NFL Week 6 is now upon us and, in the wrath of a potent Brett Favre scandal and a concerning storyline involving Chad Ochocinco's latest plan to bring back the trash talk, this week's affairs should live up to expectations.
In Week 5, upsets occurred like it was nobody's business. The Green Bay Packers fell to the persistent Washington Redskins, and somehow rookie quarterback Max Hall led the Arizona Cardinals to a 30-20 victory in front of his hometown fans.
Therefore it's only realistic to expect the best and brightest ahead for Sunday.
With key matchups occurring for divisional rights in the AFC South, and the "Battle of the Weak" being played over in Minnesota, Week 6 brings a flurry of new storylines.
So what are the predictions to look for?
It's no easy job, but the following Week 6 picks should clear your head a little.
Arizona Cardinals - 3-2
Buffalo Bills - 0-5
Carolina Panthers - 0-5
Cincinnati Bengals - 2-3
The red-hot Atlanta Falcons travel to The City of Brotherly Love this week for what they hope to be a very successful road game.
Currently the Falcons are in top spot in the NFC South, following big-time wins over the Arizona Cardinals along with the New Orleans Saints. However, doubt still lingers around Mike Smith as some fans feel that the Falcons haven't beaten anyone of true class this season.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Philadelphia Eagles have encountered some rocky shores. Michael Vick was throwing rainbows two weeks ago, but due to his injury at the hands of the Washington Redskins, young quarterback Kevin Kolb has stepped into the starting role and proved to be quite an asset.
This game should be one that favors the offense. Kolb had no trouble hitting the likes of Brent Celek against San Francisco a week ago, and there's no denying how dominant Atlanta's three musketeers of Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White truly are.
Expect to see a close game in Philadelphia, but one that sees many passing plays, considering how inconsistent both teams' pass defense has been lately. Atlanta may have the upper hand at the running back spot, but that isn't to say that DeSean Jackson can't level the scores.
Atlanta 27, Philadelphia 23
Kansas City: 3-1
Two major playoff contenders go head to head at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, as Gary Kubiak's impressive yet slow-to-develop Houston Texans take on the surprisingly dominant Kansas City Chiefs.
To start the season, Houston kicked Week 1 off with a big-time win over the Indianapolis Colts. Things looked to be promising for Matt Schaub and his talented offense, but the Texans failed to grasp the AFC South and now see a four-way deadlock for first place.
While the Texans have been struggling with fellow division teams, the Kansas City Chiefs are still in top spot in the AFC West, considering that the second-place Oakland Raiders only sit at 2-3.
For both teams, Week 5 was far from kind. The Texans fell to the New York Giants in unimpressive fashion, and the Chiefs received a dose of reality from the Colts in a rather dismal display by quarterback Matt Cassel.
This Sunday, expect to see both quarterbacks out to redeem themselves. Schaub endured three sacks last week thanks to Tom Coughlin's defense, and Cassel only passed for 156 yards.
Houston 28, Kansas City 14
New Orleans: 3-2
Tampa Bay: 3-1
Most people hadn't picked the Buccaneers to be ahead of the Saints in the NFC South at this point of the season, but Tampa Bay's young but boastful offense has managed to fair quite nicely.
Unfortunately for New Orleans, last week was a struggle. Although the game was close up until the dying seconds, Drew Brees' late interception cost New Orleans the second spot in the division and also managed to pop up a few unwanted questions.
Tampa Bay's Week 5 campaign was a huge success. After defeating Cincinnati, the Bucs now stay within a steady distance of the Atlanta Falcons atop the NFC South.
What can we expect at Raymond James Stadium in Week 6?
It's obvious to most that Tampa Bay excels at home. Josh Freeman seems to gain confidence in front of his supporters, and Tampa Bay isn't the most friendly place for an opposing team.
To make matters worse, Tampa Bay simply has the confidence that the Saints don't. That isn't to say New Orleans won't show up, but we all know when the Bucs topple a top-notch AFC team like Cincinnati, they are likely to come out all guns blazing seven days later.
Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 17 (OT)
Green Bay: 3-2
Fresh off a bye week, the Miami Dolphins now look to put their embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots in Week 4 behind them as they head to Lambeau Field to face the badly beat-up Green Bay Packers.
In Miami's loss to their AFC East rivals in Week 4, nothing seemed to go right for Tunatown. Although Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall managed to rally the troops for a possible comeback, the end result was a loss at home to a tough and rugged Tom Brady.
As for the Packers, they to have had their share of bad luck. Not only was a loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field tough to swallow, the Packers also saw injuries to tight end Jermichael Finley, Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.
On the fortunate side, Aaron Rodgers will start this weekend, but will be without one of his favored tight end targets for several weeks.
Expect this game to be a doozy. Both teams have very talented offensive structures, and point magnets sit at the wide receiver spot for both parties.
Still, the Packers now know that their season is on the line, and it didn't take a key loss to the tight end position to realize that. The Packers will come out determined on Sunday afternoon to turn their season around and grab the Chicago Bears by the collar up north.
Green Bay 30, Miami 24
San Diego: 2-3
St. Louis: 2-3
The battle of the 2-3 teams kicks off in St. Louis this weekend, when top-ranked quarterback Philip Rivers takes on Sam Bradford and his now Michael Clayton-less team.
For the Rams, their season has entered a new turning point. Two weeks ago St. Louis was fresh off a win over the Washington Redskins and set their sights on the Seattle Seahawks.
But before the Rams could get too excited, the Detroit Lions came a' knocking last week and blew the Rams right out of the water as Shaun Hill lit the Rams up on a number of impressive occasions.
To keep the "hot and cold" trend rolling, the San Diego Chargers have continued to worry fans. Just when San Diego posts a win, they go on to lose to the likes of the Oakland Raiders in Week 5 in a game that spelled trouble for many area's of Norv Turner's defense.
In St. Louis this weekend, the Chargers should win with ease. The Rams aren't well known for putting up a fight against San Diego, and even though Bradford has been brilliant lately, this is a win the Chargers need dearly.
It's safe to expect a lot of passing. Rivers has the hot hand right now and has 1,759 yards and 11 touchdowns already on the season.
San Diego 29, St. Louis 13
New England: 3-1
One of the most prolific matchups appears this weekend, when the Ravens travel to Foxboro to take on Bill Belichick's determined Patriots outfit.
For most people, the Ravens are now the best team in football. Baltimore's passing game has excelled early this season.
But with all of the talk surrounding the Ravens, the New England Patriots have been flying under the radar with a very commendable 3-1 record.
When these two meet, it has been known to go one way or another. Everybody remembers last season's playoff matchup that saw Baltimore dominate the Patriots on the ground and almost shut Tom Brady down completely.
This weekend, it's time for New England to get a little revenge. Whether they can do that against Ray Lewis is questionable, but at home in front of a hostile crowd, the Patriots emerge as slight favorites.
New England now can move on from the Randy Moss saga with old pal Deion Branch. Despite having no real run game, New England should be able to pull of a big-time win over the Ravens' 18th-ranked pass defense.
New England 35, Baltimore 20
New York: 3-2
The determined Detroit Lions head to the Big Apple in Week 6 to take on the intensely rejuvenated New York Giants, who have recorded big-time wins over the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans in the past two weeks.
Last weekend saw Detroit finally leave their winless record behind. Shaun Hill led the way with 227 yards and three touchdowns over St. Louis. Meanwhile the Giants managed to take Matt Schaub right out of the game against the Texans.
As weak as this matchup may appear on paper, it does have the ability to be quite a blockbuster. Similar to the past two weeks, the Giants will be intent on dragging Hill out of the game, but surprisingly enough the former San Francisco 49er has looked solid under center.
Seeing as though this game is being played in New York though, Big Blue are of course the favorites. Most people said two weeks ago after Jay Cutler's sustained concussion that the Giants always continue to roll when their motivation is high.
This may not be what Lions fans want to hear, but Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck are a scary force for any team heading to the Meadowlands anytime soon.
New York 20, Detroit 6
Finally the time has come for Big Ben Roethlisberger to return to the Steelers, and what better way to come back than to face division rivals the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field?
For Mike Tomlin and his crew, the stars have definitely been aligned lately. To think that in the beginning of the season this team looked fortunate to sit at 3-1 five weeks into the year, considering how impressive Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch were as Roethlisberger's replacement.
Over in Ohio, the Buckeyes' loss today wasn't the only disappointing piece of news to hit the state. The Browns have failed to live up to their offseason hype, and as much as a win over the Cincinnati Bengals brought some joy, Colt McCoy now gears up to start his first NFL game.
To put it simply, the Steelers are a no-brainer pick here. McCoy was tremendous in his Texas days but his experience in the NFL is dismal, and it is unlikely we will see a Max Hall story unfold in Pittsburgh this week.
The Steelers have been successful on defense as always, and now Pittsburgh is at full strength with Roethlisberger returning. There's not much else to say here, but expect the usual Steelers rout over the Browns that we have witnessed so many times over.
Pittsburgh 35, Cleveland 17
The Bears have notably had a fantastic start to the season. Already Chicago have toppled the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, and although they failed to show up against New York two weeks ago, the Bears are right where they want to be in the NFC North.
On the other hand, the Seattle Seahawks have looked good, but haven't been able to put two and two together. With losses against Denver and St. Louis, Seattle now travels to Soldier Field in a game that doesn't exactly favor Pete Carroll's new-look team.
In past weeks, both quarterbacks have had their ups and downs. Matt Hasselbeck sits with 814 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions on the year, while Jay Cutler clocks in with 912 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Looking toward Sunday, the Bears sit as favorites. The Packers are beaten up, the Vikings take on the Cowboys, and the Lions head to New York in a tough fixture. This is Chicago's chance to really take the division and, if they are to beat Seattle, you can't help but like their chances for postseason football.
Chicago 29, Seattle 17
New York: 4-1
Perhaps Denver's record doesn't do the Broncos any justice at all. For the most part, the Broncos offense has looked very productive thanks to Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd and, it seems if they can just find the winning gene, they may be able to get back into the hunt in the AFC West.
But what awaits Denver on Sunday is no easy task. The New York Jets travel to Mile High fresh off a big-time win over Minnesota last Monday night and now look increase their margin in the AFC East.
Statistically speaking, the Jets have the obvious upper-hand. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson has been a force lately, and don't be surprised if he wreaks havoc on the Broncos' 32nd-ranked rush defense.
Despite the Broncos' wobbly ways, they can never be taken lightly. Anyone in their right mind though likes the Jets in this fixture, and seeing as though Mark Sanchez is now in solid rhythm and Braylon Edwards looks to be a likely target, this duo may simply outplay the Broncos defense.
New York 31, Denver 26
San Francisco: 0-5
This weekend marks a milestone for the 49ers franchise. With a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles behind them, San Francisco now looks at the possibility of seeing Alex Smith making his last official start in the NFL.
As for the 49ers' crosstown opponent, the Raiders look very confident through six weeks. In Week 5 Oakland managed to outplay the San Diego Chargers, and although 2-3 looks bad on paper, it has been enough to earn them the second spot in the AFC West.
It's obvious to everyone that all is far from right in San Francisco. The team has backed head coach Mike Singletary, but one gets the feeling that if the 49ers slip to 0-6 against a considerably weak opponent that the hot seat will light up again.
So what are the predictions for the game?
Expect Alex Smith to give it his all. "We Want Carr" chants filled Candlestick Park last week, and if that scenario plays out again, the 49er faithful may see their wish granted. Other than that, the run game will be a factor for both teams, as Frank Gore has looked flat, while Darren McFadden has looked great.
Gore needs to redeem himself, while McFadden will look to do what he does best.
San Francisco 28, Oakland 24
Most people would have laughed if you told them that both the Cowboys and Vikings would have only one win at this time in the year, but if there was anybody that produced this thought prior to September—you, sir, are a genius.
Ahead of Sunday, the Cowboys travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings fresh off a loss to the Tennessee Titans.
To keep the disappointing trend going, Minnesota also fell to the New York Jets last Monday night, but now has a chance to regroup a little and produce a win while so much attention is focused on Brett Favre and Randy Moss.
The keys to look for in this game are simple: quarterback play. Both Tony Romo and Brett Favre have struggled to maintain any consistency this year, and although Favre has made noise in the tabloids, his seven interceptions on the year are far from ideal.
On Sunday, expect both offenses to be tested by strong opposing defenses. The Cowboys successfully shut the Texans down two weeks ago, and Jared Allen is always a threat for the Vikings.
Every fan gets the feeling that whichever quarterback plays the best will most likely find gold at the end of the rainbow. If this theory is true, than no real favorite appears just now.
Cowboys 30, Vikings 29
The Indianapolis Colts sit at a surprising 3-2 on the year, following two losses to the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. As for their Week 6 opponents, the Donovan McNabb-led Washington Redskins have grown in confidence lately after knocking off the mechanical offense of the Green Bay Packers last week.
To state the very obvious, this will be a game between two great quarterbacks. But while Peyton Manning has the upper hand in skill, McNabb has home-field advantage—something that proved costly last week against Green Bay.
The chances of this game becoming a shootout on Sunday Night Football are high. The Colts are minus a few players right now; however that isn't to say that Indianapolis are the underdogs.
At the end of the day, the Redskins have a very large "con" against their name. Washington is quite unfamiliar with Manning, and this factor alone gives the Colts a minor advantage mentally.
Indianapolis 30, Washington 22
Ah, the AFC South showdown. With the division all locked up at 3-2, either the Titans of the Jaguars will emerge victors on Monday night with a win that could prove to be crucial as the season draws on.
In terms of confidence and motivation, both teams are oozing it. Jacksonville knocked off the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago, while Vince Young flew to Dallas and returned home with a win following a very demeaning display.
Statistically the Jaguars rank fourth in rush yards on defense. Not only is this a formidable statistic for the rest of the year, it also tells a story when the Jaguars are set to face Chris Johnson.
As for Tennessee, its offense has done the talking. Ranked fifth in points scored, Young has answered critics with 684 yards on the year and six touchdowns.
Monday night should be an all-out blockbuster. But for once, the weaker defense of the two will cost either team the victory. David Garrard has been hot lately, and even though Young is the man about town, Johnson is still the face of the franchise.
This may not be the most exciting game of the week, but Tennessee's latest burst of wins gives them the slightest edge ahead of Monday night.
Tennessee 19, Jacksonville 12