No Punt Intended: NFL Picks Week Five Edition
By Brody Burns
Last Week: 9-6 Season Record: 29-17
San Diego (-4.5) at Oakland – The Chargers descend into the black hole this Sunday for a delayed night game. The O.co Coliseum is so old, that it requires somewhere close to 24 hours to convert from being baseball ready to football ready. Meanwhile the conversion of the Raiders into a winning team is still in process, as the team hasn’t had a winning season since 2002. In an interesting side note, there will be two NFL games played Sunday night in the Bay Area, as the Niners host the Texans that same night. Fans claim this is a rivalry, but the Bolts have taken 16 of the last 19 from the Raiders. Pretty lopsided rivalry. Sunday continues this dismal trend for the Raiders. My Pick: Chargers 28, Raiders 17.
Thursday Night: Buffalo at Cleveland (-4.5) – Who would have thought that the Browns, after trading their number three draft pick from last year, Trent Richardson, and benching their starting quarterback, Brandon Weeden, would go on to win two in a row, with back to back wins over 2012 playoff teams. It’s been impressive. I think the Browns keep rolling Thursday and I’m starting to believe in Hoyer. (His passer rating is higher than both Kaepernick and Flacco). My Pick: Browns 24, Bills 16.
New Orleans at Chicago (-1) – The Saints have looked incredible this year. The offense is clicking with the usual Brees-like precision, and the defense is ranked in the top five in total defense. It’s a far cry from last year. This past Sunday, Jay Cutler returned to his gunslinger ways with three picks, and a lost fumble in a loss to the Lions. Cutler still gets to go home to Kristin Cavallari, what a jerk! I like Brees on Sunday. My Pick: Saints 31, Bears 24.
New England at Cincinnati (-1) – This could be the game of the week. The Bengals were beaten last week by the Browns, and have yet to prove that they’re an elite team in this league. Enter the Patriots, the team of the millennium and the current standard for consistent excellence in the game. To get to the next level the Bengals need to win a game like this one. I think Marvin Lewis gets them to bounce back at home. My Pick: Bengals 25, Patriots 23.
Jacksonville at St. Louis (-11) – Wow this one looks close to unwatchable. This may honestly be one of the few chances the Jaguars have to win a game this season. After this week, I see two potential winnable games for Jacksonville, week 11 at home against Arizona, and week 15 at home against Buffalo. If either of those doesn’t happen, I seriously think the Jaguars go 0-16. This Sunday doesn’t look good. My Pick: Rams 24, Jaguars 5.
Baltimore at Miami (-3) – The Dolphins came back down to earth on Monday night, in a hostile environment at the Superdome. I’m still a believer; I think they’re a wildcard contender. Meanwhile can anyone make sense of the Jekyll and Hyde Ravens? Killed by the Broncos, beat the Browns, crush the Ravens, and lose to the Bills. The Ravens are 0-2 on the road, and Miami is better than Buffalo. My Pick: Dolphins 20, Ravens 17.
Philadelphia at NY Giants (-2.5) – How are the 0-4 Giants favored over the Eagles this week? Because the porous Eagles defense is giving up close to 450 yards a game. That’s dead last in the league. For their part the Giants have been outscored 69-7 in the last two weeks. This game looks bad on paper, but neither team is out of it; the NFC East is terribly wide open. I think Chip Kelly gets the Eagles going in the right direction. My Pick: Eagles 31, Giants 27.
Detroit at Green Bay (-7) – The Packers are 1-2, but still a touchdown favorite over the 3-1 Lions. Three of their next five games are in the division, and all of them are needed by the Pack. These two quarterbacks could throw for a combined 900 yards on Sunday, but the edge has got to go to the Packers. My Pick: Packers 31, Lions 27.
Kansas City (-2.5) at Tennessee – I think Kansas City keeps rolling this Sunday based on their ability to protect the football, their stellar playmaking defense, their clutch special teams play, and most of all because Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starting quarterback for the Titans. My Pick: Chiefs 24, Titans 21.
Seattle (-2.5) at Indianapolis – Can Andrew Luck slay another giant from the NFC West? Or at the very least can he shave that creepy neck beard? Do the Seahawks struggle again on the road in the Midwest? Can anything break the poise of Russell Wilson? Did his cousin Brian ever get his World Series ring from the San Francisco Giants? Can Marshawn Lynch and Trent Richardson wrestle at midfield, for the title of most beastly running back in the league? Most of these questions will never be answered. My Pick: Seahawks 34, Colts 26.
Carolina (-2) at Arizona – The Panthers are coming off the bye week, and an impressive win over the Giants the week before, and now travel across country to meet the Cardinals. The Cardinals stormed back last week against a hapless Bucs team, but the Panthers are a better team than the Bucs. My Pick: Panthers 26, Cardinals 19.
Denver (-7) at Dallas – Peyton Manning has 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions in four weeks, an NFL record. The Broncos have scored 179 points in four games, an astounding average of 44.8 points per game, which is also an NFL record. They’ve won a team-record 15 consecutive regular season games. They’re starting to resemble the Patriots from 2007. My Pick: Broncos 38, Cowboys 24.
Houston at San Francisco (-7) – Houston finishes their murderers’ row with a game at San Francisco. The last two weeks saw the Texans get destroyed in Baltimore, and then lose in heartbreaking fashion at home to Seattle. The Texans haven’t played a solid four quarters in one game yet this year. Sunday night may be even worse; the Niners are coming off a long week of rest, are at home, and chomping to make up for their last dismal showing in primetime. I’m on Kaep and the Niners. My Pick: Niners 28, Texans 17.
NY Jets at Atlanta (-9) – Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his own butt fumble last Sunday, and somewhere in New York after the game, tears of joy streamed down Mark Sanchez’s face. The Falcons need this one; they’ve now lost as many games this season, as they did all of last season. The Jets should be just what the doctor ordered. My Pick: Falcons 32, Jets 20.