I’ll admit, I may or may not have really mailed in last week’s picks, and I was not optimistic… but here I am, 10 wins stronger, and I didn’t even get my lock wrong! I still owe the boys a lock punishment, so stay tuned. Onto week six…
Last Week’s Record: 10-5
Overall Record: 48-24
LOCK Record: 3-2
Ryan’s NFL Picks (2019): Week Six
New York Giants @ New England Patriots: New England Patriots
The slew of easily winnable games continues for the New England Patriots as they host Daniel Jones and the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football. There are storylines here, a potential “changing of the guard” game as the rookie faces the greatest of all-time, Bill Belichick facing the franchise where he cut his teeth, Tom Brady facing the team that beat him not once, but twice in the Super Bowl.
However, even if Saquon Barkley’s super-human healing abilities got him cleared for this game, the Giants don’t stand a chance. Patriots roll. After iffy performances versus bad teams, is it possible New England’s first loss will come against a team as shaky as the Giants?
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carolina Panthers
What are they feeding Christian McCaffrey? Don’t answer, I already know. The ball. When these teams played in Carolina a few weeks ago, the Bucs were able to isolate CMC, and it’s the biggest reason they came away with the win. But since then, McCaffrey is averaging over 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns a game, and the Panthers are 3-0.
I’m a little shaky about this pick, because Tampa Bay is just so gosh dang unpredictable, but I think the Panthers are finding their footing in a post-Cam Newton world.
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins: Washington Redskins
Man, I do not feel comfortable with this pick. The Miami Dolphins are historically bad, but the Washington Redskins just fired their head coach. There’s a chance the Dolphins actually win a football game in 2019, but I’m still going to trust my gut and stick with the Redskins. Sometimes a coaching change can galvanize a team.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota Vikings
Man, I don’t trust either of these teams. The Vikings shook off the cobwebs and controversy against a bad New York Giants team last week, but the Philadelphia Eagles are a different beast altogether. Dalvin Cook is finally healthy, and he’s balling out, meanwhile the Eagles are stingy up front, and aren’t allowing teams to move the ball on the ground.
I’m taking the Vikings because I feel like their receiving corps can exploit an inconsistent Eagles secondary, and Minnesota’s defense is good enough to rattle Carson Wentz. However, I’m not comfortable with this pick. This is a funny week, I’m about 50/50 on most of my guesses.
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas City Chiefs
This is a great game. How this game isn’t primetime, I don’t understand. We have to sit through Steelers/Chargers instead, because we were supposed to get Philip Rivers vs. Ben Roethlisberger, but even then, in a battle of draftmates, I’d rather have Deshaun Watson vs. Patrick Mahomes.
As far as picking this one, it was tough. Kansas City had a couple of close calls, and then they lost to Jacoby Brissett’s Indianapolis Colts IN Kansas City. They lost to Oakland IN INDIANAPOLIS, but they beat the Chiefs in Kansas City. They couldn’t do that WITH Andrew Luck last year! Insanity.
I’m rolling with Kansas City for now, because maybe they just overlooked the Colts. But after struggling to beat the Lions and losing to the Colts, we might have to check in on how real the Kansas City Chiefs actually are if they lose.
New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars: New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are on a roll since they… lost Drew Brees? Bizarrely, they’ve beaten the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, and the temperamental Tampa Bay Buccaneers without their Hall of Fame quarterback. They’re red hot, and as much as I love Gardner Minshew, I don’t think that changes this weekend. Though maybe the Jaguar defense is good enough to change that. Jalen Ramsey shuts down Michael Thomas and everyone else does their part? We’ll see.
Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns: Cleveland Browns
I think I’d probably pick the Seahawks if this game was being played in Seattle, but in Cleveland, even on a short week, I think the Browns are starting to figure things out, and they’re just a better team on paper. They match-up well against Seattle, with Denzel Ward trailing Tyler Lockett, Myles Garrett stalking Russell Wilson, and Odell Beckham Jr. terrorizing the remnants of the L.O.B.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore Ravens
Make no mistake, the Baltimore Ravens are struggling. After two wins over mediocre teams, the Ravens have had to scratch and claw to victories. There’s no shame in losing to Kansas City, but they were crushed by the Cleveland Browns and nearly lost to Pittsburgh’s undrafted rookie third string quarterback in overtime.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a really bad team, so the Ravens better win this game. If they struggle here, then maybe we should inquire about the status of lifeboats on the Bal’mer bandwagon.
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams: Los Angeles Rams (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
The 49ers, on a short week, travel to play the Rams, on a long week, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Sean McVay with more time to study just means he already knows the nonsense he’s going to use to run up the score in the third quarter, especially after Jimmy Garoppolo continues to prove that he’s not worth the money, and the market is broken.
I will die on this hill, and that’s our lock of the week.
Atlanta Falcons @ Arizona Cardinals: Atlanta Falcons
Okay, but… the Falcons should win this game. On paper, it’s not even close. On Madden, it’s not even close. But the Atlanta Falcons are so incredibly unpredictable, I can’t even trust them to win… or even lose when they’re supposed to. How is a team this good really this bad?
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets: Dallas Cowboys
After a rough stumble, the Dallas Cowboys better find a way to win this one. The New York Jets are an unmitigated disaster, and even if the Boys fell short of an incredible comeback against the Packers, they’ve lost two in a row. They’ve gotta find their footing again and beat the Jets handily if they want to remain among the NFC’s elite.
Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos: Tennessee Titans
I still don’t understand the Titans, but I don’t trust the Broncos, so that’s how we find ourselves here. I feel like the Titans are a fundamentally sound football team, and when they’re allowed to play their style, their way, they win games.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Los Angeles Chargers; Los Angeles Chargers
There’s no way that Mason Rudolph is ready to play after the hit he took on Sunday afternoon, and the Chargers will have a fully healthy Melvin Gordon on offense. The Chargers have been sloppy lately, but they should be able to handle the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won’t even benefit from their bad season because they have Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers: Green Bay Packers
You know what’s crazy? If I’m wrong, and the Lions win this game? They’ll be alone at the top of the NFC North. And if you asked me in August to name my NFC North contenders, I might’ve said any of the other three teams first. But… that’s not going to happen.
The Green Bay Packers are still figuring things out, but they’re proving to be one of the better teams in the NFL so far this season, so I’ll give them the nod here.