Week 6 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Woodhull)

Here are my Week 6 NFL picks against the spread:

Cincinnati Bengals -6 (over Buffalo Bills)

I can envision the Bengals having a letdown after last weekend’s win over the Patriots, but to quote my fellow “handicapper” John Trifone, "who’s Thad Lewis?" Really, Jeff Tuel wasn’t much to write home about as a backup, but Lewis couldn’t make the Bills active roster this summer, was released and re-signed to the practice squad. So how did Lewis make it to the NFL? Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Rams, and cut; he was also signed and released by the Browns.

To recap: Teams that thought Lewis weren’t good enough for their teams, currently have Sam Bradford, and Brandon Weeden as their respective starters.

For all my chronicling of Lewis’ hop-scotched NFL career, he’ll likely be a serviceable backup. The problem really lies in the Bills being a below-average team. On offense, E.J. Manuel was a terrific threat for the Bills and without him, I can’t see their offense being competitive against the top-notch defense of the Bengals.

Seven points are a lot to cover as a road favorite, but I’m firmly entrenched on the Bengals bandwagon and think they will completely overwhelm the Bills.

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San Diego Chargers +2.5 (over Indianapolis Colts)

The Colts get the Chargers sandwiched between last week’s big victory over the Seahawks and next week's showdown with the Broncos. I see this as a dangerous game for the Colts as the Chargers are sneaky good this year.

Now despite a few big wins, which would have convinced most rational people that the Colts are for real this year, somehow I still have some hesitancy about Indy. I can’t continue to see the Andrew Luck magic going on forever. The irony of the Luck’s Colts this year, and unlike last season, the Colts are actually good at running the ball this year, and a below-average passing team.

And their success running has come against a bevy of quality rush defenses such as Seattle, San Francisco & Miami. This appears to be direct result of Pep Hamiton coming in as the new O-coordinator . Through five weeks, the Colts have the sixth-best scoring offense in the NFL.

So why pick the Chargers in this spot – the Colts “Luck” can’t continue every week, can it?

[Related poll: How many passing yards will Philip Rivers have vs. the Colts?]

Jacksonville Jaguars +27 (over Denver Broncos)

This is the game everyone wants to talk about because of the near record-setting spread. There are a ton of reasons to pick the Broncos to cover: Peyton Manning’s record-setting Broncos’ offense, the Jags have scored only 51 points so far this season (thanks to the Broncos twitter feed!), and even if not starting, Blaine Gabbert is still on the Jags roster. Now can Chad Henne be the savior? – Ergg probably not, but there are some interesting stats out there about games with 20-plus point spreads.

There have been four times that a 20-point underdog has won outright, albeit not since 1974. Realistically, the Jags probably can’t pull off the outright win, but we do have some more recent examples. [Editor's note: "probably can’t pull off the outright win?" Wait, next you're going to tell me that I "probably" have no chance with Sofia Vergara?] The ’07 Patriots set the record for most points in a single season, but seldom blew teams out during the second half of the season. In fact, three times that team was favored by greater than 20 points during the regular season and failed to cover the spread (although they won the game outright).

Some final food for thought: the Broncos so far have beaten the Ravens (3-2), Giants (0-6), Raiders (2-3), Eagles (2-3) and Cowboys (2-3). The Ravens are the only team above .500 and they haven’t look all that impressive in doing so. The Broncos' schedule has been relatively soft through the first five games of the season. Also, if Denver is up significantly, this game also has huge potential for the Broncos to pull all the starters in the second half, opening up a possibility for a back-door cover on a meaningless Jags' score late.

Are the Broncos the best team in the NFL? Probably. Are the Jags the worst team in the NFL? Highly likely. Potential for Jags to keep this closer than four touchdowns? Nearly certain. I’ll take Jacksonville and the gazillion points.

Five of our contributors make three weekly picks ATS every week and they will be posted here.

Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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