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NFL expert picks, Week 6: Chiefs are still favorites to beat the Bills

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NFL experts have the Kansas City Chiefs as slight favorites over the Buffalo Bills.

The Kansas City Chiefs let the Las Vegas Raiders get yards on the ground and through the air, which ended in a disappointing loss in Week 5. The Buffalo Bills got smashed by the Tennessee Titans, who spent previous weeks away from their facility due to a COVID-19 outbreak. After disappointing losses for two teams with Super Bowl dreams, the Bills and Chiefs now face off in Week 6.

The Chiefs were favored even before adding Le’Veon Bell to the mix (who actually won’t play due to having to sit out for COVID safety reasons). That being said, the margins are much closer than when the Chiefs took on the Raiders a week ago, in which the Chiefs were picked by 99% of experts to win the game. Josh Allen vs Patrick Mahomes for the first time will be extremely interesting.

Here is how experts predict the game will shake out:

ESPN:

The ESPN Panel is bullish on the Chiefs. Only Seth Wickersham chose to go with the Buffalo Bills this week. Wickersham is more liberal with his wild picks, however. Every week, it seems like he is the most willing to pick an underdog. With an intriguing matchup that could be close, he generally takes the team that is not favored. ESPN is, however, a believer in the Chiefs.

CBS: 

The CBS panel was a little bit closer. Kansas City favorite Pete Prisco was one of the two that picked Buffalo to beat Kansas City this week. The other was Dave Richard, their CBS’s fantasy football expert. With that in mind, the majority of the eight-manned panel still chose Mahomes and the Chiefs over Allen and the Bills. Of that panel, Will Brinson offered an educated guess as to what the game would look like in his weekly column:

With this game now on Monday, the biggest winner here is the Chiefs. Before the schedule change, the Chiefs were going to have to play on Sunday in Week 5, then fly to Buffalo on just three full days of rest for a Thursday game. Instead, the Chiefs will now be getting SEVEN full days of rest, which means they’re going to have a full week to lick the wounds they sustained in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. On the other hand, the Bills will be coming into this game after playing on a Tuesday against the Titans.

Is it fair that the Chiefs are getting extra rest? I have no idea what’s fair in these corona times, but I do know that I’d much rather be in Kansas City’s situation. Also, if you give Andy Reid a few extra days to cook something up offensively, he almost always takes advantage of it. Not only is the Chiefs coach nearly unbeatable off a bye, but he also has a pretty solid record on “Monday Night Football.” Since being hired by the Chiefs in 2013, Reid is 6-0 vs. AFC teams on Monday night, including 4-0 with Patrick Mahomes.

The entire population of Buffalo might simultaneously smash themselves through a folding table if the Bills pull off the upset on Monday evening and as much as I want to see that happen, I’m taking the Chiefs.

The pick: Chiefs 30-27 over Bills

NFL.com

Gregg Rosenthall is one of the best NFL writers out there. Every week he thoughtfully predicts each game. This week, he was buying into the Chiefs. In his piece, he points out just how dominant Kansas City is on offense. (This was written before they had added Le’Veon Bell to the mix). Here is what he had to say:

Kansas City Chiefs 35, Buffalo Bills 30

When Kansas City’s offense has the ball, this game will be a matchup of sides trying to live up to previous glory. The Chiefs are 12th in net yards per attempt after finishing first and second the previous two seasons. The Bills’ defense went from mediocre to Lions status in Nashville, with Matt Milano and Tre’Davious White out of the lineup. K.C.’s offense seems like the far easier fix. Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are constantly trying to balance how much they should improvise versus how much they should stick to structure, and while Mahomes is a little out of whack currently, he’s accustomed to being in shootouts. I’m curious if Bills coach Sean McDermott is ready to embrace playing every week in the 30-plus-point range, because that’s the type of Bills team he’s coaching

FiveThirtyEight:

As we do every week, we took a look at the math nerds over at FiveThirtyEight, who determine the likelihood of a team winning a matchup each week. While they are likely more invested in tracking the polling numbers from Florida and the impact of two individual town halls on voters three weeks before election day, they still find time to calculate the winning percentages for each team. This week, they give Kansas City a slight edge, giving them a 60% of coming away with a victory. That means that they give the Bills a 40% chance of avoiding back-to-back losses.

While these are far from the closest numbers of the week, the Chiefs are usually favored by much more. This is no easy game for Kansas City.

Overview:

According to NFL Pick Watch, there is a whopping 87% of experts taking the Chiefs. While this seems wider than it should, there are factors that may be contributing to this. Tre’Davious Whte could be out this week, which seems like an unfortunate time for an injury. Andy Reid has very rarely lost two games in a row with Kansas City. The Bills also looked depleted in their loss to the Titans last week.

The media gives Kansas City a slight edge. It should be an excellent game and could begin a new era of rivalry between two talented AFC quarterbacks. One thing is for certain, we are in for a treat on Monday night.

Next: The Bills defense is more bark than bite in 2020

NFL Football

Atlanta Falcons prediction: Can the birds get their first win of the year?

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The Atlanta Falcons are back in action for the first time since firing Dan Quinn.

At 1-4 the Minnesota Vikings aren’t much better than the 0-5 Atlanta Falcons. This has all the makings of a really bad pillow fight among two teams that had Super Bowl hopes coming into 2020.

This will be the fifth time that these two teams have met over the last seven NFL seasons, the Falcons are 0-4 in the previous four meetings. The Falcons last win against the Vikings came in 2011 when Matt Ryan threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns.

Here is how the staff at Blogging Dirty thinks the game turns out.

Jeff Benedict – Site Expert

When these two teams met last season, I was shocked at how bad the Atlanta Falcons had looked. Minnesota jumped out 28-0 and never looked back.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook evolved into one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league and while he was able to rush for 111 yards, he didn’t embarrass the Falcons like he did other teams across the league.

He will be out Sunday, which is a big advantage for the Falcons.

This Vikings team is much different on the defensive side than they were a year ago and I think the Falcons will be able to take advantage of that.

I think Raheem Morris starts his Falcons coaching career with a win.

Joe Beasley – Contributor

I expect the Falcons to play with some type of fire. If interim head coach Raheem Morris wants a shot at this job or any other head coaching gig, he has to show he can somewhat fix this mess in Atlanta.

The offense does get Julio Jones back which is good for everyone except a young Vikings secondary. Add that to the fact that Dalvin Cook isn’t playing and you have a perfect storm for the Falcons to get their first win.

Besides, I’m bound to get one of these right.

Justin Churchill – Contributor

Last week the Vikings were close to beating the Seahawks. They have a very good offense but may struggle without Dalvin Cook in the backfield.

Their defense will give up a lot, hopefully allowing Todd Gurley to get back into a groove. However,  I think the Vikings will win this one.

Ross Terrell – Contributor

It’s officially a new era in Atlanta. Maybe just maybe Raheem Morris was gunning for this job the whole time. So he sabotaged Quinn to get his shot as head coach. Or maybe the Falcons downward spiral will continue.

Let’s hope the latter isn’t true and the Atlanta Falcons finally pull themselves off the mat.

Next: Falcons have a chance to get out of sports purgatory

Ethan Johnson – Contributor

The Atlanta Falcons will not win this game. The team may come out inspired and rejuvenated, or heartbroken because their coach is gone.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter because they haven’t beaten the Minnesota Vikings since 2011, and that streak won’t end Sunday.

 

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Buffalo Bills: 4 defensive tackles to consider trading for this season

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Buffalo Bills

Sep 22, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) jogs off the field following his sack of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (not pictured) during the first quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

These are four defensive tackles the Buffalo Bills should consider trying to trade for before the trade deadline.

The defensive line for the Buffalo Bills went through a significant change this past offseason. They saw free agents Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson leave in free agency but the front office replaced them with Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson, and Mario Addison as well as selecting A.J. Epenesa in the second round.

In addition to those offseason moves, the Bills had last year’s starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei elect to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns around the pandemic.

After six games, it is clear that the changes have caused this defense to take a step backward stopping the run and the front office may need to look outside the organization on how to correct this.

The focus for general manager Brandon Beane should be to look for someone similar to Lotulelei in terms of a zero tech defensive tackle that can eat up space and take on multiple defenders. This will help force running backs into fewer lanes but also free up Tremaine Edmunds and the rest of the second and third-level defenders clear running lanes to get to the ball carrier.

These are four defensive tackles that could be available for a trade that makes sense for the Buffalo Bills.

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4 tight ends the Carolina Panthers should target in the 2021 NFL Draft

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Carolina Panthers

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Ian Thomas

Which college prospects are emerging as early draft candidates for the Carolina Panthers at the tight end position?

The Carolina Panthers clearly have a need at the tight end spot which needs to be addressed next spring. They are getting next to no production from either Ian Thomas or Chris Manhertz through six games of the 2020 season and this is a stark contrast to what the team got from prolific veteran Greg Olsen for so many years.

It’s hard to deny that this isn’t what the Carolina Panthers expected coming into the season. They had high hopes for Thomas to step up and fill the void left by the Pro Bowler, who opted for one more shot at a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks before inevitably taking up a broadcast position next year.

Thomas hasn’t lived up to his billing this season. He has accumulated just six receptions, 39 receiving yards, and one touchdown from 11 targets, which simply isn’t good enough if the former Indiana standout wants to make a real go of things from a starting role.

Although all hope isn’t lost, he is clearly skating on thin ice.

There were fewer expectations on the shoulders of Manhertz. The veteran is seen as more of a blocking tight end and has aided the Panthers in this area. This has been of particular use to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Mike Davis, depending on what play is called by Joe Brady.

If things continue as they are then this might be priority No.1 for the Panthers once the dust has settled on the 2020 season. Whether they bring in a veteran during the free agency period is up for debate, but there are plenty of exciting tight end prospects entering the 2021 NFL Draft that will also warrant consideration during the evaluation process.

Let’s take a look at four players at the position who could come into Carolina and potentially make a big impression.

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