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Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 6

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That was fun while it lasted.

Stella made sure that any gains I made in Week 4 fell by the wayside as she demolished me in Week 5. Under most circumstances, I’d feel pretty great about a 10-6 week … but this was not most circumstances. Stella was scorching hot, going off to the tune of 13-3, missing on just Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

This leaves me four behind, but things could turn around quickly – despite there being just 14 games on the slate thanks to the beginning of the byes, Stella and I are at odds on eight contests! There’s room for me to erase the damage done in Week 5. Of course, there’s ALSO room for Stella to kick dirt on me as I flounder in a hole rendered nigh-inescapable.

She’s made some … let’s just call them interesting picks. Could it be that she’s feeling herself just a little? Or does she know something I don’t know? Ah hell – I think we all understand it to be the latter.

First up, we’re off to London for the early Sunday game. I’m picking Miami to beat the ostensibly-at-home Jaguars. Stella is going with the Jags. Neither of us is all that enthusiastic. I like Miles Gaskin to move the ball, but really, I think Jacksonville is going to continue to struggle under coach Urban Meyer. Stella thinks Meyer kind of sucks, but she also likes the Jags to perform surprisingly well across the Atlantic. She’s calling a breakout game (of sorts) for rookie QB Trevor Lawrence. One thing on which we agree – don’t bother watching.

Next, we’ve got Cincinnati going to Detroit. I’m going with the Bengals here. Sure, they’re a flawed team, but it looks like Joe Burrow is gaining some steam at QB, while there’s a good argument for wideout Ja’Marr Chase as the Rookie of the Year thus far. Add in a potentially stout run game with Joe Mixon and you’ve got something – particularly against a Lions team that hasn’t, you know, won yet. Stella acknowledges that 0-5, but also doesn’t believe Detroit will be winless. She sees this team as ready to push through after having lost two nail-biters in a row; expect a big outing from running back D’Andre Swift, both on the ground and through the air. This is one of those picks where it feels to me like Stella knows something I don’t.

From there, we’re off to Indianapolis, where I have the Colts holding off the Houston Texans. Look, this is another game where nobody feels good about what’s happening. I’ve got Indy, Stella’s got Houston, but neither of us will watch. We’ll see what the Colts can manage offensively, but the Texans D is so flat, Indy might move the ball. Stella liked the heart on display from the Texans against New England and thinks they can carry that energy forward against the Colts (though she’s a little bummed that it looks like Tyrod Taylor will be starting at QB instead of rookie Davis Mills). Another game that we probably won’t be watching – and neither should you.

This next one could be good – the Vikings heading to Carolina to take on the Panthers. I’ve got the visiting Vikes taking down the overperforming Panthers in this one. Kirk Cousins has looked pretty good under center so far this year, and while Alexander Mattison is no Dalvin Cook, he’s plenty good enough to move the chains, even against a fair Carolina defense. Stella remains a bit of a Panthers believer, even after last week’s unexpected loss to the Eagles. She likes what she’s seen from Sam Darnold so far – she’s looking to see him spread things out among his wide receivers to take advantage of an inconsistent Minnesota secondary. This one will come down to one or two mistakes – it just depends on who makes them.

I’ve got Baltimore winning at home against the Chargers, even though I quite like this Los Angeles team. It’s just hard for me to pick against Lamar Jackson here, though I’ll concede that this Chargers front four could cause him to struggle. Honestly, if this game was in LA or at a neutral site (is there a difference?), I’d probably lean Chargers. At any rate, go Ravens! Stella thinks I’m nuts for going against my gut here; she has loved just about everything she’s seen from the Chargers offense, from QB Justin Herbert to wideouts Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to running back Austin Ekeler. She expressed some curiosity as to whether I noticed that Ekeler alone scored three times in the fourth quarter last week, which seemed a bit snarky, but what can I do? Not only does she think the Chargers win, she thinks they win in a walk.

Up next, it’s what we think might be one of the best games of the week. I’ve got the Cardinals going into Cleveland and taking down the Browns. I love what I’ve seen from Kyler Murray so far – to my mind, the QB is the MVP of the season so far. He’s spreading the ball around to a number of talented targets – DeAndre Hopkins, Rodale Moore, Christian Kirk and more. The defense is up-and-down, but also pretty opportunistic. The big concern for me is the recent revelation that the Cardinals have some COVID issues on their roster; we’ll see how that plays out. Stella shares my enthusiasm for Kyler Murray, but thinks that this Browns team has the athleticism on defense to negate some of his best talents. She thinks Cleveland will pressure him and force some mistakes – mistakes that Baker Mayfield and this Browns running game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will take advantage of. Of course, she’s a little shaky on Baker, but thinks he will ultimately have what it takes to get this one done. We’re looking forward to a shootout here.

Once again, my homer heart is broken, as I’ve gone with my beloved Patriots while Stella is opting for the visiting Cowboys. Look, I recognize that the Pats have struggled thus far this year, having to pull out all the stops just to beat the lowly Texans last week, but I’m keeping the faith that young Mac Jones will be able to do just enough and that the defense will pull off a big stop/turnover/whatever or three and we can make this happen. Stella scoffs at my sentimentality, noting that this Cowboys team is quite likely the best offense New England has faced thus far. She doesn’t see an answer for Dak Prescott or Zeke Elliott or CeeDee Lamb or, well … anybody on the offensive side, really. While she’s not as high on the defense, she thinks they’ve got enough going for them to cause problems for an inconsistent rookie QB. She’s probably right, but she doesn’t have to be so unrelentingly callous about it, you know?

Lastly, I’ve got Seattle going into Pittsburgh and picking off the Steelers. While the Seahawks haven’t been firing on all cylinders, they’ve also been facing some pretty good teams – teams a step or two above Pittsburgh. Of course, I’m making this pick knowing full well that Russell Wilson will not be playing. Is that crazy? Probably, but I have to make some moves here, people. And picking against Ben Roethlisberger seems like a pretty fair gamble. In a defensive battle – which I believe this will be – I give the edge to Seattle. Stella agrees that defense will be the watchword of this contest, but disagrees with my conclusion. She likes the Steelers pass rush to give Seattle backup QB Geno Smith fits, putting him on his heels throughout. And the Steelers also have Najee Harris, the rookie running back who has shown himself to be willing and able to touch the ball 25-30 times. She’s guessing that Pittsburgh opts to grind it out while taking a couple of shots downfield. Her take is that the Steelers will win a game that’s all about working the clock.

And there we have it. Eight matchups. Eight opportunities for me to gain (or most likely lose) ground. Stella’s made a couple of oddball picks, sure, but so have I – it remains to be seen which of our stabs in the dark pay off. Wish me luck folks, because otherwise, this feature is going to get REAL boring.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 14

TAMPA BAY at Philadelphia

Sunday, Oct. 17

MIAMI at Jacksonville

GREEN BAY at Chicago

CINCINNATI at Detroit

Houston at INDIANAPOLIS

LA RAMS at NY Giants

KANSAS CITY at Washington

MINNESOTA at Carolina

LA Chargers at BALTIMORE

ARIZONA at Cleveland

Las Vegas at DENVER

Dallas at NEW ENGLAND

SEATTLE at Pittsburgh

Monday, Oct. 18

BUFFALO at Tennessee

Week 5 record: 10-6

Season record: 48-32

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 14

TAMPA BAY at Philadelphia

Sunday, Oct. 17

Miami at JACKSONVILLE

GREEN BAY at Chicago

Cincinnati at DETROIT

HOUSTON at Indianapolis

LA RAMS at NY Giants

KANSAS CITY at Washington

Minnesota at CAROLINA

LA CHARGERS at Baltimore

Arizona at CLEVELAND

Las Vegas at DENVER

DALLAS at New England

Seattle at PITTSBURGH

Monday, Oct. 18

BUFFALO at Tennessee

Week 5 record: 13-3

Season record: 52-28

Last modified on Thursday, 14 October 2021 10:38

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