Week 6 was yet another successful slate for teams who were on the road. Excluding the game between the Panthers and Buccaneers that was played in London, six of the 13 matchups were won by the team that was on the road. Among them was an impressive win by the Texans over the Chiefs. They held a significant edge in time of possession, piling up 192 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Deshaun Watson did throw two picks, but he had two of their three rushing touchdowns to go along with another score through the air.
Another one of the more impressive road performances was the 49ers’ 20-7 win over the Rams. Their defense completely shut down Jared Goff, holding him to 78 passing yards on 24 attempts. Meanwhile, the run-heavy 49ers produced two touchdowns on the ground, one of which came from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. That helped make up for his subpar passing performance since he threw for only 243 yards and an interception.
As far as a home teams who did play well, the Jets pulled off a surprising upset against the Cowboys. Sam Darnold provided them with a huge boost in his return from mono, throwing for 338 yards and two touchdowns. While the Cowboys did try to mount a late comeback, their rally fell short when they couldn’t convert a two-point conversion to tie the game in the closing minute.
Moving on to Week 7, we have four more teams on a bye. There are still a few exciting matchups, including an NFC East battle between the Eagles and Cowboys. As far as underdogs go, here are three to consider placing a wager on.
Lions (+2) vs. Vikings (O/U 44)
The Vikings took the Eagles to the woodshed in their 38-20 victory last week. Stefon Diggs had a monster performance, catching seven passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. While the Vikings like to plan their offense around their rushing attack, Kirk Cousins now has six touchdowns passes over his last two games. That’s even more noteworthy when you consider he only totaled three through their first four contests.
As good as the Vikings felt about their win, the Lions suffered a crushing defeat against the Packers. There were plenty of questionable calls late, which extended key scoring drives for the Packers. In the end, Mason Crosby kicked a short game-winning field goal, leaving the Lions with an underwhelming 2-2-1 record.
The fact that the Lions only lost by one point on the road against the Packers is really encouraging. Actually, they probably would have won if not for the bad calls. While their record isn’t great, they are 4-1 against the spread. I like their chances to win this game outright, making the points an even more appealing option.
Saints (+3.5) at Bears (O/U 38.5)
The Saints have not been slowed down by the injury to Drew Brees (thumb). They have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league in Teddy Bridgewater, who has led them to a win in each of his four starts. Last week they won a defensive slugfest on the road against the Jaguars, adding yet another impressive road victory to Bridgewater’s resume. They also won on the road against the Seahawks in Week 3, which was Bridgewater’s first week as the starter.
After being on a bye, the Bears are expected to get Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) back for this contest. Whether that’s a good thing or not is debatable. He didn’t throw for more than 231 yards in any of their first three games and failed to throw a touchdown pass in two of those contests. He’s going to start when healthy, but his inconsistent play can be troublesome for the Bears. The Saints have won six of their last seven games as underdogs, so don’t be surprised if they emerge victorious in this matchup, as well.
Chargers (+2.5) at Titans (O/U 41)
As far as disappointing losses go, the Chargers defeat at the hands of the Steelers last week was right up there. Even with third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges at the helm for the Steelers, they still lost, 24-17. The game wasn’t really that close, either, since the Chargers scored all 17 of their points in the fourth quarter. On the bright side, Hunter Henry did haul in two touchdown passes in his return from injury.
The Titans’ offense has been a mess this season and reached a new low last week in a 16-0 defeat at the hands of the Broncos. Marcus Mariota got off to yet another slow start and was eventually replaced in the game by Ryan Tannehill, who finished with 144 passing yards and an interception. The Titans have decided to start Tannehill again in Week 7, leaving Mariota’s future in doubt.
These are two struggling teams who have been difficult to project on a week-to-week basis. However, with the Chargers having the veteran Philip Rivers are quarterback, you have to feel much better about the state of their offense. There are also two stats working in their favor. First, they have won five of their last six games as underdogs. Second, they have covered the spread in eight of their last nine road games against AFC opponents. While this game might not be one of the more exciting ones to watch, it could turn out to be profitable by taking the Chargers and the points.
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