The National Football League may be the most unpredictable and well balanced of all the professional sporting leagues.
Who among us could predict a team that won 13 games last year, the Tennessee Titans, only four games into the new season, would already be unable to match their 2008 win total in 2009?
Which one of your friends blurted out that the Broncos were going to the playoffs this spring and then blamed it on the 18 Budweiser bottles from last night?
And Maybe JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel just don't have it...Maybe Jake Delhomme is over the hill...
Only time will tell I guess, but here are five picks for Week 5 in the NFL:
5. Same scripts for New York; Oakland
Whether Eli Manning plays Sunday or not, (although indications now say he will at least try to begin the game), The Giants are not reliant on Manning to beat a weak team like the Raiders. Oakland allows just over 140 yards rushing a game, good for 26th best in the league. They are also ranked last in points and passing yards, a bad combination against the impressive Giant pass rush. Look for Manning to start in game #76, but Carr to finish another Giant dominated game.
Raiders: 6, Giants: 24
4. Farve still has it
After showing why he is among the greats and that he still has the same class and grace at 40 as he did at 24, Brett Farve and the Minnesota Vikings have what looks like as much of a cupcake game as there can be in the NFL. Look for Jared Allen to have the kind of game he did against the Packers and disrupt a Ram offense that scores a woeful six points a game. In case you're wondering, thats worst in the league. Peterson jumps out this week, the Viks defense gets a score, maybe two.
Vikings: 35, Rams: 7
3. Coaches will want to, "Be Like Mike"
In a team and potentially league defining game in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers try to improve to 4-1 against the also up and coming 2-1 Atlanta Falcons. Both teams have made quick strides to becoming competitive force in the league, turning their dismal 2007 seasons around quickly. The Falcons made it to the playoffs in 2008 with an 11-5 record and the 'Niners look to improve on their 7-9 season in 2008. A win in Sunday would give the 49ers a foothold on the NFC West title and their first playoff birth since they won the division in 2002. Even with Frank Gore out, San Fran finds a way in this game and ultimately into the playoffs.
Falcons: 16, 49ers: 17
2. Tennessee comes up empty...again
I know what you're probably thinking, "The Titans always play the Colts tough, they just match up well against the Colts defense. We run the ball well and they can't stop it!"
The Colts defense is still mediocre, allowing just over 100 yards a game, good for 16th in the league against a Titan rushing attack that gains 137 yards on the ground per contest, seventh best in the NFL. The trouble is, the Colts have the number one passing offense in the league, totaling over 330.3 yards a game against a Titan passing defense that ranks worst in the league, allowing 282.3 yards a game.
Could it be possible the Titans suffer the same fate as teams like the Chicago Bears, (13-3 in 2006, 7-9 in 2007), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (11-5 in 2005, 4-12 in 2006) or Cleveland Browns? (10-6 in 2007, 4-12 in 2008) All signs point to yes.
Colts: 24, Titans: 21
1. Broncos streak extends to five
Denver's defense is among the best in the league and their offense is running the ball well and coming up with big plays, (some scripted, some delivered by God), and I think Denver really needs the win.
The Broncos play the Chargers next week, if they lose both games and go to 4-2, it makes them only a 1/2 game better than San Diego (3-2). Denver would then have a bye week and travel to Baltimore. The Chargers would come off of that win playing the Chiefs and Raiders in weeks seven and eight. The Broncos need to keep the pressure on in the AFC West for as long as possible.
Denver is ranked in the top five in points allowed (6.5), rushing yards (77.3), passing yards (162.5) and total yards (239.8). The Patriots have struggled to find their groove this season.
Patriots: 13, Broncos: 17
Other locks in Week 5:
@Eagles over Bucs, 31-14;
@Bills over Browns, 17-7;
Cowboys over @Chiefs, 28-17.
Happy hunting and enjoy the games!