NFL Week Six Thoughts and Predictions
Last week continued my slow decent into mediocrity going 8-7 in my predictions. Here's how I think this week's games will play out.
New York Giants at New England Patriots (-17)
This one is quite simple, really. Daniel Jones just doesn't have the weapons around him this week. Saquon Barkley is still out. Evan Engram picked an MCL injury, and both Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman are missing the game after picking up concussions against the Vikings.
Daniel Jones will be overwhelmed by the Patriots' stiff defense all night long.
Score: Patriots 35, Giants 13
Carolina Panthers (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (in London)
Fun fact: Tampa Bay is second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, only giving up just shy of 70 yards each game.
Also, these two teams met last month, where they held the Panthers to just 14 points and handed Christian McCaffery his only real dud game of the season (37 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards.
To be fair, Cam Newton was still the quarterback in that game, and the team has looked much more solid with Kyle Allen at the helm.
This will still be a relatively low-scoring game, but the Panthers will scrape by with the defense holding Jameis Winston's offense juuuust enough, and the offense will make enough plays to get by.
Score: Panthers 20, Buccaneers 18
Cincinnatti Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-11.5)
The Ravens have come down to Earth the past few weeks, barely making it past the Steelers led by a third-string quarterback in overtime.
Lamar Jackson showed again that, while he is definitely improving, he still has a ways to go as a passer.
Luckily though, they are playing the Bengals this week, who are firmly in the conversation for ending up with the number one overall draft pick in next year's draft.
Score: Ravens 27, Bengals 10
Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) at Cleveland Browns
The line is close, but it really shouldn't be. Seattle will win fairly consistently, and it all comes down to the quarterbacks.
Baker Mayfield, despite having a wealth of weapons around him, has fallen off massively from last year. His completion percentage is way down (63.8 in 2018 to 55.9 this year) and has a two to one touchdown-to-interception ratio. Again, all this despite getting a big boost in the weapons around him.
Russell Wilson on the other hand, is arguably the league MVP so far. Year after year, it doesn't matter what weapons he has around him. He always performs and put the team in a position to win. You saw it last week against the Rams, when the team needed Wilson, he performed and earned the team a win.
That will be the difference in this game. It may not be a massive blowout, but the Seahawks will be in control for much of the game.
Score: Seahawks 28, Browns 21
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-5)
Last week we saw the Chiefs come down to Earth a little bit when the Colt's pulled out a shock victory.
The Colts proved that the best way to beat the Chiefs is to run the rock and keep Pat Mahomes off the field.
The Texans are 10th in the league in rushing offense, so if they can get the run going, they could really grind the Chiefs, and open the door for the already-stellar passing attack.
I'm having some real doubts about the Chiefs defense, and Pat Mahomes has come back down to Earth slightly. Do I dare pick the Texans?
I'll roll the dice here on a close victory. It's risky, but these two teams have definitely been trending in opposite directions. I think that if the Texans follow the same formula the Colts did, they have a real shot to win. I'll go with Houston, but this game could go either way.
Score: Texans 31, Chiefs 28
New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1)
The Saints shouldn't be an underdog in this game. If I was a betting man, I would easily be placing money on this.
Teddy Bridgewater is now really starting to show his quality and open the field.He is easily the best backup in the league, and could really be an improvement for a lot of teams at the quarterback position.
The Saints defense isn't the best in the world, especially on the back end, but Gardner Minshew, while impressive, isn't going to be a guy who slings it for 400 yards a game.
This is definitely a manageable game for a team who I honestly see as a top-5 squad in the league.
Score: Saints 24, Jaguars 21
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Score: Eagles 27, Vikings 17
Washington Redskins (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins
Who doesn't love watching the two worst teams in the league going head-to-head?
I'll go with the Redskins I guess, maybe a change in head coach will give the Redskins a jolt. that and they are facing the Dolphins.
Score: Redskins 21, Dolphins 10
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3)
The 49ers are the biggest surprise so far this season, not because we knew they wouldn't be a good team, but because we didn't know what we were going to get.
They lead the league in rushing per game. The defense is absolutely one of the league's best. Jimmy Garroppolo, while not exactly lighting it up this year, now has a 12-2 record as a starting quarterback. They also just manhandled the Browns on Monday night.
I will go with the 49ers in a relatively close matchup here. The Rams showed much more life last week, being a massive Russell Wilson performance away from grabbing an away win.
I still have my reservations about that offense though. It's just not clicking right now, and the 49ers defense will thrive on that.
Score: 49ers 26, Rams 23
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals
The Falcons have one of the most talented offenses being wasted by a horrendous defense. They were absolutely torched for 500+ passing yards against the Texans, and while the Cardinals aren't on the Texans' level, they will present a challenge.
The Cardinals are bad, yes, but they are fun to watch. The offense actually has good pieces in the backfield and on the perimeter despite a bad offensive line. Kyler Murray has been impressive thus far, although one win is all that has been tallied so far.
Atlanta will ultimately win because, just like them, Arizona's defense is terribly weak, but it should be a fun one to watch.
Score: Falcons 31, Cardinals 27
Dallas Cowboys (-7) at New York Jets
Similarly to the Ravens, the Cowboys started out hot, but have hit some choppy waters as they've played more talented teams.
This week they have the Jets. Sam Darnold is finally back into the fold after dealing with mono, which felt like an eternity as New York has had to make due with second and third-stringers, getting pulverized in the process.
It will get a little better for the Jets, as these past several weeks showed how crucial Sam Darnold is to that offense scoring points. They'll still lose though.
Score: Cowboys 28, Jets 19
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-2)
After that self-destruction against the Bills, the Titans cut kicker Cairo Santos, who went 0-4 on field goal tries in a close game, with *drum roll*... Cody Parkey.
Yes, that Cody Parkey.
Score: Broncos 14, Titans 10
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)
The Steelers have been bad so far this year, with the sad part being pretty much all bad luck.
Big Ben-- done for the year after a freak throw blew out his elbow. Mason Rudolph-- concussion after one of the scariest hits we've seen in a while:
Now they're likely turning in week six to former FCS-standout Devlin Hodges, who finished the Ravens game after Rudolph left, and actually did a pretty decent job (7/9, 68 passing yards, two carries for 20 rushing yards).
It will be interesting to see how he does against a Chargers team that has underwhelmed so far. A loss to the Broncos is a bad look for a team with this much talent.
Still, I just don't believe the Hodges will be able to outpace that Chargers defense.
Score: Chargers 21, Steelers 10
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
The Packers point totals have increased with each game this year, except for the last two where they plateaued at 34 (10, 16, 27, 34, 34)
That's showing that Matt LaFleur's offense is starting to click more and more. I'm not saying that the Packers' points will keep improving exponentially into infinity, but with their offense catching up, and a talented defense on the books, they are slowly turning into a team that is built for the postseason.
Earlier this year, the Lions were winning games they should have lost, but then they put up a darn good fight to the Chiefs. The common thread through all of it though is that they kind of shoot themselves in the foot at the worst times.
The same will happen this time around.
Score: Packers 28, Lions 24