The Kansas City Chiefs spent Week 5 of the NFL season enjoying their bye, getting a little rest and relaxation after completing the first quarter of the NFL season.
We’re not entirely sure how they spent the week off, but we’ve got a working theory on what head coach Andy Reid might have been doing.
It’s not a total coincidence that on the week Reid and the Chiefs were on their bye, Ken Bone — a portly mustachioed fellow with glasses and an affinity for the color red — took the world by storm with his performance at the presidential debate, right?
We’re just sayin’ ….
Anyway, NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian are back to make their Week 6 NFL picks, and here are the standings after Week 5:
Ricky Doyle: 7-8-1 (35-41-1 overall). Still floating in first place somehow.
Andre Khatchaturian: 8-7-1 (33-43-1). His first winning week.
Mike Cole: 4-9-1 (27-49-1). Still in the hunt because everyone else stinks.
Don’t forget to also check out their picks podcast, “The Spread,” below.
Here are their Week 6 picks with lines coming from our friends at OddsShark.
THURSDAY, OCT. 13
(-3.5) Denver Broncos (4-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-4), Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Chargers. How’s this for a crazy stat? The Chargers are 1-6 in their last seven games, but they’re 7-2 against the spread in their last nine. They’ll probably lose this in excruciating fashion, but they’re home, against a division opponent on a short week — they should cover.
Ricky: Broncos. Mike McCoy’s days as head coach of the Chargers have to be numbered, right? Maybe the Broncos forcefully kick him out the door this week. Denver’s muddled quarterback picture — Trevor Siemian (shoulder) is expected to return after Paxton Lynch started Week 5 — gives reason for pause, but San Diego’s defense stinks against the pass, so whoever’s under center should have a decent enough outing to compliment the Broncos’ stellar D.
Andre: Broncos. Despite losing to the Falcons, the Broncos still have the highest sack percentage in the league (10.2 percent) and have allowed 4.6 yards per play (4th in NFL). The Broncos also held Julio Jones to just two catches. They won’t have a difficult time slowing down the depleted Chargers receiving corps.
SUNDAY, OCT. 16
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at (-8.5) New England Patriots (4-1), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Patriots. Last week, I picked against the Patriots because of the trends. I’m ignoring all trends this week, and taking the Patriots, who are going to be all kinds of jacked up for Tom Brady’s home debut. The Bengals struggle with tight ends, which isn’t great against the Patriots’ two-tight end look.
Ricky: Patriots. The Bengals have beaten bad teams (Jets, Dolphins) and lost to good teams (Steelers, Broncos, Cowboys). The Patriots are a good team. Don’t overthink this.
Andre: Patriots. The Bengals defense has gotten old fast. They’ve allowed 5.7 yards per play (22nd) after being a top-10 defense last season. Opposing defenses have also sacked Andy Dalton 17 times this season (second-most in the league). The Patriots also have 31 explosive plays (third-most in the league) and a league-best plus-17 explosive play differential (and that’s with four weeks of quarterbacks not named Tom Brady.) To put that into context, the second-best teams (Chargers and Packers) have an explosive play differential of plus-9.
(-7.5) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-4), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. How exactly do the Dolphins stop the Steelers? Miami can’t stop the run (150.8 rushing yard allowed per game), and opposing quarterbacks carve them up to the tune of a 101.5 passer rating. Pittsburgh’s balanced offense will make it a rough day for the Fish.
Ricky: Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offense has been firing on all cylinders since the Steelers were embarrassed by the Eagles in Week 3. It’s no coincidence the success coincides with the return of Le’Veon Bell, who remains a total stud in the Steelers’ backfield.
Andre: Steelers. The Dolphins have a minus-7 turnover differential (29th) and a league-low one interception. They’ve also allowed 31 explosive plays this season (most in the NFL). They also have a league-worst minus-9 explosive play differential. They give up a lot of explosive plays and don’t generate many of their own. That doesn’t bode well against an offense that has Bell, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.
Cleveland Browns (0-5) at (-7) Tennessee Titans (2-3), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Browns. Is there a pass option? No? Nothing? Browns, I guess.
Ricky: Browns. The Titans could be seven-point favorites against Rutgers and I’d have a hard time pulling the trigger. Tennessee is just too susceptible to laying an egg to feel good about Mike Mularkey’s bunch covering a spread that big.
Andre: Browns. These are two very similar teams. They both love to run the ball and are good at it, they both have mediocre and inconsistent quarterback play and their defenses are extremely meh. Based on that, I think it’ll be a close game and the Browns will cover.
Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at (-3) Detroit Lions (2-3), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Rams. I’m making this pick assuming Rams defensive linemen Michael Brockers, Will Hayes and Robert Quinn all return this weekend. If they don’t, I blame this pick on them.
Ricky: Rams. Aaron Donald had three sacks the last time these teams hooked up last season, and he could be in for a similar performance this week against a Lions team that ranks 28th in the NFL with 14 sacks allowed this season.
Andre: Rams. I used this same reasoning last week and it didn’t work, but I’ll try again: The Rams have 34 defensive hurries this season (third-most in the league). I think it’ll be more of a factor this week because they’re playing a pass-centric Lions team. The Lions have also allowed 4.9 yards per rush attempt, so I expect Todd Gurley to have a huge day.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at (-2.5) Chicago Bears (1-4), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bears. The Bears are who we thought they were — a bad team. But I still can’t take a Jags team that’s lost 17 of its last 18 games on the road and is just 6-10-2 against the spread in those 18 games.
Ricky: Bears. Losing back-to-back games against AFC South opponents really would be a bad look, wouldn’t it? Roll with Brian Hoyer, who could put Jay Cutler out of the Bears’ starting quarterback job for good with a solid effort this week.
Andre: Jaguars. Weird stat: The Bears rank second in yards-per-play (6.3) but are 27th in points (85). Their yards don’t translate into points even though they’ve cleaned up their turnovers ever since Brian Hoyer took over as quarterback. I think ultimately the Jaguars defense, which allows just 4.7 yards per play (fifth-most in the league), stands out and upsets the Bears.
San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at (-7.5) Buffalo Bills (3-2), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bills. The Niners aren’t publicly committing to any defensive adjustments, which might be an issue. San Fran’s rushing defense ranks 31st in the NFL and gets a potentially disastrous matchup against the Bills’ rushing attack which ranks first in the NFL with 5.1 yards per rush.
Ricky: 49ers. Not expecting much from Colin Kaepernick, but he’s not Blaine Gabbert and that’s a step in the right direction. In fact, let’s say the quarterback change is worth half a point and the Bills win by seven, because it’s simply too hard to pick Buffalo against anyone by more than a touchdown based on the Jekyll and Hyde act of Rex Ryan-coached teams.
Andre: 49ers. Sometimes you have to say something out loud to see if it sounds reasonable. When you say, “The Buffalo Bills will win four consecutive games” out loud it sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider they have to cover a more-than-a-touchdown spread. I think a pumped-up Colin Kaepernick leads San Francisco to a surprising blowout victory.
(-3) Carolina Panthers (1-4) at New Orleans Saints (1-3), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Saints. The Panthers are on pace to set a new franchise record for points allowed, and the Saints will be more than willing to pile on after a bye week. Even if Cam Newton returns, the Saints will make this a shootout, which they’ll be able to keep close late.
Ricky: Saints. Superman needs to save Carolina’s season. Unfortunately for the Panthers, defense has been the team’s Kryptonite, so there’s only so much the quarterback can do.
Andre: Panthers. The Panthers’ defense has been bad, but they’re allowing a middle-of-the-pack 5.5 yards per play. Their problem has been turnovers. They have a minus-7 turnover differential, second-worst in the NFL. Well, guess what? The Saints don’t really force turnovers. They have just one interception this year.
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at (-3) New York Giants (2-3), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. In Baltimore’s three wins, Joe Flacco was sacked seven times — he was sacked five times in their two losses. The Giants can’t generate a pass rush, and I think a new look on offense will help the Ravens get back on track.
Ricky: Ravens. Still don’t love the Ravens, but I love this upset pick. The Giants have lost three in a row and their offense looks out of sorts. New York doesn’t have much of a rushing attack and Baltimore’s defense has been good at stopping the run. Plus, a couple of Giants cornerbacks — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple — have been banged up.
Andre: Ravens. A game like this between two evenly matched teams usually comes down to turnovers and the Giants have a minus-7 turnover differential (second-worst in the NFL.)
(-2) Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Washington Redskins (3-2), Sunday, 1 p.m.
Mike: Eagles. The Redskins have all sorts of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which makes for a bad matchup against an Eagles offense looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss last week in Detroit.
Ricky: Redskins. Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai is tasked with filling the void left by starting right tackle Lane Johnson, whose 10-game PED suspension was upheld. Will this force Philadelphia to alter its game plan so Ryan Kerrigan doesn’t tee off on Carson Wentz? Who knows? But it’s not a positive development for the Eagles.
Andre: Eagles. The Redskins have the worst red-zone offense in football (35 percent) and there’s a chance they won’t sniff the red zone much either going up against an Eagles team that’s first in time of possession, fifth in turnover differential (plus-5) and eighth in yards per play allowed (5.0).
Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at (-1) Oakland Raiders 4-1), Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Raiders. Andy Reid teams are 12-5 ATS coming off the bye, but as I started to write this, I saw a commercial for Travis Kelce’s ridiculous reality show, which is enough to keep me from taking Kansas City.
Ricky: Raiders. The last time the Chiefs took the field, they got lit on fire by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. It doesn’t get much easier this week when Kansas City faces an Oakland offense that ranks fourth in the NFL in yards per game (391.6) and fifth in the league in points per game (28.4).
Andre: Raiders. The Chiefs can’t bring pressure like they used to (five sacks — 31st), and Derek Carr is one of the best-protected quarterbacks in the league (five sacks). And if you’re wondering why the Raiders defense is so bad (7.0 yards per play, worst in the league), they’ve had to go up against Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers in the first five weeks. Oh, and despite all of the yards they’ve allowed, they still have a plus-7 turnover differential (third-best in the league).
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at (-6) Seattle Seahawks (3-1), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Falcons. I love that Atlanta — playing its second road game in a different time zone in as many weeks — is spending the week in Washington getting acclimated to the conditions. Oh, and the Falcons might actually be good.
Ricky: Seahawks. The Falcons overcame the Broncos’ vaunted defense in Denver last week, but don’t expect Atlanta to have similar success this week in Seattle. In addition to having a great secondary, the Seahawks are much stingier against the run. That could slow the two-headed monster of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who really were the difference last week when the Falcons stayed away from attacking the Broncos’ “No-Fly Zone” secondary.
Andre: Falcons. The Seahawks have only allowed 4.5 yards per play (2nd) and one passing touchdown (1st) but they’ve done so against Ryan Tannehill, Case Keenum, Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Good luck trying to slow down Matt Ryan, who not only led the Falcons to victory at Denver, but engineered an offense that managed to get six yards per play in the game (ninth-most last week).
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at (-4) Green Bay Packers (3-1), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Packers. The Cowboys are riding high thanks to a dominant run game, but they’ll get a stiff test against a Packers defense allowing 2 yards per rush — half of what 18 other teams are allowing per rush. The Cowboys’ pass rush won’t scare Aaron Rodgers, either.
Ricky: Cowboys. There’s still something a little off about the Packers’ offense, and the Cowboys are 4-0-1 against the spread this season. This smells like an upset, but a cover at the very least. Bigger picture question: How do the ‘Boys go back to Tony Romo if Dak Prescott continues his great rookie season with a victory at Lambeau Field?
Andre: Cowboys. How do you beat Aaron Rodgers? Keep the ball out of his hands. The Cowboys are second in time of possession., first in 10-play drives and 5-minute drives. On the other side, 27 percent of Packers drives have ended in three and outs (fourth-highest). The Cowboys might literally have the ball for more than 40 minutes this week.
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at (-3) Houston Texans (3-2), Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Texans. Houston has gotten its head kicked in by the Patriots and Vikings, arguably the two best teams in the NFL. The Texans defense will get to pin its ears back and feast on a porous Colts offensive line that’s allowing four sacks per game.
Ricky: Texans. Pray for Andrew Luck … Also, thank God this game’s in primetime, am I right? Do yourself a favor and watch playoff baseball instead.
Andre: Texans. Even with J.J. Watt gone, the Texans can still bring a ferocious pass rush (13 sacks — 7th). Andrew Luck has been sacked 20 times this season and will be running for his life all game long. I also expect a bounce-back game for Brock Osweiler against a leaky Colts defense that allows 6.5 yards per play (second-most in the league)
MONDAY, OCT. 17
New York Jets (1-4) at (-7.5) Arizona Cardinals (2-3), Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Jets. New York’s much ballyhooed defense actually controls the run well (3 yards per carry) and now faces an offensive line down its two starting guards. It’s also going to be interesting to see what the Jets’ bigger receivers (Brandon Marshall, Quincy Enunwa) can do against a smaller Arizona secondary.
Ricky: Cardinals. Carson Palmer is expected back this week after missing Week 5 with a concussion, but throw that aside for a second. This is all about the Jets’ quarterback situation, which is getting so ugly with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center that people actually are calling for Geno Smith. What a time to be alive.
Andre: Cardinals. Arizona, despite its struggles, has forced 12 turnovers this season. They can also get after the quarterback (18 sacks, third-most in the league). The Jets, on the other hand, have the worst turnover differential in football (-10). They’ve also allowed 27 explosive plays this season, seventh-most in the league, so I expect a big week for Carson Palmer and David Johnson.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images