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NFL 2009 Season Week 6 Preview and Picks

Eli ManningWeek 6 in the NFL 2009 season features a slate of average games, headlined by two tremendous matchups. The Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens clash in a defensive fan’s dream game. Yet, all eyes will be on New Orleans as the New York Giants end their series of scrimmages and play the Saints in a battle of unbeatens.

The New York Giants may be the biggest 5-0 fraud of the season. Even Antonio Piece remarked that last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders felt like a scrimmage. As it turns out the “test” in Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys wasn’t much of a test at all. Going 5-0 against Dallas, Tampa Bay, Washington, Oakland, and Kansas City is nothing I am impressed with.

The New Orleans Saints on the other hand are a very impressive 5-0. The Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, and beat the undefeated New York Jets in the dome. I think this team is for real and for the first time in the Sean Payton era, has a good defense to match its proficient offense. Sunday’s game of unbeatens is very likely an early glimpse into the NFC championship. Thus, a win here is huge and could guarantee home field advantage through January.

[adinserter block=”1″]The Giants bring their twin rushing attack into New Orleans with a thriving Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has turned into an early fantasy football beast. The closest thing to the Giants rushing attack that the Saints have faced thus far was the New York Jets. In that game, the Saints bottled up both of the Jets runners and rendered them ineffective. The Saints boast the overall 7th best rushing defense in the NFL. When was the last time that happened? Keep in mind that the New Orleans Saints are well rested coming off of a bye week.

Fun NFL Week 6 Fact- The Saints are winless coming off a bye week in the Sean Payton era.

The real juicy nugget here is that the Giants are the overall number one defense against the pass in the NFL. The Saints (even with a week off), are the overall third best offense and are number two overall in rushing offense in the NFL. The Giants love to bring pressure but Drew Brees showed the Eagles that he will dice you all day long if you leave anyone open with a blitz. The Giants defensive backfield is also very suspect and hasn’t been tested in five weeks. Sharpen your pencils, because you will definitely be tested on Sunday.

I have to go with the New Orleans Saints here. As stated earlier, the Giants 5-0 record is a very suspect 5-0 due to their quality of opponents. It is exciting to see the Giants from playing the worst to first in terms of opponents. The Saints are for real and have a defense good enough to contain the Giants rushing attack. The Saints are just too hard to defend with their new found rushing attack. I don’t expect a blowout of any kind, but my prediction is a win for the New Orleans Saints.

The other marquee game is a defensive special for NFL fans. Former Philadelphia Eagles coaches, Brad Childress and John Harbaugh bring their hard hitters to the Metrodome. The NFL’s best running back, Adrian Peterson will need to go “all day” to break anything past the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have the overall number four rushing defense in the NFL, giving up just three touchdowns in five weeks. The Ravens allow just an average of 3 yards a carry to opposing running backs. The Vikings average just over 4 yards a carry with 8 touchdowns. This is going to be a good one!

I thought the Minnesota Vikings would have a comedown in St. Louis after the emotional Monday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings did anything but that, and throttled the Rams. The Vikings scored again on defense and Jared Allen continued playing out of his mind. The closest thing to a Ravens rushing defense that the Vikings have seen so far was the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings struggled with the run, but made it up with a tremendous performance by Brett Favre.

The Ravens continue to dominate the NFL in rushing defense, yet have struggled this season against the pass. Joe Flacco has come alive this season with 9 touchdowns and a passer rating over 90%. Willis McGahee and Ray Rice may be the best 1-2 running punch in the NFL. This game features a battle of the two overall top running backs in the NFL when it comes to touchdowns with Willis McGahee and Adrian Peterson tied with 8. What makes Ray Rice so dangerous is his passing game. Rice gets a lot of yards after the catch and is a serious threat in the flats of breaking one big.

Brett Favre has never been 5-0 in his NFL career. I don’t think he makes it to 6-0. The Ravens are hungry after some disappointing losses. As great as the Ravens have played all season, they have lost their last two games. My rule of thumb is that when a great team from the NFC plays a great team from the AFC, go with the AFC. I am sticking to my rule and I predict a thrilling Ravens win in a possible Super Bowl preview.

The Chicago Bears host the Atlanta Falcons in the final marquee game of the weekend. NBC has a great Sunday night game here with this one. The Falcons offense finally came alive last week against the 49ers. All of the papers talked during the Falcons bye week about Atlanta working on their running game. However, it was Matt Ryan and Roddy White that stole the show and tore up one of the better defenses in the NFL. The Bears are coming off of a bye week and looking to get their own running attack up to snuff.

Matt Forte has been one of the biggest mysteries of the 2009 NFL season. Forte was a rushing beast last season and was expected to do big things this year. Forte’s running mate Adrian Peterson was out for the first several weeks, which gave Forte more carries than expected. Yet Forte only has 1 touchdown and is averaging a measly 3.8 yards a carry. Greg Olsen has been another huge disappointment for Bears fans. Jay Cutler said that the Bears plan to get Olsen more involved coming out of the bye week. Opposing defensive coordinators will send him thank you cards later.

The Falcons are a very dangerous team. The Falcons had a very suspect rushing defense for the first few weeks of the season. However, the Falcons did a tremendous job of containing the 49ers last week. Now that the Falcons offense is clicking, the Falcons will have to worry much less about opposing runners. Nobody is going to be running the ball (except maybe Todd Haley or Tom Cable), down 21 points at halftime.

I just can’t figure out the Bears. They handle the Pittsburgh Steelers and hold them to 14 points, yet give up 24 to the Detroit Lions in a shootout. I think they are a team looking for identity. Their defense is decimated early due to injuries and is perfect for someone like Matt Ryan who is getting hot. I predict the Falcons continue their offensive show and roll it up against the Chicago Bears.

Quick hits – The Philadelphia Eagles continue their bye week with a trip to Oakland. Maybe they’ll go easy on the Raiders since the Raiders got the birds into the playoffs last year. Tom Brady has a chance to get his offense back on track with a game against one of the worst passing defenses, the Tennessee Titans. Derek Anderson isn’t as bad as he was last week, but he won’t be much better against the Steelers. The Cardinals and Seahawks are likely to put up over 70 points. The Bengals and Texans have had similar seasons. The only difference is that Carson Palmer wins the 4th quarter comeback and Matt Schaub continues to come up short in crunch time. New York Jets fans catch a break after the Dolphins and Saints with a game against the Buffalo Bills.

Fantasy Fix – He only had 18 yards on the ground last week, but put Brian Westbrook in your lineup this week. Westbrook is healthy and was a successful red zone option last week for the Eagles. The Oakland Raiders are the 31st team against the run in the NFL out of 32 teams. The Raiders have given up over 160 yards a game and 8 touchdowns thus far. The Eagles have a big stretch of games coming up against the NFC East. I look for them to try out some different looks which include splitting out B’West wide. Put him back in your lineup with confidence!

Matt Hasselbeck is HasselBACK! Hasselbeck returned last week and finally lived up to his fantasy sleeper pre-season status. Hasselbeck lit up the Jacksonville Jaguars last week for 241 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Arizona Cardinals are dead last in the NFL against the pass. That means they are worse than the Raiders, Bucs, and Rams against opposing quarterbacks. Matt Schaub lit them up like nobody’s business in the second half last week. Play Hasselbeck, Nate Burleson, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh this week and rack up the points!

Aaron Rodgers loves the Detroit Lions! If there is one team that hates to see Aaron Rodgers, it is the Detroit Lions. Rodgers put up six touchdowns last season against the Lions. Even better news for Packers fans, Rodgers threw no interceptions last season in two games against the Lions. Granted, this is a much more disciplined Lions team but Rodgers has their number. I look for Rodgers and the Packers wide receivers to have big days in Green Bay this Sunday.

[adinserter block=”2″]Dallas Clark or Jason Witten owners may need a fill-in this week. Look no further than Denver Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler. Scheffler is available in two of my leagues in free agency or waivers. Here is a great Tony Scheffler fact that you need to know before you set your lineups this week. Scheffler has five touchdowns in five games against the San Diego Chargers. He averages close to 16 fantasy points a game against the Chargers. Beware that Scheffler injured his back last week and has been limited in practice. He is expected to go, but he is playing Monday night. That makes him a bit of a risk, so make sure you pay close attention to the Denver newspapers over the weekend. The Rams and Vikings have also been very generous to tigh ends this season. Mercedes Lewis and Todd Heap may be safer bets, yet Scheffler has the biggest potential to blowup on Monday. Fantasy Football Standings

Division 1
Team We Own You 4-1(Erik Espenberg)
Dusty’s RedBellySpot 3-2 (Eric Gargiulo)
Team Nuetral Zone 3-2 (Brett Clendaniel)
Havertown Spoilers 2-3 (Bryan Reigel)
Team Wheelhouse Radio! 1-4 (Jeff Peck)

Division 2
Team The Nice Guys 5-0 (Jeff Porrini)
…Not You!!! 4-1 (John Yomtov)
The Kings of Krista 2-3 (Josh Usher)
1st Place 1-4 (Derek Sabato)
Team Rowland 0-5 (Justin Rowland)

NFL Week 6 Picks!

I had a slight letdown last week going 10-4, making the first week of the last three that I went under 11 wins with no spread. I am 52-24 overall on the season. Now for the NFL Week 6 Picks (Picks in BOLD) –

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants at New Orleans Saints
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Bucs
Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Redskins
St. Louis Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

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