Week 6 in the NFL was about as entertaining as they come. From comeback wins to monster offensive performances to shocking upsets, last week had it all.
If you were lucky enough to be watching NFL RedZone as the late games on Sunday came to a close, then you witnessed RGIII’s 76 yard TD romp, Jay Feely’s field goal get rejected by the goal post and Sidney Rice haul in a game clinching bomb simultaneously. I have watched a lot of weeks of NFL football and I can’t recall another single moment that provided quite so much excitement.
Scattered surprises rendered me middle-of-the-pack for yet another week, finishing 20-19 overall. Another mediocre performance fits right in with the rest of the year, putting me at the following numbers thus far:
Straight: 52-38 (58 percent)
Spread: 39-51 (43 percent)
Over/Under: 45-45 (50 percent)
I’m starting to wonder if there is even any point in posting those totals on a weekly basis, but in the spirit of consistency and honesty I feel it is the right thing to do. Please remember, I was 57 and 58 percent overall in the two previous seasons. Something has to turn around at some point, and maybe this week I am poised for an Aaron Rodgers-like breakout. I can only hope.
Seattle Seahawks (+7) at San Francisco 49ers (O/U = 37.5)
With the aforementioned grab by Sidney Rice, the ‘Hawks stole a win out from under a confident New England squad to move to 4-2 on the season and maintain a three-way tie for the NFC West lead. Russell Wilson had probably his best game as a professional, and with the late game heroics continued to show that he may just have what it takes to stick at a position that sees such regular turnover league wide.
Wilson and the rest of the upstart Seahawks will find their toughest test of the season as they travel to San Francisco for a Thursday night divisional showdown. The 49ers have some serious questions to answer after getting smacked by the Giants in a 26-3 loss, and if any team knows how to come back off a loss it’s this squad. After their first loss of the year to Minnesota, this team went on a two week 79-3 rampage before dropping that one to NY. I think they come out here looking for blood in primetime under their home lights.
Straight: San Francisco
Spread: San Francisco
Arizona Cardinals (+6) at Minnesota Vikings (O/U = 40.5)
Just when it seemed like the Cardinals were poised to pull out another close victory, they had the rug pulled out from under them and lost in OT to Buffalo last week. Following a crushing blow to the ribs QB Kevin Kolb will be forced to miss a few weeks, thrusting once starter John Skelton back into the roll as leading man. Skelton has shown the ability to win games with this team, but the constant back and forth between personnel is never good for a team’s offensive groove.
The Vikings nearly mounted a comeback against RGIII and the Redskins in Week 6, but fell just short after a late score by the rookie QB himself. Despite the loss, Minnesota is just a half game out of the NFC North lead and have not lost at home yet this season.
I don’t like the situation for the Cards, so I’m taking the Vikes to hold serve at home.
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers (O/U = 45.5)
After staging a late game comeback, the Cowboys fell just short against Baltimore in Week 6 to drop to dead last in the NFC East. While they started to show signs of life, it still appears that they are missing the killer instinct necessary to take it to the next level with their current squad.
The Panthers had the week off to prep for Dallas and, coming off of three straight losses, this team really needed some extra time to cool their jets. Cam Newton has shown extreme frustration through the early part of the year en route to a 1-4 start, and I think this bye week could do him worlds of good. I think that his scrambling ability opens up more holes than normal in a Dallas secondary that is usually pretty tough, and he finds the end zone at least once both ways.
I think that Carolina is a better team than their record shows at this point, and they prove it in this game.
New Orleans Saints (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (O/U = 49.5)
The Saints were another bye team from last week, and they don’t have to travel far to face divisional opponent Tampa. While I’m sure they would have liked to keep the momentum going from their first win of the season, they should be able to take advantage of a routinely porous TB secondary which has given up the second most passing yards per game this year.
Not that a thrashing of Kansas City distinguishes your team by any means, but the Bucs’ 38-10 win against the Chiefs in Week 6 proved that their offense does have some potential. A good balance between rookie RBs Doug Martin and the bruising LeGarrette Blount worked well in that game and I look for that backfield to become more of a time-share moving forward following that success.
The way that the NO offense looked in their first win is enough for me to jump back on the bandwagon. I’m taking the Saints on the road.
Straight: New Orleans
Spread: New Orleans
Green Bay Packers (-5.5) at St. Louis Rams (O/U = 44.5)
Aaron Rodgers finally produced the breakout game that many Packers fans (and fantasy owners) have been looking for on Sunday night. With six passing touchdowns, the discount-double-checking QB appears to have found the groove he was in last season. Once he’s in that groove, it is hard to slow him down.
After winning two straight against divisional foes, the Rams dropped a game to the Dolphins last week. Next, they come up against probably their toughest matchup of the season so far. They have done well at slowing down the passing attack with rookie CB Janoris Jenkins stepping in and making an impact early, but they have surely not seen the likes of the GB attack.
The Pack offense that I saw in Week 6 couldn’t have been slowed down by anyone—certainly not this Rams team. I think GB is at the start of what could be a four-game winning streak before their bye in Week 10.
Straight: Green Bay
Spread: Green Bay
Washington Redskins (+6) at New York Giants (O/U = 50)
The Giants pulled out a bit of a stunner in Week 6 beating the 49ers in San Francisco. The surprise wasn’t that they won, after all they did just that en route to a Super Bowl less than a year ago, but the way in which they dominated on both sides of the ball in the 26-3 throttling. With a one-game lead in the division, they will see back-to-back NFC East opponents starting in Week 7 and could take a stranglehold on a playoff berth if they can win both contests.
Washington has gone 3-3 to this point in Robert Griffin III’s rookie campaign, but have not won or lost any of those games by more than eight points. This is a team that has shown they are capable of hanging with almost anybody, but might not yet have quite what it takes to finish victorious against tougher opponents.
This Giants team is surely one of those tougher opponents, and I think that the ‘Skins drop this one on the road by their largest margin yet.
Straight: New York
Spread: New York
Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) at Houston Texans (O/U = 48.5)
The Ravens had arguably the roughest week of any team, losing both LB Ray Lewis and CB Ladarius Webb for the season to injury. A defense which is already missing All-Pro Terrell Suggs will now be even lighter, and it’s no secret that they have not been playing at the level that most viewers have grown accustomed to. Moving forward, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense will have to shoulder more of the responsibility if this team is to make the playoff appearance that many expect.
The Texans were thought by many to be the best team in the NFL heading into Week 6, only to be pummeled by the Packers in an embarrassing home loss. Despite the tough defeat, my opinion of Houston has not been lowered all that much, as it would have been nearly impossible for anyone to hold back that offensive onslaught.
This could be the game of the week as both teams enter with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. I think the Texans offense will be able to expose the new holes in the Baltimore D and outscore Ray Rice and company in a home victory.
Tennessee Titans (+3) at Buffalo Bills (O/U = 46.5)
Tennessee surprised many with a road win against the Steelers on Thursday night last week as they notched just their second victory of the year. Replacement QB Matt Hasselbeck has provided the kind of stability you would expect from a long time NFL starter and will need another solid performance here on the road in Buffalo.
The Bills snuck away with the OT win mentioned earlier in Week 6 and at 3-3 continue to be one of the hardest teams to put a finger on. A closer look, however, indicates that they have won all three against their lower tier opponents (KC, CLE, ARI) while dropping three to those a bit more formidable (NY, NE, SF).
I would put the Titans in that lower tier, and I don’t think I would get much of an argument there. Buffalo to cover at home.
Cleveland Browns (+3) at Indianapolis Colts (O/U = 45)
The Browns finally tallied their first win of the year against the Bengals in Week 6 and will need the kind of offensive performance they produced there to find another W here. A matchup of two rookie QBs in Weeden and Luck should provide a lot of comparisons between the two. Unfortunately for Cleveland fans, the edge goes to Luck in basically every single category.
After an inspiring win over Green Bay in Week 5, the Colts were slowed by the Jets last week on the road. They will look to get back to their winning ways here at home. Luck has posted a QB rating below 82.0 in his team’s past three games. After a promising start he seems to finally be feeling the wrath of professional game planning. Reggie Wayne will be hampered by Browns CB Joe Haden all day and Luck will likely have to find answers elsewhere if he hopes to lead his team to a win.
Neither of these teams are very good, so I see this as a bit of a toss-up. I think the home field advantage will be just enough for the Colts to ride a solid performance to a win.
New York Jets (+10.5) at New England Patriots (O/U = 47)
After back to back losses, the Jets got back on the winning track in Week 6, but find themselves matched up against the rival Pats here on the road. A breakout three-TD performance by RB Shonn Greene has left a lot of Jet faithful wondering why the back cannot produce at such a high level regularly. He will need to provide another strong performance here against the division foe.
After some reported trash talking left Tom Brady with his foot in his mouth following an upset by the Seahawks, he will surely be looking to shake off some embarrassment here. A secondary without Darrelle Revis must be a welcome sight for Brady, but with the amount of weapons he possesses at his fingertips it would be hard for the Jets to match up even at full strength.
After the sub-par performance last week I fully expect Belichick to get his team on track here with a whooping of their familiar opponent.
Straight: New England
Spread: New England
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) at Oakland Raiders (O/U = 43)
This may very well be our Stinker of the Week as the 1-4 Raiders host the 1-4 Jags in a matchup that even Black Hole is finding trouble getting excited for. After taking losses to the Broncos and Falcons, however, the pitiful offense of the Jags is without a doubt a welcome sight to the Raider defense. They gave Atlanta a scare last week, and even in defeat could have gained a bit of momentum heading into this one
The Jags come out of their bye week with the league’s second worst plus/minus number at -73 for the year. It really is hard to try and find something worth talking about on this team…. so I’m not going to try.
Take the Raiders at home and for god sakes turn the channel.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Cincinnati Bengals (O/U = 46)
Both of these AFC North powers are coming off of tough losses as they face off on Sunday night. The Bengals took a shameful defeat at the hands of the then-winless Browns as costly turnovers by QB Andy Dalton changed the entire structure of the game. A win here and a loss by Baltimore could pull them within a half game of the division lead, so I expect them to come out strong.
The Steelers also must rebound after giving away what should have been a gimme against the lowly Titans. They find themselves in an even more precarious position than Cinci at a game below .500 and third place in a division they typically contend for year in and year out.
This will no doubt be a hard fought battle, and a good one to feature in primetime. With Troy Polamalu sidelined yet again, I think A.J. Green will make a couple touchdown grabs en route to a statement win at home.
Detroit Lions (+6) at Chicago Bears (O/U = 47.5)
Detroit pulled out a remarkable come-from-behind performance against the Eagles in Week 6, a loss that was so embarrassing for Andy Reid that he was pushed to dismiss the team’s Defensive Coordinator. I’m still not positive if it was so much the Lions winning the game as it was the Eagles losing it, but either way the outcome remains the same. The Lions throttled the Bears at Ford Field in a Monday night last season, but on the road at Soldier Field is a much different story in this matchup.
The Bears have won three straight and come off a bye week well rested to host their division rival at home. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have shown a high level of comfort through the beginning of the year, and a spotty Detroit secondary could provide some holes for the duo to take advantage of.
Despite the large impact seen with the return of Lions Safety Louis Delmas I still think the Chicago offense will be too much for the Detroit D under the lights.
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