The last couple of weeks have been somewhat unpredictable in the NFL and has left me with some spectacularly mediocre numbers. An 8-6 record in Week Five pushes the season record to 44-32 (.579). Let’s take a look at the Week Six matchups (Picks in Bold, Home Team listed second):
Texans at Bengals (-5): This is a game between two teams that have gotten off to very different campaigns in 2009. The Bengals might be one of the biggest surprises in the AFC this year, leading the North Division with a 4-1, which really should be a 5-0, overall record. The Texans continue to be a first half disappointment, coming off of last week’s loss in Arizona, where they failed to punch it in from a yard out late in the fourth quarter.
Lions (+14) at Packers: Since when are the Packers one of the better teams in the league this year? The Steelers couldn’t cover an 11-point spread last week against Detroit and I think that Pittsburgh is better than Green Bay. I also don’t think the Lions are THAT bad anymore. This is a divisional game. Much like against the Vikings, the Lions will compete. Alas, they will probably lose.
Ravens at Vikings (-3): I think it’s time we all realized that Baltimore’s defense is not the class of the NFL anymore. This, combined with the struggles of the Ravens’ offense and the way the Vikes have played in their first five games, means this one might not be as close as some people think.
Giants (+3) at Saints: The Saints’ offense was somewhat exposed by the Jets’ defense two weeks ago. I think the G-Men will have similar success containing New Orleans and that Eli Manning won’t make the same mistakes as Mark Sanchez, allowing New York to win this battle of the unbeatens by a touchdown margin. I think it’ll be 24-17 Giants.
Browns at Steelers (-15): I’m starting to buy back into Pittsburgh after they looked shaky when Troy Polamalu went down with his injury. The offense seems to finally be clicking and they have a great young RB in Rashard Mendenhall, who holds onto the ball much better than Willie Parker, making it far less likely that the Browns’ very pedestrian offense will get the ball in scoring position more than a couple of times.
Panthers (-3) at Buccaneers: Carolina shouldn’t have much trouble with Tampa Bay, if only because no one else has really had an issue playing against Tampa Bay. Neither of these teams are good at all, and it might come down to which starting QB, either Jake Delhomme or Josh Johnson, makes less mistakes to determine the winner. There might also be more defensive TDs than offensive in this game.
Chiefs (+7) at Redskins: Giving the Washington Redskins 7 points is an absolute crime considering they just lost to Carolina and Detroit earlier this year and look like they can’t put 7 points on the board most of the time. I actually don’t think it’s unrealistic to say Kansas City will pick up their first win this season over the ‘Skins, plummeting Daniel Snyder’s group of over-payed and under-talented football players into further disarray.
Rams at Jaguars (-10): Jacksonville seems to be like two teams in one. Either they will play you very tough and look very competitive, or they will throw up a complete goose egg like they did last week against the Seahawks. The Jags will come out looking to put that game behind them, and shouldn’t have much trouble doing that against the lowly Rams, who might be the worst of the winless teams in the league.
Cardinals at Seahawks (-3): It’s amazing how much different Seattle looks when Matt Hasselbeck is under center. Their performance against the Jaguars last week was nothing short of dominant, and they now look to make another big statement by beating one of the favorites in the NFC West in ‘Zona. The Cards survived at home against Houston last week, but still look like they might be experiencing some of that Superbowl hangover from last year. This might be a rude awakening for Kurt Warner and Co.
Eagles (-15) at Raiders: After last week’s 44-7 loss to the Giants, New York LB Antonio Pierce noted that playing the Raiders felt like “a scrimmage.” The Eagles should win this game by at least three-four TDs if the Raiders are as bad as Mr. Pierce is suggesting. Plus, Philly needs to keep winning as long as the G-Men are unbeaten.
Titans at Patriots (-10): Have you seen the Tennessee Titans lately? They are a complete and utter disaster. Going up against a New England team that doesn’t lose back-to-back games ever, I highly doubt that Tennessee will prove to be much of a road block. Expect to see Vince Young make an early appearance in this game. Should be a blowout.
Bills at Jets (-10): The Jets have gone from 3-0 and Superbowl contenders to 3-2 and really needing to win this one at home against a Bills team that just cannot do anything offensively, being held to just three points by the Cleveland Browns last week. I expect the Jets to get back on track this week by taking care of business before heading out to play Oakland. As for Buffalo, maybe they’ll actually get Terrell Owens involved in the offense, but he’ll be up against Darrelle Revis, so it won’t be easy.
Bears at Falcons (-3): I really have no idea who to pick in this game. Two pretty good teams in a game that they could both use to keep up with the undefeated team that are ahead of them in their respective divisions, and both coming off of solid victories. When all else fails, take the home team and hope for the best, plus Matt Ryan is my fantasy QB so I would like it if the Falcons won a high-scoring game.
Broncos (+3) at Chargers: After five weeks of mocking them, I can deny it no more. The Broncos have a good football team, as unjust as it may be, they are good, and probably the best team in the AFC West, especially with the Chargers struggling so far this season. Here’s the chance for the Broncos to separate themselves from the rest of the division. Now that I’ve stopped saying they aren’t that good, they’ll probably get killed, but that’s football, right?