I had an average 8-6 week last week, and I correctly picked the score of the Pats/Browns. My overall record is 41-33 this season, for a .554 win percentage
Heading into week number six, there are several teams that stick out as being extremely strong this year; those being Dallas, New England, Indianapolis and Green Bay. There are then those just a step behind them, and then there are the downright awful (and for no good reason).
Teams like St. Louis and New Orleans never would have been in someone's nightmare as oh-fer's. If someone told you that the Jets, Eagles and Bengals would enter week six with just one win you would have scoffed in their face. It should be a pretty telling, and interesting week as several good, mediocre, and bad teams battle it out. We should learn a lot about many franchises this weekend as we inch closer and closer to the halfway point.
Tennessee at Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers have been playing some good ball lately, their problem is that the Titans have as well. The Titans sit at 3-1, tied for second behind the Colts in the AFC South, and the Bucs at 3-2, tied with Carolina Panthers in the pitiful NFC South where not one team has more than three wins. Jeff Garcia has led this team, not committing costly turnovers and getting it to the receivers with good reads. The Titans are a run-first team, led by their scrambling QB Vince Young. This game should be close.
Minnesota at Chicago
This matchup is of mirror images. Both offenses are awful, both defenses strong (stronger against the run than pass, but still strong). This should be a low-scoring affair. Tarvaris Jackson gets back in the lineup for the Vikings, and for the Bears it's pick your poison. They started the season with Rex Grossman, now they have Brian Griese. Can things get worse for this offense? There should be a lot of rushing by both teams, but not many visits to the endzone.
Houston at Jacksonville
The Jaguars offense is horrible this season, yet its defense is pretty solid (63PF, 41PA), which is why they have won their last three games. The Texans have not looked good of late after their strong start, as they got their first win after dropping two straight. This should be a great inter-divisional game this week, and it should be a good test to see if the Texans are as good as they have looked at times (ditto for the Jags).
Miami at Cleveland
The Browns have given up a ton of points this year, yet they have scored more. After getting pounded into the dirt by the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one, the Browns have put it into a new gear and have looked surprisingly good against some solid teams. The Dolphins have been worse than pitiful this season, starting 0-5, and now they have lost their starting QB to a severe concussion. With Derek Anderson leading Cleveland, they should be able to keep the Dolphins winless.
St. Louis at Baltimore
The Ravens have not been the team everyone expected this season, and that's an understatement for the Rams. The Ravens defense has been surprisingly suspect, giving up 97 points which is a lot for a primarily defensively known team. The Rams have stellar RB Steven Jackson, solid QB Marc Bulger, etc. yet they have not been able to do anything. Add to that the fact that Bulger is out for a while, Jackson has been battling injury this season, and they lost an all-pro O-lineman for the year. Ouch. This team is hurting and it doesn't get better against a very needy Raven team that has to keep pace with the Steelers.
Washington at Green Bay
There is nothing better than a good October game at Lambeau Field. The surprisingly great start by the Packers and Redskins have this pre-regular season wash-out game being a competitive game that means a lot for both teams. The Packers need to continue on their pace as we all know they probably can't all season without a rushing game. The longer they ride this streak the better off they'll be for the stretch run. For the ‘Skins they have to keep pace with the Cowboys. If they want to prove they belong in the playoffs they have to play like it here. Can the secondary stop Favre though?
Cincinnati at Kansas City
The Chiefs have looked sad this season with just six TDs, heck Carson Palmer had that in one game! The Bengals are actually in the basement in the AFC North after being projected to win it. They have a lot to prove, and coming off of a bye week they probably will. The Chiefs could be the medicine needed for this struggling team as a whole. For the Chiefs they need to run Larry Johnson until he can't go anymore. The Bengals rush-defense is porous at best. If they pound Johnson, get nine in the box, then go over top to Bowe or Gonzalez they could be successful on Sunday. Who wants it more, Herm or Marvin?
Philadelphia at New York Jets
The Jets have not lived up to expectations this season, and Donovan McNabb's comeback from last season's injury has not gone well either. Brian Westbrook has carried this team week in and week out, but WRs Brown and Avant have not provided a Houshmanzadeh to Kevin Curtis' Chad Johnson. They need a consistent one-two threat to keep the focus off of Westbrook. For the Jets, they need to get back to what they were last year. Defense first, give the offense a short field and let Pennington hit his targets. Pennington has not been sharp this season, and the acquisition of Thomas Jones has not proven worth it.
Carolina at Arizona
The Cardinals have lost their "franchise quarterback" to injury, but they have a former league-MVP at the helm with an all-pro running back. Remember where the coach is from - Pittsburgh. Look for him to do some Steeler-like things when he hits Carolina this week. The Cardinals have an amazing pass-attack, but look for them to run to set up the pass. For the Panthers, they also have lost their starting QB, yet don't quite have the same type runningback (they have a receiver - SS). This should be a close game, simply because Arizona does not know how to get ahead and bury a team.
Oakland at San Diego
The Chargers offense has been getting on track these past few weeks, and look for them to continue that against an inept Raider team. Yeah, I hear the cries. The Raiders are in first place! Have you seen this division? No team has more than two wins, and the only reason Oakland is in first is because of a bye week. WOW! San Diego should stay on course this week, and sadly take over the lead of this division with a 3-3 record.
*GAME OF THE WEEK!*
New England at Dallas
The highest scoring team in history travels to Dallas to face the high-flying Cowboys. This contest, which pits two 5-0 teams against eachother, cannot come at a better time. We all want to know what both are made of. We have all heard the cries of "the Pats haven't played anyone," or "Dallas has gotten lucky." It's time for a line-em-up and duke-it-out type of game. I think the Cowboys simply looked past the Bills because of the matchup with the Pats, and the Pats will be ready. I give the edge to the ‘Boys because of home-field. If someone lays out Moss and Brady, even just once, they will be gun-shy the rest of the game. If there is anything that Tom Brady does not like it is being blasted by a blitzing backer.
New Orleans at Seattle
The Saints have been downright sad this season, underachieving with Brees and Bush, but it doesn't get any better for them. Seattle got shut-out by the Steelers last week with Alexander gaining just 25 yards. The New Orleans rushing defense has not been good the last few years, and they will probably get run all over this weekend. The Saints cannot be this bad, though. They have to turn it around soon, you'd think at least. They need a win, but I think the Seahawks need one too, and they have the ability to get one right now.
New York Giants at Atlanta
The Giants have looked good of late with Plaxico Burress ignoring pain and turning in some great performances. Atlanta will put their best foot forward, but likely will not be able to keep pace with the scoring of the Giants offense. The Giants defense is suspect, however, but the likelihood of Harrington being able to throw enough strikes to match the Giants is unlikely.