The Big Numbers: Week 6
Week 6 of the NFL season is loaded with intriguing games.
Baker Mayfield and the streaking Cleveland Browns visit Ben Roethlisberger and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers versus Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Then on Monday, we get Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.
The TSN Edge NFL contributors are off to a pretty good start across the board this season with a 33-20 combined record, including a 27-13 record against the spread.
Here are our best bets for Week 6:
Domenic Padula: Tennessee Titans -3 vs. Houston Texans
This number opened at Titans -2.5 and it’s up to -3.5 at some spots.
Even on a short week, I’m inclined to take Tennessee.
The Titans are 11-3 straight up with Ryan Tannehill as a starter, including 4-0 this season.
They’ve averaged 30.4 points per game when Tannehill starts.
Meanwhile, Houston is coming off its first win of the season – a 30-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the Texans at 1-4, I can’t figure out why an undefeated Tennessee side is only a three-point favourite at home.
The Titans burned me in Week 1 when they beat the Denver Broncos 16-14 but failed to cover as a 2.5-point favourite after Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals and an extra point.
Hopefully, the Titans don’t have to lean on Gostkowski to cover as a three-point favourite versus Houston.
Luke Bellus: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Under 51 points
Close your eyes and picture something with me.
The Cleveland Browns are taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 of the NFL season.
What do you see?
I’ll tell you what I see.
I see running, and lots of it.
The Browns and Steelers enter this week sitting second and sixth, respectively, in the league for rushing attempts.
We saw running back Kareem Hunt fill the void for the injured Nick Chubb in Week 5 when he logged the bulk of the carries for the Browns in a 32-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
We’ve also seen James Conner get at least 15 rushing attempts for the Steelers in all but one game this season. But it’s not just Chubb who’s dealing with an injury in Cleveland.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been banged up all week with a rib issue, and star wideout Jarvis Landry missed practice time this week due to ribs and hip injuries, while Odell Beckham Jr. was sent home on Thursday with an illness and missed practice on Friday.
With the Browns’ three main players in the passing game all battling issues, this could impact the team’s ability to move the ball through the air and force Cleveland to rely on the run game even more than they normally do.
Recent history in this matchup favours the under as well.
In the three starts Mayfield has made against a Mike Tomlin-coached defence, the Browns have failed to score more than 21 points in every game.
In the last 10 contests between these teams, the under has hit six times, with both of their 2019 meetings going under the number.
Yes, Cleveland has hit the over in four straight games, while the Steelers have done it in three straight. But these division rival games are usually tighter than normal.
Close your eyes and just picture this low-scoring AFC North game…. Hopefully Canadian Chase Claypool can sneak in a touchdown for everyone who picked him up off waivers this week.
Chris Amberley: Green Bay Packers -1 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game opened at Tampa Bay -1 but the line was pushed in Green Bay’s direction after early money flooded in on the Packers.
Green Bay is the lone undefeated team remaining against the spread this season, winning all four of its games by at least a touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers and the offence are being praised everywhere you look, and rightfully so for averaging a league-best 38 points per game.
Rodgers is Pro Football Focus’ highest graded QB through five weeks, and the Packers lead the NFL in expected yards per play by a significant margin.
As good as the offence has been, lost in the shuffle is how well the defence has performed when games have been close.
Green Bay leads the NFL in forced three-and-out rate, and if you subtract garbage time they rank seventh in expected points allowed.
The Packers have put up those impressive numbers without run stuffing nose tackle Kenny Clark over the last three weeks, but the former first-round pick is set to return Sunday versus Tom Brady and company.
Speaking of the GOAT, Brady is 9-1 ATS as a home underdog in his career, but this Bucs offence has been far from impressive in 2020.
Last week they mustered just 19 points in Chicago, and all three of their wins this season have come versus opponents ranked 19th or worse by DVOA.
They’ve committed seven turnovers through five games, while Green Bay has yet to cough up the ball once.
I’ll take the Packers to win outright.