NFL Week 6 Picks: Analyzing Key Matchups for Each Game
The 2010-2011 NFL season has had its share of excitement, unexpected upsets, season-changing injuries.
However, the majority of the upsets we've seen have been determined by only two to three man on man matchups.
This week's slate of games could have more upsets than any NFL weekend thus far, and this slideshow gives you a sneak peak into the various matchups that will determine the outcomes of each game this week.
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) Vs. Chicago Bears
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Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch Vs. Chicago Bears MLB Brian Urlacher
The Seahawks traded a 2011 fourth-round draft pick last week to acquire running back Marshawn Lynch from the Buffalo Bills, after Justin Forsett suffered a season-ending injury.
Marshawn Lynch was on display for the past three weeks, and has gained 164 yards on the ground.
The Bears have an outstanding defense, especially against the run, in which they are ranked third in the NFL.
The Bears are led by Bryan Urlacher (35 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 6 Tackles for loss, Interception, Forced Fumble) as their main run stopper.
Seattle Seahawks LT Russell Okung Vs. Chicago Bears DE Julius Peppers
Julius Peppers (11 tackles, two sacks, four pass deflections, interception, two forced fumbles), is licking his chops this week, as one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL gets to have his way with the Seahawks' rookie left tackle, Russell Okung.
Okung would be wise to wear a knee brace this week, as Peppers has both power and finesse moves that will have an inexperienced rookie on IR by the end of the half.
Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas Vs. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler is expected to start after missing last week's game due to the beating he took against the New York Giants.
Rookie free safety, Earl Thomas, has quickly made his presence known, making 23 tackles, and picking off three passes.
Cutler, who has passed for 917 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions, has a reputation for making poor decisions and turning the ball over.
After being mauled by the Giants, Cutler may be a little itchy to get rid of the ball as quick as possible, and some of those may land in Thomas' hands.
Green Bay Packers (3-2) Vs. Miami Dolphins (2-2)
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Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews Vs. Miami Dolphins LT Jake Long
The Packers second-year man out of USC has quickly catapulted himself into comparisons to the great pass rushers in the National Football League.
Clay Matthews is relentless in his pass rush, as noted by his 21 tackles, two of which were for a loss, and has registered 8.5 sacks in just five games.
Miami Dolphins young left tackle is also arguably one of the best pass protectors in the league. With the series of devastating injuries the Packers suffered in the past two weeks, if Matthews can't beat Long to get to Chad Henne, I can't see the Pack winning this one.
Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings Vs. Miami Dolphins CB Vontae Davis
Greg Jennings hasn't been putting up the numbers many of us believed he would, catching just 14 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns. This week, Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers is doubtful to start, leaving backup Matt Flynn, a seventh-round draft pick out of Louisiana State under center.
Vontae Davis has been practicing every week against Brandon Marshall, a bigger and more physical receiver than Jennings, and with a young quarterback throwing his way, Davis could get a few turnover opportunities.
Green Bay Packers CB Charles Woodson Vs. Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall
Charles Woodson is a top-five cornerback in the NFL and has been a huge boost to the injury-depleted Packers secondary. Woodson has made 34 tackles, deflected five passes, made a pick-six, and forced two fumbles.
Brandon Marshall has another one of the best up and coming wide receivers in the NFL, as he is coming off of three consecutive seasons of catching 100 passes.
He is struggling to find chemistry with his new quarterback Chad Henne, as he has been targeted 46 times, yet made only 27 receptions. He has 340 yards and a touchdown.
Henne has been a bit erratic as well, and Woodson is always a threat to take one to the house.
San Diego Chargers (2-3) Vs. St. Louis Rams (2-3)
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San Diego Chargers CB Quintin Jammer Vs. St. Louis Rams WR Laurent Robinson
The St. Louis Rams suffered a huge blow last week against the Detroit Lions, when they lost their leading receiver Mark Clayton for the season. Clayton was rookie quarterback Sam Bradford's favorite target, as the two connected 23 times for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
Taking Clayton's place is Laurent Robinson, who has only appeared in three games this season, yet Danny Amendola, who had a breakout game last week may be rotated around the field.
All in all, Quinten Jammer is a top notch cornerback, and he will most likely be able to contain whichever receiver he is lined up with.
San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates Vs. St. Louis Rams Defense
The Rams don't have a linebacker, cornerback, or strong safety that would be able to contain Antonio Gates by himself.
Gates has caught 27 passes for 478 yards and has scored seven touchdowns.
With Michael Floyd on the outside, Ronald Bartell, Craig Dahl, and Larry Grant are going to have their work cut out for them this weekend.
Baltimore Ravens (4-1) Vs. New England Patriots (3-1)
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Baltimore Ravens DE Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs Vs. LT Matt Light
Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs have pressured opposing quarterbacks week in and week out, leading the Ravens to their 4-1 record. The two have combined for 52 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and five tackles for losses.
Matt Light is a great left tackle, but the Patriots will need help from rookie Rob Gronkowski, who is more of a blocking tight end than fellow rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Baltimore Ravens CBs Chris Carr, LaDarius Webb Vs. New England Patriots WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Tate
The Baltimore Ravens have been without all star safety Ed Reed for the whole season, and still have managed to hold the second ranked pass defense in the NFL, allowing just 156.6 yards through the air.
Chris Carr and LaDarius Webb have combined for 28 tackles and five pass deflections on the season.
This week, the Patriots are without Randy Moss, who was dealt to the Minnesota Vikings last week for a fourth round draft pick.
Wes Welker, who has caught 26 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns, is usually moved around the field will now be primarily on the outside. He has the speed to beat corners on slants, but he doesn't have the height to be the downfield threat that Moss was.
Brandon Tate is now the starter, and has caught 11 passes for 135 yards on the year. He has been used on special teams for most of the year, but still expect Aaron Hernandez to be used as another inside receiving threat.
Detroit Lions (1-4) Vs. New York Giants (3-2)
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Detroit Lions CBs Chris Houston, Alphonso Smith Vs. New York Giants WRs Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith
Outside of free safety Louis Delmas (33 tackles, two sacks, forced fumble, two pass deflections), the Detroit Lions secondary is extremely inconsistent.
Chris Houston, who was brought to Detroit to add experience has made 18 tackles and has just one interception on the season, while Alphonso Smith has came out of nowhere racking up 16 tackles and making an interception in each of the past three weeks.
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has been the touchdown threat for Eli Manning, reeling in 33 passes for 409 yards, finding the end zone six times.
Steve Smith has been on and off, but has caught 28 passes for 300 yards, and scored a touchdown.
Detroit Lions RT/LT Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Backus Vs. New York Giants DE's Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora
If I were a Giants fan, I would be excited to watch this game. Justin Tuck will line up with Jeff Backus, and aging veteran who isn't really a competent left tackle.
Tuck has made 32 tackles, five tackles for a loss, five sacks and forced a fumble. Backus is going to get smoked all day.
On the other side, Osi Umenyiora will be lined up with right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who is just downright terrible. Umenyiora has made six tackles and forced five fumbles, and I can picture Cherilus on his back the entire game.
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) Vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
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Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White Vs. Philadelphia Eagles CB Asante Samuel
Roddy White is a great wide receiver, and has been a key to the success the Atlanta Falcons have had this season. White has caught 37 passes for 463 yards, scoring three touchdowns. He also saved the Falcons from a potential loss to the 49ers by stripping Nate Clements.
Asante Samuel is a seasoned veteran at the cornerback position, and he is a ballhawk. If he thinks he can make a jump at the ball, he is going to take his chances. He has made 13 tackles on the year, while making an interception and deflecting three passes.
White will need to continue his outstanding play and fake out Samuel to find the endzone.
Atlanta Falcons LT/RT Tyson Clabo, Sam Baker Vs. Philadelphia Eagles DEs Trent Cole, Brandon Graham
Tyson Clabo is a strong left tackle, but I'm not sure he will be able to contain Philadelphia's Trent Cole, who has made 26 tackles, four of which were for losses.
Sam Baker holds down the right side of the offensive line that has allowed Falcons quarterback, Matt Ryan, to be sacked 10 times this season. Baker has more experience than the first-round draft pick out of Michigan, Brandon Graham, yet he has already started to make an impact, recording two sacks and forcing a fumble.
Cleveland Browns (1-4) Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
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This game will feature a rookie quarterback, Colt McCoy, making his first ever NFL start, while Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is making his season debut after being suspended for the first four games of the season.
Cleveland Browns Offensive Line Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers
Facing the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is scary for every opposing offense, but when you are a rookie making your National Football League debut, it gets a little more terrifying.
The Steelers employ exotic blitz schemes, sending outside linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison to pound the quarterback. The Browns offensive line has allowed just seven sacks on the year, but Woodley and Harrison have combined for 45 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception.
Cleveland Browns CBs Eric Wright, Sheldon Brown Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Hines Ward, Mike Wallace
The Browns secondary has been decent thus far, led by corners Eric Wright and Sheldon Brown, but they have a tough match up with Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.
On the year, Ward has 12 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown, while Wallace has nine catches for 211 yards and two scores. With Roethlisberger under center last year, Wallace was a major deep-threat target, catching just 39 passes for 756 yards and six touchdowns for an average of 20 yards per catch.
New Orleans Saints (3-2) Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
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New Orleans Saints WRs Marques Colston, Devery Henderson Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers CBs Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber
The Saints often utilize four to five wideouts, but their main threats are Marques Colston (25 receptions, 287 yards) and Devery Henderson (15 receptions, 209 yards, touchdown).
The Buccaneers are surprisingly sitting at the top of the NFC South division, thanks to a secondary featuring veteran cornerback Ronde Barber, and the yomer Aqib Talib.
Talib has recorded 10 tackles, and three interceptions, while Barber has make 23 tackles, three of which were for a loss, and two interceptions.
The Buccaneers can't forget about tight end Jeremy Schockey (23 catches, 226 yards, two touchdowns) or Lance Moore (15 catches, 217 yards, three touchdowns), and will bring in nickel cornerback E.J. Biggers and safety Cody Grimm, each of which have an interception on the year.
New Orleans Saints CB Patrick Robinson, SS Roman Harper Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Williams, TE Kellen Winslow
Wide receiver Mike Williams of Syracuse was a steal in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has caught 19 passes for 238 yards and scored three touchdowns on the year, and is quickly becoming second-year quarterback, Josh Freeman's favorite target to turn to.
However, the Saints have a strong and deep secondary, led by Jabari Greer, Randall Gay and rookie Patrick Robinson. Greer, who has made 26 tackles, three tackles for losses, five pass deflections, and an interception, will most likely line up with Williams, the Buccaneers' top receiver.
Tight end Kellen Winslow has also been a weapon in the Bucs offense, catching 17 passes for 214 yards, and Saints safety Roman Harper will give help over the top to contain him. Harper is a beast and a play maker, and has recorded 26 tackles, four pass deflections, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) Vs. Houston Texans (3-2)
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Kansas City Chiefs RBs Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones Vs. Houston Texans LBs DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing
The Kansas City Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season last week to the Indianapolis Colts, but have a chance to improve to 4-1 with the help of their running back tandem of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, who have combined to rush for 561 yards and two touchdowns on the year.
Texans middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing will be responsible for containing the two dynamic backs. Ryans has made 47 tackles and a sack, while Cushing made nine tackles in his 2010 debut last week.
Kansas City Chiefs LB Tamba Hali Vs. Houston Texans LT Rashad Butler
Tamba Hali is widely overlooked for his pass rushing ability, yet he has made 14 tackles, and has racked up 4.5 sacks while forcing two fumbles on the year. The Texans have struggled protecting their quarterback Matt Schaub, who has been sacked 14 times this year.
Kansas City Chiefs LT Brandon Albert Vs. Houston Texans DE Mario Williams
Mario Williams is a beast coming off the edge, and has little problem getting to the quarterback consistently, making 13 tackles, five sacks, while forcing a fumble. Chiefs left tackles Brandon Albert will need to win the majority of matchups with Williams if Matt Cassell wants to connect with any of his receiving weapons.
New York Jets (4-1) Vs. Denver Broncos (2-3)
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New York Jets WR Braylon Edwards Vs. Denver Broncos CB Champ Bailey
Braylon Edwards is the New York Jets' No. 1 receiver and is a deep threat, as shown by his 17 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns. He will line up with one of the best cornerbacks in the game not named Darrelle Revis, in Champ Bailey.
It will be interesting to see if Mark Sanchez will look toward Bailey at all, as most quarterbacks haven't. Bailey has made ten tackles, deflected five passes, and made an interception.
New York Jets RBs LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene VS. Denver Broncos ILBs D.J. Williams, Mario Haggan
The Jets have relied on a ground and pound rushing attack, and LaDainian Tomlinson has looked like he regressed back to 25 years old, rushing for 435 yards and three touchdowns, while Shonn Greene has also made an impact.
D.J. Williams and Mario Haggan need to focus on stopping the run, which they have done well this season, combining for 74 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. However, they will also need to contain tight end Dustin Keller, the Jets leading receiver, who has caught 21 passes for 268 yards and five touchdowns.
New York Jets CBs Vs. Denver Broncos WRs
There are simply too many Broncos receivers who have made an impact to list them all, but one name stands out: Brandon Lloyd is the NFL's leading receiver, with 30 receptions, 589 yards, and three touchdowns.
The Broncos have absolutely no running attack, so it's likely to see a lot of nickel and dime packages in the Jets secondary. If Revis can't play due to his hamstring injury, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Dwight Lowery, and Drew Coleman will struggle containing the leading pass offense in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders (2-3) Vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
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Oakland Raiders Offensive Line Vs. San Francisco 49ers LBs Manny Lawson, Parys Haralson, Travis Laboy
The Oakland Raiders offensive line has been terrible in pass protection five games through the season, allowing 16 sacks, while the San Francisco 49ers have a strong pass rush.
49ers linebackers Manny Lawson, Parys Haralson, and Travis Laboy have combined for six sacks, 45 tackles, and five tackles for losses. The 49ers will bring the heat all day, as they desperately search for their first win of the season.
Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha Vs. San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree
Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the best cornerbacks in the game, and has contained his share of elite receivers in his career. Michael Crabtree (20 catches, 244 yards, touchdown) is in for a long day, and this is an opportunity to prove his first-round draft pick worth.
Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden Vs. San Francisco 49ers ILB Patrick Willis
Darren McFadden surprised a lot of fans when he ran for 392 yards and a touchdown in his first four games of the season, but he will struggle against inside linebacker Patrick Willis, arguably the best in the game, who has made 41 tackles and a sack.
Dallas Cowboys (1-3) Vs. Minnesota (1-3)
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Who would have guessed that both the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings would both be 1-3 heading into the sixth week of the 2010 NFL season?
Dallas Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins Vs. Minnesota Vikings WR Randy Moss
Randy Moss always plays with a chip on his shoulder whenever he goes against the Dallas Cowboys, who didn't draft him. Moss has 13 catches for 220 yards and four touchdowns on the year, and consistently dominates opposing cornerbacks.
Mike Jenkins, who hasn't done much this season is in for a long day, while Terrance Newman will have to contain Percy Harvin, another Vikings receiving threat who has 17 catches for 203 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin Vs. Minnesota Vikings CB Antoine Winfield
Miles Austin is one of the best wide receivers in the league, and with Dez Bryant's status questionable for the game, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will try to get the ball into Austin's hands as often as possible. Austin has 31 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns on the year.
He will line up across from veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield, who has 24 tackles, three pass deflections, and an interception.
Indianapolis Colts (3-2) Vs. Washington Redskins (3-2)
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Indianapolis Colts DE's Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis Vs. Washington Redskins LT/RT Trent Williams, Jammal Brown
The Colts have an amazing pass rush with two of the best defensive ends in the league, and they will be going against a rookie left tackle, and a Pro Bowl right tackle.
Dwight Freeney has nine tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble, while Robert Mathis has 19 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble.
The Washington Redskins offensive line has allowed Donovan McNabb to be sacked 11 times this year, and that number will definitely go up this weekend.
Indianapolis Colts LT Charlie Johnson Vs. Washington Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo
The Colts have struggled in pass protection due to an aging and injury-plagued offensive line. The Washington Redskins second-year pass rusher Brian Orakpo has 17 tackles and four sacks on the year, and will be in Peyton Manning's face all day.
Indianapolis Colts WRs Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie Vs. Washington Redskins CBs DeAngelo Hall, Carlos Rodgers
Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie have combined for 76 receptions, 977 yards, and seven touchdowns on the year, and will line up with Deangelo Hall and Carlos Rodgers, who have combined for 71 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections.
Tennessee Titans (3-2) Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
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Tennessee Titans DEs Jason Babin, Dave Ball Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Line
The Titans have been relentless in their pass rush this season, sacking opposing quarterbacks 22 times. Dave Ball and Jason Babin have combined for 10 of those 22 sacks, and will go against a Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line anchored by tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton.
The Jaguars have allowed David Garrard to be sacked 12 times on the year, but the Titans will come away with at least two or three on Monday night.
Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Line
Chris Johnson is the best running back in the NFL, and has rushed 113 times for 485 yards, scoring six touchdowns on the year, and he will go up against the Jaguars 13th ranked rush defense, led by defensive tackles Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu.