Thursday, October 11, 2012

NFL Week 6 Picks

Two good weeks in a row. Here's hoping for 3.

Last Week's Record: 10-4
Year to Date Record: 47-29

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Tennessee Titans
The Steelers pulled out a much needed win last week at home against the Eagles. While the defense shut down Mike Vick, the offense had problems moving the ball. The Eagles defense has been playing better, but the Steelers should have been able to put up more points. Rashad Mendenhall looked good in his return and he added an added punch to the Steelers running game. The Steelers defense will once again be without Troy Polamalu. He re-injured his calf against the Eagles. Can he ever stay healthy? But that shouldn't be a concern for the Steelers. The Titans have looked absolutely dreadful the last couple of weeks. Matt Hasselbeck gets the call again this week. Expect the immobile veteran QB to face a heavy pass rush. And what the hell is wrong with Chris Johnson? Maybe getting paid is all he cares about now. Tennessee might keep it close early, but the Steelers will win this one handily in the end.

Pittsburgh 27  Tennessee 13

Oakland Raiders vs Atlanta Falcons
The last time I was quick to write off the Raiders they upset the Steelers and put up 34 points against a very good defense. Can they do the same this week? They are coming off their bye this week. But outside of their 34 points this scored against Pittsburgh, they have scored a total of 33 points in their other three games. Oakland will have a tough time stopping Matt Ryan and Co. this week. Atlanta escaped defeat last week in Washington. It helped that they were going up against a second string rookie QB in Kirk Cousins. The Falcons have had a couple of close calls the last two weeks. But Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense have found ways to win. I don't expect a close one here. Falcons stay undefeated.

Atlanta 34  Oakland 14

Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns
I called out the Bengals a couple of weeks ago in my Week 4 Review. I said they needed to prove to me they can beat Playoff teams before I took them for real. Well, before they even got to the tough part of their schedule, they lost at home to the Dolphins. Good teams don't lose at home to Miami. The offense couldn't move the ball at all. And the defense couldn't get to Ryan Tannehill. Now they go on the road to face a young but determined Browns team. Cleveland had the lead over the Giants early on before the Giants woke up and took control of the game. Cleveland is getting close. Trent Richardson still looks like a future stud at the running back position. Brandon Weeden continues to get better under center. He's not there yet, but he's starting to come around. The Browns are getting close, and I think they get their first win of the year this week. They almost beat the Bengals last time, and they finish the job this week at home.

Cleveland 28  Cincinnati 27

St. Louis Rams vs Miami Dolphins
So just how good are the 3-2 St. Louis Rams? That question still remains. Thye had a great defensive effort last week against Arizona. They put great pressure on Kevin Kolb and forced him into some bad decisions. But the Rams lost a key piece of their offense with WR Danny Amedola going down for six weeks. Add that to the struggles Steven Jackson has been facing all year, and the Rams will have a tough time moving the ball this week. Miami shut down a pretty good Bengals offense last week. Ryan Tannehill, while not throwing a TD pass, looked good and is continuing to show signs of improvement under center. St. Louis will be focused on shutting down Reggie Bush, so Tannehill will look to throw against a good Rams secondary. I think this one is close, but I see the Dolphins pulling it out in the end.

Miami 24  St. Louis 20

Indianapolis Colts vs New York Jets
These are two teams that are heading in opposite directions. Indianapolis is riding high after their huge victory last week over the Green Bay Packers. A big second half from Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne lead a huge comeback by the Colts. Despite all of Robert Griffin's flash and big play potential, Luck has put together a much more solid rookie campaign so far. He's been a good game manager. He has lost his top running back for a bit, as Donald Brown is out a couple weeks following knee surgery. But Luck still has enough weapons on offense to get the job done. The Jets threw everything they had at the Texans on Monday night but still couldn't get the job done. Mark Sanchez, while making a couple of good throws, still didn't put together a solid game under center. Their running game continues to go nowhere. And the run defense is having trouble stopping pretty much anybody. People are still calling for Tim Tebow, but he won't make a lick of difference with the weapons the Jets are lacking. I think the Colts carry the momentum they gained this week and pull off a minor upset over the Jets.

Indianapolis 28  NY Jets 23

Detroit Lions vs Philadelphia Eagles
So did the Lions finally refocus after their bye week? After Week 1, the Lions have lost 3 in a row. For a team many thought could contend for the NFC North this year, that has to be a disappointing start. Detroit was completely shut down by the Vikings defense two weeks ago. They really haven't had too much of a run game to speak of. And the defense? They've had problems stopping both the run and the pass. And the special teams is a mess. Add all of that up and things are not looking good in Detroit. Philadelphia finally lost a close game last week. The defense couldn't stop Big Ben and the Steelers offense late and lost on a last second field goal. They never should have been in that position, as Mike Vick had a costly fumble at the goal line and another bad fumble as well. Even with Detroit's struggles, Philadelphia will have to put up some points this week against a decent Lions offense. But the good news for the Eagles is that Detroit can't stop anyone. I like Philadelphia here.

Philadelphia 33  Detroit 26

Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
You can go wherever you want with the whole Matt Cassel/Chiefs Fans booing him thing. I don't agree with it. Its stupid and immature of the fans that did do the booing. Either way, it looks like Cassel won't be playing this week. That means Cheifs fans get to watch Brady Quinn play quarterback for their team. And like I've said, there is a reason Quinn hasn't been a full time starter in any of his stops so far. He's not better than Cassel. Expect Tampa Bay, coming off their bye, to go right after Quinn and try to make him force some bad throws. Tampa Bay has been fighting under Coach Greg Schiano, but they haven't been able to get the job done. I think they do this week against a deflated Chiefs team.

Tampa Bay 21  Kansas City 12

Dallas Cowboys vs Baltimore Ravens
Can Joe Flacco just decide if he wants to be elite already or not? After two good outings in a row, Flacco put up a pretty big stinker against Kansas City. Elite QBs throw touchdowns against a poor Chiefs defense. But the Ravens offense as a whole looked bad last week. Flacco will have a tough time this week against a very good Cowboys secondary that is coming off rested after their bye week. But I bet the Ravens defense is licking their chops to go after Tony Romo. Outside of Week 1, Romo hasn't had a great season so far. He looked pitiful against the Bears two Mondays ago. You have to wonder how much longer Dallas will stick with him, especially if Dallas doesn't see the post-season. This game will be won by whichever offense breaks the other team's defense first. The Ravens are playing at home and are a more well rounded team than Dallas. Baltimore wins here.

Baltimore 27  Dallas 20

New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks
Tom Brady's first trip to Seattle in his career. And its the #1 offense (New England) vs the #1 defense (Seattle). New England seems to have woken up on the offensive side of the ball in recent weeks. Bill Belicheck is turning into Mik Shanahan with his running backs. Two weeks ago Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden were the workhorses. Last week Shane Vereen randomly scores a touchdown. The bad news for opponents is that New England now has a running game, and that makes the Patriots more dangerous than they ever have been. New England is closer to getting Aaron Hernandez back as well. Seattle's defense, even with their great play, will be hard pressed to stop the Pats. Seattle hasn't given up more than 20 points in any game this year. But if Seattle wants to win this game, they will need something from Russell Wilson, who has been struggling all year. Sooner or later, Matt Flynn may get the call in Seattle. The defense can only hold New England for so long. Patriots win in the end.

New England 28  Seattle 20

Buffalo Bills vs Arizona Cardinals
If there was ever a time for the Bills defensive line to finally have a breakout game, it would be this one. The Cardinals offensive line gave up 8 sacks last week against St. Louis. Mario Williams would have no excuses after this week, even with Mark Anderson gone for awhile. Can Ryan Fitzpatrick put together a complete game for once? He looked dreadful last week against San Francisco and faces a good defense again this week. Buffalo has been shredded in the run game, but they face a bunch of back ups this week with Ryan Williams now out for the year for Arizona. That puts more pressure on Kevin Kolb. Larry Fitzgerald should have a huge game against a weak Buffalo secondary. The defense will try to pressure Ryan Fitzpatrick into making mistakes. I think Arizona is over-rated, and the Bills are facing questions about whether they quit last week. Buffalo is out to prove something, and they win here.

Buffalo 24  Arizona 21

New York Giants vs San Francisco 49ers
A rematch of last year's NFC Championship game. You know San Francisco will be out for revenge in this game. The 49ers easily took care of the Bills last week. But Alex Smith suffered a sprained finger on his throwing finger, and that could be a problem for Smith this week. He won't miss the game, but I would be surprised if it didn't affect some of his throws he made. Frank Gore seems to be getting back to form. The offense has played well and the defense only gave up 3 points in the last two games. Now they get a Giants offense that has scored at least 30 points in three of their five games this year. Eli Manning always seems to play his best with his back to the wall, but he hasn't faced a defense as good as San Francisco this year. It will be tough for Ahmad Bradshaw to duplicate his 200 yard rushing performance from last week. This game comes down to who will put more pressure on the QB. San Francisco's defense has been consistently better all year. I'm picking them here.

San Francisco 23  NY Giants 21

Minnesota Vikings vs Washington Redskins
Are the Vikings here to stay? With the schedule they have coming up, it is very possible. But the Redskins will pose a tough test for Minnesota. Washington gave Atlanta everything they had last week, and that was with back-up QB Kirk Cousins in the game. Robert Griffin should be back and ready to go for Minnesota. Griffin will be the first mobile QB that the Vikings will face all year, so it will be a different task for the Vikings defense. Expect Minnesota to come out throwing, as the Redskins have been shredded through the air in every game this season. Christian Ponder continues to impress under center for the Vikings. I'm expecting a big game from Percy Harvin here. The Vikings are a nice story and I think they continue winning by taking down the Redskins.

Minnesota 30  Washington 26

Green Bay Packers vs Houston Texans
So are the Packers as bad as they have looked in recent weeks? Its possible. Their run game took a big hit last week with Cedric Benson now being placed on the short term IR list. Now Green Bay has to work with Alex Green and James Starks. Aaron Rodgers admitted he's not playing his best, but he also needs better help from his offensive line. The offense just doesn't seem to be on the right page. And the defense gave up a big lead to a young Indianapolis Colts team last week. It doesn't get any easier this week with the potent Texans offense. Arian Foster is coming off a good game and Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson haven't suffered an injury yet this season. When everyone is healthy, that offense is good. But the Texans took a big blow on defense with the loss of LB Brian Cushing to a torn ACL. The Packers offense, despite their problems, will be the first real test for the Texans defense this year. I expect Green Bay to put up some points, but J.J. Watt and the rest of the Texans defense will bring enough pressure to cause problems. Houston passes their first real test of the year.

Houston 34  Green Bay 29

Denver Broncos vs San Diego Chargers
Both of these teams had shots at winning their games last week. The Broncos were driving against the Patriots defense, but Willis McGahee dropped a big 4th down pass and also fumbled during the game. San Diego picked off Drew Brees and returned the INT for a touchdown, but it was called back on a questionable roughing the passer call. This game, even though it is in Week 6, gives one of these two teams early control over the division. Denver has been hit or miss all season under Peyton Manning. The defense did better than they had recently against the Patriots, but they couldn't come up with the big stop they needed in the end. The Chargers were able to hang with the Saints until that penalty killed their momentum. Ryan Matthews came alive last week and should start to see more work in the Chargers backfield. I like San Diego here to win this one. Peyton made too many mistakes on the road the last time he played on Monday night. It could happen again.

San Diego 26  Denver 21

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 2-2
Year to Date: 12-8
Pittsburgh -6 at Tennessee: Titans can't stop the pass or score.
Cleveland +2 vs Cincinnati: Browns have good shot at first win.
Indianapolis +3.5 at NY Jets: Jets don't have enough fire power to keep up.
Atlanta -9 vs Oakland: Falcons should roll easily.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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