NFL Top Games to Watch: Week 6
Oct 5, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (21) breaks up a pass to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
After a comeback filled week five in the National Football League, the league is on to week six where we start to see many teams shape their future in a critical month of the season. Often times this stretch of the season will make or break many teams throughout the league. This week’s slate is chalk full all of divisional games; in fact over fifty percent of the games this week are divisional matchups. Matchups are a little uneven this week, but as always there should be a few good games to catch as watch football with your families this weekend. Here are the top three games to watch in week six of the NFL.
Detroit Lions (3-2) at Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
Some people may shake their heads at this one but this could be a great match up. Only a game separates Detroit and Minnesota and the Vikings will be looking to have Teddy Bridgewater back in at quarterback this week. In his start against Atlanta, Bridgewater lead an offense that committed no turnovers and put up forty points. That same outcome isn’t likely against a stout Lions defense but his efficiency could be the difference maker against such an inconsistent squad in Detroit. Expect the Vikings to grind it out with Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon as much as possible to take the pressure off of Teddy to win the game. Minnesota must take advantage of every opportunity given to them in this contest, and if they achieve that they could come out with a win in this football game. Detroit on the other hand saw yet another chance to jump ahead in the division crumble away in the 4th quarter just like it did against Carolina. This football team desperately needs to find their offensive consistency which largely revolves around the health of Calvin Johnson who may not play in this one due to an ankle injury. Johnson is the primary end zone target for Matt Stafford which could be a big reason for their lack of scoring lately. Divisional contests are always full of emotion and two teams coming off of tough losses should be playing with some fire in their hearts, this should be a good game.
Prediction: Bridgewater keeps the Lions honest, but Detroit steals a victory on the road; Detroit 28 Minnesota 24
Chicago Bears (2-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
One of the few non divisional match ups this week features two NFC teams coming off tough losses looking to re-solidify themselves as potential playoff candidates in the Bears and Falcons. Both teams feature highly potent offenses capable at scoring at a moment’s notice, and both teams also carry weaker defensive units. That means we could have a good ol’ fashioned shootout on our hands in this one. The Bears and Jay Cutler have to hope Brandon Marshall and Jermon Bushrod are both fully healthy this week so they can more consistently put up points. The Falcons have a particularly weak secondary that should be easily torched by the dynamic trio of Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Matt Forte. Chicago just needs to put up their points and hope that their defense plays a little better than Atlanta’s does, but that will be tough against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. The Falcons are void of a run game but they could see that get going against an abysmal Bears defense. Julio Jones is likely to have himself quite the ball game against a beat up young secondary in Chicago which should also open up plenty of field for Roddy White to do his thing as well. The Falcons just have to prevent themselves from becoming one dimensional and they should have plenty of offensive success in this one. Defensively though this team is going to struggle unless they can generate some consistent pressure on to Cutler and take Forte out of the equation. These two teams could easily be fighting for the last wildcard spot come December and should have it all out on table in this week’s match up.
Prediction: These teams have screamed inconsistency all year. The winner will be the team that makes less mistakes and in this one I see that being the Chicago Bears in a close high scoring game; Chicago 35 Atlanta 31
New York Giants (3-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)
Yet another divisional match up and one that almost always is a good game to watch as we watch the Giants take on the division leading Eagles. The Giants and Eli Manning have looked pretty impressive over the last few weeks are looking to keep the trend going on Sunday night. As other teams have seen, taking out LeSean McCoy early has seemed to be the recipe for defensive success against Philly, so expect the Giants to consistently have seven to eight guys in the box to snuff out McCoy. The Giants will also look to beat down on the Eagles beat up offensive line and put the pressure on quarterback Nick Foles. Offensively the Giants have to tread cautiously, as the Eagles defense has played much better than last season. While the birds still give up a ton of yards, their pass rushing and forced turnovers have spiked this year and the Giants know this. Expect them to hit a heavy dose of Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz over the top as the Giants look to pick apart the Eagles defense in this one. Philadelphia has been somewhat underwhelming over the last few weeks, struggling to put up any consistent offensive production and squandering away big leads. The source of the problem is the battered offensive line and the current “slump” of McCoy. The Eagles offense runs through the talented running back that needs his pro bowl lineman back to pave lanes. Until that happens the Eagles are going to struggle especially against good rush defenses like the Giants. Philly has to master the fast paced attack in this game against a speedy pass rush, so expect a lot of bubble screens and plenty of Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin in this one. Former Eagle DeSean Jackson always had the Giants number, so it will be interesting to see who steps up for them now that he is gone. The defense has to focus on stuffing Jennings and making Eli make the mistakes he hasn’t made in a few weeks. If they can rattle his cage in the first ever “Black Sunday” game for Philly it could be all that they need.
Prediction: These games are always fun to watch, and with the “blackout” at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday the atmosphere should be electric; New York 28 Philadelphia 35
There you have it folks the top three games to watch this week in the NFL. This week features plenty of divisional action as well as some playoff potential match ups that could be some great fun to watch as you catch the games with your families, friends, and loved ones this weekend. Hopefully your favorite team pulls out the victory in week six of the 2014 NFL season!
Joe Kleine is also co-host of the finsradio.com show The Direct Snap, alongside fellow host Tyler McMullen. Please check our Facebook and Twitter