NFL Week 5 Predictions

Oct. 8, 2005, midnight | By Abe Schwadron, Josh Zipin, Pratik Bhandari | 16 years, 3 months ago

Portis V. Bailey for Redskins fans

There are four unbeaten teams left in week five: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Washington. Of the four, the two that most people aren't sold on yet are Washington and Cincinnati. Both of these teams face good tests this week against Denver for the 'Skins and against Jacksonville for the Bengals. And I'm in last place. Again. This will end, I promise...

Pratik 33-27-0
Abe 37-23-0
Phil 34-26-0
Josh 34-26-0

Sunday, October 9, 2005
Baltimore (1-2) at Detroit (1-2) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore

Pratik says: Defense wins championships. Period. And the Lions don't have a great one, whereas the Ravens do.

Abe says: Lions' running back Kevin Jones has been incredibly disappointing this season, and playing against the Ravens defense won't help him up his stats at all. Joey Harrington is hurried into several interceptions. Player to watch: Ed Reed, the Ravens safety who has gone without an interception for the first three games of the season. That changes this week

Phil says: .Both Detroit and Baltimore come into week five with records of 1-2. Baltimore's only victory came last week when the Ravens beat up the QB-less Jets while Detroit won their game in the first week of the season. Neither team has played well but in these types of games you have to give the edge to the defensive minded squad. Chalk this one up for the Ravens as the NFC North seems to get worse and worse.

Josh says: Last week Baltimore's stingy defense held the Jets to 28 net yards rushing on 15 attempts. Expect another impressive performance by a defense finally living up to its preseason billing. Detroit's offense is sputtering under quarterback Joey Harrington and number two wide receiver Charles Rodgers is out for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Don't expect Baltimore to win in a blowout because their offense is nowhere near as good as the Colts', but they will score enough points to beat the Lions.

Chicago (1-2) at Cleveland (1-2) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Chicago Chicago Chicago Chicago

Pratik says: Chicago is basically a mirror image of the Redskins if you took away Ramsey, Campbell and Brunell. They have an unbelievable defense, a pretty good o-line and a good running back but no quarterback. Kyle Orton is, to put it bluntly, no better than fourth or fifth string on most other teams. He is, however, firmly entrenched at number one for the Bears because they have had horrible luck drafting quarterbacks ever since Jim McMahon (not related to the WWE) left way back in the 90s. Luckily, they play the hapless Cleveland Browns, whose sole win has been over the decimated Green Bay Packers. Good Luck Dogpound, you'll need it.

Abe says: The Bears' underrated runner Thomas Jones goes for big yardage again against a sub-par Browns defense. I like both these squads, but Cleveland's offense doesn't impress me as much as Chicago's defense, which has stopped opponents as well as providing most of the team's scoring. WR Braylon Edwards is a speedster with amazing raw talent, but Mike Brown and the Bears' secondary will tell him and the rest of the Browns to sit down.

Phil says: Chicago and Cleveland both had two weeks to mull over double digit losses in week three. Neither team has any real edge over the other as neither team really has any significant ability. The Bears defense is good as usual and should be able to contain Trent Dilfer, giving Kyle Orton and the offense a chance to work. Chicago will break even at Cleveland's expense

Josh says: Both of these teams are coming off of their bye week and I expect a close game. I give Chicago the edge because their defense has shown a lot of heart so far. Ranked fourth in the league and led by Brian Urlacher, the Bears put pressure on Trent Dilfer and expose the overachieving Browns offense to be nothing special.

Miami (2-1) at Buffalo (1-3) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Miami Miami Miami Miami

Pratik says: Nick Saban is the next Bill Belichick. Make sure you quote me on this five years from now. Besides, how can you bet against the triumphant return of Ricky "The Weed" Williams?

Abe says: Guess who's back, back, back again, Ricky's back, back, tell a friend...Dolphins running back Ricky Williams makes his triumphant return from a four-game suspension for smoking weed, er, violating the league's drug policy. Ricky and the Fins roll over a Bills team that might go to backup QB Kelly Holcomb if rookie J.P. Losman continues to keep the Bills out of games with his mistakes.

Phil says: To win a football game you have to be able to control the running game on both sides of the ball. The Bills defense has given up the most rushing yards of any team in the NFL and you can never win leading in that statistic. Seriously it has never happened. No team in league history has ever made the playoffs with the worst rushing defense in the land. Miami is a completely different story. The Dolphins will run with Ronnie Brown and stop Willis McGahee to win on the road.

Josh says: Expect a second consecutive big game from rookie Ronnie Brown after a 132-yard rushing performance in his last game. He should have a field day this week against a Bills defense that is yielding 172.2 yards rushing a game. For the Bills, Willis McGahee is a bona fide star running back, but with J.P. Losman under center they are going to struggle on offense. Randy McMichael is a tight end but still the Dolphins' best receiver and so far has been dominant, already catching three touchdowns. Expect the Dolphins to pull this one out.

New England (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Atlanta New England Atlanta New England

Pratik says: Michael Vick must be salivating at the thought of facing the Patriots defense after watching LT and Drew Brees tear up and down the field last week in Foxboro. Just imagine what the Human Highlight Reel is going to do against a team starting two linebackers still not in tune with the D, without Rodney Harrison and reeling from finally being vulnerable after being all but invincible in the last three seasons.

Abe says: Don't sleep on the Pats. Even though New England is depleted and lost big to San Diego last week, they still have the intangibles to get through a tough schedule. Atlanta's running game is finally slowed and the Patriots contain Michael Vick with the innovative defensive schemes of coach Bill Belichick.

Phil says: The last few weeks the Pats haven't looked like the defending champs at all. The loss of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crenell seems to have had a bigger impact than most thought. It seems all I talk about is running, but it will be the key to this game as well. DVD( RB Warrick, QB Michael Vick and T.J. Duckett ) will run the Patriots all the way back to Boston.

Josh says: Definitely the game of the week. New England had their 21-game home winning streak snapped last week against San Diego, but look for them to bounce back against a Falcons team that is going to be missing the legs of Mike Vick. Vick suffered a mildly sprained knee last week and as of Wednesday was listed as probable for Sunday's game. Without the most electric player in the NFL using his speed on the ground, the Falcons will have a much tougher time on offense. Tom Brady will lead his team back into a winning groove and avoid the first two game losing streak in what seems like forever for a Patriots team used to winning.

New Orleans (2-2) at Green Bay (0-4) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans Green Bay

Pratik says: Green Bay has no defense. Period. They still have Favre, but he can't cover 11 guys on defense.

Abe says: Green Bay is so bad that the Brett Favre rumors have started. Potential playoff teams with a weak QB like the Jets or Ravens could be interested in Mr. Favre's services. No matter what happens to Favre, the Packers have become the easiest team to pick against in the NFL. Aaron Brooks leads the Saints to victory in this one.

Phil says: New Orleans is still trying to win this season. The Packers, sad as it is, are already giving up. The team is in the midst of trying to trade their first round pick, Aaron Rodgers, for a first round pick next year, as they think, and are probably right, that they will have a shot at drafting Matt Leinart to be their future quarterback. New Orleans still has plenty of offensive talent with Deuce McAllister and Aaron Brooks. Though Brett Farve still looks like he's got something left he is also all Green Bay has left. Saints with ease.

Josh says: Two teams coming off excellent team efforts. Even though Green Bay's was in a losing effort, they showed some flashes of brilliance with Brett Favre tossing four touchdowns. At "home" in San Antonio last week, the Saints' performance was inspiring and good enough for a win. Green Bay's defense is full of holes but Brett Favre builds off his Monday Night Football performance last week and lifts his team to their first win of the season.

Seattle (2-2) at St. Louis (2-2) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Seattle Seattle St. Louis Seattle

Pratik says: Maybe Mike Holmgren will actually use Shaun Alexander in this game. I can't understand why he doesn't just hand it off to him at least 30 times a game. Whatever, he is playing against Mike Martz. I have a theory about Martz: he is actually a state-of-the-art android bought by all the other NFL teams and he is there basically to give away wins to every other team. Of course, he has to win one every once in a while so that the general public doesn't figure it out, but seriously, he seems to make at least one or two bonehead calls every game. Seattle wins in an ugly matchup.

Abe says: Seattle kicker Josh Brown had the chance to push the Seahawks record to 3-1 against the Redskins, but choked. Brown and his squad won't make the same mistake again. St. Louis will have no answer for RB Shaun Alexander, who rumbles for nearly 200 yards and a handful of scores.

Phil says: St. Louis seems to have Seattle's number. Torry Holt will have a break out game against a weak Seahawks secondary. St. Louis defensive speed will contain Darrell Jackson allowing more men to the line to stop the ever-dangerous Shaun Alexander. Rams put on a great show on their home turf.

Josh says: St. Louis is 25th in the league in defense going up against arguably the top running back in the NFL in Shaun Alexander. Matt Hasselbeck should have an easier time against the St. Louis defense than he did with the Redskins' superb secondary. St. Louis' leaky secondary won't be able to match up against Seattle's resurgent wideout Darrell Jackson. Torry Holt has a big game for the Rams, who seem to have given up running the ball, but Seattle is too much for St. Louis to handle.

Tampa Bay (4-0) at New York Jets (1-3) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Tampa Bay

Pratik says: As my friend Arbit says, "The Jets are one of those teams that you don't pick until they win. And then you keep not picking them." Right on Arbit. Also, on the topic of Cadillac's injury, this might actually be better in the long run, allowing him to rest up for late season matchups.

Abe says: With the Cadillac in the garage, this game scares me, but backup RB Michael Pittman is capable of putting up Caddy-like numbers as long as the Bucs' offensive line can hold up. Plus, veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde has come out of retirement to start for the Jets. Vinny, meet Misters Barber, Brooks and Rice. The Bucs shut down Curtis Martin for the W.

Phil says: Tampa Bay looks better and better each week. Though Cadillac Williams is hurt the running game shouldn't falter. And, oh yeah, the Jets don't have a quarterback. This one was over the day Chad Pennington got injured. Tampa Bay stays undefeated.

Josh says: The Bucs' new Cadillac has some scratches on it and that's why they will struggle to pull out a win against a Jets team that lost its season when Chad Pennington re-injured his shoulder. Carnell Williams has a sprained foot and a tweaked hamstring that could keep him out of the game. He is listed as questionable and even suggested himself that sitting this game out may be better for his health for the rest of the season. Veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde will start for the Jets this week after Brooks Bollinger struggled in his first NFL start last week. In truth Tampa Bay should be able to beat the Jets even without Williams, especially if they get another star-like performance from backup running back Michael Pittman like they did last week.

Tennessee (1-3) at Houston (0-3) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Tennessee Houston Tennessee Tennessee

Pratik says: Houston hasn't won a game yet. There's a reason for that. Everyone else is better.

Abe says: Houston will finally pull through for their first win of the season behind the David Carr-Andre Johnson connection, which will get going in week five, none too soon for the Texans. Carr was sacked seven times in his last outing, but this week will be prepared to throw on the go. Bottom line, Tennessee is just too young and too inexperienced.

Phil says: David Carr isn't as great as the franchise thought when they made him their first ever number one pick. This misjudgment may cost them this entire season but certainly at least this game. Tennessee can score fast and often, something Houston, who in three games have scored only three touchdowns, just can't do. Titians win with Steve McNair and their offense.

Josh says: I am picking Tennessee more out of default here than anything else. Houston has shown no promise on offense. Quarterback David Carr still has not turned into the star he was supposed to be and he has already been sacked 20 times this season. Wide receiver Andre Johnson has yet to get on track catching 10 passes for 76 yards and no touchdowns in three games so far. Tennessee has showed some promise so far this year and they will beat up on a Texans team that looks to be one of the worst in the NFL.

Indianapolis (4-0) at San Francisco (1-3) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Pratik says:

Number of Peyton Manning's TD throwsPercentage Chance
As many as he wants99%

And that's why Indy will win.

Abe says: San Francisco's offense couldn't get anything going in Mexico last week, and I expect Indy's defense to absolutely destroy Tim Rattay. I've been saying it for weeks- Dwight Freeney is a freak. Oh yeah, and the Colts can score, too. With Peyton Manning and friends back on track, this pick is a done deal.

Phil says: San Francisco lost to Arizona while Indianapolis just hasn't lost. This Colts team won't lose to a team this bad. Peyton Manning will have another game of pitch and catch with Marvin Harrison and that's all the Colts will need. Slaughter of the week! Look for at least 21-point spread.

Josh says: Peyton Manning is coming off his best game of the season last week when he threw for four touchdowns and San Francisco is coming off a loss to Arizona in Mexico City. The Colt's passing attack is alive and well and they should have no problem torching the 49ers 32nd-ranked defense.

Carolina (2-2) at Arizona (1-3) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina

Pratik says: Arizona beat San Francisco. That doesn't count as a real win. So really, they're still winless.

Abe says: The Panthers held off the Packers last week, and have been up-and-down all season, and Arizona scored 31 points Sunday night in front of 100,000 Mexicans, but I like Carolina because of the resurgence of Stephen Davis and QB Jake Delhomme's crafty tosses. Paging Kurt Warner Paging Kurt Warner Paging Kurt Warner

Phil says: Arizona beat San Francisco in Mexico, but that is about the only team and the only place they really stand a chance. Carolina's offensive line and Stephen Davis should destroy the Cards' front seven. Delhomme isn't the same when Steve Smith is double covered, as he was in their Monday Night game, but this should not be too significant. Carolina pulls out the W with tremendous ball control and clock management.

Josh says: Arizona needed six field goals from kicker Neil Rackers last week to beat the 49ers in Mexico City. Anquan Boldin is a great possession receiver but the Cardinals don't get him the ball enough. J.J. Arrington has not made an impact yet and the Cardinals will need to improve their rushing attack if they want to win another game soon. Carolina, on the other hand showed some resilience as they staved off a second-half charge from Brett Favre and the Packers to win on Monday Night Football last week. Jake Delhomme has proved that he is a top-notch quarterback in this league and Steve Smith is too fast for the Arizona secondary to contain.

Philadelphia (3-1) at Dallas (2-2) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia

Pratik says: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I will never doubt Mr. McNabb ever again (or his mom for that matter; I guess Campbell's Chunky Noodle Soup really does "fill you up right"). Also, I hate Dallas so this is a mutually beneficial agreement between my heart and my brain.

Abe says: An injured Donovan McNabb played some of the best football of his career last week in a win against the Chiefs, and he has regained the chemistry between himself and wideout Terrell Owens. Dallas, on the other hand, has struggled to score in 2005 and sits in last place in the NFC East (how happy it makes me!). McNabb and Princess TO hook up for a couple of touchdowns in a Philly rout.

Phil says: Philadelphia's defense has been great since the team's loss in the first week. Their use of stunts, blitzes and deceiving coverage will confuse Drew Bledsoe and Dallas into a lot of turnovers. This combined with the deep threat of Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens should lead to the Cowboys demise. Every one of the last three weeks a wide receiver opposing Dallas has had over the century mark in receiving yard and has caught at least one touchdown for over 40 yards. A team that can't stop the deep ball is in trouble against the Eagles. Dallas will shoot themselves in the foot and Philly wins again.

Josh says: Philadelphia dug themselves a hole early last week against the Chiefs but they calmed down and beat the Chiefs. Look for Andy Reid's team to start and finish strong this week against the Cowboys. Julius Jones has not had a breakout game yet this year and this won't be the week for him either going up against a Philly defense that covers the run extremely well and is ranked ninth in the NFL. The Eagles' Donovan McNabb is a warrior who has led his team thus far and kept T.O. happy. The Eagles should continue their winning ways this week against a division rival.

Washington (3-0) at Denver (3-1) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Washington Denver Washington Washington

Pratik says: All those who doubt the 'Skins will rue this day. This defense shall smite Anderson, Plummer, Smith and Lelie while Portis will make the fans at Mile High stadium regret sending him off to Washington. Plummer is simply too undisciplined to tackle this fundamentally sound and aggressive defense. Sooner or later, he will make an ill-advised throw that will spell doom for Denver's chances in this game.

Abe says: The 'Skins surprised me last week, and even though it made me happy to see them win, I just can't see Washington going into Denver and staying undefeated. The Broncos have wins over Jacksonville, Kansas City and San Diego, while Washington has beaten Dallas, Seattle and Chicago. Mile High Stadium welcomes back Clinton Portis with a Broncos win. Don't get me wrong, I love the 'Skins, but Denver is nearly unbeatable at home.

Phil says: Washington is making me look like a genius. Against Dallas and then Seattle, Gibbs and his squad have pulled out shocking victories. Yet how much longer can it last? Denver has looked spectacular winning their last three games decisively. Their defense, if Champ Bailey is healthy eliminates the pass and will force Clinton Portis to put the game on his own shoulders. If he can muster the energy to run past his old team, Portis and the Skins will win again.

Josh says: Redskins salvage a win at Mile High. Clinton Portis has a big game against his former team and Mark Brunell continues to find Santana Moss for big gains. The Redskins, who are second in the league in third down conversion percentage, continue to make big plays at big times and get a big win on the road to go to 4-0. Hail to the Redskins!

Cincinnati (4-0) at Jacksonville (2-2) - 8:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati

Pratik says: I, for one, think that the Bengals are for real. And if Leftwich keeps taking some of the shots he's been taking, the Jaguars better get ready to play with David Garrard (Leftwich's backup).

Abe says: Carson Palmer is the savior in Cincy, and with an adequate defense, a big running back, and a superstar wide receiver backing him up, he can do no wrong. Jimmy Smith has another big game for Jacksonville but the Jags fall at home to the hottest team in the NFL.

Phil says: I can't stop picking them now. Cincy didn't look as impressive last week at Houston only winning by 6 points but they still have one of the best offenses in football. This should be a big day for Rudi Johnson and the Bengals defense who both overmatch their respective opponents. Jacksonville's front seven has yielded 520 yards on the ground to lesser running backs than Johnson and Jacksonville's offense has only scored six touchdowns all year. Cincy rolls on!

Josh says: Carson Palmer has Cincinnati off to a 4-0 start and the Bengals should move to 5-0 after beating a weaker Jaguars team. The Bengals' receiving corps of Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh has connected with Palmer this year and the product is a smooth offense. Also featured is stud runner Rudi Johnson who may have trouble against a Jacksonville defense ranked third in the NFL. Jacksonville's offense isn't good enough to outscore the Bengals' high-powered offense.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pittsburgh (2-1) at San Diego (2-2) " 9:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
San Diego San Diego San Diego San Diego

Pratik says: LT, Drew Brees, Antonio Gates and Keenan McCardell are all on fire. Start up that old San Diego Super-Chargers jingle...

Abe says: What a Monday night matchup, really, for once the NFL gave us a great one for Madden and Michaels to break down. The Steelers roll into San Diego with a monster of a defense, a confident coach and an outstanding offense. San Diego is coming off a huge win over New England, putting up 41 points on one of the best D's in football. LT and Willie Parker face off in a battle of the speedy running backs, the difference being that LT ran for three digit yards against the Pats, while Parker was held below the century mark. I'll take the Lightning Bolts at home in a classic.

Phil says: Scoring over 40 points on a team coached by Bill Belichick is a rare feat and one that can only be achieved by a team with a player as great as LaDanian Tomlinson. After two heart breaking loss to start the season the Chargers seem to be on track, and they're hard to derail when they get going. Pittsburgh won't be able to keep up with the Chargers offense, leading to San Diego's third straight victory.

Josh says: San Diego rides their win over the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots to a win at home over another worthy opponent. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has mastered the Steelers' offense, throwing six touchdowns and no picks this year. LaDanian Tomlinson is so fast he makes fast people look slow and he will continue his streak of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown. Drew Brees has shown once again that last years season was no fluke for the quarterback that was supposed to be replaced by Philip Rivers. The Chargers should beat the Steelers this week in front of their home crowd.

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Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »

Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »

Pratik Bhandari. Pratik Bhandari is (now) a 5'6" SENIOR who (still) weighs about 125 pounds. He came from India, which could explain his diminutive stature and lived there for three years before moving to Albany, the capital of New York believe it or not, and finally to … More »

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