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Of Saints and Giants – NFL Picks, week six

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We’re getting pretty deep into the season and already some truths are making themselves evident:

  • Buffalo is mess
  • Tennessee and Tampa Bay are disasters
  • St. Louis and Oakland are interchangeable with a squad of goons from The Road Warrior

Personally, I’m starting to think this is one of those seasons where the winners and losers are separating early, with a wide gap. The kind of year where by week 13 everybody will have a good idea of the playoff picture.

Last week, I went in-depth on two games, and I was right on both of them. Atlanta made Swiss cheese out of the Niners secondary and Cincinnati pulled another late win out over Baltimore. I had a pretty good week, actually – Denver and Cleveland both won in close games.

But it was also an easy week to make picks – a lot of good teams played a lot of bad teams.

Whatever, I’ll take it. Here’s my week six picks.

Cincinnati Bengals over Houston Texans

This game intrigues me. Houston is, as always, a floundering team that’s disappointing. They give up a lot of yards and they pick up a bunch too. They’re third in the AFC in points scored, but only four other AFC teams have allowed more points. If Houston, especially early in the season, makes me think of anything, it’s of a team that’s going to get scored on a lot, if going to score a lot and is, more often then not, a lot of fun to watch.

And that’s why I think they’ll match up so well against Cincinnati.

The Bengals are a team that’s winning a lot of games they shouldn’t, getting a lot of last-minute scores. They’re also a lot of fun to watch, and will be especially be a lot of fun on Sunday.

Why? Because of how they match up against the Texans, both offensively and defensively.

This game is basically a meeting between a team that can run but has problems against the pass meeting a team that can pass but has trouble defending the run. I like the odds of this game being a shootout. And with the Bengals are home, I’m taking them to win.

New Orleans Saints over New York Giants

Don’t look now, but the Saints are undefeated. They’re scoring 36 points a game, highest in the NFL, and have scored more points in four games then most teams have scored in five. Saints QB Drew Brees is having a great season and his 108.4 QB rating is fourth in the league.

And not lost in this shuffle is their defence, which is quietly putting up great numbers: fourth in the NFL against the pass,  second against the rush and seventh in points allowed. Surely, some of this comes from an easy schedule: they’ve played both Buffalo and Detroit this season. But they’ve also beaten Philadelphia and the Jets, too, neither of which is an easy win.

But as they take on the Giants at home this weekend, they’re facing a pretty large test to stay undefeated.

The Giants are pretty much the class of the NFC. They’re 5-0 and rolling. QB Eli Manning is having a great year, ranking just higher then Brees in almost every stat. And losing Plaxico hasn’t even slowed down the Giants, either. Steve Smith has had a great season while Mario Manningham isn’t far behind, either.

But can their offence stand up to the Saints’ D? Their toughest test so far might have been Washington in week one, a 23-17 win where Manning threw for 256 yards against an underrated secondary. But there, they also were able to rush the ball, too.

It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the Saints and I suspect they’ll have a hard time with it. After all, this is a game that means a lot more to New Orleans then it does New York.

A win for the Saints here would cement them as a contender in the NFC and push them solidly on top of the NFC South. A Giants win only reinforces what everybody already assumes about them – they’re a great team and good pick to go deep in the playoffs.

With that in mind, I’m going to take New Orleans.  I think it’s their game to lose.

Other games:

  • Green Bay over Detroit – No way Detroit come even close here
  • Baltimore over Minnesota – I like Baltimore on the road, in a dome
  • Jacksonville over St. Louis – The Rams are really awful. Jacksonville is just kind of bad.
  • Pittsburgh over Cleveland – The Browns looked awful against Buffalo and if they can’t do it there, they won’t get it done in Pittsburgh
  • Tampa Bay over Carolina – Call it a gut feeling, but I think the 0-5 Bucs might pull one out against the 1-3 Panthers.
  • Washington over Kansas City – Neither team is really as bad as they look. The Chiefs don’t beat themselves and can air the ball out. And if there’s one thing the Skins can do, it’s defend the pass.
  • Philadelphia over Oakland – in a blowout, too.
  • Seattle over Arizona – Seattle’s looked good in their last couple games and I like them here.
  • New England over Tennessee – of course. The Titans are reeling like a loose cannon on a clipper ship.
  • NY Jets over Buffalo – I can’t get behind the Bills at all. They just can’t compete.
  • Atlanta over Chicago – The Falcons are decent and need a win to keep pace against the Saints. The Bears are good, too, but I’m going with a gut feeling.
  • San Deigo over Denver – Again, a gut feeling. I just feel like the Chargers need this win more then the Broncos, plus they’re at home.

Last week: 12-2

Overall: 20-9

Written by M.

October 16, 2009 at 4:07 pm