Weather could play a factor as the National Football League finds out if there is a changing of the guard in the AFC North Division. Rain is expected in Cincinnati, where the Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers with an opportunity to extend their lead in that division race.
The Bengals come into action today with a 4-1 mark, which has them in first place in the AFC North by a game over the Baltimore Ravens and 1½ games ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have a tie in their record which stands at two wins, two losses and that tie against the Cleveland Browns in their season opener.
To extend their record to 5-1 while dropping the Steelers under .500 seems an unlikely prospect based on past seasons. But, this might be a time where the Bengals are enjoying one of their great regular seasons, they won this division three years ago, and a time when the Steelers are in steep decline.
The problems in Pittsburgh offer many possible reasons. The team has not recovered offensively from the loss of Le'veon Bell, and the coaching staff still seems a little testy even though Mike Tomlin has rooted out who he held most responsible for last year’s dissension, Todd Haley.
Whether it is the coaching staff, the team, or the age of Ben Roethlisberger, this Pittsburgh team is not up to recent standards. Whether that means they can allow the Bengals to bury them in the standings this early in a campaign remains to be seen. The Bengals appear the right team to get the job done, but they are faced with daunting statistical data against them pulling farther ahead of Pittsburgh.
Tonight, the top perch in the AFC could be decided if the Kansas City Chiefs were to extend their lead with a win in Foxboro over the New England Patriots. Another tall order for the squad with the better record.
Which is the case in Denver where the Broncos host the undefeated Los Angeles Rams. This contest is scheduled for an afternoon time slot, which may allow this game to be played in relatively mild weather conditions. Had the game started three hours earlier, it is almost certain to have begun with snow falling. It is snowing right now in Denver, but should be just cloudy when the Rams look to extend their perfect season.
The public and I see this game quite differently. The Rams are one of their top three plays of the week, while I like the Broncos as our Week Six Top Pick.
As for all the public favorites, their number one play of the week is the Atlanta Falcons (-3) over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and third on their list, after the Rams (-7) selection, is the Jacksonville Jaguars (-3½) over the Dallas Cowboys.
All of our rated games are now posted on this site, and if a Bullet Play develops in the final hour leading up to the day’s first kickoff, that selection will be added to the play list at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time.