NFL Picks: Week Five
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
As the lyrics to that famous Gene Autry song go, "I am back in the saddle again." Well, you'll excuse me if I don't have a little chest bump in me after a 13-2 straight-up week and a 6-3 week versus the spread. After all, I am only making these weekly selections for bragging rights and some added street cred. Make sure you read my scores on the points picks to understand who I am taking with the point spread factored in.
Off we go, into the wild blue yonder.
Note: Stan "The Fan" Charles made his pick for the Thursday game before it kicked off.
Picking The Winners
Arizona at St. Louis (Thursday)
Miami at Cincinnati
Green Bay at Indianapolis
Baltimore at Kansas City
Atlanta at Washington
Cleveland at NY Giants
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Seattle at Carolina
Chicago at Jacksonville
Tennessee at Minnesota
Denver at New England
Buffalo at San Francisco
San Diego at New Orleans
Houston at NY Jets
*winners in bold
Picking Against The Spread
Baltimore -6 at Kansas City
Although the Ravens can and should win this game, two weeks ago in Philadelphia I saw bits and pieces of those three horrifying losses a year ago in Seattle, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Until the Ravens really come out during a road game and slap an opponent in the face, I won't buy them as legitimate road favorites. The Chiefs are putting up 418.5 yards per game, and the Ravens' defense has surrendered 390.3 per game. But if Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco can get that hurry-up huddle hurried-up, then they'll win by more than two touchdowns.
Prediction: Baltimore 24, Kansas City 22
Miami at Cincinnati -3 1/2
The Bengals' offense has been in gear, and that should not stop now versus a young Dolphins defense. The Fish were up to the task in Arizona before giving way late. Meanwhile, Marvin Lewis' guys are trying to prove a point, and this is an exam they should ace. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will figure out how to stifle the run, and then his guys up front will force a couple key turnovers.
Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Miami 16
Seattle at Carolina -3
The Panthers had the Falcons on the hook last week, but they let them off with some sloppy defense, allowing a couple of key long gains late. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is a young up-and-comer, but he is no Matt Ryan. This time, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton executes two or three perfect drives, while its defense forces a couple of turnovers.
Prediction: Carolina 26, Seattle 19
Chicago -4 1/2 at Jacksonville
I have to be honest, this is a battle between a team I didn't think was this good (Bears) and a team I thought was worse (Jaguars). I also know the Bears are coming off of a Monday road game. I am sure all that means something, but what means more is the Chicago defense has a healthy Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler should make mincemeat out of a soft Jaguars defense.
Prediction: Chicago 23, Jacksonville 11
Cleveland at NY Giants -9
The Browns come into New York with that extra half-week off, having played 10 days ago in Baltimore. They probably will meet a Giants team expecting a cakewalk. That may make this game a coin flip, and the spread dropped early during the week from 10 ½ to 9, suggesting that some folks think the Giants' injuries in the secondary and at wide receiver will make this a competitive game. Remember, new Browns owner Jim Haslam is lighting a fire under president Mike Holmgren. Holmgren, in turn, is sure to be lighting one under second-year headman Pat Shurmur. Since the Browns' franchise was resurrected, it is a combined 68-145, Holmgren is 9-27 as team president and Shurmur is 4-16. If the Browns don't fight hard this week, Haslam may tell Holmgren: "You made this mess. Go down and coach it."
Prediction: NY Giants 23, Cleveland 20
San Diego at New Orleans -3 1/2
If there is one week when all the stars may align for Saints, this is it. They play a Norv Turner-coached team in their house, suspended head coach Sean Payton is in the house and quarterback Drew Brees goes for Johnny Unitas' consecutive-games-with-a-touchdown-pass record. If the Chargers show up to fight, maybe there will be hope for them. I say, at his core, Turner does not coach his boys up on the sidelines; Payton has a better chance sitting anonymously in the stands.
Prediction: New Orleans 29, San Diego 17
Green Bay -7 at Indianapolis
Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who recently learned he has leukemia, is a great guy, but the win-one-for-the-gipper speech doesn't apply when the gipper has been present for only a cup of coffee. The Packers won't be feeling sorry for anyone. That much is for sure. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn't directly play against Colts signal caller Andrew Luck, but he schools him nonetheless.
Prediction: Green Bay 31, Indianapolis 20
Houston -8 at NY Jets
Under normal circumstances, I'd like the Jets' chances of rebounding and rallying around their beleaguered quarterback. At this point, I think Jets coach Rex Ryan has run out of answers. Injuries to receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Darrelle Revis spell a long night on national TV, followed by another week of awkward press conferences for Ryan.
Prediction: Houston 30, NY Jets 13
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh -3 1/2
To me, this looks like an awful spot for the Eagles. They are coming off of a terrific performance on "Sunday Night Football" against a Giants team that wasn't all there. To make matters worse, they play an underachieving, but rested and now-motivated Steelers team ready to make someone pay. Hide the women and children, and most of all hide Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. The Steelers' defense may be getting Troy Polamalu and James Harrison back, too. That doesn't seem fair.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 26, Philadelphia 9
42-21 picking winners (13-2 last week)
13-17-2 picking against the spread (6-3)
Posted Oct. 6, 2012