Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Week Five NFL Picks: Nice People Go To Pound Town

Your Tour Guide
I am sure that you, Dear Reader, are as shocked (shocked!) as I am with the news that employees from daily fantasy leagues have been caught in engaging in the de facto version of insider trading. To think, a business that preys on the delusions of sports fans while misrepresenting itself as anything like the innocent little dork leagues you've been in might not be the nicest or most scrupulous people in the word! It's almost as if anything that the Patriots and Jaguars management gets involved with, and that gets bought in by Fox, the NFL and countless other Good People and Better Citizens, is inherently awful and corrupt. I don't know what to believe in any more!

What I do know what to believe in is that with three straight weeks on the plus side of Coin Flip, 2015 is so my year for the picks column to gain Full Redemption. You are wise to ride this bullet train to Pound Town with me. (Wait, that doesn't sound good.)

And with that... on to the picks!

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INDIANAPOLIS (+1) at Houston

Terrible Night Football returns with hobbled QB Andrew Luck leading the Colts into Houston, where Not Good Enough and Oh Dear Not Him are already in a QB battle that will not end in either one being, well, the QB in 2016. I think Luck eventually works his way through to enough points to win, but it's not going to be pretty, easy, or watchable. Especially with Jiiiimmm Nantz and Phil Simms on the mic. Gahhh.

Colts 20, Texans 16

Chicago at KANSAS CITY (-9)


Time for the Chiefs defense, which is better than it has shown so far, to get well on the Bears, who might be feeling just a little bit better about life after the first win in forever, albeit as a home underdog. Andy Reid is good in these situations, and the Bears on the road are apt to teddy up.

Chiefs 34, Bears 20

Seattle at CINCINNATI (-3)


This is the kind of situation where the home Bengals are supposed to spit in the face of prosperity and return to their historically frustrating form, especially with the big bad Seahawks coming to town. The only trouble is that Seattle doesn't have a working offensive line right now, or the frontline RBs that help to cover for shortfalls. They are also on short rest. It's a different year, and Cincy is going to actually prosper. Besides, there's only so many plays that QB Russell Wilson can pull out of thin air before turnovers happen.

Bengals 24, Seahawks 20

Washington at ATLANTA (-7)


If I had a survivor pick to make, I'd be using the Falcons this week. Sure, at 4-0 they look like they should ready to spit the bit, especially with a defense that's probably not as good as shown, but the Racial Slurs are just a turnover waiting to happen, and if your secondary can't stop Miles Austin and Riley Cooper, the only thing that might limit Julio Jones is drool, or a 4-TD lead in the third quarter. Besides, QB Matt Ryan feels bad about not getting in on the offensive explosion last week. I expect every Atlanta unit to score in this game, and for it to be over by halftime.

Falcons 48, Slurs 20

Jacksonville at TAMPA BAY (-2.5)


A who knows kind of game between two young up and coming teams that aren't anywhere near ready yet. The Bucs seem to be on a good game / bad game yo yo with rookie QB Jamesis Winston, and I think it's time for a good one. Besides, they also got RB Doug Martin going last week, which might carry over here.

Bucs 23, Jaguars 17

NEW ORLEANS (+4.5) at Philadelphia


For fun, because I have odd ideas of fun, I looked at the records of the entire NFL since Week 14 of the 2014 NFL season, to see just exactly the company that Nero "2 kicks and we're 3-1" Kelly is keeping. It's a stellar lineup of very exciting football teams!

Cleveland 1-7
Tennessee 1-6
Chicago 1-7
Tampa 1-7
San Francisco 1-6
Philadelphia 2-6
Jacksonville 2-6

So, um, not seeing why they are a home favorite against anyone, let alone a team with an actual competent QB in Drew Brees, which would be the first one they've faced in 2.5 games. This game will also feature the two most overrated geniuses in the game today, between Kelly and Saints DC Rob Ryan. Someone's got to stink less! (And if the Eagles win this one, I'll be 0-5 ATS with them this year, as part of Nero's Great Plan to get me to stop watching football. Try harder, Nero! I'm nearly there!)

Saints 27, Eagles 24

CLEVELAND (+6.5) at Baltimore


The Factory of Sadness continues their road trip of close but not good enough in Charm City, where the Ravens left the ranks of the winless through the great charity of the Steelers and their special teams. Baltimore will use the extra prep time to good use, but there isn't enough of a pass rush or consistent offense to give them separation for this big of a spread. Besides, AFC Central games are always close.

Ravens 24, Browns 20

St. Louis vs GREEN BAY (-9)


Time for the Schizo Rams to pull another rock from their limitless collection of Wha Happen, but at least this one has the excuse of being against the best QB in the world. The Rams might be able to keep this close with RB Todd Gurley going wild, but I don't think they'll be able to be patient enough to keep feeding him, and QB Nick Foles won't be clean enough to cover the spread. If they were coached by someone with more on the ball than career mediocrity Jeff Fisher, maybe... but no.

Packers 34, Rams 23

BUFFALO (-2.5) at Tennessee


Two fun pretenders here, but I'm going with the road team just because you usually need to suffer through early days against exotic Ryan defenses. Their lack of healthy RBs is a concern, but I think QB Tyrod Taylor has a bounce back against the Can Be Had Titan defense. (Oh, and another fun fact for Eagles Fan? Taylor could have been the Eagles' QB3, but Nero had to have The Tebow Sideshow. Great GM work, Nero.)

Bills 23, Titans 16

ARIZONA (-2.5) at Detroit


Big Red on the road against the perpetually screwed Lions, who are coming off a ref-ruining loss on the road in Seattle. Unfortunately, it's a short week and Arizona is a better team, and since the Cards are coming off their own loss, they'll be in no mood to mess around. Besides, Detroit got gift turnovers to stay in that game anyway.

Cardinals 27, Lions 17

NEW ENGLAND (-8.5) at Dallas


The Patriots come in after a bye to face a Dallas offense that's just been decimated by injury, and got punched in the mouth in an overtime loss on SNF to New Orleans. Just about the perfect scenario for the road team, and while Dallas might keep it close with the running game, they won't be able to stay with that for four quarters. Especially with QB Tom Brady being more than good at finding your worst DB and eviscerating him.

Patriots 38, Cowboys 20

Denver at OAKLAND (+4.5)


Denver's been winning close games, and Oakland at home has been downright frisky. I think the Broncos win here, but without the running game hitting on enough cylinders, they won't sustain enough drives to cover the spread. Look for the back-door cover and a day-long fight.

Broncos 23, Raiders 21

San Francisco at NY GIANTS (-7)

Wow, does Colin Kaepernick look lost or what? If you can't get it done against the pedestrian Packers defense at home, I'm not seeing your life get better with a cross-country trip and national attention. Big Blue should be 3-1 and in firm command of the NFC lEast; they'll be 3-2 and in firm command after this game instead.

Giants 24, Niners 13

PITTSBURGH (+3) at San Diego


I'm probably overthinking this one, but the Chargers are just so banged up at WR right now, I just don't see them making enough plus plays to get separation. Pittsburgh needs to stop treating interim QB Mike Vick like he was a rookie from a wishbone school, especially when you've got the best WR in the league right now in Antonio Brown to throw to. With a long week of practice and a few show 'em deep balls for gains or DPI, Pittsburgh will create enough room for wonder RB Le'Veon Bell, and get back on track.

Steelers 32, Chargers 24

Last week: 8-7

Year to date: 35-27-1

Career: 653-658-44

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