The NFL’s Week 6 schedule is loaded with mismatches (Panthers-Dolphins), games that should be close (Patriots-Raiders, Commanders-Falcons), the first rematch of the season (Colts-Jaguars), and an interesting Monday night game that might be the best of the bunch (Cowboys-Chargers).
- Desmond Ridder (ATL) Over 204.5 Passing Yards (-115) at Bet365
- Adam Thielen (CAR) Over 58.5 Receiving Yards (-110) at Bet365
- Jimmy Garoppolo (LV) Over 0.5 Passes Intercepted (-125) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Gardner Minshew (IND) Over 0.5 Passes Intercepted (+129) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Dak Prescott (DAL) Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (-135) at Caesars Sportsbook
Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Desmond Ridder (Atlanta Falcons)
After back-to-back losses with the offense failing to score even 10 points, the heat was on young quarterback Desmond Ridder in Atlanta. But in the 9th start of his career against Houston, he played the best game of his career in a 21-19 comeback win.
Ridder passed for a career-high 329 yards, almost 100 yards better than his previous high game (237 against Green Bay). He did it efficiently too, as he completed 28-of-37 passes, he did not take any sacks, and he scored a rushing touchdown too.
It was the most promising game Ridder has had yet, but he needs to start stacking good games to give the Falcons confidence in him. Fortunately, Washington’s defense is a good matchup, as the Commanders have allowed at least 33 points in 4 straight games.
- Justin Fields passed for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns in Chicago’s 40-20 win in Washington, which ended a 14-game losing streak.
- Jalen Hurts lit up the Commanders for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 34-31 overtime win for the Eagles.
- Josh Allen only passed for 218 yards in a 37-3 rout by Buffalo, but Stefon Diggs was always open for him in the game.
- Russell Wilson had 308 yards and 3 touchdowns in a game where the Broncos blew a 21-3 lead.
Washington has spent so many high draft picks to build this defense, but the results have never been worse under coordinator Jack Del Rio. This is a very good time for Atlanta to play this team.
Ridder’s big game last week will hopefully lead to coach Arthur Smith trusting him more in the passing game, because this team has legitimate weapons in Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and of course running back Bijan Robinson, who caught a touchdown last week.
We will trust the Washington defense to be lousy enough and Ridder to be good enough to clear this low bar for an over in passing yardage.
Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Hard Rock Stadium
Adam Thielen (Carolina Panthers)
The Carolina Panthers have little to celebrate as they are the NFL’s only 0-5 team. They also have lost 55 straight games when trailing in the 4th quarter.
But Adam Thielen has been a huge hit in his 1st season away from the Vikings at age 33. Thielen already has 394 yards and 3 touchdowns despite playing with a rookie quarterback who has not been impressive.
But Thielen had 76 yards against Minnesota and 107 yards in Detroit last week with Bryce Young as his quarterback. He has gone over 58.5 yards in 3 straight games after failing to do so to start the season when Young was averaging 4.3 yards per pass.
Things will get better with the Carolina offense, but Thielen has been a constant for this passing game and should continue to get No. 1 receiver volume.
The other reason to like Thielen to go over is the game script, as Miami is expected to score early and often, forcing the Panthers to abandon the run and throw a lot just like they did a week ago in a 42-24 loss to the Lions. Fortunately, the Miami defense is worse than Detroit’s stout front, so this should be a good chance for Young and Thielen to put up numbers in a losing effort.
NFL Pick: Adam Thielen Over 58.5 Receiving Yards (-110) at Bet365
Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 04:05 PM EDT at Allegiant Stadium
Jimmy Garoppolo (Las Vegas Raiders)
Jimmy Garoppolo returned from a concussion last week to help the Raiders to a 17-13 win over Green Bay that was not going to impress people. So far, Garoppolo is doing Garoppolo things in Josh McDaniels’ offense, which has not been able to establish a running game.
Garoppolo is completing 68.8% of his passes, which is better than the 67.6% he had in San Francisco. His efficiency is down a bit as he is only averaging 7.3 yards per attempt instead of 8.3 with the 49ers, but he has found good chemistry with Jakobi Meyers.
The problem is the baffling, colorblind interceptions have also followed Garoppolo to Vegas, and he is doing worse than ever in that department. Garoppolo leads the NFL with 7 interceptions thrown in just 4 games, and his interception rate (5.6%) is a full 2 percentage points higher than his previous worst season (3.6% for the 2020 49ers).
Worse, Garoppolo is drawing a Bill Belichick-coached defense that should know his strengths and weaknesses better than most opposing quarterbacks.
The Patriots are missing rookie corner Christian Gonzalez (labrum) and have not forced a takeaway since Week 2, but that should change in this one. Garoppolo is too charitable with the ball, and Belichick should know pressure drives him nuts more than it does most quarterbacks. Look for Garoppolo to add to his league-high interception total in this one.
Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at TIAA Bank Field
Gardner Minshew (Indianapolis Colts)
We go from talking about the quarterback with the most interceptions (Garoppolo) to someone who has yet to throw one in 2023. Gardner Minshew has been busy with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson going down with injury so often, and his shoulder injury is going to put Minshew in the starting role as he returns to Jacksonville, the team where he started his NFL career.
Minshew has not thrown an interception on 83 pass attempts this year, but that does not mean he is infallible. He threw 3 interceptions in 76 attempts last year for the Eagles, including a crucial pick-6 in the 4th quarter in a 20-10 loss to the Saints.
Part of the reason Minshew has fared better in this offense than Richardson is that he is familiar with coach Shane Steichen, who was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator last year when Minshew made those spot starts for an injured Jalen Hurts. But as we said, he still had 3 interceptions in those games.
This is regression and game script colliding. The Jaguars are a 4-point home favorite and have not lost in Jacksonville to the Colts since 2014. This is a new coaching staff for Indy, but it just seems like this team always shoots itself in the foot down there, and the Jaguars looked very good in a 25-20 win over Buffalo last week.
We like the Jaguars to add to their 5 interceptions on defense this season by securing the first pick of Minshew’s 2023 season.
NFL Pick: Gardner Minshew Over 0.5 Passes Intercepted (+129) at Caesars Sportsbook
Monday, October 16, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium
Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)
The Cowboys took a beating in San Francisco last week (42-10) and the media has continued to pile on leading up to their next appearance in prime time. Quarterback Dak Prescott has especially been criticized after he threw 3 interceptions in the loss while only leading 1 touchdown drive.
But the 49ers and Chargers are night and day in terms of defensive quality. The Chargers have already allowed a 400-yard passing game to Tua Tagovailoa in Week 1, and Kirk Cousins had 367 yards and 3 touchdowns in another shootout.
For all their flaws, the Cowboys are resilient under Mike McCarthy. Since 2021, Dallas is 10-1 ATS following a loss. But we need to see this passing game pick it up as Prescott has been playing too safe with the shortest passes in the league, as Dallas seemed scared about his interception total this year.
But this was a miscalculation and overreaction to last year’s high interception rate, which included a lot of bad bounces and fluke plays that should regress to the mean this year. After seeing Prescott throw 3 picks last week in San Francisco, hopefully the Cowboys will take the training wheels off this offense and let Dak be the quarterback we are used to seeing, which is much better than the one he’s been this season.
Prescott has not thrown multiple touchdown passes in 3 straight games. He has not had a streak like that reach 4 games since early in the 2018 season. Win or lose, Prescott is going to throw multiple touchdown passes in this game, get CeeDee Lamb more involved, and it will be a good night of production for this passing game.
NFL Pick: Dak Prescott Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (-135) at Caesars Sportsbook
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