NFL Picks Week 6: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions
Through five weeks of NFL action, you'd think we'd know something about the league, right?
The Atlanta Falcons busted a big hole in a bunch of narratives on Monday night with their loss to the New York Jets. While the Falcons have a bye to get things sorted out, the Jets' victory sent ripples throughout our experts' picks.
The Houston Texans laid an egg once again, but they've got a great matchup with the St. Louis Rams in Houston. Is this the week they put it all back together?
The Carolina Panthers look like a team without purpose and face the Minnesota Vikings, who just acquired quarterback Josh Freeman. The embattled former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback isn't playing in Week 6, so what will the rest of the Vikings look like against the Panthers defense?
We pick all these games and more on the slides ahead. Don't like our picks? Give us yours in the comments below.
Name: Last Week; Overall
Consensus: 7-6; 46-25
Matt Miller: 8-6; 54-23
Ty Schalter: 8-6; 53-24
Andrea Hangst: 9-5; 52-25
Erik Frenz: 8-6; 50-27
Matt Bowen: 9-5; 49-28
Chris Hansen: 9-5; 49-28
Brad Gagnon: 8-6; 47-30
Zach Kruse: 8-6; 47-30
Tyson Langland: 7-7; 46-31
Michael Schottey: 7-7; 46-31
Knox Bardeen: 8-6; 44-33
Mike Freeman: 6-8; 43-34
To see how Bleacher Report's experts are faring against the best at other media outlets, check out Pick Watch.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears: Thursday Night Football
B/R Consensus Pick: Bears (11-1)
Schottey: Bears, 28-13
Let's see—Eli Manning against an opportunistic defense, on-the-road, on a short week? Yeah, got the Bears big here in a game that probably isn't even as close as this score.
Bowen: Bears, 23-19
The Bears defense didn't produce a turnover in the loss to the Saints, but that changes with Eli Manning and the Giants coming to town. Chicago wins a sloppy game on a short week.
Schalter: Bears, 28-24
The Giants are not an 0-16 team. They just aren't. They are going to win a game...but it won't be at Soldier Field.
Freeman: Giants, 20-16
I don't think the Bears are mad over losing last week. I think they're vulnerable. Even to the Giants.
Miller: Bears, 27-13
The Bears will get back on track against a Giants team that can't rush the passer. Eli Manning should be good for at least two interceptions in this one.
Frenz: Bears, 30-10
Picking against the Giants is easy at this point. The Bears lost by just eight points to arguably the best team in the NFC right now, the Saints. A homestand against arguably the worst team in the NFC right now should help right the ship.
Hangst: Bears, 21-13
The Bears are playing very good football, while the Giants—well, the Giants are an unthinkable 0-5. At some point, they'll get their first win of the season, but it won't be on Thursday, not against the ball-hawking Chicago defense and a Bears offensive line that won't be afraid of New York's nonexistent pass rush.
Hansen: Bears, 33-23
Until the Giants wake from their hibernation, you can't trust them on the road against a quality offense and a defense that still knows how to force turnovers. Bears should win this one easily unless bad Jay Cutler shows up more than once.
Bardeen: Bears, 28-24
The Giants are 0-5, but that's the easy answer. Chicago is a much better team with a Top 10 offense and the ability to move the football down the field. The Giants haven't shown that yet.
Gagnon: Bears, 27-17
I'm done picking the Giants. I made that mistake each of the last two weeks in this spot and reversed course by the time Sunday rolled around. The Bears are too good to lose again at home, especially against a New York team that is in complete shambles.
Langland: Bears, 28-17
The Giants are an absolute mess right now. The offensive line looks old and the defense has a hard time covering anyone. Bears win big at home.
Kruse: Bears, 27-21
The Bears are going to need takeaways to win games this season, because that defense is a shell of its former self. Luckily for Chicago, the winless Giants have been in a generous mood all season.
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
B/R Consensus Pick: Bengals (12-0)
Schottey: Bengals, 20-9
The Bengals defense is a rough unit to face for any quarterback. Thad Lewis is coming in off the street and may end up with some surprising plays, but too many mistakes will doom the Bills.
Bowen: Bengals, 27-13
The Bengals just shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots. That's trouble for the Bills with EJ Manuel out with a knee injury.
Schalter: Bengals, 28-17
The Bengals defense is just too good for this young, EJ-less Bills offense. Dalton is due for another big game.
Freeman: Bengals, 30-10
Defense suffocated Tom Brady. They'll destroy whatever warm body the Bills are putting out there.
Miller: Bengals, 30-17
Andy Dalton hasn't been great, but he won't need to be against a Bills defense that's too inconsistent right now. Oh, and the Bengals are going to crush this Buffalo offense without EJ Manuel.
Frenz: Bengals, 27-20
The Bills are making the right choice going with Thad Lewis over Jeff Tuel, who was about as much of a fit for their scheme as salsa is a fit on breakfast cereal. The Bengals defense is riding high off its huge performance against the Patriots, and the Bills defense is still too banged up.
Hangst: Bengals, 27-23
The Bills have proved they can fight, but they'll have to do it with Thad Lewis at quarterback and not EJ Manuel. If there's anything more tempting to Cincinnati's front seven than a rookie quarterback, it's Lewis, who has had just one NFL start. The Bengals haven't been winning pretty, but they've been winning. They'll keep it up on Sunday.
Hansen: Bengals, 23-20
Buffalo is a tougher team than many people gave them credit for coming into the season, but without EJ Manuel, it won't matter against a talented team like the Bengals. Cincinnati plays down to its competition, so there is a chance that the Bills may make it interesting, but it's hard to trust a quarterback that is coming up from the practice squad whom most have never heard of before.
Bardeen: Bengals, 31-16
With a healthy EJ Manuel, the Bills would have had a puncher's chance. Since Manuel won't play, and using what Cincinnati did to the Patriots offense as a guiding rod, I'll estimate very little success for the Bills this Sunday.
Gagnon: Bengals, 20-17
I sense the Bengals could be gaining some momentum, but the well-rested Bills might keep this one close at home. Buffalo has already outplayed New England, Carolina and Baltimore at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season.
Langland: Bengals, 21-10
With EJ Manuel in the lineup, this game would be much closer. However, he's not, which means Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be dialing up pressure packages all day long.
Kruse: Bengals, 24-13
The Cincinnati defense has taken apart both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady this season. Thad Lewis might be in for a long day in his second career NFL start.
Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns
B/R Consensus Pick: Lions (8-4)
Schottey: Lions, 24-18
Brandon Weeden under pressure is not a pretty sight. The Lions can bring pressure in spades, and only have to rush four. This game could end up ugly if the Lions offense bounces back as well.
Bowen: Lions, 19-12
I like what I see on tape from the Browns defense, but without Brian Hoyer under center, the Lions get the win here.
Schalter: Lions, 20-17
I've been as high on the Browns this season as anyone, but even if the Lions are without Calvin Johnson for this game, Detroit should still be able to take this one.
Freeman: Lions, 22-17
The Browns' magic carpet ride ends now as that destructive Detroit defensive front pounds Cleveland.
Miller: Lions, 24-17
No Brian Hoyer for Cleveland this week, which means I can't pick it. Even against a Lions team that's been hot and cold lately.
Frenz: Browns, 20-17
The Lions are a good team, but they struggle when they don't score. The Browns defense, currently ninth in scoring defense and fourth overall, is the toughest challenge Detroit has faced this season.
Hangst: Browns, 20-17
The Lions are too unpredictable. When they're good, they look unstoppable and when they're bad, they are a punchline. Much depends on which Lions team shows up in Cleveland to take on the Brandon Weeden-led Browns, but I'm going with the comedy-of-errors version. The Browns defense is the real deal and won't let the Detroit offense get going for the second straight week.
Hansen: Browns, 27-23
In a game of evenly matched teams, take the one that is disciplined and well-coached. I'm not too sure about Brandon Weeden at quarterback, but he should be able to do enough at home with his defense doing most of the heavy lifting.
Bardeen: Lions, 24-14
Who would have thought a few months ago that without Brian Hoyer the Browns would be sunk? I sure didn't, but that's exactly the case against a fierce defensive front from the Lions.
Gagnon: Browns, 24-21
Don't act like you know what's going to go down in this game. Two inconsistent, unpredictable teams. Cleveland is hot and at home, so I'll roll that way.
Langland: Lions, 24-17
Even though Detroit isn't the greatest road team in the NFL, it should have no problem hurrying and hitting Brandon Weeden. The Lions defensive line will set the tone and lead this team to victory.
Kruse: Lions, 24-20
Can the Lions win a game in which their offense doesn't control the proceedings? We might find out Sunday. One bad decision from Brandon Weeden proves to be the difference here.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
B/R Consensus Pick: Eagles (7-5)
Schottey: Eagles, 24-20
The Buccaneers defense will get plenty of chances with an Eagles offense that makes mistakes at breakneck speed. Still, it isn't as if the Buccaneers offense is anything to write home about, either.
Bowen: Eagles, 27-24
The Eagles have a suspect defense, and Nick Foles could get the start, but I'm not sold on Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
Schalter: Buccaneers, 18-17
The Bucs are at home and coming off a bye, facing an Eagles team that could be without Vick. Razor-thin call, but Bucs.
Freeman: Buccaneers, 17-14
Nick Foles is terrible and he throws two picks.
Miller: Eagles, 31-21
Nick Foles vs. Mike Glennon. Not the most exciting matchup ever, but Foles is efficient enough to get the Eagles a lead against a very good Tampa defense.
Frenz: Eagles, 24-17
A bye week isn't enough to fix what ails the Buccaneers. Even without Mike Vick at quarterback, the Eagles have a significant edge in talent, and their edge in coaching is self-evident.
Hangst: Eagles, 13-10
Surprisingly enough, a Nick Foles start should be the shot in the arm the disappointing Eagles need. The Buccaneers are on their fresh start, too, cutting bait with Josh Freeman and making Mike Glennon their starter. There is nothing pretty about this matchup, one the Eagles closely win.
Hansen: Buccaneers, 24-23
The Buccaneers look like a team going nowhere, but they've had a brutal early schedule and are coming off a bye week. The Eagles will be playing without Michael Vick, which is a good thing or bad thing depending on the perspective. Going with the Buccaneers at home as Tampa Bay's defense keys in on LeSean McCoy.
Bardeen: Buccaneers, 16-13
Neither franchise is anywhere close to where it should be. But the Bucs are at home and have had a bye week to get rookie quarterback Mike Glennon up to speed. Last year's bye week was the catalyst for five wins in six weeks for Tampa. This won't be the start of that kind of success, but it's good enough for a win over Philadelphia.
Gagnon: Buccaneers, 27-21
Three of Tampa Bay's four losses have come by three or fewer points. Coming off the bye, it's due. At home, the Bucs do just enough against an Eagles team that is probably going to have consistency issues all season.
Langland: Eagles, 23-16
Whether it's Mike Glennon or Nick Foles, it's hard to really like either quarterback. So I decided to take the more experienced of the two signal-callers. Eagles win by a touchdown.
Kruse: Eagles, 27-17
Contrary to popular belief, Nick Foles can run the Chip Kelly offense. He'll win this uninspiring matchup of young quarterbacks and get the Eagles a second consecutive win.
Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
B/R Consensus Pick: Packers (10-2)
Schottey: Ravens, 27-26
Maybe my "belief" in the Ravens has gone a little too far when I'm picking them to beat Aaron Rodgers, but I expect Ray Rice to get going early and often—both in the run and in the passing game.
Bowen: Packers, 30-20
Schalter: Packers 35-28
This is a close one. The Packers and Ravens have had equal scoring defenses, but the Packers offense has been much stronger. The loss of Clay Matthews turns this one into a bit of a shootout; Rodgers tends to win those.
Freeman: Packers, 30-24
Newfound running game combined with Superman at quarterback adds up to Baltimore loss.
Miller: Packers, 28-21
Game of the Week potential with this one. Aaron Rodgers will face a Baltimore secondary that can be picked apart, but they'll need to run the ball to soften up that Ravens blitz first.
Frenz: Packers, 23-20
Without so many of his key weapons, Joe Flacco will have a hard time keeping up with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers offense has been solid all season long, while the Ravens have not on that side of the ball.
Hangst: Packers, 27-24
The Ravens are a better team at home than on the road, and the Packers haven't been the world-beaters that we've been used to seeing. However, the Packers have their house in better order than the Ravens presently, giving them the win.
Hansen: Ravens, 26-23
Without Clay Mathews, can you trust Green Bay's defense? The Ravens enjoy one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL, and the matchup is surprisingly even. Normally, I'd go with Aaron Rodgers over Joe Flacco, but there are enough factors here to go in the other direction.
Bardeen: Packers, 31-21
With Clay Matthews out for a month, these defenses could be pretty equal. But the Green Bay offense is so much better than Baltimore's and Aaron Rodgers will be the reason the Packers win.
Gagnon: Packers, 30-27
The Packers offense is about to start rolling. With Clay Matthews out and Baltimore at home, this remains close, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should ultimately take care of business.
Langland: Packers, 31-21
Despite being 2-2, the Packers always deploy a top-notch offense on a weekly basis. That offense will come in handy against a Ravens defense that is seemingly hitting its stride.
Kruse: Packers, 30-20
Not having Clay Matthews (thumb) is obviously a big deal, but both Nick Perry and Mike Neal are coming off career-best games. The Ravens also aren't good enough running the football to really make Matthews' absence hurt.
St. Louis Rams at Houston Texans
B/R Consensus Pick: Texans (12-0)
Schottey: Texans, 35-16
Look, I might be one of the Texans' biggest detractors out there, but even I think this is ridiculous. Matt Schaub needs to take this game against the Rams, get back on his horse and throw some touchdown strikes to his own team.
Bowen: Texans, 27-17
No need to take the ball out of Arian Foster's hands in this one. The Texans ride the running game to pick up the win.
Schalter: Texans, 38-20
The Texans have hardly been world-beaters lately, but Andre Johnson and Arian Foster should feast on the Rams at Reliant Stadium.
Freeman: Texans, 25-21
Nothing cures a quarterback slump like the sorry Rams.
Miller: Texans, 24-20
My lack of faith in Matt Schaub is trumped only by my lack of faith in the St. Louis Rams secondary.
Frenz: Texans, 20-10
These two teams are in desperation mode, so I'll give the edge to the home team with more overall talent. If the Texans can't beat the Rams, they need to move on from Matt Schaub for good.
Hangst: Texans, 20-13
There's not much to be pleased about with either the Texans or the Rams, but the Rams have troubles in all three phases of the game. If Matt Schaub can halt his pick-six streak, the home team will get the win.
Hansen: Texans, 27-24
Someone has to win, and I'm going with Houston. The St. Louis Rams should be great considering all the high draft picks they got for Robert Griffin III, but it looks like they continue to go backward.
Bardeen: Texans, 27-14
There's not much reason to believe that the St. Louis defense will put up much of a fight against Matt Schaub and Arian Foster. And that's a good thing because Schaub could use a confidence booster of a game. Welcome Rams!
Gagnon: Texans, 30-13
I just don't think the Rams defense will have an answer for Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. As much as the Texans scare me right now, St. Louis has looked terrible on both sides of the ball. In Houston, this is still a no-brainer. That probably means I'll be dead wrong.
Langland: Texans, 20-17
The Rams are a sloppy football team right now; it's that simple. They're awful on special teams, their secondary has major problems and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is scared to take a shot down the field. Houston gets back on track after dropping three in a row.
Kruse: Texans, 27-16
Unrest at the quarterback position is usually the first step in a series of events that unravel otherwise good teams. The Texans will momentarily halt that process by beating up a Rams offense that hasn't played well against top defenses this season.
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
B/R Consensus Pick: Chiefs (12-0)
Schottey: Chiefs, 23-13
Thinking about the Chiefs at 6-0 is astonishing. Look, I expected huge improvement out of them. I even predicted playoffs, but this run is over-the-top fantastic. I don't see them losing at Arrowhead to many teams this season, let alone the Raiders.
Bowen: Chiefs, 22-16
Terrelle Pryor has been impressive this season, but can he throw the ball consistently versus the Chiefs' press-man looks? I like Kansas City to move to 6-0.
Schalter: Chiefs, 24-20
Terrelle Pryor has revived the dormant Raiders, and the Chiefs will fall sooner or later, but not to the Raiders at home.
Freeman: Chiefs, 20-14
Closer game because of Pryor but efficient Chiefs keep rolling.
Miller: Chiefs, 28-17
The Chiefs roll to 6-0 over their hated rivals, the Oakland Raiders. Regaining confidence over Oakland is big, as the Chiefs have struggled at home against the Raiders recently.
Frenz: Chiefs, 28-17
The Chiefs defense may be the only thing standing between the Broncos and an undefeated regular season. They're that good. Because of that defense, they're hard to beat when Alex Smith is efficient with the football. He has been all season, and I don't see the Raiders retooled defense stopping him in Kansas City.
Hangst: Chiefs, 30-17
The Terrelle Pryor Raiders have been much better than expected, but the Chiefs have outperformed like no other, with a 5-0 record to prove it. Things get tough in divisional games, but the Chiefs have the home-field advantage and the better defense.
Hansen: Chiefs, 24-17
Terrelle Pryor has the kind of ability to keep this game close, and the Chiefs' attacking defense can be vulnerable to a running quarterback. It's a tough road environment, but the Raiders could steal this one, and they've had a lot of success in Kansas City over the last few years. I'm picking the Chiefs by a defensive touchdown, but I could easily see the Raiders pulling out the win late.
Bardeen: Chiefs, 27-19
The Chiefs aren't the "Chefs" anymore and Andy Reid has turned this team into a real threat. On the flip side, Oakland, while improved, is not much of a threat.
Gagnon: Chiefs, 23-17
I'm expecting the Kansas City defense to put Terrelle Pryor in his place. This might not be a blowout, but the Chiefs are too solid right now to drop a game to Oakland at home.
Langland: Chiefs, 28-14
Oakland has been a bit of a surprise through five games of the season. Terrelle Pryor is playing better than expected and the Raiders defense is doing a good job of creating turnovers. Unfortunately, Kansas City is undefeated and playing at a high level of football heading into Week 6.
Kruse: Chiefs, 24-13
Kansas City doesn't care that it is winning ugly. This team will get to 6-0 Sunday by playing it safe on offense and attacking relentlessly on defense.
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings
B/R Consensus Pick: Vikings (8-4)
Schottey: Vikings, 16-13
Neither of these teams inspire much in the way of confidence. The game is at Minnesota, however, and Adrian Peterson should still "get his" even against a stout Panthers front.
Bowen: Panthers, 23-20
Adrian Peterson will show up in the highlights, but the Panthers defensive front seven comes up with two big second-half plays in the Carolina win.
Schalter: Panthers, 20-10
Signing Josh Freeman was a smart move, but it won't help Minnesota this week. Cam should be able to get back on track against the Vikings defense.
Freeman: Vikings, 20-14
Peterson obliterates the Panthers.
Miller: Vikings, 17-13
If this game were in Carolina, I would feel good about the Panthers. Since it's not, I have to make the Vikings and Adrian Peterson's rushing yards the pick.
Frenz: Vikings, 28-20
Matt Cassel should still be the quarterback, at least until Freeman learns the system, but maybe even beyond if he keeps playing like he did against the Steelers. The Panthers look awful regardless, and a road win seems improbable.
Hangst: Vikings, 23-17
The Panthers offense has no bite this year. Matt Cassel is (believe it or not) an upgrade over Christian Ponder. Neither of these teams are playing inspired football, but the Vikings are just good enough to win.
Hansen: Panthers, 27-24
All the Panthers need to do is put a little pressure on Matt Cassel and he's going to fumble or throw an interception. Adrian Peterson will get his yards, but will find it tough against a defense with Star Lotulelei in the middle.
Bardeen: Panthers, 20-17
These two teams are both bad this season. The one area where Carolina shines—its defensive front seven—will be the determining factor. The Carolina linebackers and two top-notch pass-rushers will feast on the Vikings offense.
Gagnon: Vikings, 20-17
The Panthers were flat in Arizona coming off their bye week. Why should things be any different in Minnesota? The Vikings have more fight than Carolina.
Langland: Vikings 21-20
What in the world has happened to the Carolina Panthers offense? Cam Newton needs to play better and they need a No. 2 wide receiver to emerge. Until that happens, this team won't be winning many games. Minnesota squeaks out a victory in front of its home crowd.
Kruse: Vikings, 27-23
The difference between Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel—the two Minnesota quarterbacks with the potential to start this week—isn't a sizable one. But maybe, just maybe, Josh Freeman's arrival will bring out the best in whichever one starts Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets
B/R Consensus Pick: Jets (8-4)
Schottey: Steelers, 20-9
Wow, I really don't want to pick the Steelers here after the Jets just beat the Atlanta Falcons, but I trust Dick LeBeau to have spent his bye week wisely. Geno Smith won't know what (or even, at times, who) hit him.
Bowen: Steelers, 19-17
Geno Smith played good football in the Monday-night win, but I like the upset here. Dick LeBeau's defense finally starts making some plays.
Schalter: Jets, 21-20
Freeman: Jets, 21-20
Geno Smith is starting a rapid climb to being a good quarterback.
Miller: Jets, 21-20
Geno Smith is everything the Jets have needed the last few seasons, and what we're seeing is that Rex Ryan is still a good coach. The Steelers are terrible.
Frenz: Jets, 20-10
The Steelers are still searching for their first win of the season, and they're not likely to find it against a talented defense and an explosive, if challenged offense.
Hangst: Jets, 33-30
A bye week isn't going to magically cure what ails the 0-4 Steelers, when what ails them is everything. The Jets aren't perfect, to be sure, but they can do enough to win this game.
Hansen: Jets, 24-20
I'll take the Jets. No, I'll take the Steelers. No, the Jets. No, the Steelers. To heck with it, give me the Jets; their defense should bounce Ben Roethlisberger around like a pinball. Geno Smith looked pretty good Monday night, too.
Bardeen: Jets, 26-21
The Jets showed some fight Monday night in Atlanta and Geno Smith earned a few "professional quarterback" points. Pittsburgh hasn't looked good all season and won't start on the road this week.
Gagnon: Steelers, 20-17
Sorry, I still don't believe in the Jets. Back at home on a short week against a veteran team coming off a bye, I smell a letdown.
Langland: Jets, 24-21
The Jets defense is for real, and Geno Smith is progressing nicely week in and week out. Pittsburgh has too many problems on the offensive side of the ball. This, in turn, has hindered its ability to play consistent football.
Kruse: Steelers, 20-10
Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has had two weeks to get ready to face a rookie quarterback. Geno Smith has been impressive late in games this season, but LeBeau could make Sunday a long one for Smith and the Jets.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks
B/R Consensus Pick: Seahawks (12-0)
Schottey: Seahawks, 31-10
Where's this game? Oh, in Seattle? Yeah...
Bowen: Seahawks, 23-10
Tough to win in Seattle. And it doesn't help when you roll into town without your starting quarterback.
Schalter: Seahawks, 35-13
Nobody's given the Seahawks a game at CenturyLink Field so far this season, and the Titans aren't going to be the first.
Freeman: Seahakws, 30-10
Russell Wilson gets the easy win as Seahawks shut down Chris Johnson.
Miller: Seahawks, 24-14
Coming off their first loss of the year, the Seahawks will look to make a statement win at home against the banged-up Titans.
Frenz: Seahawks, 30-20
The Seahawks are reeling after their loss to Indianapolis, but there's nothing like a trip back West to get them back on the winning track.
Hangst: Seahawks, 35-13
Ryan Fitzpatrick in Seattle is all you need to know about this game. The dominant Seahawks are a different, more dangerous animal when playing at home. This should be a big win for Seattle.
Hansen: Seahawks, 30-10
It's a backup quarterback on the road in one of the toughest environments in football. Tell me that's not a recipe for disaster. The Seahawks defense will make Ryan Fitzpatrick's life miserable.
Bardeen: Seahawks, 37-10
The Seahawks are going to be ready to take out revenge on the Titans this week. I wouldn't want to travel to that incredibly hostile stadium and play the Seahawks after a loss.
Gagnon: Seahawks, 35-10
Welcome home, Seattle. Now you get to feast on the young Titans, who are coming back to earth with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The Seahawks won't lose at home this year.
Langland: Seahawks, 35-13
After a tough loss on the road, the Seattle Seahawks return home against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tennessee Titans. Pete Carroll and Co. get back in the win column in convincing fashion.
Kruse: Seahawks, 34-17
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't going into Seattle and beating the Seahawks, who haven't lost at home over the last 10 games. I see a pick-six in Fitz's future.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos
B/R Consensus Pick: Broncos (12-0)
Schottey: Broncos, 41-13
Brock Osweiler might start the second half and still double up on the Jaguars' score all by himself.
Bowen: Broncos, 44-17
No one can stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos right now. This could get ugly.
Schalter: Broncos, 40-3
It's hard to pick a score here, because even if the Broncos lay off the throttle, they'll still leave the Jaguars in the dust.
Freeman: Broncos, 50-3
I feel sorry for the Jaguars. They're sheep in an NFL world of meat-eaters.
Miller: Broncos, 50-9
The only reason to watch this game is for the hilarity that is the Jaguars offense. Denver may score more points in this one game than Jacksonville has all year.
Frenz: Broncos, 59-0
Peyton Manning and the Broncos just surpassed their first true test of the season by beating the Cowboys. The Jaguars are a layup.
Hangst: Broncos, 53-10
To be fair to the Jaguars, they can score points in this game. They aren't the Dallas Cowboys, so that total isn't going to push 50, but a touchdown and a field goal seem realistic.
Hansen: Broncos, 40-13
The Jags will cover the enormous spread because the Broncos will start preparing for the Colts at halftime. Classic trap game, but the talent gap is so huge it won't matter.
Bardeen: Broncos, 46-13
We all know that Peyton Manning doesn't like to let anyone else have snaps at quarterback. But even he has to have some sort of mercy rule, right? Whether Manning plays for two quarters, three or the entire game, there's no chance Jacksonville gets close.
Gagnon: Broncos, 35-13
I can't pick Denver to cover that world-famous spread; I can just see the Broncos coasting and pulling their big shots quickly. And let's not forget that this Denver D gave up 48 last week.
Langland: Broncos, 42-3
Not much analysis needed here. The Jaguars offense is laughable and Peyton Manning is in a league of his own. Denver will have this game wrapped up by halftime.
Kruse: Broncos, 48-14
Chad Henne is likely in for the injured Blaine Gabbert, and if he isn't careful with the ball, the Broncos could realistically score 50-60 points. You'd hope some sort of pride will kick in for a team expected to lose by four touchdowns.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
B/R Consensus Pick: 49ers (11-1)
Schottey: 49ers, 24-17
This is going to be a tough game for Colin Kaepernick to get his groove back in, but Carson Palmer isn't even playing on the level of Kap on a bad day.
Bowen: 49ers, 20-10
Line up in big personnel and run the ball downhill. Thats the 49ers game plan right now, and it continues versus the Cardinals.
Schalter: Cardinals, 20-17
Lost in the 49ers' 3-2 start has been the lackluster play of Colin Kaepernick. Going up against one of the NFL's best pass defenses, Arizona has a great chance to pull off a big upset.
Freeman: 49ers, 20-7
Arizona's defense is spectacular, but it's the Cardinals offense that's the problem.
Miller: 49ers, 20-10
The 49ers found their rhythm in Week 5, but to beat Arizona they need more production from Colin Kaepernick and the passing game.
Frenz: 49ers, 23-10
The Niners quickly got back on the right track after starting 1-2, and they have taken care of business at home in their division.
Hangst: 49ers, 27-20
At home and against a divisional opponent, the 49ers should shine. Arizona has proven to be a tough out this year, but still, that isn't enough. San Francisco gets the win.
Hansen: 49ers, 24-19
The 49ers have found their identity on offense again, and that's bad news for the Arizona Cardinals. Carson Palmer seems to throw more balls to the other team than his own, and one of his mistakes will likely be the difference.
Bardeen: 49ers, 30-17
After a slow start, the Niners are going to start putting wins together in droves. A home game against a divisional opponent seems like an easy pick.
Gagnon: 49ers, 31-13
San Francisco is beginning to get back on track. Arizona's 3-2 record is misleading, because Carolina and Tampa Bay are really bad. On the road, expect this to look like that 31-7, Week 3 loss to the Saints.
Langland: 49ers, 34-27
As much as I like the Cardinals defense, the 49ers are finally starting to hit their stride on offense, defense and special teams. Yes, Colin Kaepernick needs to play better, but right now Vic Fangio's defense is doing what it does best—create turnovers.
Kruse: 49ers, 27-20
Love the way the 49ers have mauled people in the run game the last two weeks, but the Cards have been stingy in the front seven this season. Colin Kaepernick will need to make more plays for the win streak to continue.
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
B/R Consensus Pick: Saints (10-2)
Schottey: Patriots, 35-30
Picked against the Saints last week and regretted it, so here's where Saints fans take to the comments to call me a "hater." I love what the Saints have put together this season, but I gotta think Tom Brady has something special saved for Rob Gronkowski's possible return.
Bowen: Saints, 27-23
Schalter: Saints, 34-30
This will be a massive test of the Patriot Mystique. The Saints could not be any hotter right now, and the Pats are playing as poorly as they ever have been in the Belichick era (despite the 4-1 record). Picking the Saints here still makes me nervous, though.
Freeman: Saints, 28-21
New Orleans' defense travels well now.
Miller: Saints, 34-31
The Patriots will find a way to make this one interesting, as they always do. But Drew Brees has too many playmakers for his team to lose a shootout.
Frenz: Saints, 20-16
The Saints have the formula to make life difficult for Tom Brady, with a spin-the-dial defense under coordinator Rob Ryan. The Pats defense has struggled with tight ends, and Jimmy Graham is playing out of his mind right now. Patriots hit a rare two-game losing skid.
Hangst: Saints, 33-17
This isn't the storied Patriots of yore, and the Saints seem to be back in championship form. What would have been a shootout a year ago is a decisive Saints victory this year, thanks to Sean Payton's return to the sideline and a revived defense under Rob Ryan.
Hansen: Patriots, 24-21
The Saints barely beat the Buccaneers on the road, 16-14, and allowed 434 yards of offense to the Bears in Chicago. The Patriots are getting healthy and Tom Brady will figure out a way to expose Rob Ryan's surprising defense. The Saints will score points, but New England's defense might be the best they have faced this season.
Bardeen: Saints, 31-21
Believe it or not, it's the Saints defense that New England has to watch out for. Tom Brady is going to have trouble finding open receivers this week and he's going to have to elude a pretty fierce pass rush. Oh, and Jimmy Graham will hurt the Patriots at some point, guaranteed.
Gagnon: Patriots, 38-35
The New Orleans defense can't be this good, can it? And Tom Brady is Tom Brady. At home, he and Bill Belichick will find a way to avoid losing back-to-back games, which is something they've always been good at doing. Pats win a shootout.
Langland: Saints, 35-31
Tom Brady is magical at home, but does the Patriots defense have an answer for Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham? I don't think so. Saints win in a shootout.
Kruse: Saints, 24-20
A shootout might not be in the cards with how well each defense is playing right now. Getting back Rob Gronkowski should help Tom Brady, but Drew Brees is dealing right now, and his receiving options are much harder to game-plan for than Brady's.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys: Sunday Night Football
B/R Consensus Pick: Cowboys (12-0)
Schottey: Cowboys, 30-21
The only chance Washington has is for Robert Griffin III to come out of the bye and hit the ground running as fast as he ran last season. Still, the Cowboys passing attack should put up big numbers against this Washington secondary.
Bowen: Cowboys, 34-26
Tony Romo against the Redskins secondary? Give me the Cowboys in this one.
Schalter: Cowboys, 35-28
It's tempting to pretend RGIII is going to bounce out of a two-week cold tub bath with a full-strength knee, but even so, it's hard to see him outscoring a Cowboys offense that's firing on all cylinders right now.
Freeman: Cowboys, 35-20
Tony Romo recovers from his choking performance and comes up big.
Miller: Cowboys, 35-17
Tony Romo will bounce back after another late interception versus Denver, and the Cowboys will find out that the Washington secondary is much like the one they saw last week.
Frenz: Cowboys, 38-10
Tony Romo should pick up right where he left off against this Redskins defense, which is just as bad as the Broncos defense he just torched for 500 yards.
Hangst: Cowboys, 35-13
The Cowboys put up 48 points against the Broncos last week and Tony Romo was near-flawless with just that one interception. This offense versus Washington's defense? It's an epic mismatch that favors the Cowboys.
Hansen: Cowboys, 33-27
I wouldn't expect a ton of defense in this game, but that's good for Tony Romo. The Cowboys may get a big lead, but the Redskins will battle back into the game and make it look close at the end.
Bardeen: Cowboys, 28-20
Whether or not you believe Tony Romo is a choke artist or not, you have to admire the numbers he put up against Denver last week. He's capable of doing the same against Washington, and there won't be any way he can choke, because Dallas will have a sizable lead.
Gagnon: Cowboys, 30-27
Washington is coming off a bye, and the Redskins beat the Cowboys twice last year. Still, Dallas should have a lot of momentum after that impressive effort against Denver. The 'Boys won't slip up here, but it'll be a close one.
Langland: Cowboys, 27-14
Tony Romo's recent late-game interception won't hinder his performance in Week 6. He will put on a show versus Washington's secondary. The Cowboys are still the best team in the NFC East.
Kruse: Cowboys, 34-30
In a perfect world, Tony Romo puts on another quarterbacking clinic AND throws a game-winner late. He needs a big moment to quiet those noisy (and mostly ridiculous) critics.
Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego Chargers: Monday Night Football
B/R Consensus Pick: Colts (12-0)
Schottey: Colts, 28-20
The Colts are the much better team here. I'm giving the Chargers a close game because it's in San Diego and they've been a tough out this year. But Andrew Luck and Co. are going to be too much for them.
Bowen: Colts, 28-20
The Colts have a balanced offensive attack and Andrew Luck is playing like a vet. I'm taking Indianapolis on the road.
Schalter: Colts, 21-20
People are sleeping on the Chargers, and the Colts are due for a game where they are the ones taken by surprise instead of doing the surprising. Right now, though, the Colts are just playing at a much higher level.
Freeman: Colts, 24-17
Andrew Luck lights up that defense and Philip Rivers tosses a pick-six.
Miller: Colts, 21-17
Andrew Luck is simply too good to pick against right now. It may not be pretty, but the Colts are winning.
Frenz: Colts, 30-24
The Colts have pulled off surprising wins against the 49ers and Seahawks. The only surprising thing here would be the Chargers offense finding rhythm against the Colts' stingier-than-expected pass defense.
Hangst: Colts, 27-24
Andrew Luck and the Colts are on a roll right now, with three straight wins and Luck's ninth career late-game comeback. This is a dangerous team that can be relied upon more than the up-and-down Chargers. Monday Night Football is a great nationally televised showcase for the Colts to get a win.
Hansen: Colts, 27-23
The Chargers had a setback last week against the Raiders on the road. Their defense is very poor, and the Colts should be able to score rather easily. Philip Rivers will battle, but he will have a tough time overcoming his team's shortcomings against a good team like Indianapolis.
Bardeen: Colts, 28-17
Andrew Luck is turning into one of the few NFL quarterbacks that can win in any situation and in any building. On the road, it might get a little tough for the Colts, but they've got the right guy under center to deal with anything.
Gagnon: Colts, 27-23
Same old unpredictable Chargers at home. That's dangerous. But Andrew Luck is finding a groove and the Colts have already proven that they can win out on the West Coast.
Langland: Colts, 31-21
The Chargers are unpredictable and the Colts are playing up to expectations. Andrew Luck will guide Indianapolis to its fifth win of the season. Moreover, expect T.Y. Hilton to have another monster game.
Kruse: Colts, 27-23
Even if the Colts come out flat after a statement home win, Andrew Luck will find a way to get it done late. The guy is absolutely unshakable.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!