Following a Week 5 punctuated by some eye-popping individual performances and two significant upsets, the NFL rolls out another 14-game ledger in Week 6 that features another London showdown, a battle of two of the last four winless teams remaining and a couple of especially intriguing matchups between division leaders.
There will be a couple of important litmus tests playing out in the Week 6 slate for a pair of the surprise teams in the early going. The San Francisco 49ers will look to prove there’s a new sheriff in the (NFC) West when they visit the Los Angeles Rams, while the Detroit Lions will look to show the long-time rival Green Bay Packers they’re capable of serving as the new kings of the (NFC) North.
Without further ado, here’s a live look at the lines at sportsbooks in the US as we begin looking toward Week 6.
Week 6 NFL predictions and analysis
New York Giants at New England Patriots (-16.5) — Thursday night
Two franchises with rich tradition and shared postseason history meet up Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. Much like their NFC East Redskins brethren, New York is likely working through a transitional year. Unlike Washington, Big Blue has already started biting the bullet with its heralded rookie quarterback, turning the reins of the offense to 2019 first-round pick Daniel Jones three games ago.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Patriots have mostly looked even better than last year’s Super Bowl-winning edition. The defense is especially improved. The offense has mostly hummed along as well, despite the retirement of Rob Gronkowski this past offseason and the blink-and-you-missed-it tenure of the troubled Antonio Brown with the team last month.
All but one of New England’s first five games have featured double-digit spreads akin to this Week 6 number. The Pats have earned the confidence of oddsmakers and the betting public by winning four of their first five contests by 16 points or more, including three by more than 20. Their two home triumphs have come by 16 and 30 points, respectively.
The Giants got the Jones Era off to a rousing start with a wild 32-31 comeback win on the road against the Buccaneers. They followed that up by beating the worst team in the NFC, Washington, by a 24-3 margin in Week 4. However, they were brought back down to earth by the Vikings in Week 5 and now must travel on the short week.
There’s precious little evidence to suggest there’s an alternate outcome to this matchup to Tom Brady and company eventually steamrolling the Giants. Perhaps if Brady’s personal kryptonite, Eli Manning, was under center there would be reason for New England to worry (sarcasm font firmly engaged). Big Blue simply doesn’t have the horses on defense to keep up with the Pats’ diversified offensive attack.
That’s particularly true when considering New York currently lacks the secret weapon that truly has been Brady’s undoing in the past – a consistent pass rush. The Giants check in with a modest 13 sacks through five games (with seven of those coming against the porous offensive lines of the Redskins and Buccaneers) and have allowed the eighth-highest opposing quarterback rating (106.7).
For the season, the Giants are 2-3 (40%) ATS, including 1-1 on the road. The Patriots are 3-2 against the number overall, including 1-1 ATS as a home team specifically. Then, New York is 2-3 (40%) versus the spread in interconference games since the start of last season, while New England boasts a 5-1 mark ATS in those contests.
Despite the expansive spread, I see the Patriots having more than enough to separate from this Giants team and cover, even if they don’t really get going until the second half, as was the case in their Week 5 win versus the ‘Skins.
Carolina Panthers (-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 9:30 a.m. ET (London)
The Panthers keep winning in Cam Newton’s absence with a combination of all-world play from Christian McCaffrey, a solid defense and interception-free football from interim signal caller Kyle Allen. That mix of ingredients has been good for three straight wins heading into Week 6. However, in what will be the second game of the 2019 edition of the NFL’s International Series, Carolina will face off against one of the two teams to hand them a loss this season.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers come into this neutral-field rematch reeling from a loss to another NFC South foe in the Saints. The 31-24 final score is a bit misleading. Teddy Bridgewater and Michael Thomas were able to seemingly operate at will versus a Tampa secondary that lost starting cornerback Carlton Davis to ejection in the first half. This game against the Panthers will mark the Bucs’ first look at Allen; it was a less-than-100-percent Newton at the controls when they toppled Carolina by a 20-14 score in Week 2.
The Bucs’ front seven did an outstanding job on McCaffrey in that contest by limiting him to 37 yards on 16 carries and two grabs for another 16 yards. Containing him to that extent on two occasions in the same season seems like a very tall order with the way McCaffrey is playing, however. Since that Week 2 contest, McCaffrey has put together 153- and 176-yard efforts on the ground along with six- and 10-catch tallies.
The Panthers have the defensive unit to prompt the emergence of the less effective version of Jameis Winston we saw against New Orleans, one that benefitted greatly from two Saints interceptions getting erased by penalty. Then, Carolina also has the talent to put the clamps on the Bucs’ two-headed backfield of Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber. Cornerback James Bradberry has also often given Mike Evans, who was held without a catch for only the second time in his career Sunday, a fair share of trouble over the years.
Consequently, I see a Panthers cover here as a viable proposition, even as I expect the game to closely contested.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-10.5)
Neither one of these two teams’ fanbases is satisfied at this juncture of the season. Cincinnati’s is naturally much more discouraged, given the team’s 0-5 start and the team’s depleted receiving corps. However, it’s been a struggle to an extent for the Ravens as well. Their vaunted defense has significantly underachieved. The multi-week knee injury to Jimmy Smith certainly has had a part to play. But this is also a unit that added Earl Thomas during the offseason and is otherwise healthy.
Baltimore’s current deficiencies on that side of the ball can perhaps best be illustrated by Steelers rookie third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges’ relative success against them after being thrown into the fire Week 5 following Mason Rudolph’s exit. The completely inexperienced Hodges’ 7-for-9, 68-yard effort through the air (which he supplemented with 20 yards on two rushes) would have been unthinkable against some recent editions of the Ravens defense.
The question is whether the Bengals have what it takes to actually exploit some of these unexpected weaknesses. Andy Dalton looked abysmal for about three quarters versus the Cardinals before finally hitting his stride Sunday. Naturally, an injury-depleted offensive line and the absences of both A.J. Green (ankle) and John Ross (shoulder) aren’t helping. Cincy’s personnel-based offensive limitations in this spot and could offer Baltimore’s D the boost of confidence it seems to be in serious need of. This, despite the fact Cincinnati will be throwing out a different offensive system the Ravens are used to seeing from them.
However, this is a hefty spread no matter how you slice it. Dalton has also enjoyed success against more complete Ravens defenses in recent years. I don’t see the Bengals having enough firepower here to pull out a road win. But, a bet on a cover by their desperate squad isn’t the worst idea.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
Week 5 did a number on this line. The game originally opened with the Chiefs as -8 favorites. Then the two squads seemed to undergo a Freaky Friday-like transformation Sunday. Houston did its best Kansas City impression with a shellacking of the Falcons. Kansas City racked up yards but struggled to score at home versus a Colts squad that was missing its two starting safeties. Two eyebrow-raising results later and we have a three-point move on the number.
What makes this game especially intriguing is the following:
- The Texans are nowhere as good as 46-points-good on offense (the last TD versus Atlanta was on defense)
- The Chiefs are nowhere near as impotent as 13-points impotent on offense. However, one factor here will be the availability of Tyreek Hill (shoulder) and Sammy Watkins (hamstring). A big reason for the lack of points for KC on Sunday night was the absence of both players, with Watkins having exited the game in the first half. As of Friday afternoon, Hill is being labeled as a game-time decision, while Watkins is doubtful to suit up.
As of Friday afternoon, there appear to be no concerns with Patrick Mahomes’ previously sore ankle after he received treatment throughout the week. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson will be looking to not be overshadowed by his 2017 draft classmate and prove that his career-high five-touchdown effort versus the Falcons was no fluke. Yet he’ll be hard-pressed to do so, given his own inconsistency (zero touchdowns and sub-200-yard efforts in two games already this season) and the bump up in competition he’ll see in one of the most difficult road environments in the league (Sunday night’s results notwithstanding).
With Hill having a good chance to return this week and Kansas City undoubtedly determined to not drop consecutive home games, this looks like an excellent opportunity for a wager on the Chiefs cover at the current spread.
New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2)
Speaking of convincing impressions pulled off in Week 5, how about one Teddy Bridgewater making Saints fans *sorta* forget Drew Brees for a glorious three-plus hours on Sunday afternoon? Bridgewater was seemingly summoning up the “Teddy” chants at will while slicing through the Buccaneers defense for 314 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win that was more convincing than the final score implies. For the second straight week, he displayed as good a chemistry with Michael Thomas as Brees normally enjoys. The Pro Bowl receiver finished with an eye-popping 11 receptions, 182 yards and two touchdowns.
While Bridgewater had his moment in the dome-obstructed sun, the Jaguars were involved in a wild back-and-forth affair with New Orleans’ NFC South mates, the Panthers. The competitiveness of Jacksonville’s 34-27 loss is perhaps best exemplified by the fact the game refused to end – it took three plays, including an untimed down at the end of the contest, for Carolina to finally put a figurative stake through the heart of the resilient Gardner Minshew. The Jags are clearly scuffling overall on defense without Jalen Ramsey (back/trade request) available to shut down one half of the field. However, as of Friday afternoon, Ramsey actually has a chance to suit up for Sunday’s game after a trio of limited practices this past week.
Another Ramsey absence could certainly spell trouble versus Thomas. Then there’s always Alvin Kamara, who may have taken a back seat to Thomas in Week 5 but who naturally has the ability to commandeer a game on any given week in much the same way Christian McCaffrey did versus Jacksonville. The Jags are now allowing an uncharacteristic 136.6 rushing yards per contest after getting trampled in Week 5. However, it could be Latavius Murray having to take the reins of the backfield in Week 6 due to a developing situation with Kamara (more on that below).
The line on this game has flipped back and forth this past week – the Jaguars were originally 1.5-point favorites before the Saints moved into that status early in the week. However, as of Friday afternoon, we’re back to the home squad holding a projected one-point edge with the news that Kamara appears to be trending downward for this game due to an ankle issue. Bridgewater has made it clear he can lead this offense to big points, but this will be a drastically different setting than the cozy Superdome, especially if Kamara is out. Therefore, this game shapes up as a potentially difficult one for New Orleans and a very possible letdown spot.
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
The Eagles finally looked like the Eagles for four quarters Sunday against an overmatched Luke Falk and the Jets. Whether that game really tells us anything about Philly remains to seen; New York really is that bad with anyone not named Sam Darnold at the helm. Then again, the Vikings didn’t exactly have the stiffest test against the other Big Apple team in Week 5. Therefore, this NFC showdown should be a lot more revelatory for both squads.
There hasn’t really been a need to unleash Carson Wentz very often thus far this season. In fact, he’s thrown for under 200 yards in each of the last two games. However, this week could prove different, although the assignment is a tough one against the Minnesota secondary. A return to action by DeSean Jackson (abdomen) would naturally help Wentz’s cause. Jackson’s speed could prove to be an X-factor versus a group of Vikings cover men that have often proven to be better equipped to handle bigger-bodied wideouts. Giants rookie Darius Slayton became the latest form of anecdotal evidence in that regard Sunday with a 35-yard touchdown grab.
Meanwhile, the Vikings offense has been an interesting contrast within its own unit this season. While Dalvin Cook’s work on the ground has been above reproach, there’s been no shortage of controversy surrounding the air attack. Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen did enjoy a fruitful on-field mending of fences against a porous New York secondary Sunday. Stefan Diggs wasn’t nearly as productive as Thielen with just three receptions for 44 yards. However, he at least confirmed he wants to stay in Minnesota in a postgame interview.
Both receivers draw a nice matchup again in Week 6 versus an Eagles secondary that never seems to have a full complement of healthy corners and that’s taken its lumps against every QB but Falk thus far. Therefore, while both teams have some question marks, the three-point projected edge here for Minny is reasonable and coverable thanks to their near-elite defense.
ALSO READ: NFL Week 6 Picks ATS For Every Game
Seattle Seahawks (-1) at Cleveland Browns
Interconference games always carry an extra air of mystery in terms of matchup. The two teams are typically nowhere near as familiar with each other as they are with even non-divisional conference opponents. When you thrown in a pair of dynamic quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield, you have the makings of an even more fascinating recipe.
One of the first things that stands out here is the rest difference between these clubs. The Browns are coming off a Monday night, multi-time-zone trip to the 49ers in Week 5, a game in which they were completely steamrolled. In turn, the Seahawks will have had 10 days off thanks to playing the first game of the Week 5 slate last Thursday night. The combination of the extended time off for Seattle and the dire straits that Cleveland’s offense is in has led to major movement of the line. The Browns were originally 2.5-point favorites and now suffer the indignity of being a home underdog.
Wilson has played very well on the road this season. He’s thrown for 300 and 240 yards against the Steelers and Cardinals, respectively, while completing a highly impressive 51 of 63 attempts and generating a 4:0 TD:INT. His fumbling issues aside, Chris Carson is proving to be an excellent complement to Wilson’s work through the air. The third-year back comes in with back-to-back 100-yard efforts and has proven capable of taking on a workhorse role when asked. Tyler Lockett, Will Dissly and D.K. Metcalf have done a solid job on the pass-catching front as well, and Metcalf has just started scratching the surface of his potential.
Meanwhile, the Browns look to be in complete disarray after a Week 5 dismantling at the hands of the 49ers Monday night. Things got so bad that coach Freddie Kitchens opted to sit Baker Mayfield for the final series instead of subjecting him to even more hits. Odell Beckham, Jr. has only enjoyed one true Beckham-like effort so far, and it came against the Jets. Jarvis Landry is succeeding in more of a downfield role this year, however. The speedy Antonio Callaway and Rashad Higgins returned to action in Week 5, but like the rest of the Cleveland air attack, failed to get anything going. In fact, Callaway was responsible for one of two of Mayfield’s interceptions by sending the ball right into the hands of the 49ers’ K’Waun Williams.
A bet on the Over of the point total is worthy of consideration. Both secondaries have proven capable of breakdowns this season, while Cleveland could potentially still be missing at least one of their starting corner duo of Damarious Randall and Greedy Williams due to their hamstring issues.
Washington Redskins (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins
The Ugly Duckling of the Week 6 slate – hell, likely of the entire season – unfolds in South Florida. As of Monday afternoon, we now know Washington will no longer have Jay Gruden patrolling the sidelines. His firing after a fifth straight loss to open the season was far from surprising. Offensive line coach and former Raiders head man Bill Callahan takes over on an interim basis. Given Callahan’s extensive background coaching up blockers for the running game and the Dolphins’ vast inefficiency stopping ground attacks, this could be an area of focus for Washington on Sunday. That could hold true whether it’s Colt McCoy, Case Keenum or even Dwayne Haskins under center.
The Dolphins’ winless record is apparently seen as somewhat inferior to the Redskins’ matching mark by the oddsmakers. Given that home teams are typically granted a default three-point advantage, Washington is being viewed as just under a touchdown better than Miami. That may ultimately prove true, although it seems much more likely that neither team can come close to pulling away from the other here. To their credit, the Fins have been more Not As Horrible with each game. That’s true even as the final scores still reflect the considerable gap in talent between them and pretty much the rest of the league. Yet that isn’t necessarily the case in Week 6. The Redskins are essentially the NFC version of the Dolphins in their current shape.
A game such as this is interesting to try and break down, to say the least. The safest assumptions here are likely a big play or two for the Redskins’ Terry McLaurin and even a productive afternoon for Adrian Peterson against a Miami front that’s been the worst in the league versus the run. On the other side, Josh Rosen could have his moments as well versus a Washington secondary that’s underachieved. He has a pair of capable of downfield threats in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams.
Ultimately, the South Florida humidity – still very much a thing in mid-October, by the way – and Washington’s slightly better defense likely cancel each other out. I see a 19-16 type game that the Redskins likely pull out while falling just short of a cover.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Dan Quinn is likely thanking his lucky stars that he has Arthur Blank for a boss. Some others (see: Gruden, Jay) aren’t quite so fortunate. But make no mistake. Atlanta’s embarrassing loss to the Texans in Week 5 is considered a fireable offense by some, with “some” largely defined as “a large chunk of the Falcons fanbase” for starters in this case. The Falcons’ embarrassing defeat coupled with the Cardinals’ road win in Cincinnati – and the fact this is a home game for Arizona – all make Atlanta’s favorite status a bit perplexing.
One could argue Matt Ryan and company are one of the more talented offenses on a 1-4 team in recent memories. But for all their upside, they can’t make up for a defense that cratered in the way the Falcons’ unit did versus Houston, especially in the secondary. But it remains to be seen how capable the Cardinals will be of taking advantage. Sure, the Air Raid offense is predicated on keeping the opposition on its heels. Yet it’s a bit less potent with Christian Kirk (ankle) and he looks likely to miss at least one more game. David Johnson is also struggling with back issues and figures to be less than 100 percent for this matchup.
The one X-factor here could be a reprisal of Kyler Murray Unleashed that Cincinnati had the misfortune of running into Sunday. Murray took off for a career-high 93 rushing yards in Week 5 and helped make up for Johnson’s physical limitations and the absence of Kirk. The rookie has another solid matchup on tap against an Atlanta defense that’s already yielded a pair of rushing TDs to quarterbacks.
The Cards haven’t been able to win one for the home crowd yet this season. With the Falcons traveling across the country and their defense now having to deal with an ultra-fast-paced attack after their Week 5 meltdown, a cover at minimum for Arizona looks to be in play from an early-week perspective.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3)
This is one of two big “prove it” games between divisional rivals on the Week 6 slate (Lions-Packers on Monday night being the other). The Rams will have the rest advantage here on a San Fran team that’s played on Monday night and impressively took apart the Browns during that contest. For its part, Los Angeles will be itching to take the field again after an extended layoff following a heart-breaking 30-29 loss to the Seahawks.
The 31-3 domination of Cleveland put the league on notice that the 49ers are for real, especially in two areas that are often a harbinger of postseason success — the running game and defense. Meanwhile, what we do already know about the defending NFC champs is that their passing game is in fine shape. What we’re much more in the dark about is Todd Gurley’s ability to ever be vintage Todd Gurley again and whether the Rams secondary will ever cover anyone again. L.A. has allowed a combined 653 yards and eight touchdowns to Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson over its last two games.
The Rams’ home-field advantage – dulled to some extent by virtue of 49ers fans having an easy time traveling for this contest – should nevertheless be a factor here, as will Sean McVay’s team’s urgency to avoid a third straight loss. It’s worth noting the Rams have some recent history on their side – they’re 3-1 against the Kyle Shanahan-coached versions of the Niners.
Dallas Cowboys (-7.5) at New York Jets
Two teams currently trafficking in plenty of disappointment get together at MetLife Stadium in Week 6. The Cowboys suddenly don’t look so hot after dropping two straight games following a 3-0 start. The Jets are downright frigid cold with an 0-4 record following an offseason of enhanced expectations. This line originally opened at 8.5 points in favor of Dallas when Sam Darnold’s availability for this game remained in question. With Darnold and not Luke Falk now confirmed to start Sunday’s contest, the ‘Boys’ projected advantage has shrunk by 1.5 points.
Darnold’s return should have a positive domino effect for New York, especially considering how ineffective an overwhelmed Falk was. Le’Veon Bell may arguably be the biggest beneficiary of Darnold’s return. The Cowboys defense, just steamrolled by Aaron Jones for 107 yards and four touchdowns Sunday, will be kept much more honest with Darnold at the controls.
The Cowboys are naturally very familiar with MetLife Stadium from their yearly visits to face the Giants, so the environment shouldn’t be a jarring one. However, New York’s offense should have a lot more continuity, even if Darnold is shaking off some rust. With the number still a big one, I lean toward New York doing enough for a cover.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
The Titans, with Marcus Mariota at the controls, have long had a reputation as a perplexing, inconsistent team. Therefore, the egg they laid at home in Week 5 after an impressive road win against the Falcons makes perfect sense in a perverse sort of way. Tennessee now has to travel to the thin air of Colorado to face a Broncos team that finally started delivering on some of its potential in Week 5 with a road win over the Chargers.
Denver’s defense famously went without a sack for the first three games of the season. However, it’s been plenty disruptive since that point. First, the Broncos got to Gardner Minshew on five occasions in Week 4. Then, they goaded Philip Rivers into two Week 5 interceptions and also recovered an Austin Ekeler fumble. Mariota’s lucky to not have lost any of the three fumbles he’s committed thus far. An increasingly aggressive and confident Denver D could reverse that good fortune.
However, that’s not to say the home squad won’t have its own concerns. In fact, one of them stems from the path Tennessee might be more inclined to take anyhow, namely, leaning on Derrick Henry. The Broncos did do an excellent job against Melvin Gordon and Ekeler in Week 5, but they were completely exposed by Leonard Fournette just a week earlier to the tune of 225 rushing yards. Henry has that caliber of performance in him (Fournette’s own Jaguars can certainly attest) and could be utilized in this spot to move the chains and keep the ball away from the dangerous Phillip Lindsay and the potent receiver pairing of Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton.
This could well be one of the true coin-flip games of the week. The fact it’s an interconference matchup makes it an even trickier scenario. Earlier in the week, I’d mentioned the possibility of putting some cash on the Over when the projected total was set at 39 points. That’s now risen to 41, making the Under a bit more appealing in my view. A 20-17 finish here wouldn’t surprise me given the inconsistency the two quarterbacks have shown so far.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (-6)
The Chargers have just two victories, and neither was especially impressive. They squeaked by a Colts team at home in overtime to start the season and then handled a historically bad Dolphins team in mostly uninspired fashion. Otherwise, they have losses to the Lions, Texans and Broncos, two of those at home. Therefore, the fact they’re heavy favorites over the Steelers says more about the state of Pittsburgh at present than it does about the Chargers.
Adding to the Steelers’ ample 2019 misery is the scary concussion suffered by Mason Rudolph courtesy of the Ravens’ Earl Thomas. Although he’d left the hospital and returned home by Monday, the second-year quarterback is understandably highly unlikely to play in Week 6. That would leave the Black and Gold’s fortunes in the hands of Devlin Hodges, an undrafted rookie out of Samford that was spectacular in college and set the FCS all-time record with 14,584 career yards. Hodges acquitted himself very well against the Ravens in emergency duty, but the Chargers will now have a full week to prep for him.
The Steelers will seemingly always play hard for Mike Tomlin and his staff and have a chance to move the ball versus a Chargers team surrendering 119.8 rushing yards per contest. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s defense can get after the quarterback with a vengeance and are tied with the Patriots for the league lead with 12 turnovers created. Rivers is largely immobile and has already taken 11 sacks. Consequently, there could be opportunities here for the Black and Gold to wreak havoc and flip possession on a couple of occasions.
Early in the week I felt a Steelers cover could be in play. Hodges is now confirmed as the starter for the contest, but what concerns me more is the two weapons he’ll be missing. Jaylen Samuels (knee) and James Washington (shoulder) will both sit for Pittsburgh. A small-school rookie needs all the talent around him that he can get to have a chance to run a fluid offense for four quarters. With the Steelers short on that Sunday night, I’m leaning toward a Chargers cover even with the elevated number.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-4) – Monday night
The final matchup of Week 6 promises to be a doozy. Much like the 49ers will be looking to prove their legitimacy by toppling a division bully, the Lions will be out to prove they belong in the NFC North conversation in this matchup. The series between these two teams has actually been dominated by the Lions recently. They’re 4-0 over the last two seasons against Green Bay, a sample that includes Lambeau Field wins of 30-17 in 2017 and 31-0 in 2018, the latter carrying a big Week 17 asterisk next to it.
Shifting the focus to this season, Detroit has been improved in Matt Patricia’s second season at the helm. Their season-opening 27-27 tie against the Cardinals puts a bit of a damper on their overall record, but the Lions have notched impressive wins in contrasting fashion against the Chargers (13-10) and the Eagles (27-24), with the victory over Philadelphia coming on the road. And their one loss came against one of the NFL’s elite and was nearly a win – Detroit dropped a 34-30 decision to the Chiefs in Week 4 prior to its bye.
Matthew Stafford looks like he’s turned back the clock a few years with 1,122 yards and a 9:2 TD:INT through four games. Meanwhile, Kerryon Johnson, who scuffled for running room in much of the first three games, enjoyed a breakout 125-yard effort versus Kansas City. He could be primed for a similar effort against a Green Bay squad that’s had trouble versus the run when teams have had the luxury of staying with it for a full game. Johnson also gained an efficient 70 yards on 12 rushes in his one meeting against the Packers last season.
This could be just as stiff a challenge as the Chiefs were, however. The Packers are rolling along after a very impressive victory against the Cowboys on the road in Week 5, one they accomplished without Davante Adams (toe). Aaron Rodgers is proving capable of filling whatever role a game script calls for – he’s thrown for 422 yards in a barn burner of a loss to the Eagles two Thursday nights ago and has otherwise played a game manager role while throwing just a single interception against six touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones is healthy and playing like it. The 2017 fifth-round pick has a pair of 100-yard efforts and eight touchdowns, half of those coming at the expense of the Cowboys.
Adams’ ability to get back for this game will be important for the Packers, but not absolutely necessary to pull out a win. As of Friday afternoon, he’s actually trending toward missing this contest after missing both Thursday’s and Friday’s practices. However, a Lions cover here wouldn’t necessarily be surprising considering recent history in the series and the fact Detroit will be coming off a bye. For what it’s worth, the Lions are 7-3 ATS coming out of an off week during Stafford’s tenure (2009-present).