NFL Week 6 Predictions

After a shaky 9-6 week last week, let’s see if I can get back on track in Week 6 after Week 5 left us with much more questions than answers. Let’s make some predictions!

Eagles (2-3) at Giants (1-4) TNF

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Thursday Night Football presents with an extremely intriguing NFC East matchup as the Giants will host the rival Eagles. It’s essentially a must-win game for both teams, as a loss for either team would sink them farther away from the playoff picture. It is a relatively wide-open NFC East though, so both teams still have a legitimate chance at winning the division and it can be argued that this game could wind up dictating the division. The Giants offense improved significantly last week and dropped 31 points in Carolina, while the Eagles are coming off of two straight losses, look out of sync, and just lost running back Jay Ajayi for the year. However, that doesn’t mean the Giants will win this game. New York may have dropped 31 points on Carolina, but there’s a reason they still lost. That defense has struggled mightily, especially against the run. Philadelphia may not have Ajayi, but Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood are still a serviceable running back tandem for the time being. With a lack of a pass rush, New York also won’t be able to disturb Carson Wentz’s rhythm, so the 25-year-old signal caller may finally have the breakout game we’ve been waiting for since he returned from his knee injury. On the other side of the ball, the Giants still can’t run the ball, and won’t be able to against a stout Philadelphia rush defense. The Eagles defense is vulnerable to big plays, but captain check-down Eli Manning won’t be able to take advantage of that. This should be a close game between two desperate division rivals, but I expect the Eagles to find a way to come out victorious. Prediction: Eagles 24 Giants 20

Buccaneers (2-2) at Falcons (1-4)

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In an NFC South matchup between two teams trending down, the Bucs and Falcons will meet up in Atlanta in a must-win game for both teams. After a hot 2-0 start with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, the Bucs have lost two straight, including a 48-10 blowout loss at the Bears, and now will turn things over to former first overall pick Jameis Winston. The Falcons defense has been absolutely decimated with injuries and has given up at least 37 points in each of their last three games, which has led to a 1-4 start. Even with the injuries, more was expected from a team who came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Luckily for the Falcons, Tampa Bay’s defense is as bad, if not worse, while the Falcons have the clear advantage at quarterback with Matt Ryan. Winston is also turnover prone, while Atlanta has a positive turnover differential. At home and desperate against a team dealing with even more change and chaos than them, the Falcons should finally be able to close out a game and will get back in the win column. Prediction: Bucs 24 Falcons 30

Steelers (2-2-1) at Bengals (4-1)

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Have the tides finally turned? The Bengals come into this game 1.5 games ahead of the Steelers in the division and as -2.5 favorites. With a win, they could put serious ground between them and the rest of the division and could make a major statement they are true playoff contenders. Or Andy Dalton could fade in the spotlight, leading to a Steelers win that puts them right back in the playoff picture and in great position in the AFC North. The latter seems to be more likely. Pittsburgh has won six straight games against the Bengals and hasn’t lost in Cincinnati since 2013. They also seemed to finally break out last week in an impressive 41-17 win versus the Falcons. The Bengals, on the other hand, needed two defensive touchdowns in order to get past the Dolphins at home. The Bengals rank in the bottom half in passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed, which won’t fly against an explosive Steelers offense. Now, the Steelers defense has also struggled this season, but are we really about to trust Andy Dalton to outplay Ben Roethlisberger? I don’t think so. Prediction: Steelers 27 Bengals 24

Chargers (3-2) at Browns (2-2-1)

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Can the Browns finally have a winning record? With a victory at home against the Chargers, Cleveland can get over .500 for the first time since Week 14 of the 2014 season. Ironically enough, they try to accomplish this against the Chargers, who Cleveland beat to avoid a winless record in 2016. This time, things should be different. The Chargers were very efficient in every aspect last week in a 26-10 win against Raiders. They match up well against the Browns, as Phillip Rivers should have a big day against a pass defense that ranks just 27th in the NFL. Cleveland’s defense feeds off a pass rush and forcing turnovers, but Los Angeles gives up very few sacks and is also near the top in turnover differential. Because it’s in Cleveland, where the Browns are 2-0-1 this year, this game should be close, but if so I’ll take a quarterback in his 15th season in Rivers over a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Prediction: Chargers 28 Browns 27

Bills (2-3) at Texans (2-3)

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Despite the fact that both teams have a 2-3 record in this matchup, the Texans are favored over the Bills by double digits (-10). That may not make a lot of sense, but the Texans are undoubtedly the more talented team. Houston has the offensive firepower that the Bills simply do not, and were considered a Super Bowl contender coming into this season. Buffalo’s defense has been better than Houston’s this season, but the huge talent difference between the two offenses make this game an easy pick in Houston’s favor. However, I don’t believe this game will be a blowout. Houston has only won by three against the Colts and Cowboys, so why should they be expected to so against Buffalo’s talented defense. The Texans aren’t the team they were hyped up to be, but they’ll win another ugly game and actually will be in good position despite a 0-3 start. Prediction: Bills 19 Texans 24

Bears (3-1) at Dolphins (3-2)

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The Bears are finally back. Chicago has gotten off to a very impressive 3-1 start and would have been 4-0 if Aaron Rodgers didn’t come up with his usual heroics in Week 1. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finally had the breakout game Bears fans have been waiting for in a 48-10 blowout Week 4 win against the Bucs. He’s in good position to have another solid outing, as Miami ranks just 21st against the pass. The Dolphins have also struggled to defend inside runs, and Jordan Howard is one of the premier downhill running backs in the NFL. The Bears are also coming off of their bye, and are simply better in all aspects than Miami. Expect them to win by at least two scores.      Prediction: Bears 26 Dolphins 17

Cardinals (1-4) at Vikings (2-2-1)

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After a big road win in Philadelphia, the Vikings have a chance to get back over .500 with a win at home against the inferior Cardinals. That seems like an easy task, but the last time the Vikings were at home, they got blown out by the Bills despite being 17 point favorites. Assuming they’ve learned their lesson, Minnesota should be able to take care of business and play an all-around efficient game. The Vikings have struggled to run the ball this season, but expect that to change against Arizona’s weak rush defense. Their secondary should finally get back in sync against the Cardinals’ struggling pass offense led by rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. At home against an inferior team led by a rookie making just his 3rd NFL start, Minnesota should win this game with ease.                              Prediction: Cardinals 10 Vikings 23

Colts (1-4) at Jets (2-3)

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This matchup between the Colts and Jets is a tricky game to pick, as you never know what you’ll get from either team. The Colts looked to finally have a formidable defense, but have given up an average of 37.5 points per game in their last two games against the Texans and Patriots. The Jets, on the other hand, dominated in Week 1, looked awful the next three weeks, and then blew out the Broncos last week. With so much uncertainty, the best bet is always to go with the more experienced and reliable quarterback, which in this case is Andrew Luck. Luck and the Colts have the best third-down offense in the league, so they should be able to maintain long drives and thus control the time of possession. In contrast, the Jets have the league’s worst Red Zone offense, which may prove to be costly once again. New York may be able to cover up that issue when their defense can force a lot of turnovers like it did last week against Case Keenum, but Luck’s on a whole different level. The Colts may be decimated with injuries, but New York has been too inconsistent to gain any sort of trust, so it makes sense to take the more efficient Colts in what should be a very close game. Prediction: Colts 24 Jets 23

Seahawks (2-3) at Raiders (1-4) In London

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In the first of three games in London this season, the Seahawks and Raiders will matchup in a do or die game for both teams. Since it’s a neutral environment, this game will come down to who’s the better team, and that’s the Seahawks. Seattle seems to have finally found their identity on offense as a run-first team with two straight games with over 100 rushing yards and should continue to do so efficiently against Oakland’s defense, which ranks 28th against the run. They also match up well against the Raiders offense, as their top ten pass defense should be able to limit Oakland’s strong passing attack. In other words, the Seahawks match up perfectly with the Raiders on both offense and defense. Add in the fact that the Seahawks own one of the best turnover differentials while Oakland has own of the worst, and Seattle has everything on their side. Expect the Seahawks to control this game, even if this final score prediction indicates that it will be closer than it actually will be.                                              Prediction: Seahawks 27 Raiders 20

Panthers (3-1) at Redskins (2-2)

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This game between the Panthers and Redskins is easily the hardest game to pick. Both teams need to win this game equally and are evenly matched. Both are run first teams with solid defenses that are at their best when they can control the time of possession. So who will come out on top? The Redskins are dealing with injuries to several of their key players, including running back Adrian Peterson and their three starting receivers. (all are questionable for this game). Alex Smith’s success feeds off of his supporting cast, so with them all banged up, the Redskins offense may struggle. By default, Carolina should win this game, but it will still most likely come down to the wire.                                              Prediction: Panthers 23 Redskins 21

Rams (5-0) at Broncos (2-3)

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The Rams were able to remain undefeated last week in an extremely close game on the road against a mediocre Seahawks team. This week, Los Angeles will likely have to do the same against the Broncos. Even though they both will most likely play, both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp are banged up, and the Rams are relatively thin at receiver besides those two and Robert Woods, who will need to step up this week. The Broncos also have the third-ranked rushing offense, which gives them a chance to control the time of possession and keep the Rams’ high powered offense off the field. However, the Rams are still the better team and will find a way to win this game. Los Angeles may not have the same success as usual in the passing game, but they still are able to rely on the best running back in football in Todd Gurley. They also should dominate the turnover battle, and coach Sean McVay will still find a way to scheme out a win despite the injuries. For a good team to become great, they need to prove that they can win under adversity. Los Angeles has all the makings of a great team and will prove that with a win at Denver this week. Prediction: Rams 26 Broncos 20

Jaguars (3-2) at Cowboys (2-3)

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Can Jalen Ramsey get his revenge on the Cowboys for taking Ezekial Elliot instead of him in the 2016 NFL Draft? The Jaguars’ star cornerback voiced his displeasure for Dallas during the offseason, and now he’ll have a chance to back it up this week. This isn’t exactly a tough test for him and the Jags’ secondary, as the Cowboys pass offense has been close to not existent. That will allow them to stack the box, which could help them contain Elliot and Dallas’ top five rushing attack. Since the Jags’ defense should be able to easily contain the Cowboys’ offense, they won’t be asking a lot from Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense. That tends to be a formula for success for the Jags, who are a defensive first team and are at their best when there is no pressure on the offense. Prediction: Jags 23 Cowboys 17

Ravens (3-2) at Titans (3-2)

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Another extremely tough game to pick is this important matchup between the Ravens and Titans in Tennesee. Baltimore has slightly more talent, but Tennesee has found ways to win this season and has won 7 of their last 8 at home. This has the makings of a low scoring game won in the trenches, which favors the Titans. Tennesee is more built to win close games, as they’ve won all three of their games decided by three points or less against high caliber teams. They also have the best Red Zone defense, which could pay dividends in a close game. The Ravens have also been much better at home than on the road this season and they’re more built to negate high powered offenses  (week 4 versus the Steelers) or win by a considerable margin than to win a close low scoring game on the road. Expect the Titans to win in classic Titans fashion.                                      Prediction: Ravens 16 Titans 17

Chiefs (5-0) at Patriots (3-2) SNF

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This week’s game of the week will feature the undefeated Chiefs and their high powered offense against the two time defending AFC Champion Patriots in New England. Quarterbacks 25 years or younger are 1-41 in Gillette Stadium and don’t expect that to change with Patrick Mahomes this week. Mahomes has been borderline perfect this season, but if there is a team that can figure out a way to stop him, it’ s New England. The Pats are on ten days rest and finally look in sync on offense. This is generally the time where they take off, while the Chiefs tend to sink. The Chiefs defense is awful and should get exposed against Tom Brady and all the weapons he has. Kansas City will have no answer for the Pats offense, so if Mahomes looks human in just the slightest, this could be a long game for the Chiefs, who are not built to win on the road.                                          Prediction: Chiefs 28 Patriots 38

49ers (1-4) at Packers (2-2-1)

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Before the season, this looked like a very intriguing prime-time matchup. Now, it looks like this game will be an absolute blow out. The 49ers have been absolutely decimated with injuries and ranked dead last in my weekly power rankings this week. They have a tough task this week on the road against a Packers team that is going to be angry after losing a winnable game at Detroit last week. With CJ Beathard under center, San Francisco will struggle to pass the ball against Green Bay’s pass defense that ranks second in the NFL, which will cause their offense to become one-dimensional. That won’t work when trying to beat a good team on the road. All I really have to say about this game is: who would you rather have, CJ Beathard or Aaron Rodgers? That’s all you really need to know about this game. Prediction: 49ers 14 Packers 27





*The Rest Will Be Updated Shortly


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