Oh what a difference a few weeks make. After beginning September as Super Bowl contenders, some high-profile NFL teams are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture as we enter the heart of the season.
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants are in danger of falling to .500 this weekend, while the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers risk dropping three games behind the NFC North division lead.
Week 6 is sure to feature some wild outcomes and another round of shocking upsets. Here are my picks for preseason title favorites that will fall flat on the road this weekend.
The Lions are 0-2 on the road this season and the Eagles are 2-0 at home. Unless that changes before Sunday afternoon, expect Philadelphia to move to 4-2 this weekend after topping an underachieving Detroit squad.
Jim Schwartz's Lions are coming off a bye week, but that doesn't change how one-dimensional they are offensively this year. Stop Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson through the air and you have halted Detroit's attack.
The Lions rank 24th in rush offense this year and that doesn't bode well for their chances at Philly considering they are allowing more than 28 points per game through the first quarter of the season.
The Eagles' secondary ranks ninth against the pass this season, which should give them a huge edge going up against the Lions' mighty aerial assault. I like Nnamdi Asomugha and company to stifle Detroit on the road and send the preseason Super Bowl favorite to 1-4 on the year.
New York Giants
If this Sunday's matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers was the NFC Championship Game, I would love the Giants' chances, but unfortunately it's a regular-season clash, and you never know what to expect from Big Blue during the fall.
The Niners have won nine regular-season home games in a row dating back to 2011, and turned Eli Manning over twice at Candlestick Park last November in the two teams' most recent regular-season showdown.
San Francisco boasts the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack after five weeks and will look to pound the ball all day long against a suspect New York defense, which has been mediocre at best this season. The Giants rank 21st in yards allowed and are giving up more than 22 points per week.
Expect Jim Harbaugh's physical squad to overwhelm the Giants at home and send the reigning champs to 3-3.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers haven't been the same Super Bowl-winning team since they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 last season. Since then, the Packers have gone 4-5 including the playoffs.
Super Bowl favorite? No way.
Green Bay is just another mediocre football team with lots of issues, mainly on the offensive line, where Aaron Rodgers is finding time in the pocket hard to come by. Shockingly, the Packers rank just 15th in passing offense this season. Life won't get any easier on the road at Houston in Week 6.
The Pack will visit the Texans on Sunday Night Football, looking to avoid a 2-4 start to the season. Houston is a sound football team though, unlike Green Bay. The Texans boast a Top 10 defense and a pass rush that will have the reigning league MVP, Rodgers running for his life.
As a Packers fan it pains me to make this pick, but I can only see the Texans topping Green Bay at home this coming weekend to put Mike McCarthy's squad on the brink at 2-4 heading to St. Louis. Green Bay is trending down and Houston is growing up before our eyes.
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