Last night’s Commanders-Bears slog got Week 6 off to a slow start, which means that the action can only get better from here. And looking at this weekend’s schedule, there are some matchups that pop out as absolute must-watch.
Tom Brady facing off against an old foe, two of the NFL’s new hotshot head coaches squaring off in Miami, a rematch of last season’s epic AFC Divisional Round game, and a classic NFC East battle? Yes please, sign us up for all of it.
With Elias Insights guiding the way, let’s preview some of what Week 6 has on tap.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved to 3-2 on the season by defeating the Atlanta Falcons at home in Week 5. Tampa Bay got out to a 21-0 lead in that game, but things got tighter than anticipated in the fourth quarter, with the Bucs being outscored 15-0 in the final 15 minutes of play. Todd Bowles’ team ranks sixth in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 16.6 points per game, which they will look to improve on as they face a Pittsburgh offense that has struggled both with Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett under center.
In this game, Tom Brady faces a rookie quarterback for the 30th time in his career. In the previous 29 matchups against rookie signal callers, Brady has a 24-5 straight up record, including an 18-0 mark in those games where he is favored by a touchdown or more. However, he is 15-14 against the spread in those games, indicating this game might be closer than anticipated if that trend continues.
Kenny Pickett got his first NFL start last week for the Steelers, and experienced some serious growing pains against the Buffalo Bills. Pickett threw for 327 yards on 52 attempts, but failed to throw a touchdown pass in a 38-3 loss. After facing one of the top-two defenses in the NFL in points allowed and yards allowed last week, Pickett and the Steelers now face another elite defense in his second career start.
The Pittsburgh running game stepping up would be a big help for their young quarterback against the Buccaneers. Pittsburgh ranks just 29th in the NFL in rushing, averaging 88.6 yards per game, with Najee Harris averaging only 44.4 yards per game as their top option on the ground. If the Steelers cannot be more productive with Harris and their rushing attack, they will continue to put Pickett into difficult situations.
The Minnesota Vikings got out to a 21-3 lead over the Chicago Bears last week. They relinquished that lead and fell behind 22-21, before scoring a game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. That win moved the Vikings to 4-1 on the season, and the Vikings will play for a fourth straight win and a 5-1 start when they take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
For the Vikings to pick up a road win this week, they’ll need Dalvin Cook to have his best game of the season on the road. Cook has averaged a meager 46.5 rushing yards per game on the road in two away games, compared to 93.3 rushing yards at home. If Cook has his first big game of the year away from US Bank Stadium, the Vikings would be in a much better position to improve to 5-1.
The Miami Dolphins have lost two straight games, falling to the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets in back-to-back weeks. Both of those games saw the Dolphins lose a quarterback, as Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion against the Bengals, while Teddy Bridgewater suffered a head injury against the Jets. Skylar Thompson was forced to finish the game against the Jets, and could start this week if Bridgewater is not cleared to play.
With the quarterback situation in flux for the Dolphins, the play of running back Raheem Mostert will be key to their success. Mostert rushed for 113 yards and one touchdown against the Jets last week, and has emerged as the lead back over Chase Edmonds on the Miami roster. With the potential for Thompson to get his first career start this week, the Dolphins will need Mostert to continue to deliver against Minnesota.
The Buffalo Bills put in another dominant performance in Week 5, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-3 at home. Buffalo shined on both sides of the ball, with Josh Allen’s 424 passing yards leading the charge, which included a 98-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis. In Week 6, the Bills face the Kansas City Chiefs, in a rematch of their memorable Divisional Round game in last year’s postseason, which the Bills lost in heartbreaking fashion in overtime.
Against the Chiefs, the defense of the Bills will be essential to their chances of winning this one. Buffalo is tied for first in the league in points allowed at 12.2 per game, and ranks second in the league in yardage allowed at 260.4 per game. If they can slow Patrick Mahomes and company down the same way they have the rest of the league, the Bills could earn a statement win on the road here.
It was far from easy, but the Kansas City Chiefs came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football in Week 5. Travis Kelce caught four touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes in the win. However, the defense of the Chiefs allowed two deep ball touchdowns to Davante Adams, and will need to be better this week against an aggressive Bills passing attack.
So far, Patrick Mahomes has held the upper hand over Josh Allen in their meetings in the NFL. Mahomes and the Chiefs have gone 3-1 against Allen and the Bills, though the teams have split their two regular season meetings over that stretch. This will be the first time in the Mahomes-Allen series that the Chiefs have been underdogs, though, and Kansas City will have to contend with one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL to pick up another win at home.
There is only one undefeated team remaining in the NFL this season, and it is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles survived a second half comeback attempt from the Arizona Cardinals last week, with a missed field goal from the Cardinals in the closing moments giving the Eagles a 20-17 road win. Even with that close call, the Eagles have beaten their opponents by an average of 9.4 points per game, and will put their perfect record on the line against the rival Cowboys in Week 6.
Against Dallas, the ability of Jalen Hurts to break containment and make plays with his legs could be a huge factor. The Cowboys rank second in the NFL in sacks this season, having taken down opposing quarterbacks 20 times in five games. Hurts has averaged 53.2 rushing yards per game on the season, though, and his mobility could help offset the impact of Micah Parsons and the Dallas pass rush.
The Dallas Cowboys have been near-perfect since losing their first game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They won their fourth straight game last week against the Los Angeles Rams, holding the defending Super Bowl champions to just 10 points. This week, a Dallas defense that has yet to allow 20 points in a game this season will look to put together another defensive masterpiece against an explosive Philadelphia Eagles offense.
Cooper Rush is expected to start for the fifth straight game for the Cowboys, having won each of his first four starts this season. Rush has developed a solid rapport with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb this season, with Lamb averaging 6.5 catches and 78.0 yards per game since Rush took over as the starter. Another big game from the Oklahoma product may be necessary for the Cowboys to move to 5-1 and to the top of the NFC East after Sunday night.
Buckle up for what promises to be an exciting Week 6, and when you need to make sense of Week 7, bring it right back here to stay in the know!