The landscape of the NFL is constantly changing as we flip the pages through the weeks. After a wild Week 5, you would be hard-pressed to find out who is in control of the surprisingly weak NFC South. Likewise, the NFC East is looking strong. Speaking of the Eastern divisions, the AFC’s version of this division is up for grabs this weekend when the Bills and Patriots duke it out in Buffalo. Mirroring that strong match-up is a prime-time fight between the Eagles and Giants for (what will likely be) control of their respective division. That is only if the Cowboys lose up in Seattle though. Fans of the Chiefs and Saints can exhale for the week as they are each on a BYE. Other than that, everybody is throwing down in the league, making for some great action! Last week I went 11-4 with my picks and look to better that with these fifteen games.
Thursday, October 9th, 8:25 e.t.
Indianapolis Colts(3-2) @ Houston Texans (3-2)
The Colts prevailed over the Ravens in a dog-fight last week and now look to defend their three-game winning streak on the road in Houston against a team that barely lost in overtime to their Texas neighbors. I look for line play in this one. If Indianapolis can win the battle up front, they should have no trouble defeating the Texans here. Look for J.J. Watt to get his paws on Andrew Luck a couple of times throughout the course of this game. Arian Foster should tote the rock 25 times here too, and he will sniff 130 yards with a touchdown. That said, I don’t think it will be enough. #12 is going to lead his team late in this one for the win, as he has become accustomed to doing. How about a close game on a Thursday night for once? We can only hope.
Indianapolis 27, Houston 23
Sunday, October 12th, 1:00 e.t.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) @ Tennessee Titans (1-4)
This is a tough game to call. The Titans looked like the Week 1 version of themselves in the first half last week against Cleveland; taking a 28-3 lead in the first half. However, it all came crashing down on them as they allowed the Brownies to mount the biggest road comeback in NFL history (regular season). I think they really showed their true colors in that second half. These Titans just don’t look very good, but then again neither do the Jaguars. The one thing Jacksonville does have going for it is the fact that they seemingly always play Tennessee tough. I expect this one to be close and low-scoring with the winner capitalizing on a handful of turnovers. Now the question: who will the winner be? Hmmm… After a great deal of pontificating, I have decided to side with the home team here. My reason for backing the Titans is that we have seen them dominate a good team on the road this year. We know they are capable of playing well. For the Jaguars, who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win, but I’m not convinced they have enough offensive firepower to spark a win on the road.
Tennessee 19, Jacksonville 16
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4)
The Ravens saw their three game losing streak snapped on the road in Indy last week. However, the Colts are a quality team and the Ravens have looked solid this year. The same cannot be said about the Buccaneers, even though they have looked much better with Mike Glennon under center. A small part of me wanted to take Tampa Bay here, but then I remembered that Joe Flacco was going to throw for 340 yards with a trio of touchdowns. Steve Smith Sr. hauls in at least one of those as well, helping the Ravens to a healthy road victory.
Baltimore 24, Tampa Bay 16
New England Patriots (3-2) @ Buffalo Bills (3-2)
The Patriots silenced many critics in Week 5 with a prime-time whipping of the Bengals in Foxboro. Now they take their show on the road to Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the 3-2 Bills for the AFC East division lead. Buffalo is coming off of a shocking win against Detroit. They were able to pick up the “W” in large part because of what their defense did. Their six sacks and two forced turnovers helped the team keep the game close until the end when Dan Carpenter nailed a 59 yard field goal to seal the deal. They are going to need another performance like that this week if they hope to corral the Patriots. Call me crazy, but I say New England reverts back to Week 4 form with another stale performance. Tom Brady will experience pressure early and often in this one and Buffalo steals a win in a thrilling game.
Buffalo 20, New England 19
Detroit Lions (3-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-4)
Christian Ponder’s Vikings looked like a dumpster fire last week on the road in Green Bay. For the sake of all Vikings fans, let’s hope that Teddy Bridgewater is healthy for this one. That dude is fun to watch. Speaking of fun to watch, this Detroit offense can be electric. However, there is a real chance that Calvin Johnson doesn’t even suit up for this one. Even so, the Lions should triumph here. Golden Tate broke out and showed that he is capable of being a legitimate threat in this offense. The running game should have a chance to get going as well. Eddie Lacy ripped this unit apart last week and the Lions will use their backfield-by-committee approach to shorten this game. I like the road team here.
Detroit 28, Minnesota 17
Carolina Panthers (3-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
The Bengals came back down to earth last week when they lost big to the Patriots on Sunday night. But now they return to the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium (a venue in which they have not lost at in the regular season since 2012) to take on a Carolina Panther team that has gotten shellacked by AFC competition this year. I say that trend continues. The Cincinnati defense made Matt Ryan look quite average in week two and I see them doing the same to Cam Newton. Plus, this Bengal running game should get going after it was abandoned early last week. People have been able to run on the Panthers this season. I like the match-up for Cincy at home in this one, therefore I am picking them to win it.
Cincinnati 33, Carolina 16
Denver Broncos (3-1) @ New York Jets (1-4)
I keep sticking to my guns with the New York Jets; they are going to pull of a shocking upset at some point this year. Will it be this week? No way. Peyton Manning should carve this secondary up on Sunday. It is clearly the weak-point of their defense. Furthermore, there is no way Geno Smith (or Mike Vick, should he see playing time) will be able to hang points with the Broncos. Denver wins in a rout.
Denver 45, New York 14
Green Bay Packers (3-2) @ Miami Dolphins (2-2)
The Green Bay Packers are finally beginning to look like the team I thought they would be this year. Aaron Rodgers has been on fire over the past two games against divisional foes and he now has 12 touchdown passes on the season against only one interception. The Pack will take on a Miami team that is fresh off of a BYE and a satisfying Week 4 win. It will be interesting to see if Ryan Tannehill can play as well as he did against Oakland two weeks ago. He will have to if he hopes to keep pace with Green Bay’s clicking offense. I don’t think he will, though. Randall Cobb scores twice in this one (he already has six receiving touchdowns this year). Rodgers runs one in as well as the Packers improve to 4-2.
Green Bay 34, Miami 21
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) @ Cleveland Browns (2-2)
This is a tough game to predict. Two weeks ago the Steelers looked like the 2008 version of themselves when they were 3-1. But after losing to Tampa Bay at home and then only managing 17 points against the Jaguars, this team has some serious soul-searching to do. They will be forced into doing it on the road against a Cleveland team that (as I mentioned above) successfully completed the biggest road comeback in the regular season in NFL history. Even though these don’t look like your daddy’s Browns this year, I don’t think they win this game. After-all, they did fall behind by 25 points to the Tennessee Titans. They had a similar deficit to overcome on the road in Week 1 against these same Steelers, and were unable to do it. This week, there will be no comeback of any sort. The game should be close, but methinks Pittsburgh crams Le’Veon Bell down the Cleveland defense’s throat. He should finish with 28 carries for 163 yards with a score. That will help them notch the road victory.
Pittsburgh 26, Cleveland 20
Sunday, October 12th, 4:05 e.t.
San Diego Chargers (4-1) @ Oakland Raiders (0-4)
Something about this game feels funky for me. I feel like the Raiders will play well in this one and give Chargers’ fans a scare for a great while. However, Philip Rivers takes over in the fourth quarter and fires touchdown passes to Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal to propel his team to the win. Rookie Brandon Oliver should have a positive impact in this one against a run defense that has looked awful at times this season. Derek Carr, who plans on playing in this game, will do well. I see him completing 70% of his passes for 267 yards and a touchdown. In the end it will not be enough though since the Silver and Black has no running game to lean on. This rookie needs help, and probably a miracle if he and friends hope to clip the NFL’s hottest team. It should be closer than a lot of people think, though.
San Diego 30, Oakland 24
Sunday, October 12th, 4:25 e.t.
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
Who saw the Cowboys starting the season at 4-1? Not me, that’s for sure. Anyways, they sit three games over .500 and are tied with the Eagles for first place in the NFC East. A road win over the Seahawks would pretty much ensure that these guys are legit. However, something tells me this one turns into a disaster for the ‘Boys. Scott Linehan and Jason Garrett have hinted at reducing the workload for DeMarco Murray. If this is indeed the case, then they are asking for trouble. He has been carrying the team to this point and straying from what works would be a mistake. Speaking of mistakes, I think Tony Romo makes two of them in this game. Percy Harvin and Marshawn Lynch should school this Dallas defense on the ground. Russell Wilson chips in with 45 yards as well. I like Seattle to throttle the Cowboys at home.
Seattle 38, Dallas 14
Washington Redskins (1-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-1)
The Cardinals had things looking interesting up in Denver at the end of the third quarter. Then things fell apart and Peyton Manning and Demariyus Thomas ripped the defense apart and the Broncos won 41-20. Now the Cards look to rebound against a team that can look great or terrible at any given time in the Washington Redskins. To me, it doesn’t matter who Arizona places under center in this one. The game is going to be in the belly of Andre Ellington and the defense. They could grab Charlie Checkdown and probably defeat Washington in this one. I really don’t like Kirk Cousins odds in this one. He probably makes one too many mistakes and the Cardinals get back on the horse with an impressive win. Seattle ran the ball like bosses against the ‘Skins a week ago and I like Arizona to replicate that strategy.
Arizona 23, Washington 6
Chicago Bears (2-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
These are two of the toughest teams to get a read on this season. The Bears looked great during Weeks 2 and 3, but since they have lost two in a row the team confidence has to be shaken a bit. Meanwhile, this Atlanta team has looked fantastic at home in two games but then less than impressive in their three road contests. The good news? This game is being played in the dome, and Matt Ryan tears it up there. If he can avoid throwing it to Kyle Fuller in this one, he should be fine. Something tells me this game ends up being a shootout. If you are looking for an entertaining game to watch this weekend with plenty of aerial assaults, this is the game for you!
Atlanta 38, Chicago 33
Sunday, October 12th, 8:30 e.t.
New York Giants (3-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)
If the Cowboys fall to Seattle, then this game is going to be played for the division lead in the NFC East. It is far more important for the Giants to win here however, since a loss would effectively put the three games behind the Iggles. Luckily for them they face Philly at a good time. They are a hot team that could take advantage of the Eagles’ offensive line. Nick Foles has not been overly sharp this season, and that is in large part due to the fact that pass protection has lacked and the running game has all but disappeared. Even still, this is a team that will not quit and has every opportunity to improve to 5-1 heading into their BYE. With that being said, I think the match-ups favor the New York Giants. Last week, Austin Davis victimized this Philadelphia secondary by throwing it up to his big targets. Eli Manning has the luxury of being able to do the same thing, and I think he will in this game. If LeSean McCoy doesn’t get things rolling on the ground, it’s going to be tough for the Eagles to pick up their eighth straight home win. Seeing as how Philadelphia is hurting in certain areas of their game right now while the Giants are on fire, I think I’ll play the hot hand here. Give me New York in an upset.
New York 30, Philadelphia 28
Monday, October 13th, 8:30 e.t.
San Francisco 49ers (3-2) @ St. Louis Rams (1-3)
The 49ers team and their relationship with head coach Jim Harbaugh have been the topic of conversation lately. However, the team has begun to look like the same squad that ended up in the NFC Championship game in each of the last three years. This is, thanks in large part, to their re-commitment to their running game. Colin Kaepernick is at his best when he doesn’t have to run the whole show. This week, he won’t have to. If it weren’t for a late flurry in Philly last week, the Rams would have been embarrassed. Austin Davis was holding the ball too long in that game, and if he dares to do that again, the Niners’ front four will gobble him up much like the Eagles did. On top of that, the 49er defense is better than Philly’s “D” and they will prove it by forcing four turnovers and holding the Rams to less than 250 yards. I like San Fran to win in a statement game here on Monday night.
San Francisco 31, St. Louis 7
Week 6 Bonus Predictions
Upset of the Week: New York Giants over Philadelphia
Sure Bet of the Week: Arizona over Washington
Rookie of the Week: Odell Beckham Jr.
Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers
Defensive Player of the Week: Earl Thomas
Best Overall Offense: Atlanta Falcons (at home)
Best Overall Defense: San Francisco 49ers
Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!