Predicting the MVP for All Week 6 NFL Games
Week 6 is underway with the Tennessee Titans beating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. The Titans win just goes to prove anything can happen in the NFL. With only two undefeated teams left in the NFL, the Houston Texans and the Atlanta Falcons, the playoff picture is still wide open.
As the Titans proved Thursday, a team can make that one extra play to win the game and change the fate of their season. Will there be any unbeaten teams after Sunday? Will the Cleveland Browns finally win a game? The best players will rise to the challenge this week and lead their teams to victory.
Here are my predictions of the MVP for each game this coming week. The MVP is awarded to the winning team, so really this is two predictions in one.
Oakland Raiders vs. Atlanta Falcons MVP: Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez
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The Raiders defense is 27th in the NFL vs. the pass. The Raiders and Detroit Lions are only two teams in the league without an interception. Coming off a beat-down last week at the hands of the Denver Broncos, the Raiders face an offensive juggernaut in the Falcons.
Cornerbacks Pat Lee and Shawntae Spencer will be asked to cover wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. These two cornerbacks will need the help of safeties Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff. This will open up the middle of the field for Gonzalez.
Look for the future Hall of Fame tight end to exploit the Raiders deep middle. Gonzalez could end up with two long touchdowns as the Falcons blow out the Raiders.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns MVP: Browns QB Brandon Weeden
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In a rematch of the Week 2 showdown, the Bengals travel to Cleveland this time. The outcome will be different this time around. Weeden has taken strides in the past couple of weeks and seems ready to lead the Browns to a win.
In the Sept. 16 meeting vs. the Bengals, Weeden had the best game of his professional career. The rookie threw for 322 yards and two scores. Weeden did not throw an interception.
The Bengals defense has given up 19 passes over 20 yards on the season. The Bengals have only recorded one interception. Weeden will have another big game and will lead the Browns to their first win of the year.
St. Louis Rams vs. Miami Dolphins MVP: Dolphins DE Cameron Wake
The Rams offensive line has had its struggles this entire season and is major reason the Rams are 30th in passing offense and 22nd in rushing. The Rams defense is the real reason the team is 3-2. The loss of the Rams' best receiver, Danny Amendola, will only make matters worse for the Rams offense.
Starting left tackle Wayne Hunter will have his hands full with Wake coming off the edge. Wake has 5.5 sacks on the year and is a disruptive force vs. the run as well. Wake will finish the day with more than one sack and will be involved in a turnover to help the Dolphins win.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets MVP: Colts QB Andrew Luck
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Luck played his best game as a professional last week in the come-from-behind win vs. the Green Bay Packers. Luck will continue his hot hand vs. a Jets defense that has struggled to stop many offenses this season.
The Jets defense, though solid vs. the passing attack, has struggled vs. the run. The Colts offense will expose the Jets secondary this week after establishing the run early. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Coby Fleener will benefit from Luck’s accurate passes.
The Colts will take advantage of the loss of cornerback Darrelle Revis. Look for Luck to pass for over 300 yards vs. the Jets and two touchdowns.
Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles MVP: Eagles RB LeSean McCoy
This matchup is a good one in terms that neither team is as good or as bad as their record. The Lions are 1-3 and coming off a bye. The Lions have lost two close games and could just as easily be 3-1.
The Eagles are 3-2 but are a six-point swing in a different direction to be 4-1 or 1-4. Both teams are solid on defense. McCoy will be the difference-maker in the game and the win. In the Eagles' three wins, McCoy has rushed for over 80 yards to help establish a running attack.
McCoy will rush for over 100 yards and get his second rushing touchdown on the year in a hard-fought win for the Eagles.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore Ravens MVP: Ravens K Justin Tucker
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The Dallas faithful cannot blame the team's struggles on the defense this season. The unit is in the top five in the NFL and has played spirited most of the season.
That group will be facing a Ravens offense that has yet to find a niche in 2012. One week, quarterback Joe Flacco looks amazing; the next week, the quarterback disappears. The play-calling on offense has been called into question, and fans want to know if running back Ray Rice is getting enough touches
In a game that will be a fight to the bitter end, Tucker and his powerful leg will be the difference. The rookie kicker is 11-of-12 on field goals with a long of 56 yards and has not missed a point-after attempt.
Tucker will make at least three field goals for the Ravens and help win the game.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers MVP: Buccaneers SS Mark Barron
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The Chiefs will be starting quarterback Brady Quinn this week vs. the Buccaneers. Quinn has not started a NFL game since 2009. Even with a week of work as the starter, Quinn getting the nod is a cure for what ills the Buccaneers pass defense, which is the worst in the NFL.
Barron has been a superb addition to the young Buccaneers defense and adds a level of toughness to the secondary. Aganst the Chiefs, look for Barron to record his first NFL interception and lead the team in tackles.
New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks MVP: Patriots QB Tom Brady
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The Seahawks defense is the best in the NFL, and picking against them is hard. But Brady seems to rise to the occasion when faced with a stiff challenge, and this week will certainly test the veteran quarterback.
Brady has not faced the Seahawks since 2004, so take any historical matchups out of the equation. Brady is good at finding the weakness of any defense and will exploit rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner with tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Wes Welker on crossing routes.
Brady will be under constant pressure from the fearsome rush of the Seahawks front four, but from the shotgun, he will run the offense with quick-hitting short routes. Look for Brady to pick apart a solid Seattle defense and lead the Patriots to a victory.
Buffalo Bills vs. Arizona Cardinals MVP: Bills RB Fred Jackson
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The easy pick would be any of the defensive linemen for the Bills since the Cardinals offensive line has given up 17 sacks in the last two games. But none of the Bills defenders are really tearing up the season either, and Jackson is due a big game.
The Bills need to get the running game going for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to be comfortable in the pocket. Jackson looks like he has shaken off the rust from his knee injury vs. the Jets in Week 1.
Look for Jackson and the Bills’ offensive line to create cutback lanes all along the Cardinals’ defensive front and for Jackson to be at the linebacker level a majority of the game.
The Cardinals allow 103 yards on the ground a game and the Bills will need Jackson to eclipse that to get the win. Jackson will score a touchdown in a close game but a Bills win.
New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers MVP: 49ers QB Alex Smith
The Giants have to fly all the way across the country to face the 4-1 49ers. Smith is coming off his best game of the season vs. the Bills and is leading the NFL in passer rating. The Giants pass defense gives up 8.8 yards a pass play; only the Buccaneers are worse.
The Giants defense will need to play great as a unit, but expect wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis to both have monster days. Smith will end the day with his second consecutive 300-yard passing day and at least two touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Washington Redskins MVP: Vikings DE Jared Allen
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The Redskins offensive line has given up 12 sacks on the season and will have the difficult task of keeping rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III in the game this week.
All signs point to the rookie starting after suffering a concussion last week, but the thought of Griffin getting hit again puts added pressure on the offensive line.
Allen is having an off year by his standards but still has three sacks and has brought constant pressure down after down.
Allen faced the Redskins in 2011 and 2010. The reigning NFL sack leader had a sack in each contest. Look for Allen to play his best game of the season vs. the run and the pass.
Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans MVP: Texans DE J.J. Watt
The top two sack leaders will be on display in Houston this Sunday, and either would be a worthy choice.
Watt could get chosen for this award every week and no one would question the pick. Watt is the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL.
The Packers are struggling as an offensive unit and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with the lack of a running attack, seems to have to pass the football every snap. With an offensive line that has allowed their quarterback to be sacked 21 times, Houston’s defensive front will have a field day.
Look for Watt to retain his lead in the sack race over Clay Matthews and cause a turnover that will be the difference in the game.
Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers MVP: Broncos QB Peyton Manning
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Manning is coming off three straight weeks of passing for 330 yards or more. The Chargers pass defense, while only allowing 260 yards a game in the air, has allowed 11 touchdown passes. Manning has gotten into a rhythm with his teammates, and the Broncos offensive has taken off.
Manning threw four interceptions in 2010 vs. the Chargers, which was the last time Manning faced San Diego. Manning has not thrown an interception in his last three games this season.
Look for Manning’s hot streak to continue vs. the Chargers and for Manning to be the MVP of Monday Night Football.