NFL Week 6 game picks: Chiefs edge Steelers; Rams rebound

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Minnesota has always been a house of horrors for the Packers ...

Since the AFL-NFL merger (after the Lombardi era), the Packers are 21-25 in Minneapolis. For those who think that's because Green Bay wasn't any good in the '70s -- pre-Brett Favre, pre-Aaron Rodgers -- you'll be disappointed to know this: Since 1992, the Pack is all of 11-14 in Vikings land. (Guess which two quarterbacks started all those games?) The most successful player under center was Lynn Dickey, who, after losing his first start in Minnesota in 1977, won five in a row from 1980 through '85. His passer rating in the last two games was over 140.

Whereas Dickey enjoyed success in the Metrodome, Favre couldn't do anything. The iconic franchise quarterback lost his first five starts there, including those in each of his MVP seasons in the mid-'90s. My personal favorite is from 1995, when the Vikings' front got to Favre four times while knocking him out of the game twice in a narrow win. It's a classic. I have the game on VHS. The only thing that could possibly make that game cooler would be laser disc.

Green Bay and Minnesota link up again in the latter's year-old digs this weekend, with Mike Zimmer's defense sure to give Rodgers fits. That pick is below, along with more divisional fare, like Chargers at Raiders. Who you got? Let me know: @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 6-8 on his predictions for Week 5, giving him a record of 44-33 thus far this season. How will he fare in Week 6? His picks are below:

Baltimore Ravens 23, Chicago Bears 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

This will not be an easy matchup for rookie Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky. The Ravens' defense is up there with the Vikings' unit -- against whom Trubisky posted 128 yards, one TD, one pick and a passer rating of 60.1 in his debut on Monday -- in terms of quality. After everything went wrong for Baltimore in London in Week 3 and Ben Roethlisberger riddled the secondary in Week 4, the Ravens squeezed the field on EJ Manuel in Week 5. Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains must come up with something outside of short passes and play-action rollouts for Trubisky. In fact, he probably should've utilized Jordan Howard more late in the loss to Minnesota. Trubisky had better not try any of those late cross-body throws against Eric Weddle on Sunday, either. Rookie quarterbacks are a not-glowing 4-12 against the John Harbaugh-coached Ravens, with eight touchdowns and 20 picks. Ew. #CHIvsBAL

Houston Texans 30, Cleveland Browns 16

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Browns need a win so badly. I know the Texans' defense is hurting. Yet, I just don't see Cleveland pulling off the road upset. Kevin Hogan will have the kitchen sink thrown at him if he goes the whole way at quarterback, as Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel tries to mitigate the losses of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus with blitzes and various personnel packages. Vrabel will have to move Jadeveon Clowney around, lest he wants to watch him get stonewalled by Joe Thomas time and again.

Crazy stat alert: Since 2012, when Mercilus was a rookie, he and Watt have combined for 109 sacks, far and away the highest total by a tandem during that time. Watt hardly even played last year. CLEvsHOU

Green Bay Packers 20, Minnesota Vikings 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

It's not fun picking against the Vikings nearly every week. I really do like Mike Zimmer's team -- it's just that the matchups have oddly worked out that way (and I've missed a few). And as discussed at the top of this page, Minneapolis has long been a tough place to play for the Pack. Remember Week 2 last year, when Sam Bradford looked like the MVP of the 2016 season? Doubt he will even play in this matchup. By the second quarter last Monday night, Bradford was walking around like Gollum. A mobile Case Keenum gives the Vikings a better chance to win while Bradford is hobbited, er, hobbled. On the other side, fans, media and everyone in between are still raving about Aaron Rodgers' Houdini act out of the pocket last week.

Fun fact: Rodgers is 6-1 with a 112.8 passer rating and a 20:1 TD-to-INT ratio vs. NFC North teams since the start of 2016. GBvsMIN

Detroit Lions 23, New Orleans Saints 20

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Interesting matchup in New Orleans. How real are the Lions, who've been one of the steadier teams in the league this season? For that matter, how legit is the Saints' defense, which balled out two consecutive weeks versus the Dolphins and Panthers? Did the Week 5 bye ruin New Orleans' mojo? Both of Detroit's losses came down to the wire, although Jim Caldwell's group faltered early against the Panthers and had too far to climb to pull out an improbable win. The Saints' banged-up tackles are going to have to get Ziggy Ansah blocked to win. Speaking of pass rush, Matthew Stafford is on pace to be sacked a career-high 58 times. That's getting into Ryan Tannehill/David Carr/Randall Cunningham territory. This will be the last game for which Detroit left tackle Taylor Decker, who currently is on the PUP, is required to be inactive. He can't come back soon enough. DETvsNO

Atlanta Falcons 26, Miami Dolphins 14

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Wondering if the Falcons will play down to their competition (again). Much depends on who's available at wide receiver for Atlanta. If Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu are back (especially Jones, obvs), reigning MVP Matt Ryan won't have to hold the football as long. Devonta Freeman's season could be characterized as so-so to this point. If the Atlanta wideouts are down, he will be a huge factor in the outcome of this game. The same sort of thing could be said for Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi, who's endured a subpar beginning that hasn't been augmented by Jay Cutler slinging it (not) around the ballpark. Ryan, by the way, is 7-2 after a bye, which is tied for the best post-bye record among active quarterbacks since he entered the league in 2008. MIAvsATL

New England Patriots 28, New York Jets 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Could the Jets possibly pull off the upset and move to two games over .500? Put another way: How much are they going to ruin next year's draft position? In order to upset the Patriots, New York's defense must stay disciplined. Now that Rob Gronkowski is good to go, my original thought that the Jets would have to clog the short passing lanes and make Tom Brady beat them deep won't necessarily work. Remember, Gronk missed one game against Gang Green the last season and got hurt in the other. I trust New York's defense against New England's ground attack. I shouldn't, though -- the Jets rank 30th in the league in run defense right now. Could this be a Mike Gillislee game? Maybe it will be a Chris Hogan game, actually. Hogan has posted five touchdown receptions in the last four games, including one in each. He's the first Pats wideout to notch a receiving score in four consecutive games since Randy Moss in 2007. Hogan = Moss. Alright, maybe I got carried away there. NEvsNYJ

Washington Redskins 30, San Francisco 49ers 13

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

For some reason, I feel as though Kirk Cousins' immediate future, contract status and other assorted relevant items might be discussed leading up to this game. The Redskins are coming off a bye week that the back seven badly needed. Washington linebackers and defensive backs were dropping like flies (or Giants wide receivers). It's tough to win with backups playing at both the second and third levels of the defense. Thankfully, Brian Hoyer won't capitalize, even if this is the Pierre Gar��on revenge game. Get excited.

(Not) fun fact: The 49ers have lost four straight games by three points or fewer, making them the first team to do so since the 1994 Houston Oilers. That was the season after the Oilers made Warren Moon walk (via trade). Draw your own comparisons. SFvsWAS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

The Bucs win on the road, bouncing back from a frustrating loss on national television. Of course, this will also be the premiere of A.D. in the AZ. Neither of these teams looked particularly functional in Week 5, albeit for differing reasons. Tampa had trouble catching the ball and making kicks, while staying with the Patriots (sort of). The Cardinals were frayed and then some in Philadelphia, falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter and never looking back (forward?). Now, Adrian Peterson is here to save the day. Cool. Tampa wins. Per Next Gen Stats, Mike Evans chews up 336.1 blades of grass per stride, good for eighth in the league. I kid. Per Next Gen Stats, the Mike Evans-Patrick Peterson matchup was pretty much a draw last season. When covered by Peterson, Evans caught four of eight targets, including a touchdown. Jameis Winston was also picked off on one of those throws. TBvsAZ

Los Angeles Rams 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 21

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

Another close matchup. The intriguing thing about this one is that it features two teams we don't know enough about. Five games into the 2017 campaign, both seem viable, sporting matching 3-2 records with a few major improvements from last season readily apparent. The Rams' offense has been a totally different animal, although Jared Goff played his worst game of the season last week against the Seahawks. Granted, many a quarterback has suffered versus Seattle in recent years. Todd Gurley is enjoying a fantastic 2017. Jags rookie Leonard Fournette is right there with Gurley, putting together his own prolific campaign. Each running back could be the cog that delivers a win for his team. Throwing on Jacksonville this season sure isn't the ticket. (Just ask Big Ben.) Meanwhile, Fournette can eat clock and prevent Sean McVay's offense, which is second in points per game, from taking over. In fact, the Jags are running 55.2 percent of the time, the most by any team since the 2009 Jets. Remember that group? Went to the AFC Championship Game with the Sanchize at the helm. Running backs Thomas Jones and rookie Shonn Greene were rocking it. LAvsJAX

Kansas City Chiefs 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Chiefs win. While trying to write something interesting about the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger, and hitting the proverbial writer's block, I realized maybe I don't have it anymore. Moving along ... While much of the focus this week centered on Pittsburgh's quarterback, what about the defense? If you look at the numbers, they'll sell you a bill of goods. The Steelers boast the NFL's top pass defense? Yeah, because they can't fill a gap on a running play to save their life. Now the league's leading rusher will be running through those holes. Pittsburgh had better hold contain, too, with the way Alex Smith is running. Alright, back to ol' past-his-prime Roethlisberger: When throwing down the field more than 15 yards, he's sporting an 18.8 passer rating with zero touchdowns. Five picks, though. PITvsKC

Oakland Raiders 30, Los Angeles Chargers 23

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Appears Derek Carr's good to go this week, which should right the Raiders' ship. Let's be on the level here: Oakland can't survive in the AFC West with a 2-4 start. Consider how this team has fared in the past against the Chiefs, who swept them last year. And the Raiders are already down one to K.C. in division games. They will hold off the Chargers, but not before Philip Rivers makes them sweat late. How much can Melvin Gordon take advantage of Oakland's 25th-ranked run defense? Both the Redskins and Broncos made hay with their backs against Ken Norton's unit. (Ironic, considering what a solid run-stopper Norton was as a player.) Also worth watching: How much will Jack Del Rio want to max protect Carr, keeping his own RBs in, so Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram don't plant the on-the-mend QB in the turf repeatedly? What's cool is that the Chargers don't have to blitz to make that happen. They send extra guys to crash the pocket only 16.2 percent of the time -- 31st in the league -- yet have registered 17 sacks (tied for third) and 31 QB hits (tied for sixth). LACvsOAK

Denver Broncos 27, New York Giants 10

Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

If you haven't heard by now, the Giants are down a few wide receivers. Odell Beckham Jr.: Out for the season. Brandon Marshall: Out for the season. Sterling Shepard: Seen earlier this week in a walking boot. Dwayne Harris: Out for the season. That's their WR1, WR2, WR3 and WR4. Enter Roger Lewis Jr., Tavarres King, Travis Rudolph and Ed Eagan. I asked: Earnest Gray and Ike Hilliard were not available. (Nobody remembers Gray. Dude tied for the NFC lead in catches in 1983.) Well, at least these guys will have a chance to ease their way in -- it's not like they're playing the most talented cornerback group in years or anything. Oh, wait ... Seriously, could there be a worse matchup? Expect the Broncos to run the football and not take too many chances, because they won't need to. They're third in rushing yards per game and second only to the Jaguars in rushing attempts per game. New York can't squeeze a drop in the run game, averaging 77.8 yards per outing, which would be the lowest mark for the franchise since its 1940 squad. I covered that team; great bunch of guys. NYGvsDEN

Tennessee Titans 28, Indianapolis Colts 23

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Titans' middling start to the season has been noticed by this man, especially because they were considered (by me, anyway) to be the favorites to win the AFC South. Their bread and butter -- the "exotic smashmouth" (whatever the heck that means) -- has churned out 124.8 rushing yards per game, the ninth-best figure in the league. But they're not running near as much as we thought they would, partially due to game situations, and partially due to how often the defense is giving up points. Dick LeBeau's group ranks 21st in total defense and 30th in scoring D. Though the offense has contributed to that latter figure, with a few turnovers turned into points. The Colts will have trouble forcing takeaways, because Tennessee will run the ball 35 times. Indy hasn't faced a true RB1 since Todd Gurley in Week 1. What's odd, though, is that the Titans might only lean on DeMarco Murray. Would you believe Derrick Henry has all of 10 carries the last two weeks? (For a grand total of 16 yards.) INDvsTEN

THURSDAY NIGHT'S GAME

Carolina Panthers 26, Philadelphia Eagles 23

Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS/NFL Network/Amazon

This game could go either way. Can't think of a more 50-50 proposition. While the Eagles have been more consistent than the Panthers thus far this season, these two teams are fairly even, and Carolina will have the home crowd's support. The key for the Panthers will be putting pressure on Carson Wentz without losing contain. Opponents are always wary of Cam Newton running; Wentz's mobility has been a quiet contributor to Philadelphia's fast start. Another important factor is whether the Eagles will have Fletcher Cox's services, as the defensive lineman is supposed to be a game-time decision.

Fun fact: Philadelphia (35:32) and Carolina (33:16) rank first and second in average time of possession. Teams that have averaged at least 32 minutes are 16-3 this season, per my main man, @RealJackAndrade. #PHIvsCAR

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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