Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (2024)

Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (1)

Christian D'Andrea

October 12, 2023 12:17 pm ET

Week 6 isn’t a great lineup in terms of marquee NFL games. You know how I know? Because a showdown between the one-win Minnesota Vikings and one-win Chicago Bears may be the most interesting game on the slate.

Sure, other games with playoff implications exist, but this NFC North showdown between 1-4 teams could divine the immediate future for each franchise. A win for the Bears provides more evidence Justin Fields deserves more time to prove he’s a franchise quarterback and, just maybe, that head coach Matt Eberflus deserves to be there with him. A loss for the Vikings could send a team laden with veteran talent to a seller’s market at the trade deadline and portend a significant rebuild for the first time in a decade.

Meanwhile, a Minnesota win would provide proof the team is better than its record and capable of a playoff run, even from the depths of the NFC standings. A Chicago loss hastens the dawn of a new era for a team that looked hopeless the first three weeks of the season.

There’s plenty more on tap. Week 6 promises 15 games, headlined by battles between 2022 playoff teams like Seahawks-Bengals and Cowboys-Chargers. It’s not a great slate, but it’s an interesting one.Here are this week’s picks:

GameChristianRobertCharles
Broncos at ChiefsChiefsChiefsChiefs
Ravens at TitansRavensTitansRavens
Panthers at DolphinsDolphinsDolphinsDolphins
Colts at JaguarsJaguarsJaguarsJaguars
Vikings at BearsBearsBearsBears
Saints at TexansTexansSaintsSaints
Seahawks at BengalsSeahawksSeahawksBengals
49ers at Browns49ers49ers49ers
Commanders at FalconsFalconsFalconsFalcons
Patriots at RaidersRaiders?RaidersRaiders
Cardinals at RamsRamsRamsRams
Lions at BuccaneersLions?LionsLions
Eagles at JetsEaglesEaglesEagles
Giants at BillsBillsBillsBills
Cowboys at ChargersCowboysChargersCowboys
Last week:8-67-79-5
Year to date:54-2448-3051-27

and:

GamePrinceMaryMeghan
Broncos at ChiefsChiefsChiefsChiefs
Ravens at TitansRavensRavensTitans
Panthers at DolphinsDolphinsDolphinsDolphins
Colts at JaguarsJaguarsJaguarsJaguars
Vikings at BearsVikingsVikingsVikings
Saints at TexansTexansSaintsTexans
Seahawks at BengalsSeahawksSeahawksBengals
49ers at Browns49ers49ers49ers
Commanders at FalconsFalconsFalconsFalcons
Patriots at RaidersRaidersRaidersRaiders
Cardinals at RamsRamsRamsRams
Lions at BuccaneersLionsLionsBucs
Eagles at JetsEaglesEaglesEagles
Giants at BillsBillsBillsBills
Cowboys at ChargersCowboysCowboysCowboys
Last week:8-69-58-6
Year to date:46-3240-2232-14

Here are those selections in a better-formatted screenshot of our actual picks sheet, which unfortunately struggles to translate to our editing software.

Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (2)

Easiest game to pick: Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) over the Denver Broncos

Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (3)

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Kelce isn’t 100 percent and Patrick Mahomes’ output has taken a hit amidst a limited receiving corps. This should not matter against the Broncos, home to a poorly coached defense which treats bad tackling angles like Pokemon in a pursuit to catch them all. That unit is, statistically, the worst the NFL has seen in decades.

Denver has gotten improved play from Russell Wilson early in games, but he’s liable to fall apart late — i.e. the opposite of Mahomes’ entire vibe. He’s got to face a young defense that’s quietly evolving into a top 10 unit. The Broncos need a get-right game, but so does Kansas City’s offense. All the evidence we’ve seen this year suggests this will go much more smoothly for Andy Reid than Sean Payton, who stinks.

Last week: 1-0 (1.000)
Season to date: 5-0 (1.000)

Hardest favorite to back: Las Vegas Raiders (-3.5) vs. the New England Patriots

Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (4)

AP Photo/John Locher

Regardless of personnel, backing the Raiders means you’re picking Josh McDaniels to beat Bill Belichick. For the second time in two seasons. While improving to 3-0 against his mentor and future Hall of Famer all time.

That hurts my brain, and it annoys me Mac Jones has been bad enough to make this a distinct possibility. The third-year Patriot quarterback has been the NFL’s second-worst starting quarterback, so bad legitimate questions have swirled about whether or not he’d start in Week 6. His backup, Bailey Zappe, ranks 40th out of 40 players in passing efficiency when it comes to passers with at least 18 snaps under their belts.

In the end, I realize I don’t really care who wins. I’m just rooting for another, wildly stupid ending.

Here's the dots for the Patriots-Raiders ending. The best case scenario for this lateral was Chandler Jones flattening Mac Jones like a pancake. Instead, Jones picked the lateral off and flattened the QB, too. Just one of the worst plays you'll ever see. pic.twitter.com/7sb5xXSXJU

— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 19, 2022

Last week: 0-1 (.000)
Season to date: 4-1 (.800)

Upset pick of the week: Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) over the Cincinnati Bengals

Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (5)

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s my struggle; I want to believe the Bengals have fixed things. They’re the team I pegged as AFC champs this preseason. They’re coming off a game where Joe Burrow regained his form and threw for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns. Their defense has forced six turnovers in the last three weeks.

But the Seahawks have even more momentum via a three-game win streak. They have a road win over the Detroit Lions that’s aged like wine in the brief interlude since. They’re coming off a bye which … what’s that? Pete Carroll is 0-3 in his last three seasons after a week off? Well, huh.

That’s a concerning stat, but the larger concern is Burrow’s still-ailing calf. His breakthrough vs. Arizona came with only four passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield. He only completed one of those — which was, in fairness, a gorgeous 63-yard touchdown strike to Ja’Marr Chase.

JA'MARR GOT ANOTHER

📺: #CINvsAZ on FOX
📱: Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/LxW25sxPWA pic.twitter.com/0G3jJUcLtJ

— NFL (@NFL) October 8, 2023

Now he’s got to face a Seahawk defense that can bring pressure without blitzing and crowd the short-range area where Burrow is more comfortable slinging passes while hurt. And they’ve got the secondary to load up on Chase and force Cincinnati to wind down a depth chart where Tee Higgins is dealing with a rib injury and no tight end has more than five catches through five games.

Ultimately, it’s an uneven Seahawk defense vs. an uneven Bengal offense. I’ll choose to believe Seattle’s surge is sustainable. But I don’t feel great about it.

Last week: 1-0 (1.000)
Season to date: 4-1 (.800)

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Straight-up NFL picks, Week 6: Seahawks-Bengals might be a mess (2024)
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