throw things into chaos and, for good measure, there are injury situations across the league that also make handicapping all the more the difficult.
We will not be deterred, though, and our principles are all that we have. Before we get to the picks, let’s take a look at what has been a successful campaign to this point in the calendar.
- Last Week: 3-2
- Season: 16-9
To the surprise of no one, we’re going Under for all five picks again this week. If it ain’t broke…
Patriots and Jets UNDER 47.5 points
Bill Belichick and company may have figured something out in last week’s win over Tampa Bay, even if the Pats remain the worst defense in the league on paper. It isn’t going to be fun to take the under on a game involving Tom Brady but the Jets are respectable enough on defense to put up a fight and I’m just not sure they can/will score against New England. Moreover, this feels like a spot for the Pats to send something of a message and that could manifest in a 31-9 type of final score.
Browns and Texans UNDER 47 points
The Browns are 4-1 to the Under this season and that looks to continue here. Yes, all the public money will be on the Over after Houston’s offense has exploded for three straight weeks but the Texans have absolutely no incentive to open things up against this Browns team. Cleveland is starting Kevin Hogan on Sunday and that is quick way for me to take the Under, especially when I think the Browns are better on defense than some people believe.
Bucs and Cardinals UNDER 22.5 points in the first half
Arizona was desperate enough to trade for Adrian Peterson this week and it seems likely that they will look to him early and often in this spot. If you have the Under, you love that outcome. This pick is more about the Cardinals’ defense, though, as it has quietly been a better-than-average unit this season. The Bucs should be able to score here but not necessarily at will and I’m not sure the Cards want to get into a shootout. Look for a grind-it-out effort before halftime.
Steelers and Chiefs UNDER 46 points
The Steelers are a public mess at the moment but Pittsburgh’s defense is sneakily impressive. In fact, the “smart money” has been on Pittsburgh to give Kansas City its first loss this week and, while that isn’t our bread and butter in this space, it factors in to the analysis. The Chiefs have been awesome to watch offensively but they haven’t seen a defense quite like this one (with Washington as the potential exception) and they can’t just dominate every single week. Methinks the Steelers get back to the basics, run the ball aggressively and keep this total manageable.
Giants and Broncos UNDER 19.5 points in the first half
Things might get ugly on Sunday night. The Giants are violently undermanned right now in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and others and, in short, New York’s offense is going to be challenged as a result. Even if New York was at full strength, this would be a terrifying road match-up against a strong Broncos defense and projecting anything more than 13 points from the Giants would be… aggressive. On the flip side, Denver’s offense is coming off a bye and should be ready to go in this spot. I do think that the Giants’ defense isn’t as bad as it seems right now and, well, the Broncos know they don’t have to crazy. The first half Under brings a truer outcome to the table and, even when it is obscenely low, it appears to be the right side.