Matt Rourke/Associated Press
The Philadelphia Eagles are on their way up the NFL ladder. Whether they can make a run at a division title or a playoff position is still in question. However, there’s little question that second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is capable of making big plays and finding a way to help his team win on a regular basis.
The Eagles have the third-ranked offense in the league, and Wentz is a big part of that as he has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,321 yards along with 10 touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Wentz knows he doesn’t have to do it all on his own, as he has perhaps the game’s premier power runner in LeGarrette Blount. The former Patriot is going to convert short-yardage attempts into first downs and touchdowns, but he’s a lot more than that. He has gained 323 yards and is averaging a robust 5.8 yards per carry with three runs of 20 yards or more and one TD.
Blount will be facing a tough Carolina defense, but he has the ability to punish a hard-hitting unit with his ability to run between the tackles.
If Blount can soften up the Panthers, it will make life much easier for wideouts Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith. Jeffery has size and long arms, and he excels at using his body to wall off defenders. Agholor seems much more focused than he has been in the past and Smith has wonderful speed.
The Eagles also have one of the best tight ends in the league in Zach Ertz, who is a top third-down weapon and the team’s leading pass catcher with 32 receptions.
After a poor start, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has bounced back with two excellent games. He led the Panthers to road wins over the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions, and now returns home. Newton can’t let down, and the oddsmakers expect the Panthers to get the job done.
Carolina is a 3.5-point favorite, but look for the developing Eagles to build on their 4-1 record and put together an impressive road victory.
Week 6 point spreads and predictions (Odds courtesy of OddsShark.)
Philadelphia at Carolina, Car. -3.5, 45, Philadelphia/Over
Cleveland at Houston, Hou. -10, 46.5, Houston/Over
Green Bay at Minnesota, GB-3, 46.5, Green Bay/Under
Detroit at New Orleans, NO -6, 49.5, Detroit/Over
Miami at Atlanta, Atlanta -11.5, 47, Atlanta/Under
Chicago at Baltimore, Balt. -6.5, 39.5, Baltimore/Under
New England at New York Jets, NE -9.5, 47.5, NYJ*/Under
San Francisco at Washington, Washington -10, 46.5, Washington/Over
Tampa Bay at Arizona, TB -1.5, 45, Tampa Bay/Over
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville, Jack. -2.5, 42, Jacksonville/Over
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland, NL, Los Angeles Chargers
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City, KC -5, 45.5, Pittsburgh*/Over
New York Giants at Denver, 11.5/38.5, Denver/Under
Indianapolis at Tennessee, NL, Tennessee
*-Will cover point spread but lose game
.@TerrellePryor’s first TD with the @Redskins! A beautiful deep ball from @KirkCousins8. #HTTR #WASvsKC https://t.co/V5kuLzLoVn
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins
The 49ers have a tough assignment as they have to fly cross-country to face a rested and potent Redskins team.
The Niners appear more creative offensively with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, along with speedy Carlos Hyde at running back and Pierre Garcon as the team’s No. 1 receiver.
If the Redskins are relaxed on defense, the Niners have a chance to move the ball with some consistency and cause problems for the home team.
However, if the Redskins are on top of their game defensively, the Redskins will have an excellent chance to put this game away early. Kirk Cousins may not have a long-term contract with the Redskins, but he is one of the most accurate passers in the league. He has the ability to read defenses and hit his receivers as they break free, and that leads to big plays.
Cousins has completed 80 of 121 passes for 1,004 yards with seven TDs and just one interception. He has a couple of fast receivers in Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder who can run by the defense, as well as talented players like Chris Thompson, Ryan Grant and tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis.
The sheer number of receiving weapons is likely to cause problems for the San Francisco defense, which ranks 28th in the league.
The Redskins have had nearly two weeks to think about their tough Week 4 Monday night loss at Kansas City, and they should be quite sharp here.
Washington is a 10-point favorite, and we see the Redskins taking charge of this game by the early part of the second half, and they should win going away. The home team gets the cover.
David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers were one of the more highly respected teams in the AFC as the season got underway, and many observers viewed them as having an excellent chance of getting the best of the New England Patriots and representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The Steelers have had an up-and-down start at 3-2, but they are coming off a brutal 30-9 loss at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ben Roethlisberger could do little right as he threw five interceptions in the game.
While they were not all his fault, Roethlisberger did not look good, and the Steelers could not get their vaunted offense going.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have been the best team in football this year. In addition to their 5-0 record, Kansas City has developed a shockingly explosive offense that starts with much-improved play by quarterback Alex Smith.
While he has been labeled as a conservative game manager in the past, Smith has completed 76.6 percent for his passes for 1,391 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith is averaging 8.80 yards per pass, and he is helping the Chiefs pick up huge chunks of yardage.
His major operatives are explosive wideout Tyreek Hill and rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Opponents may be able to slow down one or the other, but they cannot corral both of them.
The Steelers have their own big-play weapons in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. When the Steelers find their offensive rhythm, no opponent can hold them in check.
The Chiefs are five-point home favorites, and the total is 45.5 points.
We fully expect the Steelers to rediscover their offensive potency, and the Chiefs will remain on top of their game. This looks like a back-and-forth affair that may come down to the last possession. The over is the way to go, and we would be surprised if the two teams don’t combine for at least 50 points.