NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 6: Chargers light up Cowboys, 49ers burn Browns, Bengals stop Seahawks

Week 5 unofficially kicked off the second quarter of the NFL season. There’s no doubt that having four weeks to analyze for every team was key in setting up our best picks and predictions so far in 2023.

Teams both good and bad responded like expected based on the matchups and their recent successes or failures. But every week, the counter starts at zero and the projections will get tougher as teams adjust and evolve.

Knowing that, here’s are Sporting News’ picks against the spread for all the matchups in Week 6, with 15 more games and two marquee byes (Packers, Steelers):

(Odds courtesy of Sports Interaction)

POWER RANKINGS: 49ers hold off Eagles; Steelers surge into top 10

NFL picks against the spread for Week 6

  • Game of Midweek: Broncos at Chiefs (-10.5, 50.5 o/u)

Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video

Patrick Mahomes is 11-0 against the Broncos, his best record easily against any NFL opponent. He owns them whether their defense is good or bad, and right now, it’s downright terrible after making the Jets look great. The Broncos’ only win came in a road squeaker at the Bears. This number at home on a short week is too low for Mahomes, especially with Travis Kelce looking healthy enough to go. It’s the typical domination that helps further unravel a game Russell Wilson under Sean Payton

Pick: Chiefs win 38-14 and cover the spread.

  • Game of the Week: Cowboys (-2, 48.5 o/u) at Chargers

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Cowboys’ offense is sputtering in its attempt to keep Dak Prescott in a shell with no reliable field-stretching and thanks to some offensive line issues, no consistent running game. Coordinator revenge games are real and this one will be personal for Kellen Moore. Moore has Justin Herbert feeling great in throwing downfield again, even without Mike Williams, and this week, he should have Austin Ekeler, too. Herbert’s offensive line will come up huge to keep him clean, while Prescott gets rocked by a red-hot Khalil Mack.

Pick: Chargers win 27-17.

  • Lock of the Week: Bengals (-3, 46.5 o/u) over Seahawks 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

This might seem like evenly matched teams given the Bengals’ off record at 2-3 and the Seahawks sitting at 3-1 coming out of a bye. But this is a terrific matchup for Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to stay hot against a struggling pass defense. Defensively, the Bengals have the pass rush with Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard to take advantage of the Seahawks hurting at the tackles for Geno Smith. Cincinnati also tends to be a better home team and Seattle already won on a long road trip against the much weaker Giants in Week 4.

Pick: Bengals win 30-17 and cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Buccaneers (+3, 45.5 o/u) over Lions

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

The Lions are only field-goal favorites here for a reason. They struggled stopping a similar Seahawks offense in their only loss, at home. Jared Goff is playing well but faces a rested defense on the road, one that can at least contain David Montgomery and the running game. Baker Mayfield is feeling comfy and there should enough passing matchups to exploit downfield as he’s well protected. Mayfield makes fewer mistakes than Goff, adding up to the Bucs staying hot as surprise NFC division-leading contenders.

Pick: Buccaneers win 24-23.

  • Ravens (-3.5, 40 o/u) at Titans (in London)

Sunday 9:30 a.m. ET, NFL Network

Lamar Jackson and the entire Ravens’ offense is not fitting so well in the new system with critical mistakes and an inconsistent running game, sometimes using Jackson, sometimes not. The Titans also have had Jackson’s number in the past. That said, the Titans’ defense is suddenly breaking down up front and has a bad secondary. The Ravens also can keep slowing Derrick Henry across the pond. John Harbaugh’s team rebounds well as Mike Vrabel’s team fails to overachieve for the mild upset.

Bijan Robinson Falcons

Pick: Ravens win 23-17 and cover the spread.

  • Commanders at Falcons (-2.5, 44 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Commanders are breaking down against the run. The Falcons tend to stop the run well and force teams to pass. Sam Howell will be game but he’s sloppy with his dual threat. Desmond Ridder cleaned up a little and found his groove throwing to Kyle Pitts and Drake London, two guys who can cause issues for Washington’s defense. Plus, Washington stinks against the run now and Bijan Robinson can be a much bigger impact player than Brian Robinson Jr.

Pick: Falcons win 27-24 and cover the spread.

  • Vikings (-3, 46.5 o/u) at Bears

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Vikings may be without hamstrung top wide receiver Justin Jefferson, an absolute Bears killer. But they still have plenty of firepower around Kirk Cousins with T.J. Hockenson, Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn with whom to attack the Bears pass-rush less pass defense all over the field. Justin Fields will stay hot passing but the traditional running game is hurting and the Vikings should work to double-cover D.J. Moore and force him to throw elsewhere.

Pick: Vikings win 28-24 and cover the spread.

Brock Purdy
  • 49ers (-4.5, 40 o/u) at Browns

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

This number isn’t really respecting the fact the 49ers are an offensive machine with all their key weapons healthy around Brock Purdy. It also doesn’t factor how well they travel east with Kyle Shanahan and that the Browns’ two key players, Deshaun Watson and Myles Garrett, coming in nursing injuries. The Browns’ defense is good, but the 49ers are too multiple, versatile and explosive for them and their offensive line will get ripped in front of Watson.

Pick: 49ers win 30-14 and cover the spread.

  • Panthers at Dolphins (-14, 48 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Dolphins are destroying teams at home with their speed and quickness, whether with their dynamic power running game or big-play passing game. The Panthers have struggled defensively with both of those aspects. They also are not good in pass protection for Bryce Young and the Dolphins’ defense is built to rush the passer. Tua Tagovailoa cleans up some things to be the better former Alabama star QB.

Pick: Dolphins win 42-22 and cover the spread.

  • Colts at Jaguars (-4.5, 45.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

This looks like it will be a well-timed revenge game for Gardner Minshew, back where his mustachioed mania started in Jacksonville. That takes the key rushing element of Anthony Richardson (right shoulder) in the early-season rematch. The Colts’ secondary already proved it cannot handle Calvin Ridley and all of Trevor Lawerence’s weapons. The Jaguars’ defense also is legit good against the run and will slow down Zack Moss and/or Jonathan Taylor.

Pick: Jaguars win 31-23 and cover the spread.

  • Saints (-2.5, 40 o/u) at Texans 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints are riding the running of Alvin Kamara and big plays by their defense to win games. But hiding Derek Carr can’t work in a lot of games. The Texans shored up a little against the run in Atlanta and the Saints’ blocking is still a big questionable. They can bring some good pressure on Carr and so far he’s making more mistakes than C.J. Stroud.

Pick: Texans win 20-17.

Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Patriots at Raiders (-3, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

There’s some real heat on Josh McDaniels in Year 2 as Raiders coach. There should be real lament on the part of Bill Belichick for no longer having McDaniels calling his offense, Jimmy Garoppolo replacing Tom Brady instead of Mac Jones, and yeah, not re-signing Jakobi Meyers. This is the ultimate revenge game for many things Raiders and it’s time to keep smacking Belichick’s depleted defense and shaky offense when it’s down.

Pick: Raiders win 24-20 and cover the spread.

  • Cardinals at Rams (-6, 47.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

The Cardinals’ pass defense fell apart against a simliar pass-happy offense last week as the Bengals ripped them on the back end. They absolutely have zero answers for Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell in coverage and their offense will miss James Conner (knee) this week. Josh Dobbs also will have more issues against a sneaky good pass defense with fine pressure coming around Aaron Donald.

Pick: Rams win 27-20 and cover the spread.

  • Eagles (-6.5, 42.5 o/u) at Jets

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

This line might seem a little puzzling given this is a short road trip for the Eagles and the Jets are coming off an emotional much-needed road win in Denver. The Eagles showed their full fury with Jalen Hurts and their front lines in Los Angeles and can cause some issues for Zach Wilson, who’s connecting better each week with his wide receivers. The problem here is a contained running game for Breece Hall while Philly gets D’Andre Swift and DeVonta Smith going big-time agian.

Pick: Eagles win 26-14 and cover the spread.

  • Giants at Bills (-14.5, 45.5 o/u)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The world got a break from the Giants in prime time in Week 5. So what happens? They’re back under the lights, this time with Daniel Jones (neck) also hurting along with Saquon Barkley (ankle), Wan’Dale Robinson (concussion) to add to the offensive line woes minus Andrew Thomas. Why give us this needless Brian Daboll revenge game, at Buffalo, no less?

Why, NBC? We would rather watch Paris 2024 promos for three hours. OK, it is fun watching Josh Allen go nuts again in a blowout while the football gods allow Tyrod Taylor to make a surprise start vs. his most notable former team. NBC may not have flexed this game, but Buffalo needs to flex on someone after London.

Pick: Bills win 42-17 and cover the spread.

Brian Daboll

Stats of the Week

Week 5 straight up: 11-3

Week 5 against the spread: 11-3

Season straight up: 54-24

Season against the spread: 42-34-1

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