To be honest, this week’s NFL schedule isn’t the greatest we’ve seen, especially compared to the past couple of weeks. However, there are a few true heavy weight matchups that we’ll get to see, so let’s take a look at what’s on tap in the NFL for week 6.
Cincinnati at Buffalo – The Thad Lewis era gets underway in Buffalo this week, and the anticipation is non-existent. The Bills got a tough break with the injury to E.J. Manuel, and now they’re going to have to rely on their running back duo of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to carry the team, as their wide receivers aren’t healthy either. The Bengals haven’t exactly been lighting it up offensively either, with just 19 points over their last two games. At home, the Bills should have a chance to win if they can run the ball and Lewis can avoid turnovers. It will be low scoring, and the first team to 20 points should win.
Detroit at Cleveland – The Browns are going back to Brandon Weeden after the injury to Brian Hoyer. Even with Weeden there should be plenty of opportunities for the Browns to score against Detroit’s defense, but at the same time Cleveland’s defense, which has played well this season, will be challenged by the Lions, especially if Calvin Johnson returns to the lineup. If the Browns can keep the score in the 20’s or lower, they’ll have a good chance to win, but if the Lions get going offensively, there’s little chance of Weeden and company keeping up.
Oakland at Kansas City – The Raiders surprised a lot of people last week with their win against the Chargers (not that anyone was watching), but Terrelle Pryor will have a much harder time this week, as Oakland travels to Arrowhead to take on division rival Kansas City. The Chiefs have a chance to move to an astounding 6-0 on the season, as they begin a three-game home stand. Kansas City’s pass rush should be too much for Oakland’s offensive line to handle, but the Raiders have played well defensively against the rush this season, and if they can keep that up and force Alex Smith to beat them, they might have a puncher’s chance.
Carolina at Minnesota – This is a must-win game for both teams, as both are 1-3 and need to get things turning around in a hurry. Minnesota has been terrible defending the pass this season, but Carolina may not have the kind of quarterback or receivers that can take advantage. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings have three different quarterbacks they could put in the game against a Carolina defense that has played well this season. This game probably won’t be pretty, and in the end could come down to who the more productive runner is between Cam Newton and Adrian Peterson.
Pittsburgh at New York Jets – The Steelers are still looking for their first win and need to take advantage of the fact that they’ve had an extra week to prepare for this game while the Jets are coming off a short week. Geno Smith was awfully impressive during the final drive Monday night in Atlanta, but he needs to show that he can play like that and avoid turnovers on a week-to-week basis. Forcing turnovers may be Pittsburgh’s best hope of winning this game because judging by the way their offense has played the first four games, it’ll be a struggle moving the ball against Rex Ryan’s defense.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay – This game should be interesting. Although they’re winless, the Buccaneers are only allowing 17.5 points per game and they’ve had two weeks to get ready for Chip Kelly’s offense, which should create a fascinating matchup of strength vs. strength. Of course, the other side of the ball will be weakness vs. weakness. The Eagles can’t stop anybody, but this week they’ll get to go up against rookie Mike Glennon. In a shootout, the Eagles will win easily, but if points are at a premium, Tampa’s defense could be the difference.
Green Bay at Baltimore – The Packers put together a complete game last week, but now it’s time to prove they can do so two weeks in a row, and do so on the road against the defending champs. Just like Green Bay, the Ravens have had their ups and downs this season, but are coming off a big road win over Miami last week. Green Bay was able to slow down Reggie Bush on the ground last week, and if they can do the same to Ray Rice this week, all the pressure falls on Joe Flacco to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packer’s offense, unless the Baltimore defense steps up and stops Rodgers, which is easier said than done.
St Louis at Houston – The Texans are reeling after three straight losses, although a home game against the Rams is a good way to get back on the right track. Gary Kubiak has chosen to stick with Matt Schaub at quarterback, but if he continues to struggle the home fans are going to grow impatient and want a change made. On the other sideline, the Rams got an easy win over the Jaguars last week, but things won’t be so easy this week, especially with Sam Bradford going up against the top pass defense in the NFL. There’s every chance that both quarterbacks will struggle and this turns into an ugly game that’s tough to watch.
Jacksonville at Denver – This game could get real ugly. There’s nothing about Jacksonville that makes anybody think they can slow down Peyton Manning and the Denver offense. The Jaguar offense will also have trouble getting things going, even against a depleted Denver defense.
Tennessee at Seattle – After such a promising start, the Titans are in danger of falling to 3-3 if they’re unable to overcome the tremendous home-field advantage the Seahawks have at Century Link Field. Ryan Fitzpatrick could have a lot of trouble going against Seattle’s defense and the crowd, and to have a chance Tennessee is going to need a big game from Chris Johnson. The Titans also need to hope their defense comes to play on the road, as a low scoring game is their only chance to pull off a surprise win in Seattle.
New Orleans at New England – The Saints are the lone unbeaten in the NFC, but that unblemished record is very much on the line this weekend in New England. The key in this game is New England’s defense, as they need to be able to slow down Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense. Aqib Talib may be able to slow down one receiver, but the Saints have multiple skill players that can do damage, which will make it tough for the Patriots to completely shut down the Saints on offense. Even with Rob Gronkowski coming back, Tom Brady doesn’t have the weapons to keep up with Brees in a shootout, and so New England’s defense needs to make sure the score line doesn’t get out of hand.
Arizona at San Francisco – The 49ers have played well the past two weeks because they’ve been able to run the ball, but they now come face to face with the third best rush defense in the NFL. If the Cardinals can slow down Frank Gore and make Colin Kaepernick beat them with his arm, they’re going to have a chance to win. It’s a similar story on the other side of the ball, as the Cardinals need to get their passing game going, but they’ll be up against the second best pass defense in the league. Look for this game to be a low scoring slugfest, but if the Cardinals can come away with the win, they’ll be 4-2 and definite contenders in the NFC West.
Washington at Dallas – The Cowboys have played like the best team in the NFC East, but that’s not what the standings say. Dallas is just a half game ahead of Washington, and the Redskin’s slow start can be forgiven if they can find a way to win in Dallas, who could have a hangover after last week’s disappointing loss to Denver. Washington is coming off a bye, so it’ll be interesting to see if Robert Griffin III looks any better after an extra week of rest. However, the key for Washington will be their defense, especially after the offensive fireworks the Cowboys showed last week. Washington plays the Bears and Broncos the next two weeks, and they need to win this game or else their season could be all but over.
Indianapolis at San Diego – No team has been more up and down than the Chargers, and they really need to be up this week if they’re going to beat the Colts on Monday night. Defensively, San Diego has not been up to par, and it’ll be tough for them to slow down Andrew Luck and the Indy offense. That will put all the pressure on Phillip Rivers, who may need to beat Luck in a shootout, but that’ll only be possible if he can avoid turnovers, which isn’t always something you can count on happening.