Week 6 was an eye-opener on who’s faking it and who’s raking it. Daboll’s Giants continue to be the nicest turnaround of the season, as they show more resilience than a Bronx Checker cab. Not to be outdone, the Jets have returned to flight after an extensive grounding, and if you include the AFC-fave Bills in the mix, there is undoubtedly something in the water – ALL the water – of New York state this year. The Falcons have found a depth of resolve under Arthur Smith that has them tied for 1st in their division, after claim-jumping the 49ers this week, while teams we expected to be powerhouses (Green Bay, Tampa, the Rams, Vegas, Indy & Cincy, to name a few) are all looking like clunkers stalled out along the highway, hoods up and radiators billowing steam. I underestimated Atlanta’s and NYG’s determination this week, but will take a victory lap for picking the Jets at Lambeau when 9 of the 10 NFL Network pros (and ALL of you) took the Packers. I wrapped at 9-5 last week, and now stand at 57-37 (61%), surpassing Nick Shook, top picker at NFL Network (58%). Here’s the picks.
Saints at Cardinals – Honestly, this is a crappy pick-em for a Thursday. Neither team playing well, both beset by key injuries, blah blah. D-Hop returns from drug parole, just as Marquise Brown goes down and Robbie ‘Trouble’ Anderson comes to town. Zona is hobbled in the ground game, and the Aints are getting Jameis back but will that be an upgrade, with nobody to throw at? Latts is the ONLY pass defender the Whodats have, and Zona can’t stop the run, so who wins this atrocity? My head hurts already. Zona sees a win in the Cards.
Browns at Ravens – Bailey Zappe torched Cleveland for over 300 yards last week, while Baltimore got caught from behind by the upstart Giants. Cleveland is being Cleveland again, and the DeShaun Watson return game seems like much too little much too late. The Ravens are still trying to figure out who they are and what they have, and struggling to hang onto leads and wins. This division probably still runs through Cincinnati, but right now nobody is playing good ball. Belichick strangled Chubb & Hunt, forcing Jacoby Brissett to win with his arm (no go). Can Harbaugh do the same, with his porous D? Something tells me that the dance team of ‘Play-Action Jackson & the Other Drake’ find enough fancy footwork to out-hoof Chugging Chubb & Kareem the Scream. Add Doooovernay and Andrews’ aerial heroics to the mix, and Baltimore will be ravin’ while Cleveland Browns out.
Buccaneers at Panthers – What if Carolina played a football game and no quarterback showed up? Would we notice? Robbie Anderson got his bus ticket out of Charlotte, and now he’s Cliff Kingsbury’s problem. Tom Brady’s O-line are all several pounds lighter this week, after he chewed all their arses off in Pittsburgh last game. I think he’s turning into one of those angry old guys like the one in Gran Torino…but Tampa is in trouble and they know it. Not enough trouble to lose in Charlotte this week, though. Nobody’s in THAT kind of trouble. Pirates plunder the pusillanimous pussycats.
Falcons at Bengals – If I was the Bengals….I would be treating this game like a playoff matchup. Why? Because the Falcons will. They are hungry…they are improving…they are angry about losing close games repeatedly….and they just spanked the vaunted 49ers on the road to lock them in a tie for first. I was wrong about this Atlanta team; they have heart…and they have Art. If Cincy doesn’t start to re-establish their Super Bowl form this week by beating this team, then I don’t believe they will, and be considered a One-and-done. Burrow needs to start writing his legend this week, or others are going to write it for him. Stripes are back in fashion, while feathers are out.
Lions at Cowboys – The Cryin’s slink into Big D this week, to be folded, spindled and mutilated by the hot-pistol Cowboys. Sure, they lost to Philly this week, but so has everyone else this year. They played well, and if Prescott gives Cooper the bum’s Rush and returns under center, let the pigeons loose! Don’t think Dallas didn’t watch closely what New England did to Danny Cam’s high-scoring team two weeks ago. In a battle of Silver & Blue’s, Dallas is amused while the Lions get abused.
Giants at Jaguars – Okay, I’m onboard now that the Giants have transformed themselves from the Islip garbage skow into the Long Island Express. This won’t be the week the Big Blue Machine grinds to a halt in Florida. Again, teams that believe in themselves are very dangerous. The Jags aren’t there yet, although talented and improving. This Giants streak is going to fall back to earth sooner or later, but it won’t be at the hands of a lesser team, methinks. Big Blue spots and pots the Jaguars.
Colts at Titans – 58 pass attempts. No INTs. Fifty-eight! Matty Heisman was a pitching machine last week, like the old Iron Byron that MLB used to deploy. No JT to puncture the opposing D, so air was the only attack method open. The Titans are better than their stat-ratings, even though DeWreck Henry is averaging less yardage than he normally does. Titans at home are always tougher than a cubed steak, and they CAN get after a QB. Even if Tornado Taylor makes it back this week, my gut says Tennessee Titans their grip on the division.
Packers at Commanders – Is this the week Green Bay beats a team they should beat? Dunno, because we are about to witness the second unleashing of Taylor Heinicke as Carson Wentz back to the bench. If the Packers will just rely on the run game to set up the pass game, they should win a number of games. But so far they haven’t seen the light, and Rodgers just keeps trying to sling it to receivers who aren’t there. DC stinks, but they don’t lay down. Neither team is good against the run, and both can maul the passer. The Pack has fallen back, but this week they end the streak. Say Cheese!
Jets at Broncos – A tale of two Mr. Wilsons this week, but both look more like Dennis the Menace under center. Similar passer ratings in the 70’s, QB ratings below 100 and eating a lot of grass. The Broncs have a stout defense that gives them a shot in games, but….the Jets are rapidly becoming an even better defense than Denver, with their carnivorous pass rush, meat grinder run defense, AND the Terrible Twos at cornerback, DJ Reed and Saucy Sauce Gardner. Mile High? Hell, the Jets invented the Mile High Club. Green crushes the Orange
Texans at Raiders – Two 1-win wonders lock horns. Both can run the ball, and one can stop the run (Vegas), with a theological paradox named Divine Deablo (heavenly devil). If McDaniels’ desert pirates can’t pull a home win out of Lovie’s Lonestar Steers, they need to bring John Gruden back. Will Dameon Pierce the endzone this week? Bet on it, but if Carr can get in gear, everything will come up cherries for Lost Wages. In Vegas, the house wins.
Seahawks at Chargers – Boy, that was an UGLY win over Denver last week. The Bolts are collecting all these ‘fingernail’ wins, which makes me think they aren’t for real next to teams like KC and Buffalo. Seattle flaps into LA without a lot of good happening for them either, and between Ekeler, Allen and Herbert, the Chargers should hold on for another unsightly victory. The homeless Bolts collect a ‘home’ win off the homely ‘Hawks.
Chiefs at Niners – San Fran is coming off a drubbing by Atlanta, while the Chiefs got defeathered by Buffalo last week, in this Super Bowl rematch. Frisco is better on defense than offense currently, and their lockdown corner Charvarius ‘Maximum Security’ Ward knows his former team well. Deebo will provide matchup problems for Andy Reid’s powwow, but on the whole Shanahan’s offense doesn’t strike fear, even with Kittle coming off his best outing this year. Travis Kelce will do what Travis Kelce does, Mahomes is due for a bounceback after Buffalo, and Jimmy G is overdue for an injury, if the planets aren’t misaligned. Warbonnets warrant a win.
Steelers at Dolphins – Pittsburgh was punching above their weight last week when they stole the eyepatch from Tampa’s Jolly Roger. Give them props, because there is no quit in them. When Pickens went down, up popped Trubisky to wrap the win. Tua is back this week for the floundering Fish, and that bodes well, as his 9-yard per completion average before getting conked was his best to date. Their horrible pass defense needs to improve, but probably won’t be sorely tested this week by Trubisky. Steelers get schooled by the Fish.
Bears at Patriots – Don’t worry, Be Zappe. Young Bailey went on the road to tough Cleveland last week, and looked like a seasoned veteran, slipping rushers and waiting for receivers to come open as he disassembled the Browns with pinpoint passing. Bill & Steve Belichick’s defense clamped down hard on Cleveland’s top-rated rushing game, denying the Browns the endzone until the very end of regulation. The Bears looked like a pickup team playing sandlot ball against the feckless Collanders in an embarrassment of a home loss that even the coaches had to find hard to watch. Chicago blunders into a huge Bear trap on MNF. CLANGG!
Enjoy the games!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nate Clark)