Wow, what a great week last week for football games. There was intrigue in Dallas, a shocker in Atlanta, the end of a Tom Brady streak, and the death of the Giants. Jay Cutler looked about as lost as he did for most of last season, the Browns lost their new franchise quarterback, Josh Freeman ended up in Minnesota, and the 49ers defense flexed its muscles for the first time this season. And now we look ahead to a week that could be just as crazy. The Dolphins and Falcons are on a bye, both coming off demoralizing, close losses, and look to recharge their batteries. And I’m back to predict what I think is going to happen in week 6 and why. Here are my week 6 picks:
Giants @ Chicago – The Bears are not happy campers, looking out of sorts against an undefeated New Orleans team that is on a high. So it has to be night and day looking across the field on Thursday night and seeing the reeling Giants. Now, the Giants have pride, but their team chemistry is all off. Even if David Wilson plays there is little chance the offensive line will protect Eli and that will lead to even more turnovers from the G-Men. I don’t see any way that this game is even close. Pick – Chicago.
Cincinnati @ Buffalo – Manuel is out, so a quarterback who was very recently on the practice squad will start this game. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but nothing can be as bad as Tuel was last week in relief of Manuel. Cincinnati is coming off of a solid defensive victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots and as ready as they’ll ever be on the road. Fred Jackson has a great day, though, and keeps the Bills close, but Cincy pulls away in the end. Pick – Cincinnati.
Detroit @ Cleveland – That Cleveland defense is legitimate, and I think they match up very well with the Detroit offense, Calvin Johnson in it or not. While Weeden didn’t look great against the Bills, he did what it took to win. Maybe knowing he’s not looking over his shoulder (Hoyer is out for the rest of the season), and relief over getting his job back, even if just until the end of the season, will be a great equalizer. And if the run game can get going like it did against Buffalo, they are very dangerous. Cameron scores a couple of touchdowns and the Browns win their fourth in a row (I know. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence either). Pick – Cleveland.
Oakland @ Kansas City – Kansas City has been a pleasant surprise for most people this season, but I knew they would be solid, and they proved that they do indeed have that homecourt advantage back this season. If Alex Smith can protect the ball like he did up until that game against Tennessee then the Chiefs take this game. Charles has a great game through the air and on the ground. Pick – Kansas City.
Carolina @ Minnesota – This is one of the toughest games to pick because if Cam Newton plays like the Cam Newton of the past two seasons, it will be hard for Minnesota to keep up. But the Vikings are coming off a bye, they’re at home, and Adrian Peterson still calls the twin city his home. Even with Cassel starting at quarterback, I see Minnesota getting the best of Carolina, but this game will come down to the wire. Pick – Minnesota.
Pittsburgh @ Jets – Beware those close, emotional victories, Jets. And watch out for a Pittsburgh team coming off a bye and hungry for its first win. At some point Roethlisberger will get some protection from his offensive line and get time to throw the ball deep down the field to Sanders and Brown. The Steelers’ running game is still a shambles but having Bell around and healthy can do nothing but help protect the quarterback. On the road, Pittsburgh pulls off the improbable upset and the Jets get a big letdown from Smith. Pick – Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay – What a great victory for the Eagles against the hapless Giants on Sunday in New Jersey. Even the defense stepped up and forced a few turnovers, only giving up 21 points. Of course they also lost Vick after the first half, and who knows how long it will take to get that hamstring straightened out, but Foles showed me a lot, especially in that fourth quarter. Given great field position, he was able to rally the troops when the Eagles got down, and threw two great touchdown passes (especially the one to Celek). I think he runs this offense very well, even if not as well as Vick, and McCoy has a great all-around day. They take it on the road to even their record. Pick – Philadelphia.
Green Bay @ Baltimore – The cheers of “Green Bay is back” are a bit premature, as they won at home against a Detroit team that psyched itself out. What was lost in the shuffle was that the kicker had a great day, and the defense played well, but the Green Bay offense wasn’t all that great, including Aaron Rodgers. That offense is a little bit out of synch this season, and that might tell the tale on the road against a Baltimore team that knows they haven’t played their best yet. I think Flacco has a great day and the Ravens win a close one. Pick – Baltimore.
St. Louis @ Houston – I don’t care what you say about Matt Schaub and his mindset this season, but the streak of throwing pick-sixes has got to end sometime. I think it does at home against the Rams. Yes, the Rams picked apart Jacksonville on Sunday, but who hasn’t this season? Their running game still isn’t there yet and Houston needs a statement game after the lackluster showing in San Francisco on Sunday night. I think they get it done by pounding the run game with Foster and Tate, and blowout the Rams. Pick – Houston.
Jacksonville @ Denver – This is such an unfair matchup, I don’t even know what to say about it. This is my pick of the week in my survival league, and it just doesn’t seem right. But I’m taking it. Denver wins a laugher at home by at least 30. Pick – Denver.
Tennessee @ Seattle – The Seahawks are a completely different team at home. Forget about the loss last week in Indianapolis (that they still almost won). They’re home, where they just do not allow themselves to lose, and they’re facing a Tennessee team that just got crushed by Kansas City. This one might be closer than it seems on paper. It will also be a low scoring affair, but the ‘Hawks win it. Pick – Seattle.
New Orleans @ New England – New England just hasn’t been very good this year, and they’re lucky to be 4-1. After not scoring a single touchdown in Cincinnati they come back home and possibly get Gronkowski back. But will he be the savior everyone thinks he will be, or is it just a band-aid for everything that ails the Patriots? I say they keep it close at home, but Sean Payton has got the Saints in a zen-like trance right now and they’re riding the wave. I say the wave continues in Foxboro and they hand the Patriots their second straight loss on the season. Pick – New Orleans.
Arizona @ San Francisco – Let’s see what San Francisco team shows up this weekend, the one that lost a clunker at home to the Colts, or the one that crushed Houston this past Sunday? I say give Kaepernick a free reign to make things happen. They can’t rely on their defense and on Frank Gore for everything week in and week out and expect to get to a Super Bowl that way. They need some more offense through the air, and I think it gets back on track this week. I think San Francisco keeps the ball rolling and Kaepernick has a big day against that Cardinals’ defense. Pick – San Francisco.
Washington @ Dallas – Beware the letdown once again in a matchup this week after a close loss. That was a warning for you, Cowboys, facing a desperate Washington team that needs help on the defensive end. This game will be a shootout, and the difference will be RGIII using his legs to gain much needed yardage. Dallas has proven they can give up a bunch of points, and Romo hasn’t proven he can bring it home down the stretch. The Redskins win it on the road. Pick – Washington.
Indianapolis @ San Diego – The Colts head west to take on a San Diego team that simply did not play to their strengths against the Raiders. I think the Chargers are at a crossroads, and I honestly don’t know which version of the team will take the field on Monday night, but I know which Colts team will come to play. And I know that even though they lost another running back for the season, this team is on Luck’s shoulders. He proved he could handle the load in handing the Seahawks their first loss of the season, and he will keep it rolling even on the road in San Diego. Pick – Colts.