Are the Browns for real? Are the Steelers really just a terrible team? Can Drew Brees and the Saints go to New England and shock Tom Brady? Is there a human being on earth crazy enough to go with the Jaguars? My answers to those questions, and also my Week 6 NFL picks, are below.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: New York Giants at Chicago Bears
I previewed this game in a separate piece that was posted on Thursday.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns
It's difficult to pick this one without knowing for sure if Calvin Johnson (right knee) is going to play. Multiple reports have claimed that Johnson, expected to be a game-time decision, had some swelling in his knee on Thursday. That's not a good sign for any player. As we saw with Larry Fitzgerald earlier this season, even elite athletes will struggle if they miss serious preparation time during the week. That, along with the hope that Brandon Weeden will more resemble the guy who rallied the Browns back against the Buffalo Bills two Sundays ago, has me believing in the hosts.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
Thad Lewis is stepping in for the injured EJ Manuel. Stevie Johnson is banged up and set to return to the team after attending the funeral of a family member. Yes, the Bengals are winless on the road this season, but there is little good about the Bills at the moment. The eight-point spread is a bit high in my opinion, but I like Cincy to pick up the team's first away win of the campaign.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Terrelle Pryor improves with every week, and there is reason to believe that Oakland will be a contender sooner than originally thought. The Raiders have played tough opponents on two occasions this season, and they lost both of those games. I don't see that trend ending this week. I trust that the KC defense will get the job done.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings
I cannot trust Cam Newton or Carolina until I see the Panthers beat a team that isn't arguably the worst in the league. Minnesota's defense is certainly suspect, but I'm once again expecting that we'll see the best from Cam and company in the second half of a season. Matt Cassel may not beat Carolina with his arm. He shouldn't have to. Cassel managing the game and feeding Adrian Peterson, who is rested and has his FB back, should be enough.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets
My biggest question going into Friday morning: How are the Jets only giving away two points here? I understand Pittsburgh is rested coming off the Bye, but the Steelers aren't 0-4 merely because they've been unlucky. I'm not going all-in on Geno Smith and Gang Green, but beating Pittsburgh at home shouldn't be too much of an ask even if this is your classic letdown game.
2013 Week 6 NFL picks: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Almost beating Arizona at home doesn't impress me. Rookie Mike Glennon was fine in his first start, but he isn't the problem. What's most upsetting about the Bucs is that they should be 2-2. When a team doesn't know how to close a game out, the first place you look is at the coaching staff. Let's see if Mr. Schiano used the extra week to figure things out.