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Week Six Picks

October 10th, 2019

Now, that’s more like it.

I got my ass kicked in week five. It wasn’t so bad picking straight up. I finished the week 9-6, which no one could argue is a successful outcome, regardless of whether it’s on the right side of .500. Against the spread? Brutal. 5-10. That’s just embarrassing.

That awful week picking with the points gets me below .500 for the season, too. I currently stand at 37-40-1 (.481). I’m still OK straight up, 51-26-1 (.660), but I’m sure I’ll find my way into the tank with the “easy” picks soon enough.

Here’s what not to expect in week six

NY Giants (+17) at New England
If the Giants were bringing their offense with them to this game, it would probably be meaningful to cite the bit three predictive stats. And that would go like this: passer rating differential, Patriots +38.7; scoring differential, Patriots +14.9; takeaway/giveaway differential, Patriots +12. Then it might make sense to point out that the critically outmatched Giants are traveling on short rest. And then it would only follow to observe that all indicators point to a blowout. But the thing is, New Jersey isn’t bringing an offense into this game. That seems sort of problematic all by itself, doesn’t it? Patriots by three touchdowns (maybe they make the extra points; maybe they don’t).

Carolina (-2.5) vs. Tampa Bay at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
The Panthers have been benefiting lately from much better quarterback play than they had when these teams met in Charlotte four weeks ago. Is that enough? Maybe just. Carolina by a point.

Cincinnati (+11.5) at Baltimore
The best you can say about the Ravens is that they’re uneven. But the best you can say about the Bengals is that their season will be officially over after just another 11 weeks. Baltimore by 13.

Seattle (-1.5) at Cleveland
Picking against the spread gets a lot easier when you have a favorite that’s consistently underestimated and an underdog that’s consistently overestimated. Seahawks by seven.

Houston (+4.5) at Kansas City
YepThese teams are virtually identical on paper. Or close enough to merit a look at the predictive stats, anyhow. Passer rating differential, Chiefs +6.9; scoring differential, Chiefs +1.4; takeaway/giveaway differential, even. That sure appears to point to a victory by the home team, though the uncertain condition of Patrick Mahomes’ ankle throws a bit of a wrench into the works. Let’s go with Kansas City by three.

New Orleans (+1) at Jacksonville
The Jaguars are pretty tough when the competition isn’t. Saints by six.

Philadelphia (+3) at Minnesota
If you can limit Dalvin Cook, you can beat the Vikings. I think the Eagles can limit Cook. Philadelphia by a field goal.

Washington (-3.5) at Miami
If the Crimson Tide are trying to persuade Tua Tagovailoa to stick around for his senior year, they should make him watch this game. Washington by virtue of some kind of accidental touchdown.

San Francisco (+3) at LA Rams
Someone needs to tell the Rams that you don’t get an automatic bid to return to the Super Bowl just because you think you should have won the last one. Or don’t. I don’t really care. Anyhow, it might already be too late. Niners by a touchdown.

Atlanta (-2.5) at Arizona
Everyone knows that neither of these teams has a defense. I’m also not convinced either has an offense. Maybe the Cardinals are developing one. But I don’t know. I’d like to see them beat a tough opponent before I get too excite. That’s not happening this week no matter what. And frankly, I don’t think they’re quite ready to beat the Falcons anyhow. Atlanta by a point.

Dallas (-7) at NY Jets
I keep trying to tell you the Cowboys aren’t all that good, and you keep refusing to listen. But “not all that good” only goes so far. And it stops quite a ways before you get to “might lose to the Jets.” Dallas by 10.

Tennessee (+2) at Denver
I want to put my faith in the Tennessee defense. But I can’t. Not in Denver. Not right now. Broncos by three.

Pittsburgh (+7) at LA Chargers
I don’t know where seven comes from. I mean, yeah, the Chargers are winning this game. (Do the Steelers even have a quarterback right now?) But I don’t know how you look at this Los Angeles team and conclude they should be giving a touchdown to anyone. Except maybe Miami. And they already played that game. Chargers by four.

Detroit (+4) at Green Bay
There isn’t nearly so much separating these teams as one might be tempted to imagine. But there’s at least enough to make home field matter. Packers by three.

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