Fans looking at the spreads for Week 6 around the NFL without knowing the matchups ahead of time are going to get caught off guard. That's because the Jacksonville Jaguars are receiving nearly four touchdowns against the Denver Broncos.
Every season there are a couple games featuring an elite team hosting a cellar-dweller squad. Most of the time the oddsmakers' line will hover somewhere between 17 and 21. But seeing a team get another touchdown worth of points on top of that is rare.
Let's take a closer look at that matchup and a couple other top selections against the spread heading into Week 6. All lines used are courtesy of Vegas Insider.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7 at Buffalo Bills)
Just when the Bills offense was showing signs of progress, the unit loses rookie quarterback EJ Manuel to a knee injury. Jeff Tuel was ineffective in relief last week, so the team will turn to Thad Lewis with hopes he can provide a spark.
Lewis was solid in one start for the Cleveland Browns last season. He completed nearly 70 percent of his throws for 204 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he faces a defense that ended Tom Brady's 52-game touchdown streak.
The Bengals offense has a great chance to bounce back after a couple lackluster outings. Buffalo ranks 21st in yards allowed at nearly 380 per game and hasn't allowed less than 20 points in any game. That's great news for A.J. Green and Co.
Cincinnati already has wins over the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. The Bills have been decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball. It all adds up to a big Bengals win.
Prediction: Bengals by 14
Jacksonville Jaguars (+26.5 at Denver Broncos)
If the Jaguars won this game, it would be one of the biggest upsets in league history. While the huge line illustrates exactly how extreme of a long shot that is, Jacksonville has some things working in its favor to avoid it becoming a blowout of monumental proportions.
The biggest is Denver's secondary. The Broncos are giving up nearly 350 yards per game through the air, the most in the league. With Chad Henne under center, who's a better option than Blaine Gabbert, and a pair of talented receivers (Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon), the Jags should be able to score.
One other key factor is the Broncos' outlook. With a game against Peyton Manning's old team, the Indianapolis Colts, on the horizon, they aren't going to push it too hard once they build a lead. There's no reason to risk injury in Week 6 with bigger games to come.
Ultimately, the Broncos should cruise to another victory, but winning by 27 points isn't easy regardless of the opponent. The Jags should do enough to cover.
Prediction: Broncos by 21
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5 at New York Jets)
The Steelers are quickly reaching the point of no return in terms of making the playoffs. They dug themselves a huge hole with four quick losses and must begin to turn things around right now or their already fading hopes will be eliminated.
Quite frankly, there's no reason Pittsburgh can't start a charge coming out of the bye. Le'Veon Bell finally brought some punch to the running game, the passing attack is too talented to keep struggling, and the defense should benefit from a chance to regroup.
They go up against a Jets team that's being overrated due to its win against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. Remember, New York got blown out by the middling Tennessee Titans one week earlier. And the Jets will also be on short rest.
The Steelers should understand they are running out of time. Expect an inspired effort that results in an outright victory, covering the spread even without the couple points.
Prediction: Steelers by three
Other Week 6 Picks
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