NFL: Week 6 Games To Watch
All picks are straight up.
San Francisco 49ers (4-1) at Detroit Lions (5-0)
Danny Lee: Lions 24, 49ers 21 - The team that protects the ball will come out on top in this encounter between two physical defenses that are among the best in the league in winning the turnover battle. Detroit playing at home and having some guy named Megatron to feed the ball to gives it the slight advantage.
Jeremy Bergman: 49ers - Last year, this game would have garnered less attention than a bowling tournament. But coming into Week 6, these teams are grabbing headlines. This contest looks pretty even, but two things stand out.
First, Alex Smith, who was one step from being JaMarcus-Russelled last year, has thrown only one interception through five weeks, and in the meantime has amassed a passer rating of 104.1. Also, Detroit's supposed stonewall D-line got shredded by Matt Forte and a weak Chicago O-line last week for over 100 yards. Frank Gore and the Niner offense will find its way in this one and deliver Detroit its first loss of the season.
Aaron Fischman: Lions - The 49ers are 4-1 and could easily be undefeated if not for a heroic Week 2 performance by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Many people forget that San Francisco is tied for second in defensive takeaways, just two takeaways behind the Buffalo Bills, who have recorded 16 in five games thus far. Now that I'm done praising the Niners, I should say that I expect the Lions to win this game. Simply put, Detroit is a more complete team.
Ryan Nunez: Lions - San Francisco has come a long way in a short time this season and they deserve a whole lot more respect than they are about to get. Unless the game starts off with a San Fran kickoff return to the house, they should be coming from behind all day and I can't see them coming out of this one with a win.
Buffalo Bills (4-1) at New York Giants (3-2)
Bergman: Giants - In a rematch of the epic Super Bowl XXV, the Bills circle their wagons downstate to face schizophrenic Big Blue. The Giants laid an egg last week at home against a homely Seahawks team, following up magnificent catches with miserable fumbles - cough, cough Victor Cruz. But in typical Giants fashion, I expect them to rebound from an embarrassing loss, squeak by the Bills, and keep us guessing - who the hell are the New York Giants?
Fischman: Giants - For Neon Tommy picks involving the 2011 Bills, I have been wrong two-thirds of the time. In addition, I'm 0-1 in predicting Giants games this season. However, I'm 17-4 when I pick games involving teams other than the Bills or Giants. Why are you guys doing this to me? I’m going with the Giants. I think? Yeah, I guess. Whatever.
Nunez: Bills - Much like Detroit, its time to start drinking the Buffalo Kool-Aid. His Ring aside, Eli is Eli, prone to turnovers and putting himself ahead of Ahmad Bradshaw on the offensive pecking order, and things come to a head in the apple with a devastating loss to the Bills.
Carolina Panthers (1-4) at Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
Bergman: The Newtons - The NFL hasn’t seen a quarterback as dynamic and exciting as Cam Newton since Atlanta drafted a certain VaTech dynamo first overall in 2001. The Falcons will try to be the first team to slow down the Newton Express on Sunday; but, wiith Atlanta already in a bit of turmoil, I smell upset.
Fischman: Falcons - All four of Carolina's losses have come by seven points or less. For that reason, I am still not convinced that the Panthers can win a close intra-divisional game like I expect this one to be. They just haven't learned how to close quite yet.
Nunez: Panthers - This interdivision matchup looks like Atlanta's to lose before you factor in Cam Newton. After? Who knows, but it has been fun watching Cam every week. Assuming Atlanta keeps playing uninspired ball, this looks like the stage for Cam Newton's first signature win. Carolina in a shootout feels right.
Houston Texans (3-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Bergman: Ravens - Add injury to injury. With Williams and Johnson out, Houston has lost its star defensive player and offensive anchor. To replace Johnson, Houston desperately traded for veteran Derrick Mason; but it won’t be enough to knock off the best (and most-balanced) team in the AFC in Baltimore.
Fischman: Ravens - It is interesting that the Texans have acquired longtime Raven Derrick Mason (from the Jets) just in time for him to face his old team. With Baltimore's defense playing extremely well and the Texans still missing their star receiver Andre Johnson, it looks like the Ravens will emerge victorious. Baltimore figures to be rested coming out of their bye week. And oh yeah…the Texans have only won only two of their last seven games, in which Andre Johnson has caught six passes or less. Including zero.
Nunez: Texans - Reports are saying that Schaub is dinged right as he comes into the rematch of last season’s epic Baltimore win. The expansion Texans have never beaten the Ravens. This is the week that Schaub and Co. get it done. Arian Foster snaps runs at will because Baltimore defense isn't what it was, even 11 months ago.
New Orleans Saints (4-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Bergman: Saints - The Bucs have looked lost so far this season, playing below the expectations that they set after last year's surprise performance. After squeaking by the Colts' AAA-affiliate and getting mauled by the 49ers, I am starting to lose faith in Raheem Morris and his control over this young team. Their 10-6 season in 2011 is beginning to look more an overambitious mirage than a promising beginning; and the Saints will let them know.
Fischman: Saints - Tampa Bay is not nearly as bad as its 48-3 loss last week would suggest, but how can a team recover after such a miserable performance, especially when it is lining up against the Saints?
Nunez: Saints - After the thrashing San Fran gave Tampa last weekend, I don’t know what to think of them. I’ll take New Orleans by default and assume that Tampa stinks.
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