Week 6 NFL picks against the spread recap with Jason McIntyre | WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
Week 6 can be simply defined by one word: underdogs. Six of the 14 matchups resulted in the favorites going down, and it very easily could've been eight. And for me — I had a nice bounce-back performance after a couple of sub .500 weeks, going 8-5 overall and 3-2 in the "High Five" picks against the spread.
What we saw: the 49ers — and their made-for-Hollywood defensive coordinator — have officially proven that they are the real deal, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs landed back on Earth (or at least the moon), and — most importantly — the battle of the winless did not fail to disappoint. Oh, and the Cowboys lost to the Jets. Which we called. Just saying.
Let’s jump to the big takeaways from this week!
Saints 13, Jaguars 6
Often, basics in life can apply to sports gambling. For instance - don’t jump into a moving freight train. Easy enough, right? Well, all the ‘smart’ money, all the ‘big’ money was on the Jaguars because the spot was perfect. The Saints coming off three big emotional games - two at home - traveled to Jacksonville for a non-divisional game with the Jaguars. Easy spot for a letdown.
The Saints, as expected, were ordinary offensively (just 5.0 yards per play, only 326 yards of total offense, no TDs until the 4th quarter). But everyone underestimated the improving New Orleans defense, which suffocated rookie Gardner Minshew, who for the first time looked like a 6th round backup QB: 14-for-29, 163 yards, and a backbreaking interception to start the 2nd half. Two weeks ago, the Saints' run defense held Ezekiel Elliott to 37 yards rushing; Sunday, they held Leonard Fournette to just 72 yards on 20 carries. Getting in front of the Saints right now is a risky proposition.
Browns 28, Seahawks 32
This set up perfectly for the Browns: a 10 am “body clock” start for Seattle; the Seahawks off a lucky win over the Rams when Greg the Leg narrowly missed a field goal; the Browns recoiling after an embarrassing MNF loss to ensure that the public would be all over Seattle.
And Cleveland took a 20-6 lead in the second quarter! It doesn’t seem possible, but after that big lead, here are the Browns' 2nd quarter possessions: punt blocked, interception in Seattle territory, interception in Seattle's end zone. The Browns, as they’ve done all season, were victims of self-inflicted wounds. To start the 2nd half, Nick Chubb fumbled and Seattle took its first lead. You can’t beat Russell Wilson when you turn the ball over 4 times, as Cleveland did.
The worst part is, the Browns now have the bye week to think about being 2-4 and how Baker Mayfield leads the NFL in interceptions (11). Then, they visit the Patriots.
Panthers 37, Buccaneers 26
If you take nothing else away from this piece, please remember one note on gambling advice: The team that leaves early for London has a big first half advantage. The time difference … the travel, it’s enormous, even if I can’t specifically quantify it for you.
The Bucs left late, just like the Bears last week. And just like Chicago, the Bucs fell into a massive hole, trailing the Panthers 27-7 before some garbage time points made it look respectable. Jameis Winston was the turnover machine he’s been for years - five interceptions and a fumble. The emerging Panthers defense sacked Winston seven times. They have 24 sacks during this 4-game win streak.
The lone positive takeaway from Tampa: The run defense once again stopped Christian McCaffrey (22 carries, 31 yards). But until you’re confident Winston can take care of the ball, how can you bet on him?
Texans 31, Chiefs 24
Confession: I was a great speller in elementary school. One of the tips my mom gave me was to “always follow your first instinct.” It’s easy to adhere to as a child, but much tougher to do as a gambler because the numbers matter so much, and it can feel safer to ‘follow the big money’ or ‘fade the public.’ I loved the Texans early in the week, but became fearful late in the week of buying the Chiefs low and Texans high, as well as the Andy Reid vs Bill O’Brien matchup.
Despite an early 17-3 hole on the road, the Texans came roaring back with 20 straight points and beat a suddenly vulnerable Kansas City squad at Arrowhead. The biggest number isn’t an obvious one: 0. The number of times DeShaun Watson was sacked. That’s two weeks in a row that the QB who was sacked more than anyone else in the NFL in 2018 (65) hasn’t been sacked. And given time, the offensive strategy broadens beyond, “quick, throw it to Hopkins!” Five receivers caught three or more passes, and Carlos Hyde rushed for 116 yards as the Chiefs gave up 472 yards.
The worst part for K.C.? The Colts held the ball for 37 minutes last week; the Texans held it for 39 this week. That’s 157 snaps in two weeks for a bad defense. Next up is a trip to rival Denver, which had Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsey combine for 136 yards and 2 TDs last year in a close Denver loss.