The two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL, the Houston Texans (facing the Green Bay Packers) and the Atlanta Falcons (playing the Oakland Raiders) both get a chance to extend their streak at home, while the main focus of week 6 will be the New York Giants returning to San Francisco and playing the best team in the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1), 1:00 PM
Trying to rebound from that terrible performance against the Chicago Bears, the Cowboys travel to Baltimore to face on of the best teams in the NFL right now. The Ravens probably hope to perform better than they have, but Joe Flacco has been mostly consistent (1456 yards, 7 touchdowns) and the defense is doing a good job. The Cowboys need to get a running game going, which the Ravnes struggled to stop against the Chiefs, if they want to get back on the horse to the playoffs.
Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-0), 1:00 PM
A team that can’t get any big plays from its quarterback (Carson Palmer) and their running back (Darren McFadden) against the Falcons, perfect and most impressively, not making mistakes. Matt Ryan has thrown 13 touchdowns to his three interceptions, and Michael Turner is starting to produce the numbers everyone’s gotten used to see from him. Palmer has to do better than just 1-of-14 on throws more than 20 yards downfield this season, but the Falcons have a fantastic secondary, allowing only 203 passing yards this season.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-5), 1:00 PM
The Browns’ offense, based on the rookie talents of Trent Richardson (303 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Brandon Weeden (1288 yards, 5 TD, 9 INT) isn’t doing that bad, but their defense, allowing 423 yards per game, 142 on the ground, has to got to step against the Bengals, looking to kickstart their running game, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis looking to improve on his 3.3 yards per carry this season.
St. Louis Rams (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-3), 1:00 PM
There wasn’t a whole lot of offense from the Rams last week against the Cardinals, but when you get to the quarterback nine times, you don’t need much of a passing or running game. This time, against the Dolphins, Sam Bradford is going to need a bit more than usual, with the Dolphins offering a bit more in terms of pass protection, especially for Chris Long. If the Dolphins can protect Tannehill, who has only thrown two touchdown passes this season (and six interceptions), they’ll have a good shot through Reggie Bush.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at New York Jets (2-3), 1:00 PM
Things can’t get much worse for the Jets, continuing to look quite awful, although they did give the Houston Texans a fight on Monday night football. Still, they’re sticking to Sanchez, with his 48.4% completion rating and an offense that averaged 284 yards per game, with only 83 rushing yards a contest. For the Colts, quarterback problems are disappearing, with Andrew Luck feeling more and more comfortable throwing to Reggie Wayne. The Colts lost Donald Brown, but the running game needs to be big against a team that has allowed 172 yards on the ground per game, courtesy of the Texans and the 49ers.
Detroit Lions (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2), 1:00 PM
The Eagles still haven’t lost at home, but they’ll have to rely on more than their defense to win against the Detroit Lions, struggling to get their offense to click like last season. Matthew Stafford has thrown only three touchdown passes so far, and the Eagles don’t allow too much (19.8 points per game), so they’ll have to find a way to get their struggling running game (only 90 yards) going. For Philly, it’s about keeping the ball in Vick’s hands and not turning it over. They’re better at pretty much everything, as long as they keep possession.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3), 1:00 PM
If the Chiefs were relying on Jamaal Charles before this game, it’s going to get more run-happy. Charles has run for 551 yards and three touchdowns this season, and with Brady Quinn making his first start behind center in three years, we’re going to see Charles getting the bulk of the work once again. The Bucs are rested, which hopefully will get them something offensively, struggling this season to get big plays out of their backs, while Josh Freeman has thrown for only 790 yards for the first four games.
Buffalo Bills (2-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-1), 4:05 PM
Everyone’s out to get Kevin Kolb, after seeing the weak pass-protection the Cardinals presented against the Rams. Problem is for the Bills, their defensive line hasn’t exactly been destructive this season, with $100 million man Mario Williams getting only 1.5 sacks so far. If the Cardinals’ defense keeps the Bills run-attack at bay, they should be able to win this one.
New England Patriots (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2), 4:05 PM
The Patriots have their problems on defense, but their Tom Brady led offense usually makes up for it. Against arguably the best defensive team in the NFL, the Seahawks, the Patriots will need to be extra careful in the way they protect Brady, as Seattle allow only 147 yards per game through the air. For the Pats defense, it’ll be about trying to get Russell Wilson to throw as much as possible and keep the ball out of the hands of Marshawn Lynch.
New York Giants (3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (4-1), 4:25 PM
A chance for the 49ers to avenge their NFC championship game loss by putting quite a dint in the Giants’ NFC East plans. The Giants had a hard time protecting Eli Manning last season against San Francisco, and should look for more of their running game to be executed against a team that allows only 81 rushing yards per game. Alex Smith isn’t putting up numbers like Manning, but he isn’t making mistakes (only one interception) and seems to get it right every time he targets Vernon Davis, while Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter have been pretty much unstoppable with the running game.
Minnesota Vikings (3-2) at Washington Redskins (2-3), 4:25 PM
Somehow, the Vikings might find themselves on top of the NFC North if they manage to beat the Redskins, with the key being getting to Robert Griffin III. Suddenly, the protection on him isn’t what it looked like earlier in the season, and while his completion rating is still very high (69.1%), he find it hard to operate and find open men against two-safety or nickel formations. Griffin needs to be wary of the blitz, while the Vikings will look to Adrian Peterson as much as possible to help Christian Ponder, who’s been doing a very good job so far this season.
Green Bay Packers (2-3) at Houston Texans (5-0), 8:20 PM
The Packers can’t catch a break this season, and follow a tough loss against the Colts (after already leading 21-3) with a visit to the AFC’s best team so far, the undefeated Texans. Houston play conservative offense, getting 143 yards per game on the ground, mostly through the slightly overworked Arian Foster. Aaron Rodgers needs a big game against a defense that allows only 14.6 points per game, and couldn’t have come in a worst timing for the Packers.
Denver Broncos (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (3-2), Monday, 8:30 PM
The Chargers will try and take the load off Philip Rivers against the Broncos, who aren’t that great at stopping the run, while San Diego have a good thing going with Ryan Matthews and Jackie Battle, hoping to establish a ground game for some effective play action later on. On the other side, Manning has been looking better in recent weeks, and his ability to keep things accurate (thrown 3 interceptions so far this season) and actually connect on the occasional deep ball will be crucial in this one.