This Week in the NFL _lowres

San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson tackles New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and knocks off his helmet during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE: After his latest struggles — this time understanding time zones — Geno Smith needs to be replaced as the Jets’ starting quarterback

Once Geno Smith figures out whether he’s on East Coast time or West Coast time, maybe he’ll start focusing on saving Rex Ryan’s job.

It seems fair at this point to call the Jets’ second-year quarterback a disappointment. He has completed 58 percent of his passes, thrown four touchdown and tossed six interceptions in leading New York to a 1-4 start. Yet, for whatever reason, Ryan has decided to hitch his wagon to the former second-round pick.

Michael Vick can’t be worse than Smith. If nothing else, he’s showing up to meetings on time — unlike Smith, who was at the movies last week in San Diego while his teammates attended a meeting. His excuse? He counted down the time instead of up.

There’s no confusion on how the clock is ticking on Ryan. He was running out of time last year when the Jets rallied late in the year to save his job. It’s doubtful that this bunch, with Smith at the helm, has the same kind of magic.

And with the Broncos coming to town this week, it looks like New York will soon be tallying a fifth loss. That’s not a good thing when it looks like the Patriots might have finally remembered how to be the Patriots.

It might be time for Ryan to take a look at the veteran on his bench and decide it’s time to shake things up.

Nick Underhill

NICK’S PICKS: Underhill’s top five teams in the NFL (this week)

1. Seahawks (3-1)

Maybe last week’s game against the Redskins wasn’t the most dominant performance of the year, but they got the job done.

2. Broncos (3-1)

It was fun while it lasted, Cardinals. The Broncos flexed on Arizona last week and then knocked it out 41-20.

3. Chargers (4-1)

Should they be higher? They already beat the Seahawks and annihilated the Jets last week. We’ll wait until San Diego’s Week 8 date in Denver.

4. Eagles (4-1)

Not sure if it’s time to sell on Eagles. They keep winning, but Nick Foles has been less than impressive and LeSean McCoy has struggled.

5. Cowboys (4-1)

Maybe this hot start is a mirage, but it’s been a very impressive mirage. Now the Cowboys need to prove they deserve this spot.

This Week’s Games


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Titans by 4

Briefly: Jaguars got first win of 2013 at Tennessee. ... Jaguars started seven rookies last week. ... Jaguars third in NFL with 16 sacks. ... Rookie QB Blake Bortles completed 78.4 percent of passes in only road game in Week 4. ... Titans have lost four straight. ... Titans QB Jake Locker had rushing TD and TD pass last week. ... QB Charlie Whitehurst had career highs in yards passing (194), TDs (two) and passer rating (123.9) last week.

NICK’S PICK: Titans 20, Jaguars 13

BALTIMORE (3-2) at TAMPA BAY (1-4)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Ravens by 31/2

Briefly: Franchises meeting for only fifth time. Baltimore won past two. ... Bucs back home after playing past three games on road, while Ravens in stretch of four of five away from home. ... Ravens had three-game winning streak stopped in Indianapolis last week. ... QB Mike Glennon to make third straight start for Bucs in place of injured Josh McCown.

NICK’S PICK: Ravens 24, Bucs 20

DENVER (3-1) at N.Y. JETS (1-4)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Broncos by 9

Briefly: Teams meet for first time since Broncos, led by Tim Tebow, rallied in closing moments to beat Rex Ryan’s Jets in Denver in 2011. ... Broncos QB Peyton Manning needs five TD passes to tie Brett Favre’s record of 508. Manning passed for career-high 479 yards last weekend with four TDs, tying Dan Marino for most 400-yard games in NFL history with 13.

NICK’S PICK: Broncos 34, Jets 10

DETROIT (3-2) at MINNESOTA (2-3)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Vikings by 2

Briefly: Vikings have won 15 of past 16 home games against Lions, losing only in OT in 2011. ... Lions have allowed fewest yards per game and second-fewest points per game, after ranking 16th and 15th in league in those categories last season. They were 13th and 27th in 2012 and 23rd and 23rd in 2011.

NICK’S PICK: Lions 28, Vikings 20


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Bengals by 61/2

Briefly: Only Carolina’s second trip to Cincinnati. Bengals won 17-14 on Nov. 22, 2006, with Carson Palmer throwing for two TDs. ... Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin leads NFL rookies with 367 yards receiving, tied for first with three TD catches. ... Bengals have won past 11 regular-season games at Paul Brown, a franchise record. Also lost playoff game there to San Diego last season.

NICK’S PICK: Bengals 27, Panthers 20

NEW ENGLAND (3-2) at BUFFALO (3-2)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Patriots by 21/2

Briefly: Patriots are 20-1 against Bills since 31-0 loss in 2003 opener, biggest loss since coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady joined team. ... Teams tied for AFC East lead. ... Victory would give Bills sole possession of division lead going into Week 7 for first time since 2008.

NICK’S PICK: Patriots 31, Bills 24


WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Cleveland by 11/2

Briefly: Rust Belt rivals meet for second time this season. ... Steelers built 27-3 halftime lead in opener before Browns rallied to tie it. Steelers K Shaun Suishan’s 41-yard field goal on final play decided it. ... Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is 18-1 against Browns (9-1 in Cleveland). ... Browns set NFL record last week against Titans by rallying from 25-point deficit to win. No road team in regular season had overcome bigger disadvantage.

NICK’S PICK: Browns 20, Steelers 17

GREEN BAY (3-2) at MIAMI (2-2)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

Line: Packers by 3

Briefly: Green Bay 1-6 in Miami, with lone victory in 2006, Mike McCarthy’s first year as coach. ... Miami’s Joe Philbin will coach against Packers for first time. He was on their staff in 2003-11, including five years as offensive coordinator. ... Aaron Rodgers’ passer rating of 114.8 ranks second in NFL. ... With average of 142 yards rushing per game, Dolphins on pace for best season running since 2002, when Ricky Williams won NFL rushing title.

NICK’S PICK: Packers 24, Dolphins 13

SAN DIEGO (4-1) at OAKLAND (0-4)

WHEN: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

Line: Chargers by 7

Briefly: Chargers won four of five in series, losing only last year in Oakland. ... San Diego QB Philip Rivers has passer rating of at least 120 in four straight games, tied with Kurt Warner and Johnny Unitas for longest streak in NFL history. ... Raiders playing first game under interim coach Tony Sparano, who replaced the fired Dennis Allen.

NICK’S PICK: Chargers 27, Raiders 16

CHICAGO (2-3) At ATLANTA (2-3)

WHEN: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Falcons by 3

Briefly: Falcons WR Devin Hester will face former team for first time. Return specialist played eight seasons with Bears before signing with Atlanta as free agent. ... Bears are 2-1 on road. ... Falcons have averaged 46.5 points and 528 yards in two wins at Georgia Dome, compared with 19.3 points and 372 yards in three road losses.

NICK’S PICK: Falcons 20, Bears 17

DALLAS (4-1) at SEATTLE (3-1)

WHEN: 4:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Seahawks by 81/2

Briefly: Cowboys looking for first 5-1 start since 2007 and 13th in franchise history. Dallas went 13-3 in 2007 and won 12 of first 13 games. ... Cowboys last won five straight games during 2007 season. ... Seahawks QB Russell Wilson became fifth quarterback since 1970 with 200 yards passing, 100 yards rushing, one touchdown rushing and one touchdown passing with his performance Monday vs. Washington.

NICK’S PICK: Seahawks 24, Cowboys 20


WHEN: 4:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Cardinals by 31/2

Briefly: Washington has lost 12 of past 13, beating only Jacksonville. ... Washington QB Kirk Cousins 1-6 as starter, losing past six in row. ... Arizona QB Carson Palmer, out since season opener with shoulder injury, took every snap last season. ... Cardinals QB Drew Stanton left Michigan State for NFL year before Redskins QB Kirk Cousins came to the school.

NICK’S PICK: Cardinals 21, Redskins 17

N.y. GIANTS (3-2) at PHILADELPHIA (4-1)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Line: Eagles by 3

Briefly: Eagles or Giants have won NFC East 11 of 14 years since 2000. ... Eagles have won seven of past 10 meetings. ... Giants begin stretch of six straight games vs. teams that currently have winning records. ... QB Eli Manning makes 157th consecutive start.

NICK’S PICK: Eagles 28, Giants 20

SAN FRANCISCO (3-2) at ST. LOUIS (1-3)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Line: 49ers by 31/2

Briefly: 49ers have won six in row on Monday night, outscoring opponents 164-49. QB Colin Kaepernick 3-0 on Monday night with six TDs, no INTs. ... Rams QB Austin Davis has passed for 300 yards past two games. ... 49ers beat Rams 35-11 in St. Louis Sept. 26, 2013, with Gore rushing for 153 yards.

NICK’S PICK: 49ers 24, Rams 17