NFL week 6 Predictions

NFL week 6 Predictions


Miami Dolphins

Miami’s defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game all season, but this is the week that changes. The Falcons provide plenty of matchup issues and are coming off a bye. Miami’s last-ranked offense won’t be able to keep up. Falcons 23, Dolphins 13James Walker

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons know the Dolphins will be tough to score against, especially with them allowing just 16.8 points per game — fourth best in the league. At the same time, the Falcons had the bye week to rest and reflect on what didn’t work right through the first four games, particularly in a 23-17 loss against a stingy Buffalo Bills defense. As pointed out by ESPN Stats & Information, the Falcons are 7-1 in their past eight games coming off the bye. Maybe that trend for success will continue — if the Falcons cut out the turnovers and create some instead. Matt Ryan has six turnovers, and his focus is cleaning up those mistakes while having better success on third down and with the deep ball. Julio Jones, limited this week with a hip flexor injury, plans to play. And although Jones doesn’t have a touchdown yet this season, he’s still the Falcons’ top scoring threat at receiver. The Falcons will find a way to get Jones on the scoreboard, even if it’s a low-scoring game. And the defense will take advantage of Jay Cutler and the Dolphins’ anemic offense. Falcons 20, Dolphins 10Vaughn McClure


Chicago Bears

Chicago is dead last in the NFL in turnover margin (minus-9), and the Bears simply don’t have enough talent to win when the offense gives the ball away. Conversely, the Ravens rank eighth in turnover ratio (plus-3) through five weeks. Baltimore’s perfect record at home (9-0) under John Harbaugh versus rookie quarterbacks is impressive, but the Bears’ 2017 season can be summed up in one word: turnovers. The offense commits too many of them, and the defense doesn’t force enough of them. Ravens 19, Bears 14Jeff Dickerson

Baltimore Ravens

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens are 9-0 at home against rookie quarterbacks, recording 13 interceptions and 27 sacks. That spells bad news for Mitchell Trubisky’s first NFL road start. Ravens 28, Bears 9Jamison Hensley


Cleveland Browns

The Browns’ defense has played well and somewhat under the radar this season. If the Browns are going to win this game, it will be because that group — ranked fifth in the league in total and rushing defense — stops Deshaun Watson, who has led the Texans’ offense to 40 points per game the past three weeks. As impressive as that is, it won’t last forever. The Browns pull off a shocking upset. Browns 17, Texans 13Pat McManamon

Houston Texans

The Browns have allowed 11 passing touchdowns, tied for 29th in the NFL, so the Deshaun Watson show could continue Sunday as the rookie quarterback is second in the league with 12 passing touchdowns. The Texans have been inconsistent this season — especially on defense — but will get back to .500 heading into their Week 7 bye. Texans 27, Browns 13Sarah Barshop


Green Bay Packers

Even if the Packers are trailing late in the game, there’s no reason to worry. Aaron Rodgers probably will come through again. He has thrown nine of his 13 touchdown passes this season in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter. He leads the NFL in fourth-quarter TD passes and Total QBR (89). He also has thrown for 18 touchdowns and just one interception in his past seven starts in Minnesota. Packers 27, Vikings 20Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Aaron Rodgers vs. Mike Zimmer’s defense is the chess match of the week, with the quarterback holding a 4-2 record over the Vikings since Zimmer arrived in 2014. While the Vikings’ defense has had success at times containing Rodgers (Everson Griffen has nine sacks on No. 12 in nine games), the defense also has to account for Aaron Jones and the slew of options Green Bay has at running back. It’s looking more like the Vikings will be without QB Sam Bradford (knee) and WR Stefon Diggs (groin) against Green Bay, and though Case Keenum provided the bailout Minnesota needed in Chicago, the Packers are a different animal. Green Bay gets a victory, but it might need another fourth-quarter miracle to do so. Packers 30, Vikings 27Courtney Cronin


Detroit Lions

The Lions have won three consecutive games against New Orleans, including the past two seasons in the Superdome. And, typically, Matthew Stafford has been really strong against the Saints, completing 78 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions in wins in 2015 and 2016. However, Stafford still is at least a little bit banged up this week, and considering his offensive line has done a poor job blocking for him (12 sacks the past two weeks), the combination could leave Stafford with little time in the pocket to make the right read. Drew Brees remains sharp, and Stafford’s protection is again poor and his interception-less streak ends. That’s how the Saints win. Saints 31, Lions 24Michael Rothstein

New Orleans Saints

Let’s face it — there is no real statistical basis for predicting which Saints team will show up in Week 6. In the first two weeks, they went 0-2, allowed more than 1,000 yards and gave up an opponent’s Total QBR of 93.8. In Weeks 3 and 4, they went 2-0 and held opponents to a combined 13 points and a Total QBR of 6.4. They’re obviously trending in the right direction, and they’re coming off a bye and playing at home against banged-up QB Matthew Stafford. Home-field advantage has been practically nonexistent for the Saints (8-14 over their past 22 home games). But they have won five consecutive home games coming off bye weeks, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Saints 27, Lions 24Mike Triplett


New England Patriots

Playing a complete 60-minute complementary football game has been elusive for the Patriots, but coming off a 10-day break, this is their best chance to do it. Going back to last season, the Patriots have won 10 consecutive road games. Tom Brady enters with 23 regular-season wins over the Jets as a starter, and joins Brett Favre as the only quarterback with at least 23 wins against two different divisional opponents (Jets, Bills). Based on the difference in talent level between the teams, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t notch win No. 24. Patriots 30, Jets 20Mike Reiss

New York Jets

This is the Jets’ biggest home game since Dec. 27, 2015, when they beat the Patriots in overtime. In fact, they have split their past four at home against the Patriots, each game decided by six points or fewer. This will be another close game. The difference will be RB James White, who leads the Patriots with 29 catches. The Jets have struggled with pass-catching backs, as they’ve allowed 30 receptions (tied for 24th) and two touchdowns. They can stop some of what the Patriots do, but not everything. Their three-game winning streak comes to an end. Patriots 24, Jets 20Rich Cimini


San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have lost nine consecutive games in the Eastern time zone after last week’s loss in Indianapolis. This game is all about Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and the “will he or won’t he” scenario that he could leave Washington for the Niners and coach Kyle Shanahan in free agency. That answer won’t be known until next year, but one thing Cousins will do is hand San Francisco its sixth consecutive loss to open the season. Washington 31, San Francisco 17Nick Wagoner

Washington Redskins

The Redskins’ first four opponents have a combined record of 14-6 and this will be the first time this season they face a team with a losing record. It’s not just San Francisco’s 0-5 record, though. It’s the fact that after a 4,516-mile round trip last week, they have to travel 2,821 miles this weekend. That’s draining. But this is perhaps the best stat: San Francisco’s offense ranks 31st in third-down conversions at 29.7 percent. Washington’s defense struggles most in this area — three of its first four opponents rank in the top five in third-down conversion rate. It’s simple: In the two games they’ve lost, the Redskins have allowed a combined 16 of 27 third downs to be converted. This matters, even if Washington is dealing with multiple injury issues, including corner Josh Norman. Redskins 24, 49ers 17John Keim


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs’ pass rush finally got some momentum last week with three sacks against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots after having just one in the first three games. That bodes well this week against a Cardinals offensive line that has surrendered 19 sacks in five games — second most in the NFL. It’ll be hard for Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald to carve up the Bucs’ secondary if he doesn’t have time to drop back and Fitzgerald doesn’t have time to get down the field. Jameis Winston will once again be challenged by one of the tougher secondaries in the league, but the offensive line should be able to contend with Chandler Jones, who is responsible for half the Cardinals’ sacks. This should be a low-scoring affair with the potential for Winston & Co. to move the ball more effectively, given Arizona’s struggles against the Eagles last week on third down. Bucs 21, Cardinals 17Jenna Laine

Arizona Cardinals

The trade for Adrian Peterson has been a shot in the arm for the Cardinals after a 34-7 loss to the Eagles last weekend to fall to 2-3. But the question this week: Will the addition of Peterson be enough to help Arizona’s running game improve from the worst in the NFL? It’s ranked 32nd in rushing yards (259), rushing yards per carry (2.59) and rushing yards per game (51.8). Arizona will get back two injured offensive linemen — left tackle D.J. Humphries and left guard Alex Boone — this week but that, with the addition of Peterson, may not be enough. The Buccaneers are ranked eighth in rushing yards allowed per game (87.3) and seventh in rushing yards allowed per play (3.36). Arizona’s rushing attack will improve this week but not to the point where it can cause a domino effect for the rest of the offense. Bucs 27, Cardinals 21Josh Weinfuss


Los Angeles Rams

The Rams’ defense has allowed only 22 points over the past six quarters against the Cowboys and Seahawks. With Lamarcus Joyner back, they should make life difficult for Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. On the other side, running back Todd Gurley should have a nice day against a defense that is allowing the second-most rushing yards per game (146.4). Rams 24, Jaguars 20Alden Gonzalez

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have really struggled at EverBank Field, going 9-28 since the start of the 2012 season. They’ve also had no success against West Coast teams at home since 2011. They’ve lost four in a row to teams from the Pacific time zone and have lost those games by an average of 16.3 points. The Jaguars haven’t won back-to-back games since Oct. 2 and Oct. 16 (bye week in between) last season. This is a much better team than the past five-plus seasons. They lead the NFL in rushing (165.2 yards per game), turnover margin (plus-10) and point differential (plus-56). Jaguars 21, Rams 17Mike DiRocco


Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger has been awfully confident this week coming off his five-interception performance, perhaps because he likes the Chiefs matchup. Roethlisberger has won five straight against Kansas City, throwing for eight touchdowns to two interceptions during that span. The same Chiefs defense that Le’Veon Bell gashed for 170 yards in last year’s playoffs ranks 27th in rushing defense at 4.6 yards per carry. That’s a formula for a slumping offense. The last time the Steelers lost by more than 20 points, as they did last week against Jacksonville, they followed up with a 43-point explosion against — you guessed it — the Chiefs in Week 4 of 2016. Don’t expect that output from Pittsburgh on the road, but the Steelers’ defense hasn’t given up more than 20 points in regulation all year. The offense can do the rest. Steelers 26, Chiefs 20Jeremy Fowler

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have done some of their best work near the end of games, outscoring their opponents by a league-high 39 points in the fourth quarter. Kareem Hunt has 299 of his 602 rushing yards and is averaging 8.5 yards per carry in the fourth quarter. That will help them in a tight game against the Steelers, who have allowed more points than they’ve scored in the final period and were shut out in the last 15 minutes of Sunday’s game against Jacksonville when they needed to mount a comeback. Chiefs 23, Steelers 20Adam Teicher


Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have lost four consecutive games against the Raiders, but Oakland is banged up and has lost three straight. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa should put pressure on quarterback Derek Carr, who still is recovering from a back injury but is expected to play Sunday. A win would end a nine-game losing streak on the road for the Chargers against AFC West foes. Chargers 22, Raiders 20Eric Williams

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr is back, and all is right, right? Well … the offense was not exactly running smoothly when he suffered that transverse process fracture two weeks ago, so why would it be better now? For one, the Raiders are making their running game a priority vs. the Chargers, who have the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing 161.2 rushing yards per game. Marshawn Lynch also needs to have one of those classic Beast Mode games in front of the home crowd to keep Ingram and Bosa and their combined 12 sacks off Carr’s back, literally and figuratively. So while QB Philip Rivers is coming with a dagger for Oakland’s season, the Raiders will end their three-game losing streak by extending their winning streak over the Chargers to five straight. Raiders 24, Chargers 23Paul Gutierrez


New York Giants

This is a mismatch. The Giants almost certainly will be without more than a handful of starters, including Odell Beckham Jr., who is out for the season. The last two games Beckham has missed, the Giants were outscored 68-20 and quarterback Eli Manning was sacked seven times. Now they’re going to face the league’s top defense, on the road, in a difficult place to play, in prime time, without Beckham, Brandon Marshall and likely Sterling Shepard, center Weston Richburg and running back Paul Perkins. The Giants don’t have much chance to score. Broncos 23, Giants 3Jordan Raanan

Denver Broncos

The Broncos lead the league in run defense — they’ve surrendered 50.8 yards rushing per game — and they have one of the best edge players in the league in linebacker Von Miller. So if the Giants, who put three wide receivers on injured reserve this week, try to run the ball to shorten the game, they’re trying that against a group that has surrendered 95 rushing yards combined to Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch. And if the Giants try to put it in quarterback Eli Manning’s hands because they can’t run the ball, Manning was sacked five times by the Chargers last week after his top targets left the game. The Broncos, coming off a bye, are 6-1 in the past seven seasons after the bye, 11-3 after the bye in the past 14 seasons. Broncos 27, Giants 6Jeff Legwold


Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have beaten the Titans 11 consecutive games, tied for the longest streak in the NFL, according to Elias Sports Bureau. But things are different for the Colts now. They won’t have Andrew Luck(shoulder) taking snaps. Luck was the starting quarterback in nine of those 11 victories. Also, Indianapolis is playing on the road. The Colts lost their first two road games by a total of 65 points and they’re giving up NFL-worst 31.8 points a game. So much of the Titans’ chances hinge on the availability of quarterback Marcus Mariota, who missed last week’s game at Miami with a hamstring injury. All signs point to Mariota playing. Titans 35, Colts 26Mike Wells

Tennessee Titans

The pendulum of this game swings dramatically based on whether Marcus Mariota will play. The Titans’ defense had a strong showing last week, allowing just 178 total yards against the Dolphins, but defending T.Y. Hilton, who had 177 receiving yards alone vs. the 49ers, is an entirely different challenge. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are due for a big game against the middle-of-the-pack Colts run defense, and the Titans really could use this win to get out of the funk. The 11-game losing streak has to end at some point, right? Titans 24, Colts 20Cameron Wolfe

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