Friday, October 8, 2010

AFC Domination: NFL Week 5 Predictions

We are only 4 weeks into the NFL season, but it's already clear that the best teams in the league reside in the AFC. Besides the fact that the AFC is a combined 11-6 against the NFC, when ranking the 10 best teams in the NFL, only three (Packers, Falcons, Saints) are from the NFC. From housing the only undefeated team in the league (not for long) to having 6 legitimate Super Bowl contenders, it's clear that the balance of power is heavily tilted towards the AFC.

Here are my picks for Week 5. Remember, picks this year are made against the spread and I'll be using the spread values that ESPN uses in their Pigskin Pick'em game. Maybe this will finally be the week I get over .500?

Record Last Week: 8-8, .500
Overall Record: 31-33, .484

Dolphins, Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers

Sunday Day Games:

Jaguars (2-2) @ Bills (0-4, +1.5)
The fact that the Jaguars could look so terrible against the Eagles and yet still find a way to beat the Colts puts plenty of weight behind the "any given Sunday" motto for the NFL. Yep, the Bills are the worst team in the league. My pick: Jaguars

Bucs (2-1) @ Bengals (2-2, -6.5)
The Bucs have had two weeks to prepare for the Bengals, who are coming off a pretty bad loss to the Browns. Despite the big numbers that T.O. put up last week, Carson Palmer just isn't getting it done any more. My pick: Bucs

Falcons (3-1) @ Browns (1-3, +3.5)
Really, the Falcons are only favored by 3.5 points? I know that line has probably gone up over the course of the week, but I'd pretty much take the Falcons to win by 7 or less. Sure, they're on the road, but it's the Browns! My pick: Falcons

Rams (2-2) @ Lions (0-4, -3.5)
Don't look now but the Rams are going to be in a nice position to win the NFC West. With the Niners playing terrible and the Seahawks and Cardinals looking lost, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford has the Rams playing mediocre football, which is good enough to take this crappy division. I expect a lot of points in this one and for the Rams to win it outright. My pick: Rams

Chiefs (3-0) @ Colts (2-2, -8.5)
How much money could you have made if you bet that the Chiefs would be the only undefeated team after 4 weeks? It all ends this week for K.C. as Peyton Manning will have the offense flying after they were robbed by Jacksonville last week. My pick: Colts

Packers (3-1) @ Redskins (2-2, +2.5)
Count on a letdown this week for the Redskins, who played a terrible second half against the Eagles. With tough games against the Dolphins, Vikings and Jets in the coming weeks, the Packers need this one. My pick: Packers

Bears (3-1) @ Panthers (0-4, +2.5)
The Bears have been exposed after starting the season 3-0. Their quarterback is hurt, their offensive line is a sieve and they don't have weapons that are capable of sustaining the kind of offensive output that Mike Martz is looking for. The Panthers are a bad football team but their season is washed away if they don't win this one. My pick: Panthers

Broncos (2-2) @ Ravens (3-1, -7.5)
The Broncos offense has been too one-dimensional this season but they really have been racking up the passing yards. While I expect the Ravens defense to get to Kyle Orton and slow Denver down, I don't think they win by anything more than a touchdown. My pick: Broncos

Giants (2-2) @ Texans (3-1, -3.5)
Sure, the Giants did knock off the undefeated Bears last week, but can anyone explain how they are only a 3.5 point underdog on the road against the Texans? Have people forgotten how badly two other AFC South teams, the Colts and Titans, kicked their butts? My pick: Texans

Saints (3-1) @ Cardinals (2-2, +7.5)
With an unknown rookie quarterback behind center in Arizona, you can practically double that line and I'll still take the Saints. While the offense still hasn't quite lifted off, the Saints D should get a pick 6 or two. My pick: Saints

Chargers (2-2) @ Raiders (1-3, +6.5)
Darren McFadden, the only offensive weapon the Raiders have, is out, so a game that could have potentially been close looks like a blowout waiting to happen. Of course, the Chargers aren't exactly the most consistent team, but I think they'll show up for this division game. My pick: Chargers

Titans (2-2) @ Cowboys (1-2, -6.5)
Maybe the week off has helped me forget about how bad the Cowboys looked in the first two weeks of the season, but I think Dallas is going to get back on track towards an NFC East title this week. Something is clearly wrong with Chris Johnson this season, he's only averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Perhaps the Titans overused him last year. My pick: Titans

Sunday Night Game:

Eagles (2-2) @ Niners (0-4, -3.5)
This one has all the makings of an Eagles loss, what with Kevin Kolb looking so shaky last week and the Niners beyond due to get into the win column. Still, there is really nothing that scares me about the Niners and, for as bad as Kolb looked, he's still a better quarterback than Alex Smith. If the Eagles defense steps up and puts a bunch of pressure on Smith and force him to make mistakes, they will keep San Francisco winless. My pick: Eagles

Monday Night Game:

Vikings (1-2) @ Jets (3-1, -4.5)
Here we go again, another Randy Moss vs. Darrelle Revis showdown. Something tells me that Brett Favre is going to force-feed Moss, even if Revis is all over him, just to get his new teammate involved in the offense right away. With the way Adrian Peterson is running this year and the extra room he should get now that Moss is around, I like this to at least be a close game. My pick: Vikings

Those are my picks for Week 5 of the NFL Season. Check back every Thursday (or Friday) during the season for the latest predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comment section!

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