NFL Picks Week 5: Survivor Pool Locks and Games to Avoid
Heading into Week 5 of the NFL schedule we are starting to get a feel for what each of the teams are bringing to the table.
Curiously enough, the NFL schedule-makers decided to take three of the four teams fresh off bye weeks and send them on the road for games.
Here's a list of games with spreads, and what to expect from the teams.
14. Jacksonville at Buffalo
Jacksonville at - 1
Why the Bills Could Win
Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven he can make passes when given time, and now that Marshawn Lynch has been traded, Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller will know that they are guaranteed carries.
Why the Jags Could Win
Maurice Jones-Drew is coming off a 100-yard game, and the team is still buzzing from knocking off the Indianapolis Colts.
I think Jacksonville is finding their stride. Don't be surprised if it is a shootout.
Jacksonville 24 Buffalo 21
Josh Scobee comes through again.
13. Tampa Bay at Cincinnati
Cincinnati at - 6.5
Why the Bengals Could Win
Terrell Owens has found his mojo, and so has Carson Palmer. Not sure what to call last week against Cleveland, since division games are always tough to figure out. Tampa doesn't have a Peyton Hillis to run over Cincinnati.
Why the Buccaneers Could Win
They were 2-0 before getting beat up pretty badly in Week 3 against the Steelers. If Josh Freeman can keep getting better and the the running game supports him they could catch the Bengals on one of their many off weeks.
I think the Bengals start to look for consistency from week-to-week and win this one by more than a touchdown.
Bengals 27 Bucs 17
12. Atlanta at Cleveland
Atlanta at - 3
Why the Falcons Could Win
Matt Ryan could still be on the high from bringing his team back from behind and fighting through his interception to lead the team to a game-winning field goal over the Niners.
Why the Browns Could Win
In Peyton they trust. Hillis, that is. And they might get a boost from getting their starting quarterback, Jake Delhomme, back from injury, though Seneca Wallace has kept them close in all the games that he has played in this year.
Matty Ice and the Falcons prevail. Cleveland is going to keep it close, though. Ironically, the quarterback change might be detrimental to what they are putting together.
Falcons 21 Browns 13
11. St. Louis at Detroit
Detroit at - 3
Why the Lions Could Win
Shaun Hill is throwing the ball like no one's business, almost catching the Packers last week. If Jahvid Best is healthy, they will be a very explosive offense.
Why the Rams Could Win
All you need is a fully-functioning Steven Jackson and the gun-slinging rookie Sam Bradford and you have excitement.
I don't see the Lions stopping this Rams team. Bradford is playing like a veteran, and the healthier Jackson gets the more they can breeze through this schedule.
Rams 27 Lions 21
10. Kansas City at Indianapolis
Indianapolis at - 8.5
Why the Chiefs Could Win
They might play the no-respect card. They are the only undefeated team left in the league, and they are eight-and-a-half point underdogs? That is cold.
Why the Colts Could Win
Because Peyton Manning won't let them lose two games in a row. Manning will make sure it doesn't come down to a field goal.
The Colts have lost two key members of their secondary in Bob Sanders and Melvin Bullitt. Maybe Matt Cassel can take advantage of that, but I doubt it.
Colts 30 Chiefs 24
9. Green Bay at Washington
Green Bay at - 2.5
Why the Packers Could Win
Even though their running game has problems, Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as any quarterback in the league. He is even up high on the team's rushing charts.
Why the Redskins Could Win
McNabb and his Redskins are as up-and-down as any team in the league. If they put forward a full game, they can hang around with anyone.
New Redskins running back Ryan Torain might find it hard to find creases in the Packers running defense. Skins will also suffer let down from the emotional Eagles game.
Packers 30 Redskins17
8. Chicago at Carolina
Chicago at - 2.5
Why the Bears Could Win
If Jay Cutler is healthy, and Matt Forte can find some holes, they will be more than fine this week. It's very important that the Bears bounce back after getting beat up by the Giants.
Why the Panthers Could Win
If Steve Smith can make it through his high ankle sprain and play this week, they will at least have a chance. Without him they will be going with a batch of unproven receivers and a rookie quarterback.
Chicago gets healthy and back on the winning path on Carolina's watch.
Bears 24 Panthers 10
7. Denver at Baltimore
Baltimore at - 7
Why the Broncos Could Win
If the Broncos can rediscover their running game and make the Ravens remember how it was to face Cleveland and Peyton Hillis, they might then have a shot for Orton to get it downfield to any one of his four receivers.
Why the Ravens Could Win
Joe Flacco is finally getting the ball around to both his new receivers as well as his old reliable ones. If they can finally get something out of Ray Rice, this team will be hitting on all cylinders.
The Ravens win, but Orton makes a furious late comeback.
Raven 27 Broncos 21
6. NY Giants at Houston
Houston at - 3
Why the Texans Could Win
If the Texans can get protection for Matt Schaub so that he doesn't go down nine times like Jay Cutler, this could be a shootout. And don't forget Arian Foster.
Why the Giants Could Win
Simple, get to the quarterback...and get to the him as often as possible. If Ahmad Bradshaw keeps running hard, they will out-muscle the Texans.
The Texans protect Schaub, and he tosses the ball around for a close win. Keep in mind though that the Texans might be without Jacoby Jones and Andre Johnson.
Texans 28 Giants 24
5. New Orleans at Arizona
New Orleans at - 7.5
Why the Cardinals Could Win
If Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower take over and if the few passes that Larry Fitzgerald gets thrown to him are long ones, Arizona might pull off the upset.
Why the Saints Could Win
Drew Brees goes back to throwing to all of his receivers, and if Pierre Thomas isn't back but they can get significant yards from Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts they will be fine.
I can't believe the spread is this low. I think New Orleans gets back some of it's high-powered scoring from last year by getting some turnovers and throwing some long bombs.
Saints 31 Cardinals 10
4. Philadelphia at San Francisco
San Francisco - 3
Why the 49ers Could Win
How often is an 0-4 team favored over a 2-2 team? When that 0-4 team was predicted to win their division and is desperate for a win. And when they have Frank Gore.
Why the Eagles Could Win
Kevin Kolb has to play better. Period. He has to get the ball to his wide receivers and not just to his running back on check downs. He can't play scared.
I have been saying this for weeks: The Niners get their first win.
49ers 17 Eagles 13
3. San Diego at Oakland
San Diego at - 6
Why the Chargers Could Win
This could be Philip Rivers' MVP season. If he keeps tossing the ball around like he has and carries the team to a division title, he could get it.
Why the Raiders Could Win
Bruuuuuuce. As in Bruce Gradkowski, the leader of the Raiders. If he can keep them in it and Michael Bush can break a few, this could be a high scoring game.
Rivers gets help from his rookie back Ryan Mathews, and they win in Oakland.
Chargers 27 Raiders 20
2. Tennessee at Dallas
Line: Dallas at - 6.5
Why the Titans Could Win
Chris Johnson is having a down year by his standards, but all it takes is one 200-yard game to get him back to where he was. And he can do it at any time.
Why the Cowboys Could Win
Fresh off a bye and still feeling good about their last game, they can ride that momentum and pressure Vince Young into some turnovers.
Dallas does just that and wins their second straight.
Cowboys 30 Titans 17
1. Minnesota at NY Jets
New York Jets at - 4.5
Why the Jets Could Win
They are clicking on all cylinders and are getting a big weapon back in Santonio Holmes. If they keep the turnovers down, they will win and cover.
Why the Vikings Could Win
Their two marquee names show up on the big Monday Night stage. Adrian Peterson runs wild, and Brett Favre does what Favre does on Monday night. Look for Jared Allen to put pressure on Sanchez.
Vikings in the upset.
Vikings 27 Jets 24