Week 6 viewer's guide


Around The NFL's Kevin Patra fills you in on the key storylines for each matchup. Here's your guide as you settle into your couch for all the NFL action.

Ben Roethlisberger is completing 66.7 percent of 20-plus-yard passes through the air, the highest percentage in the NFL (minimum 10 passes). The Steelers signal-caller should be able to exploit a Browns secondary that has been one of the most disappointing groups this season.

Brian Hoyer led the Browns to a furious comeback against the Steelers in the first meeting between the two teams. Can he finish the job this time around? Hoyer has been a sturdy leader for the Browns, keyed by throwing only one interception -- last week. Cleveland has not gone consecutive games without a turnover against the Steelers in the same season since 1965. If Hoyer and the Browns can pull it off, they could be in line for a huge home win.

Pregame reading material
Le'Veon Bell says he's ready for a bigger workload
QB Index: Is Brian Hoyer the real deal?
Hoyer believes he's showed Cleveland he can be its QB
How does Le'Veon Bell work out?

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Browns.

Tom Brady bounced back in a big way last week. He now leads the Pats on to Buffalo. Brady personally holds a 22-2 record with 54 touchdowns to 19 interceptions and a 100.1 passer rating against the Bills. This week, however, he faces arguably the best defensive front in football. If New England's O-line isn't up to snuff, we could see a reversion to previous weeks for the quarterback.

Even with last week's come-from-behind win, the Bills have scored 17 points or fewer in the last three games and have not scored more than two touchdowns in any game this season. We are anticipating a duel between rookie receiver Sammy Watkins and Darrelle Revis. If the rook can discover a map off Revis Island, Kyle Orton should be able to get chunks of yardage through the air.

Pregame reading material
Sammy Watkins said he's prepared to face Revis Island
Bill Belichick has praised Watkins as being Larry Fitzgerald-like
Tom Brady said there's no place he'd rather be than New England
An emotional Gronk said the Pats made Brady look like Brady after Monday's win

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Bills.

The Panthers have struggled with the AFC North (0-2 vs. Pittsburgh and Baltimore; 3-0 in other contests). Cam Newton has thrown just one interception this season. His play from the pocket will determine the Panthers' fate against a Bengals defense licking its wounds after last week.

With A.J. Green expected to miss Sunday, watch for Giovani Bernard to have a big day vs. a Panthers defense that struggled early against Matt Forte last week -- especially in the screen game. The Panthers' D is allowing 158.7 rushing yards per game the last three weeks, so Hue Jackson should call plenty of handoffs for Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill.

Pregame reading material
Elliot Harrison answers if the Bengals will bounce back
Where do the Bengals and Panthers fit in the Power Rankings?
The Bengals will likely be without star wideout A.J. Green
Schein: Can you trust the Panthers in the NFC South?

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Bengals.

Could Blake Bortles earn his first career NFL win? Bortles has shown he has NFL talent, now he has to prove he has NFL mettle by leading his rag-tag group on the road. If ever the Jags' running game planned to help Bortles we'd think against a Titans defense that has been trampled would be the time for it.

Whether Jake Locker comes back to get the start (not looking good) or Charlie Whitehurst sets down his clipboard, grabs his scrunchie and straps on a helmet again, the Titans' quarterback should have an opportunity against a poor Jags' pass defense (allowing 308.8 yards per game). If Justin Hunter isn't J.A.G. he'll have a big game.

Pregame reading material
The Jags' RB situation is open to competition according to Gus Bradley
Allen Hurns among undrafted rookie diamonds in the rough
Ken Whisenhunt called out the Titans' O-line after poor showing
Is it Whitehurst Time?

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Titans.

About that preseason goal of 75 plays per game: The Packers are averaging an NFL-low 55 plays per game. Big plays are part of the low count, but Aaron Rodgers' offense must be more consistent this week and avoid piling up three-and-outs. Eddie Lacy will be key. Coming off his first 100-plus-yard game of 2014, the Packers face a Dolphins team that is allowing 143.4 yards on the ground in their two losses.

On the flip side the Dolphins must get their own running game going. In their two wins, the Dolphins are averaging 174.0 yards per game on the ground -- 63.5 yards more than their losses. How Bill Lazor deploys Lamar Miller will be something to watch for if Knowshon Moreno (elbow) returns.

Pregame reading material
Fantasy: Is Ryan Tannehill a bad fantasy matchup vs. Pack's D?
Where does Aaron Rodgers fit in the QB Index?
Fantasy: If you own Jordy Nelson, maybe you should add Davante Adams
Dolphins linebacker Derrick Shelby was indefinitely suspended following an arrest

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Packers.

Calvin Johnson hasn't been himself, but Golden Tate has proven he's a beast. If Megatron sits out, watch how Matthew Stafford utilizes Tate coming off back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time in his career. The receiver has been key to the Lions' early season success -- especially on third down -- but needs to do it as the main focus of Minnesota's defense.

Teddy Bridgewater will face the toughest defense of his young NFL career (seven quarters). The rookie isn't afraid to stretch the field, completing 68.4 percent of his passes (13 of 19) traveling 10-plus air yards. He'll need a plethora of big plays to maneuver around a stingy Lions defense. And can someone please get Cordarrelle Patterson the gosh darn ball? Please?

Pregame reading material
The Lions indefinitely banned the individual who used a laser pointer vs. Bills
Will Matt Prater fix the kicking woes for the Lions?
Norv Turner says Vikes need to get Cordarrelle Patterson more involved
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Teddy Two Gloves is like Russell Wilson

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Lions.

Peyton Manning needs five touchdowns to tie Brett Favre's record of 508. The Broncos' quarterback must be giddy thinking about facing a Jets secondary that has been picked apart and a defense that can't cause turnovers. Whip it around the park, John Fox! Capturing that record isn't out of the question. (My guess, he breaks it next week at home on Sunday Night Football).

The Jets have no chance. Manning is in the building. The offense can't score and welcomes the best edge-rushing duo in the NFL in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller to town. Their quarterbacks are either missing meetings or admitting they haven't really tried hard. This game feels like it'll be over after 4 minutes and 12 seconds. That's the sort of game Rex Ryan pulls an okey-doke, saves his butt and coaxes a miracle game out of his maligned team, right? Right? RIGHT?

Pregame reading material
Michael Vick said he was unprepared to come in last week and it won't happen again
Rex Ryan is feeling he's on the hot seat
Running back Ronnie Hillman prepping for first stint as Broncos' starter
Larry Fitzgerald says Broncos will be in AFC Championship Game

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Broncos.

The Baltimore defense is something to watch. Aside from rookie C.J. Mosley, this is an intriguing matchup on several levels. The Ravens are allowing opponents to score on just 31.3 percent of red-zone opportunities (the lowest rate in the NFL), which isn't good news for Mike Glennon. On the flip side, its beat up secondary is allowing 269.2 passing yards (27th), which could be great for Vincent Jackson to rack up stats.

The Bucs' pass rush needs to get home on Joe Flacco. The Ravens allowed four sacks last week and it completely disrupted the quarterback's rhythm. If Gerald McCoy can get consistent pressure up the middle -- as he did last week (four quarterback hits) -- Flacco could be in a world of hurt.

Pregame reading material
Chris Canty will miss two to three weeks for Ravens
Lardarius Webb says C.J. Mosley reminds him of Ray Lewis
Tampa Bay still believes in the Muscle Hamster
Lovie Smith compared Mike Glennon to Michael Vick

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Ravens.

The Branden Oliver show heads to Oakland. Last week the 5-foot-7, 208-pound Oliver displayed strength between the tackles and agility in space. When watching Oliver, one must remember: you're not viewing Darren Sproles highlights from 2010. Now the running back faces a Raiders defense giving up 158.2 yards on the ground. B.O. is going to get loose again.

Tony Sparano might have buried a football this week, but can his team score enough times to keep pace with Philip Rivers and the Chargers? The Raiders have scored 14 points or fewer in all four games. The key will be avoiding three-and-outs -- of which they have been abysmal so far with a 34.1 percent rate for the season. That's right, one out of every three drives the Raiders punt after just three plays. As poor: only three of 44 drives have been 10 plays or longer.

Pregame reading material
In need of some help at RB, Chargers sign Ronnie Brown
The Raiders lost linebacker Nick Roach for the season
Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano had his team bury a football
Schein: Chargers are a serious Super Bowl threat

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Chargers.

Comparing Jay Cutler to Jekyll and Hyde is almost becoming an insult to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The good: Cutler has thrown multiple touchdowns in all five games this season. The bad: the signal-caller has multiple interceptions in all three losses and no INTs in both wins. The mind-bending: Smokin' Jay is averaging 200.5 pass yards per game in two wins and 298.0 yards in three losses. He faces a Falcons team with zero pass rush, but who knows into whose arms the passes will be slung.

Matt Ryan loves him some home cookin'. All six of Ryan's interceptions this season have come on the road, where his passer rating drops a whopping 69.4 points to 72.8, from his home passer rating of 142.2. The biggest impediment to the Falcons' passing attack going loco will be Willie Young, who has been the Bears' best pass rusher -- by leaps and bounds -- this season.

Pregame reading material
Brandon Marshall says his ankle injury should've sidelined him four weeks
Jared Allen isn't worried about lack of sacks now that he's healthy
Devin Hester says the Bears never offered him a contract when his deal ran out
Fantasy: The Falcons' D is a sleeper in Week 6

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Falcons.

Strength meets strength when the Dallas Cowboys' bruising offensive line faces the Seahawks' top-rated run defense. DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in six categories (and most not by a little): offensive touches, 145; rush attempts, 130; rushing yards, 670; rushes of 10-plus yards, 20; rushing touchdowns, 5; and fumbles lost, four. However, he has yet to face a defense as stingy as the Seahawks.

Russell Wilson spun magic last week on the road. The Wizard of Seattle has been even more enchanting at home. Wilson has an 8-1 touchdown to interception ratio this season and is tied for the No. 1 completion percentage in the NFL (with Philip Rivers). Third on that list sits Tony Romo. We are going to have ourselves a battle of escape artists on Sunday.

Pregame reading material
One Preview: Can 'Legion of Boom' halt streaking Cowboys?
Tony Romo thinks Jason Witten might be best Cowboy ever
Redskins safety Ryan Clark said Russell Wilson played like NFL's best player last week
Percy Harvin couldn't believe last week's called-back TDs

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Seahawks.

Washington must get Alfred Morris loose. The running back has rushed for under 100 yards in 12 straight games dating back to 2013. He faces a stingy (fourth vs. the run in the NFL) but banged-up Cardinals front. If the Redskins can't run the ball, the pressure gets heaped back on Kirk Cousins to make plays against a talented secondary.

Regardless of whether Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton or Logan Thomas starts under center this week they will need to connect on more big plays. Despite a cast of dynamic players and Bruce Arians' vertical style the Cardinals have just 45 plays of 10-plus yards this season -- second fewest in the NFL. They'll need to get John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd loose against the Redskins' secondary.

Pregame reading material
Jay Gruden doesn't anticipate RGIII returning any time soon
Gruden doesn't know why team would be upbeat following Monday night loss
Carson Palmer had a breakthrough with his nerve issue
As insurance, the Cards added Dennis Dixon to the practice squad

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Cardinals.

LeSean McCoy needs to bust out on Sunday night. Last year's leading rusher had more than twice as many yards from scrimmage last season through five games. He faces a Giants defense allowing just 99 yards on the ground per contest. Shady is the linchpin to the Eagles' offense and must take pressure off Nick Foles for the Eagles to hold off the Giants for the NFC East lead.

McCoy's importance is magnified because the Eagles' defense will give up points to Eli Manning and his efficient and studded offense. The Eagles are allowing 274.2 passing yards per game. They have also allowed nearly 50 percent on third-down conversions and 29.3 points per game in their last three contests. The Giants, meanwhile, have scored 30 or more points in three straight games. That's a mixture New York will love.

Pregame reading material
Giants owner John Mara says team knew Odell Beckham was their pick at the combine
Jeremy Maclin says the Giants are living in the past
An Eagles assistant says people are jumping the gun calling Nick Foles the franchise QB
Coughlin says Andre Williams is ready for bigger role

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Giants.

The Austin Davis Show could be put on hiatus for a week versus a frugal 49ers defense. Davis has shown off, averaging 312 passing yards as a starter with back-to-back 300-plus yard/three-touchdown performances. However, he hasn't seen the likes of the 49ers' defense, which has not allowed a 300-yard passer in five straight games.

Frank Gore needs his own personal version of the Game of Thrones prayer, "What's dead may never die." The veteran running back can't be beaten or destroyed. You think he's going away ... annnnd, nope, there's Gore galloping for another 100-yard game. The 49ers enter Monday with 20 rushing plays of 10-plus yards (tied for third most in the NFL). The Rams' defense has allowed 21 rushing plays of 10-plus yards (tied for most in the NFL). Ride, Gore. Ride.

(Sidebar: How in the name of Joseph of Arimathea do the Rams have one bloody sack in four games? ONE SACK. Players get one sack when a dumb quarterback runs out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage. One sack. That's embarrassing.)

Pregame reading material
Vic Fangio says NaVorro Bowman's return is still later than sooner
Jed York shoots down the Jim Harbaugh-drama rumors
Fantasy: Is Zac Stacy a good or bad option this week?
Fantasy: Start or sit Frank Gore?

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the 49ers.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the Colts' win over the Texans and previews every other Week 6 game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.