Mike Carlson selects his picks for week six of the NFL season and explains why he's backing Denver to inflict another defeat on the Giants, as well as finding value in Green Bay's trip to Minnesota and having an outside bet on Tampa Bay...
"I usually avoid spreads over 10, because anything could happen, but Denver has a ferocious pass defense, the Giants can't block to protect Eli, they can't run the ball, and points will be hard to come by."
I suppose Friday 13th is not the best day to be doing a page of NFL predictions, but sometimes it seems as if every day this season is a Friday 13th. In fact, it was probably a good thing Eagles' center Jason Kelce wasn't playing in last night's road win over Carolina; as the game crossed the midnight line into Friday, who knows what could have happened.
Last week's horror shows were probably the shocks inflicted on the Steelers, losing to London's Jags in Pittsburgh, and the Cowboys, losing yet again to Aaron Rodgers in the final seconds of a shootout with Green Bay. With Ezekiel Elliott possibly out this week as the NFL won the latest of many court decisions, Jerry Jones was considering signing Leatherface, since Mike Meyers is already kicking for the Jags. Then again, imagine Jerry coming out of the forest with a chainsaw.
Back to week six, and there are a few surprises. Who would have thought the Pats and Jets would be playing for the lead in the AFC East? Who would have thought the Rams at the Jags would be a serious contender for the game of the week, now that Thursday night has passed. Speaking of passed: Matt Stafford vs Drew Brees in New Orleans ought to fill the limited amount of sky in the Superdome, while Eli Manning, having lost yet again to his 2004 draft swap partner Philip Rivers (4-0 in his career against the ELIte one), now has to take the Giants to Mile High (in both the real and the Ricky Williams senses these days) to play the Broncos coming off a bye week to prepare. Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Sheppard and Roger Lewis were all injured last weekend; all but Sheppard are out for the season. Friday 13th struck the Giants five days early, and somehow switched them with the Jets.
Denver to pile on more misery for Giants
I couldn't wait until Monday to recommend this one because I can only see the spread going up in the Giants' favour. I usually would avoid spreads over 10, because anything could happen, but Denver has a ferocious pass defense, the Giants can't block to protect Eli, they can't run the ball, and points will be hard to come by. Yes the Giants' D is good, but you have to figure the Broncos get a couple of scores when the game is decided, and in the fourth quarter when the thin air runs out of the Giants' sails.
If you want to leave that one til Monday, I'm partial to Green Bay under 46.5 at 10/11 at Minnesota. The Vikes got a good short pass game day from Jerick McKinnon, and Case Keenum ought to have more luck finding his downfield receivers, but Stefon Diggs has a groin injury, and may not play. Having just had surgery, I was advised by the docs to call my hernia a 'sports hernia' because it sounds better. Minnesota's D could give Rodgers a hard time, and Green Bay will have trouble racking up points. I see this one in the 27-17 category.
Pack can edge it against the Vikes
You saw the way I thought the score might go, but even if I'm wrong, I think the Pack can win this one by a touchdown. Backing Los Angeles Chargers at 6/4 to win at Oakland is a riskier bet, because David Carr is back for Oakland, and LAC haven't beaten anyone but the Giants. But they did that on the road, and since all their games feel like road games to them, I've picked them for the upset.
Bucs make for an exciting outside flutter
I think the Bucs win this one, but I see too many scenarios where they don't to make this anything but an outside flutter. You might prefer Atlanta -13 at Miami, which seems a big spread, but the Falcons are going to win this one, Jay Cutler's going to see some pain, and two touchdowns isn't unreasonable.