Wednesday, October 12, 2016

NFL Week 6 Picks: The New And Terrible Normal
Yes, Yes It Is
After five weeks of this, it is just like the never ending race for the White House. In that it is intolerable, eternal, and getting uglier by the minute. I've never had a stretch like this before, and even when I'm right, I'm missing on the half points, or on injuries or garbage time covers.

Well, no way through it but to do it. Everything yields to effort. Either that, or I'm fulfilling the classic definition of insanity.

Also, in the time that it took me to write this column, five different women charged the Republican nominee for President, who is supported by tens of millions of people, of sexual assault. We've got four more weeks of this, too.

And with that... on to the picks!

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DENVER (-3) at San Diego

Division games are always ugly, and Denver player terribly just this week at home against the suddenly dominant Falcons... but the Chargers just look snakebit this year, and there might not be a less imposing home field than one that (a) every opponent's fan base loves to travel to, and (b) the home team is constantly looking over its shoulder as to whether or not this is the last time such and such happens, because they are constantly looking to move. Look for Denver to control this with the ground game even if QB1 Trevor Siemian misses another game, and for their secondary to recover in a big way. Also, well, Terrible Night Football means it won't be close or run to watch.

Broncos 22, Chargers 13

San Francisco at BUFFALO (-7.5)

A lot of points to go for a run-first team that didn't look all that good until recently, and the Niners might get a bounce from a QB change to Colein Kaepernick... but the deck chairs on the Titanic don't have that much impact, and this defense is getting increasingly gassed, hurt, and apathetic. It's almost as if Chip Kelly's strategies don't work at the NFL level, or that he's not very good at coaching in the pros!

Bills 27, Niners 17

PHILADELPHIA (-2.5) at Washington

Second straight winnable road game for my laundry, who didn't set the snooze alarm early enough to avoid real trouble last week in Detroit. This week, I think the defense bounces back, and DC plays to its actual level, rather than their better lucky than good standing of the past two weeks. But this game is always worrisome, and if Philly loses, the shine of the 3-0 start is well and truly gone. Really bad time for DC to lose TE Jordan Reed, who is undergoing concussion protocols, and historically destroys my laundry.

Eagles 20, Slurs 16

CLEVELAND (+7) at Tennessee

I think this week's Browns loss is heart-breaking, rather than soul-crushing. Also, I don't think the Titans are good enough to play competent football in back to back weeks. But if you've got serious interest in this game, you have bigger problems in life, really.

Titans 24, Browns 20

Baltimore at NY GIANTS (-3)

Home cooking for Big Blue after two straight weeks of taking prime time beatings from NFC North royalty. The Ravens are coming off a dispiriting home loss to the Slurs that could have been a win, but all of their wins could have easily been losses, too. It's coin flippy, but I'll take the home team and expect the offense to finally put it together, in a game with more scoring than expected.

Giants 34, Ravens 23

Carolina at NEW ORLEANS (+3)

Are the Panthers really just this bad? They get a short week after a bad home loss, the record is really starting to become a problem, and the Saints at home are usually good enough on offense to cover sins. The Super Bowl Loser curse strikes again.

Saints 34, Panthers 30

JACKSONVILLE (+2.5) at Chicago

Two nowhere teams, but the Jags seem to have a higher ceiling, and I'm just not seeing QB2 Brian Hoyer putting up back to back good games. Jacksonville is also coming off the UK bye and a win, which in the AFC South counts as life-changing momentum.

Jaguars 24, Bears 21

LA Rams at DETROIT (-3.5)

The Lions' surprising win and defense of home field continues against a maddeningly inconsistent Ram team that doesn't usually travel well, and comes into this game after a dispiriting loss to Buffalo. Which means I'm probably getting this wrong, because random events rule the NFL, but the Lions are actually pretty good at stopping the run. Also, QB Matthew Stafford really is playing well.

Lions 27, Rams 20

PITTSBURGH (-7.5) at Miami

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been prone to massive home/road splits in the recent past, and Miami can get after the QB... but Steeler Fan is going to turn this yard into Heinz Field South, and the Yellow is just a much more potent outfit with RB Le'veon Bell in the mix, since he's basically uncoverable as a WR, too. This one could be over fast.

Steelers 38, Dolphins 20

Cincinnati at NEW ENGLAND (-8.5)

I hate giving up this many points on the road in New England with a team like Cincy, who have the historical tendencies -- physical offense, playmaking defense -- that expose the Pats in the playoffs. But after last week's total no-show in Dallas, and with RB Jeremy Hill seemingly hobbled by a chest injury, I just can't. This has the potential to be like the Buffalo game two weeks ago, but QB Tom Brady will keep it from going that way.

Patriots 27, Bengals 17

KANSAS CITY (+1) at Oakland

Andy Reid after a bye, with a fully healed and rested Jamaal Charles, might set things to rights in the AFC West. (If they had LB Justin Houston back as well, which might fix their lagging pass rush, that would be even better, but he's not quite there yet.) Oakland is the NFL's most interesting team in terms of close and surprising games, but I'm thinking that will take a week off here.

Chiefs 31, Raiders 24

ATLANTA (+6.5) at Seattle

If Atlanta can win this game, a week after handling the Broncos in Denver, we might have to consider them the best team in football... but against the Seahawks in Seattle, coming off a bye, I'm just not seeing it. Then again, I didn't see last week's game coming, either. At some point, QB Matt Ryan has to revert to career norms, right? I'm not calling for a win, but with the Seahawks OL, a cover seems more likely than not.

Seahawks 27, Falcons 24

DALLAS at Green Bay (-4.5)

Kind of the flip side of the Falcons' game, in that Dallas can lay serious claim to being the NFC's best team with a win... but, well, won't, because the Packer defense is starting to put it together, and the Dallas offense isn't good enough to win a tough road game without WR1 Dez Bryant at 100%. But it'll be a grind.

Packers 27, Cowboys 24

INDIANAPOLIS (+3) at Houston

I don't really have a great feel for this game, other than QB Andrew Luck under lights seems like it will work better than QB Brock Osweiler. Why NBC chose to put the AFC South in prime time, we'll never know. Oh, and K Adam Vinateri is just unreal.

Colts 26, Texans 24

NY JETS (+7.5) at Arizona

Two very disappointing teams, and I'm just not comfortable laying the points. Besides, both of these QBs are just ready to crap the bed with multiple picks.

Cardinals 27, Jets 24

Last week: 4-10

Year: 28-49

Career: 787-799-49

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