Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the first five weeks is in the books, we start to enter the second phase of the NFL season. From this point forward, we can start to tell which teams are legit and which teams have just been flukes. We can begin to notice if teams not living up to expectations are just off to a slow start or are really just not as good as we had assumed they would be.
Week 6 is a crucial week for every NFL team, and we should have a full slate of intense and exciting games this weekend.
As always, speculation and prediction is one of the most entertaining aspects of being a fan of any collegiate or professional sport. After poring over stats and matchups for the week, here are my predictions for the week, with the home team being represented second in each of the matchups.
(Thursday Night) NEW YORK GIANTS: 10 CHICAGO BEARS: 31
The 0-5 Giants have been absolutely atrocious this year on both sides of the ball, and don’t expect that to change against an impressive Chicago team. The Giants on average allow 36.4 points per game, which is by far the worst in the NFL. The Bears have integrated Alshon Jeffery into the offense in recent games, and it is very unlikely the Giants will have an answer for Alshon and Brandon Marshall. When you consider that the Giants are playing without David Wilson, this should be an easy win for Da Bears.
GREEN BAY PACKERS: 30 BALTIMORE RAVENS: 22
The Packers are coming off an impressive win against Detroit, and their offense looks unstoppable right now. Not only is Aaron Rodgers still playing like typical Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers now have a rushing attack, which averages 141 yards per game (5th in NFL). Baltimore has had its struggles this year, and against a well-rounded team like the Packers it seems unlikely that they will win. There is no way that the young Ravens secondary will be able to contain Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones. One of those receivers will likely be open on every play, and Rodgers won’t have difficulty finding the open man.
CINCINNATI BENGALS: 17 BUFFALO BILLS: 20
Here’s a stat that will surprise all of you: the Cincinnati Bengals, who many ‘experts’ predicted would go to the Super Bowl this year, hav averaged the exact same number of yards per game as the Oakland Raiders. While the defense has been playing well, the offense has had a hard time pulling its weight this year, especially the run game. While Thaddeus Lewis may be starter for the Bills this week, the Bengals have absolutely no film to go over and learn how to adjust to Lewis’s strengths and weaknesses. Combine that with the Bills dominant running back duo and that the Bengals are probably still hung over from their 4th quarter victory against the Patriots, the Bills have a great opportunity to pull off an incredible upset in Week 6.
DETROIT LIONS: 27 CLEVELAND BROWNS: 13
Although the Browns have made an incredible run in the past three games, the Browns have yet to win against a high-powered offense like Detroit’s. Matt Stafford has led an incredible passing attack thus far, and the probable return of Calvin Johnson this week will be a huge help. Despite the fact that the Browns have a quality defense, Matt Stafford, Reggie Bush, and Calvin Johnson alone might prove too be too much for the young team to handle.
ST. LOUIS RAMS:13 HOUSTON TEXANS: 23
The Texans have to play well eventually, right? Believe it or not, the Texans have been playing well, and statistically have one of the best offenses and defenses in the league. Unfortunately, due to Schaub’s constant turnovers and their inability to punch the ball into the endzone the Texans are just a meager 2-3. Fortunately, the Rams have one of the worst defenses in the league, especially against the run. Arian Foster and Ben Tate should be able to do most of the work in Week 6, which will help keep Schaub from screwing up.
OAKLAND RAIDERS: 6 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: 23
The way the Chiefs are playing this year, this matchup should be a joke for them. Andy Reid has turned this defense into one of the best in the league while Alex Smith has completely turned around the offense. Both Pryor and McFadden are still a little banged up, and even if they were 100% it wouldn’t make much difference against this stout Kansas City defense. Did you know that the Chiefs have allowed just 11.6 points per game this year? That is unheard of, and don’t expect a team as weak as the Raiders to harm a defense that even the Eagles couldn’t touch.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: 20 MINNESOTA VIKINGS:17
Even though Carolina has had their share of struggles this year, the Vikings are no different. Minnesota has by far one of the worst defenses in the league, one that is bad enough that even Carolina shouldn’t have much difficulty scoring on them. With Matt Cassel making his season debut against a top 10 pass defense that has the third most interceptions this year: even after already having their bye, he should struggle. Remember, Adrian Peterson can only do so much.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: 9 NEW YORK JETS: 13
Can somebody say ‘defensive battle’? These two teams are extremely similar, except somehow one is 0-4 and the other is 3-2. Both these teams have good defenses, and both these teams have poor and inconsistent offenses. Neither team averages more than 20 points per game, placing them at the bottom of the pack in the NFL. However, the Jets right now have momentum after an impressive win against the Falcons, and although they have a shortened week, Geno Smith and his team should still carry that momentum through Sunday in yet another close victory.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: 41 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: 17
It doesn’t really matter who is playing quarterback for the Eagles, does it? We saw last week that both quarterbacks can perform exceptionally when needed to against the New York Giants. With an easy matchup against a discombobulated and disastrous Tampa Bay team, Chip Kelly should have no problem moving his offense down the field and right past Revis Island.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: 7 DENVER BRONCOS:48
What is there to say about this game? It’s the best team in the NFL against the worst. For all citizens of Jacksonville, Florida, I am sorry that CBS has to air this game locally.
TENNESSEE TITANS: 13 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: 24
After losing embarrassingly to the Indianapolis Colts, the Seahawks will look to bounce right back. Fortunately, the odds of their amazing defense being torched again is extremely thin seeing as the Titans have one of the worst passing attacks in the game; they are averaging a mere 201 passing yards per game. Marshawn Lynch and Co. should have little difficulty against the Titans defense, who have little to no experience against the read option and a back as good as Lynch. The Titans should be easy prey for the Super Bowl hopefuls in Week 6.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: 30 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: 21
Remember the Saints’ defense from last year, which was the worst in NFL history? Well don’t look now, but after 5 weeks they have a top 5 scoring defense and a top 12 defense in the yards per game department as well. Not only that, but the Saints are also averaging 405 yards per game on offense (4th in NFL) This 5-0 team will pit its franchise quarterback against possibly the best quarterback of the century in Tom Brady. The return of Rob Gronkowski will certainly help the Patriots in Week 6, although his rust along with the Patriots’ lack of a running game and receivers may lead to their second straight loss.
ARIZONA CARDINALS: 14 SAN FRANCISCO 49ers: 19
Yet another great defensive battle. Believe it or not, but the Arizona Cardinals have created an almost unstoppable run defense. Unfortunately for the 49ers, that is the only part of their offense that is doing well right now. After five weeks, the 49ers are averaging just 181 passing yards per game- which is even worse than Jacksonville! However, the 49ers by far have more talent and Kaepernick should be able to play fairly well against the Cardinals as long as he follows one simple rule: do NOT throw to Patrick Peterson.
(Sunday Night) WASHINGTON REDSKINS: 34 DALLAS COWBOYS: 41
After a truly devastating loss to the Broncos last week as time expired, the Cowboys will look to bounce back against the Redskins in Week 6. Tony Romo has gotten a lot of unnecessary heat from the media this week, and he would love to prove that he can consistently put up last week’s numbers, except this time win the game. And the Cowboys have a chance to do exactly that. With Robert Griffin III not playing like he used to, and the Washington defense being by far the worst in the league (440.5 YPG), the Cowboys should be able to pull out a victory in yet another high scoring game.
(Monday Night) INDIANOPOLIS COLTS: 34 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: 20
After an extremely disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers will be looking for a bounce back win. Unfortunately for San Diego, the Colts are not the team anyone wants to be facing right now if you’re looking for a ‘bounce back’ win or any win for that matter. The Colts just easily beat possibly the best team in the NFC and have all the momentum in the world right now. Andrew Luck is playing phenomenal, and T.Y. Hilton has just recently shown that he can be a dynamic part of the offense as well. The team is surrounded with weapons and firepower on both sides of the ball, and there is almost no way the Colts are losing this game.
Have any thoughts or comments about any of my predictions? Disagree or agree with anything? Feel free to sound off in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe to Empire Writes Back for daily New York Sports news.