NFL Week 6 game picks: 'Hawks top Panthers; Eagles pull even

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Juicy matchups galore in Week 6. Classic Super Bowl rematches ... Patriots at Colts ... Hall of Fame QBs facing off ... key division matchups ... and our newest head coach making his debut in Nashville. The Dolphins aren't quitting on their season.

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Robert, I know the feeling. It was another tough week for the Game Picks column, too, as every overtime matchup and otherwise close game went against your friendly writer. At one point in the fourth quarter of the early games, every outcome, save one, was picked right. Then Gary Barnidge went all thigh master, Andy Dalton played more like the Super Tecmo rifle than the Red Rifle and the Chiefs inexplicably blew their double-digit lead late.

So don't throw in the towel in your 14-team league. Don't be sitting Calvin Johnson or picking up Turd Norton on your league's waiver wire. As for your favorite NFL team, see below for their result this week. Share your take ... @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 7-7 on his predictions for Week 5, giving him a record of 45-32 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 6? His picks are below.

Jets win. While this feels like a game the Redskins could steal on the road, it's hard to trust Kirk Cousins and the Washington aerial "attack" against New York's secondary. Moreover, I wouldn't use an SAT word like "moreover" if something smart weren't coming: The Jets have had two weeks rest, which means Leonard Williams is ready to go. Good luck, Washington offensive line. Speaking of, what happened to that vaunted Redskins ground game?

First two weeks: 171.5 yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry.
Last three weeks: 88.7 yards per game, 3.5 yards per carry.

The defense Washington is facing Sunday? It's allowing the fewest points in the league. #WASvsNYJ

It's a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII, although few players are left on either side who played in that game. Of course, Larry Fitzgerald has been playing like that guy who sprinted for that fourth-quarter touchdown while watching himself on the Jumbotron. Stopping Fitzgerald and John Brown will be of utmost importance to the Steelers, who can't keep up in any kind of track meet with Mike Vick at quarterback against the NFL's ninth-ranked defense. Not to mention (but we'll mention), the Cards are pacing the league with 11 picks right now. They also have the best point differential -- they're a whopping 100 over even. #AZvsPIT

This will be a tougher contest than many people are likely envisioning, as Knile Davis or Charcandrick West will pick up the slack for injured back Jamaal Charles in the Chiefs' offense. That click-clacking you hear is the sound of millions of fantasy owners pounding on their keyboard to pick up West on the waiver wire. By the way, did you know that FanDuel will match ... Sorry, I thought you might not have heard enough daily-fantasy commercials this season. Back to Chiefs- Vikings: Minnesota's pass rush will be a bad matchup for this Kansas City offensive line, which has allowed a whopping 22 sacks, tied for most in the league. Blame Alex Smith all you want, folks ... #KCvsMIN

Will this be the week Cincinnati falls? No. The key to attacking the Bengals' front is running the football, something the Bills are having trouble doing sans healthy running backs. Perhaps LeSean McCoy or Karlos Williams will be able to play, but will they be right enough to accelerate? Rex Ryan's defense absolutely must pressure (and contain) Andy Dalton, who has managed to escape effectively when the pocket collapses. He's only been sacked six times in five games. The Cincy offense is averaging 421.4 yards per game, which has the Bengals on pace to out-produce their most explosive offense ever: the 1988 no-huddle offense installed by Sam Wyche and run by NFL MVP Boomer Esiason. #CINvsBUF

Oh, it would be so fun to pick the resurgent Bears here. But we don't have the guts! ( Matthew Stafford can't be this bad, can he?) Hand it to Chicago, which won two games most didn't expect this team to win in grand fashion, with Jay Cutler leading his team downfield to victory. Cutler mounted two impressive drives late against the Chiefs last week, taking the Bears 88 yards in 4:46 to get within five points and going another 67 yards in 1:46 for the winning score; he also went 48 yards in 2:03 to beat the Raaaaaiders in Week 4. Was there some luck involved? Sure. Is that something the Detroit Lions typically have any of? No. But there is too much talent on this squad for Detroit to start 0-6. Now watch the Lions lose (I'm trying the reverse-jinx with that last sentence. Let's see if it works.) #CHIvsDET

The similarities between the 1977 Orange Crush Broncos and this Denver defense are startling. Question: Which of those teams featured ...

... a defense that suffocated opposing offenses enough to be near the top in the NFL in points allowed?
... an aging quarterback who was better known for his time with another franchise?
... a running back committee with no feature back struggling to move the ball?

Answer: both. The 1977 Denver team allowed all of 148 points in 14 games -- 10.6 per game! This 2015 unit is giving up 15.8, second only to the Jets. That's what Josh McCown will be facing, in a game that also harks back to the 1986, 1987 and 1989 AFC Championship Games, all three of which involved the Broncos beating the Browns. McCown (67.8 percent completion rate, 8.1 yards per attempt, 6:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 102.8 passer rating) has provided Cleveland with the best quarterback play the franchise has seen since Bernie Kosar in those days. #DENvsCLE

OK, this is the last time I pick the Jags. Well, unless they win. This is an eminently winnable game for them if they can limit silly turnovers ... like, I don't know, not fumbling a pitch-out deep in their own territory that leads to a touchdown for the other guys. There are so many talented first- and second-year pros on this team, particularly on offense, that some wins have to come at some point. Meanwhile, Houston is rolling with Brian Hoyer this week. Until the third quarter, when Bill O'Brien wonders if he wants to see Ryan Mallett "put on a clinic" again. #HOUvsJAX

Coming off a bye, rested and motivated, Miami wins in Nashville. You heard me right: Dolphins win, Dolphins win. Let us not forget the talent on this ball club. While much of the nosiest trouble has enveloped former coach Joe Philbin and current quarterback Ryan Tannehill, we should note that the new-look defense has sported a mostly bad look through the first quarter of the season. That will change under interim coach Dan Campbell, the kind of personality the team needs. How will the Titans bounce back from last week's tough loss? Much depends on a heretofore absentee running game showing up. Tennessee has averaged just 92.5 yards per game and 3.4 yards per pop over its last two games. And that's with Marcus Mariota's five carries for 47 yards last week. #MIAvsTEN

This is a rematch of the 2005 NFC Championship Game! Aaaannnnd nobody cares. Cam Newton was in high school. Matt Hasselbeck was already bald. The Seahawks dominated that day. And they'll do the same Sunday. Seattle's offense has looked inept the last two weeks, but it's not like the Panthers are evoking memories of the '99 Rams. In fact, Carolina's attack has been more like the Greatest Slow on Turf, as the Panthers have produced just 10 offensive plays of 20-plus yards, least in the NFL. The passing game is hitting like a good-glove-no-bat middle infielder. Literally, they are under the Mendoza Line (for you non-baseball types, that means having a batting average below .200).

Ron Rivera's team wants to win running the football and playing defense, with the QB making big plays out of the pocket. Sound familiar? Sure, except Seattle gets Beast Mode back this week. #CARvsSEA

If only Philip Rivers had Aaron Rodgers' Packer offensive line. It would be interesting -- or not -- to see Rodgers try to hit James Jones on a vertical route when his guard is getting blown 5 yards off the ball right in his face.

Make no mistake, we will be watching a somewhat rare event Sunday at Lambeau Field: two future Hall of Famers facing off at quarterback. That's right, Rivers is going to Canton, with or without a Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Rodgers is going after Chargers corner Brandon Flowers, with or without a care in the world (that would be "without"). According to ProFootballFocus.com, Flowers is allowing opposing passers to post a 142.2 passer rating. That's a weeeee bit high. #SDvsGB

It's these cruddy matchups that are virtually impossible to predict. So the natural thing for your friendly writer to do is to shirk all responsibility and let you make the call. Does Joe Flacco, devoid of weapons, lead the Ravens to victory? Or can Colin Kaepernick build off his performance in New York last week (65.7 percent completion rate, two touchdowns, no picks, 107.1 passer rating) for the 49er win? (@HarrisonNFL) I might change my prediction if you football nerds say otherwise. Both of these secondaries have been faring so poorly that the edge would go to the backups, Blaine Gabbert and Matt Schaub. I'm taking San Francisco at home. By the way, this is another Super Bowl rematch, this one of Super Sunday After Dark. #BALvsSF

Andrew Luck is set to make his triumphant return in Indy -- but not so much in terms of what you'll see on the scoreboard. New England has owned the Colts, and while Indy's players will be pumped about playing the team that ousted them from the playoffs, the defense simply doesn't have the horses to keep up.

The biggest issue? The lack of takeaways. After five games, five forced turnovers won't cut it for a team that has been careless with the football (12 giveaways). The Patriots are already at plus-five in turnover differential even after having a bye. Tom Brady has been able to make the offense work without taking unnecessary risks downfield. Part of that has been the rise of running back Dion Lewis, who is averaging 5 yards per carry and has caught 23 balls this season. That's tops among AFC running backs. #NEvsIND

The Giants miss a late field-goal try to tie up the game, falling in Philly. In order for Tom Coughlin's group to end its three-game streak, the Eagles' defense must step up for the second week in a row, forcing turnovers -- something they accomplished last week -- and pressuring Eli Manning. For Big Blue, Manning will have to keep up his torrid pace (106.7 passer rating since Week 2). The reason? Because New York can't buy a stop on third down (allowing conversions on 46.6 percent, worst in the NFC). Hey, but at least the Giants make up for not stopping anybody by not sacking anybody, either. Still, this matchup has the potential to be the best of Week 6. #NYGvsPHI

ALREADY COMPLETED


Atlanta didn't put its best foot forward against the Redskins last week. Or maybe that game should just serve as a reminder of what we thought Dan Quinn's guys would be before the 2015 campaign began. Either way, Matt Ryan must find a way to get Julio Jones -- who will play despite being banged up -- involved early, unlike last week, when Jones had four first-half targets and zero catches. All eyes are on Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, whose relationship with coach Sean Payton seems as harmonious as that between Taylor Swift and Spotify. That reference too highbrow? OK; let's say they relate as well as the Saints defense does with the concept of stopping any quarterback in an NFL uniform. Better? Stopping Atlanta back Devonta Freeman will be of primary importance. From 2012 to 2014, the Falcons averaged 86.3 rushing yards per game. This year, they're humming along at 126.0. Thank you, Devonta. #ATLvsNO

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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