Week 6 is presenting us with the kinds of matchups we would've been really excited about six weeks ago.
At the time, some of these matchups objectively seemed like the bona fide battles, the can't-miss games that any fan would be crazy to ignore.
But now, in the light of the way 2012 has begun for some of these teams, they don't look like battles. They're just opportunities for some quasi-struggling teams to pull off an upset—still thrilling, but not quite as thrilling as they might have been if both teams played up to their potential.
Nevertheless, here are the teams that should be on upset alert this weekend.
Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. ET
You never know what you're going to get with the Cowboys, probably because Tony Romo never knows what he's going to get from his wide receivers. But Dallas has a habit of showing up for big games this season and surprising people. Or maybe it just has a habit of showing up for every other game.
Either way, that makes Sunday's matchup against Baltimore one to consider.
The Ravens haven't been lights-out this year, either. They lost to the Eagles, and they were one or two bad calls away from losing to the Patriots at home the next week.
It's very possible that the extra week of rest and preparation did the Cowboys some good, and they're going to march into Baltimore, guns blazing. The Ravens' secondary hasn't been good this year (the Ravens allow about 261 passing yards per game), and the Cowboys have the league's fourth-best passing offense. This seems like precisely the type of game that could catch the Ravens off guard.
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 14 at 4:05 p.m. ET
The Patriots have been playing well recently, but they haven't been spectacular. They played an excellent first half the last time out against Denver, but in the second half, they needed some very, very opportune Broncos turnovers in order to come away with the win at home.
The week before that, the Patriots were great—but they were playing the Bills. So if they go on the road and lay an egg against the Seahawks, it won't be all that crazy.
Who's your pick to win this one?
This is not a team that the Patriots are all too familiar with—according to Patriots.com, they've only faced each other twice since 1993—and New England has notoriously had trouble against teams and quarterbacks it doesn't see often. Obviously, this team has never played rookie Russell Wilson.
On the other side of the ball, the truth is, this Patriots offense really misses Aaron Hernandez. Without him, opposing defenses have been able to limit the Patriots' biggest offensive asset—that being Rob Gronkowski.
And this isn't just any defense. It's one of the league's best defenses. New England may be the No. 1 offense in the NFL, but you know what they say about which one of those—offense or defense—wins.
Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans, Sunday, Oct. 14 at 8:20 p.m. ET
The Texans have been unbeatable so far, but Green Bay has been one of those teams that seems like it's going to just go on a tear at any moment. Maybe Week 6 could present that moment.
One thing most people can agree upon is the idea that the Packers are better than their record suggests. They're certainly the most dangerous 2-3 team in the league, and they really should be one game over .500 with that Monday Night Football catastrophe.
Their most recent win hasn't exactly been encouraging. That's for sure. A one-point victory over New Orleans, which has barely shown signs of life in 2012? And following that up with a disastrous second-half performance against the Colts? Not good signs.
But Aaron Rodgers is a threat any time he steps on the field, and to me, undefeated teams seem to be more vulnerable the longer they stay undefeated. Plus, the Packers are the biggest challenge the Texans have faced since Denver in Week 3.
Green Bay is a team that is desperate to start turning its season around, and desperation and Aaron Rodgers could be an explosive combination.
Pick: Green Bay