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NFC North: Week 6 Preview and Point Spreads

This is going to be a do or die week for two teams in the NFC North. With the Bears resting after a torrid 4-1 start in which they scored five defensive touchdowns in the last three games, the rest of the division has got a lot to prove. The Vikings are hanging with them at 4-1, but it remains to be seen if their success is real or a mirage. The Lions and Packers, meanwhile, are in full-blown crisis mode, and both have horrendously tough games this week that could effectively end their season. (Teams have bounced back from worse starts, but it isn’t likely, especially not with Chicago and even Minnesota surging ahead in the division.)

Let’s take a look at all the crucial Week 6 match-ups in the NFC North.

Detroit Lions (+4) at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

Who knows what to make about either of these teams? The Eagles, while sporting a 3-2 record, have looked absolutely dismal at times, while the Lions future seems equally grim. However, the Eagles do play sensational defense, while the Lions can’t seem to stop anybody. That alone makes me like the Eagles at +4 in this match. Still, if the Birds keep turning it over at the rate that they are, they will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Expectations for both of these clubs were both sky high before the season began, and both have so far been abject disappointments. If either one of these teams is going to turn their season around, it’s going to have to start here.

Minnesota Vikings (+2) at Washington Redskins, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

Ah, two points. The dumbest line in all of football. Why not just make it a pick ‘em at this point? How many football games have you seen decided by two points? Not many. Anyway. This game will obviously hinge on if RGIII plays or not, but at this point in the week it’s looking like the rookie phenom quarterback is a go. I actually think these teams are pretty evenly matched; they even play similar brands of football (run the ball, play defense). I imagine this is going to turn into a low-scoring slugfest with a few ugly Christian Ponder turnovers and sacks galore on both sides. I see the Redskins winning something like 16-13. Take the ‘Skins here, if and only if RGII plays. Kirk Cousins showed last week that he may not be ready for the bright lights just yet, and the Vikes’ D would eat him alive. Still, the Redskins do enough interesting and off-kilter things on offense to squeak out a win against a stingy Vikings team on the road here. This will be the Vikes’ first real test, and I think they fail.

Green Bay Packers (+4) at Houston Texans, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST

God, what is with the Packers? This is the question that millions of gamblers (and fantasy football players) across the country are asking themselves right now. There’s just something not right about how this team is playing. The offense is out of sync, the defenders are getting burned at the most inopportune times and the team is giving away games where they have huge leads. They were up 21-7 on the Colts last Sunday before losing. Good teams simply do not squander leads like that. And now they get the pleasure of facing what is perhaps the best team in the NFL.

Simply put, the Packers are not playing like the Packers, and until they prove they can, do not gamble on them. I think the Texans win and win easily here, a sentence I could not have foreseen myself saying even a few short years ago. There’s something wrong with the Pack, and they better figure it out before Chicago takes the NFC North from them permanently.

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