Guys, I'll be honest, after all the changes the NFL made to the regular season schedule over the weekend, I don't even really know who's playing this week. I've already lost track. The NFL sent out a 1,000-word press release that explained all the changes, but I stopped reading it about 200 words in, which probably explains why I have no idea what's going on.
To make the schedule change work, it's like the NFL took some darts, but instead of throwing them at a dartboard, they threw them at a Magic Eight Ball that was sitting on top of a Jenga tower.
NFL: "Magic Eight Ball, should we throw competitive balance out the window and make a bunch of schedule changes that will needlessly affect multiple teams?"
Magic Eight Ball: "As I see it, yes."
I think what I'm saying here is that the NFL made everything way more complicated than it needed to be and it's likely all going to come crashing down soon, but you know what, I'm going to keep picking games until it happens.
Who'll win and cover in Week 6? Pete Prisco, R.J. White and SportsLine's Kenny White join host Will Brinson to break down every game on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
If the NFL wants to make any more changes, I'm sure the Cowboys would happily agree to postponing the rest of the season until March, which is when Dak Prescott might be healthy again. In one of the most gruesome injuries you'll ever see, Dak broke his ankle against the Giants on Sunday.
I'm not sure how good the Cowboys are going to be without him, but I do think they're going to win this week. Whoops, I just spoiled a pick. Let's hurry up and get to the rest of the picks so I don't spoil anything else.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you don't click over, I won't be offended. However, I will be offended if you don't sign up for CBSSports.com's NFL newsletter, which my bosses have put me in charge of for some reason.
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Since I'm now running a newsletter, you might be thinking that I'll be way too busy to podcast, but nope, you're in luck, because I'll still be on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. For the rest of the 2020 season, I'll be joining Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson for three shows per week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday).
You can listen to Tuesday's episode below. The reason you're going to want to listen is because we spent way more time than we probably should have trying to rank the quarterbacks in the NFC South, which definitely isn't as easy as it sounds. We also talked about the Saints wild win over the Chargers.
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Some day, I promise I'll stop asking you guys to subscribe to things, but until then, can you please also sign up for my Backstreet Boys newsletter? Just kidding, that's not real. At least not yet. Let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 6 Picks
Chicago (4-1) at Carolina (3-2)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Panthers, -2.5
If you would have told me before the season started that Bears-Panthers would be must-see TV in October, I would've assumed that you were talking about a show on Animal Planet that involves actual bears and actual panthers. And I have to say, now that I'm talking about it, I might actually try to watch a documentary on bears this weekend. I love bear documentaries.
As for this game, I still have no idea if either of these teams are any good. The Panthers are 3-2, but their three wins came against a rookie quarterback who was making his second career start (Justin Herbert), a team that has already fired its coach (the Falcons) and a Cardinals team that had to fly across the country for a game that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET, which means it felt like 10 a.m. on their body clocks.
The Bears also have two things the Panthers haven't really seen this season: A good defense plus a quarterback who I think might be half-opossum because he plays dead for half the game before coming back to life just in time to lead his team to a miraculous fourth-quarter win. The fact that the Bears have won any games this season is a borderline miracle because we're five weeks into the season and they somehow still haven't scored a SINGLE POINT IN THE THIRD QUARTER. That's like going five full weeks without using toilet paper. It doesn't even seem possible.
Through five games, the Bears have scored zero points in the third quarter, which is the lowest total of any team in the NFL this season, INCLUDING THE JETS. That's not a typo. The Bears are worse than the Jets at something. I think we know which quarter Foles is playing opossum. The good news for the Bears is that their defense is so good this whole "We can't score in the third quarter" thing might not matter against Carolina.
I think the Panthers are going to have a tough time scoring on the Bears and if you combine that with the fact that I've decided not to pick against Nick Foles for the foreseeable future, I think we know who I'm taking in this game.
The pick: Bears 20-17 over Panthers
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Cleveland (4-1) at Pittsburgh (4-0)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Steelers, -3.5
I thought an apocalypse would destroy civilization before we'd ever see the Browns start a season 4-1, and as it turns out, I guess I was half right, because a pandemic is definitely on the list of crazy things that could eventually lead to an apocalypse.
The Browns are off to 4-1 start for the first time since 1994, which is notable, because that's also the last time they won a playoff game. I've actually been very impressed by the Browns this year. Well, most of them. Through five weeks, I'm still not completely sold on Baker Mayfield. The Browns quarterback faced his toughest challenge of the year on Sunday against the Colts defense and let's just say, he didn't look impressive. I mean, after watching that game, I'm somewhat convinced he might not even be the best quarterback on the team.
Mayfield now has to go into the House of Horrors known as Pittsburgh to face a Steelers defense that might be even better than Indy's. Also, he's going to have to face the Steelers without his starting right guard, Wyatt Teller, who's likely going to miss this week's game with an injury. With Teller out, the Browns will be rolling with someone (Chris Hubbard) who's never started a game at right guard before. That might be fine if you're facing the Jets, but that's not so great if you're facing the Steelers.
Also, I'm not sure I mentioned it, but the Browns have never beaten Mike Tomlin's Steelers in Pittsburgh (0-13). Fortunately for the Browns, I'm a big believer in the law of averages and that law says they have to win a game in Pittsburgh at some point. However, I'm also a big believer in Murphy's Law, which says that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, which kind of sums up every game Cleveland has ever played at Heinz Field.
I'm going to split the difference here and say that some things do actually go right for Cleveland in this game, but not enough to win.
The pick: Steelers 27-24 over Browns
Green Bay (4-0) at Tampa Bay (3-2)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Packers, -1.5 points
Aaron Rodgers has been in the NFL since 2005 and somehow, this game will mark just the third time ever that he's gone head-to-head on the field against Tom Brady. Even Brady knows how many times these two guys have faced each other.
No Tom, this isn't the fourth meeting, it's the third. DID YOU LOSE COUNT AGAIN?
This is getting out of hand. (By the way, Brady and Rodgers are 1-1 against each other)
Anyway, the fact that these two have only met on the field twice before this week feels like a travesty. I've written Roger Goodell a letter every year for the past 15 years asking him if he could put more Brady-Rodgers games on the schedule, but for some reason, he's never written me back. Sure, he has other things to worry about like how to pull off an entire NFL season during a pandemic, but, I mean, besides that, he doesn't really have anything else going on, so I'm not sure why he won't just write me back.
For me, this game comes down to two injured players: One who won't be on the field and one who will likely be on the field. The injured player who won't be on the field is Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea, who's out for the season after breaking his ankle against the Bears in Week 5. Through the five weeks, the Buccaneers have had the best rushing defense in the NFL and a big reason for that is because of Vita's ability to plug up the middle. The Buccaneers defense might eventually recover from losing Vea, but I don't think it's going to happen this week when they have to go up against the NFL's fourth-leading rusher in Aaron Jones.
As for the other injured player, that's Davante Adams and he IS expected to play on Sunday. Rodgers has been putting up huge numbers without his favorite player on the field and now that Adams is back, I expect even bigger numbers. I think we're going to see a shootout on Sunday and after the game, hopefully Roger Goodell will finally write me back to let me know that Rodgers vs. Brady will be on the schedule every season going forward until Brady finally retires. Brady will probably be on board with the idea since he's probably going to want revenge after losing on Sunday.
The pick: Packers 34-31 over Buccaneers
Kansas City (4-1) at Buffalo (4-0)
Monday, 5 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Chiefs, -3.5
The schedule says this game is being played on Monday at 5 p.m. ET, but I'm not going to believe that until we see a kickoff actually happen. This game was originally supposed to be played on Thursday, but then got moved to Sunday, but not before there was some chatter that the game might be played on Saturday, before the NFL eventually settled on Monday.
If that paragraph barely made sense, then you will probably agree with the tweet below.
The NFL schedule has turned into two hammered people playing Jenga at a bar. Even drunk people can move the first six or seven pieces, but it gets dicey after that and the NFL has officially reached the dicey point with all these postponements https://t.co/KKTcRIXjXc— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 11, 2020
With this game now on Monday, the biggest winner here is the Chiefs. Before the schedule change, the Chiefs were going to have to play on Sunday in Week 5, then fly to Buffalo on just three full days of rest for a Thursday game. Instead, the Chiefs will now be getting SEVEN full days of rest, which means they're going to have a full week to lick the wounds they sustained in Sunday's loss to the Raiders. On the other hand, the Bills will be coming into this game after playing on a Tuesday against the Titans.
Is it fair that the Chiefs are getting extra rest? I have no idea what's fair in these corona times, but I do know that I'd much rather be in Kansas City's situation. Also, if you give Andy Reid a few extra days to cook something up offensively, he almost always takes advantage of it. Not only is the Chiefs coach nearly unbeatable off a bye, but he also has a pretty solid record on "Monday Night Football." Since being hired by the Chiefs in 2013, Reid is 6-0 vs. AFC teams on Monday night, including 4-0 with Patrick Mahomes.
The entire population of Buffalo might simultaneously smash themselves through a folding table if the Bills pull off the upset on Monday evening and as much as I want to see that happen, I'm taking the Chiefs.
The pick: Chiefs 30-27 over Bills
Lock of the Week
N.Y. Jets (0-5) at Miami (2-3)
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Dolphins, -8
If you're wondering why these two teams are playing this week, here's the answer: This game was originally supposed to be played in Week 9, but it has now been moved to Week 6 as part of the NFL's effort to make the 2020 schedule as confusing as possible.
As soon as I saw that this game had been moved, I immediately asked myself one question, "Who is the NFL coach I trust the least in a scenario that involves them being forced to game-plan for a team that they weren't expecting to face?" And not surprisingly, the answer to that question is Adam Gase. The Jets can barely put together a functional game plan during a normal week, so I have zero faith that they're going to be able to plan for an opponent that they didn't know they were going to be playing this week.
The Jets are 0-5, they haven't looked good all season and I'm 90% sure their entire fan base has jumped ship. I mean, even this dog has given up on the Jets season. Dogs are the happiest animals in the world and look what the Jets have done to this poor guy.
I feel like Sam Darnold probably has the same body language anytime he has to sit through a quarterback meeting with Adam Gase. By the way, in case you haven't noticed, the Jets are clearly on their annual quest to see if they can make their entire season collapse before Week 6 is over and I'm just not going to pick against the kind of determination. If you combine that with the fact that I think the Dolphins might actually be good, this has blowout written all over it.
The pick: Dolphins 31-17 over Jets
Lock of the week record: 6-1 straight-up, 5-2 against the spread
NFL Week 6 picks: All the rest
Texans 26-23 over Titans
Vikings 30-20 over Falcons
Patriots 27-17 over Broncos
Colts 23-20 over Bengals
Ravens 34-24 over Eagles
Giants 30-23 over Washington
Lions 27-20 over Jaguars
Rams 30-22 over 49ers
Cowboys 33-30 over Cardinals
BYES: Seahawks, Saints, Raiders, Chargers
Best pick: Last week I predicted that the 49ers would score just 17 points in an upset loss to the Dolphins and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? The 49ers scored just 17 points in an upset loss to the Dolphins. Guys, I don't want to say I'm getting too famous for my own good, but apparently, I'm now considered "Well-known."
I'm not sure when I graduated to that, but I have to say, things have definitely changed for the better since it happened. After becoming "Well-known," the first thing I did was buy the $199 million yacht that Jaguars owner Shad Khan has put up for sale.
I have no idea why my bid went through, but once you're "Well-known," I guess they just assume you can afford it. I also don't eat at Wendy's anymore, because "Well-known" people are not to be seen at that place based on what I've been told.
Worst pick: Last week I picked the Chiefs to beat the Raiders because I thought there was no way in a seven billion years that Derek Carr would ever be able to outplay Patrick Mahomes in a professional football game, but I was wrong. Unless Mahomes and Carr switched teams before the game and didn't tell anyone, it was in fact Carr who was the better quarterback on Sunday. The scary thing is that if Carr can play at that level for the rest of the season, and I have no idea if he can, then the Raiders could force themselves not just into the playoff race, but into the division title race.
Derek Carr playing out-gunning Patrick Mahomes? The Browns are 4-1? The apocalypse might actually truly be upon us.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, I'm going to start sharing that information with you now that we're five weeks into the season and have a decent sample size.
Here's a quick look at the teams I've done well picking:
Teams I'm 5-0 picking this year (Straight-up): Ravens, Giants, Steelers (4-0), Patriots (4-0), Packers (4-0).
Teams I'm 4-1 picking this year (Straight-up): Jets, Chargers, Dolphins, Texans, Chiefs, Vikings, Buccaneers, Saints, Seahawks, Washington, Broncos (3-1), Titans (3-1), Bengals (3-1-1).
On the other hand, you should probably just go ahead and ignore every pick I make in any Raiders games going forward. I'm 1-4 picking Raiders games, making them the only team in the NFL where I have a record of 0-5 or 1-4. Thankfully I can't embarrass myself with a Raiders pick this week because they're on a bye.
Straight up in Week 5: 10-4
SU overall: 51-25-1
Against the spread in Week 5: 7-7
ATS overall: 37-39-1
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably out on the street asking random strangers to sign up for his NFL newsletter, which you can do by clicking here.