For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 6 represents a reboot of the 2013 schedule.
The Bucs have already put Florida faithful through a season’s worth of drama, getting out to a sluggish 0-4 start (1-3 ATS), airing public infighting between star players and the coaching staff, and going through a painful breakup with their No. 1 QB, leaving the offense in the hands of a rookie.
After a bye in Week 5, Tampa Bay is ready for a fresh start. To quote Will Ferrell in The Other Guys, maybe the Bucs should be called the “Febreeze Brothers, because it’s feelin’ so fresh right now”.
But not even a Costco-sized tub of deodorizer could mask the rotten stench in Tampa. However, oddsmakers seem to think the Bucs could come off the bye smelling like roses. They’ve set the line at a pick for Week 6’s battle between Tampa Bay and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles’ new up-tempo offense got back on track against the winless Giants in Week 5 and now takes on another 0-fer team in Tampa Bay. Philadelphia turned to Nick Foles at QB when Michael Vick went down last Sunday, and didn’t miss a beat. In fact, the Eagles become a much steadier team with Foles in the pocket instead of the risk/reward that Vick brings to the line of scrimmage.
At least Foles is a more reliable option with much better weapons than a rookie QB being thrown to the wolves.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets (-1, 40.5)
Another winless team off a bye week getting love from books are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who visit the New York Jets Sunday afternoon.
The last time we saw the Steelers they were getting their knickers pulled down in front of a British audience, losing 34-27 to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Pittsburgh opened as a 3-point road favorite but after the Jets went into the ATL and stole a win from the Falcons Monday, the early money has moved New York to -1.
While the Jets seem ripe with letdown potential in Week 6, there is no let-up from their defense. Gang Green is second in total yards allowed and limiting opponents to just 76.2 rushing gains per game. They’re getting to the quarterback, with 16 sacks on the season, and forced a game-changing fumble from Matt Ryan Monday night.
The Steelers offense has been stuck in mud for the first chunk of schedule and, like always, is struggling to keep QB Ben Roethlisberger clean – giving up 15 sacks through four games. Pittsburgh is also dealing with injuries on the offensive line. Left guard Ramon Foster is question with a pectoral injury Sunday.
Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan State Spartans (-9.5)
This battle for perhaps the grossest prize in college football - Old Brass Spittoon - saw the spread climb as high as MSU -10 before money pushed it below the key numbers.
The Hoosiers are coming off a big win over Penn State and have an offense that can stack up the yards. The Spartans, on the other hand, do little with the football and a spread hovering on double figures seems like a lot of points for a team that can’t score.
Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at UMass Minutemen (-3, 43)
How low can you go on the total for a game between the two worst offensive teams in college football?
Miami (Ohio) ranked 124th in scoring, averaging just 8.8 points through its first five winless games, and is fresh off the firing of head coach Don Treadwell. The only team behind it in the offensive stats is UMass, which is mustering a mere touchdown per contest.
According to Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, the suggested total for this listless showdown is 43 points. The Redhawks and Minutemen have a combined 1-9 over/under record on the year.