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Jeff Nguyen/Detroit Lions

2023 NFL Game Picks: Week 6

Last week: 9-5

Season: 50-28


DEN (1-4) @ KC (4-1) 

Thursday, October 12 | 8:15 PM ET | Prime Video


Based on how the Broncos have looked this year—particularly on defense—they are understandably not being given much of a chance tonight as double-digit underdogs on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions. However, Denver made it a game in both 2022 matchups with a 34-28 loss and 27-24 loss (both comeback efforts late in the season), and Russell Wilson hasn’t been the problem for the Broncos with an 11:2 touchdown-interception ratio through five weeks. Plus, the Chiefs aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders as an offense yet, but that could easily change with Denver allowing the highest completion percentage (77.3%), most passing yards per attempt (9.1), most passing touchdowns (13), most yards per carry (5.9), and most rushing yards per game (187.6) in the league; basically, the defense is bad any way you slice it, and the poor start could lead to a complete teardown in 2024 with Greg Penner now the franchise’s controlling owner.


Winner: Kansas City Chiefs


BAL (3-2) @ TEN (2-3)

Sunday, October 15 | 9:30 AM ET (London) | NFL Network


The third London game in a row, Ravens-Titans features two teams each coming off a tough divisional loss, and a very physical battle is to be expected. For Tennessee, they simply have to feed Derrick Henry (2-0 when he gets 20+ carries; 0-3 when he gets 15 or fewer carries), and DeAndre Hopkins coming off his best game of the year could make things easier on the running game. Baltimore doesn’t have much that needs to change offensively other than finishing after drops doomed them in Week 5, and I don’t get the sense that Lamar Jackson will allow frustration to carry over—though Sunday is very important with a brutal rest-of-season schedule for them. Without having Treylon Burks (knee) again and facing a Baltimore defense that’s the only unit left in the NFL to now allow a rushing score, the Titans could struggle to move the ball well enough if Henry is reached before he can get going.


Winner: Baltimore Ravens


WAS (2-3) @ ATL (3-2)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


There is still time for him to improve with added experience, but Washington fans (and others) claiming the Commanders have a no-doubt franchise quarterback in Sam Howell is extremely premature—and I’m saying that having viewed him much higher (second-round grade) than the league did as a fifth-round pick. Frankly, there are still legitimate issues that might be difficult to correct, including holding onto the ball too long and not pulling the trigger on open throws. Quarterback play is obviously difficult to evaluate, but the best way to explain it is Howell seems to be looking rather than seeing things, and he needs to make strides by the end of the year if Washington is going to pass on a signal-caller in 2024. That said, Eric Bieniemy also needs to do a better job adjusting his scheme to play to Washington’s strengths at wide receiver with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, as it’s inexcusable for them to have been afterthoughts last Thursday night when the Commanders had 55 pass plays in a row. Overall, the Falcons are in a better spot right now in terms of both personnel and coaching.


Winner: Atlanta Falcons


MIN (1-4) @ CHI (1-4)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


They need to build on it with more wins, but Chicago had a potential season-changing victory last week as Justin Fields and DJ Moore went off against Washington, and they’ll now host a 1-4 Vikings team that has Justin Jefferson (hamstring) on injured reserve. I’m not sure there is a landing spot that makes sense without an injury over the next couple of weeks, but struggles for Minnesota have led to Kirk Cousins being asked about waiving his no-trade clause by the media, and it’ll be interesting to see how long the absence for Jefferson lasts—especially if the next four games don’t result in some wins. The positive for this week is the Bears lacking a feared defensive front, as the Vikings can pass block at a high level to keep their quarterback clean, and Cousins can still move the ball with Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, and T.J. Hockenson. I was originally going with Chicago here, but that might be an overreaction to one game against an unprepared Commanders squad, and Minnesota has been in every game this season.


Winner: Minnesota Vikings


SEA (3-1) @ CIN (2-3)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


Arguably the game of the week, Seahawks-Bengals features two Super Bowl hopefuls with high-end offensive firepower and defenses that play hard and can create some havoc. Cincinnati entering a Week 7 bye at 3-3 with games against the 49ers and Bills coming out of it would be a massive confidence-booster, but Seattle is already rested, and I don’t see Pete Carroll’s squad falling into the early-kickoff trap after a week off. The Bengals not playing strong run defense to begin 2023 is also an advantage to the Seahawks with Kenneth Walker III coming to town as one of the league’s hottest running backs with five touchdowns over the past three games, and DK Metcalf—with 5.8 targets per game—is due for an explosion if Joe Burrow turns it into a shootout. Mounting injuries on the Seattle offensive line is the primary concern, but star left tackle Charles Cross (toe) at least returned to practice to begin the week, and I like the defense for the Seahawks to bring pressure and fly around on Sunday.


Winner: Seattle Seahawks


SF (5-0) @ CLE (2-2)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


As of Thursday, it sounds unlikely that Deshaun Watson (shoulder) will be healthy enough—despite being cleared by the team doctors in Week 4—to suit up against the 49ers, and the situation is a bit strange for what is a very important season in Cleveland. If Watson is out again, PJ Walker is expected to start over rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson after the rookie struggled with three interceptions in his debut, but this situation shows the value of Nick Chubb (knee), and a 6.5-point line seems low with San Francisco being 10-0 in the regular season since Brock Purdy became the starter. Even a Cleveland defense allowing a crazy 125.0 passing yards per game to pair with a top-five run defense doesn’t seem like it will be enough to cool off Purdy, and I don’t anticipate any kind of letdown after the Niners destroyed the Cowboys. One matchup I’ll have my eyes on is impressive rookie right tackle Dawand Jones taking on Nick Bosa.


Winner: San Francisco 49ers


NO (3-2) @ HOU (2-3)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


Atlanta escaped with a win last week, but Houston should feel good about their start under head coach DeMeco Ryans—and beating the visiting Saints this weekend would give them an excellent chance of being 4-3 entering November with a Week 7 bye followed by a matchup against the potentially-still-winless Panthers to close out October. C.J. Stroud’s record-breaking stretch to begin his career without an interception (186 attempts) will be tested this week with New Orleans having the second-most interceptions in the league (seven), but offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik deserves a ton of credit for how he’s brought the No. 2 overall pick along, and it’ll probably take a disguised coverage to force Stroud into a mistake on Sunday. For the New Orleans offense, they’re hopeful that a 34-0 win in New England will make the recent frustration a thing of the past, and Alvin Kamara being fed every week (25 touches against the Patriots) might be what’s needed to be at their best.


Winner: New Orleans Saints


IND (3-2) @ JAX (3-2)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


It always seems like the AFC South has an early-season rematch between rivals for whatever reason, and Jacksonville was given a fight in the opener before a couple of touchdowns in the final six minutes gave them a 31-21 win over the Colts. Perhaps a lengthy London stay will have the Jags come out flat this weekend, but Travis Etienne Jr. being fed with 23+ touches in all but one game this season paid dividends last week against Buffalo, and the edge in terms of weaponry goes to Doug Pederson’s squad—particularly with Anthony Richardson (shoulder) not under center as a dual-threat quarterback for the Colts. To overcome that disadvantage, the formula needs to be the same as last week with Jonathan Taylor (expected to see more work) and Zack Moss being a tremendous one-two punch in the backfield, and Gardner Minshew throwing zero interceptions has been key for Indianapolis winning all three games that he’s started or appeared in this season. I’m just not sure the Jaguars will be run on as defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (back) possibly returns, and Josh Allen could have another takeover game after 3.0 sacks in Week 1.


Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars


CAR (0-5) @ MIA (4-1)

Sunday, October 15 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


If you are already off the Bryce Young bandwagon, consider the praise Mike McDaniel had for him this week:



In my opinion, Carolina should clean house if there aren’t significant strides made by the end of the season, as Young is too promising of a talent and person to be held back by a poor situation.


Winner: Miami Dolphins


NE (1-4) @ LV (2-3)

Sunday, October 15 | 4:05 PM ET | CBS


The Patriots started the season with competitive losses to the Eagles and Dolphins before beating the Jets, but the last two weeks have been shocking with opponents outscoring Bill Belichick’s squad 38-3 and 34-0. The collapse has been due to a combination of sub-par play on the offensive line and injuries to key defensive players, so New England—with Belichick saying they’re “starting over”—needs to establish a new identity as a football team. That’s easier said than done, but finding a way to get Rhamondre Stevenson going can solve a lot of issues, and the 25-year-old runner went off against the Raiders while playing through a high-ankle sprain last season. On the other side of the ball, Jimmy Garoppolo will be facing his former coach in Belichick for the first time, and I could see the all-time great defensive mind knowing exactly how to defend Jimmy G in Josh McDaniels’ system.


Winner: New England Patriots


DET (4-1) @ TB (3-1)

Sunday, October 15 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


Detroit turning into a winner under Dan Campbell—with a 12-3 record since the start of last November—has allowed their reputation to become more “sophisticated” in the eyes of many that were skeptical about the head coach’s knee-cap-biting mentality; but don’t allow the success to cloud how tough the Lions have become with awesome play in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Eventually, we’ll see Jahmyr Gibbs (hamstring) and Jameson Williams be more involved, and Ben Johnson again showed he’s the league’s top offensive coordinator by putting up a season-high 42 points last week without Amon-Ra St. Brown (abdomen) in the lineup. Tampa Bay’s top-ten run defense will be a challenge on Sunday, but the Lions can run on anyone, and improved play away from home with primetime wins against Kansas City and Green Bay shows Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes have built an elite team. Will the throwback Creamsicle uniforms for Tampa Bay be enough to slow Detroit down?


Winner: Detroit Lions


ARI (1-4) @ LAR (2-3)

Sunday, October 15 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon will surely be taking some things from his former team’s defensive game plan in the second half of their win over the Rams last week, but the combination of Cooper Kupp and rookie Puka Nacua was very dangerous for their first 30 minutes together—and Sean McVay will continue to play through them as the Rams hope to climb into contention. Defensively, Los Angeles will make Arizona beat them by meticulously moving the ball and preventing Marquise Brown or others from getting deep, and the Cardinals might have more trouble staying in front of the sticks with James Conner (knee) out. So, it might take a big-time, mistake-free performance by Joshua Dobbs to win on the road, but from a long-term perspective, Arizona competing every week bodes well for the culture they are trying to create.


Winner: Los Angeles Rams


PHI (5-0) @ NYJ (2-3)

Sunday, October 15 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


The Jets are a physical football team that has been able to grind out wins this year, but the talent on the roster will be tested this week versus the unbeaten Eagles—and New York is actually allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game (146.2), which needs to improve if they want to get to 3-3. Thus far, Zach Wilson has played two solid games (both wins) and a great game (the close loss to the Chiefs), but Philadelphia will be perhaps the best measuring stick yet as the Jets head into a Week 7 bye; while I don’t think there is a quarterback move that makes sense (Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t be happy about the franchise sacrificing future assets for Kirk Cousins), Wilson having at least another quality outing could make them “buyers” at the trade deadline with the wild card of an unprecedented return by Rodgers looming as he rehabs his torn Achilles. But with the Eagles being the opponent, a moral victory might be the best-case scenario on Sunday if Jalen Hurts ran like he did last week and turnovers are avoided.


Winner: Philadelphia Eagles


NYG (1-4) @ BUF (3-2)

Sunday, October 15 | 8:20 PM ET | NBC


I am more than welcome to be surprised, but Giants-Bills has the makings of a lopsided affair for a season that’s included too many blowouts in primetime, and Daniel Jones (neck) is trending towards missing the game to put Tyrod Taylor under center versus his former team. Unfortunately for Taylor, he might not have much time with Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and Gregory Rousseau teeing off if Buffalo jumps out to an early lead, and both Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Andrew Thomas (hamstring) don’t seem particularly likely to play. Despite frustration shown last week in London, Stefon Diggs could again go off with four 100-yard games so far in 2023, and Gabe Davis has found the end zone in each of the past four games to establish himself as a weekly threat that doesn’t need to be funneled targets with Josh Allen finding him in big spots. The injuries for the Bills certainly hurt their Super Bowl chances, but Sunday night is a game they need to dominate to build confidence ahead of November/December matchups versus contenders like the Eagles, Chiefs, and Bengals.


Winner: Buffalo Bills


DAL (3-2) @ LAC (2-2)

Sunday, October 15 | 8:15 PM ET | ESPN/ABC


The Cowboys and Chargers are also potential contenders that Buffalo will face later this year, but questions need to be answered for them to be viewed as real threats to win it all. Having selected Dallas as my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, I believe those hopes might have ended when Trevon Diggs tore his ACL in practice last month, and the schedule is very difficult for them the rest of the way. Los Angeles is arguably in a better spot with the AFC not appearing to be as loaded as most anticipated, but Mike Williams (knee) is a loss that should not go overlooked—as the Chargers are much scarier when he’s on the field. This week, the Cowboys need to unleash Dak Prescott as a passer and play through CeeDee Lamb (7.0 targets per game; compared to 9.2 targets per game in 2022), and Lamb has heard talk from guys like Richard Sherman saying he’s not a true No. 1 wideout (which I find ridiculous). In a Monday night duel with Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen, I like the Prescott/Lamb combination to come out on top because they will face less resistance from LA’s defense.


Winner: Dallas Cowboys