NFL Week 6 Picks: Road Warriors Sure to Prevail in Hostile Environments
It's tough to win road games in the NFL, but the teams that consistently find ways to get the job done in hostile environments usually end up playing deep into January—if not later.
Playing on the road requires teams to take an extra day to travel, and it forces players to sleep in hotel beds instead of their own beds at home with their families. There's nothing glamorous about the logistics of relocating to a new city every other week or so.
And then, when the game begins, the players must endure a hostile crowd that wants nothing more than to cheer and jeer their misfortunes, should they occur.
It takes a high degree of discipline to come away with a win on the road, and these upcoming teams have it.
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati's defense has been solid all year long, and there's a delicacy on the menu for the team's excellent pass-rushers in Week 6.
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel hurt his knee in Week 5 on a running play down the left sideline, and he's not expected to be ready to play for a few more weeks, as noted by the team's Twitter account, which also announced Thad Lewis as the starting quarterback for this upcoming contest:
Doug Marrone: EJ Manuel has an LCL sprain that does not require surgery. Expected to return in a few weeks.— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) October 4, 2013
#Bills QB Thad Lewis will start for Buffalo against the Bengals— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) October 7, 2013
Lewis was pulled off the practice squad for this gig, and he went undrafted out of Duke in 2010. He has one NFL start under his belt, during which he passed for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Needless to say, Cincinnati, with its excellent defense, should shut down the offense of the Bills this week with Lewis at the helm.
All Andy Dalton needs to do is play efficiently and not turn the ball over for the Bengals to win the game and cruise to a 4-2 record.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Eagles haven't been able to stop opposing offenses this season, allowing 434 yards (No. 31 in the league) and 31.8 points (No. 30 in the league) per game.
This absence of force on the defensive side of the ball—along with a rash of turnovers—has negated Philly's high-powered offense, leading to the team's 2-3 start.
Thankfully for the Eagles and their fans, the perfect remedy for their malady comes in Week 6 by way of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay's offense is putrid, averaging just 274.8 yards and 11 points per game. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars feature an offense more dismal.
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is nowhere near ready to lead the Bucs to victory on a weekly basis, and the team's defense—while solid—isn't good enough to compensate for his inability to move the chains on a regular basis.
Nick Foles will play well this week in place of an injured Michael Vick, and he won't need to take unnecessary risks because of Tampa Bay's weakness on offense.
The Eagles will easily win this game to move back to .500 and maintain a spot atop the wide-open NFC East.
Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers
Raise your hand if you've enjoyed the bounce-back year Philip Rivers is having after he suffered so badly in Norv Turner's final year at the helm of the San Diego Chargers.
Rivers is fun to watch when he's heaving the ball all over the yard. Unfortunately, he's been doing so this year because the defense of San Diego has played so poorly that the Chargers are constantly playing from behind.
Rivers won't have an easy time finding open receivers Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts, however.
Indy has impressively been one of the league's top-ranked pass defenses in the early part of this season, allowing just 201.4 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just four touchdown passes against this unit while giving away seven interceptions in five games.
On the other side of the ball, Indy has been controlling the clock utilizing a consistent, punishing rushing attack, and Andrew Luck makes plays when he needs to in the passing game.
The Colts will move to 5-1 this upcoming Monday night after putting the Chargers down with a methodical game plan that keeps Rivers on the sidelines as much as possible.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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