NFL Week 6 early lines and thoughts



Taking a look at the NFL Week 6 schedule

Week 6 has arrived in the NFL for 30 of the league’s 32 teams, as the Raiders and Packers still have some unfinished business to tend to at Allegiant Stadium. The Packers are actually one of two teams on a bye this week, so 14 of the 15 games are set and we know what we have to work with as the middle of October brings cooler weather and some more precipitation in certain parts of the country.


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We haven’t had to handicap a lot of weather to this point, except for a couple of tropical storms, but you definitely want to be getting in the habit of checking the forecast now that the chill of autumn is starting to take hold and more clouds and rain leak into the picture. I’m not saying that there are a bunch of games this week that apply, but simply that you want to be taking into account all of the handicapping factors.

Check out Zachary Cohen’s Packers/Raiders MNF Preview.

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Here are some Week 6 thoughts:

(odds as of 10/8, 8:30 p.m. PT)

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5, 51.5)

Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

A short week might be a bit of an inconvenience for Travis Kelce with his foot/ankle issue, but it should be smooth sailing otherwise for the Chiefs, who may even be a bigger favorite by kickoff here. The Broncos lost at home to Zach Wilson, which typically isn’t good for business, and the Chiefs are methodically taking care of business with enough points to get by and a top-five defense. I’m mostly mentioning this game because it’s a short week and because the line hasn’t moved much from where the lookahead number was, but you’ll be very hard-pressed to find anybody interested in the Broncos.

This could be a very popular game for Survivor and a very unpopular game for the books, who are going to need Denver to show up.

Baltimore Ravens (-4, 40.5) vs. Tennessee Titans (London)

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET

The playing surface at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium did not draw rave reviews from either the Bills or the Jaguars, as both teams returned to the States with walking boots and crutches en masse. Defensive players were dropping like flies and that has to put some pause into both the Ravens and Titans as they prepare for this game in Jolly Ol’ England. Lamar Jackson will hope that his receivers pack their hands for the trip, because they sure as hell left them at home for the game against Pittsburgh. Both teams had disappointing outcomes, but the Titans have garnered slight favor here with a line that came down a touch from the lookahead number.

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5, 49) at Chicago Bears

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Bears had a “Frank The Tank” moment against the Commanders and suddenly looked competent for four quarters, much like Will Ferrell’s character did in Old School during a debate with the Ragin’ Cajun James Carville. Concerns about the hamstring of Justin Jefferson are a driving force behind this line sitting 3.5 as opposed to 4 or 4.5. Of course, Minnesota would also be wise to take care of the football a little bit and stop turning it over. Was that a one-week blip for the Bears that said more about the Commanders or did they possibly find something to build off of in last Thursday’s game?

Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 46.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

We did not see the Seahawks last week, as they enjoyed their one bye of the season. We did see the Bengals and it was the best performance of the year from Cincinnati and, more specifically, Joe Burrow. Burrow found “always f-ing open” Ja’Marr Chase a lot, including three times either in or en route to the end zone. The panic button that had been depressed for most of the season with Cincinnati now sits in its full and upright position, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t keep my hand fairly close to the bright red button. I’m really curious to see how this line moves (if it does), but the total has gone up from where the lookahead line was thanks to Burrow’s performance.

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (-14, 48)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Dolphins were a double-digit favorite before racking up all kinds of yardage on the Giants, but now they are a two-touchdown favorite per some books out there, including DraftKings. Much like the Kansas City game, books will be begging for some underdog money, as the Panthers looked overmatched on both sides of the ball against the Lions. The line was initially in a similar place to that Panthers/Lions number and now it is not. Would you favor the Dolphins on a neutral? By how much? I think some brave souls will consider this line to be too high. I am not one of them.

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5, 47.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

The Kellen Moore Bowl will be at SoFi Stadium on Monday night. The Cowboys’ former OC is the current Chargers OC and he’s had plenty of extra time to prepare for this one, as the Chargers were on a bye and the Cowboys were finding out how far they are from being one of the NFC’s elite teams. It was the first really big test for both squads and the 49ers passed with flying colors, while the Cowboys struggled to move the football and got pushed around. I do think this is a better stylistic matchup for Dallas and wonder if maybe they can be had in a bit of a buy-low spot here.

Early plays I like for Week 6:

San Francisco 49ers (-3, 41.5) at Cleveland Browns

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Browns come off of the bye with a still banged-up Deshaun Watson. Kevin Stefanski can get way too cute in games like this when he knows that running the football will be a challenge and that often leads to a lot of inefficiency on offense. Watson throwing the ball 40 times here seems suboptimal and Cleveland’s offensive line is suspect, especially with Jack Conklin out and Jedrick Wills not out.

However, the Browns defense has really held its own. This is effectively a short week for the Niners coming off of Sunday Night Football and with the long travel. This will be their first time outside of California since Week 1 and traveling in Week 1 is no big deal. This is an early kick and I think it will be a slow and low kind of game where points are really at a premium.

Pick: Under 41.5

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5, 45.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Colts and Jags will meet again, as these two squared off in Week 1 and Jacksonville won 31-21. The circumstances were different then, as Anthony Richardson was making his first career start and the Colts were filled with uncertainty coming into the season. At this point, I think they have an identity under head coach Shane Steichen and I believe they are much better equipped, even if it winds up being Gardner Minshew and not Richardson.

The Jaguars needed a 14-point fourth quarter to win that first game and two short fields thanks to a punt return and a pick gave them a leg up. Indianapolis turned it over on downs twice inside the red zone as well. With Jacksonville leaving “home” to go home after two weeks in London, it’s a weird spot, too. I like the Colts here.

Pick: Colts +4.5