Chicago Bears (4-1) at Carolina Panthers (3-2) Line: Panthers by 2. Total: 45. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
WEEK 5 RECAP: We just had a great rebound off our first down week. The results for Week 5 were 9-4 (+$1,770), with Bills-Titans pending. My only regret entering Monday night was not making the Dolphins my pick of the month. Meanwhile, the Saints loss was very frustrating. I definitely did not put in enough stock into Michael Thomas being sidelined. I thought the Saints would be OK without him because they had just torched the Lions without him as well. I'm going to do a deep dive this week into how teams have done without top receivers over recent years because it seems as though they have been atrocious this season.
My Week 6 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
By the way, if you want to support this site, check out my new book!
In this book, I talk about the top NFL Draft busts, and what would've happened had each team gone a different route. Also, I discuss why Roger Goodell has banned us from the NFL Combine.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: The Panthers started slowly this year with consecutive losses, but they've won three in a row. Their offense has been excellent of late, and much of that has to do with Teddy Bridgewater. The journeyman quarterback, usually just a caretake of the ball, has been more aggressive in this system, and understandably so, given the amount of talent surrounding him. D.J. Moore is a terrific receiver, while Robby Anderson has been much better than expected.
That said, the Panthers have gone on this winning streak against the banged-up Chargers, Cardinals and Falcons. The Bears have a much better defense, and they have the personnel to slow down the gifted Carolina wideouts. The Bears will also be able to pressure on Bridgewater.
The Bears aren't without weakness on this side of the ball, and that would be their linebacking corps. Getting Mike Davis - or perhaps even Christian McCaffrey - in space could produce some big gains.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: `Which Nick Foles will show up? Foles was dreadful against the Colts and continued to play that way in the opening quarter against the Buccaneers. Foles, however, dissected Tampa after that to upset Tom Brady once again.
Given the matchup, Foles should do well. The Panthers have been better defensively of late, but they lost three key players to injury in Week 5: Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos and Donte Jackson. Burns had been enjoying a great season; Gross-Matos had been playing well as a rookie; and Jackson is Carolina's No. 1 cornerback. It'll be important for the Panthers to have both players on the field to make sure Foles reverts to the quarterback we saw in Week 4.
The Panthers will also need to make sure they slow down David Montgomery. The second-year back isn't a great player, by any means, but Carolina just allowed the decrepit Todd Gurley to be very productive.
RECAP: I'm not a big believer in the Bears, but they've had extra time to prepare for this game. That makes them look appealing if the Panthers are missing some of the players who suffered injuries this past Sunday. If the Panthers are down both edge rushers, I'll probably bet at least a couple of units on Chicago.
Our Week 6 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Panthers suffered a big blow with Kawann Short being ruled out for the year. That's huge because Short is one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL. If Short, Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos and Donte Jackson are all out, Chicago will be an easy pick.
SATURDAY NOTES: We got half our wishlist for the injury report. Short and Gross-Matos are out, but it sounds like Burns and Jackson will play. This is a bummer, as I was hoping to take advantage of some massive Carolina injuries. I still like the Bears, but I don't think I'm betting them.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Curtis Samuel is out for the Panthers, but that's not a big deal. This has been an evenly bet game with no sharp movement worth mentioning. If you want to bet this game, I'd sell a half-a-point or a whole point on Bookmaker.
Detroit Lions (1-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) Line: Lions by 3. Total: 53. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Jaguars.
My overrated-underrated feature was posted in this spot the past couple of years. I thought it would be better if there was less clutter on this page, so I set up a new NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams page that will be updated every Monday. I have overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!
Contest Announcement time!
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DETROIT OFFENSE: The Jaguars have gotten screwed by injuries in consecutive weeks. They were up 13-10 against the Bengals in Week 4, but fell apart in the second half of that contest because Myles Jack, C.J. Henderson and D.J. Hayden were all knocked out with injuries. I assumed the Jaguars would get back Jack and Henderson this past Sunday because they both practiced on multiple days leading up to the game. However, both were inactive, so that ruined any chance the Jaguars had of upsetting the Texans. It even prompted me to place a late, three-unit wager on Houston!
Given that both Jack and Henderson practiced on multiple occasions in advance of Week 5, there's a good chance both will be on the field this Sunday. They'll desperately be needed. Detroit's offense is much better now than it was in the beginning of the year because Kenny Golladay was sidelined. Henderson, who has done well as a rookie, will be able to stick with Golladay to make Matthew Stafford throw elsewhere.
Jack, meanwhile, is required to help stop the run and defend T.J. Hockenson. The Lions haven't had much of a running game because they've given Adrian Peterson too many carries, but perhaps they'll finally come to the realization that feeding D'Andre Swift is the smarter move.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Jack, Henderson and Hayden are the only prominent Jaguars to go down with injuries lately. Jacksonville was sticking close to the Texans last week before falling apart late again. This time, it was D.J. Chark who left the game early.
I mentioned in the opener on this page that teams have done poorly this year when missing their top receiver. This includes the Jaguars, who were blown out by the Dolphins in Week 3 without Chark. Their offense couldn't generate anything in the fourth quarter this past Sunday when he was sidelined, which was hardly a surprise.
The Lions don't have a very good defense, to put it nicely. However, given the limitations of players on this Jacksonville roster, Chark will be needed to occupy first-round cornerback Jeff Okudah, which will allow Gardner Minshew to attack elsewhere.
RECAP: There is major injury news to digest when it comes to this game. Jack, Henderson and Chark are all major players whose availability will decide the outcome of this matchup.
That said, it's hard to resist the Jaguars. Who are the Lions to be favored by more than a field goal on the road against anyone, save for perhaps the Jets? They are utter garbage, and the Jaguars, when healthy, have been very competitive this season. If they have all of their major players available, they should be able to win this game outright.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: D.J. Chark missed practice to begin the week, which is not a good sign. I'm still assuming that Myles Jack and C.J. Henderson will play, but if they don't, the Lions will be a big wager.
SATURDAY NOTES: It's unclear if D.J. Chark and Josh Allen will play, but there's plenty of great news for the Jaguars, as Myles Jack and C.J. Henderson are no longer on the injury report. This is huge, as their defense fell apart beginning in the second half of the Week 4 loss to Cincinnati when both were taken off the field. Meanwhile, the Lions once again have a block injury at cornerback with Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman sidelined. The Jaguar receiving corps, even without Chark, is talented and can take advantage of this. I like the Jaguars enough to bet four units on them, and I'll increase this unit count to five if Chark plays. I'm going to lock this in now because I fear as though the sharps may come in and bump this down to +2.5. The best number is +3 -105 at Bovada.
FINAL THOUGHTS: D.J. Chark will play, so I'm going to add a fifth unit. The sharps are betting Jacksonville as well, which is nice to see. The best place to bet the Jaguars at the moment is still Bovada, which has +3 -105 listed.
Atlanta Falcons (0-5) at Minnesota Vikings (1-4) Line: Vikings by 3.5. Total: 53. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. The highest-bet sides were 44-40-2 last season and 14-15 heading into Week 5.
Here are the teams getting the most bets last week:
There was only one highly bet side in Week 5, which was odd to see. The Buccaneers failed to cover, so the books did well.
Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:
The Rams are the highest-bet team, by far. This shouldn't be a surprise after everyone saw what the 49ers did against the Dolphins this past week.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons are another example of a team struggling immensely without its No. 1 receiver. Julio Jones' absence has had a profound impact on how Atlanta has performed this season. Check this out: In the nine quarters Jones has played, the Falcons have scored an average of 7.1 points per quarter, which translates to 28.4 points per game. In the 11 quarters Jones has missed, Atlanta has scored an average of 5.27 points per quarter, or 21 points per game. That's a full touchdown for a team that has lost three games by seven points or fewer!
Jones will once again be needed against a Minnesota defense that put lots of pressure on Russell Wilson this past week. The Seahawk offensive line had been performing well entering that contest, so perhaps the Vikings will be able to rattle Matt Ryan a bit as well. Ryan will need Jones at his disposal to take advantage of a Minnesota cornerback corps that isn't very good, to say the least. Only having Calvin Ridley has not worked, as demonstrated by the numbers in the previous paragraph.
Jones' availability will especially be vital, given that the Falcons likely won't be able to run the ball very well. Todd Gurley had a great showing last week, but the Viking run defense is far superior to Carolina's.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: If you want proof that No. 1 receivers are far more important than starting running backs, take a look at the Vikings, who didn't skip a beat when Alexander Mattison replaced Dalvin Cook on Sunday night. Had Kirk Cousins not imploded with consecutive turnovers, the Vikings would have pulled the upset over Seattle by riding Mattison to victory.
It sounds like Mattison will draw the start in this game with Cook banged up yet again. The Falcons are better against the run than the pass, but so were the Seahawks, and we just saw what Cook and Mattison were able to do, thanks to the excellent blocking by the left side of the offensive line.
The Vikings' greatest advantage in this game, however, will be Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson against the dreadful Atlanta cornerbacks. The Falcons haven't been able to cover anyone this year, so I don't see how they'll be able to stick with the two dynamic Minnesota wideouts.
RECAP: I ended up betting the Texans for three units last week, mostly because of the Jacksonville injuries. However, Bill O'Brien's firing played a part in it as well. The Texan players hated O'Brien, so they were bound to perform better without him.
The opposite is true of Dan Quinn, however. The long-time Falcon coach was fired Sunday night, which should depress the Atlanta locker room. The players fought hard for Quinn to keep his job late last year, but they failed him this time. Without much time to make adjustments, this Atlanta team could be discombobulated, especially against an excellent coach like Mike Zimmer.
I like the Vikings as of this moment, but I'll love them if Jones is sidelined once again. This will be a two-unit wager at the very least.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Every single predictor says the Vikings aren't favored by enough. My line is Minnesota -4 (will be larger if Julio Jones is out); the computer model says -6; while DVOA has it at -5. The Vikings will be a big play if Jones is sidelined. He has yet to practice. Of course, Atlanta isn't practicing at all today because a trainer has come down with a minor illness. He'll be perfectly splendid in a bit, but the Falcons won't be in this game.
SATURDAY NOTES: Julio Jones will be back for the Falcons, while Calvin Ridley wasn't even on the injury report. The Falcons' offense should be better than it's been since the first half of the Dallas game. The problem is that they were shuffling things around with their coaching staff amid a missed practice. I still like the Vikings, but not as a major play.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The pros hadn't touched this game until Saturday night/Sunday morning when they beat the Falcons at +4. They haven't been betting Atlanta at +3.5, however. I still like the Vikings a bit, and the best place to bet them is Bookmaker, which has the vig at -102.
The Motivation. Edge: Vikings.
The Falcons may be discombobulated without Dan Quinn.
Houston Texans (1-4) at Tennessee Titans (4-0) Line: Titans by 3. Total: 52.5. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. We got a bit this week:
It seems as though someone misunderstood what I was saying when I wrote that the Titans Should Have to Forfeit. I was talking about Tennessee's inability to follow the rules. It had nothing to do with the virus. Coronavirus is not fake; it's merely a minor illness to anyone healthy under the age of 70. I'm not even sure you can even call it a minor illness because 80 percent of those infected don't even know they have it.
This person is sicker than most people with the Fauxvid:
No one wants to hear my other opinions? That's kind of depressing. I thought there was like one or two other people who wanted to hear my other opinions, but this guy is saying there are zero!
And sure, yeah, Antifa rioters are burning down major cities every night since Memorial Day, but it's just an idea. OK.
Here's an e-mail from someone saying I'm a known liar:
I can't help hearing Arya yell one of her quotes from Season 1 of Game of Thrones: "YOU'RE A LIAR! YOU'RE ALL LIARS!"
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Derrick Henry often has his best performances late in the year when he's trampling over tired defenders who just want the season to end. This, however, could seem like a December affair for him, given how bad the Texans are against the run. Houston's leaky ground defense has allowed so many big outputs to running backs this year, so Henry shouldn't be an exception.
Henry's great running will open up play-action opportunities for Ryan Tannehill, who shouldn't have an issue abusing Houston's secondary. A.J. Brown, another top receiver whose absence has caused his team to fail to cover the spread, will be on the field for this contest, and he should thrive because the Texans won't be able to cover him.
The sole strength of the Houston defense is the pass rush, as J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus can still cause some disruption. However, Tannehill is well protected, so he won't be too bothered in this contest.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: The Texans know all about playing without their No. 1 receiver, as they've been miserable this season without DeAndre Hopkins. Bill O'Brien, in his infinite wisdom, traded Hopkins for a decrepit running back and a second-round pick. That move did not pan out too well! Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller have done well at times, but neither has opened up the offense like Hopkins used to do.
The Titans have struggled to stop passing attacks in the early stages of the season, but their secondary will get better if Adoree Jackson can return. Their ability to hold down the Houston aerial offense will also depend on how many defensive linemen are back from the minor illnesses they suffered during Tennessee's football hiatus.
As for the decrepit running back, David Johnson was an enormous disappointment last week when he failed to do anything against a Myles Jack-less woeful Jaguar ground defense. The Titans are better against the run, so Johnson will continue to look like a 40-year-old.
RECAP: There's no line on this game because, as of this writing, the Titans haven't even played their Week 5 game yet. This has been a weird year.
My pick will depend on which Titans are back from their minor illnesses, so check back later to see where I'm going with this, or follow me @walterfootball.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I can't believe this line is so low. I had this at Tennessee -7, and so does DVOA. The computer model is even more bullish, pegging this line at -10. I get that the Titans are missing personnel, but the Texans are garbage. I might be missing something. Perhaps this is a trap, and Tennessee will be looking past this game with the Steelers on deck next week. Then again, Mike Vrabel versus Romeo Crennel seems like such a mismatch.
SATURDAY NOTES: I can't say I understand why this spread is so small. I figured the public would be pounding the Titans at this number, but that's not the case. In fact, it was the sharps who moved this line from -3 to -3.5. I could get behind a good Tennessee bet, but I worry about the Titans possibly looking ahead to Pittsburgh next week, especially after that big win over the Bills on Tuesday night. I could see Tennessee taking Houston lightly.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I still have no play on this game because the Titans could take the Texans lightly. The sharps bet Tennessee at -3, but not -3.5. If you want to bet the Titans, you should buy down to -3, and you can do so at Bookmaker for -126 vig.
The Motivation. Edge: Texans.
The Titans play against the Steelers next week.
Washington Redskins (1-4) at New York Giants (0-5) Line: Pick. Total: 42.5. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Redskins.
NFL Opinion Piece: Go here to read about asking the question, Should NFL Teams Play Through Covid? As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you're a blue checkmark on Twitter.)
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: It was nice to see Alex Smith on the field again until he began helplessly tossing checkdowns and taking countless sacks, ruining any chance of the Redskins covering against the Rams. I was hoping to see the Smith of old; a very good game manager capable of leading a solid roster to the playoffs, but this Smith was a shell of his former self. In fact, "shell" is too much of a compliment. He was mere dust more than anything.
Luckily, Smith won't have to start this game, as Kyle Allen will be able to play off his concussion. Allen was actually able to move the chains against the Rams, despite the difficult matchup. This matchup, meanwhile, is far less imposing. The Giants don't have the forces up front the Rams do, especially with Lorenzo Carter being lost for the year.
Allen will have way more time in the pocket in this contest, allowing him to torch a Giants secondary that has been putrid this year outside of James Bradberry. Terry McLaurin will see Bradberry, but the other Redskin receivers will get open.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: Daniel Jones sucks. He had a dream matchup against the Cowboys last week, yet he couldn't even throw a touchdown. He had a victory on a silver platter when Dak Prescott went down, and yet Jones failed to score on the final drive. Jones, meanwhile, continued to show zero pocket awareness, holding on to the ball too long and displaying poor ball security.
The Redskins don't have much going for them, but they do possess a defensive line packed with talent. Chase Young and company will harass Jones, which will probably lead to more turnovers.
That said, Jones will certainly move the chains on occasion because of the lack of talent the Redskins possess in their back seven. Their linebackers and cornerbacks, outside of Kendall Fuller, can't cover anyone. Darius Slayton and Evan Engram should have big, touchdown-less games.
RECAP: The Giants don't seem to match up very well against the Redskins. Their quarterback is turnover-prone, and their offensive line can't block. The Redskins have a stellar front that will take advantage of the Giants' dreadful blocking.
Meanwhile, the Giants could be caught looking ahead. It sounds weird to say that an 0-5 team won't be focused, but the Giants have to play four days after this against the Eagles, so they have to prepare for that contest.
Assuming there are no weird injury issues, I like the Redskins quite a bit in this game. I'm willing to bet three units on them.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: You now have to pay expensive juice on the Redskins to get them at +3, but it's worth it if you want to bet them. The sharps have been pounding the Redskins, and it's easy to see why.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's one big piece of news regarding the injury report, and that would be Brandon Scherff's return from injury. If you saw Alex Smith get pummeled into the ground last week, you know how important that is. The sharps have been betting the Redskins, and so will I at four units (at +3).
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is one of the highest-bet sharp games of the week. The pros are all over the Redskins. I thought there was a chance we could find a +3 of some sort, but that number is long gone! At this point, you might as well take the moneyline at +102, which is available at Bookmaker.
The Motivation. Edge: Redskins.
The Giants play against the Eagles this upcoming Thursday.
Cleveland Browns (4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0) Line: Steelers by 3.5. Total: 50. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Steelers.
College Football Opinion Piece: Go here to read about why Christine "Football Games Are Worse Than Jerry Sandusky" Brennan thinks there is utter Panic on College Campuses. As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you're a blue checkmark on Twitter.)
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: I'm surprised there was always a spread posted on this game. I expected there to be no line when the other spreads were released because of Baker Mayfield's rib injury. Mayfield got hurt late against the Colts and needed X-rays on his ribs. The results came back negative, and Mayfield said he would play in this game.
While Mayfield will be on the field, I can't confidently say that he'll be 100 percent. If his ribs were bad enough that he needed X-rays, they could limit his passing, which will be problematic against Pittsburgh's excellent front. The Steelers have the personnel to place lots of pressure on Mayfield, especially with Wyatt Teller, one of the top guards in the NFL, sidelined with an injury.
The Steelers also thrive at clamping down on the run, so Kareem Hunt won't be able to take advantage of Nick Chubb's absence. I suspect Hunt might have some nice plays as a receiver out of the backfield, but he'll be limited overall.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Wow, Chase Claypool. Is there anything else to say? Claypool was amazing against the Eagles, and there's no reason to suspect that he'll slow down unless the Browns decide to put their top cornerback, Denzel Ward, on him. The dilemma there is that JuJu Smith-Schuster will be able to torch the Browns very easily if Ward is covering Claypool and not him.
Cleveland is certainly in a pickle, so it'll need Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon to dominate like they did versus the Colts. Garrett and Vernon were both excellent last week, but they took advantage of the Colts missing left tackle Anthony Castonzo. They won't have an easy matchup this week.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger will be able to take advantage of a big liability the Browns have on this side of the ball, which is the linebacking corps. He'll connect with his myriad of weapons over the middle of the field, which is something he did last week when he torched another horrible linebacking corps.
RECAP: I like betting against injured quarterbacks because the sportsbooks never factor that into the spreads. And why would they? The public has no idea what's happening. They see that Mayfield is playing, so they're not paying attention to the fact that he just had X-rays on his ribs.
I'll be pretty surprised if Mayfield is 100 percent. As mentioned earlier, this is an issue because his Pro Bowl guard won't be on the field against Pittsburgh's great defense.
With that in mind, this spread is too low. The Steelers are favored by only -3.5, but I think this line should be -6. The computer model is even more bullish, projecting Pittsburgh -10 to be the right number.
I'm going to bet three units on the Steelers, and I'll increase my wager if we see any more negative news on Mayfield or a second injury to Cleveland's blocking unit.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This line dropped to -3, but it has since moved back to up -3.5 because there's a chance Odell Beckham Jr. could miss this game with a minor illness.
SATURDAY NOTES: We have a pick change! David DeCastro is out, meaning the Steelers will be down two offensive linemen again. Pittsburgh has struggled in this dynamic this year, and it'll be difficult for the team to block an excellent Cleveland defensive front that will get back Larry Ogunjobi from injury this week. The Browns made life miserable for Philip Rivers last week, and Ben Roethlisberger will have similar difficulty with DeCastro and Zach Banner sidelined. Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield got in a full practice Friday, and he'll have Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry on the field. Also, here's something I discussed in my NFL Power Rankings: The Steelers thus far have battled the winless Giants, the Jeff Driskel-led Broncos, the Bill O'Brien-coached Texans and the injury-ravaged Eagles. Those teams have a combined record of 3-15-1. And yet, the Steelers haven't beaten any of those opponents by more than 10 points.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The smart money bet the Browns at +3.5, but they haven't touched this game at +3. I think it's smart to bet up to +3.5, which can be done on Bookmaker for -120 vig. Three is such an important number, so -120 is well worth it.
Baltimore Ravens (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-3-1) Line: Ravens by 10. Total: 46.5. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Ravens.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. It all started seven years ago, when a man named Jon Wire from the "United Bank of Africoan" promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a "lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP)." Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.
I've been messing around with spammers ever since, pretending to be Harvey Weinstein, Tom Brady, Ramsay Bolton and Walter White. I had plenty of Spam Mails this year, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers. I'll have new ones every week this year!
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Lamar Jackson had a hot start to the year, but has tailed off since the Chiefs game on Monday Night Football. His passing was erratic at best last week, as he failed to take advantage of a Cincinnati secondary missing two starting cornerbacks. What was alarming was that Jackson barely ran. He had two scrambles for three yards. Granted, he didn't need to run because the Ravens were always in complete control of that game, but Jackson didn't play his best.
Jackson will have an opportunity to rebound against the Eagles. Philadelphia has one of the worst linebacking corps in the NFL, so if Jackson decides to scramble for a change, he'll run circles around the woeful Eagle linebackers. He could accumulate 100 rushing yards if he wants to.
Jackson should have success passing as well. Philadelphia's secondary is a mess outside of Darius Slay, so Jackson should be able to connect with his receivers. He'll have even better success throwing strikes to Mark Andrews, who will be able to abuse Philadelphia's disastrous linebacking corps.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: I was shocked the Eagles scored 29 points on the Steelers. Granted, Philadelphia had some amazing luck in that game despite losing. For instance, the Eagles were willing to give up on a drive when they gave the ball to Miles Sanders on a third-and-9 run, which turned into a touchdown because the Steelers weren't expecting a rush. Later, the Eagles scored another touchdown with the help of Carson Wentz somehow escaping a sure sack where a defender flipped over him.
That said, one unexpected element of last week's Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game was the emergence of Travis Fulgham. I don't know if it's because the Steelers completely ignored Fulgham - he was left wide open for a touchdown - but the 2019 sixth-round pick was excellent last week.
Fulgham, however, won't surprise the Ravens. Baltimore's excellent secondary will be paying attention to him, so he won't do as well. The same can be said of Sanders, who will be battling a tough run defense. Wentz, meanwhile, will continue to receive poor blocking from an offensive line that will be down either three or four starters, depending on Lane Johnson's availability.
RECAP: As far as the matchups are concerned, I love the Ravens. They'll be able to pressure Wentz heavily, which should create some turnovers. Jackson, meanwhile, will easily rip through Philadelphia's linebackers, whether it's aerially or via scrambles.
An issue I had is Baltimore's mental state. The team is heavily favored over a non-conference opponent, and it has to battle the Steelers next. However, the game moved from Week 6 to Week 7, so the Ravens won't be looking ahead. With the computer model Baltimore -15, the Ravens seem like a good play.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's been a touch of smart money on the Eagles with the line moving from +8 to +7.5. However, it's not anything major unless this line drops to +7.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Eagles are an even greater mess than they've been recently. They're down FOUR starting offensive linemen as well as their top backup guard. They're down their top two receivers, one of their best linebackers and a starting cornerback. The Ravens, meanwhile, are mostly healthy. There's a reason the computer model believes this line should be Baltimore -16.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps typically don't bet big road favorites, but they've been doing that on the Ravens, which is why this line has risen to -10 or even -10.5 in some places. The Eagles are a mess, so Baltimore should be able to win this game easily. The best place to bet the Ravens is Bookmaker, which has -108 vig listed.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-3-1) at Indianapolis Colts (3-2) Line: Colts by 7. Total: 46. Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
Video of the Week: Some stupid people have decided that Mount Rushmore is evil. Believe it or not, but there are dumber individuals out there. Observe:
My favorite is the guy who said "Kim Ish" should have something destroyed because he destroyed Mount Rushmore, which was created by God.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: I can't believe there was chatter about benching Philip Rivers this week. For who, Jacoby Brissett? Good lord. Rivers hasn't been amazing as the Colts' quarterback, but he has led them to three victories in the past four games. The lone exception was last week, of course, but he was missing his left tackle, Anthony Castonzo, which allowed Myles Garrett to tee off on him in the backfield.
It's unclear if Castonzo will return, but he'll be less needed against the Bengals because there's no Garrett on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Besides, Rivers should be able to release the ball quickly and attack a Cincinnati linebacking corps that can easily be abused. The Colts utilize their tight ends and pass-catching running backs extensively, which is very problematic for the Bengals.
Cincinnati also happens to be poor against the run, so Rivers may not even have to do much. He'll be able to feed the rock to Jonathan Taylor, who should dominate in this matchup.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Joe Burrow had a rude awakening last week. He did well against the sisters of the poor in the NFL like the Eagles and Jaguars, but Baltimore provided a much tougher challenge. Burrow was a mess, as he was nearly responsible for five turnovers. He took countless sacks, generating just three points in the process.
This could be another tough battle for Burrow. His offensive line is miserable, outside of left tackle Jonah Williams, so the Colts will be able to pressure him very heavily with their talented defensive line. The front will also be able to lock down Joe Mixon, as it's very difficult to run on Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, I don't trust the Bengal receivers to get open very well. Xavier Rhodes has been phenomenal after his dreadful 2019 campaign, so he'll be able to erase one side of the field.
RECAP: You know how much I like the Colts? I don't know why, but I had it in my head that they were on the road again for their third-consecutive away contest, and yet I still was willing to bet them heavily at -8!
This is way too lopsided of a matchup. The Bengals are down two of their primary defensive tackles and presumably two of their cornerbacks. Their offensive line is also in shambles. The Colts can take advantage of all of this.
Also, keep in mind that Indianapolis is a very good team going into a bye. I like that sort of dynamic, especially with the Colts coming off a loss. They'll be very focused to rebound.
This is going to be a huge play for me unless the Bengals get some reinforcements back from injury. I'm slightly concerned about a back-door cover, but I think this is going to be another rough game for Burrow.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm eager to see if the Bengals are still missing two cornerbacks when the injury report is released on Friday. It's worth noting that every single predictor thinks this spread is too small (see below.)
SATURDAY NOTES: We have a pick change! I was hoping the Colts would get back Anthony Castonzo and Darius Leonard. The former will play, but Leonard is sidelined again. Justin Houston also figures to be out, meaning the Colts will be without their top two edge rushers. This should allow Joe Burrow to keep this game close. The Bengals, meanwhile, will be getting back Mackensie Alexander from injury, which is a nice boost for their secondary. If the Bengals didn't have injury issues in the interior of their defensive line, this would be a big play.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Darius Leonard is officially out, but Justin Houston will play! This is huge, great news for the Bengals. I switched to Cincinnati because I thought Houston would be out. I'm moving back to the Colts now, especially with -7 being available at Bovada and Bookmaker. The sharps have been on the Bengals above +7, but not at +7. I'm not betting this game, but the best line is at Bookmaker.
The Motivation. Edge: Colts.
The Colts are a good team going into a bye, so they'll be focused, especially after a loss.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: We have no idea who either of the quarterbacks will be in this game. Cam Newton has been out with a minor illness, but there's a better chance he'll return this week. If he can't go, it'll be Jarrett Stidham, who was chosen over Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback if Newton were sidelined.
Assuming Newton gets the nod, he would have preferred to battle the Broncos last week because there's a chance Denver will be getting A.J. Bouye back from a shoulder injury. Bouye is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, so his return would obviously make it more difficult for Newton to connect with his pedestrian receivers.
Newton, of course, will be able to bedazzle the Denver linebackers with his legs. The Broncos have yet to battle a scrambling quarterback this year, and I don't trust them to tackle Newton in the open field very well.
DENVER OFFENSE: Drew Lock was 50-50 to play in this game back in Week 5, according to James Palmer of the NFL Network. Lock is dealing with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the previous two games, plus most of the Steelers affair in Week 2. Jeff Driskel was poor in his absence, while Brett Rypien was an improvement against the Jets, showing nice accuracy and smarts.
Lock should return in this game, but won't have an easy matchup in the slightest. Bill Belichick will throw stuff at Lock that the young quarterback has never even dreamt of before. Belichick has an outstanding record against rookie quarterbacks (20-5), and while Lock isn't technically a rookie, he certainly has the lack of experience of one.
Lock will also be working with a diminished supporting cast. Already down Courtland Sutton, the Broncos lost K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant to injury versus the Jets. That leaves Lock with Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and Albert Okwuegbunam as downfield weapons, which is a problem because Stephon Gilmore, if healthy, will erase Jeudy. The Broncos also have Melvin Gordon, but the Patriots do a great job of clamping down on the run.
RECAP: There's no line posted on this game because of the quarterback situation for both teams. As long as this spread isn't too high, I'll probably be on the Patriots, though the injury report could dictate otherwise. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Cam Newton has been taken off the minor illness list, so he'll be able to start this game. We're not completely sure about Drew Lock yet, but it'll be a surprise if he doesn't give it a go. I'm eager to see the rest of the injury report, but I'm leaning toward the Patriots right now.
SATURDAY NOTES: Something I didn't discuss earlier is that Bill Belichick has had extra time to prepare for this game. That should give the Patriots a big edge in this matchup. If only the line weren't so high! Still, I'm down with betting a unit or two on the Patriots.
SATURDAY NOTES PART II: We have an update with Shaq Mason being sidelined with a minor illness. That means the Patriots will be without three offensive linemen: Mason, David Andrews and James Ferentz. The Broncos looked tempting, but they have too many injuries to fully take advantage of this liability. Plus, Bill Belichick's ample time to prepare should help. However, I'm worried about the Patriots' blocking, so I'm going to drop the unit count to zero.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps have been betting the Broncos, which is not a surprise because of the Patriots' offensive line issues. I wouldn't bet this game, but if you like New England, Bookmaker has -7 available.
Week 6 NFL Picks - Late Games
Jets at Dolphins, Packers at Buccaneers, Rams at 49ers, Chiefs at Bills, Cardinals at Cowboys
A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 11, 2020): 3-11 (-$1,935)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 11, 2020): 0-5 (-$1,575)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 11, 2020): 1-2 (-$690)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 11, 2020): 11-3 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 11, 2020): +$230
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 0-2, 0% (-$1,735)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 80-76-5, 51.3% (-$1,115) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 28-31-3, 47.5% (-$2,750) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-14, 60.0% (+$2,585) 2020 Season Over-Under: 83-74-4, 52.9% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$420
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,937-2,713-177, 52.0% (+$9,190) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 938-847-49 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 436-388-22 (52.9%) Career Over-Under: 2,406-2,368-65 (50.4%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 43-29-1 (59.7%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.