Thursday, October 15, 2020

NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 6

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Houston @ Tennessee (-3)

In their first game without Bill O'Brien, the Texans beat the Jaguars 30-14 for their first win of the season. DeShaun Watson passed for 359 yards and 3 TDs, and the Houston defense forced 2 turnovers.

"I feel like we're starting anew," Watson said. "That's because J.J. Watt tore O'Brien 'a new' one. Their big argument was all that was talked about last week. If that, in fact, was what resulted in O'Brien's dismissal, that that was probably J.J.'s most impactful 'sack.'

"To a man, players love playing for Romeo Crenel. Who wouldn't love playing football for a man who's shaped like a football?"

The Titans smashed the visiting Bills, 42-16, led by Ryan Tannehill's 4 TDs and Derrick Henry's 2 rushing scores.

"Despite our coronavirus issues," Mike Vrabel said, "we persevered. You wouldn't believe how many coronavirus tests we've had administered in the last two weeks. We haven't seen this much product go up a nose since Travis Henry was a Titan.

"One thing's for sure: Typhoid Mary had to be a Titans fan. And we lead the NFL in Zoom meetings."

Texans win, 26-24.

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis (-75½)

The Ravens walloped the Bengals, 27-3, as Joe Burrow struggled against Baltimore's aggressive defense. Burrow managed only 183 yards through the air, was sacked 7 times, and had 2 turnovers.

"We didn't consistently move the ball," Zac Taylor said, "which put Joe in a lot of 2nd-and-long and 3rd-and-long predicaments. That's not acceptable. It's plain common sense not put a rookie quarterback in those situations, just as you should never put Pac Man Jones in a strip club, or Joe Mixon in a bar, or Marvin Lewis in the playoffs."

Philip Rivers threw 2 interceptions in the Colts' 32-23 loss to the Browns in Cleveland.

"If I said Philip wasn't a liability," Frank Reich said, "I would be displaying my own 'lie-ability.'

"But we have to be better at running the ball. Right now, we're one of the worst at yards per rush. Are defenses stacking the box and forcing Rivers to beat them? If so, then our opponents are doing their homework much better than we did."

Indy gets the rushing game together, and force feeds the Bengals a heavy dose of Jonathan Taylor.

Colts win, 27-13.

Atlanta @ Minnesota (-35½)

The Falcons lost 23-16 at home to the Panthers and remained winless this season. Hours after the game, owner Arthur Blank announced the firings of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

"Some people say I wanted two weeks too long to make those moves," Blank said. "Others said I waited two years and two weeks too long to make those moves.

"But clearly, it's time to rebuild. It reminds me of the 'Reconstruction' after the Civil War. I know, because I was there."

The Vikings shut down the Seahawks high-powered offense early, but wasted a 13-0 lead and eventually lost 27-26.

"I stand by my decision to go for it on fourth down," Mike Zimmer said, "and not kick the very short field goal which would have given us an 8-point lead and forced the Seahawks to drive the length of the field in under two minutes and score a TD and two-point conversion just to tie! Of course, when I say it out loud, it does sound like a dumb decision."

Vikings win, 31-21.

Washington @ NY Giants (-3)

Washington lost 30-10 to the visiting Rams, as Washington managed only 108 total yards. Kyle Allen started at quarterback, but suffered an arm injury in the second quarter and was relieved by Alex Smith.

"This doesn't mean we've given up on Dwayne Haskins," Ron Rivera said. "We just feel like Dwayne needs a little more 'seasoning.' Like, another 'season' on the bench.

"We're 1-4 yet still in the race in the NFC East. The NFC East is the only division in which you can simultaneously compete for both the division lead and the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes."

The Giants hung tough in Dallas before eventually falling, 37-34. New York is 0-5, but only 2 games out of first in the NFC East.

"Offensively," Joe Judge said, "we performed well. But If you would have told me we'd score 34 points and Daniel Jones would have no touchdowns, I would have said, 'But how many fumbles did he have?

"This division is up for grabs. Any one of the four teams could be NFC East champion when the regular season ends. If we're that team, I can't tell you how excited we'd be. I just know we wouldn't be as excited as the No. 5 seed."

Washington win, 22-21.

Baltimore @ Philadelphia (+7½)

The Ravens battered the Bengals 27-3 in Baltimore. The Ravens defense sacked Joe Burrow 7 times, and pressured him into 2 turnovers.

"We made Joe Burrow look like a rookie," John Harbaugh said. "Also, we made him look like a Bengal.

"We're still trying to get the taste of that Chiefs loss out of our mouths. But doing that is a challenge when you're wearing a mask all the time."

The Eagles offense came to life, albeit in a 38-29 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field. Carson Wentz passed for 2 scores, while Miles Sanders rushed for 80 yards and 2 TDs.

"I was encouraged by what I saw on offense," Doug Pederson said. "Until what I saw on defense. Interestingly enough, we couldn't catch a player named 'Chase' no matter how hard we pursued."

Ravens win, 31-20.

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (-3½)

The Steelers outlasted the visiting Eagles, 38-29, led by rookie Chase Claypool's 4 total touchdowns. Claypool rushed for one score, and added 3 receiving scores.

"Our defense has done a lot of film study on Baker Mayfield," Mike Tomlin said, "mostly from watching television. And they've come to the conclusion that Hollywood might come calling, but Canton certainly won't."

The Browns improved to 4-1 with a 32-23 win over the Colts. Baker Mayfield outplayed Phillip Rivers, and the Browns rushed for 124 yards.

"We're 4-1 for the first time since 1994," Mayfield said. "Bill Belickick was actually the coach then. And the rest is history. Except in New England, where the rest is historic.

"We've found our coach of the future in Kevin Stefanski. He's a brilliant play caller, and I hear the ladies think he's quite handsome. It's like Bill Walsh and James Brolin got together and had a love child."

Steelers win, 27-19.

Chicago @ Carolina (-25½)

Nick Foles and the Bears beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers 20-19 on Thursday night to improve to 4-1, just a game behind the Packers in the NFC North. Nick Foles is 2-0 against Brady.

"I'm not only living rent-free in Brady's head," Foles said, "I'm living there with free utilities, WiFi, and cable. Plus, the place is in a 'gated' community."

The Panthers upended the Falcons 23-16 at the Mercedes-Benz Dome. Teddy Bridgewater was hot in the first half, tossing 2 TDs to stake Carolina to a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Teddy and Mike Davis are performing at a high level," Matt Rhule said. "No Cam Newton? No problem. No Christian McCaffrey? No problem. Bridgewater and Davis are running our 'option' offense to perfection. That option offense is the 'cheaper option' offense."

Bears win, 23-20.

Detroit @ Jacksonville (+35½)

The Lions emerge from their bye week at 1-3, third in the NFC North.

"I'm in my third season as head coach," Matt Patricia said. "Ask any self-respecting Lions fans, and they'll tell you it's my third and final season.

"Many people are under the misguided assumption that hiring a New England coordinator or assistant coach means automatic success. I'm living proof that it's not true. Apparently, you can take the coach out of New England, and you can take the New England out of the coach."

Lions win, 29-20.

Denver @ New England (-9)

The Broncos beat the Jets 37-28 at MetLife Stadium in Week 3 to capture their first win of the season.

"And we did it," Vic Fangio said, "with our third-string quarterback, Brett Rypien. His uncle, Mark Rypien, won 2 Super Bowls. As Rodney Dangerfield might say, 'Neph me?! Neph-ew!'

"Winning in New England will be a tall order for us, but we're up for the task. Our C-team is bringing its A-game."

The Patriots lost 26-10 in Kansas City as Brian Hoyer struggled in the place of Cam Newton. Hoyer had 2 costly turnovers before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham.

"Brian made some uncharacteristically boneheaded plays in that game," Bill Belichick said. "As you would expect, the replays went viral.

"Cam will beat COVID-19. I have no doubt he'll recover. Notice I didn't complete that sentence with 'his own fumble in the Super Bowl.'"

Patriots win, 30-14.

NY Jets @ Miami (-8)

The Jets lost 30-10 to the visiting Cardinals and are now 0-5.

"With Sam Darnold nursing a shoulder injury," Adam Gase said, "we went with Joe Flacco at quarterback. Joe may be getting up there at 35 years of age, but you'd be surprised ... that he has a Super Bowl ring.

"We tried to trade Le'Veon Bell. We weren't asking for much. Heck, if someone will have taken him, we would have even thrown in a free set of luggage. Everybody knows Le'Veon comes with baggage."

The Dolphins took a trip to Levi's Stadium and left with a 43-17 shellacking of the 49ers. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 342 yards and 3 scores.

"Let's call that payback for Super Bowl XIX," Brian Flores said. "And you're welcome, Dan Marino."

Dolphins win, 28-15.

Green Bay @ Tampa Bay (+1½)

The Buccaneers squandered an early 13-0 lead and lost 20-19 to the Bears at Soldier Field on Thursday night.

"We just made too many mental errors," Tom Brady said. "Even I wasn't immune from that. I even lost track of downs on our final drive. Now, I've lost track of things before, like, for example, my first marriage, or my cell phone.

"I'm looking forward to facing Aaron Rodgers. If I'm the 'GOAT,' then Aaron must be the 'Stubborn as a goat.'"

The Packers had a Week 5 bye and are 4-0, on top in the NFC North.

"I like our chances in the North," Aaron Rodgers said. "If the Bears are our main competition in the division, then I love our chances. And that's saying something, because I don't love much of anything."

Packers win, 27-24.

L.A. Rams @ San Francisco (+35½)

The Rams throttled Washington 30-10 at FedEx Field and improved to 4-1, one game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West. Jared Goff passed for 2 scores and rushed for another.

"Maybe you saw the highlight of Jared rushing for a score," Sean McVay said. "Jared's so slow, there was a commercial break in the middle of it.

"Jalen Ramsey was fined $15,625 for his fight with Golden Tate. Apparently, Ramsey and Tate have some family history. Jalen just has history."

The 49ers suffered a humiliating 43-17 loss to the visiting Dolphins. Jimmy Garoppolo was benched in the 2nd half after throwing 2 interceptions.

"I'm shocked," Kyle Shanahan said. "In fact, I'm so shocked, it registered on the Richter Scale.'

"Jimmy just didn't look like himself. He certainly didn't look like the guy who Tom Brady thought would steal his job.

"Injuries continue to pile up. We've basically lost our entire starting defensive backfield. So what's left is a defensive backfield that's still better than Seattle's."

Rams win, 27-20.

Kansas City @ Buffalo (+35½)

The Raiders shocked the Chiefs, 40-32, handing K.C. its first loss since November of last season.

"We just didn't have it," Andy Reid said. "We were sluggish, lethargic, and out of it, which is ripe for the picking for a Raider, particularly Sebastian Janikowski.

"We're focusing on the fundamentals in preparation for the Bills. It's important that we manage our 'X's' and 'O's.' By that, I mean I don't want Patrick Mahomes hugging or kissing anyone."

The Bills were crushed 42-16 by the Titans and tumbled from the ranks of the undefeated.

"The key word here is 'rank,'" Sean McDermott said. "Because we stunk.

"I can assure you the Bills Mafia will be fired up for this game. No table in Buffalo is safe. Except those on which healthy meals are served."

Chiefs win, 27-24.

Arizona @ Dallas (+2½)

The Cowboys nipped the Giants, 37-34, winning on Greg Zuerlein's 34-yard field goal as time expired. Dallas lost Dak Prescott for the season with a broken ankle.

"We are going to miss Dak for sure," Mike McCarthy said. "But this is exactly why we signed Andy Dalton, for emergencies like this. And if you're a team that's 2-3, with a suspect defense, and Dalton's your quarterback, it is definitely an emergency."

The Cardinals beat the hapless Jets 30-10 at MetLife Stadium. DeAndre Hopkins had 6 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown.

"Trading for DeAndre this offseason was a game-changer for us," Kliff Kingsbury said. "I definitely think we got the better end of that deal with the Texans. But who doesn't say that when dealing with Bill O'Brien? DeAndre can take comfort in knowing that he played a part in O'Brien getting fired."

Dalton makes all the right throws, and adds a crucial rush score, and the Dallas defense steps up with a late turnover.

Dallas wins, 30-26.

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