The NFC East race could take a pivotal turn this week with each team taking on a formidable opponent. The Cowboys face the daunting task of traveling to New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Giants face Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and the surprising Bills. Finally, the Redskins and Eagles face off in a division matchup that is a must win for Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, in the “Pick Your Knows” department, I wouldn’t go as far to call this a must win situation, but being a hair below the .500 mark on the year, I clearly need to get my act together, even after two positive weeks in a row.
Last Week: 7-6
This Season: 38-39
Last Season: 144-112
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 6’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appear through CBSSports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2011 NFL Week 6 Picks Against the Spread
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-4.5)
Cam Newton and the Carolina offense continue to put up gaudy statistics, yet are unable to consistently get into the win column. This week, the Panthers get a Falcons team that is underachieving. Normally, Atlanta and Matt Ryan are a guaranteed win at home, but the Falcons pass defense has given up the fifth most passing yards per game. Cam keeps this one close – take the Panthers and the points.
KP’s Pick: Carolina
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)
The Bengals defense is the top ranked in the NFL, and playing at home with an efficient rookie quarterback on offense, Cincinnati is a good bet to get in the win column against the hapless Colts. But Indy has been played better football over the last few weeks, and been able to move the ball more with Curtis Painter under center. That’s why it’s tough to think the Bengals can take this one by more than a touchdown.
KP’s Pick: Indianapolis
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions (-5.5)
San Francisco is 4-1 and Detroit is 5-0, both surprises, even though many expected the Lions to be a solid team. The 49ers have flourished under Jim Harbaugh, and the last two weeks, the offense has been much improved, especially with Frank Gore in the running game. Detroit has fallen behind during a few games this season, and if that happens again, it’s hard to see the Lions covering in this game, even at home. Take the Niners and the points.
KP’s Pick: San Francisco
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (-14.5)
The Rams have had time to prepare for the Packers, but Green Bay has been unstoppable for most of the season. St. Louis has allowed the second most sacks in the NFL to this point, and the Green Bay defense will be sure to exploit that. The Rams defense has also been beatable, and playing at Lambeau Field, it’s still a good chance that Aaron Rodgers and Co. manage to cover, even with the spread this high.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants (-3.5)
The Bills have allowed just four sacks on the season, and therefore could minimize New York’s chances at forcing Ryan Fitzpatrick to make mistakes. Fred Jackson has been stellar as the Buffalo running back. While Eli has led a potent pass game, Buffalo has too much talent to allow the Giants to pull away. This game has the feel of one that will come down to a game winning field goal – therefore, take the Bills and the points.
KP’s Pick: Buffalo
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12.5)
I picked against the Steelers the last time they were a major favorite playing at home. This week, I will not make that mistake again, what with the running game showing some life last week, Rashard Mendenhall returning from injury, and the Jags struggling to consistently put points on the board. Pittsburgh is a good bet to win this game by two touchdowns.
KP’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-1.5)
Much like last week, the Eagles continue to struggle, and face a must win situation against a division rival. Philadelphia has the top rushing offense, but has also struggled against the run. Expect Mike Shanahan to give Philadelphia a heavy dose of its run game, but whether that will be Hightower, Torain, Helu, people aren’t sure. But Mike Vick has had recent success against the Redskins, and in a tossup spread line, I’m taking the Eagles
KP’s Pick: Philadelphia
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
The Texans will again be without Andre Johnson, one of its key offensive weapons. That will pose a challenge against a feisty Baltimore defense that will be playing at home. Baltimore has the third overall defense, and Houston could have trouble moving the ball at times. The Ravens have had a week to prepare for this game, and covering is a good bet at home.
KP’s Pick: Baltimore
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (-5.5)
The Raiders have allowed just five sacks on the season, and have seen lots of success in the run game led by Darren McFadden. Cleveland’s offense has not scored in bunches, and if McFadden can run wild on the Browns 25th ranked run defense, then this could wind up being a long day for Cleveland. Take the Raiders to cover at home.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots (-7.5)
The Cowboys had a week off to get healthy, and New England could see Dez Bryant and Miles Austin back on the field to join Tony Romo and Jason Witten. On the defensive side, Rob Ryan was able to shut down the Patriots last year, and could have more success this year. This game should be a shootout, and even when playing in New England, Dallas is a good bet to keep this game within a touchdown or less.
KP’s Pick: Dallas
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5)
Tampa Bay has been a much better team at home, and it’s hard to imagine that Raheem Morris won’t have this team fired up and ready to play after an embarrassing loss to the 49ers last week. Blount is out this week, but Earnest Graham should step in just fine. Call it more of a gut pick, and the fact that the Saints often do not blow anyone out on the road, I’m taking the Bucs to kep this game within four points.
KP’s Pick: Tampa Bay
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-3.5)
The Vikings finally broke through last week against the Cardinals. Playing at home, the Bears would appear a good bet. But Minnesota has the second most sacks on the season, while the Bears have allowed the third most. Adrian Peterson could also have a lot of success against a Chicago defense that is ranked 28th against the run. Take the Vikes and the points.
KP’s Pick: Minnesota
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-7.5)
Normally, when a team has to start a backup quarterback against a Rex Ryan defense, the Jets would be a sure thing. But New York has really struggled on defense and Miami will get Daniel Thomas back, giving a spark to its run game. The Jets have struggled at times on offense and struggled against the run. Don’t be shocked to see Miami keep this game within a touchdown.
KP’s Pick: Miami