With the return of Tom Brady, and the continuing win streak by the Minnesota Vikings, there are a lot of headlines heading into week six. I posted a 10-4 record in my week five breakdown, bringing my overall record to 45-32. With that being said, let’s take a look at who I have winning in this week’s NFL Pick ‘Em Series:
Denver Broncos (4-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-4)
For The Broncos: I predicted for the Broncos to lose, and I was only correct because Paxton Lynch could not get the job done. With Siemian expected to start on Thursday night, I am hoping that he can go back to looking like the game manager he is.
For The Chargers: Dropping three of their first four games of the season, the Chargers have continued to let their fan base down. Allowing 28.4 points per game, the Chargers rank 28th in the NFL in that specific category
Prediction: I think it’s clear-cut on who I’ll be taking Thursday night, and that’s the Broncos. This will be a battle of the defenses, and Denver’s is superior in all angles.
San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)
For The 49ers: Ranking both 31st in passing yards and total yards per game, the only strong suit for the 49ers is their run game. Averaging 121 yards a game is good enough for a top ten spot in the league, but this team has continued to struggle to put points on the board when needed.
For The Bills: On offense, the Bills are very similar to the 49ers in the sense that both franchises rely on their run game. Averaging 16 more rushing yards per game, this may very well come down to LeSean McCoy’s efficiency.
Prediction: McCoy has been given the ball ten less times than Hyde, yet averages 1.3 more ypc. With that being said, I’ll take the Bills for their fourth consecutive win on Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
For The Eagles: The Eagles offense has been strong, yet their defense has been close to lights out so far. You could make the argument that the team has played almost all mediocre offenses so far (with the exception to Pittsburgh), but this is a team that has went above and beyond so far.
For The Redskins: Cousins ranks sixth currently on most passing attempts this season, yet sits with only 7 passing touchdowns this season. While that is solid for now, a lot of people are forgetting that Matt Jones and Chris Thompson are both averaging 4+ ypc so far. With a lack of rushing attempts on a game-to-game basis, it’s no surprise to why the Skins are 3-2 so far.
Prediction: Even though the Eagles are on the road for this one, I’ll take them as my pick of the week. The balance of their solid passing game and elite defense is enough for me to call them a danger in the NFC.
Cleveland Browns (0-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)
For The Browns: The Browns are definitely a contender, but it just happens to be for the number one pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. With quarterback after quarterback failing to stay healthy, it’s a shame that this young offensive core won’t live up to their potential.
For The Titans: Week to week I say the same thing, and it’s that the only strong suit in the Titans offense is their run game. The QBR of Marcus Mariota is an 81.6 so far, which ranks 23rd in the league. For the Titans to move to the next level, they need more weapons to surround Mariota, because the offensive line and running backs are not at fault.
Prediction: The Browns have yet to win a game this season, and there is no reason to bet on them as they go on the road. This is going to be another long season for Browns fans, so I would get comfortable.
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at New York Giants (2-3)
For The Ravens: After a strong 3-0 start, the Ravens have dropped two in a row to both the Raiders and Redskins. With 5 of their next 11 opponents finishing the 2015-2016 season in the playoffs, it’s safe to say this is a game the Ravens need to win.
For The Giants: The Giants were an early favorite to win the NFC East, but now it seems like things are starting to open up a bit. With Beckham Jr accounting for only one touchdown in the first five weeks, it’s only a matter of time before he wakes up.
Prediction: The Ravens have a better defense in my eyes, but I’ll take the Giants in a close game. Both offenses will be rough at first, but Manning will pull it together late in the game.
Carolina Panthers (1-4) at New Orleans Saints (1-3)
For The Panthers: I’ve been saying it for awhile now, but the Panthers are simply overrated. While their offense has been performing at an efficient level, their +/- for points scored vs points against at the moment is a whopping -2.4.
For The Saints: Drew Brees has launched the Saints into debatably one of the best pass-first offenses, yet the defense just can’t seem to hold it together. The team is currently last in the league when it comes to points allowed per game, with 32.5.
Prediction: Even though I find this Panthers defense to be overrated, I think Cam Newton’s return will spark the team into their second victory of the season. Expect both teams to score 20+ in this one.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at Chicago Bears (1-4)
For The Jaguars: The receiving core of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson was supposed to give the fans of Jacksonville some hope for the 2016 postseason, but this team has a lot more flaws than most thought. Bortles currently ranks fifth in most interceptions with six, only four behind Fitzpatrick.
For The Bears: Believe it or not, even though the Bears aren’t winning anything, Brian Hoyer is doing a great job during Cutler’s absence. He has attempted 94 more passes than Cutler in 2016, yet he has a 10.5% higher completion rate.
Prediction: There isn’t anything special about either franchise this year, but I’ll take Jaguars on the road, considering they rank seventh in total yards allowed per game.
Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Detroit Lions (2-3)
For The Rams: The Rams have one of the, if not the worst, offenses in the entire league this year. Ranking last in total yards per game, one stat that amazes me still is the fact that Todd Gurley has gone from the #3 rusher of 2015, to the #19 rusher so far of 2016.
For The Lions: Although their record says 2-3, the Lions have lost a lot of close games in 2016. The Lions have a total difference of 11 points in three losses this season, how’s that for close?
Prediction: The Rams somehow continue to beat opponents they should lose to, but I’m going to take the Lions by a few points in this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-4)
For The Steelers: A lot of folks were concerned about Le’veon Bell’s rust from his suspension, yet he is looking anything but rusty right now. Averaging 5.5 yards per carry, Bell already has found himself ahead of running backs such as Ryan Mathews, Latavius Murray and Duke Johnson Jr.
For The Dolphins: Digging their last place hole in the AFC East, this win would be a huge momentum boost for Dolphins fans. One problem the team has is that Ryan Tannehill sits as only one of five starting quarterbacks in the NFL who has thrown for more interceptions than touchdowns this season.
Prediction: The Dolphins have struggled in just about every category this season, giving me no reason to bet on them. I’ll take the Steelers by a few scores on Sunday afternoon.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at New England Patriots (4-1)
For The Bengals: The Bengals do have an average offense, but that’s not going to be good enough to take down a lot of postseason threats down the road. With Marvin Lewis already on the hot seat, a lot will need to happen if the Bengals hope to take down a red-hot Patriots squad.
For The Patriots: Brady claimed that he felt like he was 29-years old all over again, and it looked just like it. With the Patriots showing just how threatening their offense can really be last Sunday, the question is how defenses will plan for Belichick and company.
Prediction: Especially at home, I’ll bet on Brady and the Patriots to take this one by a 10-point margin.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (4-1)
For The Chiefs: For the first five weeks, the team has had to deal with rushing attack that only averaged 90.2 yards per game. With Charles expected to play a much larger role on Sunday, could he be the factor in Kansas City’s victories down the road?
For The Raiders: Many would expect the new and improved defense for the Raiders to carry them into the playoffs, yet it’s their offense doing a majority of the work. With Michael Crabtree putting up Pro Bowl-type numbers, the Raiders could very well be a threat in the AFC.
Prediction: I’m not a huge buyer into the fact that Charles will play much more than he did last week. I look for him to carry the ball 9-13 times, totaling around 65 yards. Even then, I’m taking the Raiders at home.
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
For The Falcons: I was hesitant on the Falcons chances before the season started, but now I’m going to turn it around and predict them as the winners of the NFC South. With a victory against Denver, Matt Ryan has proven himself on a week-to-week basis.
For The Seahawks: The Seattle offense has proven to be a bust without Marshawn Lynch to rely on, yet the Seahawks have had an elite defense to carry them for years now. With 2016 being no different, I’m sure that Seattle will test Matt Ryan any way they can.
Prediction: I thought the Falcons would win on the road against Denver, and I think they’re capable of doing the same thing against Seattle. It’s going to be a close game, but I think the Falcons will edge out the Seahawks.
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Green Bay Packers (3-1)
For The Cowboys: While the Cowboys have lost to the Packers five times in a row (including the controversial 2014 playoff game), this is an entire new offense. I’m not a fan of the Cowboys defense by any means, but they have been essentially unbeatable when it comes to stopping their offense.
For The Packers: The Packers are a completely different story than the Cowboys. While the Cowboys rely on their run game, the Packers rely on stopping the run game. Ranking #1 in stopping the run, this is going to be their toughest game yet against the best offensive line in the league.
Prediction: it’s only logical that the Packers should win this game, yet Aaron Rodgers has been one of the most underwhelming quarterbacks of 2016. I’ll take the Cowboys, even though all the odds point in the direction of Green Bay edging them out at Lambeau.
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at Houston Texans (3-2)
For The Colts: Andrew Luck reminds me of Drew Brees in the sense that he can continue to pile points on the board for his team, yet the defense will give the game away regardless. Ranking seventh in points per game this season, Luck’s stats may go unnoticed by many, simply because of how bad this defense truly has been.
For The Texans: The Texans have three wins this season, and they all happen to be at home. While Brock has looked to be one of the biggest free agency busts from this past offseason, the team needs to find its offensive rhythm.
Prediction: The Texans have continued to struggle on offense, but this is a game in which they should be able to pile on the points in easy fashion. I’ll take the Texans, but only because the Colts allow way too many points.
New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
For The Jets: Fitzpatrick currently has a 95% likelihood of leaving the New York Jets after this season according to Bill Barnwell, and that couldn’t be any more true. Leading the league in interceptions, Fitzpatrick has turned into Fitz-tragic.
For The Cardinals: The Cardinals are another team that has been underwhelming this season, as their only bright spot has been David Johnson. The defense has been able to hold its own, but this is a franchise that relies on the health of Carson Palmer.
Prediction: While I do think both teams are capable of winning this game, it’s safer to bet on the Cardinals on Monday night.