After a "back to basics" approach yielded positive results last week, the focus this week is more of the same. From line value to an exceptional home-field advantage to a manageable way to back superior teams even when they're priced at a premium, fundamental factors are the driving force behind these Week 6 picks.
Redskins +3 vs. Eagles
The handicap here is very similar to last week's Eagles/Lions breakdown, with line value serving as the common thread. While the Eagles continue to impress, their loss in Detroit reinforces the notion that they're not ready yet to be clear road favorites in many settings outside of Cleveland. That they're laying a field goal in the nation's capital could serve as a nice pick-me-up for Washington backers.
Packers -4 vs. Cowboys
With an elite home-field advantage for the Packers aided by the slick (if not yet frozen) tundra of Lambeau Field, the four-point spread implies these are even teams. That doesn't appear to be the case in a vacuum, and certainly doesn't appear to be the case upon further examination of this week's matchup and situation.
From a tactical standpoint, Green Bay boasts one of the NFL's best run defenses and should be able to hold Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys' strong ground game in check. This puts more pressure on Dak Prescott to shoulder the load, a task made taller by the absence of Dez Bryant.
Situationally, Dallas is in a dicey spot with its bye on deck and vacation planning interfering with some of this week's game prep. Meanwhile, for the Packers it's the third of four straight home games during a whopping six-week stretch between road games, minimizing any distractions.
With these dynamics in play, Green Bay is fully capable of covering the spread without necessarily delivering football's equivalent of the perfect pitch.
Pick of the Week: Teaser - Patriots -2.5 vs. Bengals, Bills -2.5 vs. 49ers
With two home teams who are superior to their opponents but priced at a premium, there might not be a more optimal way to back them than to tease them down through 7 and 3. Doing so is anticipating little more than an outright win for the two big favorites, and the Patriots and Bills should be expected to emerge victorious on Sunday.
For the Patriots, it's pretty simple - they're head and shoulders the NFL's best team with Tom Brady back in the fold and would easily be favored at home by more than a field goal against anyone in the league.
In Buffalo, it's not a show of support for the surging Bills as much as it is a play against the 49ers. In Colin Kaepernick's first action of the season a combination of rusty mechanics, questionable decision making, and an anemic supporting cast should once again leave Chip Kelly's team licking its wounds.