NFL Week-by-Week Preview: Week Six

Another great week of NFL action here as we start to see a little bit of form coming in the divisions.  There is still a TON of football to be played, though.  With the Bears, Saints, Panthers, and Jags all on the bye, we’ve got 14 games this week.  The Packers and Steelers are the lone undefeateds left, while Washington, Indy, and Oakland are all still chasing their first W.

Thursday Night

Pittsburgh (4-0) at TENNESSEE (2-3) – Vegas: Steelers -2.5
Short weeks favor the home teams.  And, this game, for the Steelers is sandwiched in between the Eagles last week and Bengals next week.  I’m looking to the upset here.  Titans (close)

Sunday, Early Afternoon

Oakland (0-4) at ATLANTA (3-2) – Vegas: Falcons -6.5
The Raiders are coming off of a bye, but the game is at 1:00 on the East Coast, and the Falcons just outclass them.  Falcons (easy)

Cincinnati (4-1) at CLEVELAND (1-4) – Vegas: Bengals -2.5
This is a bit of a trap game for the Bengals, with a showdown with Pittsburgh on Sunday Night coming up next week.  Plus, going on the road against a hated rival is never easy.  But…I really just don’t believe much in the Browns this year, and I think the Bengals are good enough to take care of business on the road, though this is one of the toughest games of the week to predict.  Bengals (close)

St. Louis (3-2) at MIAMI (2-3) – Vegas: Dolphins -5.5
This not as great of a spot as one might think here for the Dolphins.  The Rams have 10 days to prepare, and the ‘Phins are looking ahead to their bye week.  That being said, I just don’t trust the Rams enough to go get a game on the road in all but the absolute best conditions.  The Dolphins aren’t bad enough for me to pick them to lose to St. Louis at home, though I thought about it.  Dolphins (close)

Indianapolis (0-4) at N.Y.JETS (2-3) – Vegas: Jets -7.5
Short week for the Jets, coming off a big Monday Nighter against the Texans.  Big Week 7 game coming up against the hated Patriots.  All signs point to this game being the quintessential trap game.  However, good defenses rarely take weeks off, and almost never against rookie QBs.  This is not a great spot for the Jets, but they should hold on.  Jets (close)

Detroit (2-2) at PHILADELPHIA (3-2) – Vegas: Eagles -4.5
The schedule-makers continue to screw the Eagles, as one week after travelling to Pittsburgh and one week before their bye, they host a Lions team that is coming off of their own bye week.  This is a terrifying game on the schedule for Eagles fans, but the good news is that the Eagles actually match up really well against the Lions.  Detroit does not have a running back that would scare the Birds D, which means the D-line can just pin back their ears and go after Stafford.  And, if Juan Castillo ever figures it out, then Nnamdi can just stick Calvin Johnson all day.  In a really tough one, I think the Birds can eek one out.  Eagles (close)

Kansas City (2-3) at TAMPA BAY (2-2) – Vegas: Chiefs -1.5
The Bucs have two weeks to prepare for the KC team at home.  I think the Chiefs are the better team, but not by all that wide of a margin.  I’ll take the home team with the extra week’s rest.  Bucs (close)

Dallas (2-2) at BALTIMORE (3-2) – Vegas: Ravens -4.5
As bad as the schedule-makers were to the Eagles in 2012, they were probably even worse to the Ravens – and here is yet another example.  The Ravens have this tough NFC game right in between road trips to KC and Houston.  And, to make matters worse, the Cowboys had a bye in Week 5, so they have two weeks to prepare for this game.  Yet another example of why looking at the schedule can lead to conclusions that otherwise might sound crazy.  Cowboys (close)

Sunday, Late Afternoon

New England (4-1) at SEATTLE (1-4) – Vegas: Patriots -6
Seattle’s a tough place to play, but the Patriots are just that good.  Patriots (moderate)

Buffalo (3-2) at ARIZONA (2-3) – Vegas: Cardinals -3
This is the Bills second straight game on the West Coast (whether they stay out there all week or make multiple cross-country flights, it’s tough on the body).  Add to that is that the fact that the Cardinals have 10 days to prepare for this one, and it all points to a third straight loss for the Bills after taking the AFC East lead.  Cardinals (moderate)

N.Y.Giants (4-1) at SAN FRANCISCO (3-2) – Vegas: 49ers -3.5
Second straight home game for the Niners, so that defense should be keyed up and ready to go.  And, I still think San Fran is the better team on a neutral field.  49ers (moderate)

Minnesota (2-3) at WASHINGTON (0-5) – Vegas: Redskins -4.5
Well, the winless streak for Bob Griffin shouldn’t go past 5 games, as a home game with the Vikings should be just what the doctor orders for the rookie QB.  Redskins (moderate)

Sunday Night

Green Bay (5-0) at HOUSTON (4-1) – Vegas: Packers -1.5
The Packers are favored, on the road, against the formidable Texans.  Does that say something about Green Bay, Houston, or Vegas?  I am honestly not sure if the Texans can hang with the Pack in a shootout.  So, the question is – can the defense step up and stop Mr. Rodgers and Company?  With only 6 days to prepare after a Monday Night game in the Meadowlands, I’m going to say no.  Packers (close)

Monday Night

Denver (1-4) at SAN DIEGO (3-2) – Vegas: Chargers -2.5
Remember how good Peyton Manning used to be in prime time games?  Well, in the pristine conditions of San Diego, after 5 games with his new team, he should be ready to be that good again.  I’ll take #18 to bring back the magic, if only for a night.  Broncos (close)

Standings After Week Six

NFC EAST:
Everyone wins except the Giants, as this division gets a lot closer
4-2 Giants
4-2 Eagles
3-2 Cowboys
1-5 Redskins

NFC NORTH:
The Pack continues to look like the best team in the NFC, if not the NFL
6-0 Packers
2-3 Bears
2-3 Lions
2-4 Vikings

NFC SOUTH:
The Falcons and surprising Bucs both pick up ground on the idle Saints
4-1 Saints
4-2 Falcons
3-2 Bucs
2-3 Panthers

NFC WEST:
The Seahawks are fading quickly, but the Rams and Cards are hanging right in there with the overwhelming favorites in San Fran
4-2 49ers
3-3 Rams
3-3 Cardinals
1-5 Seahawks

AFC EAST:
Just when it looked like it would be a two-team race between NE and Buf, it now looks to be either a 1-team or 4-team race
5-1 Patriots
3-3 Bills
3-3 Dolphins
3-3 Jets

AFC NORTH:
The Steelers fall from the ranks of the unbeaten and from the ranks of #1 in the AFC North – what were those Bengals division title odds again?
5-1 Bengals
4-1 Steelers
3-3 Ravens
1-5 Browns

AFC SOUTH:
Did we jump the gun on calling the fight in the AFC South?  Do the Titans have the firepower to stay in this race?
4-2 Texans
3-3 Titans
2-3 Jaguars
0-5 Colts

AFC WEST:
The Chargers keep blowing chances to put some distance on the field, and now they have a race on their hands
3-3 Chargers
2-4 Chiefs
2-4 Broncos
0-5 Raiders

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