It's Week Six of the NFL and Paul Higham previews the action with best bets for the big games including a huge NFC West showdown between the 49ers and Rams.
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Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns
The Seahawks are coming off a thrilling win against the LA Rams where Russell Wilson played himself into the MVP reckoning, while the Browns are coming off a humiliating capitulation in San Francisco where Baker Mayfield and his entire offence played about as bad as they can, given the talent on the team.
Wilson now has this team on his shoulders as their Legion of Boom defence has long gone and they’re now, in truth, an ordinary unit behind a star QB that has 14 touchdowns without a single interception so far.
It’s a dual-pronged attack though, as while Seattle’s receivers are statistically better than anyone else at getting open, their running game is also pretty strong – and Cleveland has a banged-up secondary and a 29th-ranked rushing defence. Those numbers just don’t stack up.
Seattle has also had four days extra rest for this game, an advantage that is usually telling, and with their offence looking good the only way hosts Cleveland can compete is if their own attacking talents find some kind of cohesion.
They’re full of talent, but not playing as a team right now and the likes of Mayfield and Odell Beckham need to get on the same page – Seattle’s ordinary defence will give them chances on Sunday, if they can take a few we’re in for a cracker.
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs
A nice little battle between two superstar QBs who both came out of the 2017 draft – Patrick Mahomes was the MVP last year and started this season in similar fashion, but while the Chiefs only scored 13 and lost last week, Deshaun Watson threw for 426 yards and four TDs as Houston hung 53 points on the Falcons.
So it’s the Texans who arrived at Arrowhead Stadium as the hot team on offence, although this is the same team that only scored 10 in a home defeat to Carolina, so there’s plenty of up-and-down inconsistencies to deal with in Houston.
Mahomes also tweaked an ankle and was slowed after that against the Colts, but if he’s at full speed he’ll be needed to try and keep up with Watson’s Texans as the Chiefs are still not able to find the right formula in defence.
Kansas City are the third-worst run defence in the league and they now face a running QB in Watson and former running back Carlos Hyde so could be in for a tough day in the trenches. If Mahomes is on song though, expect a bounce-back performance especially if Tyreek Hill returns.
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
Nothing surprising about an unbeaten 4-0 meeting a so-so 3-2 outfit here, apart from the fact it’s the Niners who are unbeaten so far this season and the Rams, who made the Super Bowl last season, who have dropped two in a row and struggling.
Having star running back Todd Gurley a doubt and top cornerback Aqib Talib ruled out for the NFC West tussle doesn’t help Sean McVay’s side, who are now in trouble in the division with both the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks out-performing them right now.
Gurley is the big-name rusher on show, but his involvement has been way down this season, and in fact it’s San Francisco’s running game that leads the NFL with 200 yards a game, while also boasting the fastest runner in the game with Matt Breida clocking 22.3mph last week.
The 49ers also have one of the best run defences so with that and Gurley’s injury worry the Niners look like they’ll make Jared Goff earn his lofty wages by trying to win this one through the air.
Both McVay and Niners coach Kyle Shanahan have exotic offensive schemes in place so this one could even come close to matching the last game in the Coliseum that ended in a 55-40 Rams loss to the Bucs.
San Francisco certainly has the momentum, but the Rams will be desperate not to lose three in a row and that desperation often brings an extra few percent. There are also injuries on the 49ers offensive line and to full-back Kyle Juszczyk – who is crucial to their running game.
Throw in a ten-day rest for LA as opposed to just six for the 49ers and there’s enough of an edge for the hosts to cover the narrow spread.
Best Bet: LA Rams to win -3.5pts at Evens
NFL WEEK 6 Fixtures
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Sunday, October 13, 2019
- Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (London)
- Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
- Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
- New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
- Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins
- Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings
- Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
- San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
- Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers
Monday, October 14, 2019
- Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
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