Sep 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Plenty of chances for upsets and blowouts in NFL week six. Which teams will hold serve and which will crumble under the increasing pressure?
New York Giants at Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler ready to air it out
There is no threat of a trap game here. The Chicago Bears are reeling from a two-game losing streak and can’t afford to take the 0-5 New York Giants for granted. All signs say they will be focused and urgent in this game. No surprise either that the game centers on the quarterbacks. Eli Manning can still pile up numbers but he can’t stop turning it over, throwing 12 interceptions. Jay Cutler has struggled in that department too but he’s at home and his offense will go against a Giants defense that is 31st in pass rush. If he gets time, he could be in for a big evening.
Final score: CHI 40, NYG 27
Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens: Aaron Rodgers behind 8-ball
This game is actually quite even when looking at the matchups. Terrell Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens pass rush get to go against a Green Bay Packers offensive line that has struggled at times protecting Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile Joe Flacco won’t have to worry about Clay Matthews who is out with a broken thumb. This contest could come down to home field advantage and whether either team can get something going on the ground.
Final score: GB 24, BAL 27
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills: No E.J. Manuel, big problem
Experts may have taken a longer look at this one but the odds took a major shift when E.J. Manuel was declared out over the next few weeks with a knee injury. Without him the Buffalo Bills have struggled to must any offense, and now must go against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that just held the mighty Patriots to six points. The Bills defense might keep it close at first, but expect the Bengals health and talent advantages to tell later in the game.
Final score: CIN 30, BUF 10
Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden meets Suhzilla
A battle of two banged up teams. The Detroit Lions head in with a depleted receiving corps that won’t have Nate Burleson and may not have Calvin Johnson. The Cleveland Browns lost Brian Hoyer for the season, leaving the quarterback job back in the hands of Brandon Weeden. He must go against Ndamukong Suh and the Lions defensive front, the same Suh who memorably delivered an illegal blow to him in the preseason that added to his legend as a undisciplined quarterback abuser. Regardless, Weeden must account for him at all times if he wants to get past the always pesky Lions.
Final score: DET 17, CLE 20
St. Louis Rams at Houston Texans: Arian Foster ground transit
Running games will decide the outcome here. Can the St. Louis Rams establish a consistent ground attack and can they stop it on defense? Lately the answer has been no on both sides. Now they must contend with Houston Texans All-Pro Arian Foster who comes off a frustrating night in San Francisco. He and the rest of the Texans offense are eager for a rebound effort at home. St. Louis better be ready or it could be a long, bruising afternoon.
Final score: STL 14, HOU 35
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs: Terrelle Pryor an AFC West slayer?
Terrelle Pryor can’t play defense for the Oakland Raiders but it’s becoming clear he’s saving his best games against AFC West opponents. After scoring 21 points in Denver, he led the Raiders to a big win over San Diego. The Kansas City Chiefs and their stout defense are up next. It will be tough going into Arrowhead Stadium but Pryor is proving he’s every bit the dual threat quarterback Oakland hoped he’d be. Is it enough to win? Yes. Unfortunately ball control and tough defense by K.C. will prove too much on the road.
Final score: OAK 20, K.C. 24
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings: Josh Freeman clock ticking
Quarterback derbys usually end by the time preseason concludes. The Minnesota Vikings have bucked that trend. Not only is Christian Ponder threatened by backup Matt Cassel, who led the team to their only victory. Now recently signed free agent Josh Freeman enters the fray. Minnesota has to sort this out while hosting a Carolina Panthers team that, though struggling, tends to flip a switch and deliver hard beat downs courtesy of Cam Newton and their tough defense. A loss could bring about big changes for the Vikes.
Final score: CAR 28, MIN 21
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets: Generous Geno Smith?
Getting a turnover is a lost art for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have no interceptions or recovered fumbles so far this NFL season. If they ever want to win a game they better start doing so. Their best chance yet may be at hand in week six. New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith has played well in 2013 but he does have a really bad case of inconsistency, following a great performance with a terrible one. When it’s bad, he gives the ball away frequently. If Pittsburgh can put him under some heat, they could finally break their streak and hopefully get in the win column.
Final score: PIT 26, NYJ 19
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nick Foles vs. Mike Glennon
A battle of two young, inexperienced quarterback mark this NFL tilt. Nick Foles has an advantage given he played a lot at the end of last season and seems quite comfortable in the New Philadelphia Eagles offense under Chip Kelly. Meanwhile the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping rookie Mike Glennon can utilize his array of solid weapons to take advantage of a weak Eagles defense. This game won’t be a shootout and it will be close. Ultimately it should come down to who can put it in the end zone more.
Final score: PHI 24, T.B. 23