NFL Week 6: Picking winners against the spread

Here is my NFL Week 6: against the spread report. It’s much easier to pick who will win a game without thinking about the point spread, but last week, we were 9-3, so hopefully, you can glean some information from this article.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL:

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is about to pass Terry Bradshaw as the Steelers’ passing yardage leader

Pitt -6 at Tennessee: The Steelers are 2-2 and need to not lose more games if they are going to contend (beat) Baltimore for the AFC North title. This is an eminently winnable game on the road. Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to break Terry Bradshaw’s career passing yards record for the franchise (needs 300 yards). The Steelers prevail. The NFL Thursday Night package, while not in the players’ best interest, might not get the best ratings tonight…lots of competition from two MLB playoff games and great comedy shows on NBC and CBS. But, I know YOU’LL be watching as the Steelers and Titans kick off!

SUNDAY LEANS:

Baltimore -3.5 over Dallas: Because the game is in Baltimore, I like the Ravens. The Cowboys have not been very good this year…2-2…or this century…98-98 (regular season). Surprisingly, people still like Tony Romo, who is a good, but not great quarterback. His best target, Dez Bryant, is not consistent. I like Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith and company more. Baltimore has a 13-game winning streak at M&T Stadium in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore! It grows to 14 Sunday. The NFL has shown the Ravens some love this year…several nationally-televised games already, but they made them play four games in an 18-day span…brutal.

Tim Tebow (15) and Mark Sanchez (6) – the New York Jets’ quarterback duo and the NFL’s biggest circus

Indianapolis +3 at New York Jets: I’d like it more if the Colts were the home team, but against the Jets, coming off a highly-emotional game Monday night (close loss to Houston)…dealing with the Tim Tebow thing…and the chaos it has created (wow…didn’t see THAT coming…), Indy keeps plugging along and wins a close one. The Jets are a beat-up team and offensively-challenged. No receivers for the quarterbacks (and how much confidence do you think Mark Sanchez has today?) to throw to. Against Houston, at times it looked like they just grabbed a couple of guys from the stands. Personally, I would put Tebow in for every offensive snap. The guy just has something…he certainly isn’t an NFL-type quarterback (he would be great in Canada), but he is a bull. We might get more Tebow this week, but the Colts are playing much better than I would have thought.

Tampa Bay -4 over Kansas City: I would have gone the other way if Matt Cassel had not suffered a concussion last week in the Chiefs 9-6 loss to the Ravens…but Brady Quinn starting for the first time in four years is a stretch. He gets a chance to play against a not-so-good team, and that’s a plus. For the Bucs, Josh Freeman (54.6% pass completion) needs to get better…and fast. He has really regressed from his play of last season. He needs to find his receivers, including the outstanding Vincent Jackson, more. Let’s just go with the Bucs and see what happens. This is one game the NFL probably would like just to go away…unless you live in the Tampa Bay or Kansas City regions!

Cincinnati PK at Cleveland: Should not be a contest. Their defense is porous…940 yards allowed in the last two weeks. Yes, Joe Haden is back at corner, but Andy Dalton will make the right throws for the Bengals. Oh, offensively, the Browns need to stop making mistakes…including the nine interceptions from rookie QB Brandon Weeden (who turned 29 this week, by the way).

Detroit +4 at Philadelphia: This will be a good one…should be under a field goal, which is why I like Detroit getting 3.5 points. Underachieving is a good word for the Lions this season. With Minnesota already at 4-1, they cannot afford many more losses. The Leos get safety Louis Delmas back nine weeks after knee surgery, so hopefully he can shore up the defense. Matthew Stafford needs to start playing like he did last year and stop the INT’s. As for Michael Vick, we know he’ll get hit…a lot…and he, too, is facing crunch time. Too many INT’s, not enough TD’s. Two of the top-projected teams in the NFL meeting…and both need to win badly.

Miami -3 over St. Louis: I’m liking Ryan Tannehill more and more each week. I thought the Dolphins would win two games all year…they already have. The Rams have won 3…but the Fins lost two games by three points, so basically, with a win Sunday, they could have been 5-1. Not bad for a rookie QB.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan (left) and Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco are two of the NFL’s premier young guns

Atlanta -9 over Oakland: Not the A’s…the Raiders are off to another slow start. The Falcons off to a 5-0 start. Matt Ryan has been on fire…the Falcons defense is very tough. It all adds up to a nice afternoon in the Georgia Dome for the soon-to-be 6-0 Falcons. The NFL would love the Falcons to keep winning…undefeated teams get ratings…and we all know the NFL is all about the Benjamins!

Arizona -4.5 over Buffalo: The NFL must like Arizona. Their schedule includes a home game against the Bills. I have to go with the Cardinals defense over the Bills offense…especially in the desert. Close, but not 4.5 points close. A touchdown to 10 points close for the home team.

Seattle +3.5 over New England: Another home pick…but the noise level in CenturyLink Field, well, you saw what it did to the Packers a couple of weeks ago. Seattle’s defense has speed and their corners are huge. Tom Brady will be running for his life Sunday, and, in what is, believe it or not, his first trip to Seattle, he will be glad to get out of there. (By the way, isn’t it surprising that the NFL schedule never had New England visiting the Pacific Northwest during Brady’s years at quarterback?) Bruce Irvin is football’s fastest speed rusher, so be careful, Tom. Seattle, and diminutive Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (generously listed at 5’11″) is a winner and he will be happy to get 3.5 points! (Not that he is a gambling man…)

Washington -1.5 over Minnesota: Let’s be clear about this…both teams have quarterbacks they are happy with. Christian Ponder, whom many felt was drafter way too high two seasons ago, has proven his critics wrong. Robert Griffin III, whom many felt was drafted exactly right (just behind Andrew Luck) has proven his critics wrong…and right. They said a running quarterback would be hit a lot. And they are right. He was knocked out of last Sunday’s game, but is ready to play this week. I like the Skins at home in this one.

San Francisco -6 over New York Giants: I rarely pick against Eli Manning…he is 24-5 in October and is a flat-out winner. He has played well in Candlestick Park – remember him from last January being beaten and battered and still keeping the G-Men in a game they had no business even showing up for. I think the Niners are a little better this time as well…Alex Smith has a lot of weapons to use and the Giants secondary is not up to par health-wise. San Francisco by a TD. This is the kind of game the NFL loves to showcase…a top East Coast team vs. a top West Coast team.

Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers looks to get the Pack back on track – just what the NFL would like

Green Bay +3 at Houston: The Packers are getting a little bit of a break Sunday night in Houston. The NFL’s best-team, according to many polls, the Houston Texans (5-0) struggled against the New York Jets Monday night. Now, they come back home, on a short week (but at least it is the night game), without inside linebacker and their signal-caller, Brian Cushing, who is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered against the Jets. I see Aaron Rodgers, who hopefully can evade Houston’s outstanding rush, hitting his targets and, despite the loss of Cedric Benson, leading the desperate Pack to a big, big win. Close score, but a big win nevertheless. The NFL schedule-maker did his job in this one!

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL:

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is improving by the week and is on-track for a record-breaking season to most people’s surprise

Denver +1 at San Diego: I love the way Peyton Manning is playing. He has begun to throw more 20+ yard passes and is completing them than earlier this season. He is on pace to throw for more yards, 4,797, than he ever has, and is projected to throw 35 touchdown passes (which would be his second-most). I like the fact that the Broncos get a point on the road…I like them by a touchdown! Doesn’t the NFL put on some great Monday night games? Manning vs. Rivers…should be fun to watch!