Mike Ivcic’s Week 6 NFL Preview and Free Picks [2014]

By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

What a week straight up! Had the Lions actually shown up against Buffalo, I would have posted my first-ever perfect week. As it is, I’ll take the 14-1 record to the bank, which included a 9-6 record against the spread, and see if we can duplicate that performance here in week six.

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
Thu, 8:25pm, CBS/NFL
Line: Colts by 3
The battle for first place in the AFC South could be a good one, especially with the Colts finally seeming to hit their stride with three straight wins. With the Eagles, they have scored more points than any other team and look every bit as dangerous as most people expected before opening with losses to Denver and Philly. Meanwhile Houston is in a precarious position after road losses to the Giants and Cowboys and been surviving on a “bend but don’t break” defense. That won’t work against Indy, and that’s why I’m taking the Colts.
Pick: Indianapolis 27, Houston 20

Baltimore Ravens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Ravens by 3
I know Tampa beat Pittsburgh, but they’re still not a good football team. The Ravens do have issues and may not be an “elite” team anymore, but they’re still a very good bet to make the postseason, and those teams are the kind of teams that feast on bad teams like the Bucs.
Pick: Baltimore 31, Tampa Bay 16

Carolina Panthers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Bengals by 7
I don’t know what to think about Carolina. They looked dominant against Detroit, but maybe that’s more a product of the Lions inconsistency. They also got smoked in back-to-back games by the Steelers and Ravens, but rebounded with a nice win over the Bears. They still have two games remaining against both the Falcons and Saints, so their season can still go a myriad of ways, but the Bengals coming off that demolition in New England will probably too angry of a team for the Jekyll and Hyde Panthers.
Pick: Cincinnati 28, Carolina 24

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Broncos by 8.5
That line could say 18.5 and I’d still go over. The Jets are one of the five worst teams in the league right now, and if not for already posting a win over the Raiders could very well be in line for the number one overall pick. They’re that bad on offense, and that’s what this league is all about. You know who’s not bad on offense? Denver. And Peyton Manning. This could get ugly.
Pick: Denver 44, New York 13

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Lions by 1.5
The NFC North is still wiiiiiide open, by the Vikings are already 0-1 in the division and cannot afford to lose another home divisional game. The Lions, meanwhile, keep positioning themselves to take primary control of the division and then keep kicking it away. Literally. With only 99 points scored, the supposed vaunted Detroit offense will have to show up outdoors against a solid passing defense – but maybe the Lions just like to alternate between good performances and bad ones. That would set them up for a good one this time around, so let’s go with it.
Pick: Detroit 33, Minnesota 21

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Titans by 5.5
It’s the “Someone Has To Win Bowl!” Seriously, though, with the Jags at 0-5 and the Titans coming off the biggest home collapse in NFL history (read that sentence again), it’s amazing to think that anyone would actually watch this game, let alone bet on it. Still, since what we do is make predictions, let’s just say the Titans still suffer from their massive let down last week and allow the Jags to pick up their first win of the year.
Pick: Jacksonville 21, Tennessee 19

Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 3.5
The Dolphins have played four games, all which have been decided by at least 13 points. Whatever you do here, don’t pick a Packers win and a Dolphins cover. It’ll be a blowout one way or the other, and it’ll probably be determined by the Dolphins 5th ranked rushing attack against the worst run defense in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers will have his work cut out for him, and I think Miami pulls out another surprise win.
Pick: Miami 30, Green Bay 17

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Browns by 2
Interesting that this is already the final meeting between these two division teams, and it’s a chance for the Browns to re-insert themselves into the playoff discussion. Losing twice to the Steelers would basically put an end to that kind of talk along Lake Erie, but this appears to be a Browns team playing with a different level of confidence now, and I think they take this one.
Pick: Cleveland 24, Pittsburgh 20

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Patriots by 3
Attention Bills: if you would like to be considered a legitimate contender in the AFC East, you need to win this game. Attention bettors: after last week, take the Bills at your own risk.
Pick: New England 31, Buffalo 20

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Chargers by 7
Allow me some slight deductive reasoning for a second. The Jets beat the Raiders 19-14. The Chargers beat the Jets 31-0. And San Diego’s only favored by 7? Please.
Pick: San Diego 34, Oakland 6

Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: Falcons by 3.5
One of these two teams will basically be eliminated from real playoff consideration after this game. I flipped a coin 11 times and it came up heads (or home team) 6 times, so I’m taking the Falcons. It may not be the best method of selecting games, but I just wanted you to understand how I reached this super-informed conclusion.
Pick: Atlanta 27, Chicago 21

Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: Seahawks by 8
I’d rather bet on a line for how many interceptions Tony Romo will throw to the Seahawks secondary. I’ll set the line at 2.5 and take the over. I’ll also take Seattle to win and cover in their return to the Pacific Northwest.
Pick: Seattle 24, Dallas 14

Washington Redskins @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: Cardinals by 3
After Washington lost to Philadelphia in a close, hard-fought game, I really thought they’d put themselves in position to start making a run. Kirk Cousins was playing well, they were home against a pitiful (or so I thought) Giants team on a short week, then had 11 days to prepare for a home game against the defending champs. It actually looked like things were aligning for the Redskins – and then they promptly nosedived. Quickly. This is their last real chance to salvage their season, but I think Arizona’s just a better team.
Pick: Arizona 20, Washington 13

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sun, 8:30pm, NBC
Line: Eagles by 3
There are two ways to look at the Eagles. One, they haven’t played well in any game yet this year and are lucky to be 4-1 with wins over three mediocre to bad teams, so there’s some sort of reversion due relatively soon. The other is that they haven’t played well in any game yet this year and have still managed to win 4 of their 5 games, so imagine what will happen when they finally put it together. I keep waiting for the second school of thought to materialize, because that’s honestly what I think is more the case, but maybe… just maybe… it might be time to think about the Eagles maybe not being as good as many people think. If that’s really the case, the red-hot Giants – who always seem to play well in Philadelphia – might be just the team to really expose the flaws.
Pick: New York 24, Philadelphia 20

San Francisco 49’ers @ St. Louis Rams
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: 49’ers by 3.5
The Rams gave the eagles a good fight, but let’s face it – they’re really just not that good. Plus, fans will probably have screamed themselves hoarse supporting the Cardinals in the NLCS on Saturday and Sunday, so I’m not really sure if that many people will ever be watching this game. But how lucky did the NFL get with this on Monday night and the LCS schedule set up Sat-Sun-Tue-Wed-Thu for games 1-5? Because if this game was up against baseball, I don’t think too many people in either city would be watching this football game.
Pick: San Francisco 28, St. Louis 16

Last Week
Straight-Up: 14-1
vs. Spread: 9-6

Straight Up: 48-28
vs. Spread: 41-35