According to the United States Department of Labor, 8.3% of New Yorkers are currently unemployed and if your LI Press Picks Guru repeats the 6-8 performance of Week 5, that number is sure to rise. Spurned by upsets by Tampa Bay (12% picked), Washington (26% picked), Arizona (4% picked), Tennessee (28% picked) and Oakland (7% picked) left me as dazed as Jay Cutler in Week 4 after the Giants sacked him about 43 times.
While surveying the slab of games for week 6 on LIPressPicks.com, it appears at first glance to offer a handful of layups; games that should be easy pick em games. There also appears to be a few tough games that could call into consultation the old fashioned heads and tails mechanism or the always reliable magic 8 ball. Neither methods of selecting games will be utilized this week because why leave it up to chance when you can appeal to American author, abolitionist, transcendentalist and all-around good guy, Henry David Thoreau? Thoreau once said, “It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
In the spirit of respecting elders, Thoreau celebrated his 193rd birthday in July, we won’t go stir crazy and select upsets just because we were burnt the last two weeks by them. We’re wiser now, enlightened through humbling defeat and dense literature. On to the picks!
Percentages taken from fan voting on LI Press Picks Football Pool. Picks indicated in bold.
Survivor Pick of the Week
Cleveland (1-4) (2% picked) @ Pittsburg (3-1) (98% picked)
With Buffalo having a bye in Week 6, choosing a team to continue the Survivor Pick winning streak will have to be someone other than whoever the Bills are playing this week. Luckily, I’ve got the next best thing. In 19 meetings, the Steelers are 17-2 and come off a bye week where their beleaguered star QB, Ben Roethlisberger, returns from suspension. Icing on the cake: rookie QB Colt McCoy will make his debut Sunday against a ferocious Steelers defense that feasts on QB mistakes.
Sleeper Pick of the Week
Miami (2-2) (36% picked) @ Green Bay (3-2) (64% picked)
After scolding my readers for jumping off the Packers bandwagon, I’m imploring you to now burn the wagon down. Week 5 ravaged the Packers with injury with TE’s Jermichael Finely (knee surgery) and Donald Lee (shoulder) depleting their depth at tight end. It was revealed after the game that QB Aaron Rodgers had suffered a concussion during the game and his status for Sunday is unknown.
Seattle (2-2) (7% picked) @ Chicago (4-1) (93% picked)
Jay Cutler (concussion) was cleared to practice Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday against a Seattle secondary that’s sporting the second-worst pass defense in the league. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch will make his Seahawks debut against a Bears D allowing just 78.6 yards per game on the ground this season.
Ravens (4-1) (50% picked) @ New England (3-1) (50% picked)
The Patriots ended their 2009 campaign at home with a 33-14 thrashing at the hands of the Ravens which cost them a birth in the playoffs. Ravens RB Ray Rice ripped off 159 yards with two scores in that game and this year’s Pats defense isn’t faring any better, allowing 112.3 yards per game rushing this season. The Ravens flexible running game and stalwart defense should be too much for the Pats to handle in what could be the marquee matchup of the week between two of the best teams in the AFC.
Detroit (1-4) (7% picked) @ NY Giants (3-2) (93% picked)
Have you ever seen a team get their first win so emphatically as the Lions did after losing the previous four games? After the Lions crushed the Rams 44-6, they have the pleasure of running into a brick wall defense that is shaping up to be one of the best in the league. The Giants D should feast on a Lions team that could be without top WR threat, Calvin Johnson with a shoulder injury.
Atlanta (4-1) (56% picked) @ Philadelphia (3-2) (44% picked)
Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, former heir apparent to the throne, led the Eagles to a 27-24 victory on the road in San Francisco last week in the absence of the injured QB Michael Vick. Could you see any possible scenario where Vick doesn’t play this game against his former team? If the ribs hold him out of the game, Kolb is more than capable to leading the Eagles to a victory against a Falcons team that has yet to have a true test this season having faced only two teams (Saints, Cardinals) that are above .500 this season.
San Diego (2-3) (85% picked) @ St. Louis (2-3) (15% picked)
The Rams depth at WR will be tested after they lost WR Mark Clayton to season-ending knee surgery and without an immediate threat present besides RB Stephen Jackson. The Chargers are coming off a lackluster loss to the Raiders and bring the NFL’s best aerial assault to the turf in St. Louis. After struggling against the Lions without Clayton, the Rams handed Detroit their first win of the season, losing 44-6 last Sunday.
New Orleans (3-2) (77% picked) @ Tampa Bay (3-1) (23% picked)
The Saints own victories over the 49ers (0-5), Panthers (0-5) and Vikings (1-3) while the Bucs own victories over the Panthers, Browns (1-4) and struggling Bengals (2-3). The defending Super Bowl champs have been ravaged at RB with injuries to Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas while the league is adjusting to the pass first, second and third down Saints. Until they get over the Super Bowl hangover and heal from their multiple injuries, I’m taking the Bucs to upend the Saints in an upset.
Kansas City (3-1) (34% picked) @ Houston (3-2) (66% picked)
The Giants provided a blueprint on how to slow the high octane Texans offense and with star WR Andre Johnson on the mend, the Chiefs have a shot to make it two straight losses for the Texans. Kansas City was a Dwayne Bowe dropped pass from closing in on the Colts last week before falling 19-9 with the defense limiting the Colts offense.
Oakland (2-3) (37% picked) @ San Francisco (0-5) (63% picked)
The Raiders would love nothing more to bury the Niners after coming off an upset win at home against the Chargers last week. For San Francisco, they could be playing to keep Mike Singletary as a recent report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports says Singletary will have to finish 11-5 to keep his job. Their sloppy play last week against the Eagles foiled a comeback and a loss this week could spell huge shakeups in San Fran.
NY Jets (4-1) (80% picked) @ Denver (2-3) (20% picked)
Rex Ryan’s decision to play Darrelle Revis before he was completely healed last week could spell huge problems as discussed by Long Island Press columnist, Dan Mennella in his column, The Mennella Line. Mennella’s forewarning could be ringing true as the Jets enter Denver to face an offense revolving around the right arm of QB Kyle Orton. The Broncos are dropping 330 yards a game through the air due in large part to their lack of depth at RB after injuries wiped them out. Regardless, QB Mark Sanchez is now equipped with an elite receiving core after Santonio Holmes returned from suspension. Jets win a tough game on the road with a deserted Revis Island.
Dallas (1-3) (33% picked) @ Minnesota (1-3) (67% picked)
This is a must-win game for both teams. Both teams are severely underachieving at this point in the season. The Vikings showed glimpses of an offense that will benefit tremendously after Randy Moss makes his home debut this Sunday with his new, old team. The last time the Cowboys were in Minnesota, they were trounced 34-3 in the first round of the playoffs.
Tennessee (3-2) (79% picked) @ Jacksonville (3-2) (21% picked)
Titans RB Chris Johnson got his groove back, breaking off 131 yards on just 19 touches after being held to under 100 yards the previous week against the Broncos. In a battle of fantasy football darlings Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew, the key may lay in the ability of Vince Young to limit his turnovers while feeding CJ2K as many touches as possible. Titans win a close one.
Indianapolis (3-2) (82% picked) @ Washington (3-2) (18% picked)
Across the board on offense, the Colts are a superior football team and the Redskins know this. Defensively, the Redskins are a healthier and better team on that side of the ball in all areas outside of the defensive line. Injuries and protection of QB Peyton Manning has been hindering the Colts pass attack this year but they still have the finely tuned engine that makes the offense move in Manning. The Colts defense took the lead last week against the Chiefs and the same must be true if they are to walk away from Washington with a W.