It's week six of the NFL season and I think I can officially put the nail in the coffin of the NFC team I had making it to the Super Bowl. Who was that? Atlanta. Now that they're 1-4 with star WR Julio Jones out for the year I doubt they're even going to make the playoffs. I was torn between the Falcons and Seahawks, but ultimately believed the Falcons would put it together to make it all the way. That's not going to happen now. At least in the AFC I picked Denver just like most people did. Moral of the story? The NFL is as crazy as ever. And that's why we love it.
Before we get to this week's games, here are some thoughts on the Thursday night game.
Chicago 27 - NY Giants 21: I picked the winner right in the Thursday column as I'm sure most did. The Giants continue to make mistakes as Eli Manning threw 3 INTs. He threw two early in the game with one of them being returned for a TD and then a costly one late when they had a chance to take the lead if they scored a TD. The Bears offense played well enough to win. They didn't dominate the game, but they held onto the ball and had a couple of impressive scoring drives. The Cutler/Marshall pairing did well with two TDs. They did enough to beat the 0-6 Giants, who may be the most surprising team in the league this year just because of how bad they are. If you're a Bears fan you should be happy your team is 4-2, but that defense isn't as dominant as it has been. They can be scored on. They need to improve in that area in order to get in the playoffs and possibly do some damage.
Last week straight up: 10-4. Season: 46-31 (.597)
Byes: Atlanta, Miami
All game times are in the Eastern time zone.
Green Bay (2-2) at Baltimore (3-2) 1:00 pm
I like home underdogs, which the Ravens are by 3 points. It's weird because they're the defending champions coming off a win and they're playing a .500 team. People expect the Packers to be better, though. I do too. I'm even going to pick them to win this game because I think they Aaron Rodgers will be able to throw all day on the Ravens. I also expect the Ravens offense to be effective too with Joe Flacco finding Torrey Smith down the field while Ray Rice gets a lot of yards too. Close game. In the end I take Rodgers and company making the big plays to win the game late. Packers 24-20
Philadelphia (2-3) at Tampa Bay (0-4) 1:00 pm
Two bad teams here as Philly likely starts QB Nick Foles while the Tampa goes with rookie QB Mike Glennon. I think the Bucs will get their first win after a big game from RB Doug Martin, which should also open up the passing game too. Buccaneers 28-23
Pittsburgh (0-4) at N.Y. Jets (3-2) 1:00 pm
It doesn't feel right to see the Jets at 4-2, but I'm really tired of picking the Steelers and being wrong. I had high hopes for them this year. I was very wrong. Jets are overachieving right now. I doubt they finish with a winning record, but for now their physical style is giving their opponents problems. Jets 20-17
Carolina (1-3) at Minnesota (1-3) 1:00 pm
Two bad teams heading in the wrong direction. The Panthers offense is brutal. Their pass game is awful (30th in the NFL) and even though they're 7th in the league in rushing it's not winning them games. The Vikings have issues too, especially in the passing game. I think Matt Cassel is an improvement over Christian Ponder as he showed a couple weeks ago when they won their first game. Many people would be an improvement over Ponder, though. Plus, they have a healthy and rested Adrian Peterson running the ball. They're the better team out of these two disappointments. Vikings 23-13
Oakland (2-3) at Kansas City (5-0) 1:00 pm
I've been impressed with Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, but I think he'll struggle this week. With the Raiders having an inconsistent run game they are an easy team to defend. Keep Pryor in the pocket and try to make him beat you with the pass. I expect the Chiefs to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. It's a tough environment for the Raiders as the Chiefs continue to roll. It's interesting that this is the first of three straight home games for the Chiefs with the Texans and Browns coming up. They could be 8-0. The first showdown with Denver is week 11 after the Chiefs bye. Great coaching job by Andy Reid and the players are definitely buying in too. Chiefs 27-14
St. Louis (2-3) at Houston (2-3) 1:00 pm
It's big for both teams because a win puts one of them at 3-3, which means they are still in the playoff race. A loss puts you at 2-4. That's a tough mountain to climb, so to speak. Even though I'm a Rams fan I have a tough time picking them on the road against a veteran team that's been in the playoffs before. The Rams are vulnerable against the run game and that's what the Texans do well. With QB Matt Schaub struggling so much, I expect the Rams to see a heavy dose of star RB Arian Foster, who should have a huge game. I also think my Rams are struggling on offense with a poor running game and a passing game that is too conservative. If the Rams threw it downfield more I think they could put some more points on the board, but it's not going to happen overnight. I hope I'm wrong on this as a fan of my team, but as somebody picking games I'm going with the Texans. Texans 24-17
Cincinnati (3-2) at Buffalo (2-3) 1:00 pm
If Bills rookie QB EJ Manuel was starting I might have picked them, but I don't trust Thad Lewis starting against a very good Bengals defense. I realize the Bills will probably run a lot and if they have success in the run game they can definitely win, but when it comes time to make a key throw I don't trust Lewis. The Bengals need QB Andy Dalton to play better and he needs to look for star WR AJ Green more. Green has been held under 61 receiving yards in four straight. That's unacceptable. They have to get the ball into the hands of their best player. I think the Bengals win because their defense will force a couple of key turnovers. Bengals 23-16
Detroit (3-2) at Cleveland (3-2) 1:00 pm
It's hard not to like what the Browns have done in winning three straight games. I don't think many people expected this out of them after the 0-2 start that made them look like they would compete with the Jaguars for the first overall pick. That's not the case anymore. Their defense looks pretty legit. The Lions really need Calvin Johnson, though. That goes without saying, but we saw it last week when they looked awful against the Packers. He draws double teams, which creates passing lanes for Matt Stafford. Without him on the field, their below average WR group gets exposed because they can't get open. I'm torn on this one, but it's looking like Calvin is leaning towards playing (light practice on Friday). I'll take the Lions in a very close game. Lions 23-21
Tennessee (3-2) at Seattle (4-1) 4:05 pm
I think this will be a blowout. Bad spot for the Titans. I think they've overachieved a bit to be at 3-2 and going on the road to face a Seahawks team that lost last week is a bad sign. That Seahawks defense is incredible especially at home. Titans backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to have a long and painful day. Seahawks 34-10
Jacksonville (0-5) at Denver (5-0) 4:05 pm
It's only week six, but I think it's fair to say the Jags are one of the worst teams ever while the Broncos are the one of the best teams ever at least offensively to this point. The nearly four TD point spread is ridiculous (I see it at 27 on Friday morning) because of how high it is, yet it makes sense too. It wouldn't surprise me if Peyton Manning and the rest of the starters were benched at the end of the third because of a huge lead. Another 4 TD coming for Manning. No surprises here. Broncos 45-10
New Orleans (5-0) at New England (4-1) 4:25 pm
If Pro Bowl TE Rob Gronkowski plays I think the Patriots can win, but I'm not going to pick them either way. The Saints are the more polished, well balanced team. I know they're not as good on the road typically. That doesn't matter as much because QB Drew Brees is on a tear with TE Jimmy Graham, who is on pace to have as good of a season as any TE ever. They are difficult to stop right now. The Pats don't have much of a run game and QB Tom Brady has had issues with his WRs all year long. I think it's a tough spot for the Pats going up against an improved Saints defense. I'll take the visitors in a close game as the Pats fall short on their last drive of the game. They just don't have enough playmakers right now. Saints 27-23
Arizona (3-2) at San Francisco (3-2) 4:25 pm
The Cardinals have three wins, but I'm not sure how legit they are as a team. They can't run the ball and the passing game is just average yet here they are. It's all about the defense with them. They can stop teams. I think the Niners are better, though. The light bulb came on for them in the last two weeks, so to speak. They're coming off 35-11 and 34-3 wins. While I don't expect the same kind of blowout or as many points as the last two games, I think their defense is back to being a top five group and should take advantage of some Cardinals mistakes to win this game. 49ers 27-13
Washington (1-3) at Dallas (2-3) 8:30 pm
Oh great. More of the lowly NFC East in primetime. It never ends. This division could see somebody win it with seven games. That's brutal. The Redskins have played so poorly this year, yet if they win this game and the Eagles also lose then the Redskins would be in first at 2-3 based on percentage points. Dallas is an interesting team to watch because this is their 4th home game so far and after this one they play four of five on the road. We know they can put points on the board, but the defense has been awful the last two weeks. Lucky for them, Washington has an even worse defense. There's definitely a chance that RG3 can lead his team to victory after their bye week, but I'm leaning towards the home team in a high scoring game. Cowboys 33-24
Indianapolis (4-1) at San Diego 8:40pm (2-3) (MON)
I looked at the schedules of both teams and I see that next week the Colts play at home on Sunday night against the Broncos. It's their biggest game of the year because it's the Indianapolis return of Peyton Manning. Forget all the clichés of that being "just another game." That's a lie. The players know all about that game. This is what we call a trap game. While the Chargers aren't a playoff team, they can put points up on the board and I think they will stay with the Colts in a high scoring battle. Not only that, but I think the Chargers can win thanks to a big game from QB Phil Rivers, who is a top 10 QB once again. It should be a fun game to watch. Chargers 31-27
Five Favorite Bets of the Week
Last week: 1-4 Season 8-16-1. I'm struggling. Don't know what to tell you other than you probably shouldn't bet on all five of my picks. Maybe pick and choose a bit. The lines come from SportsBook.com.
@ Kansas City -8 over Oakland
@ Seattle -13.5 over Tennessee
Green Bay @ Baltimore UNDER 48.5
@ Tampa Bay +2 over Philadelphia
Indianapolis @ San Diego OVER 51
That's all for me this week. Enjoy the games and good luck to you.