13 October 2019 11:03
The shakeout goes on in Week Six of the National Football League seasons with five games that stand out because of their importance in division races or as barometers as to exactly which teams are live playoff contenders. The San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams game in the Los Angeles Coliseum is key in the three-way battle with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. The Niners could take a 2 1/2-game lead over the Rams with a win, but there two games to be played against Seattle. The Indianapolis Colts knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs from their high horse last week at Arrowhead. Philadelphia's game at Minnesota could be a key to deciding the NFC wild-card teams later.
There was a time when Green Bay at Detroit was a Thanksgiving Day staple. This time, the Lions visit Lambeau Field with a chance to take over first place in the NFC North with a win. A capsule look at the Week Six NFL games: The line: Rams (-3). Record ATS: 49ers 2-2; Rams 3-2. Times over/under: 49ers 2/2; Rams 3/2. The scoop: This West Coast rivalry began in 1950 when the 49ers came over from the All-American Football Conference. Rams lead series, 67-66-3, despite San Francisco's 17-game win streak in the 1990s. Rams were routed at home by Tampa Bay and lost at Seattle, 30-29, last week when Greg Zuerlein missed 44-yard field-goal try on last play. Niners were expected to rebound from injury-plagued 4-12 season, but their dominance so far, especially the way they handled Browns last week, has been a mild surprise. Jared Goff of Rams has been disappointment with seven INTs to go with seven TD passes. Outlook: Niners defense ranks second only to Patriots. It's a tough test, but looking for Rams to snap out of funk and win, 27-20. The line: Chiefs (-4 1/2). Record ATS: Texans 2-3; Chiefs 2-3. Times over/under: Texans 2/3; Chiefs 4/1. The scoop: Duel of 2017 draft picks Watson of Texans and Patrick Mahomes of Chiefs should be fun to watch. Big news is that Watson was not sacked once last week in five TD-pass performance with perfect 158.3 rating in 53-32 win over Falcons. Indy successfully shortened game with possession tactics and won over Chiefs at Arrowhead last week. Outlook: Did Indy unlock the secret to beating Mahomes and high-flying Chiefs, who were held under 26 points for first time since 2017 season and who went under the number for first time this season? Mahomes and Co. win shoot, 37-31. The line: Vikings (-3). Record ATS: Eagles 2-2; Vikings 3-2. Times over/under: Eagles 3/2; Vikings 1/4. The scoop: Two teams have been mild disappointments. After road losses at Green Bay and Chicago, Vikes got sharp performance from Kirk Cousins and won at the Giants last week. Eagles had little difficulty beating punchless Jets but did not have big offensive day. Outlook: Vikings much better at home. The line: Packers (-4). Record ATS: Lions 3-1; Packers 3-2. Times over/under: Lions 3/1; Packers 5/0. The scoop: Hard to believe, but Lions have won last four games against Packers. However, one win last year was when Packers gained 531 yards but Mason Crosby missed four FG tries and the team lost three fumbles. Outlook: Packers coming off huge road win at Cowboys are tough to beat at Lambeau. Lions better than many believe but Packers win, 24-16. The line: Seahawks (-1 1/2). Record ATS: Seahawks 2-3; Browns 2-3. Times over/under: Seahawks 4/1; Browns 2/3. The scoop: Interesting road game for Seahawks who came east and won at Pittsburgh last month. Pressure on Seattle to keep up with winner of NFC West game between 49ers and Rams. Browns get bye next week before going to New England. They turned in dud performance at 49ers last week after big division win at Baltimore. Outlook: Browns and Baker Mayfield seem to find themselves involved in extraneous controversy each week. If Browns are not focused, Russell Wilson (league-best 12 TD passes) will make it a long afternoon by the lake. The line: Chargers (-6 1/2). Record ATS: Steelers 3-2; Chargers 1-4. Times over/under: Steelers 3/2; Chargers 1/4. Outlook: Doubt if Steelers can win if they have to go with rookie Devlin Hodges at QB. The line: Panthers (-3). Record ATS: Panthers 3-2; Bucs 2-3. Times over/under: Panthers 3/2; Bucs 4/1. The scoop: Second game in two weeks at London's Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium. "Home" loss in division would seem to doom Tampa Bay's chances. That's mainly due to productive Christian McCaffrey, who has 866 scrimmage yards and joined ex-Bills running back Thurman Thomas as only NFL players in league history with 500 or more rushing yards and 250-plus receiving yards in first five games of a season. Outlook: Bucs won first meeting at Panthers on Sept. The line: Jaguars (-1 1/2). Record ATS: Saints 3-2; Jaguars 3-2. Times over/under: Saints 3/2; Jaguars 2/3. The scoop: Rookie QB Gardner Minshew has been a lifesaver for Doug Marrone's Jaguars but his lost fumble at Carolina cost chance to take lead late in loss. Saints defeated Buccaneers at home behind huge passing game from Teddy Bridgewater (four TDS) and big game from league's No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas (11 catches 182 yards, two TDs). Outlook: Despite record and just one loss on the road at Rams, surprising to see Saints as underdog, but they are playing outdoors on grass. Key will be whether Jags' offense that gained 507 at Carolina last week has good game against Saints' crew. The line: Broncos (-2). Record ATS: Titans 2-3; Broncos 2-3. Times over/under: Titans 1/4; Broncos 2/3. The scoop: Aside from 30-point rout at Cleveland in opener, Tennessee seems to struggle on offense each week. Scored only 55 points total in four games since beating Cleveland, even though Marcus Mariota has yet to throw an interception. Broncos won at Chargers for first win under Vic Fangio. Outlook: Over/under number may be a bit high for this defensive struggle at Mile High. The line: Ravens (-11 1/2). Record ATS: Bengals 2-3; Ravens 2-3. Times over/under: Bengals 2/3; Ravens 4/1. The scoop: Cincy head coach Zac Taylor still looking for first win. Bengals suffered crushing loss at home to Cards on last-play FG after coming from 17 down to tie game. Outlook: Justin Tucker of Ravens is 10 for 10 on FG tries. They need him for 27-24 division win. The line: Falcons (-2 1/2). Record ATS: Falcons 1-4; Cardinals 3-2. Times over/under: Falcons 3/2; Cardinals 2/3. He had 346 yards of total offense last week in win at Bengals. Falcons are minus-5 in turnovers including seven INTS throw by Matt Ryan, many coming in catch-up efforts. Only Dolphins (163) have given up more points than Falcons (152). Outlook: Expect a lot of scoring against defenses that rank in bottom half of league. The line: Cowboys (-7). Record ATS: 3-2; 0-4. Times over/under: Cowboys 3/2; Jets 0/4. The scoop: The Jets get Sam Darnold back after he came down with mononucleosis and missed last three games. Believe it or not, Jets' high-point game was in 17-16 loss to Bills. They got 14 against Patriots from defense and special team scores. Cowboys coming off two straight losses at home to Saints and Packers. Outlook: Surprising that Dallas is only one-TD favorite. Jets improve with Darnold, but Cowboys win, 24-13. Dog of the week The line: Redskins (-3 1/2). Record ATS: Redskins 1-4; Dolphins 0-4. Times over/under: Redskins 3/2; Dolphins 1/3. The scoop: Bill Callahan replaced Jay Gruden as interim coach of Redskins this week. Outlook: Fact that Redskins are only slight favorite at tanking Dolphins show that Washington fans aren't the only ones who have given up on team. Last week: Favorites went 9-6 outright, 7-8 against the spread; road underdogs went 5-6 outright, 6-5 ATS. Eight games went over the number, seven under. Season's record: 36-36-1 outright; 29-44 ATS.