NFL Week 6 odds, picks: Winless Lions roar vs. Bengals, plus putting faith in Kirk Cousins on the road


Here's a horror story for any of you who play fantasy football (and I'm guessing most of you do). My friend went into Monday night's game between the Ravens and Colts with a 104-point lead in a fantasy matchup. Their team was up against Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and Jonathan Taylor in Monday night's game. Now, as good as those three players are, a 104-point lead still feels pretty safe.

Even after Taylor rips off a 76-yard touchdown in the first quarter, you might get a bit nervous, but you aren't worried yet. You're especially not worried when the game gets to halftime, and the Ravens have only three points.

You're good as gold, right? Nope! Jackson throws a touchdown late in the third and then the fourth quarter starts, and Lamar throws two touchdowns to Andrews and then a two-point conversion to Andrews after each one. The next thing you know, Lamar, Andrews and Taylor have combined for 116.64 points, and your 104-point lead became a 12-point loss.

Here's hoping none of us experience anything so painful this week.

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook

Chiefs at Football Team: Under 56 (-110)

Honestly, my initial reaction to seeing any total this high in an NFL game is to take the under, and I can't find anything to change my mind. There's been a lot made of how bad the Chiefs have looked, but those struggles have to be put in the context of who the Chiefs are. No, they're not the same juggernaut we've seen in recent years, but they're still pretty good. Their offense is first in the league in success rate and dead last in defensive success rate. Thankfully for the Chiefs, they'll be facing a Washington offense with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, which could help the Chiefs defense look a bit better.

Conversely, while it's not as good as hoped for, this Washington defense hasn't been as bad as I've seen it portrayed. It's more of an average unit than a bad one and has been the victim of terrible field position more than anything. I don't see either team figuring it all out on Sunday, but both should do well enough defensively to keep this below the total.

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Football Team 23

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Vikings at Panthers: Vikings -1 (-110)

And so it has come to this: I am betting Kirk Cousins as a road favorite. Last week I talked about how sometimes you have to eat your vegetables, and this is another example. I don't know exactly what Dalvin Cook's status will be for the Vikings here, but I do know that his absence hasn't impacted the team much recently. Alexander Mattison has been a perfectly suitable replacement. The same cannot be said of Carolina's offense without Christian McCaffrey, who remains a "game-time decision" with a hamstring injury. The Panthers' offense looked suspect at home without McCaffery last week against an Eagles defense that had been torn apart by San Francisco, Dallas and Kansas City but suddenly looked elite last week.

The Vikings defense is much better than the one Carolina couldn't crack last week, and their pass rush could be a problem for Sam Darnold, as he's not immune to making bad decisions when under pressure.

Latest Odds: Carolina Panthers +1
NFL Week 6 odds, picks: Winless Lions roar vs. Bengals, plus putting faith in Kirk Cousins on the road

Prediction: Vikings 24, Panthers 20

Bengals at Lions: Lions +3.5 (-110)

In my opinion, this line is off and based on nothing but the Lions being 0-5 and everybody thinking they stink. Well, you might be surprised to learn that the Lions' offense ranks 14th in the NFL in success rate, which is ahead of the Bengals in 20th. The real strength of this Cincinnati team has been its defense, but the numbers are slightly misleading. Playing games against the Bears, Steelers and Jaguars certainly helped. It also doesn't hurt Cincinnati's numbers that Green Bay managed only two touchdowns in five red-zone trips last week and missed three field goals.

The Lions might be 0-5, but there's a difference in their 0-5 compared to Jacksonville's. The Jaguars have looked overmatched and outclassed a lot. The Lions have only looked truly bad in one loss, and that was a 35-17 loss to the same Green Bay team that beat Cincinnati last week. I'll gladly take the Lions getting over a field goal at home, and I suggest considering the Detroit money line too.

Latest Odds: Detroit Lions +3.5
NFL Week 6 odds, picks: Winless Lions roar vs. Bengals, plus putting faith in Kirk Cousins on the road

Prediction: Lions 23, Bengals 21

Record

Units

Last Week

3-0

+3.0

Season

10-5

+4.45