As the weeks go on, more battles will ensue. Divisional tilts such as Eagles-Redskins and Raiders-Chiefs will be important as the calendar moves toward January. Teams fighting for playoff lives are in must win mode. The Jets and Bengals need to right their ships if they want a playoff spot. Plus, will the Dak/Zeke show finally hit the wall. Let’s dive in to week 6 predictions.
Last week: 9-5
This week (so far): 0-1
On the season: 48-29
Patriots 31, Bengals 20
One of the big AFC tilts this week, the Bengals are looking to rebound after a tough loss to the Cowboys on the road. The Pats are coming off a very good start by Brady against the Browns. It won’t look much different for the Pats this week. Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett are becoming lethal for the Pats, and it will be hard for the Bengals to contain them. AJ Green draws a tough matchup against Malcolm Butler, and you know they will put a safety on his side over the top. Dalton doesn’t have much help elsewhere, and if the Pats control the clock (I expect them to), this game could get out of hand.
Steelers 21, Dolphins 16
Not sure why, but after two high flying weeks, the Steelers are due to have some drop. The Dolphins aren’t a defense you can just run over either. They played Seattle extremely tough, and made the Bengals work for points. The Steelers have Le’Veon Bell, which could change the dynamic of the AFC. After being embarrassed by Cincy and beaten by the Titans, the Fins are ready to prove they can hang with the best. They will for a while, but Pittsburgh is the better team.
Titans 19, Browns 16
There’s not too much intrigue here. Both teams are in serious rebuilding mode. But, one of these teams has (what looks like) a franchise quarterback. It’s time for the Titans to give him more free reign to make plays. I don’t expect that though. This will be a tough, grind it out game. The Titans will lean on Murray and Henry to control clock, and the Tennessee defense will shut down Cleveland’s run game and force them to be one dimensional. A close battle, but the better team comes out on top.
Lions 23, Rams 17
Another matchup of teams that we aren’t sure about. Are the Rams for real based on wins over Arizona and Seattle? Or are those outliers? Is Detroit that team that beat the Eagles last week? Or the team that lost to Tennessee? I don’t think either of these teams are playoff teams, but someone will better their odds today. I am going with the better offense to reign supreme this week. Matt Stafford should give his receivers chances to make plays (he might throw 55 times). Marvin Jones should again have a solid game. The Rams will be able to move the ball, but with Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs roaming the secondary, it won’t be easy. The Lions will hang on for the win.
Bears 28, Jags 26
Call it a hunch, but I think Brian Hoyer is going to continue to play well. The Jags haven’t exactly figured themselves out on defense, and Hoyer has been as good as any the past couple weeks. This has the makings of a shootout, but even the Jags have had issues on offense. The issues will show up against a more experienced coaching staff, and that will bite the Jags where it hurts.
Bills 20, Niners 14
Another defensive struggle for Sunday is on tap. The biggest story, though, is Colin Kaepernick making his first start this season. How will he fare against an improving Bills defense? I don’t think it will change much. The Niners don’t have the offensive personnel to contend right now. With Marcell Dareus back, the unit looks better. Zach Brown has been quite a standout at linebacker. Kaep won’t have much room to run, and he has never been a great passer. The Bills should be able to run the ball and grind out a win.
Panthers 30, Saints 28
No matter how poorly the Panthers have been playing, the Saints have not been a better team than them this season. Cam Newton returns in what feels like a must win for the Panthers. Drew Brees and company won’t make it easy for them though. The Panthers secondary has been very inconsistent, and I don’t see them being able to cover Brandin Cooks. Michael Thomas and Willie Snead should also find holes in the defense. But, the Saints defense is bad. Newton should be able to do whatever he wants. It would help if the Panthers had any semblance of a run game, but for this week, they can squeak one out without it.
Giants 23, Ravens 21
It’s about time for the Giants to rebound from their losses. Granted, they were two playoff teams (likely), but they need to get back into the NFC East race. The Ravens continually play low scoring games, so if the Giants can find their offense, which has been lackluster this season, they should be able to edge the Ravens this week. Flacco and company, off a loss last week, couldn’t do much against a middle-of-the-road Redskin defense. The Giants defense is better. I expect their offensive struggles to continue.
Redskins 24, Eagles 20
I’ve gone back and forth on this one all week, but the Redskins should find a way to win this one. The most important part of this matchup: how the Redskins secondary will play against Carson Wentz. It isn’t that Wentz is not a good quarterback, but he’s starting to see what happens when teams get tape on you. He might turn it over once again this week that affects the outcome.
Chiefs 27, Raiders 24
My favorite pick of the week is right here. I love the Raiders and am all the way on their hype train. But for them to go 5-1 to start the year? I am more realistic than that. Plus, I think the Chiefs are sick and tired of hearing how they got thrashed against Pittsburgh two weeks ago. They will bring it this week against their division rival, and come away with the win.
Seahawks 20, Falcons 19
A real close, entertaining game is on tap for Sunday afternoon. Seattle’s defense is still as strong as its ever been in the Pete Carroll era. They will be tested by the high flying dirty birds of Atlanta. Julio Jones vs. Richard Sherman is exactly what everyone wants to see. The Falcons will bring all they’ve got against the Seahawks, with their jumbo sets and usage of their two headed monster at running back. The key will be if Atlanta can hold Seattle and keep themselves in the game. Seattle’s offensive line is atrocious, so Atlanta will find themselves in this game the whole way. But, at CenturyLink, the Seahawks are at their best, and will win.
Packers 24, Cowboys 21
The other spectacular NFC matchup in the afternoon pits an unstoppable force (the Dallas OLine and Zeke Elliott) against an immovable object (the Packers run defense, allowing 42.8 rush yards per game). While I expect those numbers to meet in the middle, in the area of 75-85 yards, the game will come down to the quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers has been dominant at Lambeau his whole career, and Dak will have a lot on his shoulders this week if Zeke has nowhere to run. Take the vet at QB over the rook.
Texans 27, Colts 20
The Texans haven’t been the same team we saw at the beginning of the year, as we saw last week in Minnesota. But, this week they get the Colts defense, which is as bad as any. Brock Osweiler should get a little mojo back, and Lamar Miller should have holes for days. Andrew Luck will do his best to carry a team with not much talent, and will keep his team in the game, but all will be for naught.
Cardinals 22, Jets 17
The Jets haven’t been the 10-6 team from last year that we got used to, and in fact, they haven’t been good at all, which is exactly why I think they’ll play it close against the Cardinals on Monday Night. Fitzpatrick will have to be patient against the Cardinal defense, and running the ball will be key. But, I feel a Fitz turnover is in the books for Monday Night, and the Cardinal offense will ride David Johnson to a win.
Enjoy week 6 everyone!