NFL Week 6: Morning Picks (in Abbreviated Format)
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions -2.5 (-130)
Our assemblage of independent power rankings approaches uniformly make the Lions about a field goal better than the Bears on a neutral field. Considering that today's contest will take place on Detroit's Ford Field, we look for a hungry Cats team to pull off the cover with a couple of points to spare.
Kansas City Chiefs +4.5 @ Minnesota Vikings (-110)
While Kansas City's terrible 0-4 skid and the loss of the second best running back in the league (Jamaal Charles tore his ACL in last week's outing versus the Chicago Bears) are definitely black clouds, the Chiefs did not demonstrate a commitment to the run with a healthy Charles (KC ranks 19th in running plays as a percentage of total offensive plays and 16th in rushing yards as a percentage of total offense). Further, our methodology is simply not sold on the 2-2 Vikings (according to FPI, Kansas City is ranked 4 slots higher and Minnesota, and per Elo Ratings the two teams are virtually identical).
Against Chicago's fourth quartile defense last week, the Chiefs were able to keep the game close (Kansas City ultimately lost by 1 after a heroic 4th quarter for Bears' QB, Jay Cutler). The Vikings likewise sport a below average defense. We look for the road dogs here to keep it tight again today.
Washington Redskins @ New York Jets -6.0 (-110)
We anticipate the Jets' elite defense will stifle a Redskins team that has struggled to muster points this season. At 19.4, Washington averages almost 4 points per game less than typical NFL team). Further, the psychology of playing about as well as could be expected vs. the Falcons last week and still losing might take a toll on a young Skins team still searching to find their identity.
Our power ranking and simulation/computer prediction factors both anticipate a Jets cover by about a touchdown. Thus, we are happy to bank on the favorites below the key 7 point threshold.
Arizona Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Steelers +4.5 (-115)
Our work sees the Cardinals offense disappointing today. Further, by some accounts, the Michael Vick-led Steelers actually have a shot at an outright home win. Perhaps Pittsburgh's top-tier run defense can make Arizona more one-dimensional, or perhaps the Roethlisberger stand-in will have a day. Either way, we are taking the home team plus the points on the basis of a suite of objective indications from power rankings, simulation and computer prediction schemes that identify value Pittsburgh's way.