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NFL Picks. Week 6, 2014
Movin' on uppppppppppppppppppp.
Bounced on up to 42-33. Huzzah!
Indianapolis @ Houston- Indianapolis.
While Houston has been a very interesting team to watch so far this year, and after letting the Cowboys steal the win, I don't think they'll be able to slow down the Colts.
The Colts are good.
The only team that can stop the Colts from winning most games is themselves.
Both of Andrew Luck's turnovers against the Ravens were drops in a poorly officiated game.
Who needs a run game?
Who needs star receivers?
As long as the Colts offensive line contains J.J. Watt, they won't have a problem keeping the passing game afloat and give the Colts a firm stranglehold on the AFC South.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland- Cleveland.
If you combined both of these teams, then you'd have a really talented NFL squad.
However, separate, they're nowhere near as impressive.
The Steelers are desperately clinging to Bell as he rumbles through the opposing front sevens, and the Browns are relying on defense and Brian Hoyer's heart to stay in it.
As funny as it sounds, I'm actually going to take a shot and bet on Brian Hoyer.
As long as the Browns defense can contain Bell and limit big plays through the air, I think they'll make it through and take a big step in the wide open AFC North.
New England @ Buffalo- New England.
The Patriots finally redeemed themselves last week by destroying the Bengals, while the Bills managed to eek past the Lions thanks to the absence of Calvin Johnson and shoddy kicker play.
This one is easy. I don't care where the game is.
Kyle Orton vs Tom Brady pretty much sums it up.
Carolina @ Cincinnati- Cincinnati.
I don't know what happened to the Panthers.
Maybe it's Greg Hardy, maybe it's the lack of development by Cam Newton, maybe it's crappy coaching.
But they went from NFC South champs to ESPN chumps.
I don't think the Bengals were ready for primetime, and at points they seemed completely lost against the Patriots. Hue Jackson got a little too cute with the play-calling and ultimately ruined any momentum that they may have had to start the game.
The Bengals need to bounce back with the Ravens so close on their heels.
The Panthers are just not consistent enough to compete with the elite teams.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee- Jacksonville.
OH GOD WHO CARES?
I mean. Do I have to pick this game?
Blake Bortles consistently throws to the wrong team (6 picks through 3 games), and the Titans just allowed the biggest comeback by an away team in NFL history. I have this crippling fear that Conner is going to pick the opposite team and they'll win and I'll drop a spot by dumb luck.
Uhh... I'll go with Blake Bortles and the Jags. I mean, if you're ever gonna win a game...
Who really loses here? People who are stuck with this game on TV.
Green Bay @ Miami- Green Bay.
Don't read too much into the dominant win over the Raiders, the Dolphins are still a hot mess.
Tannehill is still having a rough year, and there are still tons of questions on the defense.
The Packers have r-e-l-a-x-e-d and are finally picking up steam. Miami or not, Rodgers will be looking at his pal, Jordy Nelson to have another massive game.
Detroit @ Minnesota- Detroit.
Detroit needs help.
They've gone from NFC North contender to...
What do you call a team that loses to the Bills?
Well that help comes in the shape of the Minnesota Vikings.
See, Teddy Bridgewater or no, this team is absolute garbage without Adrian Peterson to pull the team. Their defense lacks playmakers and a legitimate pass-rush, the offensive line is far from what it once was, and the talented receivers just can't seem to stay healthy or get separation.
The Lions need production from their new kicker, and for Calvin Johnson to get healthy soon.
Because if they don't, they'll suffer more embarrassing losses like they did last week.
Denver @ New York (Jets)- Denver.
Peyton Manning and his incredible receiving corps versus that dreadful New York secondary?
Oh, and the Jets are sticking with Geno Smith?
Man, how many TDs does Peyton need to break the record? 5?
It wouldn't shock me if he got them all in this game.
Baltimore @ Tampa Bay- Baltimore.
Baltimore needed this game.
After losing a tough game to the Colts where they just couldn't seem to protect Joe Flacco, this trip to Florida will be a walk on the beach for the Ravens.
Expect heavy doses of Justin Forsett, as well as a few deep balls to Smith and Smith as the Ravens stomp the Yuks out.
San Diego @ Oakland- San Diego.
When it comes to changing coaches halfway through the season, one of two things can happen.
The team can get new life and rally around the new coach, or the players will give up and you'll see some dreadful football.
Now, I think the Raiders will be inspired by the antics and experience of Tony Sparano, I don't think they have the talent to keep up with the Raiders.
There isn't a ton of depth in the Raiders secondary and the health of Sio Moore and Nick Roach is still in question.
Hopefully Derek Carr will be healthy, but even then, a non-existent run game and lack of any talented receivers will prevent him from being able to put the game on his back.
The Raiders might make it look competitive, but the Chargers will be in charge from the start.
Chicago @ Atlanta- Atlanta.
Two teams that just can't seem to get it together.
They dominate one week, get blown out the next.
You beat the 49ers at their new stadium, you lose to the lowly Panthers.
You run up the score against the Bucs, you get ran out of town by the Vikings.
I can't figure it out.
I'm picking the Falcons because while their defense has been suspect, their offense has been every bit as prolific as advertised, and the game is taking place in the Georgia dome.
What is it about these NFC South teams where they just can't seem to win on the road?
Dallas @ Seattle- Seattle.
This should actually be a really fun game to watch.
Two teams who are very good at doing what they do colliding in what should have been a primetime game.
(Thanks for Rams/49ers NFL...)
The Cowboys have recommitted to the run game, and have been force-feeding defenses a healthy dose of DeMarco Murray. While I worry that this will lead to injuries, and through that, Romo turnovers down the road, the season is still young enough that it's been working just fine.
Meanwhile, I saw something fascinating from the Seahawks last week.
My biggest beef with Russell Wilson has been that he is a game manager. He's somebody who avoids turnovers and tries to score enough points to keep the defense happy.
On Monday night, I saw something different.
While the referees kept taking the big plays away (3 TDs wiped off the board), Russell Wilson was the one extending drives and keeping the Seahawks in the game.
On multiple occasions, he looked like he was teleporting as he evaded pressure, and somehow, SOMEHOW, kept his eyes down the field.
This should be a very good game, as I believe the Cowboys will try to keep Dez Bryant on the left side of the field and attack the Seahawk's depth at corner, but ultimately, the age old rule applies.
You never pick against the Seahawks at home.
Washington @ Arizona- Washington.
Good god, are these teams meant for each other or what?
You've got two teams with Quarterback problems, wildly inconsistent defenses, and a decent run game.
I've gotta go with the Redskins simply because they played well against the Seahawks last week and I think the wheels are about to come off the Cardinals.
With Palmer's health still in doubt and Stanton's return questionable with a concussion, the bulk of the snaps will likely go to rookie, Logan Thomas.
Thomas, if your memory serves was the kid that most experts said would be "better off switching to tight end"
Yeah. That's a glowing endorsement.
The Skins ground and pound, and the Cardinals begin their rapid decline to the bottom of the division.
New York (Giants) @ Philadelphia- New York.
This is the last call for the Eagles.
After a hot start, they have been playing wildly inconsistent football over the last two weeks. They can't seem to get LeSean McCoy the ball, Foles has already almost doubled his interception count from last season, and nobody seems interested in playing the full 60 minutes.
Two weeks ago, the 49ers handed them the game with 21 points off of turnovers and special teams, and the offense couldn't provide a single field goad.
Last week, they started off hot, but then allowed the Rams to come within a couple of dropped passes of blowing a 21 point lead.
Not the Broncos.
Not the Colts.
And now they play against a Giant team that's built up some steam over the last couple of weeks.
Eli is playing well, the receivers are holding onto the ball, and the defense is stepping up when it needs to.
If the Eagles want to stay in the NFC East title picture, Chip Kelly needs to get this team focused and get back to basics.
That means more carries for McCoy, and less control for Foles.
San Francisco @ St. Louis- San Francisco.
Despite the impressive heart shown by the Rams offense against the Eagles last week, you don't have to rally from 21 down if you don't let the other team get up by 21.
I'm still about as far from the 49er bandwagon as you can get, but they've got the tools to overcome a very sorry St. Louis team.
Look for the 49ers defense to win the turnover battle and give the San Fran a double-digit lead.
Tick Tock Fleegle.
Another rough week for me last week. Now I still find myself losing to Ryan. However, I see quite a few games this week in which he and I could/should have different picks. Well, time for the comeback to start now I guess, right?
Indianapolis @ Houston: The Colts did what they had to do against my beloved Ravens last week, they held the ball, killed the clock, and wore that defense out until they could put enough TD's on the board to win. Houston was SO CLOSE to winning in Dallas! Alas, they didn't do so. As for this game, Houston is playing good football, and I think they could very easily pull off the upset, thanks to that strong defense they have. They should give Andrew Luck a little bit of trouble. But in the end, I still think the Colts will find a way to win, based on the fact that they are still the better overall team.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee: LOL, who cares? No, but seriously, do Jags and Titans fans even care about this game? And do I have to make a pick? Well, if I do, I won't waste much time on it. However, I will do this.....Jags get win #1 of the season this week. Yep. You heard it here first!
Baltimore @ Tampa Bay: This game has danger written all over it for the Ravens. And I mean it. The offense looked awful last week. Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh on the road, then followed that up last week with a game they SHOULD have won against the Saints. Factor in that Baltimore has to travel down to Florida, and this game has trouble all over it. I have faith that the offense will find a way to come through and not have a second straight clunker game in a row. Gotta stop dropping balls and protect our QB!!!!! It honestly wouldn't shock me to see the Bucs win this game, but in the end, I think the Ravens find a way to do what they have to do and pull out a much needed W.
Denver @ NY Jets: Welcome to the media circus that is the New York Jets! Geno Smith was terrible last week, and missed a meeting because he lost track of time? DON'T YOU HAVE TEAMMATES YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN WITH TO GET THERE ON TIME?!?!? Then, insert Michael Vick into the equation, who looked equally as bad as Smith, but because he got into a game, the fans and media are already clammering for a QB switch. And their reward for that? Go up against Peyton Manning this week, fresh off their beatdown of an undefeated Arizona team! (which, by the way, I would have surely figured Peyton had at least one 500 yard game in his career. No? I was shocked to hear that his 479 yards last week was a career high). Have fun Jets fans and New York media! In case you haven't already guessed, the Broncos will roll in this one.
Detroit @ Minnesota: Detroit, at home, got beat by Kyle Orton and the Bills last week. That's right. The BILLS. That can't happen. Ever. And Minnesota, well.....welcome to the Aaron Rodgers show. This game actually has a lot of intrigue, mainly because it's a game that the Lions SHOULD win, yet its one that they very, VERY easily could lose. Does that make any sense? And you know what? Calvin Johnson, and Reggie Bush, both questionable with ankle injuries, and it sounds like even if they play they won't be completely effective. So guess what? Minnesota looked great at home 2 weeks ago against Atlanta, and they're gonna do it again against the Lions this Sunday. Vikings get the W at home.
New England @ Buffalo: Shoutout to the Patriots for making both Ryan, the national media, and myself look like IDIOTS last week for picking against them. Of course, Cincinnati also deserves some credit for continuing their national TV choke act. As for the Bills, major kudos to them for going to Detroit and pulling off the W against the Lions with Kyle Orton! As for this week? The Bills get a reality check. Now that the Pats had their breakout performance, I have a feeling that Brady and Company are gonna start to roll, and that starts this week. Patriots win.
Carolina @ Cincinnati: HUGE win for the Panthers last week, in more ways that one. One, they needed it, after their recent lackluster performances. Two, they were down BIG to the Bears, who looked like they were about to run away and hide with the game. Then, Carolina realized their season might have been on the line, and they woke up and got the huge W. As for Cincy, well as I said, they got destroyed and made fun of on primetime TV. As for this matchup, it's a hard pick. A loss for Cincy would be great. But, something tells me that the Bengals will rebound and score a close, hard fought win over the Panthers. So, give me Cincy.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland: This game has a LOT of intrigue. The Steelers haven't exactly been setting the world on fire since their SNF thrashing of Carolina, losing at home to Tampa and then barely eeking out a win against the Jags last week. Meanwhile, Cleveland sits at 2-2, but the Browns could very easily be 4-0 right now. And I'm dead serious when I say that. They almost pulled off a week 1 comeback against these same Steelers, and then lost to the Ravens only because Baltimore somehow put together a miracle drive in the dying seconds. Also, in 4 games, the Browns haven't played a single game yet decided by more than a field goal. That's crazy to me. If nothing else, they're certainly gaining experience in close game situations. And not to mention, there's also the revenge factor for what happened in week 1, when they fell WAY behind early then almost got the W. That, combined with a still struggling Pittsburgh offense, and, yes I'm about to do this.....the Browns get the W this week.
Green Bay @ Miami: After a slow start to the year, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack Attack have finally started to look like their old selves these last couple of weeks. As for Miami, I don't really know....they've had 2 blowout wins, and then they've had 2 blowout losses. A very shaky team that seems to have internal problems brewing up as well (see coach/QB dialogue over Ryan Tannehill, oye vey). I know that the humidity and heat could be a factor, especially because of Green Bay going from....actually, who the hell am I kidding?!? Packers win this game and it shouldn't be close.
San Diego @ Oakland: I really wanna pick Oakland, Ryan. I really, really do man.....but there's no way I can. What a week for the Raiders, on a bye week, fire their coach, then the questions start about a replacement, etc. Hopefully they spent the bye week trying to figure out how to develop a running game. Meanwhile, in my eyes, the Chargers are the hottest team in football right now. Philip Rivers, dare I say it, is playing the best football of his career, and his team has responded with 4 straight wins, including a victory over Seattle and a 31-0 thrashing of the Jets last week. And, there's nothing that leads me to believe that they won't continue rolling this week. Chargers get the win over the Raiders. Don't worry Ryan, it'll happen soon, I promise!
Chicago @ Atlanta: Is there a more disappointing team in football right now than the Chicago Bears? Seriously. I challenge you to name a team more disappointing. They have all kinds of playmakers, on both sides of the ball, and yet they sit at 2-3 (and would be 1-4, if not for Colin Kaeperchoke) and 0-2 at home. Not to mention, the offense has completely disappeared as the game has gone along for the last 2 weeks in a row. They had a 17-14 lead against the Pack before losing 38-17, then they followed that up by building a 21-7 lead with 11 minutes left in the second quarter last week, before only putting up 3 points in the next 41 minutes and losing 31-24. Completely disappointing. Meanwhile, with Atlanta, it basically depends on where they play. 2-0 at home, 0-3 on the road. It's something about that turf that makes the Falcons that much better. Maybe its a psychological thing? Who knows. I won't go as far as to say this is a must win game for Da Bears, because it's still early, and it's much harder to label a road game against a really good team as a "must win" than it is a home game against a bad team, but, if this isn't put up or shut up time for Chicago, when is? As for Atlanta, it's not "must win" even though a loss would drop them to 2-4, because Carolina leads the NFC South at 3-2 (and that won't last long). This is probably my toughest game to call this week. Can i just predict a tie? No? Ugh. I know I'll probably regret this, but, I really feel that Chicago will find a way to win this game, because they need it more than Atlanta does.
Dallas @ Seattle: Definitely looking forward to this one! A 4 game win streak has put Dallas squarely in place for a 3 way battle in the NFC East with the Eagles and Giants. Meanwhile, Seattle should have blown out Washington Monday night, if not for some shoddy refereeing in that game (poor Percy Harvin had not one, not two, but THREE TD's taken away. Has that ever even happened before?!?). If this game were in Dallas, I would probably give the Cowboys the edge. They have DeMarco Murray looking like the best running back in football right now, and that's really helping to take the pressure off of Tony Romo in the pocket. And Seattle always has that aggressive defense and an offense which, as we saw Monday, is difficult to defend against when on the same page. Not to mention, THE 12TH MAN!!!! They'll be rocking for this game. I expect a close game, but, you can't pick against the Seahawks at home. You just can't do it.
Washington @ Arizona: This game won't be pretty. Not because it'll be a blowout, but because it just won't be a pleasing game to watch. Kirk Cousins and the Skins have fallen hard back to earth since his initial jolt of energy once taking over for an injured RGIII. As For Arizona, they were 3-0, but they weren't really a dominant 3-0, and that good luck ran out last week when they got shredded by Peyton Manning to the tune of a career high 479 yards. Therefore, this game should be an ugly, not visually pleasing one. However, I think Washington will come out looking like the uglier team. Cardinals win, only because they're at home.
NY Giants @ Philadelphia: 3 weeks ago, this looked like a terrible SNF matchup, as the Giants and Eli Manning were off to a terrible start, while the Eagles were rolling along to a 2-0 start. But now, it's 3 wins in a row for the G-Men, and the Eagles sit tied for first with the Cowboys at 4-1. By the time this game kicks off, this game could/should be the battle for first place in the NFC East. Who the hell would have thought that after week 2??? During their 3 game win streak, New York has looked awesome, as has Eli. 2 wins against good, quality teams, and not just a win, but a blowout win against a not so good Washington team in the third game. The key? Eli. In his first 2 games, both of which were losses? 3 TD's and 4 INT's. In his last 3 games, all of which were wins? 8 TD's, and 1 INT, which came on a crazy dropped/deflected pass against Washington after the rout was already on. If the Giants are going to win, he has to do more of the same, because of that Eagles quick strike offense with all of their playmakers. That being said, 2 weeks ago in San Fran that offense was non-existent, and last week the Eagles damn near gave that game away at home against the Rams after building a 34-7 lead. What hurts the Eagles the most is they don't have a run game right now that they can rely on to kill clock and put games away. LeSean McCoy has not run like his usual self all year. And, I really believe the Eagles thrive better in games that are not out of hand, because in those cases they can continue to use the up tempo offense that Chip Kelly preaches. When Philly gets a lead and tries to slow their tempo, they struggle, because they don't have a pounding run game right now that can salt those games away (see last week). Luckily for Philly, this SNF matchup will be a close one, because I think we have all the makings for a primetime shootout. I can honestly, like many games this week, see this one going either way, but in the end I think I'll take the home team, and roll with the Eagles.
San Francisco @ St. Louis: Come on, really ESPN? You pay the NFL 2 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR for the TV rights to show 16 games, and you can't get better matchups than these?!? Ugh. Anyhow, focus Conner, focus.....the 49ers struggled, but found a way to spoil my upset pick last week by beating the Chiefs, while the Rams fell way behind early to Philly, but rallied only to fall by 6. San Fran hasn't had a complete effort from start to finish since.....well, all season long really. Even in the Dallas game, they got the bulk of their points early off of Dallas miscues, but couldn't really do much after that. I think this is the night we finally see a complete 60 minute effort from them. San Fran wins an uninspiring game.
I see easily 4-5 games where Ryan and I could disagree this week. Could Week 6 be a make or break one?!?
Ryan vs. Fleegle.
Fleegle was right! We disagree on four games!
I picked the Lions, he's rolling with the Vikings.
I picked the Falcons, he picked Da Bears.
I picked the Redskins, he picked the Cardinals.
Annnnnnnd last but not least,
I picked the Giants and he picked the Eagles.
This is gonna get interesting (Gus Johnson Voice)