Week 6 NFL game picks: Chargers edge out Ravens; Browns hand Cardinals first loss

Gregg Rosenthal went 12-4 straight up and 6-9-1 against the spread on his Week 5 NFL picks, bringing his season totals to 50-30 and 40-38-1, respectively. How will he fare in Week 6? His picks are below.

The lines below provided by Caesars are current as of noon ET on Thursday, Oct. 14 unless otherwise noted below.

SUNDAY, OCT. 17

Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
ML: -175 · 1-4
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
ML: +150 · 0-5
  • WHERE: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London)
  • WHEN: 9:30 a.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Dolphins -3.5 O/U: 47


It's going to be a long flight back from London for one of these teams, who each have to see this week's opponent as a potential port in the storm. If nothing else, Urban Meyer's running game is humming since James Robinson heated up, averaging 165 yards on the ground in the last three weeks. But the Jacksonville defense is lost and the offense is relying on Tavon Austin and Jamal Agnew too much at wideout. If Brian Flores' D can't cook up big mistakes from Trevor Lawrence, then this Dolphins rebuild is in even rougher shape than I thought. 

Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
ML: -290 · 2-3
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
ML: +235 · 2-3
  • WHERE: FedExField (Landover, Md.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Chiefs -6.5 | O/U: 54.5


I don't buy the theory that the Chiefs are going to try extra hard now because of Sunday night's embarrassment. I do buy the theory that the Chiefs' spate of turnovers on offense are somewhat fluky, a spike in variance that will self-correct over the course of a season. I also believe that the Washington Football Team's defense has 2020 Cowboys levels of confusion on the back end, just without all the attention the Cowboys get.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
ML: -475 · 4-1
New York Giants
New York Giants
ML: +360 · 1-4
  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Giants +9.5 O/U: 48.5


There is a decent team lurking within the Giants if they ever get a break from the injury gods. They may not. Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay appear likely to exit the stage just as Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard return. This score prediction assumes Daniel Jones returns from a concussion. If he's playing, the third-year quarterback should be able to move the ball on a Rams defense that is still finding its way. It takes a special group to slow down future Hall of Famer Kadarius Toney.


UPDATE: Barkley and Golladay have been ruled out for Sunday's game.

Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
ML: -450 · 1-4
Houston Texans
Houston Texans
ML: +350 · 1-4
  • WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Texans +10 O/U: 43.5


The Texans are better off seeing Davis Mills for another week after his audacious performance against the Patriots. It's worth allowing him to try to back it up. Then again, Mills would have a much better chance for success if left tackle Laremy Tunsil were available, which he won't be after thumb surgery. The Colts' defense showed signs of life for three quarters in Baltimore, and Carson Wentz plays a little better each week. Indy isn't out of the AFC South race yet.

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
ML: -180 · 3-2
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
ML: +155 · 0-5
  • WHERE: Ford Field (Detroit)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Bengals -3.5 O/U: 47.5


The Bengals win ugly, unless they miss kicks and lose ugly. The Lions lose with valor, then lose more players to the injury list each week. While Jared Goff may have time to throw with Taylor Decker on track to return this week to face an inconsistent Cincinnati pass rush, it's hard to imagine him finding many open receivers. The Bengals have a wideout in Ja'Marr Chase, taken two picks before struggling Lions rookie tackle Penei Sewell, who doesn't even need to be open to make big plays. It's not too early to say Cincy got this pick right because they found a difference maker.

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
ML: -210 · 4-1
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
ML: +175 · 3-2
  • WHERE: Soldier Field (Chicago)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Packers -4.5 O/U: 44


The Bears' offense is playing it close to the vest, trying to figure out what Justin Fields does best while letting a resurgent defense do the rest. Chicago's front of Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Bilal Nichols is controlling games and should keep Aaron Rodgers in check for another week. The Packers' offense is not moving the chains like it was last season, with Rodgers sometimes impatiently taking shots. Like they did against the Bengals, the Packers figure to sweat out another tense one, continuing to win games with a different style compared to most of Matt LaFleur's 30-7 run as head coach.  

Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
ML: +130 · 4-1
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
ML: -150 · 4-1
  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Chargers +2.5 O/U: 52


Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert might be the best closers in the NFL. The suddenly clutch Chargers have outscored their opponents 59-28 in the final frame this season. Jackson already has led two double-digit comebacks and three game-winning drives. Both teams have top-10 offenses with below-average defenses in support, even if they accomplish those numbers in different ways. Baltimore's high-risk defensive approach is boom or bust, while Los Angeles' defense is almost designed to give up yardage. I can't believe that the Chargers are more balanced, with the Ravens' running game having gone from historic to barely there at all of late. In a coin flip game, I trust the Bolts a bit more to get yards in any way they need to.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
ML: -120 · 2-3
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
ML: +100 · 3-2
  • WHERE: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Vikings -1 O/U: 46


The Vikings are the new Seahawks: They don't play normal games. A trip to Carolina should continue the trend in a contest between two teams creeping toward the NFL's middle. The Panthers' offensive line looks a little worse each week, and the excellent Vikings pass-rush tandem of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen should create some of the fumbles, sacks and interceptions marring Sam Darnold's year. Minnesota's zone-running scheme also can slow down The Snow Patrol's blitz package, with Carolina looking soft on the edges in back-to-back weeks.

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
ML: -170 · 3-2
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
ML: +145 · 5-0
  • WHERE: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Browns -3 O/U: 49.5


Cleveland only seems to play in fascinating games. A matchup with the undefeated Cardinals is an opportunity for the Browns to remind the rest of the league -- and themselves -- how high their ceiling can be. No running game compares. The defense is not the same without Jadeveon Clowney and especially Denzel Ward, but it's a lot more dynamic than a year ago. Cleveland could be catching Arizona at the right time, without Chandler Jones and Rodney Hudson, ready to join the ranks of the defeated. If the Cardinals are going to lose a game, there's no better way to do it than on the road, out of conference.


UPDATE: The Browns announced on Friday that RB Nick Chubb has been ruled out for Sunday's game with a calf injury.

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
ML: -190 · 3-2
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
ML: +160 · 3-2
  • WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High (Denver)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Raiders +3.5 O/U: 44


Are we so sure that losing Jon Gruden for the rest of the season in Las Vegas is a bad thing? You can call Gruden's second tenure as Raiders coach a lot of things, but "fun" would not be one of them. It may be a relief to have him out of the building. Vegas' offensive line woes could sink the season, but it may not hurt as much this week against a Broncos defense among the worst in pass-block win rate. The Raiders without Gruden are the same as the Raiders with Gruden: a flawed team in a loaded division where there are no gimmes. The Broncos are in a similar spot, equally desperate to stop their two-game slide. I like the Broncos to win and the Raiders to cover, which is another way of saying I have no idea and the game is in Denver.

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
ML: -180 · 4-1
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
ML: +155 · 2-3
  • WHERE: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Cowboys -3.5 O/U: 50.5


People keep looking for reasons to believe that the Cowboys aren't a juggernaut. People also keep looking for reasons to believe the Patriots are anything but a mediocre team with a defensive ranking that is mostly propped up by the lack of quality opponents. I am not one of those people.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
ML: -230 · 2-3
Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
ML: +190 · 2-3
  • WHERE: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
  • SPREAD: Steelers -5 O/U: 42.5


I am the world's biggest Geno Smith fan, and I still can't believe the Seahawks started as only four-point underdogs on the road. Russell Wilson was propping up a team that excelled at having Russell Wilson and virtually nothing else. Orchestrating a few fun drives against a sluggish Rams defense is not the same as playing in Pittsburgh for four quarters with T.J. Watt back in full bloom. Asking any backup quarterback, even Geno, to carry a struggling defense and offensive line is asking for too much.

MONDAY, OCT. 18

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
ML: -250 · 4-1
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
ML: +205 · 3-2
  • WHERE: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
  • SPREAD: Bills -5.5 O/U: 54


The Titans' defense figures to have whiplash trying to slow down Josh Allen after three weeks of facing Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and a hobbled Carson Wentz. Similarly, Tennessee's offense hasn't faced a secondary near as cohesive and flexible as Buffalo's unit all year. While this game theoretically has letdown potential for the Bills after their big win in Kansas City, the Titans are worse than their 3-2 record indicates. I was surprised the Bills weren't favored by more because they've shown what they can do against mid-level competition.

THURSDAY'S GAME

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ML: -300 · 4-1
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
ML: +240 · 2-3


As much as I want to believe in an Eagles defense that's full of players who are good at footballing (Javon Hargrave for All-Pro!), they have shown what they can't do against top-shelf offenses like Dallas and Kansas City (namely, getting stops). There's room here for fantasy owners on both sides to smile, but asking Jalen Hurts to play error-free for four quarters is asking too much. 

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