Week Six Predictions

All right, here we go with Week 6 picks. As stated yesterday, last week was the stuff that dreams are made of, going 12-1 with the only loss being those blasted Cardinals at home vs the Chiefs. The record for the season is now at 50-21. Note also that if you use these picks to win your local office pool, please feel free to cut me in on the winnings:

Buffalo at Detroit – Ugh. What a way to start the picks, with a 2-3 team vs an 0-5 club. The name of the game for the Bills is turnovers – as in 8 in their three losses. The Lions meanwhile, somehow took a 17-3 lead last week in the 4th quarter vs the Vikings and magically turned it into a 26-17 loss. Only the Lions. Kevin Jones had just eight yards on 10 carries last week. The Lions are still soft on defense, allowing 28.2 points per game. I think the Bills find a way to get it done at Ford Field. Buffalo 24 Detroit 17

Carolina at Baltimore – Wow, another toss up game in my opinion. The Panthers are now 3-2 after an 0-2 start, and many kudos have to go to Steve Smith, who has been in the lineup for all three wins. Carolina has to be worried about getting into third downs though, as they are a league worst 18.6 percent in conversions this year. They have gotten better on the ground, with DeShaun Foster gaining two straight 100-yard games, but will be without DeAngelo Williams this week with an ankle sprain. The Ravens are coming off a tough 13-3 loss in Denver, and the team is still struggling on offense, 29th in the league, averaging 267 yards per game. I have been calling for the clock to strike midnight for the Ravens for the past few weeks, and I think the clock strikes again here. Carolina 17 Baltimore 13

Tennessee at Washington – Props to Jeff Fisher for putting together a great game plan last week in a close 14-13 loss to the Colts in Indy. The Titans may not win many this year, but they are a group that is going to get better as the year goes. The Redskins were beat up last week by the Giants 19-3 in New York, and the defense continues to allow big plays. Last week they allowed plays of 44, 46 and 27 yards. They have allowed 21 passes of 20 or more yards this season. This should be a good spot for them, as the Titans will look to run, and the Skins have allowed 94 yards per game on the ground. Look for another gutsy, but short, effort from Fisher’s Titans. Washington 23 Tennessee 13

Seattle at St.Louis – Who would have thought this game would be for early reign in the NFC West? The Seahawks post Super Bowl season has gotten off to a somewhat shaky start, a 9-6 win over the winless Lions, two solid home wins over the Cards and Giants, a broken foot by their MVP running back, then a bad loss to the Bears in Chicago. They have had two weeks to stew over what was the worst loss in the Mike Holmgren era. They have put up just 19.5 points per game, as compared to 28.3 points per game last year. The Rams have been a pleasant surprise in the league, their defense is getting turnovers, while the offense has done its job protecting the ball, and overall the team is at +12 in that ratio. Marc Bulger has yet to throw a pick. I think the Seahawks had better get ready for a tough challenge on the road. St.Louis 26 Seattle 21

Philadelphia at New Orleans – No doubt that Donovan McNabb is the MVP the first five weeks of the season. He has thrown for a league high 1602 yards, 11 TD’s and a QB rating of 107.2. I think his play is the difference in this one, as the Eagles continue to fly high atop the NFC East. The Saints are coming off a big 24-21 win over Tampa Bay last week, but needed a late punt return from Reggie Bush for his first NFL TD to get the job done. Look for heavy pressure on Drew Brees, and another solid day for the Eagles offense against the young overmatched Saints defense. Philadelphia 28 New Orleans 17

New York Giants at Atlanta – The Falcons are like a throwback team, rushing for a league high 234 yard per game, almost 50 yards ahead of the next best team in that stat in the league. Warrick Dunn is rushing for 4.5 yards per carry, Michael Vick 8.8, and Jerious Norwood 8.3. Staggering if you think about it. Despite an inspired effort last week, I don’t think on the road the Giants have that type of defense that can slow down the Falcons on the turf at the Georgia Dome. Despite allowing 86 yards per game rushing, the Giants D has not seen this type of three headed monster. Eli Manning and the Giants offense are going to need to run the ball and put up at least four TD’s to win this one. Atlanta 31 NY Giants 20

Houston at Dallas – Do or die time for Cowboys QB Drew Bledose against the soft Texans secondary. Another weak effort by Bledsoe and head coach Bill Parcells will likely turn to backup Tony Romo to lead the Cowboys offense. This is a great spot for Bledsoe and T.O. to hook up, as the Texans are allowing a staggering 295 yards per game passing, and 435 yards of offense to the opposition. The Cowboys should have a rather easy time here, but cannot get too caught up in looking ahead to next Monday nights showdown in Big D with the Giants. Dallas 34 Houston 17

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay – The Bengals have had two weeks to lick their wounds after a bad 30-13 loss to the Pats at home. This could be a trap game for Cincy, as the Bucs played much better with new QB Bruce Gradowski last week, and lost late in New Orleans 24-21. Both these teams can’t stop the run right now, with the Bucs allowing 163 yards per game, and the Bengals 144 yards per contest. The Bengals have more to offer in the passing game, and know that with the Ravens losing last week and the Steelers on life support, they cannot afford a road loss to a subpar team. Cincinnati 23 Tampa Bay 17

San Diego at San Francisco – The Chargers got a great outing from first year starting QB Phillip Rivers last week, overcoming a slow start vs the Steelers to throw for 242 yards and two TD’s in the teams 23-13 win. The defense has also looked solid, 16 sacks in four games, and allowing just 9 points per game. The lightening bolts should be able to shut down the 49’ers improving offensive combo of QB Alex Smith and RB Frank Gore. Smith was 15-for-19 with 165 yards and three TD’s vs the Raiders last week, and Gore is rushing for 93 yards per game. This one could be a bit of a letdown for the Chargers after the Sunday night win over Pittsburgh, but they should have enough to improve to 4-1. San Diego 27 San Francisco 10

Miami at New York Jets – Joey Harrington gets another start for the Dolphins, who are having just a nightmare season after high hopes. Harrington at least last week was able to move in the pocket, getting sacked just once after former starter Daunte Culpepper was dumped 21 times in four games. The Dolphins O-Line has to give Harrington some time, and has to start getting some holes for RB Ronnie Brown, who is rushing for just over 55 yards per game. The Jets have beaten the Dolphins 7 of their last 8 in New York, and 12 of 16 overall. They are trying to rebound after an ugly 41-0 loss to the Jags in J-Ville last week. They need to get back to getting Laveranues Coles the ball, as last week the WR spoke out after getting just three catches for 19 yards. The Jets have thrown for just 413 yards in the last three games, this after amassing 588 yards passing the first three. Look for Chad Pennington and co. to get back to putting on an air show, and the Jets to fly to their third win of the year. New York 24 Miami 14

Kansas City at Pittsburgh – The Super Bowl Champion Steelers are in deep trouble, and a loss here may signal the quick end of any possible thoughts of a title defense. The troubles are all over the place for Bill Cowher – his quarterback is awful right now, his O-line can’t pass protect, his wide outs are dropping balls, his secondary can’t get off the field on third downs, and his best linebacker (Joey Porter) is out with a hamstring pull. Bottom line – the Steelers will win this game. This is when the Steelers are most dangerous (see 7-5 last year after a December loss to the Bengals), and against Damon Huard and a banged up Larry Johnson, Pittsburgh will play inspired enough to pull this one out. Don’t forget that the previous two times Cowher’s teams have started 1-3 they have ended the year with a winning record. KC has beaten two weaker teams (SF and Arizona) after an 0-2 start, but I think will struggle in the Steel City. The Steelers need this game – bad. Pittsburgh 21 KC 17

Oakland at Denver – The Broncos have not lost a regular season home game since November of 2004. The team that beat them that Sunday night – Oakland. No, that does not mean I have lost my mind and am taking Oakland in an upset, just an interesting nugget to pass the time. The Raiders simply may be the worst team in the league over the last 10-15 years. They have no offense (11.7 points per game), no defense (28 points per game allowed), and no hope of a win here. The Broncos have the luxury of playing Monday night, then staying at home on a short week. They have outscored the Raiders 161-66 in winning five of the last six, and won’t have to put forth much effort to improve to 4-1 here. Denver 34 Oakland 14

Chicago at Arizona – Interesting Monday nighter at the new Cardinals Stadium, where the best team in the league right now in Chicago takes on a Cardinals team shell shocked at 1-4. The Cards got off on the right foot, beating the 49’ers opening day, but since have lost four straight, and have problems with Larry Fitzgerald hurt, and Edgerrin James and the running game still stuck in the mud. Things won’t get much better here, as the Bears, averaging 31 points per game, should be able to control the ball with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, and Rex Grossman should be able to find his receivers against a defense that is allowing 236 yards per game in the air. Matt Leinart will wish he was back in the comfort of USC after this one. Chicago 27 Arizona 13


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One Response to “Week Six Predictions”

  1. Rockwell says:

    Matt…

    You are getting separation… but not as much as I feared… going 11-3 last week… and panting to catch up.

    As usual, I agree with most of these picks. (My picks and rationale: “The Office Pool”.)

    Here are the differences: Detroit gets its first win; Seattle beats the Rams; and the Giants win on the road. Yes, all of these have risks. But St. Louis has been feasting on weak teams. Seattle is banged up but should still get by… perhaps by a point. The Giants and Falcons are tough to call… both clubs are so inconsistent. But for now, I’m backing New York.

    Good luck to you!