Josh Widman has gone back-to-back in the ABE picks competition, with 10 straight winning bets in two weeks. He shares his best five bets for Week 6 as he looks for yet another sweep.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The 4-1 Cleveland Browns will enter Heinz Field as the highest-scoring offense in the AFC and face off with a Steelers team that is 4-0 for the first time with QB Ben Roethlisberger as the starter. QB Baker Mayfield threw for a season-high 247 yards while the Browns managed 124 rush yards and dropped 32 points against a Colts defense that ranked first in pass, scoring and total defense coming in. Pittsburgh boasts a relentless pass rush that is on pace for 80 sacks. That would be a new NFL record. If anyone can contain this rush, it’s the Cleveland offensive line. The Browns can also bring significant pressure and their defensive line is headlined by DE Myles Garrett. Garrett has six sacks and three forced fumbles through five games. Both teams have solid defensive lines but aren’t exactly shutting down opponents in the second and third levels. Pittsburgh has been unable to distance itself from offenses noticeably less potent than Cleveland’s. The Browns pass defense needs work; the kind of work that creates lengthy traffic jams. Cleveland is allowing just shy of 300 passing yards per game. I wouldn’t classify this game as a shootout but 51 points is very attainable.
Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
The Rams are 3-1 following back-to-back wins and a questionable final-minute pass interference call away from 4-0. The 49ers had the clunker of all clunkers in week five against the Dolphins. QB Jimmy Garoppolo only played the first half and it wasn’t a good one. He completed 7/17 passes for 77 yards and a pair of INTs as Miami outscored San Francisco 30-7 over the first 30 minutes. Without the defense at full strength, the 49ers are a completely different team. Instead, it’s the Rams who are bringing the vaunted defense to the matchup. Los Angeles ranks in the top-10 in passing, rushing, scoring and total defense. QB Jared Goff leads a Rams offense that’s fourth in yards per game. San Francisco is going to struggle to score on this Los Angeles defense and won’t be able to shut down its offense either.
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
The Jets are a dumpster fire and that may not be enough to describe the current state of affairs. They’re 0-16 bad. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are coming off a beat-down of the banged-up, defending NFC-champion 49ers. Even in their three losses, they hung tough with the Patriots, Bills and Seahawks. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to work his magic. He lit up the remains of the San Francisco defense for 350 yards and three TDs while completing 22/28 passes. Even the junior varsity 49ers defense poses more of a threat than the varsity Jets unit. If Fitzpatrick can do what he did to San Francisco, he can certainly replicate it against a New York defense that is bottom-10 in passing, scoring and total defense. The Jets offense is stuck on the ground and doesn’t show any signs of taking off soon. It’s dead last in passing and scoring; second-worst in total offense.
Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Ravens defense feasted on the Joe Burrow-led Cincinnati offense last week. Baltimore forced three turnovers and sacked the rookie QB seven times en route to a 27-3 win. When facing a team that isn’t the Chiefs, the Ravens allow opponents to score just over 10 points and haven’t surrendered more than 17 points in a single game. Part of Baltimore’s defensive success stems from its ability to stop the run. The Ravens allow 92 rushing yards per game which is fifth best in the league. If Baltimore puts the straps on Philadelphia RB Miles Sanders, it could be a long day for QB Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense. Wentz has sustained the third-most sacks in the league including five last Sunday against Pittsburgh and doesn’t have the best of weapons to throw to. The Eagles needs to prevent QB Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens offense from exploding but the Eagles offense may not be of much help in doing so. Philadelphia’s offense has given the ball away 11 times including nine INTs by Carson Wentz. Baltimore’s defense has forced 11 turnovers.
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
QB Cam Newton will be playing for New England and that’s really all that matters. When the former MVP plays, the Patriots are 2-1 and average 29 points per game. In its most recent game, the New England defense held QB Patrick Mahomes and the prolific Chiefs offense in check. For the Broncos, QB Drew Lock was a full participant in practice on Thursday. He hasn’t played since the first quarter of Denver’s week two loss to Pittsburgh. While that’s good news for the Broncos, they were not without misfortune this week. RB Melvin Gordon III was arrested and charged with DUI on Tuesday. It is unknown at the time of writing what, if any, punishment awaits him from HC Vic Fangio. He did practice on Thursday but missed Friday due to a non-Covid-19 illness. Gordon has paced the Denver offense through four games. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has four total TDs. New England can absolutely cover the nine-point spread on BetMGM but with these two teams not having played in two weeks and the Patriots touch-and-go practice schedule, it’s hard to predict what they’re going to look like on Sunday. The safer bet is New England on the ML.