Week 6 NFL Picks
The NFL enters Week 6 of the 2008 season and our team of writers and handicappers hand out their picks and predictions for four of Sunday’s games.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) at New York Jets (2-2), 1:05 PM ET
It appears to have taken Brett Favre only four games with the New York Jets to erase the culture of losing that came with last year's 4-12 squad. It is uncertain if Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis can overcome that same problem with his young team.
Coming off one of the best games of his storied career, Favre tries to get the Jets back over .500 as they host the winless Bengals on Sunday.
The Jets (2-2) spent the bye week getting healthy and trying to find ways to further the momentum from their 56-35 victory over Arizona on Sept. 28. Favre - in his 18th year - set a career high and equaled a franchise record with six touchdown passes as the Jets raced to a 34-0 halftime lead and had a few nervous moments before putting the game out of reach with his final scoring toss, a 24-yarder to Dustin Keller with 1:54 left.
Carson Palmer threw for 226 yards and a touchdown in a 38-31 victory over the Jets last year in which they rallied from a 13-point, second-half deficit. Kenny Watson rushed for 130 yards and three TDs for Cincinnati, ending a five-game losing streak to New York that dated to 1990.
The Jets have won six straight at home over the Bengals since a 31-30 defeat on Sept. 13, 1981, when they played at Shea Stadium. Favre is 3-1 lifetime against the Bengals, but lost to them in his most recent meeting in 2005.
Chicago Bears (3-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-2), 1:05 PM ET
The Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons were expected to be rebuilding this season. With strong play from the quarterback and running back positions, both teams have emerged as big surprises in the NFL.
The NFC North-leading Bears look to win their third straight game, while the Falcons try to build off an impressive victory when they meet Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Before the start of the season, Chicago's offense did not look like it was going to be keeping the Bears (3-2) in many games. Four-year veteran Kyle Orton beat out Rex Grossman for the starting quarterback job and rookie Matt Forte was named the starting running back after Cedric Benson was released in June following his second alcohol-related arrest in a month.
Orton and Forte have managed to lead an offense that ranks ninth in the league in scoring with 25.6 points per game, and Chicago moved into sole possession of first place in the North with last Sunday's 34-7 win at hapless Detroit.
The Bears have won three straight and eight of the last nine meetings with the Falcons.
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (3-2), 4:15 PM ET
The Dallas Cowboys entered the season as the favorites to win the NFC East, but it looks like they could get more competition than they anticipated in perhaps the league's toughest division.
Though the Arizona Cardinals didn't come into 2008 with such lofty expectations, they've emerged as a leading contender in the weaker NFC West.
In a matchup between the conference's two highest-scoring teams, the Cowboys look to make a move in the loaded East standings on Sunday when they visit the Cardinals, who hope to protect their hold on first place in the West.
Dallas returned enough of its core from last year's division-winning team to enter 2008 as a prime candidate to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys (4-1) are still on track thanks to their conference-leading 151 points, but they're not taking anything for granted in the league's only division with more than one team with at least four wins.
The Cowboys have won 22 of their last 27 meetings with the Cardinals, including three straight. Romo threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns - including one to Owens - in Dallas' 27-10 victory Nov. 12, 2006.
New England Patriots (3-1) at San Diego Chargers (2-3), 8:15 PM ET
With their franchise quarterback out for the season, the New England Patriots have patched together a successful start to 2008.
The San Diego Chargers have no such excuse, yet they own a losing record.
To avoid falling into a deeper hole, the Chargers must try to beat a Patriots team looking for its second straight win in California when these traditional AFC powers meet on Sunday night.
It's been a topsy-turvy start to the season in the AFC, where the Chargers, Patriots and Indianapolis Colts have combined for 11 division titles in the last four years. None of those elite teams currently leads its division, and only New England sports a winning record.
The Patriots have managed to start 3-1 despite losing Tom Brady to a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of their Week 1 game against Kansas City. With backup Matt Cassel passing for a career-high 259 yards last Sunday, New England bounced back from a loss to Miami before its bye week, winning 30-21 at San Francisco.
Randy Moss, who had only 47 receiving yards in his previous two games combined, exceeded that total on one play as Cassel hit the star wideout in stride for a 66-yard touchdown pass.
The Patriots have spent the entire week in California after beating the 49ers. Instead of flying back to the East Coast, New England practiced at San Jose State during the week before making the trip south to San Diego.
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