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NFL Week 6 Preview with Game Odds and Insight

The Giants kept it close on Thursday night, but things ended as we expected. The Bears were able to hold off a fourth quarter surge by the Giants, leaving them an unbelievable 0-6 for the first time since 1976. As for the rest of the league, here’s what’s on tap this weekend.

Two weeks ago the Bengals went into Cleveland to play a team that was starting a rookie quarterback and going through a bunch of internal issues. Everyone, including us, thought that the Bengals would beat up on the Browns badly and keep up their winning streak. However, when they fell flat on their face, it only made their win last week against New England even more surprising. It looks as if the Bengals have played to their competition this year. Their wins have come against Super Bowl winners in Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, but they’ve lost to Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer. This weekend they’ll head to Buffalo to take on Thad Lewis and the Bills. Lewis will get his second NFL start in place of an injured E.J. Manuel. In his first game, Lewis was unable to keep up with the Browns as the Bills lost 37-24. The Bengals are the favorites in this game, but what we’ve seen from them this season, they certainly shouldn’t think this one is in the bag. The Bills did show that they can score, so the Bengals will need to get out early if they plan to walk away with a win in this one.

Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo Bills

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A lot of eyes will be focused on the matchup between Green Bay and Baltimore this weekend. The Packers are a slight favorite, but the Ravens may deserve more credit than they are getting. The two losses for the Ravens this year have come to the Broncos in a blowout and the Bills in a 3-point decision. Aside from that, considering they have beat the Browns, Texans and Dolphins, the Ravens don’t look nearly as bad as first thought after their opening night loss. The Packers, on the other hand, are 2-2 and are still a bit of a confusing team to predict. Their wins came against Washington and Detroit, but their losses to Cincinnati and San Francisco are enough to realize that Green Bay certainly isn’t a dominating team. The Packers will also be without Clay Mathews this weekend, sure to the relief of Joe Flacco. Considering this one is at home for Baltimore, it’s a toss up for who we expect to come away with the win. And while a win would be great for the Packers, it would also be a huge step for the Ravens who find themselves in a surprisingly difficult AFC North division.

Green Bay Packers
Baltimore Ravens

Speaking of the AFC North, how about them Browns? Cleveland fans are probably soaking up the enjoyment of having a team in the lead of their division this late in the season for the first time in over a decade. If the Browns can find a way to beat Detroit this weekend, their legitimacy will have to be reevaluated. Sure, it’s possible that the Browns are just on a hot streak after trading away Trent Richardson and juggling starting quarterbacks. But Detroit is a legit team in their own right, and a win over the Lions would be a great mark for the Browns’ resume. Detroit is favored in this game, but it’s only by 2.5. A few weeks ago, many would’ve assumed that these odds would’ve been much different. But the Browns are hot as of late and it’s hard to bet against a hot team. On the other hand, the Lions are coming off a big loss to Green Bay and the status of Calvin Johnson is still in the air. One thing to note for the Browns is that Brian Hoyer, the rookie quarterback who was instrumental in their winning streak, won’t be playing due to a torn ligament in his knee. Despite the seriously bad luck for someone who was just getting his chance in the NFL, Browns fans may also not be too happy considering the lack of success they have had under Brandon Weedon. Weedon will get the start this weekend and will try his best to keep things rolling for the Browns.

The line is currently not available.

The Vikings are coming off a bye week that was preceded by their first win of the season. During this two week period, they also added Josh Freeman to their roster and have complicated things at the quarterback position. Matt Cassel is still going to get the starting nod this weekend, but he’ll have pressure on him to run up a Carolina squad that is having troubles of their own. Three weeks ago we said that if the Panthers could beat the Giants, they could possibly turn around their 0-2 start with a relatively easy stretch in their schedule coming up. Well, they did blow out the Giants and then went into their bye week with momentum. And then they came out and fell flat against the Cardinals in last weeks 22-6 loss. Now with the momentum that the Vikings have, we don’t see it possible that Carolina will win this one, especially on the road. Minnesota is only a slight favorite over the Panthers, but there are so many other factors that go into this game that could make for an interesting one. Look for Cassel to do his best to run up the scoreboard and for Adrian Peterson to run all over the Panthers defense. And if Cam Newton can’t keep up, we’ve seen how quickly the Panthers can fold.

The line is currently not available.

The Texans may be the happiest team going into this weekend. Coming off a three game losing streak, they now welcome an equally unimpressive St. Louis to town with open arms. Granted the Rams are coming off a victory against Jacksonville last weekend, but no team should consider a win against the Jags as a huge moral victory. Instead, Houston will look to take the 8-point advantage that they are expected to have and get back to winning. One thing to keep an eye out for might be the status of Matt Schaub. It’s nearly unimaginable that T.J. Yates would replace the former Pro Bowler, but if Schaub doesn’t step up his game it could happen. Schaub has looked bad the last few weeks and pressure is starting to build in Houston. A loss to the Rams would be detrimental to the remainder of the season for the Texans. But a win would put them back at .500 and keep them in the conversation of the AFC South. Sure, a win for the Rams would also put them at .500 and back in contention in the NFC West, but it’s much more likely that the Texans will find themselves there instead.

St. Louis Rams
Houston Texans

The Chiefs will look to stay perfect in their first AFC West divisional game this weekend against the Raiders. And against Oakland, they have the perfect chance to do just that. The Chiefs may be one of the more surprising teams this season. Sure, adding Alex Smith and Andy Reid can do wonders for any team, but to start 5-0 was probably unimaginable by anyone in the league. Nonetheless, they will gladly welcome the 2-3 Raiders to town and hope to flex their power in the AFC. Don’t forget that the Raiders lost to Denver 3 weeks ago by a score of 37-21, so it might be interesting to see if the Chiefs try and make a statement by racking up more points than that. The Chiefs are a 10-point favorite on Sunday, which is certainly a respectful line for a team that has started the season so well. Terrelle Pryor had a decent game last week and will look to continue that this weekend as well. However with the Chiefs fourth ranked passing defense, Pryor will need to bring his A+ game. The Chiefs will certainly get the best from every team that they play while they remain undefeated, but we don’t expect Oakland to win this one. Plus, we really would like to see two undefeated teams square off against each other when the Chiefs visit Denver in week 11. Sure, it’s still a long way away, but it’d be a heck of a storyline if it worked out that way.

203 Raiders(Oakland)
+350 ML
+8 (-110) o41 (-110)
204 Chiefs(KansasCity)
-440 ML
-8 (-110)  u41 (-110)

Despite a 3-2 record, the Jets aren’t considered a huge favorite over the winless Steelers. In many pools, the game is a pickem game that could go either way. The Jets may not enjoy hearing this, as they are in second place in their division and the Steelers haven’t done much of anything this year. However, even with their record, the Steelers still have Big Ben in the backfield, making them a formidable opponent every weekend. With another loss, a 0-6 start would be the worst beginning to a season in 45-years for the Steelers, who find themselves with the same questions as teams like the Giants and Falcons. It’s nearly unimaginable that a team with such talent could have such a bad record, but it’s proving to not matter this year. Nonetheless, the close line on this game makes it a hard one to call and it could go either way.

Pittsburgh Steelers
New York Jets

The Eagles will look to ‘keep things rolling’ as they face off against a winless Tampa Bay team. After a tough stretch against AFC West opponents in which they went 0-3, the Eagles find themselves now at 2-3 and tied atop the NFC East. Granted, the NFC East isn’t much to talk about this year, but a win this weekend would keep them in prime position for the playoffs.  Especially considering the fact that they are tied with the Cowboys, and the two teams will match up against one another next weekend. Despite the winless season for the Bucs, the odds makers haven’t completely ruled them out of this one. This game, like the one mentioned in the preceding paragraph, is also a pickem with little inclination as to who could win. While the Eagles are looking to make a run and pad their record, the Bucs are looking for a change of emotion inside their locker room. Not only are they on a terrible slide, but they also let go of their starting quarterback last week and the team doesn’t appear to have much direction. However, until we know whether or not Michael Vick will be starting, there seems to be too many factors that go into this game. Nonetheless, it should be an interesting one to watch and see how it shapes the rest of the season for each team.

Philadelphia Eagles
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We mentioned earlier that the Texans may be the most excited team in the NFL this weekend, but the Broncos may have some of the most excited fans as Denver takes on Jacksonville. Despite a bit of a scare last weekend against Dallas, the Broncos have been on a roll this season, largely in part because of Peyton Manning and that overwhelming offense. Although Manning would surely like to keep playing tough teams that test the prowess of the Broncos, playing one of the worst teams in the league will be a nice chance for the Broncos to work on things that they need to prepare for before playing Manning’s old team, the Colts, next weekend. Big news hit earlier this week when it was noted that the Broncos are  a 27-point favorite over the Jags this weekend, the largest spread in NFL history. However, with the continual offensive numbers that the Broncos have put up, and the lack of success that the Jags have had, this number may seem more logical than unreasonable. And considering the game is in Denver, it’s unlikely that the fans will want the Broncos to let up from putting a beating on the winless Jags.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos

One of the more interesting games to watch this weekend could be the game between the Titans and the Seahawks. Both teams are coming off losses last weekend, but are still looking to keep in the conversation of some of the best teams in the league. The problem for the Titans is that they don’t seem to be playing nearly as well with Ryan Fitzpatrick as they did with Jake Locker. The other problem may be in the fact that they are playing a Seattle team that probably isn’t very happy that they just lost their first game in the last 10-regular season attempts. The Seahawks are nearly a two-touchdown favorite in this one, which goes to show how highly people think of their squad. The fact of the matter may be that without Locker the Titans don’t have enough firepower to keep up with Seattle. Add in the realization that it’s very unlikely the Seahawks would lose twice in a row and this game may be a lock for the home team.

Tennessee Titans
Seattle Seahawks

Strap on your seatbelts and hope for a high-scoring affair if you are watching the Saints and Patriots on Sunday. Sure, the Patriots don’t have the offensive weapons that the Saints have, but they are still the Patriots nonetheless. And coming off their first loss of the season, you can bet on the fact that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won’t want to make it two in a row. The only problem is that Sean Payton and Drew Brees look to be having too much fun in New Orleans as they have started the season 5-0. Despite the records, New England is the favorite in this game, but only by a slight margin. In all reality, the best case scenario will be a huge scoring game where both teams light up the scoreboard and fans are on the edge of their seat the entire game. It’s always fun watching some two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks go at it, so we have high expectations for a high scoring game in the Saints and Patriots game.

225 Saints(NewOrleans)
+1.5 (-110) o51.5 (-110)
226 Patriots(NewEngland)
-1.5 (-110) u51.5 (-110)

Add the 49ers to that list of teams that are happy to be playing at home this weekend. It shouldn’t go forgotten that just a few weeks ago the 49ers had a ton of problems in their own right and people were questioning if this team can make another Super Bowl run. But after back-to-back wins against the Rams and Texans, the 49ers hope to keep the momentum going this weekend against the Cardinals. Granted the Cardinals are on their own two game win streak, with victories over Tampa Bay and Carolina. But in retrospect, the competition seemed to be a bit more difficult for the 49ers. This may be the reason that San Francisco is nearly a two-touchdown favorite over the Cardinals. And although we expect them to win this weekend, that spread may be just a bit too high. We need to see just a bit more from Colin Kaepernick and company before we go accepting large scale predictions from the 49ers, like we come to expect from the Broncos or Seahawks. Either way, the 49ers should be a safe bet this weekend.

Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers

While the Redskins are coming off a bye week that was preceded with a victory over the Raiders, the Cowboys will be playing this weekend after a heartbreaking loss in a shootout against the Broncos last weekend. The Redskins started out with issues, but maybe, just maybe, they are finally getting things rolling. RGIII finally got a win and then had a week to relish in it, while also resting up and recuperating. On the other hand, Dallas will likely rebound this week in one of two ways. Either they will look defeated after such a heartbreaking loss last weekend, or they will have confidence and momentum after going toe-to-toe with a Super Bowl contending team like the Broncos. The odds makers seems to think that its likely to be the latter, as the Cowboys are a touchdown favorite over the Redskins. Throw in the fact that this game is in Dallas and that this matchup is one of the best divisional rivals in all of football, no matter their records, we hope to be in for a good one in primetime on Sunday evening.

Washington Redskins
Dallas Cowboys

Before week 6 is all over, the Colts and Chargers will go at it on Monday Night Football. Say what you will about the Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers or Chiefs, the Colts are proving that they are a team to be reckoned with this year. The Colts are coming off three straight wins and, in truth, have looked legit in all five of their games this year. Their win last weekend over the Seahawks may have been the most eye-opening victory of the season, as Andrew Luck was able to outplay his sophomore counterpart in Russell Wilson. One of the biggest issues that Indy may have to watch out for this weekend is to not get ahead of themselves. Next weekend may be one of the most anticipated and emotional games as Denver plays host to Peyton Mannings old team. But the way to make that game even more exciting will be for the Colts to handle business on Monday against the Chargers. With the Colts getting some of the most coverage they have since the Manning era, we will see how they handle the bright lights of Monday night. The Chargers are no stranger to primetime football. They’ve already played on Sunday night a few times this season, although their success hasn’t been anything to boast about. The Chargers have had a roller coaster season so far, exchanging wins and loses with each passing weekend. This game is listed as a pickem as well, but we can’t help but like Indy’s chances. The Colts will be looking to make a statement on Monday, which may be bad news for Phillip Rivers and company. Either way, we’re sure that the Chargers AFC West rival Broncos, along with the rest of the football world, will be watching on Monday.

The Falcons and Dolphins both have bye weeks this weekend, which probably couldn’t come at a better time for each team. After a loss on Monday night, and some serious chatter in the locker room, the Falcons are trying their hardest to not hit the panic button on their season. And while it may be getting dangerously close, a bye-week may be just what the doctor ordered. As for the Dolphins, they started out the season white hot, before being derailed the last two weeks. They’ll take the time this weekend to regroup and prepare for Buffalo next week.

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