Here are my NFL Week 6 Picks
(7-7 last week, 40-37 for the season)
Bye teams: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks
Phi @ Car – Finally, a Thursday Night matchup of equally excellent teams that could actually make for a great game to watch. The Thursday Night idea has basically been a disaster; the scheduling is weird, the games are never entertaining, and the time frame throws off the players, leading to their under-performing. Maybe this changes this week, because these teams are strong, these conference contests are important, and these quarterbacks are hot. Let’s just hope everyone doesn’t come out flat, but I’m confident that they won’t. The Eagles are scorching right now, they look unstoppable behind young Carson Wentz, but it’s never easy to head out on the road into a hostile environment. The Panthers are just as hot, Cam seems to have shaken off the rust, and their defense is playing stout football. I think we could see the most evenly matched game of the year, so I have to give the edge to the home team, if just slightly.
Chi @ Bal – I just can’t seem to pick games right this year, but one thing at least seems certain; the Bears are going to lose. In a year in which even bad teams like the Jets can win on any given Sunday, Chicago keeps losing, and that helps keep me sane. They have won one game this year, but that won’t happen very often, and they didn’t even win last week at home vs a team playing their backup QB & RB. They had to resort to trick plays, and they were surprisingly successful, but the Bears still didn’t win, and they won’t this week either. The Ravens have been a bit up & down lately, but they are 3-2, are tied atop the AFC North, so all is not lost. With Pittsburgh struggling with consistency as well, Baltimore can move into the lead, and there’s really no reason that they shouldn’t. They’re defense is playing well, the offense just needs to step up a bit, something we might see right away, as the Ravens get the easy win.
Cle @ Hou – The Browns are so bad that they lost to the Jets at home and benched their rookie QB in utter despair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they just need to quit playing football. Or change towns or names or something, Jesus, anything to stop being exactly what you’ve been for the past 20 years; terrible. In their modern history, or since 1999, they’ve had a season with a winning record only twice and have made the playoffs only once. Actually, if I’m reading this right, 1950 was the last time the Browns won two playoff-style games in a row. They’re ineptitude is just sad, and I’m tired of them existing. The Texans, on the other hand, have something to play for, and their rookie QB is playing great, he’s not sitting the bench because he sucks. Houston is only one game out of first place, and even losing JJ Watt won’t derail their forward momentum, so I’m picking them to win at home in what should be a blowout.
GB @ Min – I’m mad because this lost me my fantasy game, but the dumbest fan could have told Jason Garrett that he needed to run out every second of the clock before attempting to score last week during the final minute, because any time you left for Aaron Rodgers was an open invitation for the Cowboys to lose. How they didn’t know this, how they threw an incomplete pass, how they left time on the clock for the Packers to score; someone needs fired. I won’t have won my fantasy game if Rodgers hadn’t has that final drive; the guy is amazing, you knew he was going to throw a TD. He’ll assuredly throw more this week; the Vikings defense is good, but they aren’t that good. They also don’t have their starting QB or RB, and I think they’ll be in panic mode pretty early in this one, so it’s hard to see them getting the momentum switched to their side. The Pack should travel well and get the win in Minnesota.
Det @ NO – Matt Stafford tried to come back against the Panthers last week, but it was too little too late, and the Lions got their second loss. He’s banged up as well, and the magic might have worn off a bit; even the defense isn’t playing quite as well as they were at the beginning of the season. I don’t know, I like the Lions, but they’re showing me that they might not be the shockingly elite team that they looked like earlier on, and it might be time to jump off the bandwagon. I definitely will if they lose in New Orleans, something that I’m pretty sure is about to happen. Drew Brees dominates coming off bye weeks, and I think he’ll revel in the fact that the Saints are fully rested and are back at home. They are going to put up some points in this one, but I also think NO is going to play some actual defense. They allow 20 points a game, which is few enough for Brees to win it with his arm on the other end.
Mia @ Atl – Matt Cassel vs Jay Cutler last week and the Titans lost that battle of the …well …Titans …and Tennessee can’t wait for Mariota to get back on the field. Cutler and the Dolphins aren’t doing too poorly, they’re 2-2, but still they don’t score very much, their defense stepping up to keep their team in games that they maybe should lose. Miami will be exposed eventually, they aren’t great in any way, and this could be the week that the flood gates open and Cutler throws 9 INTs in desperation. The Falcons got their first loss and then had a bye week, so they’ve had time to sit on their anger and to let it eat away at their souls. I can’t imagine anything else other than a complete dominating performance out of Atlanta in Week 6, as they let all that frustration loose on the Dolphins. The Falcons are back at home, they have something to prove, and they will win this game going away.
NE @ NYJ – WTF is up with the Patriots defense? They allow the most points in the league (except for the Colts) and they are basically embarrassing themselves. This isn’t what we are used to, I’m not sure what has changed, but something has got to be fixed. Tom Brady can’t win these games all on his own anymore, he’s getting old and he’s getting hit. He’s hurt coming into this week, and he could be one sack away from calling it a career, who knows. Protect Brady, play solid defense, and this team could still make it to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, as it is, the Pats are tied with the Bills and the Jets atop the AFC East, which just shows you that the world has lost its mind. The Jets for Pete’s sake, the Jets are winning the division, and they allow far fewer points than the Patriots. They also score far fewer, which will ultimately be their downfall, both during this season and during this game.
SF @ Was – We know how bad the Browns are, we delight in discussing the plight of the Giants, but we forget that the Niners are also 0-5, that they are also one of the worst teams in the league. But I guess we understand that this is truly a rebuilding year, that it’ll take some time to turn things around, which is funny, because weren’t they in the Super Bowl a few years ago? And isn’t the QB they had then still available? Hmm, you think they might pick him up and try to win with him before they draft another guy next year, but no, that’s crazy, I heard he knelt down or something equally sinister, better not invite him into a locker room or something political might happen. Speaking of politics, I can’t take the Redskins seriously until they change their ridiculously offensive nickname. But I do think they’ll win this game at home vs one of the worst teams in the league, so let’s just leave it at that.
TB @ Ari – The Bucs haven’t exactly started this season the way that many of us thought that they would. They’re 2-2, they have only won at home, they haven’t been as lights out on offense as predicted, and they’re falling behind the Panthers and the Falcons for the division. They need to fix some problems right away before they fall deeper into this hole, and a win here would go a long way toward climbing out. This is a winnable game, but it won’t be easy, TB will have to sure that they are capable of finding their problems and fixing them; we’re about to see what kind of team the Bucs really are. We’ve seen what the Cardinals have become without David Johnson, and I’m not sure what else there is to learn. Now, they did just pick up Adrian Peterson and release Chris Johnson, so maybe they’ll play at home with some renewed vigor, I think they have a solid chance. It’s just that TB has a higher ceiling, so I’ll pick them here.
LAR @ Jax – The Rams are an interesting team, one that I did not see coming. They score the most points in the league (other than the Chiefs) and are tied for the NFC West lead with the Seahawks. That’s good company both ways, and I did not think they would be this tough a team when I made predictions before the season started. They did lose last week, they aren’t dominant at home, and they do allow too many points to be considered elite. But LA is undefeated on the road, they score points in bunches, and I wouldn’t want to be the team to face them this season. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Rams are coming to town, and I would be concerned. Jacksonville is a similar team; scores, plays well on the road, is doing surprisingly well. But I imagine that their wheels will fall off sooner rather than later. They’re a little inconsistent, and I don’t trust Bortles at all. The D is great, but it will only take them so far.
Pit @ KC – Big Ben Roethlisberger sounded pretty defeated after last week’s loss and after throwing 5 INTs, so there’s reason to wonder if his heart is in the game or not, if he can successfully steer this team toward the playoffs. He’s been hinting at retirement, and you have to assume it’s crossing his mind right now, even though the Steelers have a winning record and are tied at the top of their division. I don’t know, it’s weird, and no one knows but Ben. Pitt can still win games down the road, they have some immense talent on both sides of the ball, I just wouldn’t pick anyone to go into Kansas City right now and leave with a W. The Chiefs are the league’s best team, the league’s only undefeated team, and they’re playing well enough right now to still any questions or doubts. They score like crazy, if the defense steps up they’ll be unstoppable, I just hope they stumble a bit before my Broncos have to play them.
LAC @ Oak – Here are two of the other teams of the AFC West, both with their sights set on the division, but only one with any real chance. And it’s not LA, that’s for sure. They won their first game of the season last week, but this team is no good, one win shouldn’t fool us into thinking that anything has changed. Rivers is still an idiot, there is still no fan base to support them, and I’m very confident that they will lose this game in Oakland, maybe by a lot. Derek Carr is back for the Raiders after sitting one week with an injury, and I imagine he’ll be slinging the ball and scoring multiple touchdowns. Oakland scores more, allows less, is playing at home; this is pretty much a lock. Division opponents always play each other fiercely though, so there’s always a chance that the Chargers pull off something tricky, I just wouldn’t bet on it. No, the Raiders will dominate and keep working toward the top of the division.
NYG @ Den – Hit with impossible injuries last week, the Giants can now be completely counted out. I was all about them coming into the season, I thought they had the best WR trio in the league, I thought they would win the NFC East. Well, they were bad before they lost all their wideouts, and they’ll be much worst now. Odell and BMarsh and one other guy all left last week’s game with season-ending injuries in a game that completely devastated New York, leaving them with literally no one to throw to. They were awful and just got worse; I almost feel bad for what the Denver D is about to do to them. I don’t want my guys feeling overconfident, but they should dominate the GMen from the first snap to the final whistle. The Broncos are better on every side and should be able to score with ease. They should also be able to crush poor Eli on Sunday Night football, in their all blues, for the whole world to see.
Ind @ Ten – Andrew Luck is inching closer to returning, but meanwhile the Colts are struggling, though they have pieced together enough to go 2-3. They aren’t awful exactly, they just aren’t a great team without their stud QB, and they need him back in a big way. TY Hilton has been impressive, Brissett has been serviceable, but the Colts are just OK, and probably won’t win many until Luck returns. The Titans actually have the same record, but should be a far better team than they’ve shown so far. Now, last week Mariota was hurt and the Titans lost under Matt Cassel. That would have gone the other way had Mariota played, so thankfully he’ll be back this week vs Indy on Monday Night Football. Tennessee’s defense needs to step up in a big way; they’ve been extremely disappointing so far this year. But I think Marcus will play well, I think so will the defense, and I’d say this game won’t really be that close.
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QBs – Joe Flacco vs the Bears. DeSean Watson vs the Browns. Drew Brees vs the Lions. Matt Ryan vs the Dolphins. Kirk Cousins vs the 49ers. David Carr vs the Chargers. Trevor Siemian vs the Giants. Marcus Mariota vs the Colts.
RBs – Mark Ingram vs the Lions. DeVontae Freeman vs the Dolphins. Mike Gillislee vs the Jets. Todd Gurley vs the Jaguars. DeMarco Murray vs the Colts.
WRs – Kelvin Benjamin vs the Eagles. Jordy Nelson vs the Vikings. Willie Snead vs the Lions. Julio Jones vs the Dolphins. Mike Evans vs the Cardinals. Amari Cooper vs the Chargers. Emmanuel Sanders vs the Giants. TY Hilton vs the Titans.
TEs – Kyle Rudolph vs the Packers. Rob Gronkowski vs the Jets. OJ Howard vs the Cardinals. Delanie Walker vs the Colts.
Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Bears. Mason Crosby vs the Vikings. Matt Prater vs the Saints. Matt Bryant vs the Dolphins. Stephen Gostkowski vs the Jets. Brandon McManus vs the Giants. Ryan Succop vs the Colts.
DEFs – Baltimore vs the Bears. New Orleans vs the Lions. Atlanta vs the Dolphins. Washington vs the 49ers. Denver vs the Giants. Tenessee vs the Colts.