Scully’s NFL Week 6 picks: Browns can't match points with Steelers
My Week 6 picks include a key battle in the AFC North and an enticing matchup between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
Let's dig in to the best bets in the NFL this week.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun, October 18 2020, 5:00 PM
Cleveland snapped a 0-7 against-the-spread road slide at Dallas two weeks ago, but this is a letdown spot for the Browns, after important back-to-back wins as an underdog.
Pittsburgh remained unbeaten in Week 5 because of its high-scoring offense, but the Steelers were sloppy at time, following a bye week.
I expect a sharper performance from Pittsburgh in Week 6, and the home team has covered the last four games of this series.
New coach Kevin Stefanski has turned things around in Cleveland. Quarterback Baker Mayfield made plays against a stingy Indianapolis run defense in Week 5, but the Browns have primarily relied on the ground game and defense. They will miss the injured Nick Chubb in Week 6.
Pittsburgh has the league’s second-best run defense (64 rushing yards allowed per game), and the Steelers are opportunistic (they force nearly two turnovers per game). Mayfield threw a pair of interceptions last week, when forced into passing situations, and Cleveland had three giveaways when it faced the only other team with a winning record on its schedule, Baltimore, in Week 1.
Steelers wideout Chase Claypool emerged in Week 5, with four touchdowns, which gave the Steelers a valuable third weapon to go with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, and free-agent acquisition Eric Ebron (10 catches the last two weeks) has improved the tight end situation.
Both teams have scored plenty this season, but Cleveland won’t be able to match points with Pittsburgh.
Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, October 18 2020, 8:25 PM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay has covered in four straight games, but the Packers are vulnerable in a tough road setting off a bye week. The Packers will remain a top Super Bowl contender after they take their first loss of the year at Tampa Bay.
Last year’s 13-3 squad strung together four straight covers before its bye week, and Green Bay responded with their worst performance of the 2019 season, a 37-8 loss at San Francisco. They won’t be able to avoid a letdown again in Week 6.
The Bucs are much better than they played in Week 5, when injuries and 11 penalties for 109 yards helped get them beat by a 20-19 margin, and they’ll be eager to turn things around at home.
Quarterback Tom Brady will receive a significant boost from a personnel standpoint, as receivers Chris Godwin, John Hurst, and Justin Watson are expected back, along with running backs Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy.
The Buccaneers are formidable defensively, have the best defense against the run, and Brady has 586 passing yards and six touchdowns in their first two home games. Tampa Bay will get a big home win.
Washington Football Team vs. New York Giants
Sun, October 18 2020, 5:00 PM
New York Giants
Washington Football Team
New York started slowly, but the Giants have been competitive on the road the last two weeks, against the Rams and Cowboys. Washington appears to be spiraling and recorded just 108 total yards against the Rams in Week 5, so I’m excited to fade their hapless offense.
The Giants have faced a tough schedule. They opened against a pair of teams that are a combined 8-1 (Pittsburgh and at Chicago), and the offense needed time to acclimate under first-time coach Joe Judge.
The progress has been easy to spot the last two weeks, and second-year receiver Darius Slayton has emerged as a valuable asset (eight catches for 129 yards last week) for Daniel Jones.
James Bradberry has developed into a shut-down corner, and the Giants will pressure Washington. Last week, the Rams set up shop in the Washington backfield and recorded three sacks and numerous hurries of Kyle Allen, before they knocked the quarterback out of the game in the second quarter. The Washington offensive line was in shambles.
The benching of second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who played only one season in college and desperately needs repetitions for the rebuilding Football Team, had a negative effect in Week 5. The narrative won’t change with Allen back under center against the Giants.
New York will get off the schneid with a big win.