Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 5 NFL picks

Bills at Browns

Week 5 NFL picks

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Bills at Browns

The Bills beat the defending champs at home, as well as the underrated Panthers. They also came the closest to beating the Patriots this season, when the Pats had to kick a game winning FG at the end of regulation, terrifying millions of survivor pool players across the country. That was also at home. On the road, they lost to the Jets. And so, I've come to the conclusion that I like the Bills at home, not so much on the road. That's the kind of hard-hitting Bills analysis you get from a guy covering an NFC team.

But also, the Browns have the 3rd ranked defense in the league.

Saints at Bears

The Bears' success feels like a mirage to me. They feast on bad teams who turn the ball over, but don't have the talent to keep up with the good teams around the league. Meanwhile, I think there's a perception that the Saints aren't as good a team away from home as they are in the Superdome. In the 7 full seasons Drew Brees has been in New Orleans, the Saints are 36-20 at home, and 34-22 on the road.

Plus...

Drew Brees >>> Jay Cutler. So there's that, too.

Patriots at Bengals

One week the Bengals are beating the Packers. The next week they're only putting up 6 points on the Browns. Who are you, Bengals? I just trust the Pats more.

Lions at Packers

The Lions have beaten the Packers once since 2006 (Week 14, 2010), and that was because Aaron Rodgers got hurt in the second quarter of that game. The Lions have a 1.5 game lead over the Packers in the NFC North, but Ihave little reason to think that the Packers' dominance over the Lions won't continue on Sunday.

Chiefs at Titans

Jake Locker was having his best season as a pro (99.0 QB rating, 0 INT) before being lost for a few weeks with a hip injury. Meh. The Titans weren't asking for a lot out of Locker. He has only attempted 111 passes, which is 25th in the NFL. He was also only throwing for 6.5 YPA, which is 26th.

Where Locker and the Titans have been great this season is their ball security. The Titans have not turned the ball over yet this year, which is pretty incredible.

Ryan Fitzpatrick can come in and do a similar job of managing the game against this very good Chiefs defense. In a matchup of over-performing teams who both have conservative offenses and good defenses, give me the Titans with the home upset.

Seahawks at Colts

Great matchup between two teams with great 2nd year QBs who both bullied the 49ers. The Seahawks played in Houston last week, which means they will have traveled roughly 5500 miles (Seattle-Houston-Seattle-Indianapolis) in a span of a week before this game, which is tough, but I'm not picking against the Seahawks until they lose.

Jaguars at Rams

The Rams stink and they're 11 point favorites. May as well start looking for houses in the Jacksonville area, Teddy Bridgewater.

Ravens at Dolphins

Last week, I picked the Bills to upset the Ravens, confidently. The Ravens are averaging 2.6 yards per carry, which is not good for a team with limited offensive weaponry. People will continue to pick them, just because, but the Ravens just aren't very good.

Eagles at Giants

The Giants can't run the ball (30th in rushing) or stop the run (28th in run D). They also can't get to the QB (last in sacks), and they lead the league in INTs (10) and giveaways (16). They do nothing well, with the exception of an occasional big play from Victor Cruz.

The Eagles' defense is a train wreck, but at least they can move the ball offensively.

Panthers at Cardinals

It may not look like it, but this is a very interesting game. The Panthers have looked very good at times, but only have a 1-2 record to show for it. Are they a legitimate playoff contender or not? Meanwhile, the Cardinals are 2-2, and sort of need this one before they face a 4-game stretch against the Niners, Seahawks, Falcons, and Texans.

The Cardinals have the #2 run defense in the league, although they've played teams who don't run it very well: Rams (32nd), Lions (21st), Saints (25th), and Buccaneers (20th). That's the only thing they really do well, but I have my doubts that they'll shut down the Panthers' run game. I see Carolina as the more balanced team.

Broncos at Cowboys

I'll take the juggernaut, please.

Texans at 49ers

Vegas has this line at 7 in favor of the Niners. I think these teams are little more evenly matched than that. Last week, the Texans were well on their way toward handing the Seahawks their first loss of the season, when Matt Schaub made an absolutely hideous decision that resulted in a Seahawks pick 6. When the Niners played the Seahawks, Seattle stomped all over them.

Meanwhile, the Texans are 5th in total offense and 1st in total defense. I am soooo tempted to take the Texans here, and I would if they were at home, but ultimately I'll give the nod to the Niners.

However, if you're a gambler (not that I condone such hedonistic activity), I'd be banging the Texans with the points all day.

Chargers at Raiders

I kinda like watching the Raiders and don't think they're the pushover everyone makes them out to be. However, I also really like what the Chargers are doing this season, at least offensively. Mike McCoy has done a good job there so far.

Oh, and for beating the Cowboys last week, we'll play the Chargers fight song in appreciation.

Jets at Falcons

I really like the Jets' D, but they're scoring 17 points per game, which might even be overachieving. They just don't have the firepower to keep up with the Falcons. The Falcons are 1-3, but those losses have come against teams with a combined record of 11-1. I expect them to get back in the win column.

Past results:

Last week: 11-4 (tied for 3rd out of 81)

On the season: 42-21 (tied for 10th out of 81)

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