October 13, 2013 in Sports

Week 6 NFL preview

Dan Caesar St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Raiders at Chiefs

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Oakland (2-3, 0-2 away); Kansas City (5-0, 2-0 home)

Line: KC by 8 1/2; O/U 40 1/2

Outlook: K.C. has dropped its last six home games against Oakland, but this time comes in with a stout defense (11.6 points per game allowed, fewest in the NFL) and faces the No. 22 offense. The Raiders love to run the ball, but lead RB Darren McFadden didn’t play last week (hamstring injury) and is questionable for this one.

Pick: Chiefs 24-13

Eagles at Bucs

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Philadelphia (2-3, 2-1 away); Tampa Bay (0-4, 0-2 home)

Line: PHI by 2; O/U 46

Outlook: It looks as if Nick Foles will start at QB for Philadelphia (Michael Vick has a hamstring injury). Foles will face the NFL’s 15th-ranked pass defense. Foles threw for a career-high 381 yards vs. the Bucs last year while filling in for Vick.

Pick: Eagles 27-24

Packers at Ravens

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Green Bay (2-2, 0-2 away); Baltimore (3-2, 2-0 home)

Line: GB by 3; O/U 48

Outlook: The Packers are minus key linebacker Clay Matthews (broken thumb), who has led the team in sacks every year he’s been in Green Bay. That’s a bad sign for what is the NFL’s 26th-rated pass defense. Ravens QB Joe Flacco will be throwing to Torrey Smith, whose 556 receiving yards leads the AFC.

Pick: Ravens 23-20

Lions at Browns

Kickoff: 10 a.m. (Fox 28)

Records: Detroit (3-2, 1-2 away); Cleveland (3-2, 2-1 home)

Line: DET by 2 1/2; O/U 44 1/2

Outlook: Brandon Weeden is back at QB for Cleveland now that Brian Hoyer (knee injury) is out for the year. Weeden, who was struggling before being hurt early in the season and giving way to Hoyer, will work vs. the No. 20 pass defense here as the Browns go for their fourth win in a row. Detroit hopes to have key WR Calvin Johnson back from a knee injury.

Pick: Browns 23-17

Panthers at Vikings

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Carolina (1-3, 0-2 away); Minnesota (1-3, 1-1 home)

Line: MIN by 2; O/U 44

Outlook: Matt Cassel is expected to start at QB for Minnesota as Christian Ponder has been bothered by a rib injury with newcomer Josh Freeman waiting in the wings. Carolina is tough on defense (No. 8 vs. run, No. 7 vs. pass) but Panthers QB Cam Newton hasn’t been dynamic – team is 27th in scoring (18.5 points a game) and 24th in yards (329 a game).

Pick: Vikings 23-20

Rams at Texans

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: St. Louis (2-3, 0-2 away); Houston (2-3, 1-1 home)

Line: HOU by 7; O/U 42 1/2

Outlook: Underachieving Houston looks to take out its frustrations on St. Louis’ 23rd-rated defense. The Texans like to run the ball, and Rams have the No. 29 run defense. Struggling Texans QB Matt Schaub should get back on track vs. a defense that has just three interceptions.

Pick: Texans 28-16

Steelers at Jets

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Pittsburgh (0-4, 0-2 away); New York (3-2, 2-0 home)

Line: NYJ by 1; O/U 41 1/2

Outlook: Normally, a rookie QB going against the Pittsburgh defense would be a bad sign, but this isn’t a normal year. The Steelers are 0-4 and have no takeaways. So Geno Smith shouldn’t be rattled, especially after last Monday’s upset victory in Atlanta.

Pick: Jets 20-17

Bengals at Bills

Kickoff: 10 a.m.

Records: Cincinnati (3-2, 0-2 away); Buffalo (2-3, 2-1 home)

Line: CINby 6 1/2; O/U 41 1/2

Outlook: Bills quarterback Thad Lewis, who was on the practice squad last week, is set to make his second NFL start, because EJ Manuel is hurt. That’s a bad sign vs. a Cincinnati defense that already has clamped down on Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, holding them to a combined 63.2 passer rating.

Pick: Bengals 23-17

Jaguars at Broncos

Kickoff: 1:05 p.m.

Records: Jacksonville (0-5, 0-3 road); Denver (5-0, 3-0 home)

Line: DEN by 27; O/U 53 1/2

Outlook: NFL’s best team vs. worst leads to what’s one of the biggest spreads in NFL history. Denver scored the same number of points (51) last week as the Jaguars have produced all season. But teams favored by 19 or more rarely cover the spread.

Pick: Broncos 34-10

Cardinals at 49ers

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m. (Fox 28)

Records: Arizona (3-2, 1-2 away); San Francisco (3-2, 2-1 home)

Line: SF by 10 1/2; O/U 41 1/2

Outlook: San Francisco has bounced back from a slow start by outscoring the Rams and Texans by a combined 69-14 figure in its last two outings and now gets defensive-minded Arizona, which is third against the run and allows just 19 points per game.

Pick: 49ers 27-17

Saints at Patriots

Kickoff: 1:25 p.m.

Records: New Orleans (5-0, 2-0 away); New England (4-1, 2-0 home)

Line: NE by 2; O/U 50 1/2

Outlook: A gem, as marquee teams meet. New Orleans is flying, with the Drew Brees-led offense ranked third. But it goes vs. a club allowing only 14 points a game, No. 2 in the league. Meanwhile, New Orleans’ defense has had monumental turnabout this year under coordinator Rob Ryan, allowing just 14.6 points per outing. New England uncharacteristically struggles on offense (18th in yards, 24th in points).

Pick: Saints 24-20

Redskins at Cowboys

Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. (NBC)

Records: Washington (1-3, 1-1 away); Dallas (2-3, 2-1 home)

Line: DAL by 5 1/2; O/U 53 1/2

Outlook: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III still is looking for a breakout game following his offseason knee surgery, and this might be the spot – Washington is rested after its bye, Dallas is 28th vs. the pass and gave up 51 points last week to Denver. Cowboys QB Tony Romo is coming off a career-best passing total (506 yards) and five TDs.

Pick: Cowboys 30-26

Colts at Chargers

Monday: 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Records: Indianapolis (4-1, 2-0 away), San Diego (2-3, 1-1 home)

Line: INDy 1 1/2; O/U 50

Outlook: Indianapolis comes off an upset victory at home over previously undefeated Seattle but goes on the road to face inconsistent foe that lost in Oakland last week and committed five turnovers. Chargers QB Philip Rivers leads the league’s No. 5 aerial attack, but the Colts are solid against the pass.

Pick: Colts 23-20

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