2022 Week 6 NFL Picks

Pick of the Week

ATL +4.5 vs. SF

High Confidence Picks

MIN -3 @ MIA

Medium Confidence Picks

SEA +2.5 vs. ARZ

NO +3 vs. CIN

PHI -6.5 vs. DAL

Low Confidence Picks

KC +2.5 vs. BUF

CLE -2.5 vs. NE

No Confidence Picks

WAS +1 @ CHI

NYJ +7.5 @ GB

JAX +2 @ IND

DEN +4.5 @ LAC

TB -9.5 @ PIT

CAR +10 @ LAR

BAL -5.5 @ NYG

Upset Picks

ATL +185 vs. SF

SEA +115 vs. ARZ

KC +125 vs. BUF

NO +130 vs. CIN

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Denver Broncos (2-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)

Both of these teams have gotten off to disappointing starts. Both teams made significant additions this off-season and, as a result, were expected to take a step forward and become playoff teams and Super Bowl contenders this season, after numerous consecutive years without a playoff appearance, but, instead, the Chargers rank 27th in schedule adjusted efficiency and the Broncos rank 31st. Both teams are more talented than that suggests on paper and, as a result, both will likely play better going forward, but both teams have also been hampered by injuries in a significant way.

For the Chargers, center Corey Linsley and cornerback JC Jackson returned a few weeks ago, but wide receiver Keenan Allen remains out at least another week, as he has been since getting hurt week 1, while left tackle Rashawn Slater and edge defender Joey Bosa remain out indefinitely. Allen, Slater, and Bosa are among their most important players, so those absences are very significant. For the Broncos, safety Justin Simmons is expected to return this week, but left tackle Garett Bolles, running back Javonte Williams, edge defender Randy Gregory, and inside linebacker Josey Jewell remain out, all significant absences.

The Chargers have the three point edge in my roster rankings, but this line is pretty high at 4.5, especially when you consider the lack of homefield advantage the Chargers have had in recent years since moving to Los Angeles, going 16-25 ATS, as a result of having to constantly play in front of crowds who mostly favor the road team. That especially happens in divisional matchups like this where road fans don’t have far to travel, so I expect this crowd to be filled with Broncos fans. There’s not enough here for the Broncos to be worth betting confidently, but, with minimal homefield advantage factored in for the Chargers, my calculated line is Chargers -3.5, so we’re getting at least some line value with the visitor. This is a no confidence pick, but the Broncos should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Los Angeles Chargers 24 Denver Broncos 20

Pick against the spread: Denver +4.5

Confidence: None

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) at Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1)

The Jaguars have a significantly better point differential than the Colts (+31 vs. -25) and won the first matchup between these two teams earlier this season in convincing fashion (24-0), but a lot of the gap between these two teams has been because of turnovers, which are not that predictive week-to-week. On the season, the Colts are -6 in turnover margin, as opposed to +1 for the Jaguars, and the Jaguars won the turnover battle in the first matchup by 3. That game was also in Jacksonville and the Colts were missing their two best wide receivers Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce, who will be active for this rematch in Indianapolis.

My roster rankings have these two teams about even, which unfortunately doesn’t give us any line value, with the Colts being favored by 2 points at home, about where my calculated line would be. I am taking the Colts for pick ‘em purposes for now, just because I think the home team winning by a field goal is the most likely outcome, but there is some uncertainty over the status of Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor, who missed last week and was limited in practice this week. I am expecting him to play, but, if he doesn’t, I would change this pick to the Jaguars, for a no confidence pick either way.

Update: Taylor is out, so I am changing to a no confidence pick on the Jaguars instead.

Indianapolis Colts 17 Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +2

Confidence: None

Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at New York Giants (4-1)

The Giants are a surprising 4-1, but they haven’t played as well as that suggests, as they have had one of the easiest schedules in the league and haven’t won any games by more than one score. They got their best win of the season last week against the Packers in London, but, even with that taken into account, the Giants rank just 21st in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 1.5 points below average. That lines up with my roster rankings, which have the Giants 2.5 points below average.

Unfortunately, the public and odds makers seem to still understand that the Giants aren’t as good as their record, with this line favoring the Ravens on the road by 5.5 points. The Ravens are 3-2, but both of their losses came on last second scores and their point differential is tied for 6th best in the NFL. They’re also 5.5 points above average in schedule adjusted efficiency and 6.5 points above average in my roster rankings. There isn’t enough here for me to take them as 5.5 point road favorites with any confidence against a competitive Giants team, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Baltimore Ravens 26 New York Giants 20

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -5.5

Confidence: None

New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

New England Patriots (2-3) at Cleveland Browns (2-3)

Both of these two teams are 2-3, but both have played better than their records would suggest. The Browns have a positive point differential at +8, with their three losses coming by a combined six points, including a game in which they blew a two-score lead under two minutes left in the game, due to a recovered onside kick. The Patriots, meanwhile, also have a positive point differential, despite a -2 turnover margin, which is not predictive week-to-week.

The Browns are the healthier team, with the Patriots playing a backup quarterback, but the Browns are missing top cornerback Denzel Ward and talented edge defender Jadeveon Clowney, so they have injury problems of their own. Overall, I have these two teams about even, so this line, favoring the Browns at home by 2.5 points, is about right. That means we’re not getting any line value with either side, but a field goal win by the home team is probably the most likely result, so I would take the Browns for pick ‘em purposes, albeit for one of my lowest confidence picks of the week.

Update: The Patriots’ top cornerback Jonathan Jones is unexpectedly out this week, so I am going to increase the confidence on Cleveland a little bit.

Cleveland Browns 24 New England Patriots 20

Pick against the spread: Cleveland -2.5

Confidence: Low

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-0)

The Cowboys are undefeated since having to turn to backup quarterback Cooper Rush in place of the injured Dak Prescott, but the Cowboys have faced a relatively easy schedule during those four games and it has been their defense carrying them, ranking 4th in schedule adjusted efficiency on the season, while the offense ranks just 28th. The schedule gets a lot tougher this week on the road against the undefeated Eagles, who have a dominant defense of their own, ranking 14th in schedule adjusted efficiency, in addition to a solid offense, which ranks 5th. 

The Eagles are getting healthier too, with stud left tackle Jordan Mailata and talented cornerback Avonte Maddox returning from absences of one and three games respectively. My roster rankings have them 6.5 points better, giving us a calculated line that favors the Eagles by 9 points at home. That gives us some line value, with this line at Philadelphia -6.5, and the Eagles are in a great spot as well, with home favorites of 6 points or more covering the spread at a 62.9% rate before a bye week. The Eagles are worth a bet this week, as long as this line remains below a touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles 26 Dallas Cowboys 17

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -6.5

Confidence: Medium

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (4-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)

You could make a strong argument that these are the two best teams in the league. Both have a loss, unlike the league’s lone remaining undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, but both losses were very close and they are the two highest ranked teams in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, with the Bills leading the league and having a .7 point edge over the Chiefs. My roster rankings reflect that as well, with the Bills having a 1.2 point edge over the 2nd ranked Chiefs, especially now that they are getting healthy, with tight end Dawson Knox, center Mitch Morse, interior defenders Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, safety Jordan Poyer, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds all in the lineup this week after missing time earlier this season.

The Bills may be a little overvalued though, as 2.5-point favorites on the road in Kansas City. These two teams are closer than that suggests and the Chiefs should at least be slight favorites at home in this matchup, with my calculated line at Kansas City -1.5. I would need a full field goal for the Chiefs to be worth betting against the spread, but the money line is a good value at +125 and the Chiefs should be the pick for pick ‘em purposes, as this game should be a toss up at worst.

Kansas City Chiefs 31 Buffalo Bills 30 Upset Pick +125

Pick against the spread: Kansas City +2.5

Confidence: Low

Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-3)

The Saints are just 2-3, but the turnover margin has been a big problem for them, as they have the worst in the league at -8, which, fortunately for them, is not predictive. In terms of schedule adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, which are much more predictive, the Saints rank 19th and 7th respectively, so they should be better going forward than their 2-3 record suggests. The Bengals are also better than their record, with their 3 losses coming by a combined 8 points, but they are favored by 2.5 points on the road in this game, even though they are only a half point better than the Saints in schedule adjusted efficiency. 

The Saints do have some significant injuries, with top wide receiver Michael Thomas and top cornerback Marshon Lattimore both out, which is enough for me to not bet the Saints against the spread unless we’re getting a full field goal, but the Bengals still only rank one point higher in my roster rankings, so we’re getting at least some line value with the Saints, who should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes. The money line is also a good value at +130.

Update: +3s are showing up today, so I am going to lock in that bet.

New Orleans Saints 23 Cincinnati Bengals 21 Upset Pick +130

Pick against the spread: New Orleans +3

Confidence: Medium

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (4-1) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Coming into the season, I expected the Vikings to be better than a year ago and make the post-season, with better health on defense and better coaching on offense. So far, they are 4-1, with their only loss coming to the undefeated Eagles, but they are still underrated, as they rank 8th in schedule adjusted efficiency and are still just 3-point favorites on the road against a Dolphins team that is starting a 3rd string, 7th round rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson, with Tua Tagovailoa out and Teddy Bridgewater expected to be the backup if active. My calculated line has the Vikings favored by 6.5, so they’re worth a big bet at 3, as they are likely to at least push at that number.

Minnesota Vikings 27 Miami Dolphins 20

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3

Confidence: High

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (1-4) at Los Angeles Rams (2-3)

The Panthers came into this season with some hope of being better on offense, adding quarterback Baker Mayfield and overhauling the offensive line in front of him, after finishing the 2021 season ranked 29th in offensive efficiency. Their defense ranked 4th in efficiency last season, and, while they didn’t look quite as talented on defense going into this season, they still seemed to have an above average unit on that side of the ball, so if they had a somewhat decent offense, the Panthers could have been a competitive team this season. 

Carolina’s defense has mostly held up its end of the bargain, ranking 10th in schedule adjusted efficiency, but their offense has been arguably worse than a year ago, ranking dead last in schedule adjusted efficiency. Things went from bad to worse for the Panthers last week when they were blown out at home by the 49ers in a game in which Baker Mayfield got hurt and after which head coach Matt Rhule was fired, meaning the Panthers will have a completely different head coach/quarterback combination this week than they did a week ago. It’s unclear if that will help though and it actually could make things worse. 

Rhule was definitely overmatched as head coach, but interim head coach Steve Wilks does not have a good track record leading a team and their offense problems will remain, with Wilks being a defensive coach and Ben McAdoo still in charge on offense. Meanwhile, as badly as Mayfield has played, backup PJ Walker has proven to be completely overmatched whenever he’s been forced into action in the past and at ont point this off-season he was the Panthers’ 4th quarterback, before injuries to Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Matt Corral. 

The Panthers are also in a tough spot in Los Angeles against a Rams team that has a bye on deck, with big home favorites covering the spread at a high rate before their bye week, doing so at a 62.9% rate all-time as home favorites of 6 points or more. That trend would seem to apply, with the Rams being favored by 10 points, but, even with all of the problems the Panthers have, I think the Rams are overvalued at that number, as they have their own offensive problems, having lost several starters from last year’s Super Bowl team, due to injuries and free agency. 

The Panthers still have a strong defense, especially with safety Xavier Woods back from a one-game absence, so it’s really hard to trust the Rams as double digit favorites in what figures to be a low scoring game, even with the head coach and quarterback issues the Panthers have and even with the Rams in a good spot. I can’t have any confidence in the Panthers either, but they seem like the better side for pick ‘em purposes, with my calculated line only favoring the offense challenged Rams by 6.

Los Angeles Rams 19 Carolina Panthers 10

Pick against the spread: Carolina +10

Confidence: None