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Cincinnati swimming in dangerous waters

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott’s first regular-season start came on 11 September against the New York Giants

So into week six we go and, first things first, let me say there is no NFL on BBC Radio 5 live on Sunday evening.

We’ll be back for week seven on Sunday 23 October at 19.30 BST on 5 live sports extra, with the scores as they go in from the early games, and then full commentary of San Diego at Atlanta.

However, that doesn’t stop me looking forward to the match-ups and the stories to watch out for this Sunday.

Bengals swimming in dangerous waters

Let’s start in New England – but not with the Patriots. All you need to know about them is in my previous columns.

But their opponents on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals, are a play-off calibre team that are swimming in dangerous waters. If they’re not careful and don’t right a few wrongs, they could miss out on January football.

The main thing to address is their rushing attack. Last season they averaged 112.8 yards a game. So far they average 83.8, which is 26th in the league. No wonder quarterback Andy Dalton is second in passing yards.

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Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is currently second for total passing yards in the NFL

In 2014 and 2015 the Bengals’ offensive co-ordinator was Hue Jackson, who is now the head coach in Cleveland.

The Browns’ running game – even though they are 0-5 – has gone from 22nd in the league to fifth. That has to be more than coincidence.

The Bengals have two quality backs in Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill and somehow they have to ease the load on Dalton and the passing game.

With Pittsburgh and Baltimore ahead of them in the AFC North, head coach Marvin Lewis has to lift his team. Trouble is, that’s next to impossible in Tom Brady’s first match at Gillette Stadium, post ‘Deflate-gate’ suspension.

Kaepernick needs better support

As written in my post on Tuesday, my desire to see Colin Kaepernick start for San Francisco has been granted.

Don’t expect miracles as his supporting cast is poor, and they face a tough trip to a defensively strong Buffalo Bills side that have won their last three games, but at least we will find out where he is at in his career.

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Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand for the American national anthem in protest at the plight of black people

The AFC South could close up intriguingly this weekend. Houston are on the slide after tough losses on the road to New England and Minnesota, and take on divisional rivals Indianapolis in Texas.

The Titans will fancy moving to 3-3 at home to the Browns, while Jacksonville are at the 1-4 Bears. It may be the worst division in the NFL, but it’s also the most open.

Cowboys face tough Packers contest

The Atlanta Falcons, armed with the most high-powered offense in the NFL, overcame the fearsome Denver defence on the road last Sunday.

They have to do the same in Seattle on Sunday. Yet Denver had to break in rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch in that first match-up. Seattle have Russell Wilson. Tasty.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot face their toughest assignment in their fledgling Dallas Cowboy careers when they travel to Lambeau Field to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Again, that will be a fun watch.

Time for a quick prediction. Miami won’t score more than 10 points at home against Pittsburgh. The Steelers won’t score fewer than 30. The Dolphins are the most dysfunctional franchise in the league. It’s hard to watch given their proud history.

Week seven fixtures

All times 18:00 BST unless stated

San Francisco 49ers @ Buffalo Bills (18:00 BST)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Chicago Bears

LA Rams @ Detroit Lions

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots @ Cincinnati Bengals

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints

Baltimore Ravens @ New York Giants

Cleveland Browns @ Tennessee Titans

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (21:05 BST)

Dallas Cowboys @ Greenbay Packers (21:25)

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks (21:25)

  • Click for the the full fixture list and tables.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/american-football/37654774