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Sam Farmer's NFL picks: Week 6

October 10, 2008|Sam Farmer

After the boot comes the reboot.

Lane Kiffin and Scott Linehan got the boot from Oakland and St. Louis. Now, it's up to Tom Cable to reboot the Raiders and Jim Haslett to reboot the Rams.

Both teams had the benefit of a week off to regroup, adjust to the coaching change, and try to find some answers in an NFL season rapidly slipping away.

Whereas the Raiders have shown some life this season, the Rams are just as bad as their 0-4 record suggests.

Haslett is in a tough spot, made even more difficult because his team starts this new era at Washington against the scorching-hot Redskins.

Meanwhile, the Raiders play at New Orleans, where they have a decent chance of winning.

So Cable is better off, right?

Nope. He's got Al Davis as a boss.

A look at this week's games:

Detroit at Minnesota: Calling the Lions slow starters is an insult to slow starters everywhere. Detroit has fallen behind in games this season by a combined 94-3. If the Vikings aren't up by two touchdowns in the first quarter, something is awry. Pick: Minnesota.

Chicago at Atlanta: Before the season, this game had serious stinker potential. Now, it pits two of the more interesting NFC contenders, with surprisingly competent quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Matt Ryan, and explosive running backs Matt Forte and Michael Turner. The Bears are just a bit more seasoned. Pick: Chicago.

Miami at Houston: While much of the recent focus has been on Miami's direct-snap trickery, the improved Dolphins' defense has been largely overlooked. With or without quarterback Matt Schaub, who returns Sunday, the Texans are in trouble. Pick: Miami.

Baltimore at Indianapolis: Lucas Oil Stadium is nice, but the Colts might long to go back across the street to the RCA Dome, where they were 28-4 over the last four seasons. They have yet to win in their new stadium and are in danger of their first 0-3 start at home in 11 years. But Sunday's the day. Pick: Indianapolis.

Oakland at New Orleans: The last time JaMarcus Russell played in the Superdome, his Louisiana State Tigers were routing Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Now, his Raiders are reeling from a coaching change and haven't proved they can hang onto a lead. Despite coming off a short week and a deflating loss, the Saints are the better team. Pick: New Orleans.

Cincinnati at New York Jets: The Bengals might not be quite as bad as their 0-5 record suggests. They played the Giants and Cowboys tough at least. Still, it's a tall order for them to outscore a rested and red-hot Brett Favre, especially on the road. Pick: New York Jets.

Carolina at Tampa Bay: The Panthers' defense has held opponents to only five touchdowns in the last four games, and none in the last nine quarters. It's so good that Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden joked this week that he had to stop watching videotape because it was freaking him out. Bad week for the Buccaneers to have uncertainty at quarterback. Pick: Carolina.

St. Louis at Washington: The next three games might even be a bigger test than the last two for the Redskins, who are coming off surprising victories over Dallas and Philadelphia. Can they stay focused as they head into a stretch against the 0-4 Rams, 1-3 Cleveland and 0-4 Detroit? Pick: Washington.

Jacksonville at Denver: It's desperation time for the Jaguars, who are in danger of falling 3 1/2 games behind idle Tennessee in the AFC South. And NFL teams desperate for a win do not want to be playing in Denver, not with the way the Broncos' offense is rolling. Pick: Denver.

Dallas at Arizona: A few weeks ago, this might have looked to be an easy win for the Cowboys. Now, that's not the case. The last three Dallas victories, all against teams with losing records, came by an average of eight points. By pounding Buffalo last Sunday, the Cardinals proved they can't be ignored. Pick: Arizona.

Philadelphia at San Francisco: If the Eagles want to contend in the tough NFC East, they'd better start scoring in the second half of games. Of course, that's not so easy when Brian Westbrook is hurting. Good thing for them that 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan is tumbling back to earth. Pick: Philadelphia.

Green Bay at Seattle: Unable to get lift-off with their passing game, the Seahawks have decided to try a ball-control offense. Good week for it. Green Bay has proved it cannot stop the run, giving up a jaw-dropping 5.1 yards a rush. The quarterbacks are hurting? Who needs 'em? Pick: Seattle.

New England at San Diego: These teams have faced each other in a lot of high-profile games lately. But, as Chargers players noted this week, it's not much of a rivalry if one team (New England) wins all the time. Now, the stage is set for the desperate Chargers to reverse the trend -- at least for a game. Pick: San Diego.

New York Giants at Cleveland: The Giants look this season the way the Patriots looked last season. The Browns this season don't look like the Browns of last season. Regardless, from New York's perspective, this matchup is the definition of trap game. Pick: New York Giants.

Record to date: 42-32.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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