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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. | .Roger Steinman/AP

NFL picks, Week 6: Aaron Rodgers likes to make you play stupid

SHARE NFL picks, Week 6: Aaron Rodgers likes to make you play stupid
SHARE NFL picks, Week 6: Aaron Rodgers likes to make you play stupid

When Dak Prescott scored the go-ahead touchdown on a zone-read keeper against the Packers on Sunday, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett might have been the only person in the world who didn’t realize he had just made the biggest mistake since the last time he gave Aaron Rodgers too much time on the clock.

In a classic case of football ignorance, the Cowboys, trailing 31-28 with 9:56 left in the fourth quarter, purposely milked the clock on their touchdown drive — and still screwed it up. Rodgers only needed 35 seconds to beat the Cowboys in their NFC divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium in January. Yet Garrett gave Rodgers 63 seconds — basically a lifetime in Rodgers’ world — to drive for a field goal to tie or a touchdown to win.

BEST BET Packers at Vikings Time: Noon. Line: Packers by 3. Total: 46. Records (overall/ATS): Packers 4-1/3-2; Vikings 3-2/2-3.

Rodgers drove the Packers 75 yards in nine plays for the touchdown —a 12-yard pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds to spare.

It’s uncanny how quarterbacks such as Rodgers and Tom Brady seem to have a knack for playing Jedi mind tricks and making you play stupid. Vic Fangio is one of the best coordinators in the NFL, yet he somehow left undrafted rookie Cre’Von LeBlanc alone on Jordy Nelson in a critical moment vs. the Packers last year. Of course, LeBlanc was burned for a 60-yard pass that set up the tiebreaking field goal at the buzzer.

Garrett insisted the priority is to score. But if Prescott slides at the 1-yard line and runs the clock down, the Cowboys have a better chance of scoring on two plays from the 1 than they do of stopping Rodgers with 63 seconds left. As Lovie Smith would say, “It’s as simple as that.” If you give Rodgers a chance to beat you, he usually does.

Pick: Packers 27, Vikings 17.

Bears game pick

Bears at Ravens

  • Time: Noon, Fox-32.
  • Line: Ravens by 6½. Total: 39½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bears 1-4/3-2; Ravens 3-2/3-2.
  • Outlook: Bears didn’t get quite the boost they were hoping for from Mitch Trubisky, but it wasn’t his fault. Supporting cast figures to be more on point this week, but Trubisky will be challenged in his first NFL road game and against a tough defense. Ravens have won by 20, 14 and 13 points and lost by 37 and 17, so you never know.
  • Pick: Ravens 24, Bears 14.

RELATED: Our Sun-Times Bears’ experts make their picks.

Top plays for Week 6

Browns at Texans

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Texans by 10.
  • Total: 47.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Browns 0-5/1-4; Texans 2-3/3-2.
  • Outlook: Browns passed twice on Deshaun Watson and settled for DeShone Kizer. Watson set an NFL rookie record with 12 TD passes in his first 5 games. Kizer was just benched for Kevin Hogan after 5 starts.
  • Pick: Texans 31, Browns 13.

Patriots at Jets

  • Time: Noon, Ch. 2.
  • Line: Patriots by 9½.
  • Total: 47½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Patriots 3-2/2-3; Jets 3-2/3-2.
  • Outlook: Much-anticipated showdown between Josh McCown and Tom Brady is finally here — their first matchup since 2004, when Brady outdueled McCown in Arizona. McCown has lifted the upstart Jets, but he’s up against the master.
  • Pick: Patriots 30, Jets 10.

Steelers atChiefs

  • Time: 3:25 p.m., Ch. 2.
  • Line: Chiefs by 4½.
  • Total: 46.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Steelers 3-2/2-3; Chiefs 5-0/5-0.
  • Outlook: Steelers have lost to the Bears and Jets, teams that were 3-13 last year. But don’t let that fool you. They still know how to rise to the occasion vs. a contender. Ben Roethlisberger usually bounces back.
  • Pick: Steelers 17, Chiefs 14.

The rest of the NFL picks

Dolphins at Falcons

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Falcons by 11½. Total: 46.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Dolphins 2-2/2-2; Falcons 3-1/2-2/2-2.
  • Outlook: Dolphins were unimpressive victors in their true home opener against the Titans last week, then were rocked by the revelation of the Chris Foerster video, which forced their O-line coach to resign. But after going through the Aaron Kromer incident in Chicago, this is a distraction Jay Cutler can handle.
  • Pick: Falcons 31, Dolphins 24.

Lions at Saints

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Saints by 4½. Total: 50.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Lions 3-2/3-2; Saints 2-2/2-2.
  • Outlook: After getting torched by Cam Newton (355 yards, 3 TDs, 141.8 rating) in a home loss to the Panthers last week, the Lions get a red-hot Drew Brees, who is only off to the best start of his illustrious 16-year career (8 TDs, 0 INTs, 108.3 rating).
  • Pick: Lions 35, Saints 31.

49ers at Redskins

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Redskins by 10. Total: 46½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): 49ers 0-5/3-2; Redskins 2-2/2-2.
  • Outlook: If the Bears had re-signed Brian Hoyer instead of signing Mike Glennon in free agency, Mitch Trubisky might still be on the bench. Hoyer threw for 355 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs in an OT loss to the Colts last week. Redskins losses are to the 4-1 Eagles and 5-0 Chiefs.
  • Pick: Redskins 24, 49ers 10.

Rams at Jaguars

  • Time: 3:05 p.m.
  • Line: Jaguars by 2½. Total: 42½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Rams 2-3/2-3; Jaguars 3-2/3-2.
  • Outlook: Revenge of the Nerds game between two rejuvenated teams that have combined for 18 top-10 draft picks in the last 10 seasons. Expect Rams QB Jared Goff to bounce back.
  • Pick: Rams 17, Jaguars 14.

Buccaneers at Cardinals

  • Time: 3:05 p.m.
  • Line: Buccaneers by 1½. Total: 45.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Buccaneers 2-2/1-3; Cardinals 2-3/0-5.
  • Outlook: After an abysmal performance in a 34-7 loss to the Eagles, Cardinals could get a huge lift — emotionally if not physically — with the addition of RB Adrian Peterson, acquired in a trade with the Saints.
  • Pick: Cardinals 26, Buccaneers 20.

Chargers at Raiders

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: OFF. Total: OFF.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Chargers 1-4/1-4; Raiders 2-3/2-3.
  • Outlook: Derek Carr, estimated to miss up to six weeks with a spinal fracture, could return after missing one game. If not, EJ Manuel should find the going a little easier this week.
  • Pick: Raiders 27, Chargers 23.

Giants at Broncos

  • Time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 5.
  • Line: Broncos by 11½. Total: 39½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Giants 0-5/2-3; Broncos 3-1/2-1-1.
  • Outlook: Bears no longer have the most nondescript WR corps in the NFL after Giants lost Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Dwayne Harris and Sterling Shepard to injuries.
  • Pick: Broncos 27, Giants 10.

Colts at Titans

  • Time: 7:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN.
  • Line: OFF. Total: OFF.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Colts 2-3/3-2; Titans 2-3/2-3.
  • Outlook: Titans’ offense has ground to a halt since Marcus Mariota suffered a hamstring injury against the Texans. He hopes to play, but that’s a tough injury to come back from quickly.
  • Pick: Titans 17, Colts 13.
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