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NFL Week 6 picks: Pats cover vs. Jets, Giants blown out by Broncos; Falcons lock of week

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass during

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass during the first half against the Panthers at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 1, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Credit: Getty Images / Jim Rogash

Underdogs continued their strong start to the season, going 8-4-1 against the spread (ATS) in Week 5. That increases their record to 44-30-2 for the year.

With a lot of lopsided matchups this week, this could be a week to favor the favorites. Whereas last week there was only one point spread over a touchdown, this week there are five. Four are 10-plus and three 11 or more. Not surprisingly, the three 0-5 teams — Giants, Browns and 49ers — are double-digit road ‘dogs. Can at least one of them find a way to cover?

My most confident picks ATS this week are the Falcons, Broncos, Lions and Ravens. A couple of tricky games you should avoid: Bucs-Cardinals and Rams-Jaguars.

PATRIOTS (3-2) AT JETS (3-2), 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)

Patriots by 9; O/U: 47.5

When the NFL schedules were released, there was little doubt the Patriots would be in first place when it visited MetLife Stadium in Week 6. That the Jets are tied atop the AFC East (along with the Bills) is a different story. Nobody could’ve called that one, not even Tony Romo. Despite its early-season struggles on defense, this will be the fourth time New England has been favored by nine or more points. They’re 0-3 ATS in those games, including losing two outright. But the Pats allowed a season-low 14 points at Tampa Bay, and have had 10 days to work on the defense even more. This game will be all about the Pats’ offense, though. The Jets defense has played well, but facing Tom Brady isn’t the same as Jay Cutler, Blake Bortles and DeShone Kizer. Brady is 23-7 all-time against the Jets, and a win Sunday gives him career regular-season win No. 187, which would be the most by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Look for him to get it in style, too, throwing for three, maybe four TDs. The Jets’ young secondary won’t be able to contain Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola. Brady picks them apart as New England plays its best game of the season.

The pick: Patriots


GIANTS (0-5) AT BRONCOS (3-1), 8:30 p.m.

TV: Ch. 4; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Broncos by 11.5; O/U: 39.5

This Sunday night feature might as well be titled, “Things to Do in Denver When Your Season’s Done.” The Giants — with an injury list and bad-luck streak that are a mile-high long — won’t get their elusive win at one of the most difficult places to play. Denver is 3-0 straight-up (SU) at home. It’s also off a bye. Denver’s run “D” has been dominant, holding Melvin Gordon (54), Ezekiel Elliott (8), LeSean McCoy (21) and Marshawn Lynch (12) to a total of 95 yards. The Giants have no run game, which spells a V-E-R-Y L-O-N-G night for Eli Manning. Oh, and who exactly will he be throwing the ball to? The Giants may not find the end zone all night.

The pick: Broncos



Packers by 3; O/U: 46.5

As long as Aaron Rodgers is playing, it doesn’t really matter who starts at quarterback for the Vikings. Look at his numbers against Minnesota: 12-6 with 39 TDs to just 6 INTs. Want more? He’s 40-13 vs. NFC North teams and 28-9 overall in October. It’s a division/rivalry game, so it will be close, but Rodgers and the Pack will do enough for the cover.

The pick: Packers



Falcons by 13; O/U: 46.5

Miami may be 2-2, but it’s played as bad as the three winless teams. Jay Cutler and the NFL’s last-ranked offense — 10.2 points and 231.2 yards per game — won’t be able to keep up with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons (26 and 388.2). Important note to remember: Atlanta, off a bye, will be playing angry after losing to the Bills at home in Week 4. Don’t worry about laying the big number. If the Falcons don’t win by 14-plus, it would be a shock.

The pick: Falcons

LIONS (3-2) AT SAINTS (2-2)

Saints by 4.5; O/U: 49.5

This line feels inflated. Maybe it’s because Matthew Stafford is dealing with an ankle injury. Or because the Saints, off a bye, are coming off two wins in which its defense allowed a total of 13 points. These are about even teams, and you can make the argument that Detroit is better, so the line should be about three. New Orleans’ defense allowed 65 points over the first two games, and Stafford and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter should be able to find some holes in that Saints secondary. Detroit won, 28-13, at New Orleans late last season, and has a strong shot to prevail again.

The pick: Lions

BEARS (1-4) AT RAVENS (3-2)

Ravens by 6.5; O/U: 39

Chicago has been outscored, 64-21, in its two road games. Now, Mitch Trubisky has to make his first NFL road start against the ball-hawking Ravens defense? Yikes! Baltimore’s offense finally got on track last week at Oakland, and that should continue at home. Don’t be surprised if the Ravens’ defense outscores the Bears’ offense.

The pick: Ravens

49ERS (0-5) AT REDSKINS (2-2)

Redskins by 11; O/U: 47

The 49ers’ last four losses have been by a combined 11 points, but this one won’t be close. This is San Francisco’s third straight road game. The last two were down-to-the-wire OT losses, meaning the 49ers essentially have played an extra quarter-plus of football. The Redskins, who played the Chiefs close in Kansas City and crushed Oakland in their last home game, will be fresh after the bye. This early start for a West-Coast team has all the makings of a rout.

The pick: Redskins

BROWNS (0-5) AT TEXANS (2-3)

Texans by 10; O/U: 47

Deshaun Watson will show Cleveland what it passed on in the draft. Kevin Hogan gets the start for Cleveland, and his ability to scramble against a Texans defense that lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries could keep this closer than most think. Three of the Browns’ losses have been by a field goal.

The pick: Browns



Chiefs by 4; O/U: 47

While Big Ben publicly questioned whether time may be running out on his career, Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense continue to run like clockwork. Smith (76.6 completion percentage, 11 TDs, no INTs and an NFL-best 125.8 passer rating) and Kareem Hunt (NFL-best 775 scrimmage yards) aren’t going to let up at home. The Steelers won at Kansas City in last season’s divisional playoff round, so expect Arrowhead to be louder than ever. Roethlisberger will bounce back from his 5-INT debacle and Pittsburgh will be in this game. But in the end, the Chiefs are just too hot right now to bet against. They’ll win and cover to get to 6-0 overall and ATS.

The pick: Chiefs

RAMS (3-2) AT JAGUARS (3-2)

Jaguars by 3; O/U: 43

Who would’ve thought this would be one of the best matchups of Week 6? Jacksonville has an NFL-best 20 sacks and has allowed only five, the second fewest. That’s a recipe for success. While some might argue that the Jags could suffer a letdown after last week’s upset win in Pittsburgh, the belief here is that the young team will use it as a confidence-builder. Both teams have trouble stopping the run, so expect Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley to have big games. Roll with the home team in a close contest.

The pick: Jaguars


Raiders by 2; O/U: OFF

The Chargers weren’t as bad as their 0-4 record suggested. Now, with a chance to win two in a row, they’ll be pumped to be playing in a real NFL stadium in California for a change. Derek Carr is returning rather quickly from a back injury, but he won’t be 100 percent. One big hit from Joey Bosa or Melvin Ingram and he could be forced to leave. All Philip Rivers and the Chargers do is play close games. They can win this game outright, so grab the points.

The pick: Chargers


Bucs by 1.5; O/U: 45.5

Tampa Bay had its chances to beat the Patriots, but Jameis Winston and the young Bucs continue to make too many mistakes. Winston threw three picks in the Bucs’ only other road game, a 34-17 loss at Minnesota. Arizona, which beat Tampa Bay, 40-7, at home last season, will play with a sense of desperation as it tries to avoid a 2-4 start. This is a stay-away game, but if you have to pick it, take the team coming off a lopsided road loss and catching points at home.

The pick: Cardinals


COLTS (2-3) AT TITANS (2-3), 8:30 p.m.


Line: OFF; O/U: OFF (QB)

Marcus Mariota is expected to play, sparing us from a Matt Cassell-Jacoby Brissett matchup. If Mariota suits up, this line will probably be in the ballpark of Titans -6. The Titans are coming off two bad road losses, and should get back on track at home in prime time against a Colts team that allows an NFL-high 31.8 points per game.

The pick: Titans

Staff Picks and Standings

(best bets in bold)


33-42-2 overall, 2-3 best bets

Last week: 8-5-1

Patriots Broncos Falcons Packers

Lions Ravens Redskins Browns

Chiefs Chargers Jaguars

Cardinals Titans


33-42-2 overall, 2-3 best bets

Last week: 7-6-1

Patriots Broncos Falcons Packers

Lions Ravens Redskins Texans

Chiefs Raiders Rams

Cardinals Titans


34-41-2 overall, 1-4 best bets

Last week: 5-8-1

Patriots Broncos Falcons Packers

Lions Ravens Redskins Texans

Chiefs Raiders Rams

Cardinals Titans


27-34-1 overall, 2-2 best bets

Last week: 5-8-1

Patriots Broncos Falcons Packers

Lions Bears Redskins Texans

Chiefs Raiders Rams

Bucs Titans

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