NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Six; 2015)

[Cincinnati @ Buffalo]

Gotta say, if Cincinnati is gonna lose one, this might be the game. E.J. Manuel may be starting on offense, but Buffalo’s defense is still top dog. Andy Dalton just came back from a 17 point deficit last week against Seattle, but that was at home. This is on the road. Cincinnati’s chances are less than glimmering this week.

Still, Cincinnati’s defense is no pushover itself. Carlos Dunlap is a valuable pass-rushing weapon and the secondary is tight. If anything on Buffalo’s offense should be worrisome, it’s LeSean McCoy, and he’s coming off of injury. When you take everything into consideration (especially the records), Cincinnati’s got the edge here. I’m just a tad worried about Dalton facing an elite defense on the road. It’ll be the first time he’s done it this season. If Dalton wants to show that he’s come past his former struggles, he’ll have to win in primetime do a consistently good job against better defenses. What better test than Buffalo in their own stadium?

Cincinnati will likely lose this game if their running game flatlines. Buffalo has too many good pass-rushers for Dalton to hold onto the ball. Buffalo will likely win this game if they can make it a defensive struggle. The biggest question mark here, though, is E.J. Manuel.

Winner: Cincinnati

[Denver @ Cleveland]

Man, if this was two years ago, I’d bring back J.K. Simmons for round two of “You serious?”

Though, it’s 2015, and Peyton Manning is not 2013 Peyton Manning. However, Cleveland’s defense isn’t 2013 Cleveland’s defense, either. This is an interesting match-up due to the irony. Denver, once an offensive powerhouse, is now a defensive stronghold. Cleveland, once a fortress in the secondary, now looks to be an effective pass-happy team. It’s like these two teams switched roles in the offseason. Have I mentioned that I love the NFL?

Part of me really wants to pick Cleveland here. However, Denver’s defense is too good for me to shrug past it. Denver’s offense can’t run the ball, can hardly protect Manning, and has been pretty lackluster all season, but its defense hasn’t given up more than 24 points all season. I feel that may just be enough to squeeze in a win. I highly doubt Josh McCown will have the same performance he did last week against Baltimore. Then again, I’m not sure anyone could perform well against this defense.

Winner: Denver

[Chicago @ Detroit]

Chicago pulled off an upset win against Kansas City on the road. At this point, is anyone winning against Detroit considered an upset? Detroit’s a mess, both offensively and defensively. I’ve always thought Chicago was a fairly good team, despite what little they have on each side of the ball. Detroit has had chances to win, but blunder all of them. And the refs didn’t help, either.

This game will likely be close, as Detroit will be fighting to save their season, but they’ll find a way to lose once again. I feel bad for Detroit. After an 11-5 season last year, they’re debatably the worst team in the league this year. Many thought that label would’ve applied to Chicago, but they’ve surprised many, including me, at this point. Expect lots of Matt Forte for Chicago and lots of Theo Riddick for Detroit. And lots of field goals from Robbie Gould.

Winner: Chicago

[Houston @ Jacksonville]

I gotta say. Jacksonville is looking pretty good in this match-up. I don’t know why I’ve been picking Jacksonville so often in recent weeks, but I don’t feel they’re as bad as people say, much like my feelings for Chicago throughout the season. To be fair, though, they haven’t done enough to win, but they’ve done enough to give them hope. Hope means nothing if you aren’t finishing the job, though.

Houston’s sticking with Brian Hoyer again this week. If he throws three interceptions in the first half, they will likely go back to Mallett. It’s like a damn comedy duo. One keeps trying to out-compete the other. I think it’s this instability that makes me think Houston will lose this game. Not to mention, they’re on the road. Houston has yet to win on the road and they don’t tend to play well on it, either.

Jacksonville missed Paul Posluszny last week against Tampa Bay, but he’ll likely play this game and be a great contributor. If Jacksonville can take notes from Indianapolis and keep J.J. Watt occupied with eight people at once, they have a good chance to win this game. But this is Jacksonville, so nothing about “winning” is guaranteed.

Winner: Jacksonville

[Kansas City @ Minnesota]

Ever since Kansas City lost to Denver in Week Two, I didn’t think this team would be the same. I started to see the ineffectiveness of Andy Reid’s offensive philosophy. I started to see Alex Smith’s decline. I started to see a team that was taped together with big name free agents and only a few good contributors drafted in the last two or three years. I don’t think this team is very good. It’s a far cry from what it once was in 2013. Even then, it debatably wasn’t that good.

Minnesota, on the other hand, still has Adrian Peterson, and Teddy Bridgewater plays well against lackluster teams. Much like Andy Dalton in his second year. Their defense is among the league’s best and should be licking their chops awaiting the chance to get through Kansas City’s bad offensive line. Minnesota could be dangerous this year. My only concern is Bridgewater’s consistency.

Kansas City’s defense isn’t bad by any means, but their offense is very inconsistent. I feel Minnesota will breeze through them, further dampening Kansas City’s already muddy season.

Winner: Minnesota

[Miami @ Tennessee]

This match-up’s tricky. Miami is now under the control of an interim head coach and has an amazing amount of talent on its roster. Its record just doesn’t display that. I doubt this team will now be “fixed” in a sense, with all the guys finally performing to their fullest potential. Still, one has to consider whether or not Joe Philbin was really that much of an anchor. Part of me just thinks that the players aren’t as good as they used to be. Who knows?

I know one thing though: Tennessee is a fairly decent team. Not many would agree, but I feel Tennessee gets a bad rap for losing to better teams. Much like Chicago, I feel this team is underrated, especially defensively. The only issue is consistency. They’ve come close many times, like Jacksonville, but seem to lose in the ugliest of fashions. Against an unknown team with Miami, who knows what will happen, but at least they’re at home.

I predict Tennessee will win over their second team located in Florida this week. I can only hope Miami suddenly doesn’t become a juggernaut and prove me an idiot.

Winner: Tennessee

[Washington @ New York (Jets)]

Washington came very close to beating Atlanta at home. Thankfully for them, their defense came up to save Ryan’s bad day. This only furthers the question about Kirk Cousins as a reliable starting quarterback. Washington’s defense has been playing fairly well off and on this season, but the offense is either alright or mediocre. Is it time to kick Colt McCoy’s tires? Not yet, but the time is slowly approaching. If Cousins continues to throw pick-sixes to end the game, McCoy will supplant him faster than Hoyer did Mallett last Thursday night.

New York is coming off a bye week and destroying Joe Philbin’s head coaching job. While I don’t think they’ll destroy Jay Gruden’s head coaching job, I think their defense is still among the best in the league, one that Washington will likely struggle with. FitzMagic performed suggestively in London, but I think he’ll be more comfortable at home after a week of practicing witchcraft. Still, Washington’s defense has proved trouble for many quarterbacks this season, and FitzMagic is not exactly Tom Brady. It’ll likely be a defensive outing.

DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and Trent Williams are all out for this game. Sheldon Richardson is in. I think the game will be ugly for Washington.

Winner: New York

[Arizona @ Pittsburgh]

Ohhh. This should be a fun match-up.

Mike Vick took a little of the ’04 magic and scooched his way into the win category last week after San Diego’s defense became enamored with the old dog’s new tricks. Arizona’s defense is a little better than San Diego’s. Just a tad. Their offense is also debatably better. If Pittsburgh allows Mike Vick to actually throw a ball more than ten yards in the first three quarters of the game, Pittsburgh could have a shot here. But it’s Arizona. Arizona’s only loss came from a messy offensive game against St. Louis. As long as they don’t become Atlanta from last Thursday night, they’ll be fine.

I don’t think it’ll be close. It might be close, but Arizona scores a lot of points. So if it’s gonna be close, Le’Veon Bell better break off some big runs and Mike Vick’s gotta trust Antonio Brown a little bit. Otherwise, it’ll likely be a one-sided rodeo takedown.

Winner: Arizona

[Carolina @ Seattle]

I don’t know, guys. Both of these teams are tragically overrated. Carolina’s undefeated against teams with losing records. Seattle should probably be 1-4 right now. Carolina’s undefeated against teams with losing records, so they should win, right?

Here’s the thing: Seattle at home has given up a whopping 10 points this season. BUT! They did it against Detroit, and Chicago without Jay Cutler. Cam Newton has very few weapons and Seattle’s secondary is muy magnifico (at home). Both of these team’s defenses are great, and Seattle’s offensive line is made of uninhabited flesh. There are so many ways either of these teams could beat each other, it’s ridiculous.

This has little to do with anything, but people are praising Cam Newton as an MVP candidate this year. He’s 4-0 with no weapons except Greg Olsen. Let’s not get carried away, though. His completion percentage is putrid (No weapons, though). He, himself, is a dual-threat weapon, so it’s harder for defenses to properly adjust. He also has a decent running game, too. Oh, and he has a great defense. While I admit his touchdown to interception ratio is good, he isn’t exactly MVP-worthy in my mind. He still isn’t even a top 10 quarterback in my mind, either. And, again, he played teams with losing records.

If Cam Newton wants to show he’s legitimate, he’ll beat Seattle with his offense, not his defense. And, much in the same way, Russell Wilson should, too. Seattle is in bad shape right now. What they need is a win against a good team. It may be on their home turf, but it’s still against a great defense. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Winner: Seattle

[Baltimore @ San Francisco]

Y’know, San Francisco isn’t really bad at home. They held Aaron Rodgers to 17 points and beat Minnesota. Against a struggling team like Baltimore? This is an interesting decision. Both of these teams are pretty inconsistent and are in a “save season now” state. I think it’ll be a defensive battle, if only for the sake of keeping the game interesting, but I predict it will also be a very messy game by both teams.

Joe Flacco has basically no weapons. His run game likely won’t do much, as San Francisco’s run defense is proven to be decent, at least at home. His defense also just gave up about 600 yards of offense to a Josh McCown-led offense. If that’s not motivation to be worried, I’m not sure what is. To be frank, I don’t think Baltimore is in any position to win this game, not with how little they have offensively and defensively. They can only hope Justin Forsett has a great game.

Colin Kaepernick showed he’s not complete shit last week against New York. Then again, New York has the worst passing defense in the NFL. Baltimore’s isn’t much better. Nevertheless, Kaepernick has many more weapons to choose from and I think he’ll have another good day. And actually win.

Winner: San Francisco

[San Diego @ Green Bay]

I’ve been seeing chatter around football forums that San Diego could upset Green Bay this week. I saw the same thing about St. Louis doing it last week, too. Look how that turned out.

Nothing new here. Green Bay’s at home, so they’re the automatic favorite. What do you expect? Aaron Rodgers is a football god and Green Bay’s defense is actually playing tremendously well. San Diego’s just, well, not Green Bay.

Winner: Green Bay

[New England @ Indianapolis]

We’re coming to you with the postgame wrap-up live from Indianapolis:

Winner: New England

[New York (Giants) @ Philadelphia]

This is a hard match-up to choose. New York has the worst passing defense and they’re without starting cornerback Prince Amukamara. Philadelphia likes to pass. Philadelphia’s defense is pretty good. New York’s offense is pretty good. New York is 3-2. Philadelphia is 2-3. Both teams are prone to dumb mistakes. Philadelphia’s at home. There are too many variables.

It really is hard to choose one of these teams, because I’m confident with neither of them. Can I pick for them to tie? No, that’s dumb. No one ties anymore. On one hand, New York’s been on a roll lately. But on the other hand, Philadelphia seems to be the better team. They have a really bad offensive line, though. Mrmm. Mrmmmm. Mrmmmmmmmm.

Philadelphia’s offensive line didn’t bother them last week against New Orleans. Then again, New Orleans’ defense is usually awful. Philadelphia won’t have to worry much because Chip Kelly likes to use screens and quick throws. And New York’s passing defense is bad anyway! Mrmm.

“Why not go with the home team?” I think to myself as I shakily type the rest of this pick.

Winner: Philadelphia

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