Week 6 brings some good matchups across the league, including two meetings that involve teams that have combined for eight wins so far this season.
The Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens will put their 4-1 records to the test against each other as Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson, two of the league’s best young quarterbacks, go toe-to-toe for the first time. In another high-octane matchup featuring the league’s best up-and-coming teams, Kyler Murray and the 5-0 Arizona Cardinals take on Baker Mayfield and the 3-2 Cleveland Browns.
With plenty of other good matchups, Week 6 shapes up to be an exciting one for football fans. Can the 3-2 Chicago Bears upset the Green Bay Packers to tie things up in the NFC North? Can the Tennessee Titans do anything to slow down the dominant Buffalo Bills? Read on for my full slate of Week 6 picks, with fourteen games on tap as bye weeks begin this week for four teams.
Week 1: 6-10
Week 2: 12-4
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-4
Week 5: 13-3
Overall: 54-26 (68%)
Okay, so I’m not going to pat myself on the back too much, because my strong Week 5 record is pretty much a result of picking favorites. But 13-3 is my best mark of the season so far, and even if I picked almost all favorites, games like Saints-Washington, Browns-Chargers, and Seahawks-Rams had close lines and could have gone either way.
My lone upset pick of the week, Buffalo over Kansas City, hit beautifully, as I even correctly predicted the Bills point total of 38.
In Week 5 I incorrectly predicted:
- Broncos over Steelers
- Panthers over Eagles
- Raiders over Bears
See Also: 2021-22 NFL Season Predictions
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
- Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
Thursday Night Football
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.0)
For the third time this season, Tom Brady will face a team he has squared off against in a Super Bowl, and it’s not even the last time it will happen, with the Giants still on the schedule. I suppose it’s only natural given Brady’s nine Super Bowl appearances. Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles put in a good win against the Panthers last week, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to keep up with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Buccaneers win 33-20, Buccaneers win ATS
Miami Dolphins (1-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) in London
Line: Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
The NFL returns to London for a second straight week with a thrilling matchup of two of the leagues worst teams. The most interesting thing about this game is the fact the Jacksonville Jaguars actually have a shot to end their 20-game losing streak that dates back to Week 1 last season. Tua Tagovailoa might return to the field for the Miami Dolphins, but even if its Jacoby Brissett, I still wouldn’t pick Jacksonville.
Dolphins win 20-15, Dolphins win ATS
Green Bay Packers (4-1) at Chicago Bears (3-2)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
The Chicago Bears have had some up-and-down play this season, and it’s easy to forget they’re 3-2. A win here would technically put the Bears in first place in the NFC North through six weeks. Justin Fields still has some work to do to improve as an NFL starter, and Chicago somehow has a winning record despite scoring the third-fewest points in the league this season. While Chicago’s defense may give Aaron Rodgers some trouble, I think the Green Bay Packers will be able to overcome it and roll to their fifth straight win.
Packers win 27-20, Packers win ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Detroit Lions (0-5)
Line: Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals gave the Packers a real scare last week, but weren’t able to overcome Green Bay in overtime. Cincinnati has enjoyed a nice start to the season, with rookie wide receiver Ja’Mar Chase balling out every week. The Bengals shouldn’t overlook the 0-5 Detroit Lions, as they’ve played the 49ers, Ravens, and Vikings to one-score affairs, even leading against Baltimore and Minnesota in the final minute. The Bengals should win, but for an 0-5 team, Jared Goff and the Lions are awfully gritty.
Bengals win 24-23, Lions win ATS
Los Angeles Rams (4-1) at New York Giants (1-4)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-9.5)
The New York Giants had been making strides, following up some heartbreaking losses with an impressive overtime victory in New Orleans. But last weeks game in Dallas was a bloodbath, with Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay going down and Daniel Jones suffering a concussion. Jones is aiming for a quick recovery, and while he’s a significant step up from Mike Glennon, I don’t think he can lead a hobbled Giants squad to a win over an extremely talented Los Angeles Rams team. After a couple quieter passing games, Matthew Stafford could find success against the Giants defense.
Rams win 37-17, Rams win ATS
Houston Texans (1-4) at Indianapolis Colts (1-4)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-10.0)
Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts are due for a win. They took the Ravens to overtime last week, played the Rams to one-score in Week 2, and have had an overall brutal schedule so far. Playing the Houston Texans at home will be a nice reprieve, even if the 10.0-point line seems a little big against a Texans team that gave the Patriots all kinds of trouble last week.
Colts win 27-20, Texans win ATS
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at Washington Football Team (2-3)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
I hope the scoreboard operator is ready for a long day. The over/under is set at 55.5 points, but the Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs alone could put up 40-50 points in this matchup. Kansas City’s defense is allowing 32.6 points per game, the most in the NFL, while Washington Football Team is right behind them, allowing 31.0 points per game. While Taylor Heincke’s offense isn’t quite as high-flying as Mahomes’, this could still be the recipe for a very high-scoring game. The Chiefs didn’t punt or force a punt against the Eagles two weeks ago, and this could potentially be a similar game.
Chiefs win 48-30, Chiefs win ATS
Minnesota Vikings (2-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-2)
Line: Minnesota Vikings (-1.0)
Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers dropped back-to-back games against the Cowboys and Eagles after a 3-0 start. The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a 2-1 home stand where their defense took the spotlight, allowing just 16.0 points per game. This is one of the tougher games to predict this week, with a fittingly razor-thin line. If Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook lead the Vikings offense to a big day, Minnesota could win, but the Vikings offense has been a bit pedestrian over the past two weeks, and Minnesota barely overcome the Lions last week. Give me Sam Darnold and the Panthers getting back in the win column, even if Christian McCaffrey doesn’t return. If he does play, well that’s just icing on Carolina’s cake.
Panthers win 30-23, Panthers win ATS
Sak Sports Blog Game of the Week: Los Angeles Chargers (4-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-3.0)
The biggest game of the week pits Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. With both teams standing a 4-1, it’s a big early season matchup for AFC hierarchy. The last time these two teams met, Philip Rivers and the Chargers bounced 2019 NFL MVP Jackson and the Ravens from the playoffs in a January 2019 AFC Wildcard game. This will be the first meeting between Herbert and Jackson.
The Ravens rank higher in my Post-Week 5 Power Rankings, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll win here. Baltimore has won four straight games, and their lone loss to the Raiders was in overtime. But three of the four wins have come by six points or less, including the need for a miraculous 67-yard field goal to beat the Lions. Baltimore is winning, but they’re not dominating opponents.
Los Angeles has had their share of close games too, overcoming Washington, Kansas City, and Cleveland by a single score each. The Chargers are coming off a 47-42 shootout win over the Browns, and while Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and the offense were incredible, giving up 42 points is also a bit concerning.
On paper, I think the Ravens have a slightly better team, and they’re at home. But I feel like right now, not necessarily this season but literally right now in Week 6, the Chargers feel like the hotter team. I expect and hope for a close game either way.
Chargers win 33-27, Chargers win ATS
Arizona Cardinals (5-0) at Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-3.0)
In a close runner-up for Game of the Week, the 5-0 Arizona Cardinals put their undefeated season to the test against Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Despite two losses, Cleveland is right there with the best teams in the NFL, falling only to the Chiefs in Week 1 and the Chargers in last week’s 47-42 thriller. Prior to that, the Browns defense allowed just 13 points over the previous two games. Will Cleveland’s defense get back on track against the Cardinals?
Not if Kyler Murray has anything to say about it. Arizona put up just 17 points in a win over the 49ers last week, ending a streak of four straight games with 31 points. On a down day offensively, the Cardinals defense was able to hold San Francisco to just 10 points. Arizona is still the 4th-highest scoring team in the league, with the 6th-best defense to boot. That’s a dangerous combination. The Cardinals may not go 17-0, and the Browns will certainly present a challenge, but I think Murray leads Arizona to their sixth win in as many games.
Cardinals win 31-26, Cardinals win ATS
Las Vegas Raiders (3-2) at Denver Broncos (3-2)
Line: Denver Broncos (-3.5)
The Denver Broncos 3-0 start is looking more and more like a product of the poor teams they faced to begin the season. Denver didn’t put up much of a fight against the Ravens, then allowed a Steelers team that hadn’t won since Week 1 to beat them 27-19. The Las Vegas Raiders have also squandered a 3-0 start, but have more impressive wins against the Ravens and Steelers under their belt.
The X-factor here is how the Raiders respond to Jon Gruden’s sudden resignation. I think Derek Carr and the Raiders find a way to win, whether its in spite of Gruden’s absence or as a positive result of it.
Raiders win 24-20, Raiders win ATS
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at New England Patriots (2-3)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)
The New England Patriots 19-17 loss to the Buccaneers, and specifically Mac Jones performance in that game, gave me good feelings about the Patriots this season. But looking at their total body of work, New England doesn’t seem like a great team this season. They’ve only been able to beat the Jets and Texans so far, and the Texans game was dangerously close even with Davis Mills at quarterback for Houston. Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys have been playing good football every week, including in a season-opening loss to the Buccaneers. Dallas should have no trouble outscoring the Patriots on their home turf this Sunday.
Cowboys win 36-17, Cowboys win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Seattle Seahawks (2-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.0)
After both qualifying for the playoffs last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks have been off to disappointing 2-3 starts this season. Despite the identical records I would say Seattle has been playing a bit better, but with Russell Wilson sidelined with a finger injury, Seattle’s chances take a big blow. Geno Smith certainly isn’t the worst backup option in the league, but the status quo would be Smith not being able to carry the Seahawks offense to the same heights as Wilson. Maybe he’ll surprise us, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Steelers win 27-18, Steelers win ATS
Monday Night Football
Buffalo Bills (4-1) at Tennessee Titans (3-2)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-5.5)
Since losing to the Steelers in Week 1, the Buffalo Bills haven’t just won four straight games, they’ve dominated their opponents. With scores of 35-0 over the Dolphins, 43-21 over Washington, 40-0 over the Texans, and last week, 38-20 over the Chiefs, the Bills have been firing on all cylinders on both offense and defense. The Tennessee Titans are a solid team, even with a head-scratching loss to the Jets two weeks ago, and may give the Bills the most trouble they’ve had since Week 1, but I fully expect Josh Allen and company to roll to their fifth straight win.
Bills win 33-27, Bills win ATS
Teams on Bye
- The Atlanta Falcons (2-3) and New York Jets (1-4) have the week off after playing in London during Week 5.
- Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints (3-2) are on bye coming off a win over Washington Football Team.
- Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo will have time to heal up as the bye comes at a good time for the San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
- 2021-22 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5
- 2021-22 NFL Picks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl
- New York Giants Recaps: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4
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- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC East
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- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC East
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Header Photo (L-R): Harry How/Getty Images; Patrick Smith/Getty Images