Chicago -1 Tampa Bay (At London)
Last week I complained about how much I hate picking against the Bucs. They bounced back from an absolute beat down loss at the hands the 49ers to pull off an upset win against the Saints. Chicago blew out the Vikings in a hard-to-watch contest that was never really close. The Bucs traveled to London early while the Bears are treating this like any other week. Bears players are getting antsy with management over things like Matt Forte not getting paid. Lance Briggs is saying that the issues with management are starting to impact how players prepare. I don’t like the sound of that. The Bucs will be well rested and ready to take on Chicago.
Pick: Bucs +1

At Carolina -2.5 Washington
The John Beck era begins in DC, but how much of an upgrade is he over Grossman? He’s kind of an unknown entity at this point, but he gets a chance to prove it against the 1-5 Panthers. Expect the Skins to rely heavily on the run to ease their QB in and take advantage of a defense that gives up 140.3 yards per game on the ground. If you’ve watched Cam Newton and the Panthers this year, it’s hard to believe they only have one W. Carolina keeps ‘em close, and they’ll do enough to finally earn a second win.
Pick:  Panthers -2.5

San Diego -2 At NY Jets
Rex and Norv are in full blown bulletin material mode. LT’s getting the start against his old team, but Shonn Green should still get plenty of touches. The Chargers are moving the ball well, but they haven’t faced a defense this good all year. The Chargers seem like the stronger, more efficient team here, but the Jets can’t take too kindly to being underdogs at home. Gates didn’t practice on Thursday, so who knows if he’ll be a factor. It’s strength vs. strength here, and I’ll take New York’s D over San Diego’s O.
Pick: Jets +2

At Cleveland -3 Seattle
Charlie Whitehurst gets the nod here with Tarvaris Jackson still hurt. Hillis probably won’t roll for the Browns. He’s in some sort of hamstring/contract limbo right now. The Browns like Montario Hardesty, they still have trouble moving the ball on the ground, ranking 30th in the league with 81.6 rushing yards per game. Seattle’s no rushing juggernaut either, ranking just ahead of the Browns with an average of 83 yards per game. It’s going to be up to Whitehurst or McCoy to make it happen. My money says McCoy is better suited to make the extra play.
Pick: Browns -3

At Tennessee -3 Houston
Schaub’s banged up and Arian Foster is coming off a sorry output game against the Ravens. Andre Johnson’s still out of the mix and the Texans have dropped two in a row. The Titans are coming off an additional week to prepare and they’re playing at home. Chris Johnson has been a disappointment, but Hasselbeck’s been a pleasant surprise. I think this game is going to be close. It’s an important divisional matchup, and I think the Texans are going to find a way to right the ship on the road.
Pick: Texans +3

At Miami -1.5 Denver
Who knew that a game between two teams with a combined record of 1-9 could be so interesting? Tony Sparano is likely coaching for his job, and Denver fans finally get to see the Mile High Messiah lead the way. Will Tebow show that he’s a force to be reckoned with or will the Dolphins step up and play hard for their player-friendly coach on the brink? Judging by the way Matt Moore kept chucking the ball to the wrong team last week, I think the edge goes to Tebow taking over. Especially during a cushy road game where they’re honoring his former college team at halftime.
Pick: Broncos +1.5

At Detroit -3.5 Atlanta
You know Jim Schwartz is going to have his team fired up to play this week. Nobody puts the Schwartz in a corner. Detroit has some issues at running back. Jahvid Best is likely out after suffering another concussion. The Jerome Harrison/Ronnie Brown trade was voided cause Harrison has a brain tumor. It’s up to Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams to carry the load. Luckily, the Lions love to pass, and the Falcons love to give up passing yardage (283.3 yards per game).  Lions bounce back.
Pick: Detroit -3.5

At Oakland -4.5 Kansas City
The Raiders gave up a lot for Cason Palmer. Will he be worth it? Can he come in and take over a team with less than a week to prepare? The Raiders have a lot going for them right now, but it’s never easy to replace your QB with an outsider who isn’t familiar with the offense. Not saying this is a Kerry Collins situation, but I don’t expect Palmer to just slide in and carry this team.  He might not have to though. The Raiders are a run first, run second team. But the Chiefs have a new rushing weapon as well. Was Jackie Battle a one week wonder or can the career special teamer continue to spark KC’s offense? The Raiders can be quite gracious when it comes to giving up rush yardage, so Battle should be able to find space to run. Expect a low scoring, clock-eating contest here. I’m giving the edge to the home team.
Pick: Raiders -4.5

Pittsburgh -3.5 At Arizona
The Steelers seem to eek out wins that really should be blowouts, and they just can’t seem to put teams completely away. Expect that to change this weekend. The Steelers, in theory, should win this game easy. Mendenhall’s coming off a big game, Mike Wallace is lighting it up, Ward gets a couple first down grabs here and there and Antonio Brown has been wide open and overthrown in the end zone for like three straight weeks. The Steelers defense is rejuvenated as well, even if they’re not causing enough turnovers. Kolb should be in line for like at least two picks in this game, though. The Steelers need to finish off these easy wins ‘cause the schedule’s about to get a lot tougher.
Pick: Steelers -3.5

At Dallas -13 St. Louis
High ankle sprains aren’t fun. Neither is losing all the time. Sam Bradford’s gutting it out though, and he has a new, much needed weapon with Brandon Lloyd now in the fold. The Cowboys went toe-to-toes with the Pats, but they couldn’t come away with the W. Dallas will be testing out some combination of Choice and Murray against the worst run defense in football.
Pick: Cowboys -13

Green Bay -9 At Minnesota
McNabb was mercifully handed a clipboard this week, so Christian Ponder gets a chance to show what he can do. First assignment for the rookie is the defending champs.Maybe the rookie will be able to spark a struggling offense, but it’s hard to think that the Vikings can slow down a team that’s averaging a league-best 32.8 points per game.
Pick: Packers -9

At New Orleans -14 Indianapolis
Brees had a sloppy game last week against the Bucs. He’ll bounce back and take advantage of a favorable matchup. Painter’s going to have a chance to make plays against the Saints, but even if this game hits shoot-out mode, New Orleans should out shot Indy pretty easily.
Pick: Saints -14

Baltimore -7.5 At Jacksonville
The Ravens are playing scary football in a division that has no room for error. The Ravens D will take away MJD and force Gabbert into making some mistakes. Expect a big game from Ray Rice.
Pick: Ravens -7.5

Week 6: 7-5-1
Season: 50-36-8 ATS

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