After a two week hiatus, we're back, the Lions are back in the W column, Matthew Stafford's developing Dad strength, and I'm ready to continue getting Ken Boned on the weekly NFL picks against the spread.
Right to it in Week 6:
CHARGERS (+3) over Broncos
Speaking of Dad strength, in a game against Trevor Siemian (not pronounced "semen"), Dad-strong Philip Rivers nearly broke down in tears at halftime and after the game, a win against the defending Super Bowl champs. I think at halftime it was in fear of his team losing another lead and after the game it was relief they won. Or it had something to do with the fact that early in the second quarter Rivers passed Dan Fouts for most career passing yards in San Diego Chargers history.
49ers (+7.5) over BILLS
HUGE news: Chip Kelly named team activist Colin Kaepernick his starter this week over Blaine Gabbert. HUGE. The famous Chip Kelly offense was a disaster with Gabbert grabbing snaps under center. Chip was not impressed. Kap will make the 49ers offense great again. Seriously, Kap could become the first quarterback in NFL history to start a game kneeling and end a game kneeling. That would be something. On the Bills side of things, they have won three straight since giving more defensive responsibilities to Dennis Thurman who implemented a KISS and just-line-up-and-kick-their-ass system. That gives Rob Ryan more time to be creative when he actually has to do something, like giving himself funny walk-up songs. I think the 49ers will cover the spread (and yes, I know this spread has ballooned to as much as 9.5).
Jaguars (+2.5) over BEARS
Blake Bortles figured it out in Week 4, not turning the ball over after turning it over seven times in their 0-3 start. Not turning the ball over is a winning formula per Wikipedia. The Bears are miserable—I still don't know how the Lions lost to this team—and baseball is taking over Chi-town. The Jags will come into town and steal a win.
LIONS (-3) over Rams
This has the Titans game written all over it—home favorite following a good win—but I'd like to think the Lions have learned from it and will not be fooled twice. Plus, Stafford's got that expecting-Dad strength going into this game and Jeff Fisher is above .500. I’ll be really pissed if Chris’ 4-1 prediction is right, but I’d take a push.
TITANS (-7) over Browns
If there is a team capable of taking down the 2008 Lions, it's the Browns. They will probably run into a win at some point this season, but it won't be in Nashville this week. Marcus Mariota bounces back at home and rolls over Cleveland. Go Tribe, though.
DOLPHINS (+7.5) over Pittsburgh
All of the numbers suggest that the Steelers are going to roll, including the fact that the Steelers have taken six of the last eight games in this series over the last 20 years. But this is the NFL—ANY GIVEN SUNDAY—and the Steelers leaked the recipe for getting stomped on the road just a couple weeks ago in Philadelphia. The Dolphins are 1-4, but they are better than the record indicates and will at least keep this game close if Ryan Tannehill doesn't turn the ball over.
PATRIOTS (-8.5) over Bengals
Despite having a quarter of their team on the injury report this week, don't count out Tawwwwwm Brady in his first home game since being suspended by tyrant Roger Goodell. The Patriots are 9-2 all-time against the Bengals at home and the average margin of victory over the last 25-plus years (six straight wins) is 10. I think the Patriots win by 10 at Gillette this week.
SAINTS (+3) over Panthers
My bank teller on Friday is a big Saints fan and she told me the Saints will win this weekend. She really seemed to know what she was doing, so that's good enough for me. The Saints are coming off the bye week and it's still questionable as to whether or not Cam Newton returns after missing last week's game due to a concussion. There might be 80 points in this game, but I think the Saints cover.
GIANTS (-3) over Ravens
The Ravens just fired their offensive coordinator after an ugly loss to Washington last week so there are going to be some adjustments in their first game under a new o-gun. I think the Giants get back on track after losing three straight and the Ravens drop their third straight, warming up John Harbaugh's seat cushion to Detroit, right?
REDSKINS (+2.5) over Eagles
Carson Wentz loses his blindside lineman and he had to think about throwing his first interception of his career alllllllllll week long—to the Lions, no less. This has Eagles loss written allllllll over it, a classic case of a big Lions win looking a little less impressive as the team they beat loses again the following week. That happens a lot, right? I don't know. It feels like it. Plus, a win for the Redskins will make it allllllll the more likely they’ll come into Detroit next week and lay an egg, right again?
Chiefs (+1) over RAIDERS
I will never bet against Andy Reid following a bye week, even if I was wrong last year and these two teams seem to be going in different directions.
Cowboys (+4) over PACKERS
The Dez-Made-A-Catch Revenge Game. Dez Bryant practiced and reportedly looked healthy. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are making the 'boys exciting again. The Cowboys haven't fared well in Lambeau in recent years—in fact, they've been blown out in four of their last six losses at Lambeau—but this is a different team and it's early enough in the year when weather won't play a major factor like it did in recent losses. I don’t have an opinion on who wins, but I think this will be a close game.
SEAHAWKS (-6) over Falcons
Dan Quinn has the Falcons looking like the better bird team here and now he gets to show off his high-flying birds back where he made a name for himself. I'm leaning Seahawks, though, because Richard Sherman will be shadowing Julio Jones and the Seahawks have had a couple weeks to prepare for this game like it's a championship game. Falcons get brought back to Earth a little bit.
Colts (+3) over TEXANS
Brock Osweiler has been a bust in Houston, just like every other quarterback they've had in recent years. The Colts have beaten the Texans in six of their last seven meetings, and three straight in Texas. With first place up for grabs, I like Andrew Luck to cover the spread—if he can stay off his back.
CARDINALS (-7.5) over Jets
Carson Palmer returned to practice this week—sorry, Drew Stanton—and the Jets lost Eric Decker for the season. Bruce Arians coached the Jets' head coach Todd Bowles at Temple over 30 years ago and Bowles will leave Phoenix feeling like he just got taught some things again in what I think will be a MNF blow out.
Can the Vikings lose this week?