The coming weekend in the NFL is not a terrific one, but there are a few games that jump off the page.
What’s at stake? In games not mentioned below, the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, who were a combined 15-33 last season, will each try to attain a 4-2 record. As for the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, they’ll duel for first place in the incredibly weak NFC East. Lastly, the game of the week features the 4-1 New England Patriots hosting the undefeated New Orleans Saints in what could shockingly be a defensive showdown.
Here’s the rundown for Week 6:
Top Three Must-See Games of the Week:
1. Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
The Packers are coming off a win, but they didn’t perform anywhere near how they’d like to on offense. Aaron Rodgers must feel that he has some unfinished business to attend to. The Packers (2-2) are just beginning to try to climb to the top of the NFC North, and they have hardly established themselves as the team to beat in the division. They are nowhere close to the form they displayed when they won Super Bowl XLV in the 2010 season and then went 15-1 in the 2011 season. This is an important contest against the defending Super Bowl champions from Baltimore, who have revived themselves by winning against the Dolphins in Miami. Baltimore’s offense isn’t operating at full strength, but the team’s defense has fared better than expected in the absence of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
2. Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers
While Robert Griffin III has been injured and Colin Kaepernick has struggled, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson — also second-year quarterbacks — took the stage this past Sunday and put on a show. Luck outdueled Wilson to establish himself as the best of the NFL’s young quarterbacks. Luck is cutting down on turnovers, which is great news for the Colts as they prepare for a Monday Night Football game on the road. San Diego has shown flashes of brilliance this season, and the Chargers will be quite intent on making a statement on national television a week after disappointing in a late-night game against the Oakland Raiders.
3. New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
This is the biggest and best game of the weekend. The Saints are the only unbeaten team in the NFC, while the Patriots figure to be in the mix for the AFC title in the middle of January. This is also a matchup between Drew Brees and Tom Brady, two of the top quarterbacks in football. The key matchup is New Orleans’ defense against New England’s struggling offense. New England is a three-point favorite on the NFL odds.
Biggest Underdog With Reasonable Chance to Win: Baltimore Ravens
It is hard to be too confident in the Green Bay Packers as a three-point favorite over Baltimore this weekend — not when the Packers are 0-2 on the road, and not when Baltimore has just won two straight games to move to 3-2 on the season. Green Bay’s offense is not crisp at the moment, and Baltimore is confident.
Also, it’s surprising to see the Ravens as a home underdog at Bovada because they are 35-7 in their last 42 games at home. They have one of the league’s most underrated home-field advantages.
Best Suicide Pool Pick of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals
There’s definitely some temptation to use Denver this week, but it may be better to save them for when the going gets tough later in the season. Instead, roll the dice with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Two weeks ago, the Bengals came off an impressive home win over the Green Bay Packers and then produced a clunker on the road against a team that was perceived as weak (the Cleveland Browns, starting a third-string quarterback in Brian Hoyer). The Bengals are again coming off an impressive home win (this time against the New England Patriots), and they’re again going on the road to face a weak team (Buffalo Bills) and starting at third-string quarterback (Thad Lewis). This time, they won’t let down their guard, and they’ll get the win.
Teams Used: Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams