Week 5 NFL Picks: Elite Teams That Will Right the Ship This Weekend
Four weeks into the 2012 NFL season, some teams previously seen as elite are struggling to stay relevant in the standings.
The 0-4 New Orleans Saints are the poster child of this shocking phenomenon, and are joined by the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers in the under-.500 club heading into Week 5.
However, only one of those teams will right the ship with a big-time win this weekend.
Here are my picks for elite teams set to get back on track this coming Sunday.
Green Bay Packers Over Indianapolis Colts
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers got a much-needed, season-saving win in Week 4 over the New Orleans Saints, but why stop there?
The Pack will travel to Indianapolis in Week 5 to take on the Colts, who will be well rested coming off a bye week. Green Bay will have an advantage from a talent standpoint as well as an emotional one, though.
Indy is still reeling from the news that head coach Chuck Pagano will miss the next six-to-eight weeks while being treated for leukemia, and will be much less focused on football and understandably so.
Rodgers and the Packers' passing attack should hit their stride against the Colts, who rank just 15th against the pass this season. On the other side, the Colts and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck will be in over their heads against Green Bay's sixth-ranked pass defense that is allowing roughly 200 yards per game through the sky.
The Colts can't do enough offensively to keep up with the Packers in my eyes, and that's why I like the reigning NFC North champions to right the ship this weekend on the road and advance to 3-2.
New York Giants Over Cleveland Browns
The defending Super Bowl champions vs. the 0-4 Cleveland Browns? Come on, this one's easy.
Although the Browns have played hard this season to no avail, they rank towards the bottom of the pack in nearly every category, from rushing offense to pass defense.
In addition to Cleveland's deficiencies, the Giants are returning home after a bitter divisional loss at Philadelphia last week. They will be motivated to not only win, but crush the Browns. The Giants' goal will be to send a message to the NFC East and the rest of the league.
New York boasts the NFL's second-best passing attack this season led by Eli Manning, and should put on a show at MetLife Stadium going up against a Cleveland secondary that is allowing 286 yards through the air per game.
In one of the weekend's easiest picks, I'll take the Giants to win big over the Browns.
Pittsburgh Steelers Over Philadelphia Eagles
Which team is the safest bet to win in Week 5?
In the battle for the state of Pennsylvania, I like the Pittsburgh Steelers to overcome the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.
The reason: Turnovers.
Sure, Michael Vick and the Birds managed to put together a full 60 minutes of football without turning the ball over last week against the Giants, but that can't continue on the road at Heinz Field this weekend.
Pittsburgh is desperate at 1-2 and can ill-afford to drop to 1-3 with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals both at 3-1 after four weeks. Although the Steelers have only forced three turnovers in three games in 2012, the Eagles have turned the ball over 12 times already and are minus-five in turnover differential.
It won't take a monster effort from the Steelers defense to create mistakes, because the Eagles are the best team in the NFL at making them all on their own. Oh yeah, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are both expected to be back this weekend as well.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more NFL Week 5 game picks.
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