Entering Week 6 of the 2013 NFL regular season, three teams are undefeated and three division winners from 2012 boast records below .500. This unpredictable season has numerous dark-horse contenders emerging as potential postseason teams, as the favorites battle to live up to expectations.
But which of those squads will secure critical victories?
|Date||Road Team||Prediction||Home Team|
|Thursday, Oct. 10||New York Giants||21-24||Chicago Bears|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Detroit Lions||23-13||Cleveland Browns|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Oakland Raiders||14-24||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Carolina Panthers||24-20||Minnesota Vikings|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Pittsburgh Steelers||17-16||New York Jets|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Cincinnati Bengals||27-13||Buffalo Bills|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Philadelphia Eagles||28-19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Green Bay Packers||26-20||Baltimore Ravens|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||St. Louis Rams||14-31||Houston Texans|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Jacksonville Jaguars||16-42||Denver Broncos|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Tennessee Titans||13-24||Seattle Seahawks|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Arizona Cardinals||16-20||San Francisco 49ers|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||New Orleans Saints||30-31||New England Patriots|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||Washington Redskins||34-38||Dallas Cowboys|
|Monday, Oct. 14||Indianapolis Colts||31-27||San Diego Chargers|
Week 5: 8-6, Season: 46-31
Detroit Lions (3-2)
Opponent: at Cleveland Browns
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13
Prediction: 23-13, Lions
The Detroit Lions have started the season strong, but they suffered a critical 22-9 loss to the Green Bay Packers during Week 4. Detroit continues to own the lead in the division, but with a slim .5-game edge over the Packers, Detroit needs to remain strong until its Week 9 bye.
In Week 6, the Lions will face a Cleveland Browns team that just lost its breakout quarterback.
Browns QB Brian Hoyer tore his ACL, an MRI confirmed. Done for season.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2013
Having a first-round draft choice as a backup plan isn't too terrible, but Brandon Weeden will have trouble matching Detroit's explosive offense.
The Lions struggled to produce offensively against the Packers, but they were without superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson and No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Megatron is a game-time decision for Detroit's meeting with the Browns.
Even still, it's easier to believe in Detroit's offense than Cleveland's.
Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon will keep things interesting for the Browns, but Reggie Bush is a force on the ground and Detroit shouldn't be expected to struggle offensively in consecutive weeks. There is an upset alert, but Detroit's defense has been playing well and Weeden has just two passing touchdowns in three games.
It'll be close and competitive, but Stafford trumps Weeden, and that's the deciding factor.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Opponent: Washington Redskins
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13
Prediction: 38-34, Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a high-profile football team that has played as well as any team could en route to a 2-3 record. Due to the fact that Dallas has more losses than wins, fans and analysts are still unconvinced when it comes to the Cowboys' chances to do much of anything in the postseason.
Which team will win the NFC East?
On Sunday Night Football, in front of a nationally televised audience, Dallas will make a statement with a revenge win over the Washington Redskins.
The Cowboys lost a thriller to the Denver Broncos during Week 5, falling 51-48 in an instant classic. Tony Romo was 25-of-36 for 506 yards, five touchdowns and a costly interception, and he led the Cowboys back from a 15-point second-half deficit.
Against a Redskins defense that's 28th in pass defense, 31st in run defense and 26th in scoring defense, Romo and company should have no trouble moving the football.
The key in this game is that Washington defeated Dallas twice in 2012, including a Week 17 clash that eliminated the Cowboys from the playoffs. With revenge on their minds, the Cowboys will come out firing against Washington.
It'll be a strong game, but Dallas will win.
Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
Opponent: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13
Prediction: 28-19, Buccaneers
The Philadelphia Eagles may be 2-3, but entering Week 6, they're tied with the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. Philadelphia bounced back in Week 5 after losing three consecutive outings and will look to continue that success against a winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.
With a win, Philly would get back to .500.
This will be a meeting between young quarterbacks who are under a large amount of pressure. The Bucs released franchise player Josh Freeman and will now start Mike Glennon, while Nick Foles gets the nod over an injured Michael Vick for the Eagles.
Look for Foles to be in his comfort zone.
Here's a list of every QB that's ever thrown for 375 yards vs. the Bucs, 60% completion pct with 2+ TDs and 0 interceptions: Nick Foles.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) October 10, 2013
Darrelle Revis might make his day a little unpleasant, but Tampa Bay is about to face the NFL's top rushing offense.
LeSean McCoy leads a rushing attack that's averaging 186.6 yards per contest, which will tire out a very strong Bucs defense. Should Tampa make stops, it'll be on an unproven rookie, Glennon, who will need to shine against an opportunistic Eagles defense that has nine takeaways.
This one won't be pretty, but Philadelphia will secure a much-needed victory.