Week 6 of the NFL will start to separate the pack in the standings. Big match-ups will start to make or break many team’s seasons. In Week 5, Zac Weiss led the way picking 10 of the 13 games right. I was right behind him going 9-4, while Matt Gajtka and Matt Shetler were both 8-5.
For the season that makes our season standings look like this:
Oakland at Atlanta
The Falcons are one of two still unbeaten teams in the NFL. Matt Ryan has shown the ability to possess the ball and eat up clock. Through five games Ryan has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 13 TDs to just 3 INTs. The question for Atlanta is how their defense will hold up. This week will be a test of their run defense against Darren McFadden and the Raiders.
Falcons: Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss, Harding
Cincinnati at Cleveland
The Browns remain winless after blowing a 14-point lead to the Giants last week. The problem for the Browns remains their run defense. They gave up 243 yards to the Giants on the ground last week. The Bengals struggled to run the ball last week and committed to the pass in a loss to Miami. In the first meeting between these two teams Dalton threw for 318 yards, completing 24 of 31 pass attempts. Look for heavy run in this one for BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Bengals: Gajtka, Weiss, Harding
St. Louis at Miami
The Rams are piecing together their best season in years after beating Arizona last Thursday. The defense had nine sacks and allowed only 45 rushing yards. They will need to continue their elevated play due to the offense’s lack of success. The Rams lost Danny Amendola to injury and will need Steven Jackson to build on his season best game to find offensive success. Ryan Tannehill is slowly getting better, but needs to continue to find ways to not turn the ball over. The Dolphins have had 12 turnovers through five games.
Rams: Weiss, Harding
Dolphins: Shetler, Gajtka
Indianapolis at New York Jets
Andrew Luck put together his best effort in his rookie season by beating the Packers 30-27 last week. The win came after trailing 21-3 at halftime. Luck had a 13-play, 85-yard drive to win the game with just 35 seconds left. The Jets on the other hand are still struggling. Much of their struggle stems from Mark Sanchez’s league worst 48.4 percent completion rate. The Jets run defense will need to improve immediately as they are allowing 172 yards per game on the ground. Tebow time?
Colts: Shetler, Weiss, Harding
Detroit at Philadelphia
The Lions will look to find a win after losing their last three before entering the bye week. The Lions have learned to live and die with the air attack, but will need to find some running success against the Eagles. Stafford has just 3 TDs to 4 INTs. Mike Vick has to find a way to hold on to the ball after costing his team the game against the Steelers last week. He’s been able to cut out the interceptions, not throwing any in his last three games.
Eagles: Shetler, Harding
Lions: Gajtka, Weiss
Dallas at Baltimore
Tony Romo is eager to get back on the field after the bye week. Considering his last performance had five interceptions in the primetime loss to the Bears many QB’s would want to avenge that. The problem for Romo is he travels to Baltimore where the Ravens haven’t lost a regular season game at home in two years. The Ravens are coming off a sloppy 9-6 win over the Chiefs last week, but that just adds to the questions of the Ravens ability to play on the road. The Ravens defense did allow 214 yards on the ground, a number the Cowboys will need to examine closely.
Ravens: Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss, Harding
Kansas City at Tampa Bay
Brady Quinn will get another shot after not starting a game in three years while Matt Cassel is out with a concussion. I always like a quarterback on the road that has absolutely nothing to lose. Many were calling for Quinn before the injury due to Cassel’s poor performance. The Bucs on the other hand have their own problems this season. After four games Josh Freeman only has 790 yards passing with 5 TDs and 4 INTs. I still like the fight that Coach Schiano is putting into Tampa Bay; it just may take some time.
Bucs: Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss, Harding
Buffalo at Arizona
The beating that Arizona took last week to St. Louis proved to be more costly than their undefeated record at the time. They lost Ryan Williams to a season-ending shoulder injury. Luckily for the Cardinals they play a defense that has yet to find their stride. The Bills have their own injury problems this week too as their offensive line looks like it will be a patch job for the weekend while Cordy Glenn is down.
Cardinals: Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss, Harding
New England at Seattle
The match-up of the Patriots offense against one of the league’s top defenses is proving to be the story of the week. The Patriots ground game looks to have finally taken off as they have put together back to back weeks of over 200 yards rushing. The big question is how can the Patriots defense stop Marshawn Lynch and force the ball into Russell Wilson’s hands. The Seahawks are only averaging 167 yards per game through the air.
Pats: Shetler, Weiss, Harding
New York Giants at San Francisco
The Giants will have to come out of the gate faster than they did last week. They trailed by 14 points but were able to put together a comeback win against the Browns. The difference this week is the 49ers’ stout defense would never allow that kind of comeback. The 49ers rushing offense and defense have been stellar this season. The offense averages 196 yards rushing per game while the defense only gives up an average of 81 per game.
49ers: Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss, Harding
Minnesota at Washington
The growth of Christian Ponder has the Vikings on a surprising 4-1 run this season. He has completed 69 percent of his passes and thrown 6 TDs to just 2 INTs. As for the Redskins quarterback it is questionable whether he will play after suffering a concussion in last week’s loss to Atlanta. Griffin III was limited in practice on Thursday, but will likely be listed as probable going into the game. Both of these teams have benefited greatly from strong rushing games and solid defense. The Redskins will look to snap an eight game losing streak at home.
Vikings: Weiss, Harding
Redskins: Shetler, Gajtka
Green Bay at Houston
The Texans are the league’s other unbeaten team and will look to continue their streak playing host to the struggling Packers. The Packers blew an 18-point lead at halftime last week to the Colts. Rodgers was just 20 of 32 for 207 yards 3 TDs and 1 INT last week. Those aren’t bad numbers for most quarterbacks, but when your called “elite” you need to perform at an elite level. Arian Foster continues to pound the ball now with 532 yards on the season.
Texans: Shetler, Weiss, Harding
Denver at San Diego
Peyton Manning was 31 for 44 with 345 yards and 3 TDs last week in a loss to New England. One would think that performance would be enough to pick up the win, but Manning had a key fumble in the third quarter. This game will be pivotal in the AFC West standing and the Broncos will try to avoid losing four of five. Phillip Rivers is 9-3 against the Broncos, but of course that is all without Manning.
Broncos: Shetler, Harding
Chargers: Gajtka, Weiss
Bye: Chicago, New Orleans, Carolina, Jacksonville