Plenty of home underdogs this week will be barking
The calendar flipped to October last week and the results in the NFL continue to stay weird. The Buffalo Bills have the same amount of wins as the defending Super Bowl champions. Odell Beckham Jr. just got a huge contract and had the audacity to call out his teammates before last Sunday's loss. The Rams and Chiefs are still undefeated, but both have a rather leaky defense. Personally, the wins keep coming as we try to navigate the rough water. With that, let's take a look at Week 6.
Record: 15-9-2 (53-32-3 last year)
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Oct. 14 unless indicated.
Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:
Chicago Bears (3-1) at Miami Dolphins (3-2), 1 p.m.
I've been involved with the Dolphins a little too much so far this season, but I've also been 4-0 against the spread in those matchups. Miami has lost two straight against the Patriots and Bengals, but return home where they are 2-0. The Dolphins' offense is rather underwhelming with just 288.2 yards per contest. They've struggled with turnovers as of late with five over the last two games. The team was beating the Bengals 17-10 entering the fourth quarter before self-destructing. I'm higher on the Dolphins than most, and somewhat lower on the Bears than others. They are 3-1 and coming off a bye week. Last time out Chicago destroyed Tampa Bay 48-10 in a game that saw Mitchell Trubisky go crazy. That's been a bit of an outlier for the offense as they scored just 63 points in the other three games. This is the Bears' third road game so far and they do have New England at home next week. Chicago has failed to cover in 12 of its last 18 road games and six of its last nine as a favorite. Give me the Dolphins in this one. SELECTION: Miami +3 (if you wait, you may be able to get 3.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-4), 1 p.m.
Continuing the theme of taking teams at their lowest, I'm going to back Atlanta in this one. Tampa Bay is coming off its bye and is turning back to Jameis Winston at quarterback. Winston cannot fix a defense that is allowing almost 450 yards per game. Tampa allowed 40 points at New Orleans and 48 at Chicago. The Buccaneers have a non-existent run game unless Ronald Jones gets more looks. Yes, Atlanta's defense has been terrible and may not get better due to injuries. The Falcons have lost a couple of safeties and a linebacker and that's going to weaken their back end. Still, Matt Ryan is a lot better at home and the likes of Devonta Freeman (who is dealing with a foot contusion) and Tevin Coleman should be able to find holes against the awful Buccaneers. The Falcons have covered 19 of their last 31 against conference opponents. I think we see them win and win rather easily. SELECTION: Falcons -3
Seattle Seahawks (2-3) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-4), 1 p.m. (London)
The Seahawks are getting their first taste of football in London on Sunday. Six teams have yet to play a game in jolly old England and it seems to be a bit of a hindrance to the first timers. The Cardinals, Ravens and Browns all had their first taste last year and all lost to their opponents by a combined score of 110-23. Oakland played in Wembley Stadium back in 2014 and also has played twice in Mexico City. The roster is different from that first European game, but some of the key players have done this before. On the field, Oakland has won just one game and is coming off a 26-10 loss against the Chargers. This would be the Raiders' fourth game away from home so far this season. Let's not forget it's also Marshawn Lynch's revenge game. Seattle is 2-3 and also playing a fourth game away from home. The Seahawks' offense has been a bit stagnant lately with the defense having issues slowing down opponents with good passing games. I think the Lynch factor as well as well the newness of European games for Seattle means I like the Raiders even as slight underdogs. SELECTION: Raiders +3
Los Angeles Rams (5-0) at Denver Broncos (2-3), 4:05 p.m.
I previewed the Kansas City-Denver Monday night game in Week 4 and called for a Broncos, which did not materialize. Denver might have been a completion to Demaryius Thomas away from making that prediction come true. The Rams are one of the best teams in football, but their leaky defense concerns me. I'll call for the upset once again here, as I think the Broncos' defense could present some problems for the visitors. The elevation could always be a factor as well. I think we get Case Keenum's best effort and Jared Goff turns it over a couple of times as Los Angeles loses its first game. SELECTION: Broncos +7
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3), 4:25 p.m.
Jacksonville is coming off getting undressed by the Chiefs last week in a game that was hyped up as a potential AFC Championship Game preview. The Jags' offense had five turnovers while the defense couldn't make stops when it had to. Blake Bortles is putting up a lot of yardage, but this could actually be the team's stiffest test on defense. Dallas has held three of its opponents to 20 points or fewer and has done well against the run. Yes, the Cowboys were gashed in Houston by Deshaun Watson, but there's no DeAndre Hopkins on Jacksonville's roster. Dallas' offense is ranked 28th in the league in yards and 30th in scoring as Dak Prescott has struggled and there are no legitimate playmakers other than Ezekiel Elliott. However, I think we will see a better effort with the Cowboys playing at home. They are 2-0 in AT&T Stadium and the Jaguars may be looking ahead to next week's home game against the Texans. Dallas has been a home underdog of no more than three points three times the last three seasons and has won two of those outright. I'll take the Cowboys plus the points. SELECTION: Dallas +3
Note: I like the Redskins to bounce back this week at home against Carolina, but they have a ton of banged-up offensive players whose status for Sunday is uncertain. Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Vernon Davis and Paul Richardson are hurt to some extent. I can't take them right now with so much uncertainty. If some combination of the players above are out, then the under may be worth a look. Just something to watch this weekend as neither play is official.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.