Big Matchups Headline NFL Week Six

Week Six in the NFL sure does have some clunkers (I’m looking at you St. Louis/Jacksonville), but wow, are there some great tilts on the schedule. Here’s the games I’m be watching closely.

BALTIMORE @ MINNESOTA

The Baltimore Ravens are the statistically better team, but it’s Minnesota who enters the game with a 5-0 record. Sure, the Vikings have played Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis, but they completely demolished the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago. The Ravens are coming off a tough final minute loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and they’ll be heading into the Metrodome looking to keep pace in the AFC North.

I’m looking forward to seeing Vikings’ DE Jared Allen go up against the young Baltimore tackles. If Jared Gaither is unable to play, rookie Michael Oher will get a steady dose of Allen. He’d better be ready.

If the Ravens want to be the first team to knock off the Vikings, they’ll need Joe Flacco to find Derek Mason early and often. Last week, Mason failed to catch a pass, and was only thrown to once. He’s your best receiver Joe, use him.

 

CHICAGO @ ATLANTA

If this can be anything like last year’s game between the two teams, we’re in for a treat. Matt Ryan led a last minute drive that culminated in a 48 yard Jason Elam field goal, and a 22-20 Atlanta win. Both teams enter the game 3-1: Chicago rested after a Week Five bye, and Atlanta confident after routing San Francisco 45-10.

Since his Week One debacle against Green Bay, Jay Cutler has thrown only one interception. He’ll have to be sharp – Atlanta’s only giving up 228 passing yards per game.

The key to this one will be the running game. Atlanta gives up 127 yards per game on the ground, but the Bears have struggled to get Matt Forte going on a consistent basis. The Chicago defence, meanwhile, is only giving up just over 90 yards a game, and Michael Turner may have trouble finding room to run against a quick Bears D.

 

NEW YORK GIANTS @ NEW ORLEANS

The Saints get another game against an undefeated New York team, but somehow I think this will be a better game than the Jets/Saints tilt. Everyone knows that the Saints are an offensive team, but it’s the Giants who come in with the better offence. There’s weapons all over the field for both teams – Smith, Jacobs, Bradshaw and Manningham for New York; Colston, Shockey, Thomas and Bush for the Saints. Oh yes, there’s also Eli Manning versus Drew Brees.

With two high-powered offences, defence will be key. The Giants are only allowing 210 yards a game, but they have played Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Oakland. The Saints ‘much improved’ stop unit still surrenders almost 300 yards a game, and they’ll need to bring that down if they’re going to stop the Giants.

 

I’m fully aware that the Monday nighter is a key AFC West game between San Diego and Denver, but like I said Sunday, I’m not going to talk about the Broncos for awhile.

 

TWO POINT CONVERSION

– I’ll probably never be able to say this again, but I beat Sports Illustrated on a story idea. Here’s my piece from October 9, and SI’s from today;

https://torontosportsmedia.com/sports-and-toronto/hurting-stop/6265

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/michael_rosenberg/10/15/winless/index.html?eref=sihp

– no team confuses me more than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s their results so far; 14-12 loss to Indy, 31-17 loss to Arizona, 31-24 win over Houston, 37-17 win over Tennessee, 41-0 loss to Seattle. Here’s a word for the Jaguars to learn – consistency

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