4 Best Bets for NFL Week 6

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Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Odell Beckham, Baker Mayfield

Two home underdogs. A divisional dog. And an over.

Our staff breaks down their favorite picks for Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season, featuring spread and total angles for Sunday’s main slate.

NFL Picks & Predictions

Raheem Palmer: Texans +3.5 at Titans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

If the Tennessee Titans were a stock, this would be the optimal time to sell.

The Titans are coming off a 42-16 upset win over the Bills in which Tennessee benefited from three turnovers, scoring touchdowns on drives starting at the Buffalo 16, 12 and 26.

The Bills’ injuries came back to bite them as the absences of Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace allowed Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown to roam free with impunity, catching seven receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. And the absence of WR John Brown also meant a dropped pass by Andre Roberts on the opening possession of the game turned into an interception.

With the Bills behind the eight ball from the opening drive, Josh Allen melted down and the game snowballed into a place where the Titans gained control and never relinquished it. Tennessee played as close to a perfect game as you could possibly play, going six-for-six in the red zone.

The market believed that the Titans were dead in the water after sitting out nearly two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak, however, this is a worse spot as they host their divisional rivals in the Texans just five days after Tuesday night’s win over the Bills.

After firing their head coach in Bill O’Brien, the Texans have a spark under interim head coach Romeo Crennel and a win here means a lot more for them than the Titans as this is potentially Houston’s season as the Texans sit with a 1-4 record. I’m not particularly a fan of handicapping motivation because obviously both teams want to win, but it’s worth noting that given the tendency for teams to end up in let down situations.

That said, the Texans have some key advantages coming into this matchup — most notably, their offense against the Titans defense.

Tennessee defensive lineman DaQuan Jones is questionable to play after sitting out of practice this week. The Titans are already 31st in rushing defense, allowing 5.5 yards per carry and ranking dead-last in explosive run rate with 20% of runs going for 20 or more  yards. This could be a potential breakout game for David Johnson on the ground, making things easier for Deshaun Watson to move the ball through the air, where the Titans haven’t fared any better than their rushing defense.

They’re allowing 6.7 yards per pass and are 24th in passing success rate defense. The Texans trio of receivers in Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills presents a challenge for a secondary missing No. 1 cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, so Houston should have plenty of opportunities to score.

The Texans certainly have their issues, but in this spot, I like them to pull off the upset.

Houston opened the season with a murderers’ row schedule of opponents and this will be the weakest defense the Texans have faced the entire season. I’ll take the 3.5 points with Houston facing a divisional opponent on short rest and sprinkle a small percentage of my wager on the ML.

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Mike Randle: Eagles +9.5 vs. Ravens

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Versatile running back Miles Sanders will attack the Ravens both on the ground and through the air. He has three games of 99 or more total yards and scored two touchdowns against the Steelers’ league-leading rush defense last week. Now he faces a Ravens’ run defense that has been stout as always, ranking third in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, but has allowed the seventh-most receptions and eighth-most receiving yards to opposing running backs.

Sanders will find atypical production even against the Ravens’ strong defensive front.

Philadelphia’s run defense has started to return to its normal elite level. Opposing running backs have tallied only 3.3 yards per carry against an Eagles’ front four that’s among the NFL’s best. Most importantly, cornerback Darius Slay is again playing a Pro Bowl level, and should limit production for diminutive Ravens wideout Marquise Brown.

This game features strength on strength with the Ravens rushing attack against the ground-stopping Eagles defense. With limited offensive weapons, Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson knows he can’t survive a shootout, and Baltimore’s defense will not surrender a ton of points to an Eagles team limited at wide receiver.

The biggest concern is a mysterious knee injury to quarterback Lamar Jackson, which limited him to just three total rushing yards in Week 5. If Jackson’s mobility is again compromised, the Ravens lose a major part of their offensive attack.

The most reliable units in this game are both defenses, and the Ravens don’t have the offensive firepower against Philadelphia’s defensive line to win by double digits.

With Jackson’s health unknown, I’m backing the Eagles at +9.5 and would take them down to +9.

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Brandon Anderson: Jaguars +3 vs. Lions

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Each Sunday night before I dig deep into the next week’s slate, I try to predict what the lines will be — it’s a good way to get an early feel for the game before the betting line dictates things. And when I looked at Lions-Jaguars, I did indeed have it at 3.5 … I just had the other team favored.

Wait, what?!

The Detroit Lions take one week off and suddenly we’re making them a road favorite? Sure, a bye week gives Detroit a nice rest advantage, but what else about these Lions make them look like a road favorite against anyone, really?

Like every other Detroit team under Matt Patricia, these Lions are absolutely horrible on defense. They’re third to last in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA, about where they usually are under Patricia. Of course, the naysayer would point out that Jacksonville is one of the two defenses ranked even worse. Sure enough.

The problem is Detroit’s offense hasn’t been very good, either, while Jacksonville’s has. I trust Gardner Minshew more than Matt Stafford right now, especially with D.J. Chark on the field, and rookie RB James Robinson projects to have a huge game against this terrible Lions run defense.

Patricia was supposed to be a defensive guy, but do you really think he fixed something during the bye that he hadn’t already done the last few years? I’m going the other way. I think the Jaguars win a shootout outright and might grab the moneyline here if the line drops below +3. Maybe Jacksonville will hang so many points on Patricia that he’ll be the next head coach on the hot seat.

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Travis Reed: Browns-Steelers Over 51

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

An AFC North matchup that has the nostalgic feelings of a defensive battle, but that’s not what I’m expecting in this game.

After getting blown out by the Ravens in Week 1, the Browns have turned around their season and are now 4-1. In those four wins, they’ve averaged a staggering 37.5 points per game on offense. Many of those points were needed as they gave up 28 points per game in those same four wins.

On the Steelers side, Chase Claypool may cover the over by himself. I’m joking, of course, but their offense has scored at least 26 points in all four of their games thus far regardless of who is playing at wide receiver for Pittsburgh.

Neither team is slowly plodding up the field when they get into the end zone, either. Both teams rank in the top half in pace, meaning not only are they scoring, but they are doing it quicker than most.

You can’t just take the number of points scored and add them up to get a projected total, so I turned to my simulations which do the math for me. The average result was the Steelers winning 31-25, which is well over the current total of 51 (compare real-time odds here). Because of that, I would have no problem betting the over up to 52.5 points.

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