Each week, Neil Greenberg makes NFL game predictions based on a multitude of factors that will have an impact on game day. These include efficiency stats such as success rates, yards per play and yards allowed per play, plus points scored based on strength of opponent. Point spreads are the consensus odds from multiple sports books in Vegas.
Last week’s record against the spread: 6-9
Denver Broncos (-3) @ San Diego Chargers
Winner: Denver Broncos, 84.7 percent
Pick: Denver Broncos -3
The Broncos suffered their first loss of the season in Week 5 against Atlanta, but it will be difficult for the Chargers’ offensive line to stop Denver’s pass rush.
This season San Diego’s offensive front has allowed 66 total sacks, hits and hurries — the fifth most in the NFL — while the Broncos defensive line has the second-highest adjusted sack rate (9.5 percent). When Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers gets pressured, his passer rating drops nearly in half, from 124.7 to 68.1.
Los Angeles Rams @ Detroit Lions (-3)
Winner: Los Angeles Rams, 56.2 percent
Pick: Los Angeles Rams +3
Carolina Panthers (-3) @ New Orleans Saints
Winner: Carolina Panthers, 61.7 percent
Pick: Carolina Panthers -3
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Chicago Bears (-2.5)
Winner: Chicago Bears, 52.2 percent
Pick: Chicago Bears -2.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers, 87.1 percent
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -7.5
Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
Winner: Seattle Seahawks, 52.1 percent
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -6.5
The Falcons have rebounded from their Week 1 loss with four straight wins, placing them at the top of the NFC South, but this week will be their toughest test yet.
The Seahawks rank third overall in Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average while allowing the third-fewest points per drive (1.18). Seattle is also forcing opponents to go three and out on almost a third of its drives (31.1 percent), leaving Atlanta little room for error.
Keep an eye on defensive lineman Michael Bennett. He’s a disruptive force on the pass rush (three sacks, two hits and nine hurries) and has 11 stops against the run, second among lineman playing in a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Baltimore Ravens @ New York Giants (-3)
Winner: Baltimore Ravens, 55.6 percent
Pick: Baltimore Ravens +3
San Francisco 49ers @ Buffalo Bills (-8)
Winner: Buffalo Bills, 79.1 percent
Pick: Buffalo Bills -8
Cleveland Browns @ Tennessee Titans (-7)
Winner: Tennessee Titans, 72.8 percent
Pick: Tennessee Titans -7
Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots (-9)
Winner: New England Patriots, 66.3 percent
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +9
Philadelphia Eagles (-2) @ Washington Redskins
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles, 59.4 percent
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -2
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has put himself in the conversation for rookie of the year after completing 67.4 percent of his passes for 1,007 yards and a 7-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. This week, he faces a Redskins defense that ranks last against the run and No. 16 against the pass.
But that pass defense ranking hinges largely on the play of cornerback Josh Norman.
Norman has held opposing receivers to 0.91 yards per cover snap, No. 20 at the position, but the rest of the Redskins’ secondary has allowed 1.64 yards per cover snap, which is significantly above average (1.26).
And since Norman doesn’t travel often in the secondary, Wentz can pick and choose which receiver he targets.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (-1)
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs, 55.1 percent
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs +1
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-4)
Winner: Green Bay Packers, 56 percent
Pick: Green Bay Packers -4
This game could embody the classic trope of an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force.
The unstoppable force is Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, whose 627 yards from scrimmage through five games places him fourth all-time, with three of the other members of the top five in the Hall of Fame.
Ezekiel Elliott has the 4th-most scrimmage yds by a rookie thru their 1st 5 games in the last 35 seasons. 3 of Top 5 are in Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/VifCAw0lm0
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 12, 2016
The immovable object is the Packers’ rush defense, which ranks second in DVOA behind a defensive line that is stopping a league-high 32 percent of rushers at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Give the nod to Green Bay, which has yet to allow a team to rush for more than 50 yards against it this season.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans (-3)
Winner: Houston Texans, 65.3 percent
Pick: Houston Texans -3
New York Jets @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
Winner: Arizona Cardinals, 59.4 percent
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -7.5