The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers face a pair of division leaders while the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints draw third-place teams in Week 6. After a 3-0 Week 5 (improving our
season record to 10-0), here are our picks for this weekend’s NFC South action.
Washington Commanders (2-3) at Atlanta Falcons (3-2) | 1 p.m. ET
The Kyle Pitts renaissance will be put on hold in Week 6. After the No. 4 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft had seven receptions for 87 yards against the Texans, there’s optimism that it will snowball into something bigger. The problem with that is the Commanders are among the best at guarding tight ends, tied for fifth in the league in fantasy points allowed to players at the position. Washington has an excellent front four that should keep running backs Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier in check and force enough mistakes from quarterback Desmond Ridder to sneak out of Atlanta with a victory.
PREDICTION: Commanders, 22-20
Carolina Panthers (0-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-1) | 1 p.m. ET
Former Alabama quarterbacks duel in Miami when Carolina’s Bryce Young and Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa face each other. Miami should easily win this one; its offense is too dynamic for Carolina to keep pace. While the Panthers virtually have no shot of winning on Sunday, they can look to the Dolphins for a reason to have hope for their future. Tagovailoa, while much better through his first four starts as a rookie than Young has been, was still far from the MVP threat he is this year. During Sunday’s rout, Panthers head coach Frank Reich should take notes.
PREDICTION: Dolphins, 38-13
New Orleans Saints (3-2) at Houston Texas (2-3) | 1 p.m. ET
The Saints have been streaky to start the year, winning their first two games before dropping their next two. Following a win in Week 5, will New Orleans continue streaking? The team should like its chances. Houston is more competitive than anticipated, which will likely keep Sunday’s game closer than last week’s 34-0 blowout at New England. The Texans have a strong pass rush that could be a problem for Saints quarterback Derek Carr. However, the Saints secondary — arguably the best in football — could be even more frustrating for Texans rookie QB C.J. Stroud.
PREDICTION: Saints, 20-12
Detroit Lions (4-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) | 4:25 p.m. ET
No team has overachieved more through the first five weeks of the season than the Bucs, who are in sole possession of first following their Week 4 win in New Orleans. Is the early-season success an aberration or a sign that Tampa Bay is a legit playoff contender? It’s probably the former. The Lions are not just a feel-good story anymore; they are one of the league’s best teams, ranking sixth in total offense (384.4 yards per game) and total defense (292.8 yards allowed per game). Tampa Bay doesn’t have a run game, which will make it one-dimensional. Baker Mayfield will be forced to beat the Lions with his arm, and while he’s been good this year, we’ll be reminded why he failed to stick at his previous three NFL homes.
PREDICTION: Lions, 27-18