The betting gods giveth. The betting gods taketh away. We followed up our impressive 6-1 heater with our first losing week of the season. Fortunately, it wasn't a significant loss, as our picks went 3-4 in Week 6. We did miss the Lock of the Week this time, as the Indianapolis Colts finally erupted for 34 points against the Jags. I should've trusted my gut feeling about the Bills-Chiefs matchup and taken the under, and I'm still annoyed that Cooper Rush missed a wide open CeeDee Lamb for a deep TD late in their Sunday night game against the Eagles, ruining their chance to cover.
Regardless of how last week went, we now sit at a solid 26-17 record for the season. I still have faith in the Lock of the Week, staying strong at 5-2 through six weeks. Let's get back on the winning track in Week 7 of this already turbulent NFL season.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Over 49.0
What do you get when Dak Prescott returns to his team to face off against one the league's worst defenses? Lots of points. And that's what's going to happen this Sunday. The Cowboys have played rather conservatively with Cooper Rush under center, but that's bound to change now that Dallas has their franchise QB back. As I alluded to in the opening paragraph of this article, Rush has missed some opportunities that Dak won't, and he has a full cast of skill players around him when he returns. Detroit has allowed 27 or more points in every game so far, including 48 to Seattle and 38 to Philadelphia. The Lions have also moved the ball well all season, and though they didn't score at all last week in New England, they still didn't have a problem racking up yards. I'm not sure how well Detroit's offense will do against Dallas' steady defense, but I like the Cowboys to open up the passing attack and make some huge plays, which will lead to this game going over.
Carolina Panthers +13.0 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, the Panthers just fired their coach and traded away Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson, and D.J. Moore may not be far behind. It's clear Carolina is heading for a total rebuild, but I still think 13 points is way too high of a number for the Buccaneers to cover on the road right now. The side I'm taking with is more an indication of my lack of confidence in Tampa rather than my belief that Carolina can actually put together a quality performance. Tampa Bay's offense has just been really weak for the most part, and they simply haven't looked good in any of their appearances thus far. They would possibly be on a four-game losing streak if the refs hadn't called a ghost roughing the passer penalty on Falcons DT Grady Jarrett in the closing minutes of their game against Atlanta. I mean, losing to the Steelers is indefensible for a franchise as respected as the Buccaneers. I definitely think the Bucs will win in Carolina this week, but I won't be surprised to see something like a 20-10 final score, allowing the Panthers a sneaky cover in a game they probably get dominated everywhere but the scoreboard.
Green Bay Packers at Washington Commanders Under 41.5
The Packers have been atrocious offensively to start this season, and it's hard to bet on them to score points right now. They just got trounced by the Jets and held to only 10 points in a result no one was expecting, and now they have to travel to Washington to play against a fairly respectable Commander defense who have held even their most explosive offensive foes to the low- or mid-twenties. What's even better for the under is that Carson Wentz will be sidelined, leaving Taylor Heinicke to fill in yet again as Washington's starting quarterback. While Heinicke may not be capable of the extreme lows Wentz brings to the table, he also doesn't have as high of a ceiling. This means the Commanders will likely dial up a conservative, run-focused attack, which mixed with Green Bay's typical short yardage passing attack, will produce a very low scoring game.
Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have looked pretty decent this year, I'll give them that. But I've just been waiting on a breakout day for Joe Burrow and his offense, and I feel like this Sunday sets up perfectly for that. It's in Cincinnati, the weather will be perfect, and the Falcons are coming in off a surprising 28-14 victory over the 49ers, leading to what I think will be a massive letdown game against a Bengals team that has yet to really get everything to click this year. They've won three of their last four and are putting up just under 275 passing yards a game, while Atlanta's secondary, and defense in general, really, has been torched all year. I'll admit that this is more of a gut feeling pick than a statistically-based one, but I'm all in on the Bengals this week.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers Under 49.0
San Francisco made a massive move this week by trading four draft picks for Christian McCaffrey, and a lot of people would think that addition would cause this game to be ultra high-scoring. But like my gut was telling me last week, I'm again feeling that Kansas City's game will be lower-scoring than expected. The Niners have a strong defense as always, so Patrick Mahomes will be forced to hit underneath routes and nickel and dime his way down the field, similar to how the Chiefs scheme played out against Buffalo. And on the other side, Kyle Shanahan's run focused attack may feature slightly more pass attempts, but those attempts will be to McCaffrey out of the backfield, leading to small chunk gains and lots of running clocks. If you think about it, San Francisco's offense primarily features four running backs with a tight end and two receivers when the game script is in their favor. And I think this game will remain close enough to where they can call plays as they see fit. So I'll do what I should've done in last week's heavyweight showdown and take the under this time around.
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots Under 40.0
It's the Bears in primetime... Need I say more? For anyone unfortunate enough to have to sit through the miserable game that was last Thursday night's matchup between Chicago and Washington, you will have noticed that there is no one on Chicago's offense that can make a big time play. Justin Fields didn't play great statistically, so he has to earn some of the blame. But the poor guy got absolutely demolished every other play and still gave his team a legitimate chance to win the game at the final moment if Darnell Mooney or anyone else at wideout could catch the ball in traffic. I know Bill Belichick and the New England defense are licking their chops heading into a Monday night matchup at home against the Bears, especially coming off a shutout win against the Lions. This game may not see even 25 points.
Lock of the Week: New York Jets +1.0 at Denver Broncos
If you did a blind comparison of these two teams and took out the names, you'd find that they are nearly identical in terms of yards gained and allowed this season. But you'd also notice that the Jets are averaging 2.5 points more than their opponents this season, while Denver averages 1.3 points below their foes. You also would need to consider that New York played with a backup quarterback in their first four games. It seems things are finally starting to turn around for the Jets franchise and as an unbiased outsider, I'm here for it. They've outscored their opponents 91-47 since Zach Wilson has taken over at QB and both their offense and defense have been clicking as a unit in those three games. Denver's coach is seemingly always making bad decisions, the team doesn't appear to support their quarterback, and the offense as a whole has been pathetic. On top of all this, Russell Wilson is listed to be a game-time decision on Sunday. But regardless of whether he's in or out of the lineup, I like the Jets to win outright by a touchdown or more in Denver.
Written by Nick Swatson