613 breaks down key match-ups from this weeks action in the NFL. Find out who will win, who to watch, who will surprise and more here in our Week 6 Preview. Check here every Sunday morning before making your picks, or choosing your starters.
PANTHERS @ VIKINGS:
SAINTS @ PATRIOTS
- All of the attention this week will be on Adrian Peterson as he takes the field following his personal tragedy this week. You never would wish such a thing on anyone let alone one of the true "good guys" in sports. What is even more upsetting is tragedy seems to follow Peterson. When Adrian was 13 he lost his older brother's life was taken when he was struck by a drunk driver while riding a bike. A few years later his half-brother was shot to death - and now this. AP was quoted as saying this is what motivates him, drives him, and he tries to use football as an outlet for his frustrations. If that is the case AP isn't the only one I feel bad for this week. The Carolina Panthers defense can not possibly be prepared for the type of effort All-Day is going to give them. Could we witness the first ever 300 yard rushing performance? If there was ever a time - it may be right meow.
- The poor Panthers can't catch a break. I mean Ron Rivera is still their coach, and to make matters worse they should've won last week. Steve Smith dropped a uncontested TD in the endzone last Sunday as they allowed the Cardinals to still the victory from them despite the Panthers being fresh off the bye week. Now they get Vikings and guess what the guy that never needs any extra motivation - has more than he will ever need this week. Carolina's only chance to slow down AP will be to stack the box all game and make Minnesota's passing attack beat them. The problem is they could put 9,10,11, or even 12 men in the box and they likely will still struggle to bring AP down today. Panthers have to be hoping Ted Ginn, Steve Smith, and Greg Olsen step up their play today as Cam clearly needs some more help on offense.
- I can't help but want to watch this game. AP's situation alone compels me to tune into this game more than any other on the schedule this week. I am probably not alone in routing for this man to have a performance for the ages. However the guy is human (as far as we know) and the mental toll may be too much even for a class act and ultimate professional like All Day - but I am not betting against him.
- Players to watch: Adrian Peterson, Adrian Peterson, ADRIAN PETERSON!!
SAINTS @ PATRIOTS
- The undefeated Saints head into Foxboro with a lot of confidence. New Orleans looks to continue their win steak facing a very beatable Patriots squad. Sean Payton is as clever as ever - Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles compliment each other well out of the backfield and Jimmy Graham can not be stopped period. However let's keep in mind the Saints aren't the same team outside the Superdome. They did handle the Bears in Chi-town last week but it was far from a cake walk. Travelling across half the country to try and steal a win against New England may be more challenging than many think.
- Tom Brady's streak of games played with a TD pass came to and end last week thanks mostly to mother nature and partly thank to the Bengals defense. Let's not kid ourselves - Brady throws a TD or two vs Cincy in most other circumstance. Poor weather coniditions and poor recieving targets held Tom Terrific back last week - but not this week! Belichek is probably the best coach in the league (perhaps NFL history) following a loss. Look for the Pats to find a way to slow the game down enough to limit Bree's & Co. effectiveness - thus giving Tom a chance to drive his team down late for the winning score. Brady & Belichek can't wait to shut you and the critics up this week.
- The smart money says pick the Saints. On paper they seem to be the better team - especially with the contributions they are getting from their defense. The problem is the game is not played on paper - it is played in the trenches, on the sidelines, and mostly in Belichek's head. I'm in with the Pats to pull out the upset as Saints are due for a letdown.
- Players to watch: Brady vs. Brees, Belichek vs. Payton, Saints RB's vs. Pats RB's
BENGALS @ BILLS
- The Bengals take advantage of some ideal weather conditions and utilized their stingy defense in a nice win vs. the Patriots last week. Cincy shouldn't be too intimidated heading into the match up with Buffalo as Thad Lewis will be starting for an injured EJ Manuel for the Bills offense. Bengals shouldn't underestimate the impact the fans at the Ralph can have on the game if it stay's close for too long. It would be wise for the Bengals to try and build a lead early to force young QB Thad Lewis to try and come from behind. AJ Green should also have a good day as even if Buffalo CB Steph Gilmore suits up he won't be at 100% in his first game back from injury.
- The good news is the Bills had a nice long week of rest between games this week having last played on Thursday night against the Browns. The bad news is they lost more than just the game vs the Browns. Buffalo lost their starting QB, their confidence, and any rhythm they had developed on offense. Thad Lewis will still run the same game plan according to OC Nathaniel Hackett but it's hard to imagine it not regressing somewhat with a new QB under center. Stevie Johnson will not be suiting up, and Jarius Bryd/Steph Gilmore are game time decisions - even if they play it'll be their first regular season action of the season. One bright spot is the return of rookie 3rd round WR, and training camp sensation, Marquis Goodwin to the offense - his speed can only help an offense missing play makers. A lot of questions heading into this week for the Buffalo Bills yet the game plan should remain the same: feed the ball to Spiller & Fred, pressure the other teams QB and force turnovers on defense.
- Although the fans at Ralph Wilson stadium should help - the Bengals tough defense should be too much for the inexperienced Thad Lewis to have enough success for the Bills to sneak out the win. Barring some major plays on special teams (Marquis Goodwin?) or some big plays by Bills RB's
- Players to watch: AJ Green, Geno Adkins, CJ Spiller/Marquis Goodwin