Bing Predicts: NFL Week 6

October 11, 2017 by Steven M. Peters

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That collective groan you heard on Sunday afternoon after the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-9 was from all the survival pool fanatics who thought the Steelers were a sure thing.

Pittsburgh was a heavy favorite and the game wasn’t even close. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a career-high five interceptions. The Steelers’ only points came from three field goals. Afterward, in the heat of the moment, the passionate 35-year-old quarterback questioned whether his career was over.

It’s the NFL, where surprises await after each kickoff. You might think quarterbacks like New England’s Tom Brady and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers are infallible, but you would be wrong. Anything can happen — just ask Ben Roethlisberger.

It doesn’t get easier this week for the Steelers who will be travelling to Kansas City to face the undefeated Chiefs (5-0) on Sunday.

Usually, Thursday night NFL matchups are not exactly must-see TV, but this week is an exception. A pair of 4-1 teams face off as the Philadelphia Eagles play at Carolina. The Panthers are favored in what could be one of the better games of the weekend.

When the season started, not many had the New England Patriots at New York Jets as a big game. Many probably still don’t. While Brady and the Pats are the favorites, quarterback Josh McCown and the Jets have won three straight. New England is 3-2 and was lucky to pull out a win in Tampa Bay last Sunday.

Rodgers and the Packers (4-1) are a slight favorite in a big NFC North matchup on Sunday in Minneapolis against the Vikings (3-2), who seemingly can win with any quarterback on their roster.

While week 5 once again proved that nothing is certain in football, careful consideration of the factors that give teams an edge makes predicting weekly games much better than guesswork.

Bing’s NFL predictions use team and player statistics and web activity to build a statistical model that takes into account historical data and real-time information (like injuries, suspensions, and lineup changes). Finally, social sentiment adds a unique wisdom-of-the-crowd factor to the model. Learn more about Bing Predicts.

See all NFL predictions on Bing

Click here to see Bing’s predictions for the NFL week 6.

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Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers
> Bing Predicts winner: Carolina (51%)
> Kickoff time: 8:25 PM EDT (Thursday)
> Game spread: Carolina -3
> Matchup history: Eagles lead 6-4-0

This could be the game of the week, with two 4-1 teams going at it. The Panthers get the nod here — they’re at home and Cam Newton tips the scales. The quarterback came up big in the win at Detroit on Sunday. Carolina was held to 28 rushing yards, but Newton’s arm was enough to get the job done. It’s not just Newton. The Panthers defense is the NFL’s third-best, giving up just 274 yards per game.

In comparison, Philadelphia’s defense allows 346 yards per game, 22nd in the NFL. Still, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw a career-high four touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons
> Bing Predicts winner: Atlanta (72%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Atlanta -9.5
> Matchup history: Dolphins lead 8-4-0

No matter his quarterback rating, veteran Miami’s Jay Cutler has job security. His coach, Adam Gase, has made that clear. The Dolphins are heading into the game in Atlanta, in which the Falcons (3-1) are favored. Cutler did rally the Dolphins (2-2) with a late game-winning touchdown against the Titans on Sunday, but his three touchdowns in four starts match his three interceptions. Maybe it’s time to retire to the TV booth.

The Falcons should be rested and ready after a bye. Five starters — Julio Jones, Vic Beasley, Ricardo Allen, Mohamed Sanu, and Ryan Schraeder — were banged up coming off the loss to the Buffalo Bills, so the bye week came at a great time. Matt Ryan, who is averaging 277.2 passing yards per game, is going against a Dolphins’ defense that has given up 309.5 yards per game. Might not be a good time for Miami — or any team — to go up against the rested Falcons.


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Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
> Bing Predicts winner: Green Bay (53%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Green Bay -3.5
> Matchup history: Packers lead 60-51-2

It doesn’t matter that the Vikings (3-2) are home where the goofy fans make it a tough place to play, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be the difference. This is why the Packers (4-1) are favored. Rodgers has not lost his touch with late-game heroics. That was proven again with Sunday’s comeback win at Dallas. Actually, he’s pretty good throughout four quarters, leading the NFL with 13 passing touchdowns. He’s had seven in the past two games with no interceptions.

Sam Bradford started on Monday night in the Vikings’ win over the Bears. However, he aggravated his knee so he sat the second half in favor of Case Keenum, who led three scoring drives. The Vikings are hurting since losing rookie running back Dalvin Cook for the season, but running back Jerick McKinnon rushed for 95 yards on Monday. It should be a typical, hard-nosed NFC North battle.

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Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
> Bing Predicts winner: New Orleans (51%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: New Orleans -4
> Matchup history: Tied 12-12-1

The Saints (2-2) have won two straight and are coming off a bye week. They are rested and have had extra time to prepare for the Lions (3-2). That alone should make them the favorites. Drew Brees and the Saints also have the NFL’s eighth-best offense (averaging 370.5 yards per game). The defense, though, is ranked 29th in the NFL, allowing 374.8 yards per game while Detroit’s is 18th (330.4).

Detroit has also won the last three meetings between the two teams — one each year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 — but this is 2017. Detroit’s defense, led by safety Glover Quin, has looked better than it has in years until the loss to Cam Newton and the Panthers on Sunday. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked a dozen times in the last two games and came up limping on Sunday with hamstring and ankle injuries. It’s uncertain if he’ll be able to play, but he’s tough, so do not count him out. Detroit fans thought for a minute they had a playoff bound team — and maybe they do — but it’s early in the season and the waiting is the hardest part.

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New England Patriots at New York Jets
> Bing Predicts winner: New England (74%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: New England -9.5
> Matchup history: Patriots lead 61-54-1

The Patriots — dare we say the struggling Patriots — have won five of the last six in the series so it’s no surprise that New England (3-2) is favored again. Quarterback Tom Brady threw his first interception in the Week 5 win over Tampa Bay and lost a fumble. But he also threw for 303 yards and a touchdown, his 11th of the season. The Patriots aren’t the same team from 2016, and their defense gives up a league-worst 447.2 yards a game. But it was a good sign they found a way to hang on and beat the Bucs.

The Jets (3-2) were supposed to be an NFL laughingstock this season, but apparently they didn’t get the memo. They’ve won three straight with quarterback Josh McCown throwing for three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Jets’ run should end in this big AFC East showdown, especially since the Patriots are 10-0 in their last 10 regular season road games. It’s good to be king even if the crown is a bit tarnished.

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San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins
> Bing Predicts winner: Washington (77%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Washington -9
> Matchup history: 49ers lead 20-10-1

Is the season over for the 49ers? Well, not yet, but San Francisco (0-5) is still looking for its first win. The 49ers came close with an overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts, in which Brian Hoyer passed for 353 yards and a pair of touchdowns. They aren’t likely to get that elusive victory playing the favored Redskins (2-2), who have lost four straight to the 49ers.

Washington is coming off a bye week after a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. That was wide receiver Terrelle Pryor’s best game of the season, with three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was effective (220 passing yards) but not splashy in that loss. Even the losers sometimes get a chance, but this looks like a great setup for the Redskins.

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Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens
> Bing Predicts winner: Baltimore (67%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Baltimore -7
> Matchup history: Bears lead 3-2-0

Amazingly, even after quarterback Joe Flacco has simply not played well in the first five games, the Ravens are 3-2. Flacco has thrown four touchdowns and six interceptions. Ouch. He’s ranked the 29th best quarterback with 823 passing yards, but still the Ravens are favored. They’re at home and facing the Bears (1-4) who will start rookie Mitchell Trubisky for the second game.

In Chicago they’re calling it Mitch-a-palooza. Trubisky had one touchdown and one late pick in Monday’s loss to the Vikings. Judging from his composure, pinpoint accuracy, and arm strength, the kid has a future in the NFL. He’s starting at square one, and has to bring the previously moribund offense to life. Mike Glennon couldn’t do it, but Trubisky appears to have the tools and football smarts. However, he’s not likely to get that first win against the Ravens.


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Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans
> Bing Predicts winner: Houston (74%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Houston -12
> Matchup history: Texans lead 5-3-0

For years, the Browns have been without a franchise quarterback. They’ve tried but failed to net one in the draft and free agency. The Texans, on the other hand, have rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson (12th overall pick), who has been remarkable with a dozen touchdowns and just four interceptions in his first five games. He’s the first rookie in the NFL to throw nine touchdown passes in a two-game span — he had five in the Sunday night loss to the Chiefs. Of course, the Texans will be without defensive end J.J. Watt and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus who were injured Sunday and are out for the season. Two huge losses, but heck, they’re playing the Browns so those absences should not be a major factor.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan has played in three games for the Browns with no starts, but he might be their best bet to get the offense going. The Browns’ defense is actually rated fifth in the NFL, allowing just 304.8 yards per game.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
> Bing Predicts winner: Tampa Bay (61%)
> Kickoff time: 4:05 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Arizona -1
> Matchup history: Cardinals lead 10-9-0

If only Jameis Winston — or anyone on the Bucs’ roster — could kick field goals. The Bucs (2-2) basically lost in Week 5 to the Patriots because Nick Folk was 0-for-3 in field goals. Still, the Bucs have the edge on the road in Arizona. Winston has gone two games without throwing an interception, although Tampa’s defense is ranked 30th in the NFL, allowing a whopping 396.2 yards per game. Running back Doug Martin scampered for 74 yards and a touchdown against a somewhat pathetic Patriots defense.

Cardinals (2-3) quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown for a bunch of yards (1,573), second in the NFL to Tom Brady, but his touchdown/interception ratio is 6 to 5. Looks like Palmer’s age (37) may be starting to show. In his defense, he’s been sacked 19 times. No quarterback has been taken down more often. Running back Adrian Peterson was acquired by the Cardinals this week. Expect Peterson to get more touches than he did in New Orleans, when he had 27 carries for 81 yards in four games.

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Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars
> Bing Predicts winner: Jacksonville (55%)
> Kickoff time: 4:05 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Jacksonville -2.5
> Matchup history: Rams lead 3-1-0

These Jaguars (3-2) are one of the NFL’s toughest teams to read, but this week they’ve got an edge over the Rams (3-2), who are coming off a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Jacksonville has looked like a world-beater and potential NFL cellar-dweller all in one month. But the Jags are saving face with quarterback Blake Bortles (seven touchdowns, four interceptions) and rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who is averaging 118.8 combined yards per game plus five touchdowns.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff had zero touchdowns and three turnovers (two interceptions, one lost fumble) in the loss to Seattle. The Rams couldn’t get much offense going with running back Todd Gurley rushing for just 43 yards, while tight end Tyler Higbee had four receptions for 98 yards.

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
> Bing Predicts winner: Kansas City (53%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Kansas City -3
> Matchup history: Steelers lead 22-11-0

The Chiefs (5-0) are long on talent and short on distractions. It’s why they are the NFL’s only undefeated team after five weeks and favored over the Steelers (3-2). Rookie running back sensation Kareem Hunt has run for 100 yards in four of his first five games. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is having a career season with 11 touchdown passes against zero interceptions.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown must have had a kumbaya moment after their spat in Week 4 because they connected for 157 yards in Week 5. However, Roethlisberger threw five interceptions — a career first on Sunday. Then he questioned himself, wondering if he’s done as an NFL quarterback, although after thinking about it for a day, he came to the conclusion that the end is not here. Afterward, running back Le’Veon Bell said he didn’t think they ran the ball enough. Another breakdown in communication. The drama is all in Pittsburgh. In Kansas City, it’s all about winning (and barbecue).

Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
> Bing Predicts winner: Oakland (57%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: No line
> Matchup history: Raiders lead 63-50-2

Raiders Nation were ecstatic when their beloved team started 2-0. After the third straight loss, however, they yelled obscenities at the players. Losing isn’t much fun, but the Raiders (2-3) won’t back down. They are favored in this one with quarterback Derek Carr expected to return after missing one game with a broken bone in his back. Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, who is off to a slow start this season, finished with 43 yards, a 10-yard catch, and a touchdown, while quarterback EJ Manuel struggled in the loss to the Ravens. At least they are not the Chargers (1-4), who are coming off their first win.

Running back Melvin Gordon provided much of the Chargers’ offense with 105 rushing and 58 receiving yards. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers tossed the winning touchdown pass to Gordon with less than three minutes on the clock in the win over the Giants. Warning: This one might not be pretty.


Source: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

New York Giants at Denver Broncos
> Bing Predicts winner: Denver (74%)
> Kickoff time: 8:30 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Denver -9.5
> Matchup history: Tied 6-6-0

David Letterman had a great line while honoring Peyton Manning over the weekend, saying Peyton and his younger brother Eli, the Giants quarterback, have the same number of wins this season. Funny, unless your name is Eli Manning. With the 0-5 start, and in his 14th season, some New Yorkers are wondering if it’s time for the 36-year-old Manning to move on. To make matters worse, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is done for the season after breaking his left ankle. (If you haven’t seen the video, don’t watch. It’s brutal.) It gets worse — wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris are also out for the year.

The freefall is likely to continue for the Giants, who are heading to the Rockies where the favored Broncos (3-1) feature the NFL’s top defense, allowing just 260.8 yards per game. Quarterback Trevor Siemian is not the second coming of Peyton Manning, but he’s been good enough to spark the offense, and he’s getting help from running back C.J. Anderson (averaging 82.5 rushing yards per game). The last time Eli Manning faced the Broncos (2013), he threw four interceptions and one touchdown pass in the 41-23 loss.

Source: Chris Trotman / Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
> Bing Predicts winner:Tennessee (51%)
> Kickoff time: 8:30 PM EDT (Monday)
> Game spread: No line
> Matchup history:Colts lead 31-14-0

If the NFL wanted higher Monday night TV ratings, perhaps the league should have found a better matchup than pitting a pair of 2-3 teams. Maybe it looked good on paper before the season started, but now it looks like a stinker. The Titans are favored because they’re at home and are slightly less horrible than the Colts, who are still trying to manage without starting quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts’ defense is ranked 31st, allowing an average of 397.4 yards per game.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was out in Week 5 with a hamstring, could be a game-time decision. If he can’t go, Matt Cassel will get his second straight start. He completed 21-of-32 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Dolphins. A win by the Titans would snap an 11-game losing streak to the Colts that goes back to 2011. In football years, that’s a very long time.