NFL Week 6 Picks: Predicting Marquee Games Against the Spread

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Chris Canty #99 of the New York Giants lines up on defense against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One of the great things about the NFL is how every week the storylines do continue to change. We have all the answers on one Sunday, then the questions get flipped on themselves due to an unexpected performance. 

Looking at the slate of marquee games on the schedule in Week 6, there are six teams trying to make a statement. 

Going deeper into those games, the point spreads tell us all we need to know about where everyone stands moving into the weekend. 

Here is how we expect the biggest games of the weekend to play out, predicted against the spread. 

Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider

Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)

This matchup can make your head hurt if you start thinking about it too much. 

On the one hand, you have the Cowboys, who everyone thinks should be better than their pedestrian 2-2 mark. They are just a team that can't get out of its own way. Tony Romo catches a lot of the criticism, but he isn't getting much help from his receivers, and the defense isn't good enough to make up for the offensive mistakes. 

On the flip side, the Ravens continue to win despite lackluster showings against Cleveland and Kansas City the past two weeks. They don't turn the ball over, but their passing game is so inconsistent that they struggle to put up points. 

One thing to note is that the Ravens' defense is giving up a lot of yards this season. Opposing teams have put up nearly 380 yards per game. The Cowboys have the best pass defense, by yards allowed, in the NFL. 

Like the season opener in New York, this is the game the Cowboys usually win and remind us why we can't completely jump off their bandwagon. 

Cowboys 24, Ravens 21


New York Giants  at San Francisco 49ers (-3)

The biggest NFC game of the weekend could be one of the best games of the season or a blowout, with no middle ground. 

The Giants, like the Cowboys, continue to play down to the competition. They aren't as fundamentally flawed as their NFC East rivals, but they just seem uninterested until they absolutely have to play. 

The secondary continues to get burned with big plays, and the usually stellar defensive line is not creating as much pressure as it normally does. As a group, the front four has just 5.5 sacks in 2012. 

The 49ers are the most fundamentally sound team in the NFL. They don't turn the ball over, have a great balance of run and pass plays, a great offensive line, great defense and they are the best tackling team in the league. 

Their offense looks much more dynamic this season with a deep and versatile receiving corps that allows them to take chances down the field. 

There was some concern about Alex Smith's sprained middle finger, but he told reporters on Wednesday that it is fine.

All of this makes it sound like I am calling for the blowout, but we know better than to sell Eli Manning short. I think it will be one of the best games of the season. 

49ers 24, Giants 23


Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans (-2.5)

We are going to find out just how mentally tough the Packers are on Sunday night. Their defenders will say that they should have a victory over Seattle, and were beating the Colts until the final minute of that game. 

However, you can't keep talking about what might have been or what should be. All that we have to go on is what the results show, and right now they are a mediocre team. 

The most problematic part of this team remains on the defensive side of the ball. They can't get a stop late in a game to save their lives. Aaron Rodgers is great, but he can only do so much if he can't get on the field. 

Right now, the Texans look like the best team in the AFC. They haven't really been challenged up to this point, as four of their five wins have come against Miami, Jacksonville, Tennessee and the New York Jets. They also defeated Denver, a team sitting under .500, but we expect the Broncos to be better. 

Like the 49ers, the Texans want to have balance on offense. They have the talent to open things up on offense, but if you can keep your opponent on their heels, you are going to have more success. 

Losing Brian Cushing to a torn ACL is going to hurt a little, though they have such great depth in the front seven that they can survive. This will be the game where we see just how good this team really is. 

Texans 31, Packers 21