NFL picks for Week 6 from Matt Youmans

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One month into his NFL career, Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson has suffered two significant injuries that have forced him to miss starts. Richardson has flashed the potential to develop into a star, but the rookie is far from that now, and he’s not going to be missed this week.

 

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As a handicapper, it’s rare to prefer the backup quarterback in the starting role, but that’s the case with Gardner Minshew replacing Richardson for Indianapolis on Sunday. This is Minshew’s homecoming game at Jacksonville, where he started his career as a sixth-round draft pick in 2019.

When a concussion kept Richardson sidelined in Week 3, Minshew passed for 227 yards and a touchdown in the Colts’ 22-19 overtime win at Baltimore. Minshew has played in five games this season, completing 68.7% of his passes without an interception. Richardson is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and will miss at least the next four weeks.

Indianapolis is Minshew’s team for the near future, and he gives the team the best chance to win. He will be especially motivated to beat his former team, and he’ll get a boost with running back Jonathan Taylor returning to a bigger role in the offense.

Jacksonville scored two touchdowns in the final 5½ minutes to beat Indianapolis 31-21 in Week 1. I like division revenge situations and prefer Minshew as the starter. This is also a tricky spot for the Jaguars, who just spent two weeks in London.

Pick: Colts +4

My five sides went 3-2 last week. The season record in this column is 12-12-1, which is worse than my Westgate SuperContest record of 15-10. Four more plays for Week 6 (home team in CAPS):

Seahawks (+3) over BENGALS Joe Burrow finally looked like himself last week, passing for 317 yards and connecting with Ja’Marr Chase for three touchdowns in Cincinnati’s win at Arizona. Seattle has a much stronger defensive front and pass rush than the Cardinals and Burrow’s mobility with a calf injury will get tested. The Seahawks have been road warriors, beating the Giants and Lions, and they should be live ‘dogs on the road. Still, this is a pick I’m not convinced to make in the Circa and Westgate contests.

BROWNS (+10) over 49ers With a shoulder injury sidelining quarterback Deshaun Watson, Cleveland will turn to PJ Walker instead of rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Walker, signed to the practice squad in late August, made seven starts in three seasons with Carolina. The Browns got more bad news when All-Pro left guard Joel Bitonio was ruled out with a knee injury, ending his streak of 102 consecutive starts. Don’t expect much from the Cleveland offense, but its defense should hold down the score. DraftKings reported San Francisco is the league’s most popular play this week in terms of number of bets and wagering handle. This is a contrarian side and my least-favorite pick this week. I might not use this in the contests, but it’s my fifth pick here.

JETS (+6.5) over Eagles New York needs to ride running back Breece Hall, who ran for 177 yards at Denver a week ago. Hall’s success would benefit quarterback Zach Wilson, who’s also a capable runner. A major potential problem for the Jets is the loss of offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. Philadelphia has not been explosive offensively on the road, failing to score more than 25 points in three games, and the Jets have the best defense that Jalen Hurts has faced this season. Trust the spot, and the Eagles are in a tough spot after playing in Los Angeles last week. Also, wait to see if +7 resurfaces by Sunday.

CHARGERS (+2.5) over Cowboys It’s tough to predict how the Cowboys will respond after getting embarrassed at San Francisco in Week 5. The Dallas defense was weak in recent road games against the 49ers and Cardinals. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has an impressive assortment of weapons, including running back Austin Ekeler, to stretch the field. This matchup means a lot to L.A. offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was fired and thrown under the bus by Dallas coach Mike McCarthy. Wait to see if +3 surfaces by Monday night.