NFL Picks - Week 5

Sunday Morning

Arizona @ Cincinnati
A couple of winless teams clash in Cincy, and someone’s gotta get off the schneid. “Not so fast!” say the Cardinals, who, with an 0-3-1 record, know first hand that not every game must have a winner. And as Fox is about to find out, not every game must have a viewer.

Bengals 24-22 

Buffalo @ Tennessee 
With Bills quarterback Josh Allen attempting to work his way through the concussion protocol Buffalo may be forced to turn to Matt Barkley. Coach Sean McDermott says the team is “extremely confident” in Barkley. That sounds great, but is Barkley extremely confident in Barkley? Judging by his official picture I’d say yes! Judging by his career statistics though I’d say he shouldn’t be. Whoever starts at QB for Buffalo will likely have a tough time against a Titans defense that’s only given up 15.5 points per game this season. I’m guessing that Tennessee won’t give up that exact amount, because that total is impossible, but if there’s a quarterback out there who could manage to score half a point it just may be Matt Barkley. Adding the other 15 would be the problem. 

Titans 20-12

Chicago @ Oakland 
I’ve heard some referring to this as a Khalil Mack revenge game. But does it really count as revenge when he strong-armed his own way out of Oakland? I don’t think so. Though that doesn’t make it any less likely that he’ll mercilessly obliterate the Raiders on Sunday in London, leaving their corpses for the bobbies to collect. And thus the legend of Mack the Ripper will be born. He’ll shortly thereafter be arrested and sentenced to life in prison however, because he murdered a bunch of football players during a game being broadcast on live TV in the UK and America. So yeah, the story of Mack will have a lot less mystery than that of Jack. 

Bears 23-9

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans 
Quick, do you know who’s leading the league in sacks? Here’s a hint, he’s playing in this game ... He’s on a record pace ... Time’s up. It’s Shaq Barrett. Ok, next question, do you know which one of these teams he plays for? Here’s a hint, it’s not the Saints. Yes, it’s true, Tampa linebacker Shaq Barrett has 9 sacks through the first 4 games, putting him on track for a record-obliterating 36 on the season. I’m embarrassed to say I wasn’t aware of this torrid pace until the last couple days. Maybe I need to watch more Bucs games; this one looks to be pretty entertaining. Or maybe the answer is just that I need to peruse the NFL stat leader board more often. I took a gander at it earlier, and found a few more surprises. For instance, did you know that A’shawn Stevenson is leading the league in tackles? Crazy, right? Ya know what’s crazier? I just made up A’shawn Stevenson! He doesn’t exist! See? I’m not the only one who needs to check the stats page more. Something inside me tells me that Tampa pulls the upset here. And if I'm wrong I'll have that something removed.

Buccaneers 27-24

Minnesota @ New York Giants
After four weeks it’s clear the Vikings are a different team at home than they are on the road. Not literally ... I think. Though, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if Kirk Cousins has a twin brother that alternates games with him in some sort of Prestige/Multiplicity scenario. Whatever the real explanation is, the fact remains that away from Minnesota this team is much less threatening. They’re certainly not living up to their team name, the real Vikings were notoriously effective on the road. Of course it doesn’t really matter how good they are on the road, because this Sunday they’re up against the literally unbeatable Daniel Jones. Hey, I’m just looking at the facts folks, the guy has not been beat, what can I say? 

Giants 20-17

New York Jets @ Philadelphia 
The Eagles righted the ship against the Packers last Thursday, and may have saved their season in the process. Meanwhile the Jets had a bye. So both teams are coming off their most successful week of the season. New York is hoping to get Sam Darnold back from his mono absence, and if they do they may lose this game by less than 10. Either way, look for the Jets to plummet into a very dismal tie for last place with the Dolphins. And that tie may not be broken until Week 9, when it’s very possible that those teams will meet with both of them at 0-7. I want this to happen very badly. 

Eagles 31-10

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh 
Going into Week 3 the Ravens were considered one of the best teams in the league after dismantling the Dolphins and beating the Cardinals by 6 in Baltimore. Now, going into Week 5 there are some question marks because they’ve lost two in a row, and those wins over the Dolphins and Cardinals seem less impressive by the week. It’s like starting out your MMA career 2-0 then finding out those opponents were actually inanimate training dummies. Hey, it’s not your fault, you didn’t book the fights, though I will say that you seemed to gloat a little too much. I mean repeatedly wiggling your butt in the first guy’s (dummy's) face was over the top. Also, how did you lose a round in that second match? Anyway, Baltimore has a good chance to get back on track this week. The Steelers finally got their first win of the season in Week 4, but it came against a winless Bengals team that presented much less of a challenge than the Ravens will, and not much more than one of those aforementioned lifeless dummies. I think Baltimore gets the win. 

Ravens 27-17

New England @ Washington 
Washington’s rookie QB Dwayne Haskins saw his first action last week against the Giants and it wasn’t pretty. He threw three picks in three quarters and Washington lost 24-3. Luckily for them the schedule softens up a bit this week as Washington hosts the Patriots. Wait a minute, the Patriots?!? Oh no. This isn’t going to go well. A rookie quarterback making his first start against a defense that has dominated the first quarter of the season is a recipe for disaster. And in case you’re curious that recipe is one part safety, two parts fumbles, three parts interceptions, five parts sacks, and zero parts points. The argument could be made that New England hasn’t played against a good offense yet, so we don’t know just how great their defense is. Even if you subscribe to that theory, it doesn’t matter for Sunday because they’re playing another lousy offense. Also, I’ll stress again, that Haskins is making his first start against Bill Belichick. Did you know that a Belichick Pats’ team has never lost to a rookie QB? Just kidding, remember this?  

Patriots 35-9

Jacksonville @ Carolina
The Jaguars and the Panthers came into the league together in 1995. Twins, born of the same seed must now reunite to do battle nearly 25 years later. Their journeys have been arduous, but everything has been leading to this very moment. One team will win and move on, the other will lose and cease to exist forever! Oh you hadn’t heard? Yeah that was agreed upon when these teams were created. The statute stated that when 2019 rolled around, if neither team had won a Super Bowl they would contract whichever lost their Week 5 matchup. It seemed like a drastic measure at the time, and is even more ludicrous now. But the agreement is non-reversible, as it was signed in Tom Coughlin and Dom Capers’s blood. So yeah, the stakes are pretty high here. 

Panthers 23-20

Atlanta @ Houston
At 2-2 the Texans are tied for first and last in their division. That’s right, all four teams in the AFC South are at .500. The odds are low that the season will end with this anomaly still intact, but I for one hope that it does. Why? Because I crave the chaos baby! Burn it all down and let society rebuild upon the ashes! Except for all the stuff I like, keep that. Also, I’d feel bad about ruining other people’s businesses and livelihoods, so maybe let’s just keep things the way they are. Even if within that structure it remains unlikely that an NFL division will have four 8-8 teams at the end of the season. Maybe the Falcons should burn it all down though. There are currently only two teams in the NFC that have scored fewer points than Atlanta: the Bears, whose defense has carried them to a 3-1 record, and Washington, who are just real bad. Houston has been inconsistent, but Atlanta has been even more inconsistenter, so I’ll side with the home team. Of course, that means they’ll have to lose next week to fall back to .500 and restore equilibrium to the AFC South.

Texans 26-17

Sunday Afternoon

Denver @ Los Angeles Chargers
The Broncos might not be the worst team in the league, but don’t tell that to their record, because at 0-4 Denver is indeed at the bottom of the barrel. They’ve lost two heartbreakers in which they had a late TD drive to take the lead, and now one of their best players, Bradley Chubb, is out for the season with a torn ACL. Other than that they’re doing alright. Meanwhile, the Chargers are coming off a bye week in Miami so they should be well-rested and ready to take advantage of the hard-luck Broncos. 

Chargers 30-20

Green Bay @ Dallas 
The Packers have owned the Cowboys in the Rodgers era, going 7-1, including two divisional playoff games. What’s more is, one of those wins came with Matt Flynn leading Green Bay back from a 26-3 halftime deficit to win in Dallas. So to summarize, Cowboys fans likely shudder when they see the Packers up next on the schedule. Though, I’m not sure if that shudder is totally due to the Green Bay game or because they’re a grown man staring at an NFL schedule. What happened? When Cheryl left they swore they were gonna make some changes, yet here they are again, obsessing over a team that’s won 3 playoff games in the last 22 years. It’s pathetic. What kind of a life is this? Some people just care too much about football I guess. Sad. 

Packers 28-27

Sunday Night

Indianapolis @ Kansas City 
It's a rematch of last season's Divisional round contest, though this season things are obviously a little different. I have a thought about who will win, but before I get to that let's see what Sunday Night Football's Cris Collinsworth has to say about it:

Oof, sorry bud. That's rough. Anyway, I agree KC wins.

Chiefs 34-23

Monday Night

Cleveland @ San Francisco 
Baker Mayfield has been criticized this season for trying to force throws to his wide receivers. While I can’t claim to have seen every pass he’s made in 2019, his 59% completion rate is almost 5% lower than his rookie season, so perhaps that’s true. As far as I’m concerned, it’s always a mistake to force things, which is why I never do it. I don’t even set an alarm, that would be forcing me to wake up. Am I regularly late to work? Yes. Has it cost me multiple jobs in the past? Absolutely. But do I wake up well-rested each and every morning? No. My bed is trash. I’d get a bigger one, but I’m not sure it would fit through my door, and well, I don’t want to force it. So my advice to Mayfield would be to just go with the flow and let the chips fall where they may. Sure you might end up out of a job with a lumpy mattress and crippling back pain, but that’s better than only completing 59% of your passes, isn’t it?

Browns 26-23 

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