NFL Preview: Week 6


Game of the Week: Giants (5-0) at Saints (4-0) 10AM – Fox

The undefeated Saints and their high powered offense are just 3.5 point favorites at home, after a bye week, against a quarterback with a bad foot and a secondary missing most of its starters, so either the odds makers aren’t sold on New Orleans, or they’re over-sold on New York. Possibly a bit of both, but the 5-0 Giants have played one average team (the Cowboys) and beat them on a last second field goal. The other 4 wins came against the Redskins, Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Raiders…not exactly a solid test. But that weak early schedule has given the new receiving group to gel with Eli Manning. This week we will find out for sure if either or both of these teams are for real (answer: yes and yes). Winner: Giants

Game of the Week, Vol. II: Ravens (3-2) at Vikings (5-0) 10AM – CBS

Minnesota’s defense is good. The Ravens offense is good. So that’s a nice little matchup. But the marquee outside of the Metrodome won’t be flashing “Joe Flacco vs. Jared Allen.” This is a matchup of the game’s best runningback vs. its best run defense. And it is a matchup of one of the game’s all-time best quarterbacks vs. one of its all-time best safeties. The Ravens may be able to slow down Peterson. And they may be able to stuff Favre. But can they do both? Winner: Vikings

Texans (2-3) at Bengals (4-1) 10AM

Cincinnati doesn’t win big, but they just keep winning. Carson Palmer seems to be fully recovered from the elbow injury that basically cost him the 2008 season, and Chad Ochocinco is thriving because of it. Houston gives up a lot of big plays on defense, but they if they can get to Palmer and keep the Bengals from lighting it up, Houston’s offense is certainly good enough to carry them. Winner: Bengals

Lions (1-4) at Packers (2-2) 10AM

The Packers were supposed to be serious contenders for the NFC North crown and they already find themselves a head-to-head loss and two games behind the Vikings. The Lions have been considerably better than last year, but Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson haven’t practiced much this week and Dante Culpepper gave the ball away too many times last week. The Packers are favored by 2 touchdowns and that might mean then only need to score 20 points to cover. Winner: Packers

Panthers (1-3) at Buccaneers (0-5) 10AM

Cadillac Williams is leading the Bucs in rushing, and he is averaging a little under 10 carries per game. No wonder it’s been so tough on their quarterbacks! But the Bucs have shown some signs of life with new quarterback Josh Johnson, who seems to be in sync with Kellen Winslow. If Williams or Derrick Ward starts carrying their share of the offense on the ground, the Bucs could be decent. Winner: Buccaneers

Chiefs (0-5) at Redskins (2-3) 10AM

Much has been said about the Redskins not playing a team with a win through the first six weeks. I’m not sure if the saddest part is that they’re only 2-3, or that people keep expecting them to lose. Kansas City looked solid last week against Dallas (well, against all of Dallas except Miles Austin). Winner: Chiefs

Rams (0-5) at Jaguars (2-3) 10AM

Because every game on the schedule has to be played whether anyone is watching or not. Winner: Jaguars

Lock of the Week: Browns (1-4) at Steelers (3-2) 10AM

Derek Anderson was once a Pro-Bowl quarterback. He’s not anymore. And while the Browns insist they’re not shopping golden boy (who isn’t apparently very good) Brady Quinn, Quinn is reportedly shopping his Cleveland-are house. Troy Polamalu returns to the Steelers this week and the way their offense is playing, they might win this game 40-0. Winner: Steelers

Cardinals (2-2) at Seahawks (2-3) 1:05PM

Despite what most people around the NFL might have heard, the NFC and AFC West do still exist and this game is proof. This game could go a long way towards determining which of these two will rival the 49ers for divisional supremacy, especially if the Cards can steal one on the road. Winner: Seahawks

Lock of the Week, Vol. II: Eagles (3-1) at Raiders (1-4) 1:05PM

84.8% of the people playing ESPN’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em game picked the Eagles to cover the spread in this one. So 85% of fans think the Raiders will lose by at least 15 at home. Watching the Raiders play last week, I don’t even think it matters who the opponent is for that to be true. Winners: Eagles

Bills (1-4) at Jets (3-2) 1:15PM – CBS

Despite what it may seem, the Jets really aren’t relying on Mark Sanchez to do that much for them to win. They are babying him so he can get some experience under his belt before they lay the franchise on his shoulders for real. Proof? In Monday’s grudge match with the Dolphins, which turned into a shootout in the fourth quarter, Sanchez only had 24 pass attempts. For the season, he has thrown the 19th most passes of all quarterbacks, the fewest of any full-time starter with 5 games under his belt. Winner: Jets

Titans (0-5) at Patriots (3-2) 1:15PM

At some point the Titans have to show up again, right? They can’t be this bad after being that good last year, right? After Kerry Collins got benched last week there was some question whether he’d lost his starting job. Apparently he hasn’t but he has thrown the second most passes in the league so far, and has the 29th best passer rating. Winner: Patriots

Bears (3-1) at Falcons (3-1) 5:20PM – NBC

Jay Cutler has been a far more patient quarterback since coming over to the Bears and besides his Week 1 meltdown, he’s been a much better one as well. The Falcons’ offensive balance could give the Bears defense trouble, with Matt Ryan having options all over the field particularly with Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Michael Turner. Winner: Falcons

Broncos (5-0) at Chargers (2-2) Monday 5:30PM – ESPN

This game could mark the official changing of the guard in the AFC West if Denver can go in to Mission Valley and beat the Chargers. LaDainian Tomlinson has the 30-year-old-runningback-blues, and the Chargers defense is allowing over 25 points per game. I can’t say I am a huge believer in the Broncos or Kyle Orton yet, but the guy has won 2/3 of his career starts, and they are 5-0. Winner: Broncos

All times are Pacific and TV airing info is for the Los Angeles area only.