Week 6 has arrived and we have an assortment of terrific matchups, including a monster NFC North tilt between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, along with Mitchell Trubisky’s second career start — this time against the Baltimore Ravens’ rugged defense.
Yet neither make our bold predictions list, which is full of surprises this week. Let’s dive in!
1. Deshaun Watson totals five more touchdowns
Watson has put together a two-game stretch for the ages. The Houston Texans‘ rookie quarterback has amassed nine touchdowns with just one interception, looking more like a seasoned All-Pro than a baby-faced 22-year-old. Now, he gets a Cleveland Browns defense that has been gashed in the aerial attack, surrendering an NFL-worst 112.4 rating to opposing quarterbacks. Watson should eat.
It’s the longest drought in the league, dating back to 2013, and Abdullah — a shifty runner who runs through contact — nearly broke it two weeks ago. The New Orleans Saints give up 4.5 yards per carry and with Detroit wanting to keep the ball out of Drew Brees‘ hands, the running game should be a key factor.
Give Bowles a ton of credit: He has already won three more games than I thought he would all year, and he’s doing it with a roster devoid of offensive talent. Consider that Josh McCown is throwing to Jermaine Kearse as his top threat because Sheldon Richardson was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks before the season even began. Now, New England comes to the Meadowlands, angry and tired of playing subpar defense. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady had a mini-bye, meaning they will be even more prepared than normal. Translation: This fight for the AFC East will be a disaster for the home team.
The league’s second and third leading rushers are matched up against one another in a surprisingly good game Sunday. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams have young, fast, extremely athletic defenses. Just ask the Seahawks or the Steelers about it, their two latest victims. Le’Veon Bell for example, managed just 47 yards last week in Pittsburgh’s 30-9 home defeat to Jacksonville. The beauty of Gurley and Fournette is their ideal blend of speed, quickness and toughness. This game however, feels like an old fashioned slugfest — a 17-10 type of affair — and I don’t think either back will ever get on track.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers upset the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead
With Ben Roethlisberger coming off a career-worst five-interception outing, it would simply be too easy to assume he will turn in another dud on the road. Remember, Big Ben is 5-1 all-time against the Chiefs, and he’s always been a guy who thrives with his back against the wall. This is hardly a “must-win” for him — the Steelers are 3-2 after all — but it certainly feels that way. KC is legit, and they are an excellent home team, but I like Mike Tomlin finding a way to motivate his troops on the road and pull the upset. Expect a ton of pressure on MVP candidate Alex Smith and at least a concentrated early effort to limit Kareem Hunt, the NFL’s leading rusher.
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