NFL Week 6 Best Bets: Expert Predictions For Seahawks vs Bengals, Patriots vs Raiders, Vikings vs Bears & More
NFL Week 6 best bets and expert picks for the Sunday slate. Find best bets for NFL Week 6 featuring Seahawks vs. Bengals, Eagles vs. Jets, Lions vs. Buccaneers, Patriots vs. Raiders, Cardinals vs. Rams, and Vikings vs. Bears.
NFL Week 6 Best Bets (10/15/23)
It’s hard to believe we’re already a third of the way through the season, but we’re looking to keep building on a successful start to this best bets column. Check out the Lineups YouTube page where you can find video coverage of every NFL game in Week 6. Let’s get work on finding some winners in this upcoming slate.
Jacob Wayne’s Record: 11-7 (+3.3 units)
Kody Malstrom’s Record: 7-2 (+4.9 units)
Will Schwartz’s Record: 9-6 (+2.6 units)
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals
For the first time all season last week, Joe Burrow looked like Joe Burrow again. Against the Cardinals, he completed 78.3% of his passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he looked more comfortable in the pocket than he has all season, using his legs to extend plays and pushing off the right calf to get more force in his throws.
This week, Burrow gets a plus matchup at home against a Seattle secondary that still has issues. The Seahawks rank 27th in passing success rate allowed and 23rd in PFF coverage grades. Burrow will look to pick on a very green cornerback room. If Tee Higgins returns, he and Ja’Marr Chase can do some serious damage here.
The Seahawks have done well in getting after the passer, ranking fifth in pressure rate, but that’s inflated by facing two of the worst offensive lines in the league in the Giants and Panthers. The Bengals’ offensive line still isn’t great – they rank 26th in PFF pass-blocking – but Burrow gets rid of the ball at the third-fastest rate among qualified passers.
Geno Smith continues to lead an efficient offense that ranks top eight in DVOA and EPA, but a road game against the Bengals offers a much stiffer test than their most recent games against the Panthers and Giants. Lou Anarumo is an excellent defensive coordinator who will pick on Smith’s weaknesses.
Seattle still has a banged up offensive line as four of their five starters remain on the injury report. Lou Anarumo will scheme against that disadvantage, especially with Trey Hendrickson enjoying a dominant season – Hendrickson has 22 pressures and seven sacks through five games.
Finally, we’re looking at a significant gap in strength of schedule here. The Seahawks have faced the fourth-easiest schedule by DVOA while the Bengals have faced the 11th-toughest. This strikes me as a great opportunity to buy low on Cincinnati, and I love getting Burrow under a field goal at home.
Best Bet: Bengals -2.5
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets
The Eagles are coming off a nine-point win over the Rams in Los Angeles, and now they travel back to the East Coast to face a feisty Jets team. Unlike the Rams last week, the Jets have the ability to counter the Eagles’ biggest strength – their offensive line.
Philadelphia ranks third in the NFL in adjusted line yards, which sets the tone for their entire offense. However, the Jets have a deep defensive line rotation full of talent. It all starts with Quinnen Williams, a First Team All Pro last season who has 20 pressures through five games per PFF.
The Jets’ bend-don’t-break defense is excellent at preventing the big plays, and it crunches opposing offenses in the red zone. The Eagles have fallen from third in red zone scoring rate to 27th this season with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen moving on, and the Jets rank third in red zone defensive touchdown rate.
Jalen Hurts hasn’t been quite as effective as a passer this year, dropping about seven points in his PFF passing grade with nearly double the turnover-worthy play rate. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him turn the ball over against the Jets, who rank sixth in takeaways.
The Eagles’ defense also hasn’t quite been the same, ranking just 20th in EPA on that end. The injuries have also continued to pile up – corners Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, linebacker Nakobe Dean, and defensive lineman Jalen Carter are all out this week.
Zach Wilson still isn’t a top flight quarterback by any stretch, but he seems to be improving, and the leadership from Nathaniel Hackett and Aaron Rodgers seems to be raising his level of play. With a healthy Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson, this offense has some high upside young talent.
There’s reverse line movement here – I bet this at +7 earlier in the week, but it’s down to 6.5 now. That’s despite 83% of the tickets being on the Eagles -7 at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday. I’d still take this at the current 6.5 points, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets push for a surprising outright win.
Best Bet: Jets +6.5
Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Crazy how fast the script can change in a matter of one game. Fully expecting to take the Bucs in this spot as an underdog off the bye, the metrics scream otherwise and now once again backing my Lions.
The Lions just continue to impress as they come off a dominant performance against the Carolina Panthers. While Carolina is certainly one of the worst teams in the NFL, it was impressive nonetheless that they got the job done without two of their stud playmakers with Amon-Ra St Brown and Brian Branch sitting out due to injury.
The quality of opponent will now ramp up on the road against the Bucs but this is still the Lions game to lose with key advantages on both sides of the ball. Especially with the spread sitting at the key number of three, giving you a valuable number as some books have already crept up to -3.5.
Starting with the offense, the game plan should remain the same as Jared Goff should have no issue with shredding the Bucs defense. Tampa tends to blitz at a high rate while falling to league average in pressure, giving Goff a clean pocket and an exposed middle for him to exploit.
The Lions pass attack thrives in this situation, excelling at creating separation for their pass catchers and getting them open in the middle of the field. Factor in the offensive line being more than capable of holding their own and this sets up as the perfect situation to negate Goffs struggles when on the road and outdoors.
Better yet for their offense, the Bucs front seven struggles to contain the ground game as they rank 29th in Def Rush Success Rate and 21st in Def Rush DVOA. With Montgomery firing on all cylinders, he should be able to cut the distance to gain in half with each touch and set up the rest of the offense in a friendly position to move the sticks.
On the other end, the Lions defensive line has a massive advantage of generating pressure against a Bucs offensive line who ranks 30th in Adjusted Line Yards. That puts the Lions in a position to generate pressure from just rushing four, allowing the others to drop back for better coverage to slow down Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
Take the Lions at no higher than -3 as they continue to round into a formidable contender in what would be an impressive win on the road against the Bucs.
Best Bet: Lions -3
New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders
After last week the New England Patriots offense hit an all time low. As of writing they currently rank dead last in Rush EPA and Pass EPA. Mac Jones has continued to be an inconsistent quarterback, failing to generate any sort of down field progression at a high rate.
While it’s no secret of how I feel about him, I am starting to shoulder some of the blame elsewhere instead of all on Jones. The Patriots offensive line has done him no favors, ranking 28th in Adjusted Line Yards. That means they routinely get pushed back off the snap, collapsing the pocket against Jones.
His cast of pass catchers is also severely underwhelming, failing to field a true go-to receiver that can create separation. Couple a collapsing pocket and tight coverage on middling receivers and you get Jones throwing into tight windows with minimal success.
Luckily for the Patriots they get the Raiders defense who has mightily struggled in nearly every facet of the game. They rank 30th in pressure, 23rd in Defensive Line Yards, and 26th in Defensive Sack Rate. Outside of Maxx Crosby, the Raiders do not possess another productive pass rusher.
That makes it easier for the Patriots offensive line to counter, shifting the scheme to throw doubles and chip blocks at Crosby while daring someone else to beat them in singular coverage. This will give Mac Jones extra time in the pocket to make the right read while also opening up running lanes for Rhamondre Stevenson to exploit.
Factor in the massive coaching advantage as Josh McDaniels has quickly proven to be the worst coach in football with his head scratching late game decisions, and the Patriots should find themselves within a puncher’s chance of covering. Play this at no lower than +3 as some books have already gone down to +2.5.
Best Bet: Patriots +3
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
This is officially my bet of the week, one of those numbers where I’m just not sure how it even exists. Firstly, 48.5 of course gives us a very significant number as it’s just below the key seven-touchdown plateau. But the math absolutely should not matter, as this one should get way past this number with one or both teams comfortably cracking the 30-point plateau.
This summer, the Cardinals were seen as perhaps the preeminent candidate to tank for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, and while they’re currently 1-4, they’ve been much more competitive than that offseason billing would imply. That being said, the defense has been essentially as bad as expected, with all of the positive strides coming on the other side of the ball. They’re hovering around 30th place in each of pass DVOA, EPA and success, while the numbers for rushing offense are just a tick better, but still squarely suboptimal.
This is definitely a bad matchup for a defense that has struggled to limit gains through the air, as the Rams passing offense is getting back into form. Matthew Stafford’s numbers are unspectacular on the surface, but he’s been playing really well; PFF has credited him with 14 big time throws compared to just five turnover worthy plays, a much better ratio than you’d find from his traditional metrics.
His receiving corps also just received a major boost with Cooper Kupp making his return from injury with 8 catches for 118 yards against the Eagles. Not to be entirely outdone, rookie sensation Puka Nacua also kept producing, with seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. That was against a defense that ranks much closer to average in those same pass defense categories, and with Kupp getting more and more comfortable, the Rams air offense- which ranks top 10 in most passing efficiency metrics- should have a field day against the Cardinals.
Of course, the Arizona offense has been quite the pleasant surprise, and is the driving force behind the team’s surprising level of competitiveness. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has played easily the best football of his short career, and the rushing offense ranks within the top 10 in each of DVOA, EPA, and success rate. Against a Rams defense that ranks 26th in DVOA and 24th in EPA, the Cardinals should have a nice day, after facing much tougher defenses like the Niners and Cowboys.
Best Bet: Over 48.5
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Call me crazy, but there’s real reason to be back in on this Bears team. No, they won’t win the NFC North, the defense is still broken and Matt Eberflus’s game management is nowhere near good enough to finish close games, but the offense has turned itself enough that I’m ready to say that this team is going to be at least back to where they were a year ago; staying in games all the way through and losing close contests at the very end. One of those came last year against the Vikings themselves, while Minnesota was in the midst of a historic streak of winning every single one-score game, but things have changed since then in a multitude of ways.
Once again, all five of the Vikings’ games so far have been decided by one score, but this time around, they’re 1-4 in those contests, leaving them tied with the Bears as of now. The Bears have been bad, but we’re talking about a 1-4 squad as a road favorite, having just placed their best player, superstar wideout Justin Jefferson, on the IR.
Yes, it’s rare to consider a non-quarterback player to be worth more than a point on the spread, but I’d argue that in this particular instance, the absence of Jefferson is going to be an enormous factor. Jefferson is the type of transcendent talent whose presence or lack thereof will define how you’re able to run offense, and subsequently, how your opponent runs defense.
The Bears are completely unable to prevent big plays in the passing game, and there’s almost no better player in the game with which to take advantage of that weakness than Jefferson. Losing him turns this game from one in which the Vikings will be scoring at will into one where Minnesota can definitely move the ball, but will be less automatic than they might have otherwise been.
Interestingly enough, Minnesota’s defense has a very similar flaw. They rank 13th in success rate against the pass but 25th in EPA in the same situations; this tells us that they’re not giving up too many productive plays for the offense, but when they slip up, it’s bad. Against a Chicago offense built on pure explosiveness with D.J. Moore and the speedy Darnell Mooney, that could be a problem, especially as Bears QB Justin Fields re-finds his deep ball.
The Vikings are also 31st in pressure rate, as well as turnover EPA. We know by now that Fields has all the physical talent in the World, but can have issues with working through his progressions and making some mistakes. If you can’t pressure him and put him in bad positions where he’s in danger of turning the ball over, he will sit back, move the defense with his legs, and pick you apart; the Vikings’ lack of a pass rush could really come back to bite them in this one.
Best Bet: Bears +3