Week 6 of the 2023 NFL regular season is in the books. We saw much more competitive football this week, including six games being decided by six points or fewer. Today we look back at the sixth week of action and give you some takeaways, as well as look forward and preview some of the Week 7 slate.
(All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Cleveland Browns pulled off the shocker of the weekend, upsetting the then-undefeated San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco, who looked like a juggernaut last weekend against Dallas, really struggled on offense, scoring just 17 points and turning the ball over twice. The Browns got after San Francisco’s quarterback Brock Purdy all day long. Purdy had arguably the worst game of his career, completing just 12 of 27 passes for 125 yards and posting a league-worst -0.051 EPA+CPOE. For the Browns, this win kept them in the division hunt. The Browns face the Colts, Seahawks, and Cardinals in the next three weeks, giving them a shot to go 6-2 in the first half of the season.
New York Jets
The New York Jets also pulled off a big upset on Sunday by taking out the NFL’s only remaining unbeaten team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets’ defense catalyzed the win, recording four takeaways including intercepting Jalen Hurts with two minutes left. The Eagles struggled to run the ball for the first time this season, averaging just 3.6 Y/A. This forced Hurts to attempt to beat the Jets with his arm and it did not go Philly’s way. Hurts’ had an EPA/Play of -0.015 and a Quarterback Rating of 59.5. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are 3-3 and playing some good football.
What a win it was for the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. Dallas came into Los Angeles desperately needing a win after getting embarrassed by the 49ers a week ago. Dallas’ defense bounced back in a big way, holding Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense to just 17 points. On offense, Dallas’ signal-caller Dak Prescott had one of the better games of his career. With no help from the run game, Dak completed 21 of 30 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. Prescott’s EPA/Play of 0.217 was third in the league among qualified quarterbacks in Week 6. With Philadelphia losing, this was a huge win for the Cowboys and it gives them a legitimate shot to get back in the race for the division title.
What a difference a week makes. After their Week 5 win over the Washington Commanders, the Chicago Bears were ready to turn a corner. Unfortunately for the Bears, the exact opposite happened on Saturday. Chicago took one step forward and two steps back as they looked abysmal on offense in a 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Chicago’s offense had the worst EPA/Play (-0.300) and Dropback EPA (-0.638) of any team in the league in Week 6. After putting together two consecutive solid performances, Justin Fields struggled again and ultimately left the game with an injury. The Bears are an absolute mess and it does not seem like they will be figuring things out any time soon.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints, fresh off a 34-0 win over the Patriots, came into Houston looking to improve to 4-2. Despite putting up 450 total yards compared to Houston’s 297, the Saints struggled in the red zone, ultimately leading them to lose the game 20-13. Derek Carr played well, completing 32 of 50 passes for 353 yards and recording the sixth-best EPA+CPOE (0.108) among qualifying quarterbacks, but the offense as a whole was unable to get the ball in the end zone enough. The Saints, who had a chance to take control of the division, now face an uphill battle in the NFC South.
Los Angeles Chargers
Simply put, the Chargers needed to win against the Cowboys on Monday night. The loss dropped the Chargers to 2-3, third in their division and 13th in the AFC playoff picture. The Chargers now have to face the Chiefs, Jets, and Lions in three of their next four games. Even if Los Angeles is able to go 2-2, they would be just 4-5 heading into the second half of the season. With teams like the Bengals, Jets, Steelers, and Browns ahead of them in the standings, it’s going to be hard for the Chargers to make the playoffs unless they start rattling off some consecutive wins.
Game of The Week (Week 7)
Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles (-2)
This will be an outstanding game on Sunday Night Football. The Dolphins and Eagles both come into this game at 5-1 and feature two of the most prolific offenses in the league. Philadelphia’s defense will face their first true test of the season and it will be interesting to see if they are able to slow down Miami’s high-powered offensive attack.
Favorite of The Week
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
This line makes me lean heavily toward the Chiefs. Kansas City has won 14 of the last 17 matchups between the two teams including winning three in a row. In those three games, Kansas City has averaged 29 points per game. Their offense at home against a Chargers team that may be reeling makes me feel comfortable taking the 5.5-point spread here.
Underdog of The Week
Washington Commanders at New York Giants (+2)
The Commanders and Giants always seem to play competitive games so I’m taking New York and the points here. Five of the team’s last six matchups have been decided by six points or fewer and I see this being a competitive game. The Giants played very hard against the Bills on Sunday and they will build on that performance here.
Over of The Week
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams O/U 42.5
I don’t love any overs this week but I’ll go with the Steelers (+3) and Rams here. Los Angeles should be able to create some matchup problems with the Steelers’ defense and put up some points here. Pittsburgh’s offense is not elite by any means, but if they can score around 17 points the Rams should be able to put up enough to hit the total.
Under of The Week
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots O/U 41.5
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sticking with Patriots’ (+9) unders here. They have hit the last three weeks and this total being over 40 makes me confident it will hit again.