After an impressive 33-13 victory at Cleveland, the Patriots return to Foxboro to face the Cincinnati Bengals. Gillette Stadium will be rocking for the 2016 home debut of Tom Brady after his four game Article 46 exile. With clear skies and only a slight breeze perhaps the wine and cheese crowd might even remain in their red seats and brave the 67° forecasted temperature to view TB12 live, rather than retreating to the Putnam Club lounge.
The game kicks off at 1:00 pm eastern time with fairly extensive nationwide coverage by CBS. Ian Eagle will handle the play-by-play duties, with Dan Fouts adding in the commentary. Why these two are considered by CBS to be the number two broadcast team while the Greg Gumbel-Trent Green duo is third is baffling.
In the late time slot there are two interesting NFC contests. Green Bay hosts a much improved Dallas team seeking its fifth straight win. The Packers need a win to stay close to undefeated Minnesota in the NFC North. At the same time the Falcons take their Space Invaders Offense to the CLink against Seattle. Atlanta owns the best offense in the NFL while the Seahawks rank third, averaging just 13.5 points allowed per game. To see what is being broadcast where you live, check out Pats fan JP Kirby’s NFL Maps.
New England Patriots Game of the Week
★★★★★ 2-3 Cincinnati Bengals at 4-1 New England Patriots
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Evan Washburn
Patriots -7½ . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . NWE -360, CIN +300
Any defense with Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict, Domato Peko, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson – complimented with AJ Green at wide receiver – cannot be taken lightly. More disconcerting to me is that teams tend to rebound after a poor performance, and Cincy looked awful last week. Even though the Bengals are a desperate team on the ropes, the Patriots should win this game easily. Considering the stinker against Buffalo is still fresh in their memory, there is no reason for the Patriots to be looking ahead to next week’s game at Pittsburgh.
Once again an Ohio team is in the wrong place at the wrong time. The scorched earth tour continues.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Bengals 17
Patriots -7½ (one unit) . . . . . over 47½ . . . . . New England -360
Final Score: Patriots 35, Bengals 17 ✓
Patriots -7½ ✓ . . . . over 47½ ✓ . . . . Patriots -360 ✓
NFL Week 6 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread
★★ 3-2 Baltimore Ravens at 2-3 New York Giants
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Jamie Erdahl
Giants -3½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . NYG -175, BAL +155
I am not buying the ‘Ravens could be 5-0’ line after losing two close games. Baltimore’s three wins were against bad teams, while the Giants had to go on the road to play Minnesota and Green Bay. The Giants should dominate the Baltimore offensive line, but New York’s 29th ranked minus-7 turnover differential is disconcerting.
Prediction: Giants 23, Ravens 21
Ravens +3½ . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Baltimore +155
Final Score: Giants 27, Ravens 23 ✓
Ravens +3½ x . . . . under 44½ x . . . . Ravens +155 x
★★★★ 1-3 Carolina Panthers at 1-3 New Orleans Saints
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Sam Rosen, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin
Panthers -3 . . . . over/under 53½ . . . . CAR -150, NOR +130
This is a big game for the two NFC South rivals. Neither team has lived up to preseason expectations and one of these two clubs will drop to 1-4. While the Super Bowl hangover is a real thing for teams that have less time to rest and rehabilitate their bodies after playing until February, it seems unfathomable that the Panthers are on the precipice of tumbling from 15-1 to 1-5. The New Orleans running game has improved, taking some pressure off of Drew Brees to do it all. Even so I will take Cam Newton’s return to give Carolina enough of a lift to overcome a raucous partisan N’awlins dome crowd.
Prediction: Panthers 31, Saints 27
Panthers -3 . . . . . over 53½ . . . . . Carolina -150
Final Score: Saints 41, Panthers 38 x
Panthers -3 x . . . . over 53½ ✓ . . . . Panthers -150 x
★★★ 4-1 Pittsburgh Steelers at 1-4 Miami Dolphins
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
Steelers -7 . . . . over/under 49 . . . . PIT -330, MIA +270
Miami’s off-season game plan was to shore up their defensive front line, but that investment has yet to show any dividends. The Dolphins are giving up an incredible league-worst 151 rushing yards per game. The offensive line is equally chaotic, with three o-linemen just released even though there were no apparent improvements available. Normally I would consider this to be a trap game for Pittsburgh with the Patriots on the schedule next week. That is not going to be the case after the 34-3 loss to the Eagles in their most recent road game.
Prediction: Steelers 31, Dolphins 13
Steelers -7 (two units) . . . . . under 49 . . . . . Pittsburgh -330
Final Score: Dolphins 30, Steelers 15 x
Steelers -7 xx . . . . under 49 ✓ . . . . Steelers -330 x
★★ 1-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 1-4 Chicago Bears
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon and Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein
Bears -1½ . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . CHI -125, JAC +105
Make no mistake, the Bears are not good. That being said, the Chicago offense is improving. Jordan Howard is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has compiled 295 yards from scrimmage in the last two games since assuming his role as the starting running back. On the other hand the Bear defense may be just what the doctor ordered for Blake Bortles and the Jaguars for back-to-back victories.
Prediction: Jaguars 27, Bears 24
Jaguars +1½ . . . . over 45½ . . . . Jacksonville +105
Final Score: Jaguars 17, Bears 16 ✓
Jaguars +1½ ✓ . . . . over 45½ x . . . . Jaguars +105 ✓
★★ 1-4 San Francisco 49ers at 3-2 Buffalo Bills
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman and Kristina Pink
Bills -8½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . BUF -360, SFO +300
Blaine Gabbert has been awful at quarterback, and Colin Kaepernick is a better fit in Chip Kelly’s offense. Buffalo’s defense is improved over last year, particularly on third down and in the red zone. San Francisco’s defense is in shambles, allowing an average of 35 points over the last four games. If the Niners were incapable of slowing down David Johnson at home, how can they be expected to slow down LeSean McCoy on the road?
Prediction: Bills 34, Niners 17
Bills -8½ (one unit) . . . . over 44½ . . . . Buffalo -360
Final Score: Bills 45, Niners 16 ✓
Bills -8½ ✓ . . . . over 44½ ✓ . . . . Bills -360 ✓
★★★ 3-2 Los Angeles Rams at 2-3 Detroit Lions
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis and Peter Schrager
Lions -2½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . DET -160, LAR +140
Detroit is not the same defense without DE Ziggy Ansah, but the LA offensive line has been ineffective. The Rams depend on RB Todd Gurley, but opponents are selling out to stop the run, resulting in Gurley repeatedly being hit in the backfield prior to having a chance to go anywhere. Jeff Fisher’s annual quest for 7-9 continues as planned.
Prediction: Lions 20, Rams 16
Lions -2½ . . . . under 44½ . . . . Detroit -160
Final Score: Lions 31, Rams 28 ✓
Lions -2½ ✓ . . . . under 44½ x . . . . Lions -160 ✓
★ 0-5 Cleveland Browns at 2-3 Tennessee Titans
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta
Titans -7½ . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . TEN -330, CLE +270
Tennessee won last week’s game at Miami by playing keep away. The Titans rushed for 235 yards and ran 29 more plays (70-41) than the Dolphins, en route more than a 13 minute advantage in time of possession. If the Browns let anything close to that happen then they have no chance. Cleveland does have a much better running game than Miami does, and the Tennessee offense is not built to come from behind to win. Do the Titans know how to handle success? If not, this could be Cleveland’s best chance for a win this season.
Prediction: Titans 23, Browns 17
Browns +7½ (one unit) . . . . under 43½ . . . . Cleveland +270
Final Score: Titans 28, Browns 26 ✓
Browns +7½ ✓ . . . . under 43½ x . . . . Browns +270 x
★★★★ 3-1 Philadelphia Eagles at 3-2 Washington Redskins
Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, John Lynch and Pam Oliver
Eagles -3½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . PHI -150, WAS +130
The reason that Philadelphia has looked so much better than last year is their defense. The Eagles rank second in scoring (12.8 points per game), second in yardage (267 per game) and are eighth at 5.0 yards per play. The Washington defense will surely target RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The rookie will be making his first start thanks to the ten-game suspension of Lane Johnson. I’ll take a hot Washington team at home over a Philly club on the road that is cooling off.
Prediction: Redskins 24, Eagles 20
Redskins +3½ (one unit) . . . . over 44½ . . . . Washington +130
Final Score: Redskins 27, Eagles 20 ✓
Redskins +3½ ✓ . . . . over 44½ ✓ . . . . Redskins +130 ✓
Late NFL Week 6 Games
★★★★ 2-2 Kansas City Chiefs at 4-1 Oakland Raiders
Sunday, October 16 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon
Chiefs -2½ . . . . over/under 46 . . . . KAN -130, OAK +110
This game started out with Oakland favored by one, but has swung 3½ points the other way. Jamaal Charles is reportedly ready for a full workload, which is bad news for an Oakland defense that has allowed 28 or more points in four out of five games. Raider RB Latavius Murray is out with a toe injury, which means that this game will likely come down to the KC pass defense versus Derek Carr throwing to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
Prediction: Raiders 31, Chiefs 28
Raiders +2½ . . . . over 46 (two units) . . . . Oakland +110
Final Score: Chiefs 26, Raiders 10 x
Raiders +2½ x . . . . over 46 xx . . . . Raiders +110 x
★★★★★ 4-1 Atlanta Falcons at 3-1 Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, October 16 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber and Jennifer Hale
Seahawks -6½ . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . SEA -260, ATL +220
Matt Ryan has been spectacular in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, spreading the ball around and keeping opposing defenses on their heels. Seattle’s defense – and their loud home field advantage – is suited to take advantage of a very average Atlanta offensive line though. The Falcons were able to take advantage of mismatches against Denver with their linebackers unable to keep up with running backs Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Seattle is solid at the second level with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, but that is still a matchup that favors the Falcons. This should be an exciting game and it is unfortunate that so many will not see it. As well as Atlanta has been playing, it is extremely rare for a team to win back-to-back road games against quality opponents.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Falcons 24
Falcons +6½ (one unit) . . . . over 45½ (one unit) . . . . Seattle -260
Final Score: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24 ✓
Falcons +6½ ✓ . . . . over 45½ ✓ . . . . Seahawks -260 ✓
★★★★ 4-1 Dallas Cowboys at 3-1 Green Bay Packers
Sunday, October 16 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews
Packers -4½ . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . GNB -220, DAL +180
Jerry Jones quietly ceded some decision making to his son Stephen a few years ago, and it has paid off. Rather than fixate on name stars, Dallas invested early draft picks on their offensive line – and it has paid off. This game will be determined in the trenches even if this isn’t the Ice Bowl. The Cowboys are averaging an NFL-best 155 yards per game rushing, while Green Bay is allowing a league-best 43 yards rushing per game and a minuscule 2.0 yards per carry. Rookie Ezekiel Elliott has lived up to the hype for Dallas. The former Buckeye leads the league in rushing (109 yards per game) and first downs (31), and already has five rushes for 20+ yards and twelve carries for 10+ yards.
Prediction: Packers 20, Cowboys 17
Cowboys +4½ (one unit) . . . . under 47½ . . . . Green Bay -220
Final Score: Cowboys 30, Packers 16 x
Cowboys +4½ ✓ . . . . under 47½ ✓ . . . . Packers -220 x
★★★ 2-3 Indianapolis Colts at 3-2 Houston Texans
Sunday, October 16 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
Texans -3 . . . . over/under 48 . . . . HOU -150, IND +130
On one hand I want Indianapolis to win enough games to just barely miss the playoffs, and at the same time miss out on having an early draft pick. On the other hand it won’t really matter because Ryan Grigson has proven that he cannot build a decent roster. In case you wonder why Grigson succumbed to the temptation to attempt to frame the Patriots, consider his work history. In 2001 Grigson was with the Rams when the Patriots beat them in the Super Bowl. Three years later he was with the Eagles when Philly lost to New England in the big game. Then he is hired by Indianapolis, a franchise that has nightmares for all the would-be glory that dissipated with losses to New England. Nothing like a football Sunday to be capped off with Grigson and Irsay having to suffer another loss by the Colts.
Prediction: Texans 31, Colts 24
Texans -3 (one unit) . . . . over 48 . . . . Houston -150
Final Score: Texans 26, Colts 23 (OT) ✓
Texans -3 push . . . . over 48 ✓ . . . . Texans -150 ✓
★★ 1-4 New York Jets at 2-3 Arizona Cardinals
Monday, October 17 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters
Cardinals -7½ . . . . over/under 46 . . . . ARI -335, NYJ +275
Back-to-back prime time schadenfreude. Gang Green’s superb front line cannot mask their deficiencies in the secondary. Going on the road to face a team that thrives on the vertical passing game is a recipe for more embarrassment, turmoil and finger pointing from the Jet locker room.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Jets 17
Cardinals -7½ . . . . under 46 . . . . Arizona -335
Final Score: Cardinals 28, Jets 3 ✓
Cardinals -7½ ✓ . . . . under 46 ✓ . . . . Cardinals -335 ✓
★★ 4-1 Denver Broncos at 1-4 San Diego Chargers
Thursday October 13 at 8:30 pm ET on NFLN; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Did you notice the absolute lack of poise by San Diego head coach Mike McCoy in the final minute of Thursday’s game? With the outcome on the line after Denver recovered an onside kick McCoy was kneeling on the headline with his eyes closed and head down for an interminable amount of time. What kind of leadership is that? San Diego won in spite of McCoy’s chokefest and complete lack of aplomb. Fortunately for San Diego they were facing a road team on a short week with questions at quarterback.
Prediction: Chargers 20, Broncos 17
Chargers +3½ (one unit). . . . under 45 . . . . San Diego +155
Final Score: Chargers 21, Broncos 13 ✓
Chargers +3½ ✓ …. under 45 ✓ …. Chargers +155 ✓
3-Team Parlay (one unit): x
Falcons +6½ at Seahawks ✓
Steelers -7½ at Dolphins x
Raiders at Chiefs over 46 x
4-Team 6-Point Teaser (three units): ✓✓✓
Patriots -1½ vs Bengals ✓
Cowboys +10½ at Packers ✓
Falcons +12½ at Seahawks ✓
Bills -2½ vs Rams ✓
Tale of the Tape
Week 5 was so-so, with a teaser bailing me out of what would have been a losing week. Best calls were Vikings -6½ at Houston, Titans +3½ at Miami and Falcons +5½ at Denver. As bad as taking the Rams at home against the Bills and Baltimore over Washington, the worst prediction by far was Cincinnati over Dallas. 37-23-1 and plus $2470 is something I will take any time after five weeks.
Week 5 Results:
7-7 Straight Up
7-7 Against the Spread
2-unit plays: 3-4, -280
1-unit plays: 3-2, +80
3-Game Parlay: 1u, 0-1, -110
3-Game Teaser: 2u, 1-0, +360
22 units invested
7-7, +50 on $2420 risk
Year to Date Results:
39-38 Straight Up
42-34-1 Against the Spread
3-unit plays: 2-5-1, -1080
2-unit plays: 16-7, +1660
1-unit plays: 16-8, +720
Parlays: 1-2, +380
Teasers: 2-1, +790
37-23-1, +2470 on original $2310 risk.
106.9% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
21.8% ROI on $11,330 (103 units) of total weekly investments.
7-7, +50 on 22 units (+2.1%) in Week 5.
9-2, +1910 on 18 units (+96.5%) in Week 4.
3-9-1, -1280 on 22 units (-58.2%) in Week 3.
9-3, +950 on 20 units (+43.2%) in Week 2.
9-2, +840 on 21 units (+36.4%) in Week 1.
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