Friday, October 7, 2011

NFL Picks: Week 5

Make sure to check out yesterday's trivia contest, prizes may still be available.

Last Week: 5-11
Overall: 24-35-4

As always, home team in Bold

Kansas City (+2.5) over Indianapolis

This game has as much appeal to me as watching the Lynx. (None) However, the Chiefs managed to beat the Vikings last week, while the Colts can't even decide on a starting QB. Painter seems to be getting a lot of credit for keeping the Colts in the game last week against Tampa Bay, but he completed just 13 of 30 passes.

Matt Cassel doesn't do a whole lot for me, either, but he's a little more established. The Chiefs are not a good team, but I do think they're slightly better off than the Colts at this point. Quarterback is a necessity in this league.

Final Score: Kansas City 27, Indianapolis 21

Arizona (+3) over Minnesota

Donovan McNabb has nothing left. Only the most optimistic Vikings fans think McNabb will turn things around, but if anyone has watched this team over the last four weeks they've seen McNabb consistently throw balls at open receivers ankles, to the wrong shoulder, and his deep balls down the sideline always end up uncatchable out of bounds. It's time to throw Ponder to the wolves and see what he can do, but Frazier clearly isn't ready to do that.

Kevin Kolb hasn't been nearly as good as Cardinals fans had hoped, but he's still been solid at times and the matchup this week is a good one. The Vikings pass rush has been great at times (mostly in the first half) but the pass defense is brutal and Antoine Winfield looks unlikely to play with a neck injury. Winfield's not a lockdown corner by any means, but he's leaps and bounds better than whichever young corner replaces him. Look for former Holy Angels standout Larry Fitzgerald to have a monster game in his hometown.

Final Score: Arizona 24, Minnesota 14

Buffalo (+3) over Philadelphia

These are the kinds of games that can make or break your bank account, if you so choose. Buffalo has, to this point, exceeded expectations. Expected to be a bottom-feeding team yet again, the Bills are off to a 3-1 start and have played very good football. The Eagles are the polar opposite, high expectations and their currently sitting in the cellar in their division.

So, do you trust your preseason assumptions or what you've seen through the first four weeks? The Eagles haven't played bad as much as they've played stupid, as penalties at terrible times have really hurt them in close games. However, the offense just doesn't seem quite as explosive as last season, and the defense has looked lost at times.

I think Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue the Cinderella season for the Bills, defeating the Eagles in a high-scoring but close game.

Final Score: Buffalo 38, Philadelphia 33

Oakland (+6) over Houston

I was surprised this spread was so high, considering Andre Johnson isn't playing. The Texans offensive line is very good, and Arian Foster is certainly capable of carrying the offense as long as he needs to, but having Andre Johnson on the outside drawing double teams is a huge advantage for any offense. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is going to have a tough time throwing the football this week, in my opinion.

Also, Darren McFadden is simply too good at this point. I think the game should at least remain close as long as McFadden does what he has done all season, and runs all over the Texans defense. Even if the Texans manage to win this game, it should be a run-heavy affair and therefore I expect the game to be closer than 6 points either way.

Final Score: Oakland 24, Houston 20

New Orleans (-6.5) over Carolina

I'm starting to come around on Cam Newton, a few weeks later than everyone else, but until he can cut down on the drive-crumbling interceptions I refuse to be completely sold. Now, that's not really fair to Newton, because almost every rookie makes a lot of mistakes; it's a part of learning the job, and not many rookie QB's throw for the kind of yards Newton has week in and week out.

That said, he's not ready to beat Drew Brees yet, and I think you'll see the Saints cruise in this one. This has the makings of one of those 400-yard days for Brees with 3 or 4 touchdowns in a rout.

Final Score: New Orleans 39, Carolina 17

Jacksonville (-2.5) over Cincinnati

As a Maurice Jones-Drew fantasy owner, I'm hoping he can have a monster day and carry the Jaguars over the Bengals. Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert has shown promise at times, so if the Jags can get a big game from MJD, Gabbert should be able to make enough plays to win the game.

The Bengals are going to be inconsistent all season, which is to be expected with a rookie QB and rookie WR, although both have looked solid to this point. The looming Cedric Benson suspension doesn't help matters, but he will play this week as he appeals it. I just don't think the Bengals will do enough to win this game.

Final Score: Jacksonville 28, Cincinnati 21

Pittsburgh (-3) over Tennessee

Chris Johnson has looked terrible through the first four weeks of the season. It seems obvious that his extended holdout has had an effect on his early season production. With Titans receiver Kenny Britt out for the season, the Titans are going to need a much improved CJ if they want to have a chance to win games for the rest of the season.

While the Steelers are averaging well over 100 yards a game on the ground this year, that doesn't seem like a statistic that can last a whole season, especially for a team like Pittsburgh. I suppose if there was a week for Chris Johnson to break out, this would be as good of an opportunity as any, but I think Pittsburgh's defense will come to play and Ben Roethlisberger will make enough throws to give the Steelers the win.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 31, Tennessee 24

New York Giants (-9.5) over Seattle

For the rest of the season, whoever's playing Seattle likely will be my pick for the week, regardless of the spread. I think Tarvaris Jackson is that bad. He's shown some ability with his legs, just like he always did in Minnesota, but his inaccuracy and constant mental mistakes hurt the team far more than his legs help. It's amazing he's still starting in this league.

Look for the Giants defense to put a lot of pressure on Jackson and force a few turnovers, and if Eli Manning can take care of the ball, the Giants should win in a landslide.

Final Score: New York Giants 27, Seattle 10

Tampa Bay (+3) over San Francisco

San Francisco has been a pleasant surprise, sitting at 3-1 after four weeks. Playing in the abysmal NFC West means the Niners probably only need to win five more games to win the division. They are the odds on favorites to win the division, but I just can't put my faith in a banged up Frank Gore, a banged up receiving core and Alex Smith.

Josh Freeman is due for a big breakout game, and while the 49ers defense has played well all season, I think Freeman could be in line for a monster game through the air if the 49ers can manage to keep the game close throughout.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 27, San Francisco 22

New England (+9) over New York Jets

I'm most interested in seeing the Wes Welker-Darrelle Revis matchup, because Welker doesn't "look the part" as far as elite receivers are concerned. He's not going to outjump anyone, and while he's fast and runs good routes, he's probably not the best at either of those things either. That said, he has a knack for getting open, and Tom Brady clearly has put a lot of trust in him to make plays for that offense, so it will be interesting to see if Revis can shut down Welker, who's on pace to break both the receptions and yards records set by receivers in a single season.

Final Score: New England 35, New York Jets 24

San Diego (-4) over Denver

Kyle Orton is 3-13 in his last 16 starts for the Denver Broncos. Even if that isn't entirely his fault, isn't it clear that the team ISN'T WINNING GAMES WITH KYLE ORTON AT QUARTERBACK. Even if the front-office doesn't want to look like they're caving to the fans pleas to see Tim Tebow for an extended period of time, give Brady Quinn a shot then. Orton is not the future, and he's not doing anything this season that suggest he's going to help the 1-3 Broncos turn their season around and make the playoffs. It's time to think about the future.

Final Score: San Diego 23, Denver 17

Green Bay (-6) over Atlanta

Green Bay is the best team in football. I hate writing that, but they are. Aaron Rodgers proved again this week that he's a professional, and doesn't get involved in cat fights with has-beens, but what Brett Favre said this week was ridiculous. I won't repeat the whole situation here because it's been covered quite a bit over the last few days, but Favre just needs to disappear from the spotlight. His time has passed. Let the kid enjoy his time, although Brett's obviously nervous that Rodgers, not himself, will go down as the greatest Packers QB of all-time.

Final Score: Green Bay 38, Atlanta 28

Detroit (-5.5) over Chicago

The Lions hype is beginning to get out of control, and I think a 3 or 4 game losing streak is in the near future for them. However, the Bears offensive line is brutal, Jay Cutler still makes terrible decisions, the team's best receiver (Knox) sees less playing time than he should, and the team's best offensive player (Forte) is getting low-balled in contract negotiations and isn't happy with his situation. It's getting ugly in Chicago, and after a Monday Night whooping in Detroit, it's going to get even uglier.

Final Score: Detroit 31, Chicago 14



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