NFL Picks Week 6: One Player Each Game Could Ride On
This season in the NFL, there have been an alarming number of games that came down to a single player putting up video game numbers to lead his team to victory.
Teams have found themselves living and dying on the success of their hot-handed players: the New York Giants with Victor Cruz, the Dallas Cowboys with Tony Romo and the New England Patriots with Tom Brady.
Football is and always will be a team sport, but these playmakers will light up you Sunday afternoon, or bring it crashing down around you.
Here are the Week 6 Picks.
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants: Victor Cruz
Last week, the New York Giants nearly rode the hands of Victor Cruz to victory. Instead, their hopes were lost with a failed catch attempt off of those same hands. The Giants' lost despite his impressive 8/161/1 line.
In the two games before that, Cruz posted big numbers as Eli Manning's favorite target, putting him nicely into a three-game explosion which should continue into this Week 6 match up at home versus the Buffalo Bills' secondary.
With 3/110/2 against Philadelphia, 6/98 against Arizona and still something to prove, Cruz is primed for a fourth straight huge performance.
Looking for redemption after his costly fumble against the Seattle Seahawks, Cruz will likely post another impressive stat line and make game-changing plays in a shootout at MetLife Stadium.
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green
A.J. Green and Andy Dalton have been one of the most impressive rookie WR/QB combos in recent memory. Green is proving to be everything we thought he was, and then some.
Against a spiraling but scrappy Indianapolis Colts team, Green could once again post huge numbers with the ginger quarterback throwing to him early and often.
Another game winning catch like in Week 1 perhaps?
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
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Aside from the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the sorriest squads in football right now, please note that Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns last week with no protection and an injured foot.
Big Ben's ability to extend a play is the only reason the Steelers aren't at New York Jets status yet. He'll do it again when the Steelers falter against an inferior opponent this week.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Michael Vick
The Washington Redskins don't have a real standout guy that will win them this game, but the Philadelphia Eagles do have one who will lose it: Michael Vick.
With a fierce Redskins pass rush in his face all game, Vick will surely commit his fair share of turnovers, which will keep the potent Eagle offense on the ground.
The Washington defense remembers how he humiliated them in their last meeting. They'll be gunning for him and he'll likely leave yet another game late with an injury.
The injury will keep him out of the game and stop a potential Eagles comeback. They live and die with their quarterback.
Winner: Washington Redskins
San Fransisco 49ers at Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson
Does this one need an explanation? Calvin Johnson has nine touchdowns through the first five games (an NFL record), and one of the league's best young quarterbacks throwing his way.
Matthew Stafford is clearly instrumental in the Detroit Lions' success, but not many receivers can call for the ball in triple coverage...and still guarantee a catch.
Winner: Detroit Lions
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
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Ummm...yeah? You say something? Didn't think so. Moving on.
Winner: Green Bay Packers
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons: Cam Newton
I take it all back. Cam Newton was clearly NFL-ready. Yes he has inflated stats in a pass happy offense, but he is clearly for real.
Newton is coming off of narrow losses in nearly all of his games, most recently a thriller where his Carolina Panthers nearly defeated the hated New Orleans' Saints.
Against a very underachieving Atlanta Falcons team with an injured John Abraham and weak secondary, Newton will be looking for his second NFL victory.
He'll get it too. In just five games, he has altered the destiny of the Carolina Panthers' organization.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden is heading for a Pro Bowl appearance. He is playing on a completely different level than other running backs right now.
The Raiders have a lot of juice and it's McFadden's turn to show Al Davis how he appreciates the chance he was given when the late owner made him a No. 4 overall pick.
Winner: Oakland Raiders
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice
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The Houston Texans have been playing stingy defense, though not against the run. They have been allowing over four yards per carry to opposing running backs, and now they face the dangerous Ray Rice without their best defensive player, Mario Williams.
Rice will help the Ravens get the lead and keep it while they run out the clock on the sliding Texans.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a rebound after their crushing loss to the surging San Fransisco 49ers.
The New Orleans Saints are not the team they want to face. However, the Saints have slid away with a couple of close shaves this season. Notably a last minute victory against the Houston Texans and a nail-biting finish with the Carolina Panthers.
This time, Freeman's late game heroics will take center stage as the Saints take a long overdue loss on the road.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots: Tony Romo
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Not much needs to be said. From late game chokes to legendary heroics, Tony Romo is just all over the place with his quarterbacking.
All Romo has to do in Week 6 is not choke and the Dallas Cowboys can beat the New England Patriots with superior defensive play.
That is the plan, but who knows if it is going to happen? This is Tony Romo after all. After the torturous bye, Romo has no choice but to excel.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: Adrian Peterson
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Adrian Peterson ripped off three touchdowns in the first quarter in Week 5. The next night, the Chicago Bears depleted run defense was shattered by the Detroit Lions' Jahvid Best.
With captain Julius Peppers doubtful, it is looking ugly for Chicago's game against A.P.—especially if his father complains about his number of touches.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets: Brian Schottenheimer
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Yes, a coordinator, not a player. If this guy calls the right plays, there is no reason the New York Jets should lose with their offensive talent.
Offensive might be a key word, because his schemes piss off the players so much they are being very offensive about one another to the media (yeah yeah, a pun.)
If Schottenheimer learns to call the correct plays, then the New York Jets might actually survive the winless Miami Dolphins, and not throw their season away. His job kind of depends on it now.
Winner: New York Jets