The biggest story in the NFL this season has been injuries and playing through pain – most notably the large number of concussions occurring on just about every roster.
The division that has been the hit the hardest has been the NFC Central.
Most recently, there’s an expectation two concussed NFC quarterbacks will be starting this weekend – that being Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
But the pain doesn’t stop with these two teams, as Detroit lost QB Matthew Stafford in Week 1 and Minnesota’s Brett Favre has been battling elbow tendinitis this season, too.
It’s a year of playing through pain – and that doesn’t change with my picks. I’m not playing through pain, but my numbers may tell otherwise.
OK, fine…perhaps some mental anguish is peppered in there and here are the gory details.
Last Week: 6-8
Once again, it’s time to “Pick Your Knows”… the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here is the Week 6 schedule (spreads as they appear through CBSSports.com).
National Football League Week 6 Picks Against the Spread
San Diego Chargers at St. Louis Rams (+8.5)
The Chargers have struggled on the road, but the Rams just lost its top receiving target in Mark Clayton for the season. San Diego is near the top of the league in both overall offense and defense, so they find a way to cover on the road against the Rams.
KP’s Pick: San Diego
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-2.5)
The Patriots are coming off a bye and will be seeking revenge against a Ravens team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year. Moss may be gone, but Brady has other targets. Pats get revenge and cover at home, but barely.
KP’s Pick: New England
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
Andy Reid announced that Kevin Kolb will start this weekend and while Kolb showed some positive signs last week, the Falcons are a much better team right now than San Francisco was last week. Expect the Falcons to win outright on the road.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5)
Colt McCoy gets the start for the Browns, and while Cleveland may toss in some wildcat with Cribbs, this is still a tough challenge on the road against a Steelers team that has great defense, and once again Big Ben at QB. Pittsburgh covers at home.
KP’s Pick: Pittsburgh
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5)
Tampa Bay may be 3-1, but I credit last week’s victory more towards Cincinnati’s stupidity, even though the Bucs did hang around all game. Come Sunday, it’s another blacked out home game – and this time against a Saints team that has to be ticked off after losing to the Cards. Expect that aggression to be taken out on the field. Saints cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: New Orleans
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-6.5)
We aren’t sure what to expect from Cutler, who likely will return from a concussion. That, plus the Seahawks are ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in total sacks, so expect Pete Carroll to exploit Mike Martz and the Bears’ struggling o-line. Take Seattle and the points.
KP’s Pick: Seattle
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-9.5)
It’s tough to pick against the Giants with the way they are playing the last few weeks, plus the fact that New York will be at home. The Lions are an improved bunch in 2010, but the red-hot Giants have too many weapons to not take this one by two scores at home.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
Miami Dolphins at Green Bay Packers (-3.5)
It appears that Aaron Rodgers will play, even after suffering a concussion last week at Washington. Still, Miami is a talented team and Green Bay has a slew of other injuries, most notably Clay Mathews and Jermichael Finley. Take the Dolphins and the points.
KP’s Pick: Miami
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (-4.5)
Even after holding Peyton Manning to 0 TD passes last week, the Chiefs continue to get no respect. Kansas City is for real, but this week will be tough as Houston sports a top five rushing defense in the NFL. I still think KC keeps it close – Chiefs and the points.
KP’s Pick: Kansas City
Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)
Believe it or not, the Raiders are ranked in the top ten in rushing offense. Coming off a win against San Diego, expect Oakland to try and control the clock, while forcing Alex Smith to beat them in the passing game. Expect a close game, perhaps decided by a late field goal.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
New York Jets at Denver Broncos (+3.5)
The Broncos only have 5 sacks on the season (good for 31st in the NFL). That should give Mark Sanchez plenty of time to move the ball around to New York’s bevy of weapons.
KP’s Pick: New York Jets
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (-1.5)
Minnesota played great in the second half against the Jets last Monday night. Brett Favre’s elbow is a concern, but overall, everyone knows he’ll play through pain – and likely throw a bunch more balls in Randy’s direction. Vikes send the Cowboys to 1-4.
KP’s Pick: Minnesota
Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins (+3.5)
The Redskins have played well against good teams and get Indy at home. Still, Indy’s rush defense has been its Achilles heel, and the Redskins don’t have much of a rushing attack. Expect Peyton and Co. to carve up Washington’s pass D – and cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: Indianapolis
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5)
This game features two of the best running games in the NFL, as Maurice Jones-Drew takes on Chris Johnson and the Titans. I expect Vince Young and the passing game to also get involved, and carve up the Jacksonville pass defense. Titans take it on Monday night.
KP’s Pick: Tennessee
Bye Week: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona and Carolina