By Don Banks
October 10, 2013
Eli Manning leads the NFL with 12 interceptions thrown entering Week 6.
Elsa/Getty Images
Last week: 8-6; Season 52-25
Thursday, Oct. 10
8:25 p.m. ET (NFL Network) New York Giants (0-5) at Chicago Bears (3-2)
Turns out the Trestman era in Chicago won't be all hiccups and giggles after all. The Bears' 3-0 start gave way to Chicago's familiar pattern of not being able to stand prosperity, at least for long. Losses at Detroit and to the visiting Saints showed the Bears remain capable of the streakiness that predominated during Lovie Smith's tenure. Win a few, lose a few and ride that rollercoaster. But Chicago gets just what the doctor ordered this week, a visit from the grasping 0-5 Giants. How bad have the G-Men been? They're the first team since the 1954 Chicago Cardinals to give up at least 31 points in each of their first five games, and that's so long ago, the Cardinals have had three incarnations since (St. Louis, Phoenix and Arizona).
Sunday, Oct. 13
1:00 p.m. ET (CBS) Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-3)
The Bengals are 3-0 at home and 0-2 on the road, but they draw an apparent break this week with Buffalo starting recent practice-squad member Thad Lewis at quarterback, in place of the injured EJ Manuel. Lewis made his first career start for Cleveland in the Browns' 2012 season finale, and then spent most of this preseason with Detroit. Now in Buffalo, he seems determined to take the entire tour of the NFL's Great Lakes region. He's only missing Chicago and then he'll have the entire set of mini-helmets.
1:00 p.m. ET (FOX) Detroit Lions (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (3-2)
The Lions sure looked like a different team without No. 1 receiver Calvin Johnson in the lineup last week at Green Bay, and Megatron and his injured knee may be a game-day decision this week for the trip to Cleveland. But with Brandon Weeden back in the picture at starting quarterback for the Browns, will Cleveland look any different than the 0-2 team that had scored just one touchdown with Weeden under center in Weeks 1-2? What a dizzying five weeks it has been for the Brownies. Trent Richardson traded. The rise and fall of Brian Hoyer. The return of Josh Gordon, and now, a Weeden Redux as well.
1:00 p.m. ET (FOX) Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Time for the Packers to win a road game and start making a move to take charge of the wide-open NFC North. Baltimore has one of the most reliable home-field advantages in the NFL, but I haven't seen enough consistency yet from the Ravens offense to convince me that Joe Flacco will out-gun the steady Aaron Rodgers in one of the marquee games of Week 6.
1:00 p.m. ET (FOX) Carolina Panthers (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
And to think, about nine months ago the Vikings quarterback depth chart was so shallow they had to start the novice Joe Webb in a first-round playoff game at Green Bay. Now, it's either Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder this week, with the newly arrived Josh Freeman waiting in the wings for his chance to re-start his career in purple. The NFL does move at lightning speed these days, does it not?
1:00 p.m. ET (FOX) St. Louis Rams (2-3) at Houston Texans (2-3)
A disgruntled Texans fan showing up at Matt Schaub's house to berate the beleaguered quarterback in the driveway? Really? How weak is that? Believe it or not, people, it really is just a game. Buy a ticket and boo your guy at the stadium. That's your inalienable right. But semi-home invasions do not come with the price of a ducat. Thank you.
1:00 p.m. ET (CBS) Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) at New York Jets (3-2)
What an impressive showing by Rex's guys in Atlanta on Monday night. You gotta love it when something that was 100 percent accepted conventional wisdom in the preseason -- Ryan is a lock to be gone in New York after this year -- suddenly gets challenged for validity before the season is one-third finished. Could be a short-week letdown coming against the rested and desperate Steelers, especially with a home game against New England looming in Week 7, but New York is a plucky little outfit about now, and the Jets will find a way to drop Pittsburgh to an unheard of 0-5.
1:00 p.m. ET (CBS) Oakland Raiders (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
Raiders week is always a big week in Kansas City, even though the best, blood-letting days of this old AFL rivalry are long gone. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said he gets it though. He grew up in San Diego, Calif., in AFC West territory, and played for eight years across the bay from Oakland in San Francisco. I don't think the Raiders have enough firepower to win in Arrowhead, but you have to admit, the play-making Terrelle Pryor is playing far better quarterback than most of us expected, and he has carried Oakland to the cusp of relevancy as mid-October arrives.
1:00 p.m. ET (FOX) Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
Good timing, Nick Foles. The Eagles' second-year quarterback owns exactly one win as a starter in the NFL, and it came last December, when he helped Philly score two touchdowns in the final four minutes to stun Greg Schiano's Bucs in Raymond James Stadium. I'm thinking he makes it 2-for-2, because Foles is farther along than rookie Tampa Bay starter Mike Glennon, and I'm not sure the Bucs have quite staunched the bleeding brought on by Josh Freeman's messy denouement.
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) at Denver Broncos (5-0)
Here's hoping the Jaguars cover the spread and make a game of it at some point Sunday afternoon, after listening to everyone turn them into the NFL's version of a homecoming opponent for Alabama. The Broncos could lose interest in scoring by late in the third quarter, or Peyton Manning could misplace his helmet, I suppose.
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) Tennessee Titans (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
Before the Seahawks plunge into a two-game division road trip to Arizona and St. Louis in Weeks 7-8, they must first contend with the improved Titans, who admittedly took a step back toward the middle of the pack with last week's loss to Kansas City at home. Tennessee showed a little too much of that famed Southern hospitality to the Chiefs, but that kind of sentiment is rarely present at CenturyLink Field, the NFL's most inhospitable venue for visitors.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
The Cardinals now seem to be aware that there are some shortcomings in Carson Palmer's game on the turnover front. What took them so long? Arizona by and large has made the most of its victory opportunities thus far, but with a trip to Candlestick this week and a visit from Seattle next week, we're about to discover the Cardinals' contender versus pretender ratio in 2013.
4:25 p.m. ET (FOX) New Orleans Saints (5-0) at New England Patriots (4-1)
If the Saints can get this one in the win column, their run at a perfect season might have some legs. New Orleans takes its bye in Week 7 and then faces a slate of three home games in the coming four weeks, with only a trip to the Jets to break up that run. But the Patriots offense should get a lift from the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski this week (finally!), and you don't often see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick stand up and artfully dodge their way through the post-game explanation of two losses in a row.
8:30 p.m. ET (NBC) Washington Redskins (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Repeat after me, Cowboys fans: This is not the same old Romo; this is not the same old Romo. When all is said and done this season, the guys with the star on their helmets will be the clear-cut class of the dismal NFC East. I wasn't trying to damn Dallas with faint praise there, but you do have to face facts. It's a comically bad division. But the Cowboys' dominance of it starts Sunday night at home against the Fighting Shanahans.
Monday, Oct. 14
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) Indianapolis Colts (4-1) at San Diego Chargers (2-3)
Coming off that statement win at home against Seattle, with the emotional return of Peyton Manning to Indianapolis on tap in Week 7, the Colts face the quintessential trap game this week at San Diego. Especially since road Monday nighters are always a challenge in their own right. But this is a mentally tough Indy team, and heaven knows I'm not picking the Chargers to win a night game given their recent track record under the stars. They're already 0-2 this season at night, losing at home to Houston and at Oakland last week, and who can forget that epic second-half meltdown in a 2012 Monday night game against Denver? San Diego is 2-0 versus the NFC this season, but 0-3 in its own conference. That's unfortunate because the NFL doesn't sanction transfers.
BURKE: Jets on the rise in the latest Power Rankings
COVER-TWO: How to fix struggling squads around the league
FARRAR: Break It Down: Big blitzes defining Saints' revival under Ryan
Mock GM: Gordon to 49ers, more trades that should happen now
BELLER: Player-by-player fantasy projections for Week 6

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)