The Redskins are on a bye, which means more time to devote to the rest of the week's games. Here are our picks, for recreational purposes only.
We're back for another round of NFL picks, this time for Week 5. Last week wasn't a windfall, but we didn’t go broke either. Last week's picks ended up at 8-8. Even Steven. Looking back, there were a few bets that should have hit and a few should have lost. The most egregious examples all come from the NFC East. If the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles held onto their leads at home, I would have been up on the week. But I am happy to lose a bet for those teams to suffer humiliating defeats. Though the New York Giants' bet hit, it shouldn't have. That was a fumble.
But much like life, let's take Week 4's experience and apply it to Week 5. All lines courtesy of SB Nation NFL Odds, and, this is purely recreational.
The Washington Redskins don't play this week - along with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Cowboys, St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins - so enjoy a Sunday without Rex Grossman and the gang. Just kick back, put a bunch of bets in and scream at the television when appropriate.
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (+3): I'm still mad at myself for picking Buffalo last week. I knew the Bengals game was a trap, called it a trap, and still took the Bills. Not this week. Philly needs this game. Pick: Philly.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+7): The Saints are the better team. The Saints will likely win the NFC South and probably make a deep playoff run. That does not mean they will win by seven in Charlotte. The Saints defense gives up points, and Cam Newton will keep the Panthers in it. Pick: Carolina.
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7): I don't know about you, but I don't trust the Texans. The Texans are the girl in college who always looks hot on Thursday night at the bar, but then you see her on a Tuesday morning in class and you can't believe it's the same person. A lot of Darren McFadden in this one. Houston might win, but the Raiders cover.
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-1): I would rather go to DMV than watch this game. The NFL is an all-powerful marketing genius, but this game is going to suck. Indy is due, and they are at home. Pick: Colts.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5): Look everybody, another game that is going to suck. My advice here is to bet the under, but since this is a picks column, I think there is an antiquated Vegas saying that a home team giving less than two is expected to win. Or I just made that up. Go Jags.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-3): Perhaps we should dub this game Donovan McNabb's Last Stand. If he checks down his way to another 16-31, 210-yard, one-touchdown, one-pick afternoon Vikes coach Leslie Frazier will run out of excuses not to start first-round pick Christian Ponder. Donovan is done. I watched enough last year on the Redskins to know it. Larry Fitzgerald plays inspired football in front of his hometown. Go Cardinals.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (-10): The biggest spread on the board, and I like the G-Men to cover. When Seattle is playing at home, they are sneaky good. Qwest Field is arguably the best home-field advantage in the NFL. That place is crazy loud. This game is in New Jersey and the Giants pass rush will batter Tarvaris Jackson. Lay the points. Pick: Giants.
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5): This game is intriguing on a lot of levels. First we don't know what's going on with Ben Roethlisberger's foot but the quarterback usually plays through pain. The Titans are off to a good start, with Matt Hasselbeck leading the offense to surprising efficiency. The Pittsburgh run defense has been shoddy, and Chris Johnson showed signs of life last week in Cleveland. I'm not ready to write off the Steelers, but I see a close game with a few, fluky big plays that might include a defensive touchdown. I'm taking the Titans on the road.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5): Remember all the games that sucked earlier on the slate? Now the games get good. I think the 2011 Niners can be the 2010 Bucs, with an easier road to the playoffs playing in the NFC West. Don't forget last year a lot of people were really high on the Niners before they realized Mike Singletary was half crazy. Coach Jim Harbaugh has this team playing well. The comeback win in Philly will encourage the team, not give them a hangover, and they beat Tampa at home. Pick: 49ers.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (+6): Denver got smoked last week in Green Bay, but the Packers are turning into a buzzsaw. I'm not sure the '85 Bears keep that team under 30. That said, San Diego took care of business against Miami, covered the spread and, slowly, Phillip Rivers and Ryan Matthews are getting their ship together. This week, the East Coast got a certain chill to it. That crisp air means the Chargers start to play good football. In Norv We Trust, until the playoffs anyway. Pick: Chargers.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-8): This one should be good. The Jets looked like GARBAGE last week against the Ravens, and the Pats methodically did their thing out west against Oakland. The New England defense is kind of bad, but so is the Jet offense. This is a lot of points to give up in a division rivalry, and the Patriot offense is certainly explosive with Tom Brady, Wes Welker and potential new stud running back Stevan Ridley. But every time we count out Footy Rex and the Jets, they make us pay. The Jets usually play the Pats tough, and I think this will be similar. I expect to see a lot of LaDainian Tomlinson, catching passes out of the backfield and slicing through the Pats defensive line. Shonn Greene is a hoax. A lot of great tease options in this one, but straight-up I'm taking the Jets.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (+4.5): This right here, this is going to be a butt-kicking. Green Bay spits hot fire. Aaron Rodgers is crazy good, Jordy Nelson, JerMichael Finley, Greg Jennings, the names just keep coming on that Packer offense. The defense can play too. I know that the Georgia Dome will be rocking for the Sunday night game, but it won't matter. Too much Rodgers. Too much Pack. All the dope boys in all the Cadillacs won't make a difference. Pick: Packers.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-6): Three years ago, the Lions lost every game the entire year. Think about that. This year, the Lions are undefeated after a comeback win in Dallas that must rank as one of the best in franchise history. I'm not sure the last time Monday Night Football came to the 313, but I know it's been a long time. This game will be chippy, but I can't pick against Detroit right now. Hell, I almost want to buy an American car. Cue the MC5. Pick: Lions.