Week 6 of the NFL has begun and more big games are on tap for the NFC North. Let’s preview the games.
Bears at Ravens 1 PM ET FOX
Chicago is 1-4 and will face the 3-2 Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday for Mitch Trubisky’s first road game. Baltimore is struggling on offense only scoring 18 PPG for 24th in the league. The Bears defense has been the lone bright spot and they will get Danny Trevathan back from suspension. Chicago is 30th scoring 15.6 PPG and Trubisky will have to figure out the Ravens defense. Baltimore is 10th in the league allowing 19.4 PPG.
The Bears have a turnover problem with 12 turnovers on the season. Baltimore has forced 12 turnovers which is not good news for the Bears. If Baltimore gets multiple turnovers, they will win this game.
Flacco has been very poor with a 71 rating with 4 TDs and 6 interceptions. The Ravens can run the ball at 4.3 YPC and Alex Collins has been excellent since being traded from Seattle. Collins has 7.1 YPC on 37 carries. West and Javorius Allen only have 3.5 YPC on 66 and 39 carries. The Bears shut down the run well but Collins will test them. The Bears allow over 100 QB rating so Flacco has a shot for success.
Mike Wallace is a big play threat with 209 yards and 17.4 YPC. Maclin hasn’t lived up to expectations with 159 yards and 2 TDs so far. Ben Watson is back with 148 yards and a TD. The Ravens don’t have great weapons which helps Chicago in the secondary.
Trubisky had only a 60.1 rating in his debut with 1 TD and 1 interception. Baltimore gives up only 66.1 rating with 7 TDs and 9 interceptions forced on the year. Trubisky will have a difficult challenge without many weapons. The Ravens allow 4.3 YPC so the Bears only shot will be to run the ball with Howard and Cohen well to open up the passing game.
Baltimore is too good on defense but lost some games due to poor offense. They should do enough at home and beat the Bears on the back of multiple Bears turnovers. Baltimore 27 Bears 17
Packers at Vikings 1 PM ET FOX
Green Bay’s control of the division will be challenged by the Vikings this week. Minnesota has an excellent defense that can limit Rodgers. Case Keenum has two good games and two bad games. Bradford still looks hurt so we will see if he plays or if Minnesota tries Keenum against the Packers defense. Keenum has a 97.6 rating on the year (3.5 games) so he can do damage with 4 TDs and 0 interceptions.
Stefon Diggs (groin) got hurt on Monday night which would be a huge injury for the Vikings. Diggs has 395 yards and 4 TDS and would be sorely missed. Adam Thielen has 392 yards but 0 TDS. Rudolph added 154 yards and 2 TDs so far. McKinnon can be a screen threat in the passing game. Keenum or Bradford cannot afford to be missing Diggs this week in a huge divisional game.
The Viking run game was suffering without Cook until McKinnon had a 58 yard TD run against Chicago. McKinnon has 4.7 YPC now but Murray only has 2.7 YPC on 26 carries. Minnesota must figure out how to run on Green Bay. Nick Easton is dealing with an injury at left guard for the Vikings too. Green Bay has allowed 4.3 YPC in feast or famine run defense. They have looked good but have been torn apart at times too.
Aaron Rodgers is a stud as always with 104.1 QB rating with 13 TDs and 3 interceptions. Minnesota must limit him and maybe force an interception. Jordy Nelson was banged up against Dallas but it wasn’t serious and he should play with his 6 TDs. Davante Adams has 285 yards and 4 TDS though and Nelson had 230 yards with 6 TDS. Cobb and Bennett may need to step up in the slot and facing safeties. Andrew Sendejo is dealing with an injury but Harrison Smith and Erik Kendricks cover tight ends well.
Aaron Jones has run well with 5.4 YPC. Ty Montgomery only has 3.3 YPC and is still dealing with a rib injury. The Packers should ride the rookie hot running hand. Minnesota is very stout in run D allowing 3.3 YPC after shutting down Jordan Howard on Monday.
Minnesota needs to win this game with defense and Keenum avoiding turnovers. McKinnon or Murray must notch decent days as well. The Vikings limit Rodgers enough and win 24-23 in Minneapolis.
Lions at Saints 1 PM ET FOX
The Lions are coming off a bad home loss to the Panthers. Detroit is 3-2 and can get back in control of the division with a win and Packers loss putting three teams at 4-2. The Lions have beaten the Saints (2-2) three times in a row and look to make it a fourth time on Sunday.
Stafford is banged up which is very alarming (ankle/thigh) but has a 97.4 rating on the year with 9 TDS and 1 interception. Stafford must have a good game to keep pace with Brees’ high powered offense. Abdullah (3.8 YPC) has two good run days but three poor runs. Detroit must run efficiently at New Orleans to control the clock.
Tate has 267 yards and 1 TD and Jones has 184 yards with two TDs. Fells added two TDs last week and Kenny Golladay has been hurt the last two weeks. TJ Jones must step up again if Golladay can’t play (hamstring).
The Lions run defense has been really stout at 3.3 YPC. However, Haloti Ngata injured his bicep and was put on IR which really hurts Detroit up the middle. Mark Ingram (4 YPC) and Alvin Kamara (5.5 YPC) can run the ball well. Detroit must play well in Ngata’s absence. A’Shwan Robinson, Akeem Spence and Jeremiah Ledbetter must step up at DT. Jarrad Davis and Tahir Whitehead have been great in run defense at LB this season along with safety Tavon Wilson.
Detroit has forced 11 turnovers but the Saints didn’t turn it over yet. Detroit couldn’t get a turnover last week and they lost while giving up 27. They must figure out a way to recover fumbles or pick Brees off at least once.
Brees has a 108 rating with 7 TDs and 0 interceptions in four games. Michael Thomas is dangerous with 310 yards and 2 TDS in 4 games. Kamara is a receiving threat with 147 yards and Tedd Ginn is a deep threat. Brandon Coleman has stepped up with 137 yards and 2 TDS. Fleener notched 2 TDs as well. The Saints have weapons and Detroit must return to their good play from the first four weeks and forget about Week 5.
Brees has only been sacked 4 times but they lost Zach Strief to IR. Terron Armstead could return this week which is a huge boost at LT. Ryan Ramcyzk would move to RT for Strief. Former Detroit Lion, Larry Warford, starts at right guard for the Saints. Max Unger is a good center and getting healthy. Andrus Peat has been a solid left guard as a first round pick. The Lions must figure out a way to pressure Brees or the long time Saints QB will have a day similar to Cam Newton on Sunday with over 300 yards and 3 TDs. Detroit is 10th best in passer rating allowing in the league and can limit Brees if they can get pressure.
The Saints defense has allowed 101.2 rating and 4.5 YPC on the ground. Detroit needs to get their offense out of their funk and score 30 on the Saints weak defense. New Orleans has been better the last two weeks after starting 0-2. The Saints are coming off a bye and got extra time to prepare and get healthy for this game.
Stafford guts this one out and Abdullah has a big day. Brees has a big day too though and it becomes an exciting shootout. Detroit wins 35-31 with a magic minute from Stafford at the end to match Aaron Rodgers.
Enjoy Week 6. Hopefully it’s a three way tie in the North at 4-2 after the week is over.