Atlanta (+3) at Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Atlanta is interesting, entering 4-1 and in the conversation as one of the best teams in the NFC. Matt Ryan has gotten just 6.6 YPA, however, which doesn't exactly suggest this team can go deep into the playoffs. The Falcons' defense has improved lately though -- they have allowed just two rushing scores on the year and have intercepted 10 passes, which is the most in the NFL. Atlanta has won four straight and will be on the road for the second week in a row, so some sort of letdown can't be ruled out. And they'll need their "A" game facing an Eagles squad that has racked up 15 sacks and has home field on their side... With a week of practice with starter reps, Kevin Kolb was much-improved last week, getting 8.2 YPA while completing 67.7 percent of his passes. LeSean McCoy fought through a painful rib injury and also impressed, totaling 138 yards and a touchdown on just 23 touches. McCoy looks ready to take over as Philly's feature back for years to come. The Eagles are 3-0 on the road this year and 0-2 at home, so they'll be looking to win in Philadelphia for the first time Sunday. Expect them to do so.
Predictions: Matt Ryan throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Tony Gonzalez, while Michael Turner adds 90 rushing yards and a score. LeSean McCoy totals 110 yards and reaches the end zone, while Kevin Kolb adds 240 passing yards with scoring strikes to Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson, as the home team prevails. Eagles 24-20.
Cleveland (+13) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Last week's loss to the Falcons was the first time the Browns were beaten by more than three points in a game this season, and Seneca Wallace's ankle injury was big reason why. Jake Delhomme entered and promptly threw two picks, fumbled and got just 4.2 YPA. Wallace is no Pro Bowler, but Delhomme is a huge downgrade nevertheless. Delhomme later suffered another ankle injury, and he's likely to miss a lot of time with the latest problem. Enter Colt McCoy, who looked nothing short of terrible during the preseason. His first taste of NFL action just happens to come in Pittsburgh against a Steelers defense that has been the best in football. Good luck, kid... Ben Roethlisberger returns to the lineup Sunday, and the Steelers should enter plenty focused coming off a bye and a loss before that. Roethlisberger may need to shake off some rust, but he gets a favorable matchup right away, as Cleveland has allowed 7.7 YPA - the third highest mark in the league. Mike Wallace and Heath Miller's numbers should get much stronger as the year progresses. Still, expect Rashard Mendenhall to be the focal point of the offense Sunday, as Pittsburgh concentrates on the ground game against an overmatched Browns team.
Predictions: Colt McCoy gets a rough welcome to the league, committing a couple of turnovers and failing to drive his team into the end zone. Peyton Hillis fights hard for 60 total yards, but Week 6 marks the first game he doesn't score a TD. Rashard Mendenhall totals 135 yards and hits paydirt, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 240 passing yards and touchdown tosses to Hines Ward and Heath Miller, as Pittsburgh wins handily. Steelers 27-3.
Seattle (+6.5) at Chicago, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Seattle is coming off its bye, but they have been brutal away from home this season, getting outscored 51-17 over two road games. The Seahawks have had a surprisingly strong pass rush, which could pose problems for Chicago's inept offensive line. Still, Seattle has an extremely weak WR corps, and Matt Hasselbeck has recorded a 2:5 TD:INT ratio over the past three games. The Bears' defense has played really well this season, allowing the fewest passing TDs (two) in the league while recording seven picks... The Bears won 17-3 last week despite Todd Collins completing just six passes while tossing four interceptions and getting a miniscule 2.0 YPA. Jay Cutler returns to the lineup this week, which makes Johnny Knox a viable fantasy option again. It's been revealed Cutler has actually suffered multiple concussions during his career, so it's a situation to monitor closely moving forward, especially playing for an OC who never emphasizes pass protection. Matt Forte broke out in a big way last week, but he has a tough task Sunday against a Seattle front seven that has yielded just 2.7 YPC on the year (second-lowest in football).
Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 225 yards with no touchdowns, while new running back Marshawn Lynch totals 70 yards and scores. Matt Forte produces a similar line, while Jay Cutler adds 275 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Johnny Knox and Greg Olsen the recipients, as Chicago comes out on top. Bears 24-13.
Detroit (+10.5) at New York Giants, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Detroit won last week for the first time this season and did so in impressive fashion, beating the Rams 44-6. Unfortunately, Calvin Johnson suffered a shoulder injury late in the blowout, and he's a game-time decision for Sunday's contest. Jahvid Best (toe) missed some practice time this week, but he looks good to go, and Shaun Hill once again gets the start at quarterback. The Lions are an improving team, and their defensive line has become a strength, but the offense faces a Giants' defense that has been possessed over the past two weeks. It's a pretty daunting task for a team that has struggled so mightily on the road over the past few years... New York entered Week 4 having only beat the Panthers, who are winless, and coming off back-to-back blowout losses. Since then, they've outscored the Bears and Texans (who are a combined 7-3 on the year) 51-13. Suddenly, the Giants are in the conversation as best team in the NFC. Hakeem Nicks is a top-five (at worst) receiver both in real life and in fantasy formats, and although Eli Manning needs to cut back on the turnovers, this is a dangerous team moving in the right direction. They should have little trouble beating Detroit on Sunday, but if one thing has been common about New York this season, it's been their inconsistency (and unpredictability).
Predictions: Shaun Hill throws for 225 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Pettigrew, while Jahvid Best totals 70 yards and scores. Ahmad Bradshaw answers with 110 yards from scrimmage, while Brandon Jacobs punches in a goal-line TD. Eli Manning adds 280 passing yards with scoring strikes to Mario Manningham and Steve Smith, as New York wins it. Giants 27-17.
Baltimore (+2.5) at New England, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Ravens improved to 4-1 with an easy win over the Broncos last week, as Ray Rice got back on track while totaling 159 yards and scoring twice. It appears he's also Baltimore's new goal-line back, which is huge news for his fantasy owners. Joe Flacco has actually taken a step back this year, completing just 57.1 percent of his passes while getting 6.6 YPA with a 5:6 TD:INT ratio. However, a New England secondary that has ceded 7.4 YPA and nine passing touchdowns over just four games could get Flacco going Sunday... The Patriots are coming off their bye and will be playing their first game without Randy Moss, and it should be interesting to see how the offense reacts. Expect the ground game to be featured more prominently, specifically BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Aaron Hernandez should continue to post impressive numbers as a rookie as he takes on even more responsibility in the passing attack. In one of the marquee matchups of Week 6, expect the Pats to get their revenge on the team that embarrassingly ended their season last year.
Predictions: Joe Flacco throws for 240 yards with touchdown tosses to Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, while Ray Rice totals 90 yards and scores. BenJarvus Green-Ellis counters with 70 combined yards and a TD run, while Tom Brady adds 275 passing yards and scoring strikes to Aaron Hernandez and Danny Woodhead, as New England wins on a late field goal. Patriots 24-21.
San Diego (-8) at St. Louis, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: The Rams not only lost 44-6 to the Lions last week, but the team also lost Mark Clayton to a season-ending knee injury. The offense really suffered as a result, but hopefully a week of practice can change that in Week 6. Fantasy owners looking for a replacement in deep leagues might want to take a flier on Brandon Gibson. Expect Steven Jackson to become even more of the centerpiece of the offense moving forward... The Chargers somehow found themselves down 15-0 in Oakland last week, thanks again to horrible special teams, and even after retaking the lead ultimately fell to the Raiders 35-27. Despite an offensive line that has been among the worst in the NFL at pass blocking, Philip Rivers has the fourth-most passing yards in NFL history over the first five games of a season, and it sounds like he'll get back Vincent Jackson later in the year as well. Antonio Gates has scored in nine straight games dating back to last season and has hit paydirt a whopping 13 times over the past 11 contests. He's on pace to destroy all his previous career-highs this season. Ryan Mathews should take over lead back duties as soon as this week.
Predictions: Sam Bradford throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Gibson, while Steven Jackson totals 90 yards and reaches the end zone. Ryan Mathews produces a similar line, while Philip Rivers adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, as the road team prevails. Chargers 27-20.
Miami (+3) at Green Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Miami has yet to lose on the road this season and is coming off its bye, but they also haven't won a game since Week 2, and the Wild Cat has been rendered moot. Chad Henne has shown signs of progress at times, but he needs to do a better job of protecting the football. The Dolphins get to face a banged up Packers team Sunday, as Jermichael Finley was lost to a serious knee injury last week and Aaron Rodgers is questionable coming off a concussion (not to mention numerous other injuries Green Bay is dealing with). Still, it won't be an easy task traveling to Lambeau Field facing a Packers team coming off a loss... Rodgers practiced on a limited basis Thursday, and the team has deemed his concussion not nearly as serious as Jay Cutler's, so odds are he suits up Sunday, barring a setback. With no Finley and a struggling rushing attack, Rodgers needs to get Greg Jennings more involved in the offense. Fantasy owners certainly won't complain, as Jennings is on pace to finish with just 586 receiving yards this season. The once-dominant Packers have shown chinks in their armor as of late.
Predictions: Chad Henne throws for 180 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Marshall, while Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combine for 100 total yards and a touchdown. Brandon Jackson doesn't put up big numbers, and it's John Kuhn who scores from the goal line. Aaron Rodgers adds 275 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings the recipients, as Green Bay gets back into the win column. Packers 24-20.
New Orleans (-4.5) at Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Tampa Bay enters 3-1, but they have actually been outscored this season. Still, they have been one of the surprise teams of 2010, with Josh Freeman looking like a future franchise quarterback, and Mike Williams looking like a future Pro Bowler. The team badly needs an upgrade at the running back position, however. The Bucs have been gashed by the run this season (4.9 YPC), but it's unclear if New Orleans can take advantage of that with Pierre Thomas (ankle) likely out again... The Saints are right in the playoff picture at 3-2, but they are clearly not the same team that won the Super Bowl last season, as they lost 30-20 last week against an Arizona team with a quarterback making his first career start. Moreover, Drew Brees has seen his YPA dip to 7.1, and he gets a Bucs secondary this week that has forced opposing passes to produce a combined 65.1 QB rating. Even at their best New Orleans was vulnerable outdoors, so the 4.5 points here seems on the high side. Don't be shocked if Tampa Bay wins outright.
Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Kellen Winslow, while TB's running back by committee produces 80 yards and a TD run. New Orleans' committee attack produces a similar line, while Drew Brees adds 240 passing yards with a TD strike to Marques Colston, as New Orleans wins a closely fought battle. Saints 23-20.
Kansas City (+4.5) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.
Comments: Kansas City lost for the first time this season last week in Indy, but the team was in the game until the end. Hopefully Todd Haley continues to treat Jamaal Charles as the team's feature back, as KC needs to find ways to win without relying on its putrid passing attack. Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe are both big disappointments. Still, there's a lot to like here, with special teams leading the way. Also, defensive back Brandon Flowers has developed into one of the elite shutdown corners in the league, and fantasy owners of Andre Johnson better hope Flowers doesn't shadow him this week... Houston comes in just 1-2 at home this year, including a 34-10 loss to the Giants last week. The loss of left tackle Duane Brown (suspension) has been a problem, and the Texans would be wise not to overlook this Chiefs team. After taking only 25 sacks over 16 games last year, Matt Schaub has already been taken down 15 times this season, and he's gotten a paltry 6.2 YPA over the past two games. Still, he's too good not to bounce back, and Houston matches up well with Kansas City - they defend the run well, and the team's biggest weakness is pass defense, which is an area Cassel and company is unlikely to be able to take advantage of.
Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Chris Chambers, while Jamaal Charles totals 100 yards and hits paydirt. Arian Foster answers with 120 combined yards and a TD run of his own, while Matt Schaub throws for 280 yards with scoring strikes to Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter, as Houston comes out on top. Texans 27-17.
New York Jets (-3) at Denver, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Jets have won four straight but could be in store for a let-down coming off a big win under the spotlight Monday night. It's never easy traveling during a short week, and a trip to Denver's thin air only compounds the problem. Still, this is a strong New York team that should be able to move the ball with ease against a suspect Denver defense. The Jets have tied an NFL record with four straight games without a turnover... Facing a Ravens secondary last week that entered having allowed an NFL-low 5.2 YPA and just one passing touchdown on the year, Kyle Orton threw for 314 yards (8.3 YPA) and two touchdowns. While some of that came in garbage time, he's officially matchup-proof in fantasy leagues. Start him with confidence this week against a Jets defense that has allowed 7.0 YPA (tied for 15th in the league) and nine scores through the air (tied for fifth most) with a gimpy Darrelle Revis (hamstring). The Broncos have no running game whatsoever, but the best way to attack the Jets this season has been through the air anyway, so they actually match up well to at least keep Sunday's game close. Brandon Lloyd has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 season so far.
Predictions: Mark Sanchez throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Braylon Edwards, while both LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene gain 60 yards and score a touchdown. Denver's ground game is shut down, but Kyle Orton responds with 275 passing yards and scoring strikes to Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal, as Denver pulls off the upset. Broncos 23-21.
Oakland (+6.5) at San Francisco, Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Comments: The Raiders beat the Chargers last week and remain in the thick of the AFC West. The team has relied on its rushing attack, averaging 30.8 carries per game, which is the sixth-most in the NFL. They have been equally as successful with both Darren McFadden and Michael Bush in the backfield, and with McFadden still dealing with a hamstring injury, it looks like Bush gets another week as feature back. Jason Campbell also appears likely to get the start under center with Bruce Gradkowski nursing a shoulder injury. Campbell was impressive in relief last week, getting 8.8 YPA with a touchdown and no turnovers. He gets a 49ers' secondary that has been beatable this year (7.4 YPA, 9:4 TD:INT ratio)... San Francisco was the consensus pick to win a weak NFC West division entering the year, yet they enter Sunday 0-5 and in the midst of what looks like a lost season. The team has committed a whopping nine turnovers over two games at home this season, but they are certainly capable of playing far better over the rest of the season, especially if they don't decide to stupidly switch to David Carr at quarterback. The 49ers are at home Sunday, but the Raiders can sleep in their own beds and have about a 20 minute bus ride to San Francisco's stadium, so there's not an overwhelming advantage, especially if the home crowd turns on its team like last week. Still, expect a superior 49ers team to take out a season's long worth of frustrations out on Oakland this week.
Predictions: Jason Campbell throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Zach Miller, while Michael Bush adds 80 total yards and punches in a score. Frank Gore counters with 140 total yards and a touchdown, while Alex Smith adds 250 passing yards with TD strikes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, as SF finally gets its first win of the season. 49ers 27-17.
Dallas (+1.5) at Minnesota, Sunday 4:15 p.m.
Comments: The Vikings lost a tough game in New York against the Jets on Monday night, but the offense came alive in the second half, as Brett Favre threw three touchdown passes over the game's final 17 minutes. Newcomer Randy Moss should only get better as he get familiar with the playbook, and Percy Harvin suddenly looks like a top-20 fantasy wide receiver now back to playing out of the slot. Still, there remains plenty to worry about with Minnesota, as the once-dominant defensive line has recorded just six sacks on the year (although to be fair, the defense has allowed an NFL-low 5.6 YPA), and Favre's elbow injury is becoming a real concern... In a battle between two of the most criticized coaches in the NFL, the loser here becomes a real long shot to make the playoffs, so games are rarely so important in Week 6, especially when you consider the expectations both franchises entered the season with. Dallas has played better on the road than at home this season, and the team seems to show up once everyone has written them off, so don't be surprised if they bring their elusive "A" game Sunday. The offense is much more dangerous with Felix Jones as the feature back, although Dez Bryant continues to be hindered by an ankle sprain. Tony Romo enters as the best player on the field, and he'll need to carry his team to victory Sunday if the Cowboys have any chance at the postseason while playing in a competitive NFC East.
Predictions: Brett Favre throws for 250 yards with touchdown tosses to Randy Moss and Visanthe Shiancoe, while Adrian Peterson adds 100 total yards and a TD run. Felix Jones totals 80 yards, but it's Marion Barber who scores from the goal line. Tony Romo adds 270 passing yards with scoring strikes to Miles Austin and Jason Witten, as Dallas wins on a late field goal. Cowboys 24-21.
Indianapolis (-3) at Washington, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Comments: The Redskins continued their theme of playing in close games last week, winning 16-13 over the Packers in overtime. New lead back Ryan Torain was shut down, but he has an easier matchup Sunday against a Colts front seven that has allowed 4.8 YPC and five rushing scores this season. Donovan McNabb hasn't been extremely accurate, but his 7.7 YPA is impressive nevertheless. The key to beating the Colts is scoring touchdowns, not field goals, when reaching the red zone. The Colts have allowed the fewest fantasy points (3.4 ppg) versus tight ends this season, so Chris Cooley has a tough task ahead... Peyton Manning struggled last week (5.5 YPA, 0:1 TD:INT ratio), and he seemingly always plays his best games in prime time, so the smart money is on a big bounce back performance Sunday night. Joseph Addai (shoulder/neck) is expected to suit up, and Manning should have his full complement of receivers as well. This should be a close game that comes down to the fourth quarter, with the Colts ultimately having too much firepower on offense.
Predictions: Donovan McNabb throws for 225 yards with a touchdown to Santana Moss, while Ryan Torain runs for 75 yards and scores. Joseph Addai counters with a similar line, while Peyton Manning adds 290 passing yards with TD strikes to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, as Indy pulls off the victory. Colts 24-20.
Tennessee (-3) at Jacksonville, Monday 8:30 p.m.
Comments: With every team in the AFC South sitting at 3-2, Monday night's division game looms large. After looking like a doormat over the first three weeks of the year, Jacksonville has won each of the past two games, scoring a whopping 67 points in the process. They are quite vulnerable on the road, but this is no pushover at home, and quietly, David Garrard's nine touchdown passes are tied for the third most in the NFL. Maurice Jones-Drew is dealing with a painful wrist injury (among other maladies), but he's expected to play Monday, although it's worth noting his new backup appears to be intriguing Deji Karim. The Jaguars are underdogs, but home field seems to matter even more during Monday night games... The Titans have traded wins and losses every other week all season, and while that means nothing come Monday, it does highlight their inconsistent ways. Vince Young has averaged just 19.2 pass attempts per game this season, but he gets a highly favorable matchup in Week 6, as the Jags' secondary has given up an NFL-high 8.8 YPA and 12 scores through the air. Of course, there's little reason not to expect Chris Johnson to have a big game as well, as his early season worries have been eased with four touchdowns over the past three games.
Predictions: David Garrard throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Mike Sims-Walker, while Maurice Jones-Drew adds 75 yards from scrimmage and hits paydirt. Chris Johnson counters with 110 total yards and a score of his own, while Vince Young adds 240 passing yards and TD strikes to Kenny Britt and Nate Washington, as the road team prevails. Titans 21-20.