Oct. 19, 2017
NFL Week 6 Preview and Predictions
Week 6 Headlines
NFL Protest: NFL owners will convene in New York next week to discuss the national anthem controversy that has taken hold of the league. They will be joined by representatives from the players union as well. Reports state that owners may look into making rule changes that will require players to stand for the national anthem. Buccaneers Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy is on the record stating there will be “an uproar” if players are forced to stand.
Adrian Peterson Traded: After getting only 27 carries in a Saints uniform, Adrian Peterson has been traded to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional draft pick. The Cardinals running ranks dead last in the NFL and has been struggling to find success since starter David Johnson went down with a wrist injury in week 1.
Giant Problems: The injury bug swept through the Giants receiving corp last Sunday. Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris will miss the rest of the season. Sterling Sheppard is also injured and his return is currently unknown. Compounded with the lack of production from their running backs and offensive line, the Giants offense is currently a husk of what it was entering last week.
Tyler Eifert Done for Season: Cincinnati Bengals Tight End Tyler Eifert will have season-ending back surgery.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Kirk Cousins, DeShaun Watson, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan
Sitting Quarterbacks: Derek Carr, Jared Goff, Trevor Siemian
Starting Running Backs: C.J. Anderson, Doug Martin, Buck Allen, Marshawn Lynch
Sitting Running Backs: Frank Gore, Tarik Cohen, Isiah Crowell, Adrian Peterson
Starting Receivers: Michael Crabtree, Devin Funchess, Will Fuller, Tyrell Williams
Sitting Receivers: Devante Parker, Sammy Watkins, Amari Cooper, Demaryius Thomas
Starting Tight Ends: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Hunter Henry, Ryan Griffin, Zach Miller
Sitting Tight Ends: Coby Fleener, Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, Ed Dickson
Starting Defenses: Jaguars, Falcons, Redskins, Chiefs
Sitting Defenses: Rams, Steelers, Lions, Cardinals
Eagles vs. Panthers: Over the last two weeks, the Carolina offense has played pretty well. They’ve done well in their schemes that include shovel passes, misdirection, and utilizing Cam Newton’s ability to run. Defensively, their unit ranks in the top-five but have proven they can be scored upon over the last three weeks. The Eagles have won their last three, but their opponents have only combined to win three games this season. So in a way, they haven’t been tested despite their impressive record. The matchup to watch will be in the trenches. The Eagles have a good defensive front while the Panthers offensive line isn’t the greatest in the world. How Newton is able to use his mobility will also play a factor. But ultimately, this comes down to the play of Carson Wentz. Wentz has been inconsistent so far this season. I predict an average game from him and a Panthers win as a result.
Bears vs. Ravens: It wasn’t a complete disaster for Mitchell Trubisky on Monday night. There was some good, some bad, and some ugly though. It’s clear this will be a work in progress. Meanwhile, the Ravens get to face an unproven NFL quarterback for the second straight week. They got the best of EJ Manuel and the Raiders last week, and I don’t see how this will be any different. Look for Baltimore to win.
Packers vs. Vikings: Aaron Rodgers has proven to be the best clutch quarterback in the league this season. Most of the games that end with the ball in Rodgers' hands has gone in favor of the Packers. It also helps that their running game has been surprisingly good with big games from Ty Montgomery (when healthy) and Aaron Jones. The Vikings enter the game with a bit of dysfunction. Sam Bradford wasn’t 100% ready to go on Monday, Case Keenum is starting on Sunday, and Teddy Bridgewater has been activated from the PUP list. So they have a quarterback issue for sure. That just makes things harder for their defense who will still give up points to the Packers. In a close game, I pick the Packers to win.
49ers vs. Redskins: Kirk Cousins will lead his current team against his top suitor once the offseason comes around. Not much else to say about this game. The Niners aren’t that good of a team and the Redskins should have success on both sides of the ball en route to a win.
Lions vs. Saints: The health of starting quarterback Matt Stafford is the big question this week for the Lions. Stafford injured his hamstring and ankle last weekend against the Panthers and was seen limping in the locker room according to reporters on the scene. He should play on Sunday, but it’s still something to think about considering the Lions offense was on snooze for most of the game against the Panthers. They should do better against the Saints defense. The Saints have cleared the clutter in their backfield and will be getting Willie Snead back from injury. Their offense should be up to par, but I don’t like their defense going up against the Lions. I expect Detroit to win a shootout.
Dolphins vs. Falcons: Well rested after a bye and motivated after a loss to the Bills, the Falcons will host the Dolphins. Honestly, the Falcons haven’t played as well as expected despite their record. They could’ve lost to the Bears and Lions, and we know what happened against Buffalo. But this is this the game we should see them start to click on both sides of the ball. The Dolphins finally got a home game last week, but they haven’t been producing well on either side of the ball. I expect the Falcons to win and I don’t expect it to be close.
Browns vs. Texans: Cleveland has named Kevin Hogan the starter for this week. He is the 28th different starting quarterback for the Browns since their re-entry into the NFL. Hogan has good news out of the gate given how badly the injury bug has bit the Texans defense. Two of their best players in J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus are now gone for the season. That’s on top of Brian Cushing already being gone for PED use. This clearly weakens the Texans defense and puts pressure on rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson. Watson has played well so far this season, and I expect him to test the Browns label as a top five defense in the league. Even with the injuries, the Texans are the better team and should win the game.
Patriots vs. Jets: This is for first place in the AFC East. You didn’t misread that. The Patriots defense played a little better against the Buccaneers last week, but not by much. The real key in this game is that the Patriots have had extra time to prepare for the Jets. So look for New York’s three-game winning streak to come to an end this week.
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals: Arizona got some much-needed help in the backfield with the addition of Adrian Peterson. The Cardinals offense hasn’t been the same since David Johnson went down with injury, but Peterson alone won’t solve all of their issues. They still have to deal with Carson Palmer’s inconsistent play and the below average protection from the line. The Buccaneers came close to beating the Patriots, but a missed field goal ultimately doomed them. People have been waiting for Jameis Winston to take the next step for a while now, and it’s time for him to finally deliver with some consistent play. He has the weapons to make it happen. As for who wins, I think Peterson’s impact won’t be felt for a couple of weeks. So I expect the Buccaneers to step up and win.
Rams vs. Jaguars: A lot of mistakes kept the Rams from victory against the Seahawks, and things won’t get any easier. While the Jaguars are the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde team of the league, the two constants are their defense and their running game. The Rams struggle defending the ground attack and their offense can be turnover prone if Jared Goff isn’t careful. I believe Leonard Fournette will be the difference maker in a Jaguars win.
Chargers vs. Raiders: The return of Derek Carr will be welcomed by the Raiders, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have a serious identity issue. An underachieving offensive line has led to struggles with the running game. Also, Amari Cooper has been playing below expectations and the defense has struggled. Their secondary in particular will have issues against the Chargers passing game while their front seven should be tested by Melvin Gordon. To put it plainly; this is a proving game for the Raiders. The Chargers are in a good spot to pick up a win on the road. Oakland’s defense is ripe for being picked apart and their offensive line will have to deal with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. So look for the Chargers to pick up their second straight victory.
Steelers vs. Chiefs: It’s gut check time for the Steelers. Their offense has yet to show up this season and Big Ben looks like he has one foot into retirement after the Jaguars had to be pulled off of him. Things won’t be getting easier as they hit the road to face the Chiefs. Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt’s MVP campaign continue forward, but the defense has begun slipping. The Chiefs pass rush hasn’t been getting the sacks you would expect. So this could be the game where the Steelers offense finds themselves. Or, Kareem Hunt could do what Leonard Fournette did to the Steelers defense. It seems like the Steelers aren’t their yet as a team, so I’ll pick the Chiefs.
Giants vs. Broncos: The Giants season went from bad to worse following yet another loss and a host of injuries to their receiving corps. Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall are done for the entire season while Sterling Sheppard is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. That’s all on top of the lack of a real running game and a bad offensive line. Eli Manning is the last man standing on the Giants offense, and he has to face the Broncos defense with no weapons to speak of. All the Broncos have to do is score a couple of touchdowns and they’ll likely win the game.
Colts vs. Titans: Tennessee is in an interesting spot. Despite their record and injury issues, they can still assume the sleeper role that most slated them for thanks to them playing in the AFC South. But first, they have to snap an 11-game losing streak against the Colts. Marcus Mariota’s status looks optimistic right now. So assuming that he plays and keeps a lid on the turnovers, I like the Titans chances to win. The Colts defense is next to last in the league. So I think the points will be there.