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NFL Week 6 picks: Jets win again; Chiefs beat Pats in thriller; Bills a lock to cover big number

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs face their biggest

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs face their biggest test of the season Sunday night when they visit the Patriots.  Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

If you looked at this week's point spreads and got a headache, I feel your pain. Eleven of the 15 games are right around a field-goal spread or fewer, so expect a lot of close games.
Underdogs went 6-6-1 against the spread last week (there were two pick 'em games). For the season, they're 38-30-6 ATS with 25 outright wins. Home underdogs are 11-5-2 ATS, with eight of them winning straight up.

My most confident picks ATS this week are the Bills, Jaguars, Bucs, Cardinals and Broncos. Two games to avoid: Ravens-Titans and Chargers-Browns. Remember, I pick every game so that you don't have to.

COLTS (1-4) AT JETS (2-3)

TV: Ch. 2, 1 p.m.

Jets by 2 1/2; O/U: 45

Much like the season opener in Detroit, everything went the Jets' way in a runaway win over Denver last week. Now, how will the Jets deal with prosperity this time? Back in Week 2, they laid an egg at home to Miami. That kind of misstep will help them here as they'll be motivated to keep the good vibes going and get to .500. The Colts are well-rested after playing last Thursday night, and they've played better than their 1-4 record suggests. This will be close, but the Jets' rushing attack will pick up where it left off in last week's record-breaking performance and have success against Indy (106.8 rushing yards per game).

The pick: Jets



Bengals by 2; O/U: 52 1/2

This is a big early-season AFC North battle, and one the Steelers can’t afford to lose. Pittsburgh leads the series, 62-35, winning the last six in a row (including one playoff meeting). Ben Roethlisberger is 21-7 all-time vs. Cincy. The Steelers’ defense finally had a strong game last week, holding a solid Falcons offense to 17 points. Give me the more desperate team catching points.

The pick: Steelers

CHARGERS (3-2) AT BROWNS (2-2-1)

Chargers by 1; O/U: 44 1/2

Cleveland, fresh off its first Sunday win in the Hue Jackson Era, is winning with defense. The Browns lead the NFL with 15 takeaways (eight interceptions, seven fumbles). The last time the Chargers visited Cleveland, the 0-14 Browns won on Christmas Eve in 2016.The Browns (4-0-1 ATS) are home and for once have a little magic on their side, so ride the hot hand against the West Coast team making the long flight for a 1 p.m. start.

The pick: Browns


Bears by 3 1/2; O/U: 42

Miami led 17-0 at Cincinnati last week, then allowed a 24-point fourth quarter in which the Bengals had two defensive touchdowns. The main culprit? The offensive line. They’ll have their hands full with Khalil Mack, who has totaled five sacks plus a forced fumble in each of Chicago's four games. Rested off a bye, the Bears (3-1 ATS) pick up where they left off.

The pick: Bears

BUCS (2-2) AT FALCONS (1-4)

Falcons by 3; O/U: 57 1/2

Expect Atlanta to go all out to avoid a 1-5 start, but will it be enough? The Falcons (also 1-4 ATS) have allowed 43, 37 and 41 points during a three-game losing streak. Jameis Winston is 3-2 vs. Atlanta with 12 TDs to just two INTs. The Bucs will show up after their bye week and be motivated after a 48-10 loss at Chicago in Week 4 that was so bad, Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said, “We should fire every person that was on that field today, starting with me.”

The pick: Bucs


Redskins by 1; O/U: 45

This is only Carolina's second road game, and Washington beat Green Bay by 14 in its last home game. This will be close, but the team returning home with a chip on its shoulder after an embarrassing loss on Monday Night Football gets the slight edge.

The pick: Redskins


Vikings by 10 1/2; O/U: 43

Minnesota saved its season with a big win at Philly, but let’s not forget how bad its defense  looked before that. Sure, the Vikings will beat the one-win Cardinals at home, but don’t be so confident laying the big number. As a 16.5-point favorite in Week 3, the Vikings had such a bad loss to the Bills (27-6) that they wouldn't have even covered as a 16.5-point underdog. Josh Rosen has looked good and can keep this to single digits.

The pick: Cardinals


BILLS (2-3) AT TEXANS (2-3)

Texans by 10 1/2; O/U: 41

Houston is fresh off back-to-back overtime wins in which it got help from the opposing coaches' questionable decisions. The Texans shouldn’t be favored by this many points, especially with Deshaun Watson dealing with a chest injury. Their games have been decided by 7, 3, 5, 3 and 3 points. Houston should be able to beat Buffalo, but Sean McDermott’s defense is a fiery bunch and Josh Allen can make some athletic plays to keep this inside the number.

The pick: Bills



Seahawks by 2 1/2; O/U: 48

TV: Ch. 5, 1 p.m.

You don’t have to wake up early to watch “The Marshawn Lynch Bowl” in London, as it kicks off at 1 p.m. ET. Games across the pond are always hard to predict, so take the better quarterback and better coach (that’s Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, of course). One thing’s for sure: If Lynch scores on a 1-yard run, expect the camera to immediately pan to Carroll.

The pick: Seahawks



Jaguars by 3; O/U: 40 1/2

Make believe you're an NFL coach for a minute. Your team has a  fourth-and-1 at the opponents' 42 in overtime with a chance to get to 3-2 on the season and prepare for a tough matchup with Jacksonville the next week. You go for it, right? Jason Garrett, of course, did not, literally punting away Dallas' chance at a win in Houston. Now, the Cowboys have to deal with one of the NFL's best defenses off a bad loss. The Jags played their worst game of the season at Kansas City, and will rebound here as their secondary is a huge mismatch against Dallas' receivers. The Cowboys will be punting a lot on fourth-and-long.

The pick: Jaguars

RAMS (5-0) AT BRONCOS (2-3)

Rams by 7; O/U: 52

If we were picking games straight up, the Rams would be the easy choice. But when it’s against the spread, it's not as clear cut. This game is the perfect example of that. The Rams, with their unstoppable offense and fearless coach, are by far the better team. But will they cover? Denver is one of the toughest places to play (there is snow in the forecast), and the Broncos will be pumped to snap a three-game skid and get back to .500 in front of their home crowd. Remember, Denver started 2-0 at home with close wins and had a 23-13 lead on Kansas City on MNF in Week 4 before the Chiefs rallied. This will be closer than you think.

The pick: Broncos

RAVENS (3-2) AT TITANS (3-2)

Ravens by 2 1/2; O/U: 41 1/2

Six weeks in, this might be the toughest game to pick all season. Both teams lost tight ones on the road last week. Tennessee's last four games have been decided by 1, 3, 3 and 3 points. In two previous spots as a home underdog, it beat Houston and Philadelphia. Take the points in what should be the closest game of the week.

The pick: Titans



Patriots by 3 1/2; O/U: 59 1/2

TV: Ch. 4

The acronym "MNF" might as well stand for "Mahomes Night Football," as the Chiefs' electric quarterback has been the story of the 2018 season. The NFL already flexed next week's Chiefs-Bengals game to Sunday night, so you'll be seeing a lot of Kansas City in prime time. Mahomes has never lost as an NFL starter (6-0) and this will be his toughest test. This is a rematch of the 2017 NFL season opener, when Alex Smith and the Chiefs blitzed the Patriots, 42-27. Andy Reid still has all those offensive weapons, so expect him to dial up some more big plays. The Pats have righted the ship with back-to-back wins after a 1-2 start, but they haven't faced an offense like this. The Chiefs average 35  points per game. Mahomes outduels Tom Brady in a shootout as Kansas City (tied for NFL-best ATS mark at 4-0-1) not only covers but wins a thriller.  

The pick: Chiefs


49ERS (1-4) AT PACKERS (2-2-1)


Packers by 9 1/2; O/U: 46 1/2

Green Bay outgained Detroit in yards, 521-264, but lost, 31-23, last week. It will outgain and outscore San Francisco as Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby make up for last week’s miscues with a comfortable win at Lambeau.

The pick: Packers


(best bets in bold)


31-41-6 overall, 2-3 best bets

Last week: 6-8-1

Jets Steelers Browns Bears

Bucs Redskins Cardinals Bills

Seahawks Jaguars Broncos

Titans Chiefs Packers


31-41-6, 1-4

Last week: 7-7-1

Jets Steelers Chargers Bears

Falcons Panthers Vikings Texans

Seahawks Jaguars Rams

Ravens Chiefs Packers


36-36-6, 3-2

Last week: 7-7-1

Jets Bengals Browns Bears

Falcons Panthers Vikings Bills

Raiders Jaguars Rams

Titans Patriots 49ers


36-36-6, 3-2

Last week: 9-5-1

Jets Steelers Chargers Bears

Falcons Redskins Vikings Bills

Seahawks Jaguars Rams

Titans Patriots Packers

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