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Early NFL Week 6 Lines and Predicted Movement (2021)

by October 13, 2021
Travis Kelce

Week 5 of the NFL season was arguably the most thrilling of the year thus far, as numerous overtime and shootout finishes littered the slate. Rest assured, we’ve got another excellent week of NFL lines and line movements ahead.

Let’s dive into it. All lines this week come to you courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Thursday, October 14 — 8:20 p.m. EDT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
O/U 52.5

Predicted movement: Tom Brady struggled in the rough New England weather in his Week 4 return to Foxborough. He made the Dolphins pay for it in Week 5, as he unloaded on the Miami defense for 411 passing yards and five touchdowns. Not that he had anything to prove, but yeah, that was a gentle reminder that Touchdown Tom’s still got it. In the Thursday night match-up this week, he’ll oppose an Eagles team coming off a game in which it didn’t play particularly well against the Panthers, but it gutted out a win behind some late Jalen Hurts heroics. Not even that enthralling comeback mixed with the home field advantage this week isn’t enough to spare Philly the fate as heavy underdogs against the Bucs.

Brady has been limited in practice by a thumb injury, so keep an eye on that news, but it’s expected he’ll be active for the game despite a short week. As that confirmation arrives, the line could move to a full touchdown or slightly beyond for Thursday night. 

Sunday, October 17 — 9:30 a.m. EDT

Miami Dolphins (-3.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
O/U 47.5

Predicted movement: It’s London back on the NFL schedule for another week! Last week’s morning contest pitting the Jets against the Falcons wasn’t the most compelling game in the history of the league–Zach Wilson really wet his knickers in a tough loss for New York across the pond. But hey, that doesn’t mean that… *checks notes* …Dolphins/Jags won’t be a blast! Sigh. Okay, this game is probably going to suck, too. But hey, it’s actual football with your morning coffee. It could be worse.

Speaking of which, it definitely might get worse for Urban Meyer if he doesn’t find a way to win in this game. While he infamously opted against flying home with his team after a loss a couple weeks ago, Meyer should hope he holds onto his job at least long enough to get back into the U.S. after Sunday. Given these two teams’ general lack of competence, it’s hard to imagine the spread getting much bigger in favor of the Dolphins. The Jags are pretty bad, but a 3-4 point spread feels like a fair landing spot for this point spread. The 47.5 total seems a little high, but Jacksonville is also not very good on defense. We might see some points by default.

Sunday, October 17  — 1:00 p.m. EDT

Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) at New York Giants
O/U 47.5

Predicted movement: You sort of have to feel bad for the Giants after what happened to them in Week 5. Saquon Barkley injured his ankle in a freak accident, Daniel Jones sustained a brutal concussion, and Kadarius Toney had his NFL breakout game halted after he had the bright idea to punch a helmet-wearing football player in the head. Cool, cool, cool. This week, the Giants welcome to town one of the best teams in the NFL. Offensively and defensively, the Rams are superior to even a healthy Giants squad. New York will not have Barkley this week. They very well could be without their quarterback, Jones. If Toney is active (he has a minor ankle injury), the entire offensive game plan should revolve around putting the ball in his hands. Either way, it won’t be enough to slow down the Rams. This spread should climb several points higher than 10.5 if Jones is ruled out.

Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at Washington Football Team
O/U 55.5

Predicted movement: Are the Chiefs even good? Sure, they still have Patrick Mahomes, but he has looked moderately human this season as he and the Kansas City offense have tried to overcome the team’s putrid defense. KC lost handily to the Bills Sunday night, with Buffalo definitively showing out as the superior team at this point in time. Mahomes always seems to figure things out as the season goes along, but it’s not unreasonable to start wondering whether his greatness will be enough to overcome the team’s problems on the other side of the ball. The name recognition of a Mahomes-led team still means something to oddsmakers, but I’m not sure the Chiefs should remain favored by a full touchdown on the road against WFT. The number could float between 6.5 and 7 throughout the week, barring any major injury news on either side. Travis Kelce had a stinger late in the loss to the Bills, which is perhaps something to monitor.

55.5 is a massive number, but I don’t think it’s impossible that we see it push even higher ahead of this game. If Taylor Heinicke takes what the Chiefs defense will almost assuredly be happy to give him, this could be a fascinating shootout.

Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Chicago Bears
O/U 44.5

Predicted movement: Justin Fields has been deemed the starting quarterback moving forward for the Bears, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the transition will be smooth in Chicago. Fields did just enough to beat the Raiders last week as Las Vegas had the whole Jon Gruden thing hanging over its head. This divisional clash against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be another beast to conquer for the rookie quarterback. Though he gets the Pack for the first time in a home environment, Rodgers and the Green Bay offense has looked pretty competent aside from the season-opener. Their kicking game, of course, has been another matter entirely. The Packers feel like they’re about a touchdown better than the Bears, so with this game taking place in Chicago, the 4.5-point spread feels accurate. Even with more Fields’ struggles anticipated as he finds his bearings in the NFL, I’m not sure either defense is good enough to turn this into a slugfest. The total should have a little room to breathe. 

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
O/U 52

Predicted movement: If the quarterbacks in this game perform anything like how they did last week, we’re going to have a real barn-burner on our hands with this one. Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson both went absolutely nuclear in leading their respective teams to Week 5 wins. The Chargers seem to have been playing more impressive football against superior competition than the Ravens. Though you could probably make this statement about several teams, Baltimore is legitimately just a couple of fluke plays away from a 1-4 start to the season. Though the Ravens get home field for this match-up, Los Angeles comes in looking like a team with something to prove to the entire league. The line here should probably be closer than it is, so look for it to move toward the road team in the coming days. The total should continue to skyrocket toward the mid-50s given the shootout potential of this contest.

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
O/U 47.5

Predicted movement: The Lions are bad, but man, they’re not playing nearly as badly as their winless record indicates. The Bengals just lost a tough one to the Packers in an overtime game where nobody knew how to make a field goal. Cincy is 3-2, but their schedule hasn’t been especially difficult outside of that Green Bay game. The Bengals haven’t seen anything yet like the fury of a Dan Campbell team scorned. They would do well not to overlook this motivated Detroit squad on the road this week. Still, from a betting standpoint, it’s hard to justify a Lions team that has found new and creative ways to lose games already this season as anything but underdogs until they can prove otherwise. A field-goal margin feels about right for the line, so a slight move down could be in order.

Houston Texas at Indianapolis Colts (-9.5)
O/U 42.5

Predicted movement: Hey guys, that was cool! Davis Mills actually did some stuff! Like, the Texans still lost, of course, but he was throwing the ball, and people were catching it and doing real-life football things with it! Amazing! Meanwhile, the Colts were on the other side of the Monday night madness facilitated by Lamar Jackson. They should be pretty irritated at letting that game slip out of their grasp. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Texans pay for that in a major way this week. The Indy defense isn’t great, but as they showed in the first half Monday, the unit can play well at certain times. The Colts probably win by double digits, but the movement on the total should be more interesting to track than the spread ahead of this one. Indianapolis, offensively, loves taking the air out of the ball and scripting lengthy first-half drives. The Texans, offensively, generally love being not very good. The total may dip closer to 40 in advance of the game.

Minnesota Vikings (-1) at Carolina Panthers
O/U 46

Predicted movement: Kirk Cousins was mediocre. The Vikings almost lost to the Lions. Thanks to a late drive for a game-winning field goal, they escaped such embarrassment. The Panthers didn’t escape their own embarrassment, as they allowed the Eagles to storm back for the win after Carolina controlled the game for the bulk of the afternoon. It was Sam Darnold’s first major dud game since joining the Panthers. This week’s home date with the Vikings will give him a chance to prove the last game was an aberration for his season. With both sides having issues and inconsistencies of their own, a pick ’em feels like a completely appropriate landing spot for this line. Ultimately, it should stick at a point in either direction.

Sunday, October 17 — 4:05 p.m. EDT

Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns (-3)
O/U 49.5

Predicted movement: The Browns are favored by a field goal over the only undefeated team in the NFL? That doesn’t feel right. Even at home, it would be surprising to see this line stick where it is. The Cardinals might not keep their unblemished record alive, but Vegas should probably give them a better chance to do so given the playmaking ability of the roster on both sides of the ball. The Browns are definitely a quality team, but their shootout loss to a dynamic quarterback (Justin Herbert) last week should paint a picture that suggests a similar result is possible in Week 6 when Cleveland takes on Kyler Murray. The line should move slightly toward Arizona and the total should probably end up in the low 50s.

Sunday, October 17 — 4:25 p.m. EDT

Dallas Cowboys (-4) at New England Patriots
O/U 50.5

Predicted movement: The Dallas Cowboys are for real. The lethal combination of Dak Prescott and a lively running game has the offense moving the football with aplomb. Defensively, Trevon Diggs has emerged as one of the best playmakers on that side of the ball in the entire league. Good luck to Mac Jones and Co. trying to contain this roster, which as Amari Cooper conceded, is beginning to have Super Bowl dreams on the brain. A total in the 50s seems a little lofty given the probable struggles of the Patriots offense, but the Cowboys should end up favored by a number closer to six than it is now.

Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-3.5)
O/U 44

Predicted movement: The Raiders are going through a lot right now. Jon Gruden has been the story of the NFL this week for all of the wrong reasons, and now Las Vegas has to go through the remainder of the season with an interim head coach. In theory, that’s going to make it difficult to play this weekend, but there’s always the chance that the narrative of a backs-against-the-wall locker room brings out the best in the Raiders in Week 6.

Sunday, October 17 — 8:20 p.m. EDT

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)
O/U 42.5

Predicted movement: A backup quarterback in Geno Smith leading a Seattle team into Pittsburgh is a daunting challenge. That’s especially true given that the Steelers offense led by Ben Roethlisberger didn’t–look very bad last week at all? They looked good, in fact, with Diontae Johnson and Najee Harris leading the way at the skill positions. Chase Claypool showed out, too. JuJu Smith-Schuster was lost for the season due to an injury, but the rest of the Pittsburgh offense should be ready to soar in primetime on Sunday night. For the Seahawks, Smith looked capable enough in relief of Wilson last Thursday. He found DK Metcalf for a touchdown strike, which should probably be his goal moving forward–find the giant athletic guy and throw him the football. Ultimately, I don’t think Vegas is giving enough credit to these offenses with the total set at 42.5. That number could bump up a couple of points. The Steelers will likely end up favored between 4-6 points given the books’ lack of confidence in a backup QB operation for Seattle.

Monday, October 18 — 8:15 p.m. EDT

Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans
O/U 53.5

Predicted movement: Josh Allen is the new king of the AFC. He killed the dragon that outplayed him in the previous AFC Championship Game, Patrick Mahomes. His offense is running hot. The Buffalo defense is making plays. The Bills are plain fun to watch. They’ll have their hands full this week with Derrick Henry, but the remainder of the Titans offense hasn’t been able to consistently perform yet this season. Even with this game taking place in Nashville, it’s hard to imagine the Bills ending up as less than a touchdown favorite in this game. The Titans just haven’t been good enough on the field to justify anything else.

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