NFL Radio Power 12, Week 6: Trio of AFC East teams make cut

Each week, SiriusXM NFL Radio’s hosts vote on the top six teams in both the NFC and AFC. This week’s voters include James Lofton, Bruce Murray, Alex Marvez, Bill Polian, Maurice Jones-Drew, Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, other NFL Radio hosts, Brian Lauvray, Bobby Bonett, and you, the fans! (To participate in the fan vote, visit

All channel listings subject to change.


1. Green Bay Packers (5-0)

Week 6 opponent: vs. San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (XM channel 227, Sirius channel 81, Internet channel 811)

Nick Foles is very likely a perfectly decent human. In almost any capacity or professional review of him he would certainly be described as above average to very good. Yet, his job is to win football games and the St Louis Rams defense, after forcing an uncharacteristic three (!!) turnovers out of Aaron Rodgers, gave Foles and the Rams offense every chance to win the game. It’s slightly lazy to say Foles solely did not win the game, but what can you say? He threw four absolutely deflating interceptions to one touchdown, and on 30 pass attempts put up all of 141 yards. There’s a canyon-wide distinction between “franchise quarterback” and “starting quarterback,” and very rarely is that difference so on display as it was on Sunday at Lambeau Field.


2. Atlanta Falcons (5-0)

Week 6 opponent: at New Orleans Saints, Thursday 8:25 pm ET (XM channel 225, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 801)

Another week and another strange, dare I say, “magical” victory for the Atlanta Falcons. Save for the their two blowouts against the equally inept Cowboys and Texans, Atlanta has eked out escape-act wins that would have Houdini gasping, “How’d they do that?!” The Dirty Birds are 5-0 where they could just as easily be 4-1 or even 2-3. And, if you squint at the schedule, you could say Atlanta is already through the toughest portion. It pays to be lucky and good, doesn’t it?


3. Carolina Panthers (4-0)

Week 6 opponent: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (XM channel 82, Sirius channel 145, Internet channel 804)

Carolina’s surprising undefeated start to the season should end this week in Seattle. With a bare cupboard of receivers, Cam Newton’s offensive wizardry should dry up against a Seahawks defense that, while not perfect by any stretch, continues to get better and better – fourth-quarter collapses against Cincinnati notwithstanding. And despite Luke Kuechly’s return to Carolina’s defense, a healthy Marshawn Lynch should rejuvenate a Seattle offense that has been stalled in the red zone without the services of Beast Mode.


4. Arizona Cardinals (4-1)

Week 6 opponent: at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 82, Sirius channel 137, Internet channel 800)

Bouncing back from a defeat at the hands of St Louis against Detroit was never the question for Arizona. Still, this thorough dismantling of the Lions in Detroit was a little surprising. Arizona now faces a Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh team, a hapless Baltimore defense and a Browns squad with no answer for Carson Palmer in the next three weeks. The Desert Birds face Seattle and Cincinnati in Weeks 10 and 11 after their bye; Cardinals should be 7-1 heading into that stretch.


5. New York Giants (3-2)

Week 6 opponent: at Philadelphia Eagles, Monday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 820)

Without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to dictate order in the fiefdom that is the NFC East, chaos has ruled the day. The Giants, aside from their inexcusable loss to Dallas that had more to do with Clock Management 101, have been playing good football. It’s weird to think of the Giants as “good,” but how else would you label them right now? Lucky? Weird? All of the above? More will be known following their Monday nighter against the equally weird Eagles, including, for one week at least, who is Dictator for Life of the banana republic that the NFC East has become.


6. Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

Week 6 opponent: vs. Carolina Panthers, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (SiriusXM channel 82, Internet channel 826)

‘Hawks fans, whether they’ve admitted or not, have not really had to hit the panic button on this season yet. Following their fourth-quarter collapse against the Bengals, if Seattle somehow loses on Sunday at home to Carolina, fans should prepare for DefCon 5. Not a drill, people.


NFC fantasy football spotlight: Carson Palmer (QB, Arizona) 

2015 stats: 96-for-148, 1,316 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 3 interceptions

Playing against a Pittsburgh defense that has been rather stingy against opposing run games, the Cardinals should plan to attack by the air against a Pittsburgh secondary that’s been more “rag soaked in gasoline” than “Iron Curtain.” Palmer (and Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown) have been lighting up defenses all season long.



1. New England Patriots (4-0)

Week 6 opponent: at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 818)

The Deflategate Bowl should, fingers crossed, provide plenty of touchdowns. Outside of the strange comeback-shootout in Buffalo in Week 2, the Patriots’ defense has not really been tested all year. If Andrew Luck et al can’t challenge this team’s defense, it’s going to be a very long winter for fans of other teams in the AFC.


2. Cincinnati Bengals (5-0)

Week 6 opponent: at Buffalo Bills, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 231, Sirius channel 132, Internet channel 806)

Cincinnati continues to impress. Good Andy Dalton is still in the building and the offense continues to show new wrinkles every week. This week’s game against the Bills should be very interesting. Rex Ryan loves to blitz, but Tyler Eifert and/or Marvin Jones out of the slot should put the kibosh on those blitzes fairly quickly. Cincy’s defense should feast on a very dinged up Buffalo offense regardless of whom is playing quarterback.


3. Denver Broncos (5-0)

Week 6 opponent: at Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 227, Sirius channel 133, Internet channel 809)

DeMarcus Ware, who hurt his back against Oakland last week, will miss this game against the Browns. Good news for Josh McCown, but, unfortunately, Denver’s defense should still smother all life out of the Browns very one-dimensional offense within the first or second quarter. The real question is whether Gary Kubiak trusts Peyton Manning or his running backs against a not-so-hot Cleveland Browns defense.


4. New York Jets (3-1)

Week 6 opponent: vs. Washington Redskins, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 230, Sirius channel 113, Internet channel 821)

The Jets face a very underrated Washington defense this week, and I fully anticipate Chris Ivory to struggle to find running room. That being said, Washington also faces a very challenging New York defense. This game could be low scoring and very ugly is what I’m trying to say. Like, pre-advent of the forward pass ugly. Such is life when Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kirk Cousins face off in the I’m Sobbing, Turn It Off Bowl.


5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)

Week 6 opponent: vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 1 pm ET (SiriusXM channel 82, Internet channel 824)

Pittsburgh’s “That’s just so crazy it might work” game-winning touchdown against San Diego has only added fuel to the speculation fire surrounding Ben Roethlisberger’s status for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. And while a healthy Roethlisberger would make the game more entertaining and give Pittsburgh a much better chance at winning, Mike Tomlin needs to consider the obvious risk of Big Ben further injuring himself. For now it seems as though Roethlisberger is, if anything, a game-time decision that’s shading to riding the pine one more week.


6. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Week 6 opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 231, Sirius channel 126, Internet channel 803)

As already alluded to, Buffalo faces an unenviable game against the Bengals this week – and it could not possibly come at a worse time considering the Bills’ myriad injuries. Tyrod Taylor or EJ Manuel won’t matter against a fearsome and effective Cincinnati front seven. Karlos Williams and/or Shady McCoy will also face tough sledding against the Bengals if either is healthy enough to play. Buffalo’s defense should slow down the Bengals offense, but it won’t be nearly enough thanks to a complete dearth of talent on offense right now.


AFC fantasy football spotlight:  Justin Forsett (RB, Baltimore)

2015 stats: 87 carries, 395 rushing yards, 4.5 yards per carry, 1 rushing touchdown, 16 receptions, 24 targets, 90 receiving yards

After two straight games of 100-yards-plus rushing, Justin Forsett now faces a good but not great San Francisco defense. Game flow should absolutely work in Forsett’s favor and he’s bound to get all the rushing attempts he can handle.



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