LOS ANGELES, October 8, 2014 — The 1972 Miami Dolphins popped the champagne corks earlier than in any year in recent memory. The only team to finish the entire NFL season unbeaten and untied just saw the last two unbeaten teams of 2014 get shellacked last week. The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 2008 Detroit Lions will pop their champagne corks when the last two winless teams finally get a victory. Oakland fired Dennis Allen and replaced him with Tony Sparano. As for Jacksonville, at some point they will improve or heads will roll. Welcome to the NFL 2014 Week 6 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by ProFootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Houston Texans — Sometimes it just comes down to one team having far better players at the most important position. Andrew Luck will not be fazed by the bright lights of a night game on the road. Colts cover
Sunday, October 12, 1:00 p.m.
Denver Broncos (-8.5) at New York Jets — Rex Ryan’s defenders say his players play hard for him. The Jets lost last week 31-0. Ryan is determined to sink or swim with Geno Smith, and right now Smith is an anchor dragging the team down. The defense gave up three drives of at least 90 yards last week. They are just overmatched against Peyton Manning, who needs six touchdowns to pass Brett Favre into the history books. He may not get all six of them this game, but then again he might. Broncos win but fail to cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-2) — The Browns have a leader at quarterback, and it is not Johnny Clipboard. Bryan Hoyer rallied the Browns back from 25 points down to win last week. He rallied the Browns from 24 points down to Pittsburgh in the season opener before losing on the final play. Hoyer is for real, and this is the week the Browns finally take the next step. Browns cover
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-5.5) — The Titans blew a 25-point lead last week while the Jaguars fought hard before losing at home. Tennessee needs a quarterback, but at home they should make up for last week’s debacle against winless Jacksonville. Titans win but fail to cover
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins — Aaron Rodgers is playing lights out football and Joe Philbin is ready to turn out the lights of his office and find a job as an assistant coach somewhere. He used to have that role with the Packers, and this could be the game that finally hastens Stephen Ross to make changes to this uninspiring team. Packers cover
Detroit Lions (-1.5) at Minnesota Vikings — The Vikings are in crisis while the Lions collapsed last week at home. Detroit has the talent but usually loses on the road within the division. That trend should continue provided Christian Ponder is not allowed to throw the ball. Upset special, Vikings win outright
Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals (-7) — Carolina won last week because their opponent self-destructed while the previously unbeaten Bengals got blasted on the road. At home, the Bengals should right the ship quickly against a mediocre Carolina squad. Bengals cover
New England Patriots (-3) at Buffalo Bills — Kyle Orton is a very good quarterback who instantly upgrades the Bills. Tom Brady may have gotten some of the anger out of his system last week, but until Buffalo actually defeats New England, they do not get the benefit of the doubt. Patriots cover
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Ravens are not the 2000 or even the 2012 Ravens. The Buccaneers are not the 1976 Buccaneers. Mike Glennon is a legitimate quarterback, which should be at home against a Ravens team lacking a ton of offensive firepower outside of the ageless Steve Smith. Upset special, Buccaneers win outright
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-3) — The Bears turn the ball over too easily. The Falcons are a great team at home and an awful team on the road. They are at home, giving Matt Ryan a chance to obliterate the woeful Chicago defense. Falcons cover
San Diego Chargers (-7) at Oakland Raiders — Dennis Allen can no longer be blamed. Tony Sparano had two weeks to prepare for this game. Philip Rivers is playing better than he has in some time. Jon Gruden could be back in 12 weeks. Chargers win but fail to cover
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-8) — How the Cowboys got to 4-1 is surprising, but this week brings a reality check. Tony Romo will throw some interceptions to the Legion of Boom. Seahawks win but fail to cover
Washington at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) — The Cardinals ware searching grocery stores for a quarterback with injuries to Drew Stanton and Carson Palmer. With Washington playing badly at home, surely there is somebody out there who can fire a quick pass to Larry Fitzgerald and let him do the rest. Cardinals cover
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5) — The Eagles are 4-1 despite having fits and starts on offense. The Giants have won three straight, defying belief At home, the Eagles should get it together, especially if it comes down to special teams. Eagles cover
Monday, October 13, 8:30 p.m.
San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at St. Louis Rams — The Rams are fighting hard for Jeff Fisher but losing. The 49ers are supposedly angry at Jim Harbaugh but winning. The 49ers have the superior talent but the Rams always play them tough, especially at home. 49ers win but fail to cover