NFL Picks Week 6: Predicting Games with Most Drastic Impact on Division Races

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 9, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes around linebacker Rolando McClain #55 of the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter on October 28, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Oakland defeated Kansas City 26-16.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

On Thursday, Oct. 10, Week 6 of the 2013 NFL regular season will commence as the Chicago Bears host the New York Giants. This will set the stage for a week of football that features the final three undefeated teams and multiple squads with the opportunity to move up in the division standings.

The question is, which games will have the most drastic impact on the division races and how will they transpire?

Oakland Raiders (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

All eyes are on Kansas City to build upon its 5-0 start.
All eyes are on Kansas City to build upon its 5-0 start.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 13

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET


Prediction: 24-14, Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of three remaining undefeated teams with a 5-0 record after winning three of its first five on the road. Kansas City now begins a three-game home stand against a rapidly improving 2-3 Oakland Raiders team.

Say what you will about name value, but Kansas City is tied with the Denver Broncos for first in the AFC West. Every game that both teams play from here on out will have a dramatic impact on the division race.

Kansas City has used smothering defense and a balanced offense to hit the 5-0 mark, most recently winning 26-17 at the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs lead the league in sacks, fumble recoveries and defensive touchdowns and rank third in interceptions.

For as great as Denver has been on offense, a case could be made that Kansas City's defense has been equally as dominant.

The Raiders are led by Terrelle Pryor, who is shining in his first opportunity as a full-time starter. In his most recent outing, Pryor led the Raiders to a 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers by going 18-of-23 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Still just 24, the sky truly is the limit for the 6'4" and 233-pound playmaker.

The key in this game will be on defense, as Kansas City's ability to put pressure on the quarterback will lead to turnovers. From there, the Chiefs will turn to Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles to continue providing reliable offense.

For a small fantasy note, Dwayne Bowe is half past due for a stellar performance. 


Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 07: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers tries to escape from Kelly Gregg #97 of the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau Field on December 7, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Ravens 27-17. (Photo by Jonathan Da
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 13

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Prediction: 26-20, Packers

When the 2013 regular-season schedule was released, the game between the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens was circled on many calendars. Both teams have Super Bowl aspirations and the high-profile quarterbacks to reach that plateau.

In a twist that few saw coming, Green Bay enters this game at 2-2 and Baltimore at 3-2.

Joe Flacco is making Skip Bayless' criticisms sound real, struggling to do much of anything for Baltimore's offense. Behind a very inconsistent offensive line, Flacco currently has five touchdown passes to eight interceptions and has six picks over the past two weeks.

This is the same Flacco who has never topped 4,000 yards passing and hasn't completed at least 60.0 percent of his passes in a full season since 2010.

You can defend Flacco with opinion-based comments, but take away the Super Bowl title—a monumental feat that can't be sold short—and he's truly an average quarterback.

For Green Bay, quarterback play has been the least of its concerns, as Aaron Rodgers ranks third in passing yards per game and has nine touchdowns to three interceptions. The rushing attack has been explosive as well, with Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin and James Starks all ripping off 90-plus-yard performances.

Unfortunately, the defense has been poor against the pass and just took a major blow.

Clay Matthews leads the Packers in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles.

The Ravens may have the defensive edge, but Rodgers has been tearing apart elite units throughout the duration of his career. Flacco, meanwhile, can't stop throwing costly interceptions behind an offensive line that's still in trouble without Matthews' presence.

It will still be a quarterback duel, but there shouldn't be any question about which player is the superior force under center.


Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) at Denver Broncos (5-0)

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 06:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 13

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET


Prediction: 42-16, Broncos

In what is easily the most lopsided game of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to face the Denver Broncos. Denver is 5-0 with a home-field advantage that pairs extraordinary crowd noise with high altitude, while Jacksonville is 0-5 with no signs of improvement.

Should Denver lose and Kansas City win, however, the Broncos would fall to second in the AFC West.

Denver had its first true test during Week 5, escaping AT&T Stadium with a 51-48 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Peyton Manning was 33-of-42 for 414 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, and Knowshon Moreno added 150 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown.

Manning also picked up his first rushing touchdown since 2008 to continue his legendary start.

During Week 6, the Broncos will face a Jaguars squad that has hit the 20-point mark in just one game.

Anything can happen in the NFL, but if Jacksonville were to pull out the upset, it'd be the most shocking result we see all season. The Jaguars have promising young players, and the return of Justin Blackmon opens up the offense, but Denver is playing at a level that few have ever matched.

The only question at this point is whether or not Jacksonville will beat the plus-27 point spread, per Bovada.


Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-2)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 30: Daryl Washington #58 of the Arizona Cardinals grabs the face mask of Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers  at Candlestick Park on December 30, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 13

Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Prediction: 20-16, 49ers

Entering Week 6, both the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers are 3-2. San Francisco has responded to back-to-back blowout losses with consecutive lopsided wins, while Arizona's defense has led a two-game winning streak of its own.

When the two sides meet on Sunday, Oct. 13, one team will move a step closer to the NFC West title and the other could fall two games back of the Seattle Seahawks.

Arizona struggled defensively through three games, but has allowed just 16 points over the past two weeks. Carson Palmer has a concerning nine interceptions thrown, but he's led key fourth-quarter scoring drives in back-to-back games.

The turnovers are concerning, but Palmer has been making up for his mistakes with clutch heroics.

San Francisco's passing attack has been a disappointment, as Colin Kaepernick has thrown for less than 170 yards in four consecutive outings. In that time, he's completed 50.5 percent of his throws and has three touchdowns to four interceptions.

Fortunately, Frank Gore is playing dominant football and the defense has allowed 14 points during the Niners' past two outings.

With neither quarterback achieving separation from the other, it comes down to San Francisco having more to complement Kaepernick with than Arizona does Palmer. The Cardinals have the ability to pull this one out, but the Niners' home-field advantage does play a factor.

Arizona hasn't won at Candlestick Park since 2008.


Washington Redskins (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Aug 9, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Travaris Cadet (39) is tackled by New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Williams (41) and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (53) during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium.  The Pat
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Sunday, Oct. 13

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET


Prediction: 38-34, Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys enter Week 6 as a 2-3 team with two losses coming by three points or less. The Washington Redskins have underwhelmed en route to a 1-3 start that, somehow, has them only 0.5 games off of the division lead.

It shouldn't, but this game could decide the front-runner in the NFC East.

After losing consecutive lopsided affairs to the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, the Redskins have since had a fourth-quarter collapse against the Detroit Lions and a close win against the Raiders. The defense has struggled against the run and pass, and the offense's big numbers have come from playing from behind.

Even still, a win on Sunday Night Football would give Washington a half-game edge over Dallas in the division.

The Cowboys enter this game fresh off of a legendary battle with the Denver Broncos that resulted in a 51-48 loss. Tony Romo threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns on a completion percentage of 69.4—his first time below 70.0 percent in 2013—but a fourth-quarter interception is all fans remember.

What should fans remember? The fact that, before Romo took over the game, Dallas was down 15 points in the second half to a Broncos team that doesn't blow leads.

Four second-half touchdown passes just don't seem to matter these days.

During Week 6, the Cowboys will need Romo to be at his best to combat Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. There's no question that Washington could win this game, but after last week, Dallas should be hungry to prove itself.

In terms of quality of play, there shouldn't be anyone in the world who questions Dallas is the class of the poor NFC East in 2013. Just don't forget that Washington won the division in 2012 with a seven-game winning streak.


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