NFL Football: Contenders and Pretenders of Week 6
As the 2011 NFL season continues, we'll look at playoff contenders and playoff pretenders from Week 6.
There were a few unlikely victors in this week's games, and some of those teams will be getting some playoff hype. However, playoffs may still be a pipe dream for some of those winners.
We'll identify some standout contenders and pretenders among those who came out on top this week.
Contender: San Francisco 49ers
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Yep, these guys are for real.
Jim Harbaugh's confrontation with Jim Schwartz aside, the 'Niners coach is having a very impressive season and has his team on the fast track to the playoffs.
Yeah, I don't think so.
Pretender: Oakland Raiders
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Who would have thought the Oakland Raiders would be 4-2 after six weeks?
The Raiders have had a very impressive running game this year, led by Darren McFadden, who rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown in a 24-17 win over Cleveland, and a passing game that has been a nice complement. Young players have stepped up, and the Oakland franchise looks to be on the rise.
However, I think this team is too inconsistent to make the playoffs this season.
First of all, the Raiders will have to get past the San Diego Chargers to win the division, which I don't think will happen. Not only that, but the Kansas City Chiefs have been playing much better lately, on both offense and defense.
Couple that with the recent injury to quarterback Jason Campbell, and I just don't think the success continues.
The passing of NFL legend Al Davis has made this Oakland team a feel-good story, but the euphoria won't last into the postseason.
Contender: Baltimore Ravens
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Quarterback Joe Flacco isn't what you'd call elite, but his 20 completions for 305 yards did the job today. He spread the ball around nicely, getting the ball to playmakers Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice.
Rice added 101 yards on the ground to his 60 yards through the air and touched the ball 28 total times, a great number for the Ravens. Rice is their top offensive player, and it's clear they know that.
The defense continues to dominate despite its aging components, and the 4-1 Ravens are in good position at the top of the AFC North. Expect to see them in the playoffs as division winners over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pretender: Philadelphia Eagles
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However, I don't see the Eagles making the playoffs.
First of all, they got a lot of help from Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, who threw four interceptions. They won't get that kind of help every week.
Philadelphia has a chance to redeem themselves as soon as this season, but chemistry doesn't come quickly, and with four losses already, I feel that the Eagles just have too many holes to finish out the season strongly enough to make the playoffs, even as a wild card.