NFL Picks Week 6: Whose Luck Will Run Out?
Through five weeks of action, the 2012 NFL season has held its fair share of surprises. Teams like the 2-3 Packers have people scratching their heads trying to understand Green Bay’s underachievement, while the likes of the 4-1 Vikings and Cardinals have played inexplicably well.
While a few of the season’s early overachievers may turn out to be true sleepers that extend their surprising runs all the way to the playoffs, some of them will surely fall back to original expectations.
Here is a look at three teams whose luck, despite helping them exceed expectations to this point, will run out in Week 6.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
Through four games, Luck and the Colts have amassed as many wins as the team did all of last season.
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A 2-2 record would be considered modest for most NFL teams. For the Colts, however, with a rookie quarterback at the helm and a 2-14 record to show for last season’s efforts, it’s pretty darn fantastic.
Andrew Luck has been everything Colts fans hoped he would be and certainly looks like the team’s quarterback of the present and future. Even the Indianapolis defense, which was eighth-worst in the league last season, is among the top seven so far this year and has kept the Colts competitive in every game aside from the Week 1 blowout to Chicago.
Sunday’s 30-27 win over the Packers was thrilling and implausible and came on a huge emotional high, as the team’s battle on the field was dedicated to coach Chuck Pagano’s battle against leukemia in a nearby hospital.
With the name of Indianapolis’ quarterback, it seems cliché to say that the team’s “luck” will run out, but it will in Week 6. A team that fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars should not really be able to beat anyone, never mind Green Bay.
Indianapolis will find itself in a tight contest with the injury-depleted Jets next Sunday. Luck will be the best quarterback on the field, but a winning record simply is not in the cards for his Colts—at least not yet.
Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
Wilson has been underwhelming, yet successful, for the Seahawks.
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When you have won only one convincing game all season, a 3-2 record must owe itself to some sort of luck. Or perhaps just a call or two made by replacement officials.
Thanks to the infamous Monday night replacement referee debauchery against Green Bay, along with a sloppy win this week against Carolina, Seattle has a winning record. It should not be expected to stay that way.
The Seahawks defense is very good—there is no luck involved with that. The only team to allow fewer points to opponents through five weeks is the 49ers, and an amazing defensive performance that held Cam Newton and the Panthers to just 190 yards on Sunday is the only reason Seattle escaped with the victory.
Offensively, however, the Seahawks are in trouble. In a passing league, their rookie quarterback has only thrown for 200 yards once in five games. Seattle is second-worst in the league in passing offense, sixth-worst in total offense.
Week 6 brings a matchup with New England, whose passing attack couldn’t be further on the other end of the spectrum. The scary thing about the Patriots this year is that they’re actually running the ball exceptionally well, too—third-best in the league to this point—making them even more difficult to game plan for defensively.
Seattle’s defense is sure to put up a fight against the Patriots, but preventing New England from putting points on the board is nearly impossible. No amount of luck will allow Russell Wilson and the anemic Seahawk offense to hang with Tom Brady and the high-powered New England attack.
Minnesota Vikings (4-1)
Harvin's playmaking is a huge part of the reason Minnesota is 4-1.
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An overtime win against the lowly Jaguars in Week 1? Three points. An upset of the 49ers in which Christian Ponder channels his inner Michael Vick? 11 points. A win over the Lions featuring two Vikings special teams touchdowns? Seven points. A 4-1 record after being considered among the worst teams in football at the beginning of the season? Priceless.
Minnesota has shocked the NFL this season, making things interesting against both the best and the worst competition the league has to offer. Ponder has taken big strides at quarterback, star running back Adrian Peterson has returned effectively from last season’s ACL tear and Percy Harvin has emerged as one of the league’s best play makers.
Still, the Vikings offense is not exactly frightening, and opponents such as the Jaguars and Colts have each managed to put up 23 points against the defense. Minnesota is definitely the surprise team of the first five weeks, and only time will tell if it can hang on to its early success.
If luck has had anything to do with it, however, the Vikings are due for a loss to Washington in Week 6. While just about everything has gone Minnesota’s way, the Redskins (2-3) have lost all three of their games by a single score. Robert Griffin III and his offense have produced significantly better results than Minnesota’s has, both rushing and passing.
Griffin expects to play next week despite suffering a mild concussion on Sunday—if he is good to go, the Redskins should put a hiccup in the Vikings’ surprising run.