Rondale Moore of the Arizona Cardinals dives for the end...

Rondale Moore of the Arizona Cardinals dives for the end zone against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Credit: Getty Images/Christian Petersen

The NFL is the Usain Bolt of professional sports: Blink and you might miss it. Every year, the season goes by so fast. Week 6 brings with it the first slate of byes (Jets, Falcons, 49ers, Saints), which is good because it gives us two fewer chances to get things wrong.

Underdogs went 6-9-1 against the spread (ATS) last week, their first losing campaign of the season. They’re still 42-36-2 overall.

My most confident picks this week ATS are Seattle, Kansas City and the L.A. Rams. One bonus sneaky underdog pick: Detroit. Stay away from Las Vegas-Denver.


ARIZONA (5-0) AT CLEVELAND (3-2), 4:05 p.m.

Cleveland by 3; O/U: 49.5

Quick, how many NFL teams have never won a Super Bowl? . . . (waiting) . . . (waiting) . . . (you get it yet?). OK, the answer is 12, and these are two of them. Both look as if they’ll be in the playoffs so maybe the super matchup is in the cards. As for Sunday, I’m going with the home team. Dare I say it: I think the Browns are the more complete team. Yes, Arizona is the NFL’s lone 5-0 team and looked dominant in two of its wins but the other three give me pause (it trailed at halftime against winless Jacksonville). Baker Mayfield is dealing with a shoulder injury but he played well in a wild 47-42 loss at the Chargers. He will be up for this game against Kyler Murray, a fellow former Oklahoma star/No. 1 overall pick. Cleveland’s defense didn’t play well last week but in three wins before that allowed a total of 34 points. The fact it gave up nearly 50 makes me think they’ll respond at home. The Browns are dealing with some injuries, but I still think they find a way to win a close one.

The pick: Cleveland



TV: CBS, 9:30 a.m.

Miami by 3; O/U: 47

Sometimes you talk yourself into things (see: my Jaguars pick last week). But even the always upbeat Ted Lasso can’t make me believe this is a game worth watching. Jacksonville has had the most London success but this is a new regime, a messy one at that and the franchise has lost 20 games in a row. At this point, opponents won’t want to be the ones who help them snap that streak.

The pick: Miami

1 p.m. Games

L.A. RAMS (4-1) AT GIANTS (1-4)

TV: Fox

L.A. by 9.5; O/U: 48.5

The Rams enter on extra rest. The Giants wish they had it. This is a huge number for a road team to lay, but considering all of the Giants’ injuries, how are they going to put up enough points to cover? Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and the Rams have a field day against an overmatched Giants secondary. With the Rams (22-11 straight up on the road under Sean McVay) looking up at the Cardinals in the standings, expect them to treat this as a business trip.

The pick: L.A. Rams


Kansas City by 6.5; O/U: 55.5

This is the same scenario as Week 4, when Kansas City played at Philadelphia following a home loss that dropped it to 1-2. Now, it’s another NFC East team after a humbling loss at home on SNF again dropped KC below .500. Patrick Mahomes threw 5 TD passes in that 42-30 win over the Eagles and he will star again. Washington has allowed 29, 43, 30 and 33 points the last four weeks. In another "get right" game for KC, expect Mahomes & Co. to get right to the point early.

The pick: Kansas City



Baltimore by 2.5; O/U: 52

Both teams are 4-1, but the Chargers (also 4-1 ATS) have been far more impressive. Baltimore could easily be 2-3 if not for a furious comeback over the Colts on MNF and two weeks before that an NFL-record, last-second 66-yard field goal at Detroit. The Chargers have won at Kansas City, just held off Cleveland in a 47-42 thriller and their lone loss was a three-point defeat to Dallas. Justin Herbert is playing lights out. New coach Brandon Staley’s aggressive approach is paying off, too: Last week L.A. went for it on fourth down three times, converting all three, and are now 7-for-7. Those kinds of gutsy calls can be the difference in close games, which this likely will be.

The pick: L.A. Chargers


Green Bay by 5; O/U: 44.5

The Packers are one of four teams to win four straight after losing their opener (the Cowboys, Bills and Ravens are the others). The Bears have won two in a row, but that was against the winless Lions and a Raiders team dealing with a controversy. Green Bay has some injury concerns, but it still has this guy named Aaron Rodgers. He is 20-5 all-time against the Bears, with 55 TDs to 10 INTs.

The pick: Green Bay


Minnesota by 1; O/U: 46

This is the toss-up game of the week, but I’ll side with Carolina as it looks to avoid a three-game skid and back-to-back home losses. The Panthers could get Christian McCaffrey back.

The pick: Carolina


Cincinnati by 3.5; O/U: 47.5

This is the Bengals’ fourth game against the NFC North. The three previous contests: Win by 3 in OT (Vikings), loss by 3 (Bears) and loss by 3 in OT (Packers). Another field-goal finish is likely against a Lions team that is 2-3 ATS and continues to fight to the finish (19-17 losses to Baltimore and Minnesota on last-second field goals).

The pick: Detroit


Indianapolis by 10; O/U: 43.5

It’s rare to have this big a spread between one-win teams. The Colts can win by double digits, but they could also be a bit demoralized after blowing a 22-3 lead at Baltimore six nights earlier.

The pick: Houston

4 p.m. Games



Dallas by 3.5; O/U: 50.5

The Cowboys have won four in a row after a two-point loss in the opener at Tampa Bay. They’re 5-0 ATS. Dak Prescott, a dominant rushing attack and a ball-hawking defense look unstoppable. There’s no reason to think they’ll be slowed down by a Pats team that is 0-3 at home, which is exactly why I’m a bit nervous that this will be closer than it appears on paper. I’m going with the hot hand but be careful before going all-in on the obvious play.

The pick: Dallas


Denver by 3.5; O/U: 44.5

Both have stumbled after 3-0 starts. This comes down to the Raiders’ mindset after Jon Gruden resigned: Will it be a distraction, or will they be motivated to change the narrative? The tiebreaker is getting the extra half-point in what feels like a close division battle.

The pick: Las Vegas




TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh by 5; O/U: 42.5

The look-ahead line on this game was Seattle -2.5. Then Russell Wilson got hurt during the Seahawks’ TNF loss, the Steelers won on Sunday and now it’s swung seven-plus points. That’s just too big of a line change. First, Geno Smith rallied Seattle in relief of Wilson before a late INT on which the receiver fell. Seattle having extra time to prepare is huge. Mostly, though, the confidence in this pick is that the Steelers’ offense hasn’t shown enough to be favored by this much, even at home against a backup QB. One win against the Broncos and all is right in Pittsburgh? Not buying it. This is going to be close, so cash in on the value with the underdog.

The pick: Seattle



TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m.

Buffalo by 5.5; O/U: 54

The Bills made a statement with a 38-20 win at KC on SNF. The letdown factor would be in play here if they were playing a bad team at 1 p.m., but this is MNF and a fellow division leader. Buffalo won’t take the night off. Remember, the Titans lost to the Jets.

The pick: Buffalo


(best bets in bold)


39-39-2 overall, 3-2 best bets

Last week: 7-8-1

Philadelphia Miami L.A. Rams Kansas City L.A. Chargers

Green Bay Carolina Detroit Houston Cleveland

Dallas Las Vegas Seattle Buffalo


40-38-2, 2-3

Last week: 8-7-1

Tampa Bay Miami L.A. Rams Kansas City L.A. Chargers

Green Bay Carolina Detroit Indianapolis Cleveland

New England Denver Pittsburgh Tennessee


44-34-2, 2-2-1

Last week: 7-8-1

Philadelphia Jacksonville L.A. Rams Kansas City L.A. Chargers

Green Bay Carolina Cincinnati Indianapolis Arizona

Dallas Denver Seattle Buffalo


33-45-2, 2-2-1

Last week: 7-8-1

Tampa Bay Miami L.A. Rams Kansas City L.A. Chargers

Green Bay Minnesota Cincinnati Houston Cleveland

Dallas Las Vegas Seattle Buffalo

More football news


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.