NFL: Week Six Predictions

Posted: October 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
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When the Philadelphia Eagles take the field this Sunday night for their much anticipated matchup against the New York Giants, they’ll be “blacked out” for the first time in their history.

That’s right; Philadelphia, who introduced a black jersey during the mid-2000s, will sport that ensemble with their first pair of demecoblack pants as they look to stay on top of the NFC East. The decision to do so was likely in part influenced by the all-mighty dollar. It’s also impacted largely by Nike’s inability to get the chemistry right on the team’s green jerseys. Some of you may have noticed the team’s insistence in wearing white this season. That’s because, for the first time, the team has switched to the new Nike design that was introduced prior to the 2012 season. These jerseys are made with a unique fiber that promotes drying, breathe-ability, and flexibility. The problem, however, is that Nike can’t figure out how to make the midnight green colored fabric that Philadelphia is famous for. Reports during the preseason suggested they might be ready for this week. With the team’s move to an all-black outfit, that’s clearly not going to be the case.

Regardless of what “digs” the Eagles wear, they’ll need to see more production out of LeSean McCoy if they’re going to overcome a red hot Giants team. New York has won three in a row, and can take over first place in the division with a win on Sunday. McCoy, meanwhile, finally re-emerged after a brutal two week stretch prior to last weekend’s nailbiting win over the St. Louis Rams. “Shady” has been a monster against the Giants during the course of his career. So, expecting him to bounce back from a tough start isn’t all that far-fetched, especially as Lane Johnson continues to get re-acclimated to the roster.

On defense, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are both questionable for Sunday’s affair. One of the two better play, as elithe only other interior linebackers the team has on the roster at this point are Clay Matthews and Emmanuel Acho; and no one wants to see them running all over the field for 60 minutes. The team also needs a better performance out of their secondary, as Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams both looked downright abysmal during St. Louis’ fourth quarter comeback last week.

For New York, the sudden surge in performance from their offense can easily be attributed to Eli Manning. The two-time
Super Bowl MVP has limited turnovers whilst becoming incredibly efficient in the red zone. If that continues, Philadelphia might have trouble keeping up. One shred of good news for the Eagles is that starting RB Rashad Jennings, who gashed Philly for over 100 yards last year while with Oakland, is not expected to play. New York will have to rely on rookie RB Andre Williams, who galloped for over 2000 yards at Boston College last year.

Meanwhile, the Eagles special teams figures to be a huge difference maker again. Philadelphia’s unit has scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. That type of production from the special teams hasn’t been seen in decades for the Eagles. New York also has to keep their eyes on Darren Sproles, who has a couple of huge punt returns already this season.

Line: Philadelphia -3
Pick: Philadelphia, 30-26

Now, to the picks…

Last week: 10-4
2014 Season: 31-27

Indianapolis Colts (3-2) AT Houston Texans (3-2) – Colts -2.5

Prediction: Indianapolis, 23-17. Neither of these teams wow me on offense. While Andrew Luck is clearly one of the best in the business, he still turns the ball over too much to be considered a championship caliber signal caller this early in his career. Luck vs. Watt makes Thursday night must-see-TV.

Denver Broncos (3-1) AT New York Jets (1-4) – Broncos -9.5

Prediction: Denver, 41-20. The Jets came into this season knowing their offense would have its issues. I’m sure they didn’t expect it to be this bad. To add insult to injury, the Jets’ defense, once considered elite, is among the worst in the league against the pass. That doesn’t bode well against the loaded Broncos and Peyton Manning.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) AT Cleveland Browns (2-2) – Browns -2

Prediction: Pittsburgh, 20-17. The Browns and Steelers play for the second time already this season. Cleveland shocked Tennessee with a magnificent comeback a week ago. This week, I expect Pittsburgh’s dominance over Cleveland to continue. Though, it should be a relatively competitive affair.

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) AT Tennessee Titans (1-4) – Titans -5

Prediction: Jacksonville, 21-20. In the stinker of the week, AFC South rivals meet for a chance at third place basically by default. Jacksonville is the pick here mostly because I like Blake Bortles a whole lot more than Charlie Whitehurst, who replaces the injured (surprise, surprise) Jake Locker. It’s becoming evident that Tennessee will have to draft a QB next year. Marcus Mariota, anyone?

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4) – Baltimore -3.5

Prediction: Tampa Bay, 23-17. Baltimore’s inconsistency this season is unrivaled. Every game they’ve played in has been at least marginally competitive. Yet, every time I watch them, I feel like they’re completely lost out there. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has really picked it up the last few weeks. They came back to upset Pittsburgh then nearly shocked the Saints in the Superdome. I’ll go with the surging Buccaneers to get their first home win of the season.

Detroit Lions (3-2) AT Minnesota Vikings (2-3) – Lions -2

Prediction: Minnesota, 26-24. This sets up as a perfect storm for the Vikings. They’re at home. The Lions might be without Calvin Johnson (and even if he plays, he won’t nearly be full strength); and Teddy Bridgewater figures to suit up. Minnesota in the upset.

New England Patriots (3-2) AT Buffalo Bills (3-2) – Patriots -3

Prediction: New England, 20-19. That’s right. The Bills will cover this spread despite Kyle Orton under center and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady on the other sideline. The Patriots’ offensive inconsistencies can be traced back to a decade of pathetic draft choices by Belichick on that side of the ball. Their inability to put up points will keep Buffalo in the game, even if I don’t think Orton has it in him to pull out a victory.

Carolina Panthers (3-2) AT Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) – Bengals -6.5

Prediction: Cincinnati, 24-17. This is exactly the type of game that Andy Dalton can win. A 1:00 PM home game in October. The Bengals proved they weren’t ready for primetime last week. Then again, neither are the Panthers, who can’t seem to get out of their own way on defense this season. Bengals will take this one and it won’t be as close as many Panthers fans think.

Green Bay Packers (3-2) AT Miami Dolphins (2-2) – Packers -3

Prediction: Miami, 27-21. The Packers are 1-2 on the road this year, with their only win coming against the Bears. Teams tend to have trouble going to South Florida during the first half f the season, as the heat and humidity causes lots of problems. The Packers will be no different, as they’ll fall to 3-3 with a road defeat in South Beach.

San Diego Chargers (4-1) AT Oakland Raiders (0-4) – Chargers -7.5

Prediction: San Diego, 31-17. Normally, I’d side with the home team in an interdivision game with this high of a spread. But, the Raiders are just that bad. Not only are they coming out of the bye week following a blowout against Miami in London. But, they’ve got Tony Sparano at coach now after Dennis Allen was fired following 36 games at the helm. The Chargers’ time is now. They’ll take care of business and put the pressure on Denver early in the season.

Chicago Bears (2-3) AT Atlanta Falcons (2-3) – Falcons -3

Prediction: Bears, 34-31. One of these teams, the Bears, is performing admirably on the road (2-1). The other, the Falcons, can’t lose at home (2-0). Something’s got to give, right? In this game that features two spectacular offenses, I expect Jay Cutler and the Bears to even their record at 3-3 thanks to an aerial assault that will pick on Atlanta’s mediocre secondary.

Dallas Cowboys (4-1) AT Seattle Seahawks (3-1) – Seahawks -9

Prediction: Seattle, 29-21. I don’t think this is a blowout. But, the amount of people that believe in Dallas is mind boggling. First of all, haven’t we heard this story before? Every year, the Cowboys get off to a good start; and every year they fall apart in December. Also, since when did beating Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jake Locker, Austin Davis, and the artist formerly known as Drew Brees make anyone a contender? Dallas may hold their own against Seattle. But, anyone thinking this is the year they finally put it together is kidding themselves.

Washington Redskins (1-4) AT Arizona Cardinals (3-1) – Cardinals -3.5

Prediction: Arizona, 26-20. It’s pretty insulting for Arizona to be favored by only 3.5 points against a team whose only victory came against Jacksonville. The Redskins have been smacked around by Philadelphia, New York, Seattle, and Houston. In other words, any half decent team this season has taken Washington to the woodshed. Why should it be any different this Sunday?

San Francisco 49ers (3-2) AT St. Louis Rams (1-3) – San Francisco -3.5

Prediction: San Francisco, 30-20. Normally, I’d like the home team to cover a spread like this. But, the Rams’ defense just has not put together enough of a pass rush to contain Colin Kaepernick, especially when he breaks contain outside the pocket. Their only hope will be outscoring San Francisco. Which can be done. But, they’d need Austin Davis to play as well as he did during Sunday’s fourth quarter throughout the entirety of the game. I just don’t see it happening.

austindavis

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