NFL Pick 6: Week 13 Edition
Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to a new week of NFL Pick 6. We’ve got a full slate (kind of) with 16 matchups, 3 of course on Thursday, to analyze and lock in our 6 favourite spreads. We were a perfect 3-0, and a pretty close prediction of Saints by around 10 was made last week, which actually might’ve been closer had Younghoe Koo not been the best onside kick artist known to man. Anyway, let’s jump in for another 6 locks.
Against The Spread
PICK: Dolphins +10 vs. Eagles, Confidence - 3 / 5.
Carson Wentz hasn’t been the same quarterback he was in years prior. Something seems off with the Eagles offense as they’ve only scored 19 points in 2 weeks combined at home. Granted, they had New England and scored 10, then the Seahawks where they scored 9, and while these aren’t the easiest defenses to pick apart, they also should’ve been vulnerable while on the road. Now the Eagles are a road team against a Dolphins team that has literally nothing to lose (besides the first overall pick). While both teams are relatively healthy, the Eagles could be without Zach Ertz, and while this may not seem like such a big deal given it’s just one component of a fairly deep offense, this could hurt the Eagles more than any other position loss. The Eagles have relied on double tight-end sets with Ertz and Goedert and have targeted those tight-ends in team target share of 37.3%, which is the second-highest total only behind the Ravens who run 3 tight ends and do it with great success. If Ertz misses, the Eagles will be forced to run their offense differently than normal. Their run game might struggle without Ertz and Howard, and the offense might be out of sync due to running plays that they don’t frequently go to simply due to a lack of personnel. If Ertz is inactive, or either Schefter or Rappoport is reporting he won’t play, jump on Dolphins +10 as I’d expect the line to shift more to something like Dolphins +7 when it’s official. The Eagles will most likely win, but with having to run a limited offense, 10 points is too much to give.
PICK: Jets -3 @ Bengals, Confidence - 4 / 5.
Let’s not overreact to Andy Dalton’s return to starting quarterback by thinking that makes them a competent team. This is still the same Bengals team that went 0-8 with Dalton at quarterback. The Bengals rank second last in points for and 27th in points allowed, with similar ranks in yards gained and allowed. The Bengals allow virtually everything from an opposing offense and have been extremely one dimensional all year long. The Jets, on the other hand, allow the fewest yards rushing league-wide and the fewest yards per attempt rushing. This will only further exploit the Bengals one-dimensional offense forcing them to have a low time of possession, putting their terrible defense on the field more. The Jets are also winners of 3 straight games, having put up 34 points in each of those 3 games. We’ve seen that Sam Darnold is a completely different quarterback when the opposing team’s defense is bad, and it’s actually fairly easy to spot the trend just based off his yardage totals. The Jets will control the ball the majority of the game and be able to score points however they want to do so, while the Bengals will struggle to sustain drives against a slightly above average defense that knows you can only pass here. The Jets win this one easily, maybe even by around 10 points.
PICK: Titans +2 @ Colts, Confidence - 3 / 5.
This is a pretty big swing game for the AFC wild-card race as well as the south division. The Texans lead this division at 7-4, followed by both the Titans and Colts at 6-5, and with the Texans as 3 point underdogs for Sunday Night Football, this game could put one team in the division title race. The Titans and Colts met back in week 2 where the Colts pulled out a 2 point victory in Tennessee, however, the Colts are a different team now than they were in week 2. Indianapolis will be without their starting running back Marlon Mack, as well as their star wide receiver TY Hilton. The Titans will also be starting Ryan Tannehill instead of Marcus Mariota who started the game in week 2. Tannehill has given their offense a slightly unsuspected boost as since he has been starting, the Titans have scored 20+ points in every game, and are 4-1 in those 5 games. With Tannehill at quarterback, the Titans are much less one dimensional on offense, which will be helpful here as the Colts are pretty good against the run. This will be a close game, as most divisional games are, but the Titans are the better, healthier team right now.
PICK: Chiefs -9.5 vs. Raiders, Confidence - 3 / 5.
The Chiefs have looked vulnerable the past few weeks as they’ve either been riddled with key injuries. The Chief's main flaw when it comes to predicting their success, is their inconsistencies on defense, as they seem to either get torched by average teams or do better than expected against good teams. A prime example of this is in week 9 they held a good Vikings offense to just 308 total yards and only 96 rushing yards allowed to one of the premier rushing offenses in the league. The very next week they let Derrick Henry and the Titans rip them apart for 225 rushing yards. Again the following week we’re expecting them to get torched against Melvin Gordon and the Chargers, but they allow just 93 rushing yards and take the ball away 4 times. Now they’ll come off the bye to get a Raiders team who just lost by 31 at the Jets where they managed just 208 total yards of offense. The Raiders have struggled on defense all year, especially against the pass, where they rank 28th in passing yards allowed, 29th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 28th in net yards per attempt. When these two teams met in week 2, Mahomes went for 443 yards and 4 touchdowns WITHOUT Tyreek Hill. I think the Raiders are in for a similar experience now with Tyreek Hill and a bye week in the equation.
PICK: Buccaneers -1 @ Jaguars, Confidence - 3 / 5.
The Jaguars are not the same defense we once knew, not even close. Sure the loss of Jalen Ramsey is going to make things more difficult, but the Jaguars' glaring weakness is now their rushing defense. The Jaguars have allowed a team to top 200 yards rushing 4 times this year and in the last 3 games. That number is tied for worst among the NFL with the 0-11 Bengals. The Jaguars have allowed 700 yards rushing in their last 3 games combined, where they’ve lost those games by 22, 20, and 23 points. While the Bucs aren’t normally a rushing first style offense, they will certainly have the opportunity to use their improved rushing attack with Ronald Jones to aid Winston’s efforts in the passing game. The Bucs are also one of the few teams where they have two “elite” wide receivers. This is important because most teams will have one “lockdown” corner who will shadow your best receiver in order to take away most of your passing capabilities. This can’t be done against the Bucs because we’ve seen that Chris Godwin is just as much a threat as Mike Evans. AJ Bouye is a great corner, but he can’t shadow both at the same time, leaving a favourable matchup for one of Mike Evans or Chris Godwin. For the Jags, their seemingly reliable rushing attack has been a disappointment the last 4 weeks as they’ve been pretty much shut down against rushing defenses that are worse than the Bucs. The Jags managed just 29 rushing yards as a team against the Colts, who rank 8th in rushing yards allowed per game. Now the Jags will be matching up against the Bucs rushing defense who ranks 2nd in rushing yards allowed per game. Jameis Winston loves putting the ball in the other team’s hands, so this game will likely be closer than it should be, but I still think the Bucs take this one by around a touchdown.
PICK: Packers -6.5 @ Giants, Confidence - 3 / 5.
The Packers might just be the new Titans in the sense of the drastic inconsistencies that both teams seemed to possess. The Packers have some impressive wins like the Vikings, at Cowboys, Raiders by nearly 20, and at Chiefs, but they also have some head-scratching losses. Losing by a touchdown at home to the Eagles, losing by 15 to a Chargers team that sometimes seems like they’re trying to lose, and a blowout loss at San Francisco. The Packers have looked suspect against teams that play very physical like the Chargers and 49ers who have maybe the best pass rush in football. Despite these losses, the Packers are still in the race for a first-round bye, but also for their own division as the Vikings hold the same record, but not the division title as they’ve lost to the Packers. On the other side, the Giants seem to lack an identity, as well as a purpose. The Giants are 2-9 in maybe the worst division in football having lost 7 straight games. Saquon Barkley has just 2 rushing touchdowns in his 8 games in comparison to 11 rushing touchdowns in 16 games last year. Barkley has yet to have a 20 rush attempt game this year, versus nearly 5 games of 20+ rushing attempts last year. The point is, the Giants seem to be giving their star running back less of an opportunity, and there is no other time than now where that will hurt them the most as the Packers rank in the bottom quarter of practically every rushing statistic on defense. The Giants allow pretty much everything to the opposing offense and I think that will be evident in this game where I’d expect the Packers to score around 30-35 points in a potential blowout.