NFL Picks Week 5: Chris Simms' Game-by-Game Predictions

Chris Simms@@CSimmsQBNFL Lead AnalystOctober 6, 2016

NFL Picks Week 5: Chris Simms' Game-by-Game Predictions

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    "The Oracle?" More like "The Snoreacle."

    It was a rough week to be Bleacher Report's NFL clairvoyant. But to borrow a line from my former boss up in New England, we're on to Week 5.

    My new rule: Don't let the X's and O's prevent a no-brainer pick. The Falcons offense puts up points. The Jets defense has a tough front seven. But those two teams aren't better than the Broncos and Steelers, respectively. I'm going with the clear-cut teams in Week 5.

    I weighed home vs. away, coaching advantage, roster skill, and overall toughness a little more this week. It's the right formula to help me reclaim my former glory and get back on track.

Cardinals at 49ers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, Oct. 6, at 8:25 p.m. ET (CBS/NFLN/Twitter)

    Carson Palmer won't suit up in San Francisco, and it won't even matter.

    This is familiar territory for backup Drew Stanton. He's made many an emergency start before. And his Cardinals team is talented enough everywhere else to pull out a road win Thursday night.

    Man, this 49ers roster is completely lacking in the playmaker department, but Chip Kelly can lean on Carlos Hyde to carry it 25-30 times. It will be up to Calais Campbell and a front seven full of underachievers to slow him down.

    Kelly won't be able to lean on a defense that lost its rock, though. NaVorro Bowman's Achilles injury leaves the unit in even worse shape than it was when Ezekiel Elliott carved it up last week. David Johnson must be licking his chops.

    Pick: Cardinals

Texans at Vikings

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Look at what Mike Zimmer did to Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Eli Manning in consecutive weeks.

    Brock Osweiler is not in their league. I expect him to throw his normal two weekly picks and then some against a defense that's channeling its inner 2015 Broncos.

    Linval Joseph's presence will force Lamar Miller off his game. The same goes for Xavier Rhodes on Will Fuller and Trae Waynes/Terence Newman/Captain Munnerlyn on DeAndre Hopkins.

    Sam Bradford can play it safe against the toughest set of corners he's seen as a Viking. He can outduel Osweiler by playing ball control.

    Pick: Vikings

Bears at Colts

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    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    I need to see if the Bears offense has turned the page.

    Until then, I'll take Andrew Luck against a defense that's as bad as Chicago's. He's a different animal at home. In fact, this whole offense gets a sizable Lucas Oil edge. They average a touchdown more per game this season there.

    I can't imagine Luck's offense will be balanced in Week 5. The Colts tried to establish a ground game throughout the first quarter of the season and…nothing worked. So try getting T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett involved early. The Bears' pass defense is too terrible to waste 20-plus carries on.

    I could say the same for Brian Hoyer, who is fresh off a 300-yard game. His career arc suggests that game was an exception, though.

    Pick: Colts

Jets at Steelers

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Disclaimer: I don't think this game becomes a blowout.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick will find it easier to throw on Pittsburgh's secondary than Seattle's. Bilal Powell might add some run-game pop if he assumes Matt Forte's workload.

    But Fitzpatrick and Co. aren't winning a shootout. No one lets up more chunk pass plays than Gang Green's man down…er, man coverage. They're allowing a league-worst 61.1 percent completion percentage when passes travel 20 yards or more in the air.

    We saw what Big Ben, Antonio Brown and all those weapons did against a similar secondary at home last weekend. They'll all get going in Week 5—and so will Le'Veon Bell on bad Jets linebackers in coverage.

    Pick: Steelers

Titans at Dolphins

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Tennessee's offense has posted mixed results through four weeks; however, the Titans still have some semblance of an offensive strategy. That's more than I can say for Miami over the same period.

    I have no confidence in Ryan Tannehill's ability to put up points. He deals with immediate pressure on seemingly 75 percent of his dropbacks. His receiving corps is Jarvis Landry and no one else. There's no running game to speak of.

    Don't expect an uptick just because Miami is playing Tennessee. The Titans defense is under-the-radar good this season. Jurrell Casey and 10 other guys are enough to take the 'Phins—even at home.

    Pick: Titans

Eagles at Lions

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    Carson Wentz couldn't look any more prepared through his first three starts.

    But wait! He's had a bye week's worth of time to prepare for his fourth—a showdown with Detroit's chopped-liver defense. Give me the rookie at Ford Field.

    Wentz can manage the game even if Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy return. If they don't, he can shred a Lions passing defense that couldn't stop Brian Hoyer in Week 4. Either option bodes well for Philly.

    This is the Lions' season, and they'll play like it. Their offensive line can handle the stunts and pressures from Fletcher Cox. Wentz and this Eagles offense will prove too much to handle in the end, though.

    Pick: Eagles

Patriots at Browns

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    People will see Tom Brady back in the lineup and assume a blowout is coming.

    Those people don't know football. The Patriots are more talented, but the Browns are tough. They're committed to physical football, and they don't back down from a challenge. Hue Jackson will have them prepared for their biggest one yet.

    This game will be close. Isaiah Crowell will have a healthy dose of carries, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Terrelle Pryor leading the Wildcat every now and then.

    Can that offense score points? I don't know if it can. And when Brady shakes off the rust from a four-game hiatus, he'll use Julian Edelman, Kevin Hogan and Danny Amendola over the middle of the field for easy yards.

    Pick: Patriots

Redskins at Ravens

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    Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    It's up to Kirk Cousins to win this game with his right arm.

    Sound familiar? That's because a Cousins shootout is the only viable path to victory in Washington these days. It's not like there's a defense worth worrying about.

    The tackling? Atrocious. The coverage? Josh Norman does his job—that's it. Joe Flacco can find other receivers to throw to.

    So can Cousins. He has a freak in Jordan Reed and a cast of wideouts who can beat Baltimore's secondary. But Washington can't do it every time down the field.

    Pick: Ravens

Falcons at Broncos

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    Associated Press

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)

    Can Julio Jones get vertical?

    Can Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman run the ball?

    Can the Falcons offensive line buy Matt Ryan enough time?

    There are too many questions the Falcons still have to answer before I consider them in Denver's class. As is, I'll take the Broncos at home where they've been nearly unstoppable the past few years.

    Kyle Shanahan needs to draw up a perfect game plan. I expect Freeman to hear his number called early and often. And I expect Ryan to try to minimize Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.'s impact with short, conservative throws.

    Even then, it's tough to envision Ryan not forcing throws to Jones after a 300-yard week. Denver's coverage will be there when he does.

    Pick: Broncos

Bengals at Cowboys

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

    The Cowboys must be feeling good about their 3-1 record.

    Maybe they've forgotten the 14-0 hole they had to climb out of to beat the 49ers. This weekend's opponent has three times the talent.

    Dak Prescott might be in for a true rookie awakening. His offensive line won't overpower Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and all those Cincy stars. They'll scrap just to find room for Ezekiel Elliott. And Prescott will need to drop back and beat the best secondary he's ever seen.

    Andy Dalton won't have as tough a time on the other end. Dallas' defense is simple: Dalton doesn't have to be Aaron Rodgers to pick the unit apart.

    Pick: Bengals

Chargers at Raiders

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

    San Diego's upset hopes might have left with its star cornerback.

    Jason Verrett's presence didn't make the Chargers defense great. It did prevent it from being the worst in football, though. Derek Carr should have his pick of open targets against everyone else.

    Maybe Philip Rivers will as well. I'm not sold on the complete defensive turnaround in Oakland, and Rivers always plays rivals tough. Melvin Gordon can find some running room up the middle if he wants it.

    But in a scoring match—and Carr, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper make it a scoring match—the Raiders pull away.

    Pick: Raiders

Bills at Rams

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    Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

    I see a much different Rams defense on film than the one experts claim to see.

    Yes, Aaron Donald is the Greek God of Defensive Tackles. But the six other guys in that front seven all want to hunt quarterbacks over playing disciplined assignment football.

    Tyrod Taylor will make them pay for shooting the wrong gap with his legs. So will LeSean McCoy when Rams linebackers are slow to shed blocks. Both guys are clicking in this new Anthony Lynn-coordinated offense.

    Rex Ryan's group has all the defensive momentum too. They expose the Rams for the weak 3-1 team they are.

    Pick: Bills

Giants at Packers

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

    Two crappy offenses enter. Only one crappy offense leaves!

    This Giants-Packers game could set the passing game back 30 years. Both teams play conservative West Coast keep-away. It's not creative or particularly fun.

    You'll see tons of slants. You'll see tons of five-yard outs. Maybe—just maybe—the Giants will throw some to Odell Beckham Jr. They couldn't wrap their mind around that concept on Monday Night Football.

    Give me Aaron Rodgers in a close contest. He'll pick on a depleted Giants secondary and maneuver around Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul.

    I trust Rodgers to throw one or two exciting passes. Eli Manning? All boring stuff.

    Pick: Packers

Buccaneers at Panthers

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    Associated Press

    When: Monday, Oct. 10, at 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Show a little pride, Carolina.

    I've called on the Panthers to bounce back from bad showings in back-to-back games. They have yet to show anything except a taste for sloppy execution. I'll stand up for them a third time, though.

    Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne will do damage on the ground for the first time in weeks. That'll free up Kelvin Benjamin for a bounce-back week. Tampa Bay's secondary doesn't have the manpower to stop him.

    But does Carolina's secondary offer anything better? James Bradberry needs to suit up or Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson will run free. The Panthers will need a big game from their front four to compensate.

    Pick: Panthers