Forecasting the Top Five Games of Week Six

Game of the Week Carolina Panthers (4-0) at Indianapolis Colts (5-0): The Colts offense was tested big time on Monday Night against an aggressive Tampa Bay defensive front seven and will face the same type of heat against the Panthers.

Julius Peppers and Michael Rucker are perhaps the top defensive end duo in the league, while Kris Jenkins is among the top five defensive tackles in football. The Colts' offensive line managed to survive against Tampa's front but may have more trouble this weekend, coming off a draining game in which the offense stayed on the field for an extended period of time.


Missing Edgerrin James should have a tremendous effect in this game, because if the Panthers have had a weakness this year, it's been against the run. They have already given up 100 yards against two running backs this season and although the front seven is quick, it is undersized.


On the other side of the ball, the Panthers should have success running the ball against a Colts defense that is still somewhat soft up the middle. The Panthers rushing attack, led by Stephan Davis, is punishing and has not been stopped all season long. If the Panthers can manage to get an early lead, they can salt the game away and keep Manning and company off the field.


Prediction: Although the Colts are the better overall team, they seem ripe for the picking against the Panthers. They are coming off an emotional, Monday Night win so there is a decent chance that they will come out flat. Manning should be able to pass the ball on the Panthers, but he'll get pressured often and the running game won't be good enough to keep the Panther linebackers honest up front.


Panthers- 23

Colts- 20


Game Two


Kansas City (5-0) at Green Bay (3-2): The Packers seemed to have gotten their legs under them after suffering an embarrassing loss to the Cardinals in Arizona. Since that game, the Green Bay coaches have been feeding the ball to Ahman Green and have limited Favre's pass attempts against the Bears and Seahawks. The result has been two convincing wins in back-to-back weeks. However, they face a different animal in the Chiefs, who are the best team in the NFL so far.

The Chiefs proved their metal by beating the Ravens and the Broncos, two tough teams that play solid defense. The Packers should be able to run the ball on
Kansas City's defense, but Priest Holmes may have a breakout game against a Packers' run defense that is among the worst in football.


Prediction: The Chiefs' offense will come alive this week. Holmes will have a big day running the ball and Trent Green will complete passes off of play-action fakes. Dante Hall may not return a punt or a kick for a TD, but the Chiefs won't need him anyway.


Chiefs- 27

Green Bay- 17


Game Three


Philadelphia (2-2) at Dallas (3-1): The biggest surprise of the season has easily been the Cowboys. Bill Parcells has instilled mental toughness and confidence in a team that has been downright awful the past few years. Meanwhile, after starting the season with a 0-2 record, the Eagles have jumped back into the thick of things thanks to the rejuvenation of its proud defense. Despite missing three starters in the secondary, the Eagles' have held the Bills and Redskins' offenses in check the past two weeks.


Prediction: Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has done a nice job of protecting his young secondary by keeping five-to-six players in coverage and not bringing a safety in the box to stop the run. The front four has been able to apply pressure against Bledsoe and Ramsey the last two weeks. However, Quincy Carter can avoid a pass rush and he throws the ball well on the run. Look for the Eagles' defense to get hit early and often in the passing game, while the Dallas defense continues to play well, limiting the Eagles passing game.


Eagles- 16

Cowboys- 21  


Game Four


Pittsburgh (2-3) at Denver (4-1): It's gut check time for the Steelers. They've got their backs up against the wall after losing to the Browns at home. Playing the Broncos on the road, who came within an eyelash of defeating the Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium, isn't the best way to get healthy.


Prediction: The Steelers can't run the ball well on offense and the line play has been miserable, which has forced Tommy Maddox into forcing throws in the passing game. The Broncos' pass rush has been fierce all season, so they've got the capability of breaking down the pocket around Maddox just as the Titans and Browns did in the last couple of weeks. On the other side of the ball, Denver's passing game should be too much for a Steelers' secondary that is in freefall.


Steelers- 20

Broncos- 30


Game Five


Tampa Bay (2-2) at Washington (3-2): Some warts on Tampa Bay's defense were exposed by the Colts on Monday Night. The Colts proved that you should not go into a game against the Buccaneers thinking that you can't throw the ball deep on its secondary. That's what they want offenses to think. In reality, there are usually opportunities to strike deep against the Tampa Bay secondary when they play Cover One coverage, but quarterbacks usually don't have enough time to throw the ball.


Prediction: The Redskins have the personnel to pass the ball on the Buccaneers, especially with cornerback Brian Kelly due to miss the game. However, the Redskins' offensive line hasn't been able to pick up the blitz all year long and the Bucs' pass rush should be too fast for them to handle.


Buccaneers- 24

Redskins- 10

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