Week 6 NFL capsules
Ravens (3-2) vs. Titans (2-3), in London: Pour your coffee with the Ravens’ No. 2-ranked defense, allowing 15 points per game, in a morning matchup with the Titans, who rank 26th in the NFL in scoring. Titans QB Ryan Tannehill insists a shift is only a matter of “executing” in the red zone with Tennessee scoring just seven total touchdowns in five games. Signs of life emerged in the passing game with WR DeAndre Hopkins delivering his best game with the team (eight receptions, 140 yards) last week. Baltimore has at least 100 rushing yards in 21 consecutive games. The Ravens lost their only other London game, 44-7 to the Jaguars in 2018.
Commanders (2-3) at Falcons (3-2): Washington was whipped by the previously winless Bears, allowing 40 points to Chicago last Thursday. The Commanders beat the Falcons (19-13) last season. Atlanta QB Desmond Ridder is comfortable at home in the dome, where he’s 3-0 as the Falcons’ starter. Washington not only is trying to recover from the 40-20 loss to the Bears but is seeking to win for the first time since a 2-0 start. QB Sam Howell passed for 388 yards in the loss and has the depth at wide receiver to challenge the Falcons’ secondary. Ridder, who passed for a career-best 329 yards and ran for a TD last week, has the luxury of rookie RB Bijan Robinson as a dependable crutch. Washington’s strong defensive line figures to play a crucial role. Ridder was sacked 16 times in the first four games this season, but was kept clean last week.
Vikings (1-4) at Bears (1-4): The Bears haven’t posted consecutive wins since Week 16 and Week 17 of the 2021 season. To get it done here, the Bears likely need to put up another big point total. Chicago has allowed 157 points in five games. The Bears get a break of sorts with All-Pro WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring) landing on IR, which pushes the lead receiver tag to either TE T.J. Hockenson or rookie WR Jordan Addison. This is Chicago’s first look at Minnesota with Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen subtracted from the offense. The Vikings have blitzed on more than half of the defensive plays this season, and protecting QB Justin Fields is a chronic flaw for Chicago. Fields has been sacked 20 times in five games. The Bears aren’t certain which back will emerge to carry the load this week with Khalil Herbert sidelined.
Seahawks (3-1) at Bengals (2-3): QB Joe Burrow had his best game of the 2023 season and connected with WR Ja’Marr Chase 15 times for 192 yards and three TDs to beat the Arizona Cardinals last week. Seattle comes off the bye healthier and spent time focused on fixing a third-down offense converting only 28.9 percent of attempts to first downs. But the Seahawks are 2-0 on the road this season and are averaging 32.3 points per game since the Week 1 loss to the Rams. The Bengals are getting just 74.6 rushing yards per game out of Joe Mixon and Co. That’s adding pressure for Burrow to move the chains through the air.
Cincinnati’s run defense is also lagging at 154 rushing yards per game, which sets up as an opening for the Seahawks to spotlight their RB tandem of Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet.
49ers (5-0) at Browns (2-2): Rested Cleveland returns from the bye week without QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) and will start a third different quarterback in five games when PJ Walker gets the call. Walker was 4-3 as a replacement starter with the Panthers and was benched in 2022 with the Panthers by interim coach Steve Wilks, who is now the defensive coordinator of the 49ers. San Francisco’s rugged defense allows just 13.6 points per game. Is Cleveland’s defense capable of handing 49ers QB Brock Purdy his first regular-season loss? Not falling behind early could be crucial. The 49ers have a field goal and four touchdowns on their five opening drives this season.
Saints (3-2) at Texans (2-3): New Orleans discovered its running game and ended a streak of 10 consecutive games with 21 points or fewer by defeating the New England Patriots 34-0 last Sunday. New Orleans had season highs of 42 rushes and 136 yards on the ground against New England and scored three touchdowns on four red-zone trips. The Texans managed just one touchdown and settled for four field goals in a 21-19 road loss to Atlanta in Week 5, but rookie QB C.J. Stroud is playing at a very high level, not for a rookie but “for any NFL quarterback,” Saints head coach Dennis Allen said this week. Stroud hasn’t been sacked in the past three games and has a streak of 177 consecutive passes without throwing an interceptions.
Colts (3-2) at Jaguars (3-2): QB Anthony Richardson (shoulder) landed on IR and won’t be available for a rematch with the Jaguars after nearly leading Indy’s upset of Jacksonville in the regular-season opener. Jacksonville’s late TD and goal-line stand gave the Jaguars the win in Week 1. Gardner Minshew spent two seasons (2019-20) with Jacksonville and passed for 37 touchdowns against only 11 interceptions in 23 games (20 starts), but returns as the Colts’ QB1 to face his replacement, Trevor Lawrence. Jaguars RB Travis Etienne Jr. compiled a career-best 184 total yards (136 rushing, 48 receiving) against the Bills. He also rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The Colts have won three of four games since losing Week 1 and RB Jonathan Taylor is being prepped for a bigger workload after not playing in the first four games because of an ankle injury.
Panthers (0-5) at Dolphins (4-1): Miami is off to its best start in 20 years and will be making adjustments to the offensive depth chart after an injury to a rising star in the backfield. The Panthers are the only NFL team without a victory this year. Miami’s offense has weapons everywhere, but tweaks were needed this week because running back De’Von Achane, who racked up 151 rushing yards last week against the New York Giants, has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Panthers are simplifying the offense to benefit rookie QB Bryce Young, head coach Frank Reich said this week, as he faces another former Alabama quarterback — Tua Tagovailoa — on Sunday.
Patriots (1-4) at Raiders (2-3): Mentor Bill Belichick catches up with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, current head coach of the Raiders, in a meeting of two of the NFL’s least-productive offenses. Belichick’s Patriots average an NFL-worst 11.0 points per game and rank 26th in total offense. Outscored 72-3 the past two games, the Patriots have gone 34 consecutive drives without scoring an offensive touchdown. The Raiders are 29th in total offense (281.2 yards) and 32nd in rushing (71.4). Las Vegas mustered 279 total yards and 96 rushing in its 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers Monday. The decision snapped a three-game losing skid for the Raiders.
Lions (4-1) at Buccaneers (3-1): Division leaders square off in Florida as the Lions attempt to improve a two-game lead over the Packers and a three-game advantage over Minnesota and Chicago. Detroit is coming off a 42-24 thumping of winless Carolina, and its offense has been lethal with QB Jared Goff accounting for four total touchdowns last week. Tampa Bay’s defense is flying under the radar despite 12 sacks and 10 takeaways. The Lions have won three consecutive games by 14-plus points and are downright dominant stopping the run (68 yards per game). QB Baker Mayfield has seven touchdown passes but three of them are to WR Mike Evans, who underwent an MRI exam on his injured hamstring during the bye week. The Buccaneers allowed four sacks in the first four games.
Cardinals (1-4) at Rams (2-3): Cooper Kupp’s return was welcomed by QB Matthew Stafford, who is fourth in the NFL in passing yards. Stafford didn’t throw a TD pass in the matchup with Arizona last year. The road team has won every game in this series the past two seasons. Prior to 2021, the Rams had won eight consecutive regular-season games over the Cardinals with Sean McVay as head coach. The Cardinals have been competitive in their four losses, but in those games have been outscored 51-0 in the fourth quarter. They will be facing the Rams without leading rusher James Conner, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after sustaining a knee injury in the second quarter last week against the Bengals.
Eagles (5-0) at Jets (2-3): The Jets rode RB Breece Hall to a victory at Denver last week, but the degree of difficulty shifts in Week 6. The Eagles have swept all 12 previous meetings against the Jets dating back to 1973, outscoring New York by a 335-195 margin in the process. Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts also brings a significant streak into this contest against the Jets, having won his past 11 road starts in the regular season. The Eagles improved to 3-0 away from home this year with a 23-14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. Jets QB Zach Wilson has just one interception in the past three games, giving the defense a chance to keep New York in games late. The Jets have two defensive touchdowns and two rushing scores this season.
Giants (1-4) at Bills (3-2): A primetime billing for Giants-Bills won’t involve QB Daniel Jones, whose neck injury worsened throughout the week. Tyrod Taylor, once a starter for Buffalo, gets the call as the Bills offer up a stern test to a patchwork Giants’ offensive line. New York is allowing 6.0 sacks per game and is minus-five in turnover ratio. The 30 sacks allowed by the Giants is a red flag given Taylor’s injury history and spells a likely run-heavy offensive approach. RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) hasn’t played in the past three games. Buffalo also is familiar with Giants head coach Brian Daboll, who was offensive coordinator of the Bills prior to being hired to revive the Giants. Daboll also knows plenty about Buffalo’s personnel, including QB Josh Allen. Allen has 120 rushing yards and three TDs and 11 TD passes.
Cowboys (3-2) at Chargers (2-2): “Humbled” by the 49ers in a 42-10 smackdown in San Francisco last week, Dak Prescott prepares to face the Chargers, who enter off their bye week with RB Austin Ekeler primed to play for the first time since he racked up 164 scrimmage yards (117 rushing, 47 receiving) in a 36-34 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. Prescott and the Cowboys had only eight first downs last week, hiking up the heat on head coach and playcaller Mike McCarthy. He fired Kellen Moore from the offensive coordinator position in Dallas, and Moore was hired to run the Chargers’ offense. QB Justin Herbert, who is playing with a broken left middle finger, is completing 71 percent of his passes with seven TD passes and one interception this season. Dallas won the most recent meeting, 20-17, in 2021.
–Field Level Media