By this time in the NFL season, we know which teams are really bad (Raiders, Rams, Chiefs, Lions, and Browns) and which are great (Colts, Saints, Vikings, Giants, and probably the Broncos). The Cowboys, Dolphins, 49ers, and Colts all have byes and we march on to Week 6. Home teams in CAPS.
Texans (+5.5) over BENGALS
The Bengals have been fantastic this year, but they have been underdogs in almost every game. Cincy is a great underdog team, but I’m not sure if they can win if they have that sort of pressure. The Texans have underachieved this year, but they are very much talented. I think they can win this game and if they lose, they will definitely keep it within 6.
PACKERS (-13.5) over Lions
The Lions are missing their star wide receiver and quarterback, and still stink. Green Bay is still a solid team with a great quarterback and wide receivers. The Lions have the 6th worst pass defense, so I see blowout written all over this game.
Ravens (+3.5) over VIKINGS
The Vikings have had a cake walk so far this season by beating up on the lowly Lions, Rams, Browns and barely beating the Niners and Packers. This will be their best test of the year so far. The Ravens have a ferocious defense and they will show how much the Vikes will miss Pro Bowl center Matt Birk. I like the Ravens to win this game straight up, so I’ll take the points, too.
SAINTS (-3.5) over Giants
In perhaps a Super Bowl preview, two undefeated teams clash in the Big Easy. The Saints finally have a great running game between Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, and maybe Reggie Bush. The Giants have a steadily improving offensive game, but the Saints defense has become one of the better squads in the NFL. The X-Factor will be Darren Sharper, who has four career interceptions versus Eli Manning.
Panthers (-3.5) over BUCCANEERS
The Panthers had a horrific start to the season by losing to the Eagles, Falcons, and Cowboys but may be able to save this season with a win here and next week versus the Bills. The last time Carolina played Tampa, DeAngelo Williams exploded for 186 yards. Another key stat is that Carolina has the second best pass defense in the league, so look for Bucs QB Josh Johnson to cool off his hot streak. This is the Lock of the Week.
CHIEFS (+6.5) over REDSKINS
The ‘Skins are by far the worst 2-3 team this year with wins over Tampa and St. Louis and losses to the Panthers and Lions. The Chiefs are pretty good for an 0-5 team with a great QB and receiver (Cassel and Bowe) plus some decent players at other key positions (Larry Johnson, Zach Thomas and Mike Vrabel). There is no way that Washington is almost a touchdown better than KC.
JAGUARS (-9.5) over Rams
Somehow the Jags lost to the Seahawks 41-0 last week, but that is partially deceptive since they were missing last-second suspended star wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker. On the other hand, the Rams are awful. Just awful. Completely awful. Kinda like the Lions last year, except they don’t have a receiver anywhere as good as Calvin Johnson. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went win-less.
STEELERS (-14.5) over Browns
The Steelers will be getting Troy Polamalu back from his knee injury, which will really help the reeling Steelers’ defense, not that it will make a big difference. The Browns have an awful offense that features a quarterback who went 2-17 last game and a 33-year old runningback. Pittsburgh will get Willie Parker back and the tandem of him and Rashard Mendenhall will help them run over the Browns’ 32nd ranked run defense.
SEAHAWKS (-2.5) over Cardinals
The Cardinals are another very overrated team who has been worse than expected this year. Their run defense has been great this year, but Seattle’s strength is not Julius Jones and their run game, but the passing game with Matt Hasselbeck, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Nate Burleson, and John Carlson. And speaking of Hasselbeck, they key stat of the game is that the Seahawks are 16-0 since 2002 when his mom comes to Qwest Field. Guess who’s coming to the game…
Eagles (-14.5) over RAIDERS
The Raiders are a really, really bad team. We’ve seen huge lines favoring every team playing the Raiders, but they can never cover. The Eagles now have two real deep threats at wide receiver in DeSean Jackson and now Jeremy Maclin. This game will also not even be close.
JETS (-9.5) over Bills
This game will be a story of Edwardses. For the Jets, they have a new star receiver in Braylon Edwards. They want to see if he can repeat his debut performance and become Mark Sanchez’s new favorite target. The Bills have Trent Edwards, who really isn’t a great quarterback, especially for a team who plays is cold, windy weather. The Bills need a stronger armed quarterback, and lose the game and battle of the Edwardses.
PATRIOTS (-9.5) over Titans
After a while, don’t you have to figure that the Titans are just bad? You can’t keep saying every week that they have to show up some time. I’m not going to choose them to win until they do. Anyways, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are the best after a loss, so go with the Pats at home.
FALCONS (-3.5) over Bears
The Falcons surprised most by crushing the rising Niners 45-10. Atlanta has a great team and a great young quarterback. The Bears also have a great young quarterback, but not nearly as good as Ryan. The Falcons also have a better pass defense, so I like the Falcons at home.
CHARGERS (-4.5) over Broncos
All right, so Denver is very good. I am ready to jump on the bandwagon of these curious Broncos – just next week. The Chargers and aging LT are money on Monday Night Football and have owned the Broncos in San Diego. Also, here is my explanation for the Broncos win against the Patriots: I said never doubt the Hoodie before the game and Belichick wore a puffy jacket while his disciple, McDaniels, wore a hoodie. Therefore, the Broncos won. McDaniels won’t be wearing that hoodiein warm San Diego, so gimme the Chargers.
Last Week: 7-7
Lock of the Week 2-2