*Team listed in BOLD is my pick to win the game
Denver (vs. NY Giants) – When you couldn’t even imagine that the Giants season could get any graver, it took a turn for the worst when they lost Odell Beckham for the year with a fractured ankle. To add insult to injury, the Giants also lost Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard in the same game with their own ankle injuries. It was announced on Tuesday morning that Brandon Marshall will require season ending surgery and Shepard is considered day-to-day, but I wouldn’t count on him playing Sunday night against one of the top defenses in the league. The Giants offense was pretty bad as it was even with Beckham healthy, so things could get pretty ugly, especially if Shepard can’t go. Eli Manning was sacked 5 times last week against the Chargers, so Denver is chomping at the bit to play against the Giants and their offensive line. Denver only has 10 sacks on the year, but they only allow 210 passing yards per game and have 4 interceptions on the season. They plan on making Eli Manning’s evening miserable. Denver’s run defense is even more impressive and is allowing opposing runners to rush for 2.4 yards per carry on the year and have only allowed 203 total rushing yards on the year, both tops in the NFL. The Giants finally found a rhythm last week in their running attack as Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman combined for 126 rushing yards on just 19 carries. Denver’s defense will not allow them to come close to those numbers this week and will force NY to beat them through the air with unproven receivers. Denver is coming off a bye and will be ready to play in front of their home crowd. This could be a blood bath which makes it the strongest play for Week 6. Take Denver this week at home before they hit the road for 3 straight weeks.
Next 3 Games
NY Giants: vs. Seattle, BYE, vs. L.A. Rams
Denver: @ L.A. Chargers, @ Kansas City, @ Philadelphia
Washington (vs. San Francisco) – The 49ers have lost their last 4 games by a combined 11 points and it is now becoming commonplace for San Francisco take these games down to the wire but ultimately lose. San Francisco has lost the last two games in overtime, and both games could be blamed on their offense because they failed to capitalize on golden opportunities to win them the game. The 49ers offense got off to quick start against Indianapolis last week on their opening drive as QB Brian Hoyer peppered WR Pierre Garcon 5 times for 51 yards. But of course the 49ers offense couldn’t put the ball in the end zone and had to settle for a field goal. Their offense went stale and punted on 5 of their next 6 possessions and totaled a measly 56 yards. Carlos Hyde was a non-factor in the game and inconspicuously was left on the sideline for the majority of the second half as Kyle Shanahan rode the hot hand with Matt Breida. I expect Hyde will get more snaps this week, but there will continue to be a time-share between the two running backs. Washington is coming off a bye and looks to rebound from their Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Rob Kelley needed the extra rest, but like Hyde, he will be splitting time with Chris Thompson. The 49ers secondary is banged up and allowed Jacoby Brissett to throw for 314 yards against them, so QB Kirk Cousins should take advantage and should spread the ball around to Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder. I expect Cousins to have a big game this week in what could be a preview for the 49ers coaching staff, front office and fans next year. Crowder has been quiet early on this season, but this could be the game that gets him going. CB Josh Norman will not be playing this week which is a big blow to their defense. But even with his absence, I don’t expect the 49ers to generate much offense in this game. This will be the second straight week that San Francisco has a 1pm EST start and is their 3rd consecutive game on the road. With the inconsistencies on offense, I don’t believe they’ll be able to score enough points to come away with a win against Washington this week.
Next 3 Games
San Francisco: vs. Dallas, @ Philadelphia, vs. Arizona
Washington: @ Philadelphia, vs. Dallas, @ Seattle
New England (@ NY Jets) – New England’s defense continues to be atrocious and was one of the primary reasons that the Patriots nearly lost their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday night. The Pats benefited from the inaccuracy from Tampa Bay’s kick, Nick Folk, which cost the Bucs 9 points. Despite those missed field goals, Tampa Bay still had a shot to win the game because the Patriots couldn’t stop Jameis Winston who threw for 334 yards or RB Doug Martin who made his season debut rushing for 74 yards, 1 touchdown and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. The Patriots will face the surprising NY Jets in Week 6 in a matchup that not a single person on this planet could have ever imagined would have been meaningful 6 weeks ago. The Jets defense has played better than expected, but they are allowing 354.6 yards per game, which ranks 25th in the NFL. They haven’t played an offense quite like the Patriots yet this season, so this could be a real eye opener for them. The Patriots offense kept them in the game against Tampa Bay, and although it wasn’t Tom Brady’s best game, he still managed to throw for 303 yards and completed 30 of his 40 passes on the evening. Tom Brady is dealing with a shoulder injury in his non-throwing arm, but he says that he will play through it this week. TE Rob Gronkowski sat out last game but he is expected to play this week after having extra time to recover. The Patriots offense should come out strong and should be firing on all cylinders. I expect that Bill Belichick will get their running backs involved early and often because the Jets are allowing opponents to rush for 143 yards per game. I anticipate that the Patriots will put up 30+ points this week and although their defense is their Achilles heel, they should still limit the Jets offense to 20 points or less. New England is still a very flawed team, but I expect that the Patriots will right the ship this week against the Jets.
Next 3 Games
New England: vs. Atlanta, vs. L.A. Chargers, BYE
NY Jets: @ Miami, vs. Atlanta, vs. Buffalo
Houston (vs. Cleveland) – Cleveland dropped to 0-5 on the year following their loss to the NY Jets last weekend and are showing that they are arguably the worst team in the NFL. Things got ugly and Browns head coach, Hue Jackson, decided that a quarterback change needed to be made at half time, so he benched DeShone Kizer and started Kevin Hogan in the second half. Hogan actually played well and led the Browns on two touchdown drives and it sounds as if Hogan will get another start this week on the road against the Houston Texans. J.J. Watt is done for the year after suffering a left tibial plateau fracture against Kansas City on Sunday night and the Texans also lost Whitney Mercilus with a torn pectoral as well in Week 5, so their defense is starting to get a little thin. But the good news is that they get to face off against a Browns team that can’t run the ball and is averaging just 15.4 points per game on the season which ranks 31st in the NFL. The Browns defense is just as bad as the offense and allows an average of 24.8 points per game. And although Hogan came in and did a nice job in the second half against the Jets, I expect some bumps in the road this week against Houston’s defense that allows just 221 passing yards per game. Jadeveon Clowney is needed now more than ever with the injuries to the Texans defense and he should start pulling his weight this weekend. On the offensive side of the football, QB Deshaun Watson will pass all over Cleveland’s defense and wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller should each have monster games. I think it will be very hard to duplicate the 5 touchdowns they combined for against Kansas City, but they both should have opportunities to score. Even with the Texans defense banged up with injuries, Houston shouldn’t have any problems against the Browns this week and should get back to .500 on the season.
Next 3 Games
Cleveland: vs. Tennessee, vs. Minnesota, BYE
Houston: BYE, @ Seattle, vs. Indianapolis
Kansas City (vs. Pittsburgh) – Alex Smith continued to make a strong case for MVP after another stellar performance on Sunday night against the Houston Texans in which he threw for over 300 yards for the second time this season and completed 3 touchdowns. Smith has been a model quarterback and now has 11 touchdowns on the year and has not thrown a single interception. Although the Steelers were embarrassed on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-9, it wasn’t their defense, per se, that let them in down. In fact, the Steelers defense allows a league best 140 passing yards per game and just 5.4 yards per pass, which is also tops in the NFL. The Steelers have also recorded 17 sacks on the year, tied for 3rd in the league, so this won’t be a walk in the park for Alex Smith. I’m expecting RB Kareem Hunt to do the heavy lifting because Pittsburgh just allowed fellow rookie running back, Leonard Fournette, to trample all over their defense to the tune of 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Ivory was very successful as well rushing for 41 yards on just 8 carries. In total, Jacksonville rushed for 231 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. Hunt currently leads the NFL in rushing with 609 yards and averages 6.3 yards per carry and has failed to reach the century mark just once this season. I expect Hunt to carry the ball at least 25 times in this game which will allow KC to chew out the clock. QB Ben Roethlisberger had arguably his worst game of his career against Jacksonville last week, getting picked off 5 times, two of which were taken back for touchdowns. The Steelers have struggled offensively all season, but for some reason head coach Mike Tomlin refused to exploit the Jaguars weakness which is stopping the run. Kansas City’s weakness is also stopping the run, allowing 4.6 yards per carry and 118 rushing yards per game. Mike Tomlin needs to give the ball to Le’Veon Bell and let him ware down the Chiefs defense. This game isn’t a shoe-in for Kansas City, but due to Pittsburgh’s lack of offense and inconsistent play, Kansas City should win their 6th game in a row and remain undefeated heading into their Thursday night matchup against the Oakland Raiders in Week 7.
Next 3 Games
Pittsburgh: vs. Cincinnati, @ Detroit, BYE
Kansas City: @ Oakland, vs. Denver, @ Dallas
Atlanta (vs. Miami) – Miami’s offensive woes were on full display in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans, but despite their poor offensive production, Jay Cutler managed to lead the Dolphins on the go-ahead touchdown drive early in the 4th quarter which solidified the win for Miami. Miami had just 62 yards of offense in the first half and 106 yards of offense in the second half, 58 of which came on that go ahead touchdown drive. But overall, Miami looked bad and was forced to punt on 9 possessions and turned it over twice. Jay Cutler finished the day with 92 passing yards and has just 256 yards in the last 2 weeks. Cutler has also thrown 3 interceptions in each of the last 3 games. DeVante Parker was injured in the 1st quarter of the game last week but is expected to suit up against Atlanta. I just don’t have confidence in Miami sustaining drives and moving the chains enough to keep the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hands. Atlanta is coming off a much-needed bye which allowed Julio Jones to get healthy. Miami’s defense will really be tested this week in Atlanta because Miami ranks 4th in the NFL in points per game allowed at 16.8. Miami continues to shut down the run, allowing just 3.1 ypc and they will focus on stopping both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman this week. Atlanta is heavy favorites in this game, but I think Miami’s defense will be able to slow them down and keep the game within striking distance. But Miami’s offense has not played well at all this year, scoring just 22 points over the last 3 weeks and were even shutout against the Saints two weeks ago. This is Atlanta’s last home game for next 3 weeks with two tough games on the road at New England and at Carolina. I’m probably not as high on Atlanta this week as some others are because of Miami’s defense, but I still believe they are a decent play this week and would recommend them this week or else would recommend taking them in Week 8 when they play the Jets.
Next 3 Games
Miami: vs. NY Jets, @ Baltimore, vs. Oakland
Atlanta: @ New England, @ NY Jets, @ Carolina
Tampa Bay (@ Arizona) – The Buccaneers let their game against the New England Patriots slip right through hands last Thursday night and kicker Nick Folk is taking all the flack for the loss. The Bucs ended up losing by 5 and Folk missed all 3 of his field goal attempts, although I will give him the benefit of the doubt on the 56-yard attempt at the very end of the first half. Jameis Winston finished the night with 334 yards, but the numbers are a little deceiving because he didn’t play his best game. He will need to improve his accuracy and needs to get WR Mike Evans more involved in this game. Doug Martin made his season debut against the Patriots and ran the ball very well. I expect Martin to be given a heavier workload this week, but he’ll need to fight for every yard against Arizona’s defense that is allowing just 3.3 yards per carry. The Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson on Tuesday and he is already listed as the #1 back on the depth chart, but I still expect Chris Johnson to see the field this week. Although Tampa Bay’s defense has only 4 sacks on the season, I still expect Carson Palmer’s struggles to continue this week, as Tampa Bay’s defense should dominate Arizona’s weak offensive line. Tampa Bay has the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to win this game, but with this game on the road in Arizona, I’d suggest holding off on Tampa Bay this week.
Next 3 Games
Tampa Bay: @ Buffalo, vs. Carolina, @ New Orleans
Arizona: @ L.A. Rams, BYE, @ San Francisco
Baltimore (vs. Chicago) – Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky made his debut on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings and played as expected against a tough Vikings defense. He made some nice plays, including game tying run on a trick play 2-point conversion, but he also struggled at times and threw a crucial interception on the Bears own 22-yard line with a little over 2 minutes left in the game. That interception led to the Vikings bleeding the clock and kicking the game winning field goal. Trubisky gets the privilege of facing another tough defense this week against the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore’s defense has 9 interceptions so far this year and ranks 2nd in the NFL in opposing QB completion percentage at 53.7%. I’m expecting Trubisky to be forced into some rookie mistakes in this game which will lead to a couple of turnovers. Baltimore’s offense will focus on pounding the ball on the ground between Buck Allen and Alex Collins. Both running backs should combine for 26-30 carries, but they will be lucky to top 100 yards between the two of them. The Bears defense has played pretty well this year and I believe they will hold the Ravens to under 20 points. I’m expecting a low scoring game this week, but Joe Flacco should get the best of Trubisky because Flacco will protect the football in this game. Due to the fact that I think the Bears will hang tough with the Ravens, I think Baltimore is too risky of play this week.
Next 3 Games
Chicago: vs. Carolina, @ New Orleans, BYE
Baltimore: @ Minnesota, vs. Miami, @ Tennessee
Oakland (vs. L.A. Chargers) – The good news for the Oakland Raiders is that head coach Jack Del Rio expects QB Derek Carr to return this week with the hopes to break their 3 game losing skid. The bad news is that I’m not exactly sure how healthy Carr will actually be. But no matter what, Carr at 50% is better than EJ Manuel at 100%. Amari Cooper has been a disappointment so far this season, but Carr will definitely help him get on track this week against a Chargers defense that has allowed 8 receiving touchdowns on the year and allows 11.3 receiving yards per catch (19th in the NFL). While the Raiders should be able to move the ball through the air, I believe that they will rely on their ground attack because the Chargers allow 5.0 yards per carry and are dead last in rushing yards per game at 161.2. As for the Chargers offense, Phillip Rivers finally led San Diego to a win in a close game. Just keep in mind that they were able to pull through partly due to the fact that the Giants lost their top 3 receivers in the game. Melvin Gordon was a huge hit in last week’s win rushing for 105 yards and catching 6 balls for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns. He should have similar success this week against the Raiders defense and should help keep this game close from start to finish. I like Oakland to get back to .500 this week, but because I’m concerned about Carr’s health, I think you should pass on taking the Raiders this week against the Chargers.
Next 3 Games
L.A. Chargers: vs. Denver, @ New England, BYE
Oakland: vs. Kansas City, @ Buffalo, @ Miami
L.A. Rams (@ Jacksonville) – The Jacksonville Jaguars have dominated their opponents on the odd weeks and have played poorly on the even numbered weeks. So is this one of those weeks again where they revert to poor play because this is an even week? Well, one thing we know for sure is that the Jaguars defense is going to play well and keep Jacksonville in this game against the L.A. Rams. They also will not allow QB Blake Bortles to cost them the game so they will refrain from passing the football and just allow rooking RB sensation Leonard Fournette carry the ball 25+ times in the game. The Jaguars defense will shut down the Rams passing game, but I expect the Rams to have the same type of offensive game plan as the Jaguars and have Jared Goff hand the ball off to their workhorse, Todd Gurley. Jacksonville’s run defense is their weakness, allowing a league worst 5.4 yards per carry. This should be a very low scoring game and possessions should be limited as both teams look to keep the clock running by handing the ball off more often than throwing it. If the Jags are trailing in the 4th quarter, like I expect, I don’t trust that Bortles will be able to lead the Jags on a game winning drive. Because I expect this to be a defensive battle, I’d avoid this game and would rather take the Rams in Week 9 when they play against the NY Giants.
Next 3 Games
L.A. Rams: vs. Arizona, BYE, @ NY Giants
Jacksonville: @ Indianapolis, BYE, vs. Cincinnati
Detroit (@ New Orleans) – The Detroit Lions have lost 2 out of their last 3 games and their defense, which had been a bright spot, looked vulnerable last week against the Panthers. Detroit’s defense allowed Carolina to score on 5 of the first 7 possessions and Carolina managed scoring drives of 61, 75, 73 and 75 yards. Cam Newton finished with 355 yards and 3 touchdowns, which is by far the worst game the Lions defense played all year. Things don’t get easier this week because Detroit has to travel to New Orleans this week. The Saints are coming off a bye and even traded RB Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals on Tuesday. That will open up more playing time for RB Alvin Kamara, but I still expect Mark Ingram to be the primary ball carrier, at least for now. Lions QB, Matthew Stafford, injured his ankle and thigh against the Panthers, but head coach Jim Caldwell expects Stafford to suit up this week. If Stafford is healthy, I expect him to pass all over the Saints secondary, but because I don’t expect him to be completely healthy, I have to bump the Lions down a few spots making them a team that I’d avoid this week in Survivor Pools.
Next 3 Games
Detroit: BYE, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Green Bay
New Orleans: @ Green Bay, vs. Chicago, vs. Tampa Bay
Green Bay (@ Minnesota) – Aaron Rodgers led the Packers on a thrilling 75-yard, 1 minute and 2 second game winning drive while on the road in Dallas. It was very impressive because it countered the Cowboys touchdown drive that ate 8:43 off the clock and appeared that the Cowboys would pull out the win. But the lesson here is never count out Aaron Rodgers, although no one should have ever forgotten that to begin with. The Packers were without RB Ty Montgomery, but they may have found a diamond in Aaron Jones who rushed for 125 yards on just 19 carries. Montgomery is questionable for the game this week against Minnesota, but even if he’s able to play, head coach Mike McCarthy has stated that Aaron Jones will continue to have a role with the offense so you can expect a time share between Montgomery and Jones. Minnesota is coming off their own thrilling victory against the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Sam Bradford made his return but he didn’t look healthy and even reinjured his knee. He was replaced by Case Keenum and he turned things around for the Vikings. Keenum completed 17 of his 21 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown, although most of the passes were short passes and dump offs. Either way, it was effective and helped propel them to a win. The Vikings defense also stepped up in a big way by intercepting Mitchell Trubisky late in the 4th quarter which led to the game winning field goal. The Vikings goal will be to get to Rodgers who was sacked 4 times last week and has been sacked 19 times on the year. If they can get to Rodgers and stop the run, the Vikings should be able to keep this close enough to give them a chance to win. I don’t think Minnesota pulls out the victory, but Green Bay has struggled against Minnesota of late and has lost 2 or their last 3 matchups which makes this a very risky play in Week 6.
Next 3 Games
Green Bay: vs. New Orleans, BYE, vs. Detroit
Minnesota: vs. Baltimore, @ Cleveland, BYE
Carolina (vs. Philadelphia) – We finally have ourselves a really good game for the Thursday night game this week with the Carolina Panthers hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. Cam Newton has turned things around the last two weeks and looks to have possibly righted the ship after a disastrous start to his season. Over the last two games, Cam has completed 77.4% of his passes for 671 yards, 6 touchdowns and has thrown just 1 interception. This comes after Newton averaged 189 yards per game in the first 3 games and had the same number of touchdowns (3) as interceptions. WR Devin Funchess has been a focal point in the offense ever since TE Greg Olsen went down with his injury. Funchess has been targeted 27 times over the last 3 games and has caught 18 passes and 3 touchdowns. The Eagles have allowed 1,416 passing yards on the season which is 3rd worst in the NFL. The Panthers don’t do a good job running the football and Philly has done a very good job against opposing runners allowing just 62.8 rushing yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry, so Philadelphia should focus on stopping the pass. Carson Wentz is coming off a 304 yard, 4 touchdown game against the Cardinals in their 34-7 win in Week 5. Wentz has now thrown for 300+ yards in 3 games this year and is averaging 272 passing yards per game. He has been sacked 13 times though which could be a concern this week against the Panthers defense that ranks 3rd in the NFL with 17 sacks on the season. This will be a very good test for Wentz and Philly’s offensive line this week. I’m expecting that this will be a very good, entertaining game on Thursday and should go back-and-forth which is why I’d stay far away from either team this week in your pool.
Next 3 Games
Philadelphia: vs. Washington, vs. San Francisco, vs. Denver
Carolina: @ Chicago, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Atlanta
Indianapolis (@ Tennessee) – Jacoby Brissett is coming off a pretty impressive game against the San Francisco 49ers which saw him complete 22 of his 34 passes for 314 yards while averaging an impressive 9.2 yards per pass. T.Y. Hilton also had a huge game finishing with 177 yards on 7 catches. Hilton could be in line for another big game this week against Tennessee that allows 246.6 receiving yards per game and has allowed a league leading 12 receiving touchdowns on the year. RB Marlon Mack had a coming out part against San Francisco carrying the football 9 times for 91 yards and one touchdown. Head coach Chuck Pagano has acknowledged that Mack has earned some more playing time so you should expect a couple extra carries this week against the Titans. Marcus Mariota sat out Week 5 against the Dolphins and it was very noticeable that Tennessee missed their franchise quarterback. Mariota is expected to be a game time decision this week, but the extra day of rest should help since this game will be played on Monday night. If Mariota is unable to suit up, I am expecting the Colts to pull out the win and even their record at 3-3.
Next 3 Games
Indianapolis: vs. Jacksonville, @ Cincinnati, @ Houston
Tennessee: @ Cleveland, BYE, vs. Baltimore
Week 6 Survivor Pool Rankings
- Denver Broncos
- Washington Redskins
- New England Patriots
- Houston Texans
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Atlanta Falcons
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Baltimore Ravens
- Oakland Raiders
- L.A. Rams
- Indianapolis Colts
- Detroit Lions
- Green Bay Packers
- Carolina Panthers