Scott Shapiro's Week 6 NFL worksheet: Geno Smith will struggle in Pittsburgh
Another entertaining week in the NFL is in the rear-view mirror.
The Cardinals remained undefeated, even though they never got going on offense against San Francisco, while Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Tom Brady, and Lamar Jackson led their squads to victories and made early season cases for MVP.
In Week 6, handicappers have to deal with an unfortunate number of key injuries and the first bye weeks of 2021. Let's examine the teams and players to keep an eye on.
Team most likely to win by 14+ points: Pittsburgh Steelers
Mon, October 18 2021, 12:20 AM
Veteran quarterback Geno Smith looked pretty good off the bench, when he replaced the injured Russell Wilson on Thursday night. But now he will head into hostile territory to take on a Pittsburgh defense that put up a strong effort at home against Denver.
It is one thing to show some life off the bench at home, when thrown into duty. It is another to do so on the road, when the opponent has had a week to prepare.
If Seattle can avoid falling behind early, maybe the 31-year-old backup can manage things well enough to keep his team in the game. The likelier scenario is that Pittsburgh will jump ahead against an awful Seahawks defense and force Smith into a number of mistakes.
Underdog of 6+ points most likely to spring an outright upset: None
I cannot in good conscience endorse any of the four options that fit this category in Week 6.
The Texans gave it all they had at home against the Patriots last week, but they are unlikely to repeat that type of performance on the road against the Colts.
Philadelphia did a great job on defense against Sam Darnold, but the Eagles do not have the manpower on the back end to keep up with Tom Brady and Tampa’s trio of wide receivers.
Washington’s secondary has been thrashed by far lesser than an angry Patrick Mahomes in a bounce-back spot, and the Giants are way too banged up to compete against a Rams squad that is on extended rest, after their win in Seattle on Thursday.
RB/WR/TE most likely to score two touchdowns: Stefon Diggs
The Bills No. 1 wideout led the NFL in yards and receptions last year, his first season in Buffalo, but he has yet to post a monster game in 2021.
That should change Monday night in Nashville, where the 2020 All-Pro will encounter a Titans defense that has faced a trio of subpar offenses over the last three weeks but had no answer for the Cardinals attack in Week 1 or the Seahawks offense in Week 2.
Look for Diggs to bust out in this favorable matchup.
Quarterback most likely to throw for 400 yards: Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes was outplayed Sunday night by Josh Allen and has made more mistakes than we are accustomed to seeing from him.
Patrick Mahomes through 5 games:— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) October 11, 2021
2020 -- 63.73%, 1,474 yards, 13 TD, 1 INT, 7.64 YPA, 107.3 rating
2021 -- 69.23%, 1,490 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT, 7.64 YPA, 106.1 rating.
3 of those INT are from tipped passes too.
Different coverages -- Mahomes has still been very good. #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/XufQi1DgyR
Have no fear, though. The 2018 MVP will head to the nation’s capital to take on a Washington defense that was supposed to be among the league’s best but instead has been a disaster.
Look for the Chiefs aerial attack to post gaudy numbers at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.
Defense most likely to pitch a shutout: Los Angeles Rams
Sun, October 17 2021, 5:00 PM
At full strength, the Giants could score enough to hang in at home against Los Angeles. Unfortunately, they will be nowhere near full strength Sunday afternoon, when Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the Rams head into MetLife Stadium.
Quarterback Daniel Jones left last week’s game early with a concussion, while star running back Saquon Barkley departed after just two carries because of an ankle injury.
With backup Mike Glennon under center, New York has little chance to have offensive success against a well-rested Rams defense.
My Week 6 plays of the week
- Denver (-4)
- Pittsburgh (-4.5)
- Detroit/Cincinnati (Under 47.5)