Week 6 NFL schedule: Trubisky on the road, Peterson a Cardinal and more intrigues
Plus Gurley vs. Fournette, the Saints defense and Falcons offense coming off a bye and more
Here are 10 things from NFL Week 6 that intrigue me, right after we take a look at the Sunday and Monday schedule.
Patriots at Jets, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Dolphins at Falcons, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Browns at Texans, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Packers at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET on FOX (GameTracker)
Lions at Saints, 1 p.m. ET on FOX (GameTracker)
Bears at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET on FOX (GameTracker)
49ers at Redskins, 1 p.m. ET on FOX (GameTracker)
Rams at Jaguars, 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX (GameTracker)
Buccaneers at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX (GameTracker)
Steelers at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Chargers at Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Giants at Broncos, 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (GameTracker)
Will Big Ben show he is far from done?
It won't be easy for Ben Roethlisberger to bounce back from throwing five interceptions last week against the undefeated Chiefs at Arrowhead, but the Steelers blew out Kansas City in the regular season in 2016 and then beat them in the playoffs last January at Arrowhead. Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes in the regular season game, but threw for just 224 yards, no touchdowns and one pick in the playoff victory. He needs something in between this week to pull off the upset.
How will the Texans respond with Watt and Mercilus finished?
It would be tough enough to lose J.J. Watt, the face of the franchise, but it's compounded with the loss of Whitney Mercilus, who is coming off his best season as a pass rusher. That will put a lot of pressure on Jadeveon Clowney to make things happen up front.
Aaron Rodgers vs. the Vikings' defense
The Vikings have a good defensive front and a good secondary. That could make for tough going for Rodgers. He has owned the division the last few years, but the Vikings did beat him once last season, limiting him to 213 yards, one touchdown and a pick. He is 2-2 against them the past two seasons.
Bears rookie Mitch Trubisky in his first road start
It's one thing to make your first NFL start at home, but it's a lot tougher to make that first road start, which is what Trubisky will do at Baltimore this Sunday. The Ravens have a good defense with veteran safeties who can trick Trubisky. He has talent, but he looked raw in his first start Monday night. This will be a real challenge for him, especially on an offense limited with weapons outside.
Von Miller vs. the Giants' offensive line
The Giants have had all kinds of trouble protecting Eli Manning, and now they must deal with the league's best edge rusher. It won't help matters that Manning will be without his top two receivers and he's facing one of the best cover groups in the league.
Adrian Peterson's first game with the Cardinals
Without David Johnson, who was lost in Week 1 with a wrist injury, the Cardinals have tried a bunch of bodies at running back with little success. So now they turn to Peterson, who they acquired in a trade from the Saints. How much does Peterson have left? How much can he help right away? He looked like a shell of his former self with the Saints, but didn't get many opportunities. He should get more action with the Cardinals, who have averaged 3.2 yards per rush.
Gurley vs. Fournette in a running back showcase
Todd Gurley leads the NFL in touchdowns with seven, while Leonard Fournette has six. Fournette is second in the league in rushing, while Gurley is third. Both the Rams and the Jaguars need the backs to have big days to pull of what is now a big game for these two.
How well will Carr and Mariota play in their returns?
Both Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota missed Week 5 with injuries, Carr with back spasms and Mariota with a hamstring, but they are expected to play this week. Will the time off help or hurt the two quarterbacks? Carr was playing just OK before the injury and Mariota struggled in a blowout loss in the game he got injured against the Texans. They both need to pick up their play.
Will the Saints defense build off two impressive games?
Before the bye, the Saints defense limited Cam Newton and the Panthers on the road and then shut out Miami in London. That's a major step forward for a unit that had major problems for the past few seasons. Dennis Allen has that group playing much better, but they will be in for a challenge against Matt Stafford this week. If they can limit the Lions, the Saints might be ready to push for a playoff spot.
Will the Falcons get their offense cranked up off the bye?
They just haven't looked like last year's points machine for a variety of reasons. Maybe it's taking some time to get used to new coordinator Steve Sarkisian. They've also turned the ball over a bunch and they've had some injuries, including to receivers Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and right tackle Ryan Schraeder, an underrated part of their offense last season. At some point this season, Matt Ryan will look like the MVP player he was a year ago. It won't be easy this week against the Miami Dolphins, who have the fourth-ranked scoring defense.
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