NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 6: Cowboys solve Patriots; Packers drop Bears; Steelers smash Seahawks

NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 6: Cowboys solve Patriots; Packers drop Bears; Steelers smash Seahawks

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NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 6: Cowboys solve Patriots; Packers drop Bears; Steelers smash Seahawks

Information about NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 6: Cowboys solve Patriots; Packers drop Bears; Steelers smash Seahawks

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Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season saw some predictable blowouts but it also had some upsets based on either shocking wire-to-wire results or late-game swings. That led to some up-and-down fun with the picks against the spread, leaving plenty of room to improve as usual going into Week 6.

This week, there’s a bit of a prognostication break with four teams on the season’s first bye (Falcons, Jets, Saints, 49ers) dropping the number of matchups from 16 to 14. That gives us two fewer chances to get things wrong, but it also gives two less chances to get things right.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest round of NFL games and whom we like to win and cover in each contest:

(Game odds courtesy of FanDuel)

NFL POWER RANKINGS:
Bills, Cowboys, Chargers serious contenders; Chiefs, 49ers drop for Week 6

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NFL picks against the spread for Week 6

  • Game of the Week: Cowboys (-4, 48.5 o/u) at Patriots

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Cowboys’ offense seems unstoppable because it’s balanced, explosive, versatile and multiple and can toggle between pass-happy and run-heavy. They also have the added element of a mobile quarterback, Dak Prescott. Bill Belichick will scheme to take away one thing away from Prescott, most likely a top wide receiver, Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb. That still leaves the other one to do damage and Prescott also has been feeling it throwing to his tight ends and backs. The Patriots’ running game has another injury and Mac Jones faces an aggressive defense with Trevon Diggs ready to pounce on any mistakes. Dallas has the perfect blueprint to thwart New England on the road.

Pick: Cowboys win 27-20 and cover the spread.

  • Game of Midweek: Buccaneers (-7, 53.5 o/u) at Eagles 

Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video

The Buccaneers face a short-week challenge but nothing too daunting as there are plenty of holes to exploit in the Eagles’ defense once Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox are kept from getting into Tom Brady’s face. Jalen Hurts can cause problems for a Bucs’ defensive back seven missing key pieces with his big arm and running ability. But Tampa Bay tends to start hot and build while Philly can be slow out of the gate. That should ensure the Buccaneers build up enough cushion by the fourth quarter.

Pick: Buccaneers win 34-22 and cover the spread.

  • Rivalry of the Week: Packers (-4.5, 45 o/u) at Bears 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Packers’ pass defense will be struggling for a while without Jaire Alexander, but the Bears’ passing offense has been rather non-existent with Justin Fields. Chicago will run to stay in tit early but the game script will put the rookie first-rounder (who isn’t running) into a discomfort zone. Green Bay’s offensive line will help Aaron Rodgers get the ball out quickly against Khalil Mack and the pass rush and exploit a few shaky secondary spots. The Packers are only a game up against the Bears and know they need to get control of the NFC North before a tough second-half schedule and will play like it at Soldier Field.

Pick: Packers win 27-17 and cover the spread.

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  • Lock of the Week: Chiefs (-6.5, 54.5) over Washington

Sunday 1 p.m. ET,  CBS

The Chiefs are back under .500 for the second time in three weeks. They wouldn’t lose two in a row with Patrick Mahomes, would they? Mahomes should have his key receivers healthy to play, good to now, because Andy Reid might feel less compelled to run without Clyde Edwards-Helaire and top veteran blocker Joe Thuney. Washington’s defense has been giving up big plays at will and is also having trouble being in the right spots to limit gains in the open field. KC goes to D.C. for a much-needed get-well game against an offense that can’t play catch-up.

Pick: Chiefs win 34-17 and cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Raiders (+3, 44.5) over Broncos

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Raiders and Broncos have each dropped two consecutive games after 3-0 starts so one team’s playoff hopes will fade even faster this week. Las Vegas has been a roller-coaster defensively, sometimes in shutdown mode and sometimes in can’t stop anything mode. Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater are similar QBs with their short-to-intermediate passing leanings and the occasional deep shot. Las Vegas swept last season’s series and takes care of Vic Fangio’s team for a third straight time, rallying around interim coach Rich Bisaccia.

Pick: Raiders win 20-17.

  • Dolphins (-3.5, 45.5) at Jaguars 

Sunday 9:30 a.m. ET, CBS

Do we really need to get up early in the morning to see two Florida beach teams play on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean? No, but it’s still football and aqua and teal are quite pleasing colors. Miami is the better-coached team with Brian Flores and even though Jacksonville will gash the “visitor” with second-year running back James Robinson, their head-scratching passing game with Trevor Lawrence will hit some lumps. The Dolphins will counter with more creative offense around Jacoby Brissett while Urban Meyer finds a new continent in which to botch an NFL game plan.

Pick: Dolphins win 24-22 but fail to cover the spread.

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  • Texans at Colts (-10, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Texans are showing plenty of fight with what they have under coach David Culley and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. The Colts’ rushing offense will give them a break minus Quenton Nelson and Carson Wentz doesn’t have the weapons to light it up. Davis Mills will turn in another competent performance building on the Patriots game while Houston’s defense bends but doesn’t totally break. 

Pick: Colts win 24-17 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Vikings at Panthers (-1.5, 46.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Vikings are a little underrated at 2-3 and the Panthers have proved to be inflated at 3-2. Minnesota will do what’s needed to beat Carolina; stick with the run and create favorable passing opportunities off that to help neutralize a strong pass rush. Let’s hope we get a healthy rushing duel between Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, but eventually it comes down to which QB will be less efficient and make more mistakes between Kirk Cousins and Sam Darnold. Trust in Cousins not forcing the ball downfield as much as Darnold.

Pick: Vikings win 23-20.

  • Chargers at Ravens (-3.5, 50.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chargers are feeling it offensively around Justin Herbert and have good makeup to win the road under Brandon Staley. But as good as they can be defending the pass at times, they’re not meant to handle run-heavy attacks, especially ones involving Lamar Jackson, who also is back to pushing the ball downfield with accuracy. Baltimore will have more success rendering Los Angeles one-dimensional. These two AFC contenders will play a classic, much like the Chargers did with another North team last week.

Pick: Ravens win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

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  • Bengals (-3.5, 47.5 o/u) at Lions

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Bengals have their second feline frenzy in three games and assuming Joe Burrow will be fine, they will rebound well from the tough overtime Packers loss with a short road trip to the other North. Cincinnati is the superior team to Detroit in every way. The Lions have no answers for Joe Mixon’s running or the talented trio of young wideouts led by rookie big-play sensation Ja’Marr Chase. The emotional loss to the Vikings last week will be trickier for the Lions to shake off, too, given their wrong talent limitations for this matchup.

Pick: Bengals win 31-23 and cover the spread.

  • Rams (-10.5, 47.5 o/u) at Giants 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Rams have had a long time to heal up from their Thursday night victory in Seattle. Sean McVay always prepares them well for long East Coast trips. They draw a shell of a Giants’ offense and you can bet Jalen Ramsey will be assigned to taking away dazzling rookie Kadarius Toney. The Giants’ defense is falling apart and the Rams can run on them well to set up the usual play-action shots for Matthew Stafford away from top corner James Bradberry.

Pick: Rams win 31-16 and cover the spread.

  • Cardinals at Browns (-2.5, 51.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray face off for the first time as NFL quarterbacks after they were both drafted No. 1 overall out of Oklahoma in consecutive years, Mayfield in 2018 and Murray in 2019. While Mayfield is working to find his groove out of his team’s 32- start, Murray is the MVP front-runner leading a 5-0 team. But this game will be decided more by what team can control things with the rushing attack, and that’s Cleveland. A streaky Mayfield stays hot while Murray can’t quite run his team to victory in an unsurprising wild game.

Pick: Browns win 27-24 and cover the spread. 

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  • Seahawks at Steelers (-4.5, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Seahawks will be going into a hostile environment with Geno Smith at quarterback instead of Russell Wilson. Although Smith knows Pittsburgh well from his days in the Backyard Brawl, he hasn’t face this Steelers’ defense in Heinz Field. The Steelers also got Najee Harris and the running game going last week and Seattle can’t stop that. The ‘Hawks also can’t cover either Diontae Johnson or Chase Claypool.

Pick: Steelers win 31-20 and cover the spread.

  • Bills (-4.5, 53.5 o/u) at Titans

Sunday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Bills had an emotionally charged big win in Kansas City and will have a mild letdown against another AFC playoff team it has had some trouble against in the past. But Tennessee’s offense doesn’t have the firepower to keep up beyond the strong running of Derrick Henry. The Bills’ passing game can beat the Titans in many areas downfield and they will have rushing success with Josh Allen and others, too.

Pick: Bills win 27-23 but fail to cover the spread.

Vinnie Iyer’s 2021 picks:

  • Week 5 record against the spread: 7-9
  • Week 5 record straight up: 11-5
  • Season ATS: 39-41
  • Season straight up: 53-27

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