NFL Week 6 Predictions: Picks for Overlooked Games That Will Steal the Spotlight
Every week around the NFL, a select number of games dominate the spotlight. For example, Week 6 is headlined by the Green Bay Packers taking on the defending champion Baltimore Ravens and also by the New Orleans Saints traveling to face the New England Patriots.
Of course, that leaves plenty of other games to fly below the radar. But, on Sunday, it's normally a few of those overlooked matchups that prove to be most exciting. The high level of parity around the league in the early going certainly helps.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at three games with spotlight-stealing potential heading into Week 6 along with predictions for each one. For a complete list of the week's schedule to see what other clashes might shine, visit the league's official site.
Detroit Lions (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (3-2)
The availability of Calvin Johnson is going to have a significant impact on the outcome of this game. The Lions' offense showed that it's nowhere near as dynamic without him, putting up just nine points against the Green Bay Packers last week.
Luckily for Detroit, Johnson said he was very close to playing last week despite a knee injury, per Michael Rothstien of ESPN.com. Getting him back in the lineup is the only way to open up the field for Matthew Stafford and Reggie Bush against a very tough Browns defense.
Cleveland's offense figures to slow down with Brandon Weeden back under center in place of the injured Brian Hoyer. He had a strong preseason, but he hasn't been able to carry it over to the regular season. And it's tough to overcome that without a reliable running game.
Ultimately, it's tough to rely on Weeden in a game that's likely to come down to the final minutes, especially if Johnson suits up for Detroit.
Prediction: Lions 21, Browns 17
Oakland Raiders (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
The Raiders are coming off an impressive victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night. Terrelle Pryor's continued signs of improvement are one of the biggest stories of the first half. His dual-threat ability is going to challenge the Chiefs' stout defense.
Which of these games are you most looking forward to?
Even though the Kansas City offense has been getting a lot of attention after being reignited by Andy Reid, the defense is the team's foundation. Led by Justin Houston and Eric Berry, the unit ranks first in points allowed at less than 12 per game.
It's important to note the Chiefs did give up 99 yards on just four carries against Michael Vick in Week 3, though. So if Pryor can get outside the pocket and keep the talented defense honest with his legs, an upset could start brewing in Kansas City.
That said, the Chiefs should find a way to pull out the victory and remain unbeaten. Just don't be surprised if it's a tougher battle than generally expected.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Raiders 24
Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
The budding rivalry between the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks continues to build intrigue, but the Cardinals are hanging tough in the NFC West. Picking up a road victory over San Francisco would be a major statement.
Two things must happen for Arizona to keep pace, though. First, Carson Palmer needs to do a much better job of protecting the football (nine interceptions so far). Second, Andre Ellington must get more involved in the running game with Rashard Mendenhall struggling.
As for the 49ers, they looked far more like the team that made the Super Bowl in last week's win over the Houston Texans. They leaned heavily on the rushing attack, led by Frank Gore, received a strong showing from the defense and allowed Colin Kaepernick to make just the necessary throws.
If San Francisco is able to follow the same script, the Cardinals will be in a tough spot. One mistake would be enough to end their upset hopes, and Palmer has been error-prone in the early going.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Cardinals 23
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