NFL Week 6 picks: Panthers pound Eagles, Chargers shock Raiders in Oakland

Of all the life lessons I learned during my college years, I have to say that "never film yourself snorting a powdery white substance" is one that I follow all the time. That's right up there with "Don't hire Casey Anthony as a babysitter" on the list of rules that I pretty much plan on following for the rest of your life. 

If you film yourself doing anything these days, there's a 99 percent chance it's going to end up on the internet, and if that happens, there's a 107 percent chance that your employer is going to see it. The only way around it is to buy a flip phone so you can't possibly film yourself doing anything inappropriate. I bet the Dolphins are going to start handing out flip phones to everyone they hire. 

By the way, I'm pretty sure the Dolphins are on pace to have the weirdest season in NFL history. Not only are they dealing with the snorting video, but they also had a linebacker go AWOL in Week 2, they lost their quarterback to a season-ending injury in August, then they had to replace that quarterback with a retired quarterback who I'm not sure even wants to be playing this year, and let's not forget that they also don't get a bye this season because a hurricane postponed their first game of the year. 

The Dolphins are literally only two scandals away from the plot of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" actually coming to life. Dan Marino, if you're reading, stay far away from anyone wearing a Ray Finkle jersey this week. We can't afford for you and Snowflake to get kidnapped. 

As much as I'd love to sit here and talk about "Ace Ventura" -- there's a much more important movie to talk about this week: "Star Wars". 

The Monday nighter between Minnesota and Chicago was the annual NFL game where people who don't normally watch football actually tune in, and they only do that so that they can see the the newest "Star Wars" preview. The preview premiered during halftime of the Vikings-Bears game, and I have to say, I think I now believe in The Force. 

Before the preview aired, the Bears and Vikings played to a 3-2 halftime score that almost put me to sleep, which is saying a lot, because I normally drink at least seven cups of coffee and three Red Bulls on Mondays. Now, I'm not going to stay that the "Star Wars" trailer inspired both teams, but after the preview aired at halftime, the game went completely bonkers. 

In the second half alone, we saw a punter throw a touchdown pass. 

Through five weeks, that pass is now officially the Bears' longest completion of the season, which pretty much sums up the Bears' season.  The second half also gave us an actual game of Duck, Duck Goose. 

Honestly, if the Browns, Giants and 49ers all decided just to call it quits on the season right now, and then play Duck, Duck, Goose to see who gets the No. 1 overall pick next year, I'd be completely fine with that. 

I also think the NFL should consider scrapping the pregame coin toss and just going with a game of Duck, Duck, Goose that's played between each team's captains. Anyway, let's get to the picks, because if we don't, I might not ever stop talking about Duck, Duck Goose.  

Actually, before we get to the picks, here's your weekly reminder that you can check out the picks from every CBSSports.com NFL Expert by clicking here. That link is worth clicking this week because that's the only way you'll get to truly enjoy Jared Dubin's 11-3 record. Not only was that the best record on CBSSports.com, but it was also tied for the best record of any expert in the country, according to our friends at PickWatch

This Redskins dog must have used Dubin's picks because that's the only way to explain why it's so happy. I also think he might be Kirk Cousins' biggest fan. 

My Princey Poo is ready for the game! #httr #redskins #nfl #nflpets #mondaynightfootball

A post shared by Ro (@rotalkonline) on

I definitely can't pick against the Redskins this week because I couldn't bear the thought of making this dog sad. 

Alright, let's get to the picks.

NFL Week 6 Picks

Philadelphia (4-1) at Carolina (4-1) 

8:25 p.m. ET, Thursday (CBS/NFL Network/Amazon)

For the first time ever, I'm going to make a pick based solely on the health of one offensive lineman, and that lineman is Lane Johnson. Johnson suffered a concussion against the Cardinals on Sunday, and due to the fact that there's about 41 steps in the NFL's concussion protocol, I'm about 90 percent sure he won't be playing in this game. 

The reason that's a big deal is because the Eagles don't really have anyone who can adequately fill in for Johnson at right tackle. If Johnson's out, there's a huge talent drop off, and we know how ugly those can get. Just look what happened when Timothy Dalton tried to play Bond four years after Sean Connery.  

When Johnson starts for the Eagles, Carson Wentz is a completely different quarterback. Since his rookie year in 2016, Wentz has gone 11-10 in 21 career starts. Of course, Johnson has only been a part of 11 of those starts because he was suspended for 10 games last season. 

So how has Wentz done with Johnson in the lineup? Glad you asked. 

The uglier part of that stat is that it means that Wentz is 2-8 when Johnson doesn't play. In the 10 games without Johnson, Wentz has thrown 12 interceptions and just six touchdowns. Basically, when Johnson's not there to steer the Wentz Wagon, it goes straight off a cliff. I see the Eagles offense going straight off that cliff on Thursday. 

The pick: Panthers 30-20 over Eagles (Panthers 30-27 over Eagles if Johnson plays)


L.A. Rams (3-2) at Jacksonville (3-2)

4:05 p.m. (Fox)

If you would have told me before the season started that the Rams and Jaguars would be must-see TV in Week 6, I would've assumed you were talking about the sixth episode of some sort of documentary on the Discovery Channel that featured actual rams and actual jaguars.

The Jaguars made Ben Roethlisberger look so bad in Week 5 that they basically made him contemplate retirement. 

Although the Jaguars' defense was impressive against the Steelers, the scariest thing about their win wasn't their defensive performance, it was the fact that they might have just figured out they can win without ever letting Blake Bortles actually throw a pass. Bortles only threw 14 passes against the Steelers, which made the Jaguars just the second team since 2012 to throw 14 or fewer passes and still win a game. 

Back in June, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone "half-jokingly" said that zero attempts per game would be the ideal number for Bortles this season and I'm starting to think that "half-jokingly" was actually him not joking at all. 

I'm a strong believer that Marrone is going to inch closer to his ultimate goal of zero Bortles' passes in a game. The prediction here is that Bortles throws three passes, they probably all get intercepted, and the Jaguars still somehow win. 

The pick: Jaguars 23-20 over Rams


L.A. Chargers (1-4) at Oakland (2-3) 

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) 

For the Chargers, the only thing that's been a bigger disaster than their move to L.A. is their recent record against divisional opponents. Not only are the Chargers just 1-15 in their past 16 games against AFC West teams, but they've also lost nine straight divisional road games. 

Fortunately for the Chargers, I'm a big believer in the law of averages and that law says they have to win a road game again at some point. I'm also a big believer in Murphy's Law, and that law seems to be single-handedly tearing the Raiders season apart because everything that can go wrong has gone wrong in Oakland recently. 

Derek Carr is injured, the offense is a mess and Raiders fans are so frustrated that they're picking fights with players on the team. The ugly thing about the Raiders is that they've only scored a total of 37 points over their past three games (12.3 points per game). The only team that's averaged fewer points since Week 3 is the Dolphins, and trust me, that's not a team you want to be compared to right now. 

Even if Carr plays in this game -- and it's starting to look like he will -- there's a good chance he's still going to be a little banged up on Sunday, which is bad news for the Raiders because even when he's been healthy, the Raiders haven't been able to score. 

I'm taking the Chargers, but only because I want to see them offer their fans an expired promo code for the second straight week.  

The pick: Chargers 23-20 over Raiders


Pittsburgh (3-2) at Kansas City (5-0) 

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) 

The Steelers have reached a point in the season where they might need a distraction just to distract them from all their other distractions, and it appears that Le'Veon Bell has graciously accepted that challenge. 

In the past three weeks, the Steelers have dealt with the national anthem controversy, a blowup from Antonio Brown and a meltdown from Big Ben, so obviously, it only makes sense that Bell would be next. Bell is now in a spat with former Steelers' teammate Ryan Clark, who referred to Brown as a selfish player following his tantrum in Week 4 tantrum against the Ravens

Basically, it seems like the Steelers are focused on everything but football, which isn't a good thing when you're about to go on the road and play the only undefeated team left in the NFL. The Steelers have one of the worst rush defenses in the league, which means we could see Kareem Hunt explode in this game. I also half-expect Alex Smith to throw for roughly 500 yards in this game. 

Smith has been on a scorched earth tour all season and it all started thanks to Pittsburgh. The Steelers' 18-16 win over the Chiefs in the playoffs last season seems to have been the final nudge Andy Reid needed to start looking for a new quarterback this year, because three months after that game was played, the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes

With the way Smith is playing though, Mahomes might end up spending his entire career on the bench. 

The pick: Chiefs 26-23 over Steelers

Lock of the week that I'm probably jinxing by calling it a lock

N.Y. Giants (0-5) at Denver (3-1) 

8:30 p.m. ET (NBC) 

I'm pretty sure Eli Manning has officially run out of people to throw the ball to in New York after the injury disaster for the Giants that was Week 5. At the rate things are going, Eli might need to call Peyton this week and ask him into come out of retirement and play receiver for the Giants. Not only is Odell Beckham out for the season, but Brandon Marshall and kick returner Dwayne Harris are also done for the year. There are so many Giants' players injured that it would probably be easier to list the players who aren't injured. 

I'm starting to think that someone made a voodoo doll of every receiver on the Giants' roster, because there's also a chance that Sterling Shepard won't be playing in Denver due to the fact that he sprained his ankle in Week 5. Basically, this all means that we're going to see a Giants team with no receivers travel to Denver to take on the No. 1 defense in football. And just to add insult to injury, the Broncos will be extra healthy for this game because they'll be coming off a bye. The Giants are also playing in a city where they haven't won since 1989. I think what I'm trying to say here is that I don't feel real good about the Giants' chances of winning this game. 

The pick: Broncos 34-13 over Giants


NFL Week 6 picks: All the rest

BYES: Bengals, Bills, Cowboys, Seahawks


Last week

Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the 1-3 Bengals would beat the Bills 19-16, and then the 1-3 Bengals went out and made me look like a genius by beating the Bills 20-16. The thing you have to keep in mind when you're picking who's going to win a Bengals game in October is that this is the one month that's basically the opposite of the playoffs for Cincinnati. Sure, the Bengals have lost every playoff game they've ever played in under Marvin Lewis, but in my mind, that ugly stat is canceled out by the fact that the Bengals are nearly unstoppable in October games played at home under Lewis.  

Since 2013, the Bengals are unbeaten (7-0-2) at home in October games and I give all the credit to October Andy, which is my new nickname for Andy Dalton. I will never pick against October Andy in October, unless the playoffs are moved to October, then I might. 

Worst pick: Last week, I somehow talked myself into picking the Raiders to win even though they were starting EJ Manuel at quarterback, and let me just say this, Manuel is no October Andy. My biggest regret from this game is that Joe Flacco Holiday party invites are going out soon and there's no way he's going to invite me to the party after I spent an entire paragraph last week talking about how he's no longer elite. 

You know what, I bet his holiday parties aren't elite. I don't even want to go. 

Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good (and bad) at picking, here's a quick look: 

Teams I'm 5-0 picking this year: Eagles, Cardinals. 

Teams I'm 4-1 picking this year: Seahawks, 49ers, Lions, Bears, Giants, Chiefs, Colts, Browns, Saints (3-1)

Teams I'm 1-4 picking this year: Jaguars, Broncos (1-3)

Every other team is either 3-2 or 2-3.

Picks Record

Straight up in Week 5: 9-5 

SU overall: 46-31

Against the spread in Week 5: 8-5-1

ATS overall: 40-36-1


You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably petitioning the NFL to go with duck, duck, goose instead of a coin toss during all pregame ceremonies. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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