I had a rough Week 6 as I finished just barely over the .500 mark. Oakland’s upset over Philadelphia and Buffalo’s upset over the New York Jets were the biggest surprises. The Texans’ and the Broncos’ road victories over the Bengals and Chargers, respectively, were the other games that tripped me up. The bad Chiefs beat an equally bad Redskins team. But the one that left me scratching my head was the Seahawks’ 27-3 loss to the Cardinals at home, a week after scoring 41 in a shutout over the Jaguars.
Here’s a look at this week’s matchups and how I think they’ll play out.
Last Week: 8-6
This Week: 8-5
Green Bay Packers (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (1-5)
The Packers looked really good last week against a bad Lions team, but I think the bye week came at a good time for them and they’re playing good football right now. I don’t expect the Browns to beat them unless they can get after Rodgers, which many teams have but the Browns haven’t been very good at it.
Prediction: Green Bay 24, Cleveland 14
Actual Score: Green Bay 31, Cleveland 3
San Francisco 49ers (3-2) at Houston Texans (3-3)
The Texans’ consistently inconsistent play is maddening. It’s hard to make the playoffs when you’re .500 every year, boys. However, I like their high-powered offense against a 49ers team that got trampled two weeks ago.
Prediction: Houston 21, San Francisco 17
Actual Score: Houston 24, San Francisco 21
San Diego Chargers (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)
Despite their record, I don’t think the Chargers are anywhere near as bad as the Chiefs. Sure, because it’s a divisional game, the Chiefs may hang around for awhile, but I think the Chargers will run away with it at the end.
Prediction: San Diego 27, Kansas City 17
Actual Score: San Diego 37, Kansas City 7
Indianapolis Colts (5-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-6)
This is about as sure a game to predict as any this week or any game up to this point in the season. The Colts are playing as well as ever and Peyton Manning is looking phenomenal, even without the several coaches and players he lost in the off-season. The Rams simply do not have enough firepower to compete.
Prediction: Indianapolis 27, St. Louis 10
Actual Score: Indianapolis 42, St. Louis 6
New England Patriots (4-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
This might as well be a continuation of the previous game. The Buccaneers have a long way to go in their rebuilding process and simply cannot compete with a Patriots team fresh off a 59-0 rout.
Prediction: New England 31, Tampa Bay 13
Actual Score: New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
Minnesota Vikings (6-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
Probably the best game of the week, the Steelers just do not lose at home. The Vikings probably should be 4-2 right now as well, but whether they’re lucky or good, they’re undefeated. The Steelers have one of the league’s best defenses and are No. 2 against the run. That means Brett Favre will have to throw. And because the Steelers send a lot of pressure, I think Favre could force some throws that are intercepted, or he could get roughed up a bit. Because the Vikings have a good defense, too, I think this game is a lower-scoring one that the Steelers take at the end.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, Minnesota 17
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 27, Minnesota 17
Buffalo Bills (2-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-3)
The Bills may have won last week, but their arrow is still pointing downward. The Panthers, over the course of a few seasons, may have a downward arrow, but they’re improving from earlier this season. At home, I like them to control the game from the outset.
Prediction: Carolina 24, Buffalo 13
Actual Score: Buffalo 20, Carolina 9
New York Jets (3-3) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)
The Jets have now dropped three straight games, including the one last week at home against the Bills. Meanwhile, the Raiders just upset the Eagles last week and are starting to play better defense. I’m not going to buck the trend.
Prediction: Oakland 17, New York Jets 14
Actual Score: New York Jets 38, Oakland 0
Chicago Bears (3-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
I know Cedric Benson is licking his chops about this game, especially since he badmouthed the Bears’ organization all week long. And despite being politically correct and taking the high road all week, the Bears’ players are anxiously awaiting to get their licks in on Benson. The offense has run through Benson all season, but the best player is Carson Palmer. I have no doubts the Bears will keep Benson in check, but can they stop Palmer and the passing game? It should be close, but I like the Bears’ chances of rebounding from last week.
Prediction: Chicago 24, Cincinnati 20
Actual Score: Cincinnati 45, Chicago 10
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-2)
This is a tough call if only because the Cowboys are playing at home, and coming off their bye week. The Falcons are playing well, and the Cowboys’ defense, ranked No. 22, is not. If Michael Turner and the Falcons’ run game can impose their will, I think they’ll walk away the winner.
Prediction: Atlanta 22, Dallas 19
Actual Score: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21
New Orleans Saints (5-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)
This is one of those games that I dread. I hate the wildcat offense. I hate gimmick plays and formations, they’re so college and high school. And I would love for the Saints to come out and annihilate the Dolphins as if to say: “Do you want to see a real offense? Look at us.” Of course, if the Dolphins do pull off the upset, all we’re going to hear all week is how the “mighty wildcat” knocked off the top dog.
Prediction: New Orleans 30, Miami 20
Actual Score: New Orleans 46, Miami 34
Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at New York Giants (5-1)
What was thought to be a good game when the schedule was released based on the Cardinals’ run to the Super Bowl last week has turned out to be just an okay game. I could be wrong — and I have been many times — but I think the Giants will rebound from last week and take the Cardinals at home.
Prediction: New York Giants 27, Arizona 21
Actual Score: Arizona 24, New York Giants 17
Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) at Washington Redskins (2-4)
I see this game playing out according to motivation. After being embarrassed by the Raiders last week, the Eagles will be extra prepared and focused not to let another bad team beat them, especially not a division opponent. Meanwhile, the Redskins have been in a downward spiral and losing to the winless Chiefs is about as bad as it can get.
Prediction: Philadelphia 24, Washington 16
Actual Score: Philadelphia 27, Washington 17