I have to, once again, apologize for the lack of a Friday Flashback this week. From what I can tell, my busy schedule should be cleared up enough to start bringing these articles back. But, as always, here’s your primer for another week of NFL football.
Week 6 Picks
Green Bay 27 – Baltimore 23
After they stumbled their way to a close win against Miami in week five, the Ravens will have to host a team that, despite their struggles, are clearly superior. Injuries to Green Bay’s defense will hurt them, but in the end Aaron Rodgers and a (hopefully) steady running game will make the difference.
Buffalo 24 – Cincinnati 17
This might be my biggest upset pick so far this year, but my gut is telling me that the Bengals will find some way to lose to their upcoming AFC East opponents after manhandling the Patriots last week. The Bills are starting a completely unproven QB, but if C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson can make a dent, it won’t matter.
Detroit 20 – Cleveland 13
I see this being an extremely physical, defensive game on both sides, with the hard-charging Lions front getting after QB Branden Weeden, who has been criticized often for holding onto the ball for too long. This should equate into a turnover or two, swinging the game in favor of the visiting Lions.
Houston 24 – St. Louis 9
If Houston is going to hit a stride that will result in postseason hopes come December, this almost has to be the game where it begins. Getting an underachieving Rams offense, at home, should have the Texans’ D licking their chops.
Kansas City 30 – Oakland 16
While the Raiders are playing better than expected so far this year, the Chiefs are playing better than that, and their undefeated streak should continue with Oakland coming into Arrowhead Stadium. Look for Alex Smith to quietly have one of the best performances of any QB this week.
Minnesota 28 – Carolina 13
The recent tragedy in Adrian Peterson’s life is going to fuel this entire team to rally around him and play highly inspired football against a team who has been far too inconsistent considering their on-paper talent. Peterson is expected to play, and speaking from a personal standpoint, if I could even imagine myself in his situation (which I can’t, not totally), I can imagine I’d want to take out an extreme amount of aggression in a healthy way. Lucky for him, he’s an NFL football player. One of the best ever, in fact.
New York 17 – Pittsburgh 10
This should be an ugly game, and an ugly win for the Jets seems to be their preferred style. I want to like the Steelers in this one, but MetLife Stadium is going to have new life in it after the Jets have shown their fans they’re not quite the pushovers most of us (including myself) thought they would be this year.
Tampa Bay 23 – Philadelphia 20
With all the problems in Tampa Bay (including a possible MRSA infection spreading throughout the team), at some point they have to put it all together and find a way to win. Their defense matches up favorably to the Eagles’ offense, and as long as the Bucs give Doug Martin a steady workload, they should be able to find their first win of the season.
Denver 52 – Jacksonville 31
For fantasy owners, the likes of Chad Henne, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts are going to bring smiles to your faces. They won’t be sharing them, however, when the runaway train out of Denver steamrolls the worst roster in football.
Seattle 27 – Tennessee 12
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a mixed bag, Chris Johnson is having another of his so-so years, and while the Titans have been playing good football, you don’t go into Seattle playing good football and expect it to be enough. Field goals will be all the Seahawks give up, and field goals won’t be winning this game.
New Orleans 31 – New England 21
This should be a great game, and I fully expect a much better Patriots effort (in all three phases of the game) than what we saw last week against Cincinnati. Regardless, these Saints are looking far too good, and Jimmy Graham is looking far too unstoppable, for the chemically-unbalanced Pats to keep up for 60 minutes.
San Fransisco 30 – Arizona 10
Earlier in the year, Head Coach Bruce Arians was quoted as saying he doesn’t “see the dominance” that San Fransisco and Seattle represent in the NFC West. Well, he’s about to see it up close. He’ll consider himself lucky that he’s not Carson Palmer, who’ll have the best (and worst) seat in Candlestick Park.
Dallas 38 – Washington 31
Ahh, Dallas and Washington. Cowboys and Indians. These two games are must-watch each and every year, despite how well either team looks during the other 14 games. I think RGIII will benefit from the week off and show off more of what he was in 2012, keeping the game close up until the Redskins defense (which needs more than a bye week to correct their issues) collapses in the face of a superior offensive attack. I will say this, however; if Alfred Morris carries the ball more than 25 times, I like the Redskins in this one.
Indianapolis 34 – San Diego 21
I don’t think this one is going to be close. The Colts are doing big things and not enough people are noticing just how they’re doing it. The key point is their 4th quarter play, which is essentially the best in the NFL if you factor in their offense and defense. Against a Chargers team with numerous bumps and bruises, they won’t need four quarters to seal the deal.
Fantasy Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em
Chad Henne – QB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Alex Smith – QB – Kansas City Chiefs
Fred Jackson – RB – Buffalo Bills
Knowshon Moreno – RB – Denver Broncos
Justin Blackmon – WR – Jacksonville Jaguars
Pierre Garcon – WR – Washington Redskins
Kyle Rudolph – TE – Minnesota Vikings
Garrett Graham – TE – Houston Texans
Rob Bironas – K – Tennessee Titans
New York Jets D/ST
Phillip Rivers – QB – San Diego Chargers
Joe Flacco – QB – Baltimore Ravens
Bilal Powell – RB – New York Jets
Chris Johnson – RB – Tennessee Titans
Calvin Johnson – WR – Detroit Lions (I know, I know. Just think about it, though. Think.)
Desean Jackson – WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Antonio Gates – TE – San Diego Chargers
Greg Olsen – TE – Carolina Panthers
Nick Novak – K – San Diego Chargers
New England Patriots D/ST