Thursday, October 4, 2012
NFL Week 5 Picks
I did much better last week. Could a rebound be on the way? Lets hope so! Picks!
Last Week's Record: 11-4
Year To Date Record: 37-25
Arizona Cardinals vs St. Louis Rams
This has all the makings of a trap game for the Arizona Cardinals. On the road against a divisional opponent on a short week. For the Cardinals sake I hope it isn't. They escaped a bad loss last week and won in overtime against Miami. The Cardinals let a less than stellar offense stay in the game, and their secondary looked a bit shaky. Kevin Kolb remains the starter for the Cardinals, and I see no reason to change that even when John Skelton is fully healthy. Arizona may have found a permanent second WR with Andre Roberts playing well the last couple weeks. St. Louis defeated Seattle last week thanks to some good trickeration on special teams. Steven Jackson looks to be going on the downside of his career. He hasn't helped the offense like a star RB should, and it again is causing Sam Bradford problems with the lack of weapons he has. No run game allows teams to focus on stopping Bradford. I see the Rams keeping it close, but the Cardinals are on a hot streak now and I think they escape with a win here.
Arizona 28 St. Louis 24
Miami Dolphins vs Cincinnati Bengals
As I said in my Week 4 Review, I'm still not sold on the Cincinnati Bengals. And this week will do nothing else to change my mind. The Bengals have some good young talent. But they have yet to beat a good football team. Until the Bengals do that, I'm skeptical to jump on their band wagon. Yes A.J. Green is good. Andy Dalton is a good game manager. But they have yet to beat a team with a winning record this year or last year. Washington is an 8-8 team at best, and Jacksonville and Cleveland are two of the bottom 5-7 teams in the NFL. And this week the Bengals get another weak team in the Miami Dolphins. Sure they put up a fight last week against Arizona, but they aren't a Playoff team or a team that will finish with a winning record. Ryan Tannehill has looked good in his last couple outings. But the team is still a playmaker or two away from being a very good team. The Bengals win again, and people continue to jump all over them.
Cincinnati 24 Miami 20
Green Bay Packers vs Indianapolis Colts
It would not surprise me if the Colts minds are somewhere else this week. It was found out this week that first year coach Chuck Pagano is dealing with leukemia. He's expected to make a full recovery, but that is something that could distract the Colts. But it could also be a rallying point for the team. Andrew Luck has played well the first few games. But the Colts need to get their running game going to help get some pressure off of Luck. But Luck may be forced to throw a good amount this week with the Packers coming to town. The offense had a good game last week against New Orleans, rebounding from a horrible performance on the road against Seattle. But the pass defense was yet again torched by Drew Brees. I think the Colts will put up a fight early on, but the Packers pull away late.
Green Bay 34 Indianapolis 23
Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs
So, all of those good feelings about the Chiefs to start the year have gone where? The Chiefs have looked abysmal almost all year. I would not be surprised if Matt Cassel is shown the boot at the end of the year. He's been given every opportunity to prove he can be a quality NFL starter but has failed to do so. And the defense has failed to shut down anybody. The players may like playing for Romeo Crennel, but he hasn't done much this year to show that he can be a decent head coach. It is similar to his stop in Cleveland. High hopes but uneventful. The story for the Ravens this year has been the improved play of Joe Flacco and the offense. The passing attack has come alive in Baltimore. Is this the year Joe Flacco finally quiets his doubters? He will do it again this game. The Ravens should win rather easily here.
Baltimore 31 Kansas City 14
Atlanta Falcons vs Washington Redskins
There hasn't been a better team in the NFL this year than the Atlanta Falcons. Even in near defeat last week, the Falcons offense looked very good. And they did all of that with Julio Jones doing very little. It was the Falcons defense that stepped up and made some big plays that kept Atlanta in it. Matt Ryan is getting early consideration for MVP and he deserves it. Ryan has played very well and has done a great job of leading the Falcons offense. Washington avoided a near collapse last week against Tampa Bay but won the game with a late drive by Robert Griffin and Billy Cundiff's first made field goal of the day. Cundiff probably saved his job there. This is a big game for Washington. They have looked inconsistent all year. If they can come up with a big win then they may be a team that can cause problems in the NFC later in the year. But I don't know if the Redskins offense can hang with the Falcons. I'm expecting a high scoring game, but Atlanta pulls it out in the end.
Atlanta 38 Washington 34
Cleveland Browns vs New York Giants
You have to give it to the Cleveland Browns. Yes, they are 0-4. But they have been putting up some good fights in every game they were in. They lost to Philadelphia by 1. They hung with Cincinnati and Buffalo until the end, and they fought back last week against Baltimore. Cleveland is a young and inexperienced team, especially on offense. Those could be games Cleveland wins later in the year. Brandon Weeden has made a couple mistakes late in games, but those will be fixed with time and more experience. The Giants struggled last week in Philadelphia and had a chance to win it at the end, but they did themselves in with a couple of dumb late penalties. The Giants are 2-2, and the bad part is that both of those losses are in the division. I would expect a heavy pass rush from the Giants in this one. They will make Brandon Weeden beat them. Unfortunately for the Browns, Weeden is not at that stage yet. Giants win. Eli knows that the Giants can lose a home game like this.
NY Giants 27 Cleveland 13
Philadelphia Eagles vs Pittsburgh Steelers
I know the Eagles are 3-1, but similar to the Bengals, I'm just not sold on them yet. The offense has yet to score over 24 points in any game this year. Mike Vick is taking a beating behind center and I don't see how he makes it an entire year without missing some time. And Andy Reid also goes through random brain farts where he forgets LeSean McCoy is still on the team. I like how the defense has been playing. They are much improved compared to last year. But sooner or later the offense is going to have to put up more points. That could start this week against Pittsburgh. The Steelers are coming off their bye and should have Troy Polamalu and James Harrison back on defense. That will help a unit that looked bad two weeks ago against Oakland. Not only that, but the Steelers offense will get RB Rashad Mendenhall back this week. With a full compliment of pieces on offense and defense likely back, I think the Steelers pull out the win in this one.
Pittsburgh 23 Philadelphia 21
Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers
Will the real Seattle Seahawks please stand up? Two weeks ago they shut down the Packers offense and looked good in "victory" over Green Bay. Then they went and laid a pretty big egg last week against St. Louis. Russell Wilson has still yet to live up to any of his off-season hype. With Matt Flynn sitting there on the bench, you have to wonder if Seattle will go to Flynn if the offense doesn't pick up its performance. Carolina, meanwhile, is one big ball of mess. Is Cam Newton mature enough to be a starter in the league? He was pouty two Thursday nights ago, and he was apparently pouting in his locker after last week's collapse against Atlanta. Newton has the physical tools to be a QB in the NFL, but is he mentally tough enough? And does coach Ron Rivers have control of the team if he is letting players question is QB? I honestly don't know who to pick here. Seattle can't score but can stop people. Carolina can score but can't stop people. I'm picking Carolina. Newton has to play better.
Carolina 21 Seattle 17
Chicago Bears vs Jacksonville Jaguars
So, is the Bears defense that good or are the Cowboys that bad? Chicago tore apart the Cowboys last Monday night. Jay Cutler and the offense finally came together and had a good performance. Doing it on the road is even more impressive. The Bears will slowly be getting Matt Forte healthier and once he does they will have their good combination of Forte and Michael Bush back. Jacksonville has still yet to put it all together under coach Mike Mularkey. The offense just isn't playing well outside of Maurice Jones-Drew. If Blaine Gabbert does not get things going, the Jags may be looking to take another rookie QB next year. Things don't get easier for Gabbert here. Chicago wins.
Chicago 28 Jacksonville 16
Tennessee Titans vs Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota went into Detroit last week and beat the Lions. That is something I never thought would have happened at the beginning of the year. The Vikings did it without much help from their offense. Both touchdowns came on special teams. But the Vikings defense deserves a lot of credit as well. They shut down a very good Lions offense in Detroit. I just did not see Minnesota playing this well this early. Christian Ponder is playing much better than he did last year. The Titans have disappointed a whole lot so far. And to make matters worse, Jake Locker hurt his left shoulder again and will miss this weeks game. So the Titans will get to watch old man Matt Hasselbeck play this week. Hasselebeck actually played well in relief last week, but he definitely needs to shake off some rust. Maybe Hasselbeck will finally get some help from Chris Johnson, who has just disappeared and become non-existent all year. I don't have a lot of faith in the Titans right now, and the Vikings have a ton of momentum. Minnesota wins here.
Minnesota 30 Tenneseee 20
Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots
And we get it again: Peyton vs Brady. The Broncos have looked shaky all year but finally played a complete game last week against the Raiders. A defense that has had problems stopping people only allowed 6 points to the Raiders. But this team had problems stopping Tom Brady multiple times last year. And Brady only has more weapons at his disposal this year. The Patriots offense came around last week in a big way. They got their running game going. Buffalo dared them to run and they did. If the Broncos do the same thing you know the Patriots will take advantage of that. This game will come down to whether or not the Broncos offense can hang with the Patriots. New England will put up their points against Denver like they always do. Can Peyton Manning put up more points than Tim Tebow? I don't think so. I like New England to win this one at home.
New England 41 Denver 33
Buffalo Bills vs San Francisco 49ers
So who can explain the Bills epic collapse last year? I know I can't. I watched the whole game and do not know what happened. The defense just got ran over by two unknown Patriot running backs. The defensive front four, the heart and soul of the team, just disappeared. And Mario Williams? Non-existent in the first four games. Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the league in touchdowns, but he's also made some really bad plays. He under throws his WRs more than a QB should. Buffalo had the opportunity to show they were the real deal last week but didn't. Now they go to San Francisco to face a 49ers defense riding high after their shutout of the Jets last week. They looked like they were playing pissed after losing to Minnesota two weeks ago. The offense introduced a new wrinkle last week with Colin Kapernick running the Wildcat/Option. That just means teams now have to plan for more when facing the 49ers. San Francisco is the superior team and they will take care of the Bills here.
San Francisco 24 Buffalo 16
San Diego Chargers vs New Orleans Saints
The Saints might be the best 0-4 team in the history of the NFL. Despite their defense playing like absolute crap, the offense is still very good. They have been putting up points in every game they have played. But the defense just can't stop anybody constantly. Last week they did themselves in with a penalty late that lead to a missed field goal. Now is do or die time for the Saints. On Sunday night they get the chance to get their first win against the Chargers. San Diego dominated the Chiefs last week, surprisingly without Ryan Matthews. Matthews was benched in favor of Jackie Battle. Apparently it was a message being sent to Matthews about his fumble problems. I can't quite figure out the Chargers. They have looked good against some weak teams but played horrible against Atlanta. The Saints know how important this game is for their season, and I think they pull out a win here.
New Orleans 42 San Diego 38
Houston Texans vs New York Jets
It is a hot mess in Jets land. Mark Sanchez played absolutely terrible against the 49ers last week. And right on cue, the calls for Tim Tebow began. The Jets knew this was coming when they traded for Tebow. Now they have to deal with them. And of course it sets up perfectly going into a nationally televised Monday night game. Whoever the QB is, they won't have Santonio Holmes to throw to the rest of the year. That leaves the Jets without their top playmakers on offense and defense. The Texans continue to walk through the beginning of their schedule. And the Texans defense looked dominant last week against Houston. They scored two touchdowns and applied constant pressure all game. Expect similar things from Houston this week. Now, knowing luck, the Jets will come out and play awesome this week. But I don't think that will happen. The Texans are too good and the Jets are that bad. We see Tim Tebow by the 3rd quarter.
Houston 31 NY Jets 13
My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 3-1
Year to Date: 10-6
Baltimore -6 at Kansas City: I may pick against the Chiefs every year from here on out
Chicago -4.5 at Jacksonville: Jags can't score here
Philadelphia +3.5 at Pittsburgh: Should be a close game whatever the outcome
Buffalo +9.5 at San Francisco: I just don't sense a blowout here
Until Next Time,
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