NFL Picks Week 6

Rory Leland takes over NFL Picks this week, picking five of the best games including an upset of the defending champs. Want to be a guest picker? E-mail [email protected]

(RL) Rory Leland

(WA) Will Andreycak

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

As a biased Patriots fan, I’m praying to God, Allah, Vishnu and the double rainbow guy that this game goes differently than the 33-14 beating the Ravens gave the Patriots in last year’s playoffs.

While both teams have been playing terrifically — the Ravens handling the previously unbeaten Steelers and the Patriots manhandling the Dolphins in week four — the recurring night terrors I’ve been having of Ray Rice running all over the New England defense are making it hard to be optimistic.

The number one storyline in this game will be the absence of Randy Moss. After spending the first four weeks in limbo concerning his future with the team, the Patriots sent him packing to the Vikings for a third round pick. While this clears up the locker room drama, it’s yet to be seen how the Patriots will be able to adjust offensively without Moss’ presence.

Unfortunately, the stout Ravens’ defense will provide an unforgiving test run.

Pick:

(RL) Baltimore Ravens

(WA) New England Patriots

New York Jets @ Denver Broncos

One of the most surprising developments of this season has been the maturation of Mark Sanchez as a quarterback. After an extremely up and down rookie season which ended with a 12-20 touchdown to interception ratio, many thought the only thing that would hold the Jets back this season would be their inexperience at quarterback.

But lo and behold, the Great Mexican Hope has responded to the Jets’ offseason acquisitions with improved decision-making — zero interceptions through four games — and leadership that has led to an impressive 3-1 start.

On the other side, the Broncos rely heavily on an aerial attack that features the likes of Kyle Orton, Eddie Royal and Brandon Lloyd. I know! All on the same team! While the Big Three has led to some impressive statistics — the Broncos were number one in passing yards through week four — a simple explanation can be found in the Bronco’s horrific running game.

When Laurence Maroney is your go-to back, you just skip over the running plays in the playbook, don’t you?

Pick:

(RL) New York Jets

(WA) New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings

I’m not going to lie — it takes a lot for me to hate someone, but I loathe Brett Favre. So I’ve been in a good mood lately watching Brett Favre play like a 40-year-old who skipped training camp.

At some point Favre is going to have to give up football and realize that he can still be the talk of the town, he just has to cheat on his wife or something.

Don’t be surprised when you see that headline on Cosmo in five years.

Now that that’s out of my system, the Cowboys come into Minnesota coming off a disappointing start to the season.

However, after an 0-2 start they seemed to put it all together in a 27-13 rout of the Texans. And with the talent the Cowboys have on their roster, once they put it together it will spell trouble for the NFC.

Side-bet: Over/under 3.5 weeks before Randy Moss TP’s Favre’s house.

Pick:

(RL) Dallas Cowboys

(WA) Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts @ Washington Redskins

So far, the acquisition of Donovan McNabb experiment isn’t going as well as expected, but it doesn’t appear to be McNabb’s fault. His stats are decent — they don’t blow Jason Campbell’s 2009 season out of the water — and Washington’s passing offense is in the top half of the league.

Unfortunately, the team around him just isn’t that good. Overpaid veterans like Clinton Portis and Albert Haynesworth are either injured or too fat to move and, outside of Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, McNabb doesn’t have much to work with.

This week they’re facing the perennial powerhouse, and while they’ve hit a snag, this game is still Peyton Manning on primetime TV, where Manning always delivers. I expect a blowout in this one.

Pick:

(RL) Indianapolis Colts

(WA) Indianapolis Colts

 

UPSET PICK!

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Everyone loves the Saints. I do. You probably do. They’re a fun team with a great story of overcoming Katrina, so naturally they’re one of the most endearing Super Bowl winners in recent memory. That, and their 3-1 record through week four would lead you to believe they’re still an elite team. But if you look at their schedule, they barely beat the Vikings who are not as good as anticipated, 49ers, ditto, and the Panthers who are quarterbacked by Jimmy Clausen.

Their ground game has been nonexistent. Drew Brees is still great, but how far can he carry the offense alone?

They’ll be heading into Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers, whose defense is top 10 in terms of yards allowed. Josh Freeman has looked like a competent quarterback, and they had a much more convincing win against the Panthers than the Saints’ two point victory. This might sound like a stretch, but this is my upset of the week.

Pick:

(RL) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(WA) New Orleans Saints