Week 6 record: 7-8
Overall record: 50-42
Chicago Bears (1-5) @ Green Bay Packers (3-2)
Game Pick: Packers – Game already played, pick was as follows:
New York Giants (3-3) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-3) – Game being played in London
Game Pick: Rams – The Giants took advantage of a couple of key injuries to the Ravens defense and managed to eke out a 27-23 win over Baltimore last weekend. WR Odell Beckham Jr. was the deciding factor in the game, as he hauled in eight catches for a whopping 222 yards and two long touchdowns. It was a back and forth game for the Rams in Detroit against the Lions, as both teams traded touchdowns until a late field goal by the Lions sealed the game 31-28 for the home team. QB Case Keenum arguably had the best game of his career in the loss, going 27 of 32 for 321 yards and three touchdown passes. The Rams defense has been playing at less than 100% and it has shown up in their play as of late. But the return of DE Robert Quinn will help immensely. All things considered, the Rams at 3-3 have played well considering RB Todd Gurley hasn’t really had a big game yet. On the other hand, the Giants at 3-3 are more fortunate to be at .500. None of their three wins have been overly convincing. A healthier Rams defense will cause problems for the Giants and maybe this is the game Gurley explodes. Take the Rams.
Minnesota Vikings (5-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
Game Pick: Vikings – The last remaining undefeated team is fresh off a bye week and a thorough trampling of the Texans in their last game 31-13. Without QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota has not skipped a beat. Their dominant defense has allowed less than 16 points in all five of their games this season. Things have not been going well for the Eagles since their bye week, as they have lost two straight games after starting the season 3-0. Their latest setback was a 27-20 loss to the Redskins, a score that was flattering to the Eagles. The only Philadelphia touchdowns were scored via a kickoff return and interception return. Maybe being back home will get the Eagles back on track, but home or away, beating the Vikings is going to be a difficult task. Without suspended LT Lane Johnson, the Eagles offensive line is not nearly as strong anymore, which is not good news going up against a tough and aggressive Minnesota front seven. The Vikings are well rested and confident and the Eagles appear to be sliding. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is going to be black and blue after this one. Minnesota wins relatively easily.
Indianapolis Colts (2-4) @ Tennessee Titans (3-3)
Game Pick: Titans – It was a gut wrenching 26-23 loss for the Colts on Sunday night against the Texans, as they gave up 14 points in the final few minutes to send the game to overtime, and eventually blow the game altogether. QB Andrew Luck is being forced to literally carry this team on his back and thus far he has not fared very well in that role. A couple of late touchdowns allowed by the Titans defense late in the fourth quarter made their win against the Browns seem a lot tighter than it really was. It was a well balanced game from Tennessee, but for the second straight week, QB Marcus Mariota put forth another good performance after a sluggish start to the season. The AFC South is completely wide open and a win over the Colts by the Titans could be the springboard this moribund franchise needs to put them into the playoff conversation. As long as the Titans can control the game on the ground, which shouldn’t be an issue against the horrid Colts run defense, they look to be in a good spot to take this game.
Buffalo Bills (4-2) @ Miami Dolphins (2-4)
Game Pick: Dolphins – The Bills continued their roll and continued to take advantage of a soft schedule, as they won their fourth game in a row, walloping the 49ers at home 45-16. The ground and pound was in full force again, as RB LeSean McCoy ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns on only 19 carries. It was a big, perhaps season saving win for the Dolphins last weekend as they surprised the Steelers 30-15. RB Arian Foster returned to the line up, but it was another running back, Jay Ajayi, who stole the show as he ran roughshod over the Pittsburgh defense for 204 yards and two touchdowns. On paper, this might look like another gimme win for the Bills, but upon closer inspection, the Dolphins might present more of a challenge for Buffalo than most think. Miami’s offensive line was healthy for the first time, and it showed with the rushing performance of Ajayi. And McCoy may not play, and even if he does, he’s likely to be limited. Maybe the Dolphins can start to get on a bit of a roll here. The Bills are overdue for a bit of a let down and this just seems like a spot where they might lose one.
Baltimore Ravens (3-3) @ New York Jets (1-5)
Game Pick: Ravens – So much for that 3-0 start. The Ravens were up most of the afternoon against the Giants, but injuries to CB Jimmy Smith and OLB Terrell Suggs opened things up some for the New York offense and Baltimore was unable to hold up in a 27-23 loss. Things continued to go from bad to worse for the Jets, as they were beaten down by the Cardinals 28-3 on Monday night. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to struggle and was eventually pulled in favor of Geno Smith. This is a very tough game to prognosticate, given the injuries to the Ravens and the Jets quarterback switch from Fitzpatrick to Smith. Baltimore QB Joe Flacco should suit up, but he’s missed a lot of practice time and may not be fully healthy. They are beat up all over the place and could be vulnerable at key positions. However the Jets might not be the type of team that can take advantage of that right now. Smith hasn’t proven to be an effective option at quarterback in the past, so it remains to be seen how much of an impact the quarterback switch will have for the Jets. Flip a coin here, and take the Ravens.
New Orleans Saints (2-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-2)
Game Pick: Chiefs – In what was a typical, Saints style game with plenty of offensive fireworks, New Orleans held on beat the Panthers 41-38 despite blowing a 31-17 lead. QB Drew Brees continued to defy father time, passing for 465 yards and four touchdowns. Head coach Andy Reid continued his trend of success after the bye week as the Chiefs defeated the Raiders 26-10 in a rain soaked game in Oakland. Kansas City wore down the Raiders with their ground game, as Spencer Ware rumbled for 131 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. The Saints are always a threat to put up a fight because of their offense, but they often struggle to find their groove outside the friendly confines of the Superdome. And Arrowhead isn’t exactly the easiest environment to play in. Expect the Chiefs to try and replicate their game plan from last week against the Raiders and run the Saints into the ground with Ware and a fresh Jamaal Charles. New Orleans will hang around but the Chiefs will eventually pull away and improve to 4-2.
Cleveland Browns (0-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
Game Pick: Bengals – The Browns continue to defy the odds by hanging around and giving their opposition a good fight, but they came up short again as they dropped a 28-26 affair to the Titans. Rookie QB Cody Kessler continued to be a surprise as he tossed for 336 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. It’s been a rough go of it for the Bengals as of late as the schedule makers haven’t given them any breaks. They were competitive against the Patriots on the road before fading late in a 35-17 lost to New England. Finally, Cincinnati appears to have a winnable game, though the Browns haven’t been the pushover that many thought they would be despite their winless record. They may take out their frustrations in this one though as TE Tyler Eifert looks like he’s ready to return to action and give the Bengals offense a shot in the arm. The Browns will likely hang around for a bit as they’ve been apt to do this year, but the Bengals are angry and need a win badly so this should be a perfect get right game for the Bengals.
Washington Redskins (4-2) @ Detroit Lions (3-3)
Game Pick: Lions – That 0-2 start for the Redskins is in the rearview mirror now as they ripped off their fourth win in a row, handling the Eagles with relative ease 27-20. Washington dominated in the trenches, as they ran for 230 yards as a team (including 135 yards from Matt Jones) and were all over Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz, sacking him five times and harassing him all afternoon. Despite missing their top two running backs, the Lions offense didn’t skip a beat as QB Matt Stafford threw for 270 yards in four touchdowns in a 31-28 win over the Rams at home. This could be another case of a team being due for a bit of a letdown as the Redskins have been playing a bit over their heads as of late and might be a little flat after a big divisional win. Their impressive play in the trenches though could give the Lions the same kind of trouble that they gave the Eagles last week. This could end up being a sneaky high scoring game, and Detroit seems to have a knack for winning those style of games. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins win this game, but the Lions are the pick this week.
Oakland Raiders (4-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Game Pick: Raiders – The Raiders were due for a stinker, and boy did they lay a big egg at home against the Chiefs, dropping their second game of the year 26-10 to Kansas City. They opened the scoring with an early touchdown but managed only three points the rest of the way. The weather conditions weren’t optimum, but that can’t be used an excuse. It was quite the comeback by the Jaguars last weekend in Chicago as they scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to take out the Bears 17-16. The defense was able to hold the Bears in check while the offense found their footing. Oakland got their dud out of the away, but they shouldn’t be taking the Jaguars lightly as Jacksonville has the weapons on offense to rack up points against a Raiders defense that has been disappointing to say the least. The Raiders however also have the ability to score a lot of points, so this game could come down to who has the ball last. This is another tough travel game for Oakland, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning on the east coast this year. In a field goal game, take the Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-5)
Game Pick: Buccaneers – The Buccaneers saved their season, defeating the Panthers 17-14 two weeks ago to go into their bye week with a 2-3 record. A loss likely would have put Tampa at too much of a disadvantage to mount a charge for a potential playoff spot. Things in San Francisco are looking bleaker by the week as they are coming off of a 45-16 shellacking at the hands of the Bills. The change at QB did not spark the 49ers much at all as Colin Kaepernick did not prove to be an upgrade over Blaine Gabbert. These are the types of games the Buccaneers often lose, but coming off a bye, they should be more focused and not take the 49ers lightly. San Francisco will be without RB Carlos Hyde and ever since losing LB Navarro Bowman to a season ending injury, the 49ers have been getting eviscerated on the ground. They might be able to hang tight for a while, but eventually the Buccaneers should pull away and not have too much difficulty taking out the 49ers on the road.
San Diego Chargers (2-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
Game Pick: Chargers – It was a perfect storm for the Chargers on Thursday night in a game they absolutely had to have. They did make it interesting again, like they’ve been apt to do this year, but in the end, San Diego held on for a 21-13 victory over the Broncos. Had the Chargers been able to finish off drives with touchdowns instead of field goals, the win would have come much easier. The Falcons had an enviable task the past two weeks having to play in two tough road environments in Denver and Seattle and if it wasn’t for a missed pass interference call on WR Julio Jones, Atlanta might have come away with wins in both games instead of just won. Regardless of the 26-24 loss, the Falcons showed the rest of the league they are indeed for real. The Chargers are only be 2-4, but they are never an easy out and will prove to maybe be a more difficult opponent for the Falcons than most expect. San Diego may be catching the Falcons at the right time after their gruelling road games against two extremely physical teams. Atlanta may just be due for a bit of letdown. There will be no shortage of offense in this one, and in an upset, the Chargers find a way to come out on top.
New England Patriots (5-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
Game Pick: Patriots – It took a while for the Patriots to find their footing against the Bengals last weekend, at one point trailing 14-10. But as the final score of 35-17 would indicate, Tom Brady and company found their mojo and blew out Cincinnati at home. The upset of the week happened in Miami on Sunday when the Steelers visited South Florida and got stomped by the Dolphins 30-15. The game seemed to turn when QB Ben Roethlisberger left in the second quarter with a knee injury. He did return, but he was clearly not 100%. This looked like a tantalizing match up when the schedule was released, but with Roethlisberger out with a torn meniscus for likely at least a month, the Steelers chance of winning this game took a massive hit. Landry Jones is just not a great quarterback and a huge downgrade to the entire Pittsburgh offense. The Steelers defense is also dinged up with DE Cam Heyward out and LB Ryan Shazier questionable. New England is starting to get healthy, and while the Steelers do tend to play better at home, it’s hard to see them being able to hang with the Patriots all game without Roethlisberger. Patriots win with relative ease.
Seattle Seahawks (4-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Game Pick: Seahawks – It was a nail biter, but the Seahawks managed to edge the Falcons 26-24 at home. Seattle built up a 17-3 lead at half time before allowing three straight third quarter touchdowns to Atlanta and having to come back and win on a Steven Hauschka 44 yard field goal with 1:57 remaining. A questionable missed pass interference call on Richard Sherman allowed Seattle to come out of the game victorious. The Cardinals got another dominant performance from RB David Johnson in a 28-3 romp over the Jets on Monday night. Johnson rumbled for 111 yards and three touchdowns. He’s rushed for an insane 268 yards and five touchdowns over the past two weeks. Arizona seems to have righted the ship with two straight victories, but those should be taken with a grain of salt against a pair of one win teams in the 49ers and Jets. The Seahawks are a different animal with a defense that might not be able to shut down Johnson, but should at least be able to slow him down. In a classic NFC West battle, the Seahawks are the right side to take here.
Houston Texans (4-2) @ Denver Broncos (4-2)
Game Pick: Broncos – The Texans had managed a paltry nine points through the first 57+ minutes of their game Sunday night against the Colts. But thanks to two touchdown passes from QB Brock Osweiler in the final few minutes, Houston tied the game and eventually won in overtime 26-23. The star of the game for Houston was RB Lamar Miller who ripped off 149 yards and a touchdown to go along with three catches for 29 yards and the game tying score. It was a uncharacteristically sloppy performance from the Broncos on Thursday night in a 21-13 loss to the Chargers. At one point they trailed 21-3 in the fourth quarter. Head coach Gary Kubiak missed the game for health reasons, which might explain some of the poor play from Denver. There are a few side stories to this Monday night match. Osweiler returns to the team that he left in free agency, while Kubiak gets to coach against his former team. These teams are both 4-2, but the Broncos are the better team. Denver has lost two straight, but they’ve had 10 days to lick their wounds and Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will know how to shut down Osweiler. This might look a lot like the Texans week five loss to the Vikings, which was not very pretty.