NFL

15 NFL Players Who Must Step Up in Week 6

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15 NFL Players Who Need To Step Up For Their Teams in Week 6


USA Today Sports

Week six of the NFL season is upon us. Believe it or not, there are still multiple teams yet to post a win on the year and of course there are still a few teams that have yet to lose. Beyond the top few teams in each conference, though, things are still very wide open. Even the teams that sit at 1-3 or 2-3, still aren't completely out of the playoff race yet.

There are once again many feature matchups for fans to latch onto this week. It starts out on TNF with the Giants taking on the Bears. Many people can't see the Giants going 0-6 to start the year, but it's also really hard to see them finally getting it together at Soldier Field.

Sunday's slew of games starts off with a few intriguing contests: Packers vs. Ravens, Panthers vs. Vikings and Steelers vs. Jets. But things really get going in the afternoon with: Titans vs. Seahawks, Cardinals vs. 49ers and Saints vs. Patriots. Sunday will then be topped off with an NFC East showdown between the Redskins and Cowboys.

MNF should be a solid contest for fans around the country to watch as the Colts will travel west to take on the Chargers.

Week six also features a game that will no doubt be lopsided, but yet people are interested to see how bad it could really get when the Broncos face the Jaguars. The 28-point spread is the largest in NFL history.

All of these teams have players that need to step up, so with that in mind we'll take a look at 15 that need to have big games in week six:

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Brandon Weeden


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With Brian Hoyer out for the year after suffering a torn ACL in week five, the Browns will now turn back to Brandon Weeden under center. It was clear two weeks back that Cleveland had moved on from its 2012 first round draft pick, but now it's his team for the rest of the season. If Weeden is on top of his game, the Browns have a chance to beat the Lions this Sunday.

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Chris Johnson

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USA Today Sports

Through five games, CJ2k has been non-existent. The once great running back is now averaging a measly 58.8 yards per game. If the Titans have any chance at beating the Seahawks this Sunday, Johnson needs to regain his 2009 form.

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Kyle Rudolph

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USA Today Sports

2013 was supposed to be Rudolph's breakout season, but so far he's only averaging 25.8 receiving yards per game. The Vikings' receiving corps is better than it was a year ago, but if Rudolph can establish himself, the unit would be in much better shape. A breakout game from the TE would do wonders for Minnesota in week six.

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Mike Neal

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USA Today Sports

Clay Matthews is out at least a month after suffering a broken thumb in week five, so now the Packers will turn to Mike Neal to step up in his absence.

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Thad Lewis

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USA Today Sports

From the Bills' practice squad in week five to the starting QB slot in week six. That's the reality Lewis is living at the moment and there will no doubt be lots of pressure on him to perform Sunday against the Bengals.

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Tavon Austin

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USA Today Sports

The Rams were hoping Austin would be their x-factor in 2013, but thus far, he's been very inconsistent. He's only amassed 166 yards from scrimmage over the first five games. He'll need to get close to that amount on Sunday if the Rams are going to have any chance of knocking off the Texans.

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Steve Smith

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USA Today Sports

The Panthers are already in a big hole at 1-3 and they have a tough road matchup with the Vikings on Sunday. Thus far in 2013 Smith only has 203 receiving yards and one touchdown. Carolina needs an offensive spark in the worst way and their veteran WR is a good candidate to provide one against Minnesota.

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Le'Veon Bell

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USA Today Sports

Bell figures to be close to 100 percent following the Steelers bye week. Pittsburgh is still winless on the season and the lack of a running game is a big reason why. If Bell can run wild against the Jets, the Steelers have a much better chance of getting off the schneid.

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Brian Robison

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USA Today Sports

The Vikings just re-signed Robison to a four-year extension worth $28 million. That's a lot of money for a guy with only one sack on the season. He'll have a tough task ahead of him on Sunday up against Cam Newton, but if he can get to the speedy QB it will make a huge difference for Minnesota.

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Alfred Morris

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USA Today Sports

While you can't really say that Morris is in the midst of a sophomore slump, he is averaging 26 less yards per game on the ground in 2013. The Redskins are going to have to put up a ton of points to beat the Cowboys this weekend and a big day from Morris is nearly mandatory.

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Carson Palmer


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Palmer has been an interception machine so far in 2013. He's thrown five TDs to nine interceptions. But thanks to a solid defense, the Cardinals are 3-2 on the season. But come this Sunday against the 49ers, Palmer will have to step up in a big way. Another one touchdown, three interception performance will not get the job done.

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Rashad Jennings

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USA Today Sports

The Raiders will likely be without Darren McFadden in week six and his absence will once again turn the ground game over to Jennings. The Raiders have a date with one of the NFL's best defenses in Kansas City, so to have any chance at pulling the upset, Jennings will need to have a big day.

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Doug Martin

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USA Today Sports

2013 has not gone to plan for Doug Martin. You can blame it on Greg Schiano, Josh Freeman or whatever you want, but the reality is still that he's averaging 1.2 less yards per carry this season. He has a favorable matchup with the Eagles' defense in week six, so fans should expect a 2012-like performance.

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Matt Schaub

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USA Today Sports

Schaub has made this list a few weeks in a row now, but there's question he needs to step up in a big way for the Texans in week six. His job is most likely on the line and if he doesn't put a W on the board against the Rams, Gary Kubiak will have no choice but to make the switch to T.J. Yates.

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Eli Manning


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Two-time Super Bowl champion quarterbacks don't often get a lot of flack, but they're certainly not ammune to it. That's the case with Eli Manning as he's currently leading the NFL in interceptions (12). The Giants have been terrible and are yet to win a game in 2013. It's time for the good Eli to step up in week six and lead the Giants to a big road win against the Bears on TNF.