Ben Graham’s NFL Week 6 Preview: Cam Newton Holds Key To Carolina's Fortunes Against Philadelphia


Week 5 in the NFL was further proof that the ‘Any Given Sunday’ mantra is alive and well.

Only four out of 14 home teams won on the weekend with Kansas City still undefeated while Cleveland, San Francisco and New York Giants remain winless.

Another week, another injury but not one, two of the biggest names in the NFL were struck down, Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr and Texans J.J. Watt.

It’s a brutal game.

What will Week 6 have in store?

Carolina v Philadelphia | Friday, October 13, 11.25am (AEDT), Bank Of America Stadium

What a great way to kick off Week 6 with a must watch game between two 4-1 teams.

Both are in great form, Eagles winning three on the trot after belting the Cardinals and the Panthers beating the fancied Patriots then winning in Detroit.

Like most teams in the NFL, QBs are the most important player but Cam Newton (pictured above) has shown in the past two weeks (300 plus yards and 3 TDs) he is in MVP form and he’s as important as any and the key to Carolina’s fortunes.

The Verdict 

This will be a tougher match-up for him but I’m a believer.

Unibet Odds: Carolina 1.54 Philadelphia 2.55

Tip: Carolina 

Line tip: Carolina -4.5 

Baltimore v Chicago | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEST), M&T Bank Stadium

Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky looked okay in his first start last week, so hopefully he’s the long-term future that helps them actually do something on offence.

After five games, the longest completion is a 38-yard pass thrown by Pat O’Donnell on a fake punt for a touchdown to keep them in the game.

The Verdict 

Baltimore took advantage of Raiders QB Derek Carr’s absence and had a day out in Oakland winning easy.

I can see the same result here. 

Unibet Odds: Baltimore 1.36 Chicago 3.30

Tip: Baltimore 

Line tip: Baltimore -6.5 

Houston v Cleveland | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEST), NRG Stadium

Cleveland blew their chance to get their first W last week but lost at home to the Jets, proving they're a bad football team.

The Texans lost to the Chiefs in a shootout but also lost their best player on the defensive side of the ball with J.J. Watt (pictured above) breaking his leg and he'll miss the rest of the season. 

The Verdict

Losing J.J. Watt may hurt the Texans down the stretch, but it shouldn’t this week. 

Unibet Odds: Houston 1.23 Cleveland 4.50

Tip: Houston 

Line tip: Houston -9.5 Cleveland +9.5

Minnesota v Green Bay | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEST), U.S. Bank Stadium

How good is QB Aaron Rodgers?

The Packers were 15 points down in the second quarter when he engineered a comeback in Dallas to record a great win and while doing so, unearthed a new weapon in RB Aaron Jones (125 yards, 1 TD) (pictured above) in his first start.

The Vikings beat the Bears after a lifeless first half but after a third quarter touchdown, it looked as though they had been working harder on their celebration, a team rendition of Duck, Duck, Goose. 

The Verdict 

It’s great for the fans to see celebrations are back but they won’t be celebrating after this one.

Unibet Odds: Minnesota 2.40 Green Bay 1.60

Tip: Green Bay

Line tip: Green Bay -4.5

New Orleans v Detroit | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEDT), Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Detroit battled on last week against Carolina but there are a few signs that their recent dominance over New Orleans may come to an end.

Not only was QB Matthew Stafford sacked six times, now there is a question if he will even play as he’s battling hamstring and ankle injuries.

The Saints will be refreshed after the bye and as they’re at home this week.

The Verdict

Regardless if Stafford plays, I think the Saints will win. 

Unibet Odds: New Orleans 1.42 Detroit 2.95

Tip: New Orleans

Line tip: New Orleans -6.5

Atlanta v Miami | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEDT), Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Good to see Miami bounce back beating an inconsistent Tennessee at home but this is much tougher, travelling to Atlanta to face a fresh Falcons still smarting from their loss to Buffalo at home. 

The Verdict 

The Falcons have the Dolphins covered in almost every statistical category known to man.

They should win easy. 

Unibet Odds: Atlanta 1.16 Miami 5.80 

Tip: Atlanta 

Line tip: Atlanta -10.5 

New York Jets v New England | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEDT), Metlife Stadium

This has suddenly become a really intriguing game.

Three weeks ago, it was the Patriots by how far.

I know I tipped against New England last week (Tampa Bay let me down), but there are signs of the Pats slowing down.

And who would’ve thought three in a row for the Jets to force a three-way tie at the top of the AFC East. Crazy year.

The Verdict 

I’d love to see the Jets continue on their merry way but I’m not tipping against the Patriots this week. 

Unibet Odds: New York Jets 4.30 New England 1.24

Tip: New England 

Line tip: New England -6.5 

Washington v San Francisco | Monday, October 16, 4am (AEDT), FedexField

Oh, the pain in San Francisco.

Another heartbreakingly close loss, this time in overtime to remain winless.

QB Brian Hoyer played above himself and he’ll need to again if the 49ers are any chance in Washington.

The bye can affect teams in different ways but the Redskins will be hoping the extra weeks preparation will stand them in good stead.

The Verdict 

This is a must win game at home considering how tough a schedule they have coming up.

Unibet Odds: Washington 1.20 San Francisco 4.90

Tip: Washington -10.5 

Line tip: Washington -10.5 

Arizona v Tampa Bay | Monday, October 16, 8.05am (AEDT), University Of Phoenix Stadium

I expected a bit more from Tampa Bay this year but there is plenty of time left in the season for them to find consistency on both sides of the ball.

The Cardinals are now officially a worry.

Two wins, both by three points to the lowly Colts and 49ers, and three bad losses and a number of key injuries.

They need the bye desperately but have to hold on for another two weeks.

The Verdict 

The Bucs are in better shape and can travel West to take the points in a close one. 

Unibet Odds: Arizona 2.06 Tampa Bay 1.80

Tip: Tampa Bay

Line tip: Tampa Bay -2.5

Jacksonville v LA Rams | Monday, October 16, 8.05am (AEDT), Everbank Field

A lost opportunity for the Rams last week at home against a division rival but there’s still a lot to like. 

I expect a much better performance in Jacksonville.

As for the Jaguars, or should I say Jeckyll and Hyde, which one will we get this week?

Last week, they were underdogs in Pittsburgh and won by 21, this week they’ll probably lose at home after starting favourites.

Key to this game for the Rams is stopping the run.

QB Blake Bortles was unsighted last week but him not throwing the ball might be the key for the Jaguars and allowing RB Leonard Fournette (pictured above) to run amok (181 yards, 2 TDs).

The Verdict 

I’ve been the kiss of death for the Jaguars but they win by seven. 

Unibet Odds: Jacksonville 1.70 LA Rams 2.23

Tip: Jacksonville 

Line tip: Jacksonville -2.5 

Kansas City v Pittsburgh | Monday, October 16, 8.25am (AEDT), Arrowhead Stadium

This is must watch for all sorts of reasons.

The Kansas City machine keeps rolling but what the heck is going on in Pittsburgh?

Cracks are starting to appear.

If it’s not a meltdown or a national anthem controversy, it is a social media spat between RB LeVeon Bell and ex-teammate Ryan Clark that are causes for concern.

These are distractions the Steelers could do without

They were embarrassed by the Jaguars at home last week, Big Ben threw five interceptions, the offence only managed three field goals but their defence gave up 30 points.

Bad day or has the rot set in?

This is music for the ears for the Chiefs’ offence who’ll look to put up a winning score but the defence is playing their part and will also look to hold the Steelers to field goals.

The Verdict

The Steelers will be competitive (no rot yet) but the Chiefs will make it six from six for a perfect start. 

Unibet Odds: Kansas City 1.48 Pittsburgh 2.75

Tip: Kansas City 

Line tip: Kansas City -4.5 

Oakland v San Diego | Monday, October 16, 8.25am (AEDT), Oakland Coliseum

Hooray for the Chargers, and on the road.

They’re too good of a team to throw in the towel and sometimes it just takes one win to be turn the tide.

Their record in the AFC West isn’t favourable and they travel to Oakland have completely stalled losing three in a row.

Questions remain over QB Derek Carr's health and their inability to score with or without him, but even if he plays, he won’t be 100 percent

The Verdict 

Even though they’re at home, I’ll steer clear of the Raiders until Carr is fully healthy.

I’m seeing the Chargers (with their tails up), coming to town to do a number of them.

Unibet Odds: N/A

Tip: San Diego 

Denver v New York Giants | Monday, October 16, 11.30am (AEDT), Sports Authority Field At Mile High

What a sad state of affairs at the Giants.

Not only are they winless and Wide-Receiver-less, the Jets have won three in a row!!

Nothing is going right.

Season ending injuries to WRs Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris are just plain brutal.

One major injury in a season can derail a team, but three in a week ensures they don’t have a chance.

It’s really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there’s likely to be big changes ahead.

The Verdict 

The Broncos await them fresh of a bye but let’s hope the Giants can find Denver as this will be the first time they play there in nearly 30 years. 

Unibet Odds: Denver 1.17 New York Giants 5.50

Tip: Denver 

Line tip: Denver -12.5 

Tennessee v Indianapolis | Tuesday, October 17, 11.30am (AEDT), Nissan Stadium

This is an important game in context of the AFC South so expect both teams to turn up but for the Titans, who will turn up at QB?

There’s no doubt they’re a better team with Marcus Mariota at the helm but the fact that he’ll be a game time decision makes me nervous.

The Verdict 

If it were a better team than the Colts coming to town, I would lean towards them but with QB Matt Cassell getting another week as the starter under his belt, I actually like the Titans regardless who is at QB against the Luck-less Colts. 

Unibet Odds: N/A 

Tip: Tennessee 

Week 6 sees four teams on a bye. 

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) - Dallas would’ve expected to be 4-1 (or 3-2 at worst) heading into the bye but 2-3 is a disappointment.

They’re now two games behind Washington.

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) - Well placed in the NFC West and will now freshen up to travel across the country with some confidence to take on the Giants.

Buffalo Bills (3-2) - After a great start, the loss at home to the Bengals stung.

Rest up and prepare for Tampa Bay coming to town.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) - Okay, two in a row, not sure you needed the bye right now but prepare for divisional rivals, the Steelers in a game that could shape the AFC North.

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