If you like your NFL predictions bold like your morning cup of joe, you came to the right place.
Week 6 has another terrific slate of games with various compelling storylines. Teams are rising. Others are falling. And some new faces could be under center come Sunday.
And don’t forget about the exciting potential for some unexpected upsets. This week features various matchups that could stun the masses.
There’s much more to discuss, so read ahead for some Week 6 picks and bold predictions for five of this week’s games.
Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback Brady Quinn isn’t a hero, but for one week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’ll have a chance to be.
Though he has yet to be officially ruled out, starter Matt Cassel is very unlikely to play this week due to a concussion. That means that Quinn will have a chance to catalyze this stagnant Chiefs offense, particularly the passing game.
Fortunately for him, Kansas City does have some intriguing weapons. Jamaal Charles is a dynamic runner, Dwayne Bowe is a legit No. 1 target and Dexter McCluster has the ability to change games. Jon Baldwin, too, is a huge target and is capable of reeling in some tough catches at wideout.
The problem is, Cassel has not looked very good this year, which has caused the passing game and thus the entire offense to struggle.
Now, Quinn isn’t exactly a proven commodity at the position, but a change under center could be exactly what this team needs. The Chiefs will be on the road against Tampa Bay, a team that has struggled to get to 1-3 and has been inconsistent in multiple phases of the game.
More importantly, the Bucs rank dead last in passing yards allowed per game, yielding about 345 yards through the air each week.
The stage is set for Quinn to spark the passing game. In doing so, he should help guide the Chiefs to a huge road victory.
Prediction: Chiefs 28, Buccaneers 20
Going up against the Oakland Raiders at home, this one has all the makings of a trap game for the Atlanta Falcons.
Hey, you wanted bold, right?
Atlanta may be 5-0, but not all of those victories have been pretty. Three of their five wins have come by seven points or fewer, and their opponents’ combined record is 9-16. As a note, Oakland is currently 1-3.
The Raiders, though, are coming off a much-needed bye week after falling to Denver 37-6 in Week 4. Over their last two games, their zone-blocking scheme showed signs of development, which is great news for the offense. And the team certainly must have worked at smoothing out the wrinkles during its time off.
This should be the week that Darren McFadden really lets loose. Atlanta allows the sixth-most rushing yards per game in the league, and “Run DMC” is ready for a breakout like the one he had against Pittsburgh in Week 3 (18 carries for 113 yards and a TD).
If Darrius Heyward-Bey can return to the passing game, too, Oakland could surprise with some points.
There’s potential for a letdown here with the Falcons. Atlanta has a bye in Week 7 and faces an NFC foe in Week 8 in Philadelphia. Don’t be shocked when the rowdy Raiders roll into town and pull off an unexpected upset on fresh legs and renewed psyche.
Prediction: Raiders 30, Falcons 28
It’s crunch time for the Buffalo Bills.
While that may be the understatement of the year, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Ever since jumping out to a 21-7 third-quarter lead over the New England Patriots in Week 4, the Bills have since been outscored 90-10 in six quarters of football.
They’re coming off a no-nonsense beatdown courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers, 45-3. And yes, it was that bad. I was there.
The worst part is that Buffalo’s revamped defense—which features newcomers Mario Williams and Mark Anderson at defensive end—has been abysmal and is one of the main reasons for this spiraling disaster.
Where’s the reason for optimism, you ask?
Head coach Chan Gailey knows something has to change, pronto. He acknowledged that he’s planning to speak explicitly with defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt to try to get to the root of Buffalo’s defensive struggles.
Gailey and the Bills will be sure to get it done against the Arizona Cardinals out west before heading home in Week 7 for a matchup with the Tennessee Titans. The Bills decided to stay on the West Coast rather than traveling home and returning just days later. It’s a smart move that should help them focus.
Despite being 4-1, Arizona has given up a league-worst 23 sacks through the first five weeks of the season. If the Bills can make some necessary adjustments, their pride alone should help them get back to .500.
Prediction: Bills 21, Cardinals 17
Last year’s NFC Championship Game was one for the ages, and unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers and their fans, a trip to the Super Bowl barely slipped through their grasp in the waning moments.
But there’s no need to dwell on the past; the 49ers will get their revenge against the New York Giants in Week 6, which serves as a rematch of last postseason’s instant classic.
San Francisco is firing on all cylinders right now, and another home game in front of a raucous crowd fueled with momentum will spur the Niners to another victory. Over their last two games, they’ve outscored their opponents 79-3.
That kind of dominance represents a cohesive squad from top to bottom. It means the coaches and their players, the different positional units and all phases of the game are clicking.
While the Giants have showed signs of success and Eli Manning has flashed his brilliance, the team as a whole has been a bit inconsistent so far in 2012.
It hasn’t helped that they’ve been bitten by the injury bug, both in the secondary and at wide receiver. One of their top playmakers, Hakeem Nicks, may miss yet another game this week.
But ultimately, San Fran’s defense is too physical right now. Pair that vicious group with a methodical offense led by Alex Smith managing the game, and the 49ers will come out on top.
Prediction: 49ers 28, Giants 23
Considering the way the Houston Texans are playing, this might not sound like much of a bold prediction. However, they’ll go up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, and against that bunch, nothing is easy.
The Texans are coming off a tough battle with the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, but they’ll return home with an undefeated record nonetheless.
This one has the potential for a shootout, but Houston actually matches up pretty well with the Pack. Second-year phenom J.J. Watt leads the NFL in sacks with 8.5, and he’ll guide an aggressive defense that should be able to put pressure on Rodgers early and often.
In addition, Matt Schaub controls a fully competent offense that includes an elite run game and an effective passing game. Arian Foster is up to his old tricks, and tight end Owen Daniels has quietly had a terrific year.
Meanwhile, running back Cedric Benson is out for the Packers according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, meaning Alex Green and James Starks will likely split carries in the backfield.
In the words of Seifert, the Packers “are back where they started” at the running back position—that is, searching for a dependable ball carrier.
Benson’s presence was important because it helped make the offense multi-dimensional. Green Bay’s offensive line has already given up 15 sacks, including five in the second half against the Colts last week (per USA Today).
Without facing the threat of a strong running game, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be dialing up blitzes and putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers.
It’s hard to imagine the Pack being 2-4, but after Week 6, that will be the case.
Prediction: Texans 34, Packers 21