The NFL is down to two unbeaten teams: the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers.

The Patriots are winning their games with defense. Opponents are scoring 0.4 points per drive against them this season (the league average is 1.9) and New England has held opposing quarterbacks to a 44.0 passer rating-against. A incomplete pass earns a passer rating of 39.6, meaning quarterbacks are almost better off throwing the balls straight into the dirt rather than testing New England’s secondary, at least as far as their statistics are concerned.

San Francisco has the next-best passer rating-against (62.8), although its was obtained against stiffer competition, giving the Niners the league’s No. 1 pass defense, per Football Outsiders. The 49ers’ pass rush is also formidable. As a team, the 49ers are averaging 13 total pressures (sacks, hits and hurries) per game. Nick Bosa, the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, has been credited with 26 total pressures through four games, giving him the sixth-highest pressure rate (18 percent) among defensive lineman this season, per Sports Info Solutions.


That defense helps explain why we are picking the 49ers to cover this week as 3-point underdogs against the Los Angeles Rams.

Here is how we expect the Week 6 games to shake out, starting with two prime picks against the consensus point spreads (as of Thursday morning) from multiple sports books in Las Vegas.

Dallas Cowboys (-7) at New York Jets

Pick: Dallas Cowboys -7

The Jets are scoring a mere 0.5 points per drive this season, the lowest rate of any team through five weeks since 2002, when the league expanded to 32 teams. New York has also been forced to go three-and-out half the time.

Dallas, meanwhile, is scoring 2.5 points per drive (third most) and its quarterback, Dak Prescott, is the most-valuable passer of 2019 per ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating. Ignore the Cowboys’ loss to the Packers, and count on them this week.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3)


Pick: San Francisco 49ers +3

The 49ers also have the league’s best red-zone defense this season (20 percent) and are the only team to not allow a rushing touchdown in 2019. As noted above, Pro Football Focus rates their pass rush as the fourth best this year and their pass coverage unit as the second best, which has helped them hold opposing quarterbacks to a 62.8 passer rating-against. The league average is 92.6.

In other words, it’s going to be hard for Rams quarterback Jared Goff, a below-average performer this season (83.0 passer rating, 23rd highest QBR), to get his offense going.


The two games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below are picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 6 slate.


New York Giants at New England Patriots (-17)

Pick: New England Patriots -17

Carolina Panthers (-2½) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick: Carolina Panthers -2½

Seattle Seahawks (-1½) at Cleveland Browns

Pick: Seattle Seahawks -1½

New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1)

Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars -1

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-4½)

Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -4½

Washington Redskins (-3½) at Miami Dolphins

Pick: Washington Redskins -3½

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

Pick: Philadelphia Eagles +3

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-11½)

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +11½

Atlanta Falcons (-2½) at Arizona Cardinals

Pick: Atlanta Falcons -2½

Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-2½)


Pick: Denver Broncos -2½

Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -7

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-4)


Pick: Detroit Lions +4

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