Mike Ivcic’s Week 6 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 6 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>


By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer


Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Vikings by 2.5
Talk about a disappointing season – both of these teams were hoping for much better than they’ve had so far. Carolina continues to lose winnable games because of a combination of bad luck and bad game management from head coach Ron Rivera, while the Vikings defense, once their hallmark, has become porous and weak, allowing at least 27 points in all four games. This has all the makings of a close, ugly, high-scoring game, one that I could easily see the Vikings winning with a late field goal.
Pick: Minnesota 34, Carolina 31

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bengals by 7
They look unbeatable at home, but Cincinnati is still looking for their first road win as they head to Buffalo. The Bills have had extra time to rest and prepare coming off their Thursday night loss in Cleveland, and I think that makes enough of a difference that Buffalo gets back to playing those tight, close games like they did the first four weeks. Doug Marrone has to be telling his team that they’re still very much in the AFC East race, especially considering they played such close games with the Pats and Jets already this season. If they can continue to run the ball as well as they have thus far (152.6 yards per game, 3rd in the league) the Bengals could find themselves in a dogfight. I do think Cincy picks up that first road win, but not by more than a touchdown.
Pick: Cincinnati 24, Buffalo 20

Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, FOX

Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 2.5
Green Bay at home – 2-0. Green Bay on the road – 0-2. Baltimore at home – 2-0. Baltimore on the road – 1-2. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of where the game is played.
Pick: Baltimore 27, Green Bay 24


Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Chiefs by 8.5
The Raiders are a really hard team to decipher. They held Denver to just 37 points – which actually serves as an accomplishment this season – and gave Indy all they could handle in week one, all before stifling the Chargers late Sunday night to get to 2-3. But, they’ve also lost at home to the previously winless Redskins and managed just 19 points against lowly Jacksonville, so I’m just not quite sure how good this team is. Kansas City doesn’t exactly blow teams away, even though they are 5-0, so this game should be close enough that Oakland may actually have a shot here. The Raiders follow this with a bye, home games against the Steelers and Eagles, and a trip to the Giants, so if they do pull this out, could they really be staring at the possibility of 6-3? I’m not saying, I’m just saying…
Pick: Kansas City 24, Oakland 20

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, 1pm, FOX

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 2.5
I would ask your forgiveness for my continued doubting of the Jets, but can you really blame me? This team lost their best defensive player – and, for that matter, their best player, period – and have started a rookie quarterback this entire season. And yet, it’s unbelievable to think that the Jets were one fourth-quarter TD drive in Foxboro away from being all alone in first place in the AFC East. Looking ahead, it’s entirely possible that even with that loss, they could assume total control of the division with a win here and next week over the Patriots. And it’s exactly that type of thinking that usually starts getting me excited about my team – right before they blow a totally winnable game at home against a winless team. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Pick: Pittsburgh 23, New York 17

St. Louis Rams @ Houston Texans
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Texans by 7.5
There is absolutely no reason to assume, based upon the first five weeks of play, that the Texans will cover a spread of more than a touchdown against anyone not named the Jaguars. The Rams, meanwhile, are coming off a victory over those same Jags and have to at least feel like they’re capable of competing with a Texans team that has yet to live up to all the preseason hype. I ultimately think Houston will win this game – and if they don’t, they can probably kiss their chances at a third straight AFC South title goodbye, and maybe even any shot at the postseason depending on other results – but expect the Rams to keep this within one score.
Pick: Houston 27, St. Louis 20


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Broncos by 26.5
You have two options here – spend a looooong time trying to talk yourself into Chad Henne and the Jaguars defense on the road against possibly the best offensive team ever… or just take the Broncos and move on.
Pick: Denver 45, Jacksonville 6

Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Seahawks by 13.5
Seattle returns home – which means I return to the bandwagon. It’s actually a little depressing that Jake Locker is injured and can’t return to the city where he played his college football, because he won’t get another chance to visit Seattle until 2021, barring any changes to the league’s scheduling mechanism. Instead, the Seahawks defense and raucous home crowd will make life miserable for Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the Titans will fly home a 3-3 football team.
Pick: Seattle 30, Tennessee 10

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49’ers
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: 49’ers by 11
On the list of surprising 3-2 teams, there’s none that deserves the top spot more so than the Cardinals, even if two of their wins are against the Bucs and Panthers. Similarly to Cleveland, Arizona has a defining next three weeks, with home games against Seattle and Atlanta following this game, and need at least one victory to enter the bye week 4-4 and give themselves a fighting chance in the second half of the season. Sadly for Cardinals fans, it appears the Niners have re-established their identity thanks to a 34-3 drubbing of Houston last week. The interesting matchup will be the San Fran offense against the Arizona defense – Colin Kaepernick and the Niners passing attack is 31st in the league with 181.6 yards per game throwing the ball, while Arizona is 19th in passing yards allowed with 264.4. Meanwhile the Cardinals defense is stout against the run, ranking third in the NFL allowing just 79 yards per game, which is good because the 49’ers are averaging 188.8 yards per game, good for second in the entire NFL. The Niners will win, but it’s the matchup I just described that will dictate whether or not they cover a rather large spread.
Pick: San Francisco 28, Arizona 13

New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC

Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN

Straight-Up: 49-28
Against Spread: 38-37-2


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