Week Six of the NFL sees another match-up in London with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosting Jacksonville Jaguars vs Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
In his main column this week, our NFL expert Nat Coombs runs the rule over what has been a rocky start for Urban Meyer at Jacksonville. Could a win this weekend over Miami provide a much needed springboard to galvanise the Jaguars?
Below is Nat’s prediction for that game and the rest of the Week Six fixtures. He has a hit rate of 65% after 76 matches.
NFL Week Six predictions
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Miami Dolphins (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London)
All the talk is around who will start at QB for Miami, with sophomore Tua Tagovailoa possibly returning from a rib injury, although back up Jacoby Brissett has a hamstring concern, so there’s an outside chance we may see the dawn of the Reid Sinnett era here in London. That’s Cleo Lemon over there, nodding sagely. Expect Myles Gaskin to figure heavily, whoever is under centre for the Fins. I wrote about Urban Meyers (pictured) shaky start to life in Jax here and note that Jags owner Shad Khan has previous, firing former Head Coach Gus Bradley immediately after a loss to Houston, making for an awkward plane ride home with his players. Still, if that happens to Meyer before/if he boards the plane, he can savour the London nightlife. Every cloud.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
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Philadelphia Eagles vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For all the (justified) hype about Kyler Murray or Justin Herbert for MVP, not enough people are talking up Tom Brady. He’s number one in the Football Outsiders DVOA rankings, and is calmly and steadily putting together another vintage season. The Fins ran the champs close for three quarters last week, but Brady and the Tampa Bay offense went into overdrive in the fourth, although they’re still without Rob Gronkowski, who contributes so much as a blocker, outside of his other offensive contributions. The Bucs are banged up on the other side of the ball, particularly in the secondary, and if the Eagles can leverage some pass rush through Javon Hargrave who’s had 9 QB hits & 6 sacks things could be close.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Washington Football Team vs Kansas City Chiefs
The NFL has been a copycat league for a long time. A team has success with something, you can bet your bottom dollar that a dozen others will at the very least experiment with the same thing. The media works the same way, so no surprise we’ve seen thousands of identikit views that the Chiefs are done, the dynasty in waiting is over, so let’s stick a fork in them, no look style. It’s a far-fetched over-reaction, and doesn’t consider how difficult their schedule has been, the undoubted talent on their roster, nor the depth of experience that both Andy Reid and his defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo have, the latter ensuring their respective units will continue to improve over the course of the season. Sure, the defense is fragile, but it was when they won Super Bowl 54.
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs
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New York Giants vs Los Angeles Rams
New York just can’t catch a break, with so many of their key offensive players picking up knocks, although glass-half-full types will point to Saquon Barkley avoiding serious injury (again) as a result, given the last time we saw him was being carted off the field, with his ankle seemingly blown up to the size of a baseball. QB Daniel Jones – much better than advertised but lost in a sea of mediocrity – has concussion so is a doubt, and star receiver Kenny Golladay is also a concern. If one of more of them is missing, any vague shred of hope the Giants had for the upset is gone.
Prediction: Los Angeles Rams
Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans
On my podcast recently, I considered if the Colts were the team with the most deceptive losing record. Now I’m convinced they’re the best 1-4 team in football – not the highest of bars, admittedly, and for Head Coach Frank Reich, the equivalent of being told he can half his speeding fine by paying within 28 days. He’ll take it, but it’s still a messy situation. Improbably, being 1-4 in the AFC South means there’s hope, as there’s no clearly dominant team. In fact, it’s the weakest division in football, and Indy can pick up momentum, with the Jets, Jaguars and division title rival Titans all coming up in the next month.
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts
Detroit Lions vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Joe Burrow-Jamarr Chase connection is fast becoming my favourite tag team in the NFL right now, representing the raw, sucker punch energy of this Bengals side that’s certainly not out of playoff contention. Burrow took a hard knock in Cincinnati’s heart-breaking loss against Green Bay but is expected to play. The Lions, somehow, find new ways to disappoint each week. Jared Goff is battling but limited – his average completed air yards in the Week 5 loss to Minnesota was 2.5, per NFL’s NextGen Stats. Dink and Dunk (XL).
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers
Chicago, whisper it, are sneaky playoff contenders. Under Matt Nagy has passed on his play-calling duties to Bill Lazor, and the Justin Fields led offense is all the better for it. A strong ground game is emerging, despite injuries to lead back David Montgomery, and this is a Defense that leads the league in sacks and can generate pressure without needing to blitz an awful lot. That’s how you want it when going against Rodgers who’s looking close to last season’s MVP form, with the Packers going about their business impressively.
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
Baltimore Ravens vs Los Angeles Chargers
The game of the weekend, with two QB’s already firmly in the (way too early to be discussing) MVP race, Lamar Jackson masterminding an extraordinary comeback on MNF, with his arm doing much of the talking – delivering 90.5% adjusted completion percentage according to PFF. Yet still, the detractors will tell you he’s not a capable enough passer. The streaky Hollywood Brown is very much box office right now, and rookie Rashod Bateman, who has been affected by injuries, could turn a strong aerial attack into an elite one and remember that the Chargers can be run on too, as the Browns emphasised last week. Offensively, LA have injury issues with their line, two starters out, both on the right side of Justin Herbert’s protection. Mike Williams is delivering on his promise, and the multi-dimensional offense including Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen is rolling, but I like the Ravens to edge a close one.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers vs Minnesota Vikings
Everyone who boarded the Sam Darnold Comeback Express are now getting aggravated at the prolonged delay because of signal failure. The Panthers weren’t as good as their 3-0 start suggested, but it’s no co-incidence that their mini0slide has coincided with the absence of Christian McCaffrey who could be back Sunday. The Vikes are amongst the most frustrating teams in the league, at times moving the ball with consummate ease, at times resembling my Dad playing Madden for the first time.
Prediction: Carolina Panthers
Cleveland Browns vs Arizona Cardinals
It’s a tough beat to put up 42 points in an NFL game and lose, and the Browns will take some comfort from going toe-to-toe with a Chargers team that’s amongst the strongest in the league and getting a lot of attention. In many ways the Cardinals are the NFC equivalent of LA – exciting young QB at the top of his game, an offense that’s rolling, and the standout act in a tough division. Arizona struggles against the run, which gives the Browns a punchers chance here.
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals
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Denver Broncos vs Las Vegas Raiders
The Jon Gruden era is over, the disgraced former Head Coach leaves behind a team in disarray, and not just because of the damage he’s caused with his off the field transgressions. Denver is a Top 10 Side in Defensive DVOA (as per Football Outsiders) and match up well against an offense most effective in the air, given the Broncos strong secondary.
Prediction: Denver Broncos
New England Patriots vs Dallas Cowboys
Dallas is legit, though I’m fascinated to see Belichick’s game plan to slow down one of the most exciting offenses in the game. The Pats rank 14th against the run – but Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard pose a serious challenge, not least given the difference in running styles and variation they offer. Damien Harris may well be out and that’s a big loss for the Pats, who dealt away Sony Michel earlier in the season, and need a solid ground game, not least to support rookie QB Mac Jones, who they’re using conservatively.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Seattle Seahawks
With Russell Wilson out, and Ben Roethlisberger doing his best impression of a Rebel Alliance team putting Chewbacca at QB, this is not what NBC had hoped for when selecting this game for SNF. Still, the Geno Smith redemption story continues, and he looked on point when coming in for Wilson against the Rams. This could be a Teddy Bridgewater in New Orleans style cameo for Geno, parlaying into a starting gig somewhere next season.
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
Tennessee Titans vs Buffalo Bills
As referenced above, the AFC South is by no means over, with the Colts better than their record suggest and the Titans flawed, but dangerous, nevertheless. Buffalo are the most complete team in the league right now, and benefit from one of the easiest schedules given their paring with the South, and their own East division, which has seen both Miami and New England underperforming, and the Jets struggle as expected.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills
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Nat Coombs is a British writer, broadcaster and NFL expert who has been anchoring live sport across UK TV & radio for over ten years. Nat will be providing Squawka with predictions for the 2021 NFL season.