NFL Week 5 Picks

October 9, 2011 on 5:26 pm | In NFL | No Comments

Here are my picks for Week 5 in the NFL, both straight up and against the point spread… so far I’m 50-14 overall on the year (78.1%), inlcuding 12-4 last week.  Might be due for a bad week, but hoping it’s not this one… let’s look at the games.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at Buffalo Bills (3-1) – The ‘Dream Team’ has struggled mightily in Philadelphia, blowing a double-digit lead at home vs. San Francisco a week ago en route to their third consecutive loss.  Buffalo’s offense is dangerous and exciting, but I look for the Eagles defense to finally buckle down and get the job done on the road.  The Pick – Philly 24-17 (Eagles -3)

New Orleans (3-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-3) – Following a season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Saints have won three in a row.  New Orleans is averaging an NFC-best 454 total yards per game and QB Drew Brees has completed 20 passes or more in an NFL record 24 straight games.  Slowing down New Orleans could be a tough task, even for an improving Carolina team led by rookie sensation Cam Newton.  The Pick – New Orleans 31-20 (Saints -6.5)

Oakland Raiders (2-2) at Houston Texans (3-1) – The smart pick is to go with Houston, a team full of playmakers and weapons on offense, and a defense that has shown improvement under new coordinator Wade Phillips.  But Oakland is playing with emotion, dedicating this game to Al Davis, the team’s longtime Owner that passed away at the age of 82 on Saturday.  Look for the Raiders to find a way to “Just Win Baby,” as Davis would say, perhaps on a late field goal.  The Pick – Oakland 27-24 (Raiders +6.5)

Kansas City (1-3) at Indianapolis Colts (0-4) – Hard to believe these two teams won their division and made the playoffs just a season ago.  Indy has been seriously deflated by the absence of Peyton Manning at QB, while the Chiefs have had some injuries of their own with RB Jamaal Charles and DB Eric Berry out.  KC pulled out a win over Minnesota last week, and the Colts have been close in recent weeks against the Bucs and Steelers.  The Pick – Indy 16-10 (Colts -2.5)

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) - Few teams in the league have a running back as good as the Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 391 yards and five touchdowns already.  Cincinnati has confidence off a comeback win over Buffalo a week ago.  We’ll see a couple of rookie signal callers go to battle in this one; Andy Dalton for the Bengals and Blaine Gabbert for the Jags.  The one that makes the fewest mistakes will give their team the edge to get the victory.  The Pick – Jacksonville 19-13 (Jags -2)

Arizona Cardinals (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (0-4) – The loser of this game can basically kiss the playoff good-bye, and honestly, the winner’s chances of getting to the postseason aren’t that great either.  Both are a far cry from where they were a few years ago when Arizona made it to Super Bowl XLIII (43) during the Kurt Warner era, and the Vikings only two seasons ago lost to eventual Super Bowl Champ New Orleans in overtime in the NFC Championship game.  Adrian Peterson and the Vikes ground game will be too much in this one.  The Pick – Minnesota 28-21 (Vikings -3)

Seattle Seahawks (1-3) at New York Giants (3-1) – Since a season-opening loss at Washington, the Giants have won three in a row, including a a comeback from 10 points down last week at Arizona and a sound victory over division rival Philadelphia on the road the week before.  Eli Manning and company are starting to really get things going, and even better for Big Blue, they are getting healthier.  Expect New York’s pass rush to overwhelm a Seahawks team that has struggled to move the ball and score points at times.  Should be the blowout of the week.  The Pick – NY Giants 31-7

Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) – This is a fascinating game to me.  After falling to Jacksonville in the opener, the Titans have been rather impressive, especially on offense, winning three consecutive games and beating a tough Baltimore team during that stretch that absolutely clobbered the Steelers back in Week 1.  Going on the road is not easy, and they have to do it without blossoming WR Kenny Britt, out the rest of the year due to injury.  Pittsburgh is very banged up, but I think their defense will make enough plays to prevail and contain Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck, having a great year with 1152 yards and 8TD’s passing.  The Pick – Pittsburgh 21-17 (Steelers -3)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1) – A lot of people are surprised to see the Niners where they are, atop the NFC West by two games under first-year Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, who came to the Bay Area team after coaching at Stanford.  QB Alex Smith is improving some, and RB Frank Gore is mighty tough as is LB Patrick Willis on defense.  Tampa Bay has found themselves trailing in games, yet their young and talented signal caller Josh Freeman usually rallies them in the fourth quarter, home or away, and that will likely be the script here once again.  The Pick – Tampa Bay 26-21 (Tampa +3)

San Diego Chargers (3-1) at Denver Broncos (1-3) – These are two teams going in opposite directions.  San Diego has hopes of going far in the postseason after missing the playoffs a year ago.  Philip Rivers leads an offense capable of scoring points in bunches, even when star tight end Antonio Gates is on the shelf due to injury.  Denver, meanwhile, can’t get stops on defense, surrendering 49 points to the Packers last week.  It could be another field day for the Lightning Bolts’ offense.  The Pick – San Diego 31-17 (Chargers -4)

New York Jets (2-2) at New England Patriots (3-1) – As great as the New England offense is, quite possibly the best in football with QB Tom Brady, WR Wes Welker and others, their defense is one of the worst around.  That’s welcomed news for a Jets offense that couldn’t block at all in last Sunday night’s blowout loss to Baltimore that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated (34-17).  New York gets back All-Pro center Nick Mangold, and that is huge as they try to get their running game back on track and give QB Mark Sanchez enough time to make plays in the passing game.  I sense a shoot-out, and while New England is the better team right now looking to avenge their home playoff loss to the Jets from lats January, my gut tells me the Jets pull an upset here.  The Pick – NY Jets 30-27 in OT (Jets +9)

Green Bay Packers (4-0) at Atlanta Falcons (2-2) – This is an absolutely terrific Sunday Night Football game and a re-match of last year’s NFC Divisional matchup where Green Bay stunned an Atlanta team that finished with the best record in the conference.  The Falcons’ last appearance on Sunday Night Football on NBC resulted in a comeback win over Philly that prevented them from falling to 0-2.  Both QB’s – Aaron Rodgers for the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers and Matt Ryan for the Falcons – are accurate, poised players and have quality targets at their disposal.  The difference?  It may very well be the running of Michael Turner to keep that Green Bay offense off the field just enough for the Falcons to squeak out a win in a shoot-out.  The Pick – Atlanta 35-28 (Falcons +6)

Chicago Bears (2-2) at Detroit Lions (4-0) – My playoff sleeper team, the Detroit Lions, are looking fantastic right now behind QB Matthew Stafford and arguably the league’s best wide receiver, Calvin Johnson (a.k.a. MegaTron).  Johnson has two touchdown catches in each of the first four games to give him eight for the season, something never done before in the history of the NFL.  Chicago will have to make this an ugly, physical game and get hits + pressure on Stafford to disrupt the timing of a Lions offense that is clicking on all cylinders.  Where this game will be decided in my opinion is how Chicago blocks that tough Detroit defensive front led by Ndamukong Suh.  Jay Cutler will have to play at a high level to grab a win on the road in a hostile environment, and the Lions fans are sure to be pumped for their first Monday Night Football game in a long time.  The Pick – Detroit 31-21 (Lions -5.5) 

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