The 2017 NFL season (again) changed in a big way last week.
From Aaron Rodgers’ injury, which could cost him the season and puts the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl aspirations in doubt, to the Kansas City Chiefs’ first loss, it was an interesting Week 6 featuring several twists and turns that could shape the next few months.
One constant throughout this unpredictable campaign, however, has been our pigskin pickin’ trio of Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian, who return each and every week, for better or worse, to give their football predictions for the upcoming slate. This week is no different.
Here’s how the boys fared in Week 6.
Mike Cole: 7-5 (43-43-2 overall)
Ricky Doyle: 6-6 (41-45-2)
Andre Khatchaturian: 7-5 (41-45-2)
Now, we’re on to Week 7, with all lines courtesy of OddsShark.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Oakland Raiders, 8:25 p.m. ET
Ricky: Chiefs. Expect the Chiefs to get back on track after last week’s hiccup against the Steelers. Kansas City has won five straight against Oakland, nine straight on the road and 12 straight against AFC West opponents.
Andre: Chiefs. A season after finishing second in the NFL in interceptions, the Raiders have yet to record a pick through six games in 2017. They go up against Alex Smith, who hasn’t thrown an interception this season.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Jets. The Jets always play the Dolphins tough — 14-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last 18 games against Miami — and this Sunday should be no different, especially if the ‘Phins are without wide receiver DeVante Parker and/or center Mike Pouncey.
Andre: Jets. Despite their impressive comeback win over the Falcons, the Dolphins still have the league’s worst yards per play differential. Miami, which features the league’s worst offense, also has forced the second-fewest turnovers and has allowed a league-high 72 percent completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks. It’s a miracle this team is 3-2.
Tennessee Titans (-6) at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Ricky: Titans. The Browns literally just give you the football — they have an NFL-worst 16 giveaways and a minus-9 turnover differential — which is a huge problem when their defense is a sieve.
Andre: Titans. The Browns have allowed the most passing touchdowns, the highest passer rating and the second-highest completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota only has four touchdown passes this season. Don’t be surprised if he doubles that total in Week 7.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5), 1 p.m. (in London)
Ricky: Cardinals. The Cardinals leaned heavily on Adrian Peterson in his first game with the team. It worked. It will again against a Rams run defense that ranks 29th in opponent rushing yards per game (139.5) and opponent yards per carry (4.8).
Andre: Rams. The Rams protect Jared Goff well (nine sacks allowed; 7th-fewest), and they get to the quarterback with great efficiency (20 sacks; second-most). Arizona’s offensive line has been brutal this season (21 sacks allowed; second-most) and could have a tough time against Los Angeles’ defense.
Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Vikings. The Ravens have struggled to stop the run, which plays right into the Vikings’ hands. Baltimore’s offense lacks any real firepower.
Andre: Vikings. Minnesota has the third-best yards per play differential in the NFL thanks to a stingy defense. Joe Flacco has twice as many picks as touchdowns, and something tells me a road game against an elite defense like the Vikings’ isn’t going to be the best recipe for success.
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Ricky: Panthers. The Bears, who rushed for 231 yards last week against the Ravens, can’t be as conservative with their offensive playcalling this week against the Panthers, who boast the NFL’s fifth-best run defense.
Andre: Panthers. The Panthers have the second-most sacks in the NFL, with 20. Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t been accurate at all, and the rookie might get into some trouble if he’s pressured. While Cam Newton can fall into trouble, too, by throwing picks, the Bears have just two interceptions all year.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Ricky: Jaguars. Jacoby Brissett has exceeded expectations in place of Andrew Luck, but Jacksonville has a shutdown secondary anchored by the superb cornerback tandem of A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. The Jags also can get after the quarterback, making this a tough matchup for the Colts’ offense.
Andre: Jaguars. The Jaguars boast the league’s best turnover differential and lead the NFL in sacks. They’ve allowed only one passing touchdown — a garbage time TD — since Week 2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. (no line as of Thursday afternoon)
New Orleans Saints (-5) at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m.
Ricky: Saints. Maybe Aaron Rodgers’ replacement, Brett Hundley, is good. Maybe he sucks. I don’t know. But until I see him in action with my own two eyes, I’m going to be skeptical, especially if he’s asked to engage in a shootout with Drew Brees.
Andre: Packers. When the public leans in one direction, lean the other way. Everyone is counting out the Packers because of the Aaron Rodgers injury, and everyone is high on the Saints because of their three-game winning streak. The Packers might be in trouble over the long run because of the Rodgers injury, but this game just seems like the type of situation where the public overreacts.
Dallas Cowboys (-6) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m.
Ricky: 49ers. San Francisco’s last five losses have been by a combined 13 points. Insane. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard seemed to jolt the 49ers’ offense last week. Don’t be surprised if the Niners get over the hump at home and give Kyle Shanahan his first win as an NFL head coach.
Andre: 49ers. There are just too many distractions surrounding the Cowboys right now with the Ezekiel Elliott stuff. Plus, the 49ers actually have a good young defense and allow just 3.4 yards per rushing attempt (fifth-best). The Niners are 0-6, but they’re 4-2 ATS and five of their losses have come by three points or fewer.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5), 4:25 p.m.
Ricky: Bengals. The Steelers gutted out a win last week against the Chiefs after a dismal performance in Week 5. They might keep things rolling this week with another victory, but Andy Dalton and the Bengals’ offense have looked much better since Cincinnati fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after Week 2. Also, the Steelers are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games. Field goal decides it.
Andre: Steelers. I trust Ben Roethlisberger at home more than Dalton on the road. Big Ben has been interception happy this season, but the Bengals rank 30th in turnover differential. The Steelers do a good job of protecting Roethlisberger, having allowed sacks on just 4.3 percent of dropbacks.
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-1), 4:25 p.m.
Ricky: Broncos. This is an important game for the Broncos, who have matchups with the Chiefs, Eagles and Patriots looming. They’d be wise to keep feeding the rock to C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles against a Chargers run defense that’s allowing an NFL-worst 152.5 yards per game.
Andre: Broncos. The Broncos have allowed the fewest rushing yards per play, and they haven’t allowed a single rushing touchdown. If they bottle up Melvin Gordon, this could be one of those games where we see Philip Rivers throw the ball 40 times or more. In his career when Rivers throws the ball 40 times or more, he’s 12-34.
Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m.
Ricky: Seahawks. The Giants shocked the world with last week’s win over the Broncos, who, like the Seahawks, have a well-respected defense. Expect a letdown this week when their plethora of injuries on offense catch up. Seattle is coming off a bye, so the cross-country trip shouldn’t be an issue.
Andre: Giants. The Giants’ defense lived up to its potential against the Broncos. Now at home against a similarly inept offensive team with a crappy offensive line, the Giants’ pass rush again will be able to put pressure on Russell Wilson and wreak havoc.
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (-3.5), 8:30 p.m.
Ricky: Falcons. The Patriots tend to struggle against pass-catching running backs, which means Matt Ryan should rely on Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman before ultimately taking some shots down the field. The Falcons also showed an ability to get after Tom Brady in Super Bowl LI, a scary thought for New England given how poorly its offensive line has played this season.
Andre: Patriots. Matt Ryan’s fourth-quarter issues aren’t limited to Super Bowl LI. In the final frame throughout his career, he has more picks than in any other quarter, a lower completion percentage than in any other quarter and a lower passer rating than in any other quarter.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5), 8:30 p.m.
Ricky: Eagles. I’m warming up to the idea that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC, in large because they’re well-rounded. They’ll keep flying high this week behind their talented front seven.
Andre: Redskins. The Redskins are a little overlooked because of Philadelphia’s success. Kirk Cousins has been quietly putting together a solid season with just two interceptions to his name. He’s also been receiving great protection, only getting sacked four times in the last four games.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images
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