Cam Newton is primed. How about you?
Week Six Picks
Cleveland 27 – Pittsburgh 24
With Pittsburgh fresh off a bye and Cleveland coming off a narrow victory in Tennessee, I want to think momentum and morale will play a small part in a Browns victory. These Browns aren’t that great, but their trajectory is clearly upward. The exact same thing could be said about the Steelers, so in this tight contest, a bit of bye week rust, a bit of comeback win confidence and home field advantage are the deciding factors.
New England 23 – Buffalo 17
The Patriots have, historically, had a hard time against the Bills. For some reason, I see the trend continuing, even though New England are coming off of the type of win that can change the entire forecast of a season. Buffalo are also riding a victory into this one, and are playing host, but I think some of the fight is back in the Pats, and these are the games they need to win to take a weak division.
Cincinnati 30 – Carolina 20
Last week had to shake up the Bengals who, for the first month of the year, were playing like the best team in the NFL. Maybe it serves as a reminder. Maybe it serves as motivation. Maybe it’s just on to next week, on to Carolina (to paraphrase the Hood). The Panthers bring a resilient team to town, a team that isn’t lying down in the face of injuries and inconsistency. This is going to be a hard-fought win for whomever takes it…I’m putting my money on the Bengals. From here on out.
Jacksonville 28 – Tennessee 24
Sooner or later, the Jaguars are going to put a full game together and beat someone. While it’s hard to think they’ll be able to do it on the road, the Titans are just the team to take advantage of right now. A loss is a loss is a loss, but the way Tennessee lost last week, combined with injuries to key players (Jake Locker, Bernard Pollard), is most likely going to take more of the small glimmer of hope they had. Now, the Jaguars must pounce, for pride if anything else.
Green Bay 34 – Miami 25
At some point, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were bound to find their stride. The past few weeks, I think, have seen this happen. Now, as they take a long trip into a home situation that rarely seems to motivate this particular home team, I think they’ll continue to accumulate solid wins. The Dolphins will fight, and may even be able to keep this close for awhile, but I cannot see them pulling off an upset of this magnitude.
Minnesota 29 – Detroit 20
No Calvin Johnson? Check. Teddy Bridgewater is back? Check (I think…might want to actually check). Either way, I like the Vikings at home, and there are many reasons. The foremost? I just checked, and Bridgewater is set to go. If he continues to play like he did in his first start, he’s the answer the Vikings have been looking for at the most important position. That, in and of itself, gives this underrated team the ability to compete. Detroit, while playing great defense, are offensively stunted with injuries, and those injuries are going to hit them the hardest when Megatron takes the bench.
Denver 40 – New York 10
Traditionally, Rex Ryan somehow finds a way to make these games competitive. The Jets struggle, lose to lesser teams, then they show up big time against big time opponents. Only, this Jets team is so void of discernable talent and so shaky even where they’re supposed to be strong that I don’t think they have it in them to put Ryan’s inspirational tactics into action. Denver has a long trip, but they’ll enjoy the flight home.
Baltimore 26 – Tampa Bay 21
Oh, you don’t know how badly I want to reverse this one. This is exactly the type of game the Ravens seem destined to struggle in; the type where you see little reason for them to struggle in. They’ll struggle, but I’m going to say they still win, if not for their own efforts then for the lack of effort of their opposition.
San Diego 41 – Oakland 17
What’s to say? It probably will be a bit closer, but if anyone thinks Tony Sparano (or any other possible head coach in all possible scenarios in all possible universes) is going to turn this ‘team’ around, they’re simply delusional. The worst ‘team’ in football will be lucky to win a game this year. This won’t be their lucky game.
Atlanta 33 – Chicago 21
The Falcons are the epitome of the dome team; great under their own roof, good under other team’s roofs, average the rest of the time. If the Falcons are great, there aren’t many teams that can keep up with their offensive attack. I think the Bears might be able to…but then again, they’ve barely been able to maintain their own attack in the face of injuries Jay Cutler’s old bad habits resurfacing.
Seattle 27 – Dallas 17
No, I won’t pick against the Seahawks at home. If this was in Dallas, you could flip the prediction for me, but it’s not, so this is what it is. The Cowboys are playing so well that, if they keep this as close as I think they will, I’m actually…kinda…almost…willing to concede a patented Jerry Jones ‘moral victory’ in their loss. And you don’t know how hard it is for me to concede anything to that man.
Arizona 20 – Washington 10
Redemption. The Cardinals went through the ringer last week, and so did the Redskins. But only one of these teams is accustomed enough to it that they were overheard laughing and generally being in high spirits in the locker room afterwards. I’ll give you one guess on which team that was. I think Washington makes a game out of it, but if Carson Palmer gets the start, I’d tack on another touchdown or two to the final tally.
New York 28 – Philadelphia 24
When two solid offenses and suspect defenses meet on the same field, the easy projection is ‘fantasy football heaven’, ‘scorefest’, things like that. Only, these two teams are going to be so fired up that those suspect defenses are going to make things tough for the first half or so. Then the lid should come off, and in the end, I’m going to go with my gut and say the Giants pull off an upset that will have the analysts talking about them all week.
San Fransisco 31 – St. Louis 23
I can’t figure either of these teams out. The 49ers, by now, should be a clear-cut contender…they’re not, but they’re heads above the Rams in that category. The home field might shine some positive light on St. Louis’ chances, but the experience and skill of San Fransisco should win out. Maybe this game will help he get a bead on either team…but I doubt it.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
Andrew Quarless, TE, Green Bay PackersBlair Walsh, K, Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings D/ST
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys (Tough call…make a switch if you have a better matchup elsewhere)
Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears (one more week…one more week…he’ll be back)
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions
Niles Paul, TE, Washington Redskins
Robbie Gould, K, Chicago Bears
Baltimore Ravens D/ST