Week 5 Predictions

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Week 5 Predictions

There was once a time when the Oakland Raiders were the baddest, most feared teams in professional sports. Those days are long gone and all that remains is the black hole. This team hasn't come close to the playoffs since they reached the 2003 Super Bowl and haven't won more than 5 games in a season since. If not for the spectacular failures of the Detroit Lions, this would be the biggest laughingstock in the NFL. There's no organization in Al Davis's front office. The coaching job is a revolving door, as they're now working on their fifth coach in the last six years after Davis fired Lane Kiffin just 20 games into the job. On the field, the product is not much better, as the team tries to rebuild with their noted lack of stability. This is a different situation from Detroit though. In Detroit, the owner, William Clay Ford, could make the decision to fire Matt Millen. Nobody can fire Al Davis, and the longer he stays on the job, the more the team will fail unless he should stumble upon another Jon Gruden. The odds of that just got a lot slimmer. The way Kiffin was treated on the job, no noted coach will want to take on that job.

Indianapolis at Houston

Line: Colts by 3

Houston played Jacksonville tough on the road and now gets a long home stretch. The emotional level will be high as the Texans will be determined to win in front of a community that's still recovering from Hurricane Ike. Indy has one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL and Steve Slaton has been very good in his last two games since getting a bulk of the carries. He should run wild against the Colts' swiss cheese defense, doing enough to keep Manning and company off the field. Texans 20, Colts 17

Tennessee at Baltimore

Line: Titans by 2.5

Both defenses will come to play, so points will be at a premium. I loved the poise Baltimore showed in Pittsburgh on Monday Night, though, and I think if Flacco just plays a smart game, which he did except for those two third quarter turnovers that let Pittsburgh back in the game, I think the Ravens' D will play a fired up game, taking away the run and forcing Kerry Collins to beat them. Remember, this is the same Karry Collins who threw a zillion interceptions the last time he faced Baltimore in the 2001 Super Bowl. Ravens 13, Titans 6

San Diego at Miami

Line: Dolphins by 6.5

The Chargers are back in the race at 2-2 after a dramatic 4th quarter comeback against Oakland. Miami is coming off a bye week after a 25-point thrashing of the Pats, but they'll be lucky to stay in the game against a team that's clicking on both sides of the ball and hasn't even needed a huge game from LT yet. Chargers 28, Dolphins 14

Kansas City at Carolina

Line: Panthers by 9.5

They haven't established a running game yet, but the 3-1 Cardiac Cats are nonetheless in a first place tie with a gimme against the Chiefs. Their one weakness seems to be the lack of a running game, but they'll have more than enough opportunities to bowl over the Chiefs' D. Speaking of bowling over defenses, good to see LJ finally get some carries against Denver and have a monster game to save Herm's job. Panthers 31, Chiefs 10

Washington at Philadelphia

Line: Eagles by 6

Before Philly's Sunday Night loss to Chicago, no team in the NFC East had a loss outside the division. The Eagles are kicking themselves for losing that game too, as they failed to punch it in in the fourth quarter after getting first and goal on the two. You have to wonder about Andy Reid's playcalling, as he didn't call one QB sneak despite having Donovan McNabb at QB and Correll Buckhalter in the backfield. Westbrook will be back this week, so luckily he won't have to put the game in Buckhalter's hands this week. Eagles 23, Redskins 20

Chicago at Detroit

Line: Bears by 3.5

Chicago's offense is nothing special, but they shouldn't have much of a problem moving the ball against the Lions' swiss cheese defense. So far, Chicago has led after the 3rd quarter in every game this season, but still stand at just 2-2. They did shift momentum back in their favor last week, however, as the defense refused to let them lose with a memorable goal line stand. If the defense has to win a game, they've shown they can. Even without Tommie Harris, their rushing defense has been nothing short of stifling. Bears 24, Lions 17

Atlanta at Green Bay

Line: Packers by 3.5

So far, the Falcons have been decent at home and horrible on the road. Lambeau Field may have lost some of its aura without the presence of Brett Favre, but it's still a very tough place to play. If Aaron Rodgers is good to go, expect the team to rally around him and get an emotional home win. Packers 24, Falcons 13

Seattle at New York Giants

Line: Giants by 7.5

Losing a talent like Plaxico Burress would affect most teams, but the Giants are so deep at receiver they won't miss a beat. Domenik Hixon is a very capable player and while he lacks Burress's athleticism, he more than makes up for it with quickness, smarts, and the ability to run after the catch. If Hasselbeck's health isn't right, the Giants' D will have a field day against a Seattle team that's still banged up at wideout. Giants 27, Seahawks 10

Tampa Bay at Denver

Line: Broncos by 3.5

Denver's defense is having issues, plain and simple. The offense simply covered up their deficiencies in Weeks 2 and 3 but were unable to carry the team, committing four turnovers against the Chiefs. If the offense has to play a perfect game again, they'll come up short against a defense that played inspired football last week against the Packers. Buccaneers 31, Broncos 24

New England at San Francisco

Line: Patriots by 3

As horrid as New England looked against Miami, I have a hard time believing a Belicheck-coached team can play two sloppy games in a row. This Pats' D made its name shutting down Mike Martz's offense in the 2002 Super Bowl. Belicheck will have them prepared, plus the veterans will play with pride after looking so awful against Miami. Patriots 20, 49ers 10

Buffalo at Arizona

Line: Cardinals by 1.5

Arizona has been a tough out at home the last couple of years and Buffalo's 4-0 start has consisted of a large degree of luck. The offense is solid, but they haven't really faced a decent defense yet. They scored 21 points on defense and special teams against Seattle, scored just 14 points against Oakland before rallying in the 4th quarter, and had only six points in the first half against St. Louis before rallying in the second half. If the offense gets off to a slow start, they will melt in the Phoenix heat. Cardinals 26, Bills 21

Cincinnati at Dallas

Line: Cowboys by 16

TO is doing his best to be a distraction, but the Bengals are so powerfully weak, there's no reason he and Romo can't patch things up. I'm anticipating a 20-catch game. Seriously, this game has all the elements, from Cincinnati's woefully weak defense to TO's whining for the football more despite having it thrown to him 17 times. Cowboys 56, Bengals 10

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

Line: Jaguars by 5

Jacksonville had the Steelers' number last year, beating them twice in Heinz Field, but they've struggled to a 2-2 start this year while failing to establish a running game. Pittsburgh, however, is banged up and coming off a physical Monday Night game against the Ravens. They're missing Willie Parker and Casey Hampton, which is critical to line play. If they come up a little short in Jacksonville, you almost can't blame them. Jaguars 17, Steelers 7

Minnesota at New Orleans

Line: Saints by 3

The Saints showed that even without its two best receivers, they can still put up huge passing numbers, as they did against the 49ers. The Vikings are 1-3 even with Adrian Peterson dominating the stat sheet, thanks to faulty QB play. They've been unable to sustain drives, keeping the defense on the field far too long. Luckily, the Saints are a bit suspect on defense and Bryant McKinnie is finally coming back. There is no reason the Vikings shouldn't dominate the line of scrimmage, leading to a 200+ yard game for AD as the Vikes claw their way back into the playoff race. Vikings 27, Saints 24

Week 4 vs spread 6-7

Week 4 straight up 7-6

Season vs spread 37-22-1

Season straight up 38-22

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