Teams try to break away from the pack
It's been a roller coaster of a season so far with no team really asserting itself above the rest of the league. The last undefeated team went down last week, as the Chiefs fell to Indianapolis, 19-9. Week five was also full of surprise as the 'Skins edged Green Bay, the Cardinals beat the Saints, and the Raiders topped San Diego. Randy Moss' return to the Vikings was ruined by a loss to the Jets, while Detroit won their first game in impressive fashion, dominating St. Louis 44-6.
Because of all the upsets, this season is shaping up to be a tough one for our experts. Fortunately, last week didn't stump them too hard. Eli and Melissa went 8-6 while Blake went 7-7. Overall, Eli's still ahead of the pack while we gear up for a week six that should provide plenty of intriguing match-ups.
Sunday, Oct. 17
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Chicago Bears (4-1)
Not only have the Bears proven that they're the better team in the past five weeks, but they've got quarterback Jay Cutler back in week six. Cutler is hungry to get back in on the action and will lead a strong run game against the Seahawks.
The Bears beat a terrible Panthers team last week, 23-6. Thanks to Matt Forte's legs, they'll coast to their fifth win of the season against the mediocre Seahawks.
The Seahawks are coming off a bye week, but I don't think that's really going to be a factor going into this game. Well rested or not, Seattle will still have to contend with the Bears' stifling defense which will prevent them from getting points on the board. Bears win defensively.
Miami Dolphins (2-2) at Green Bay Packers (3-2)
After a close loss to the Redskins last Sunday, the Packers are ready for revenge. The Packers do face a huge obstacle with the high number of injuries they have experienced this season. Aaron Rodgers' concussion, Nick Barnett's wrist, Jermichael Finley's knee, the list goes on and on. I have a feeling though that the Packers will be able to pull this one out despite their overall, rough physical state.
Green Bay took a beating from my 'Skins in week five. Stud tight end Jermichael Finley could be lost for the season with a knee injury, while Aaron Rodgers (concussion) and Clay Matthews (hamstring) are questionable for Sunday's game. All of this spells bad news for the cheeseheads. Miami capitalizes on the Pack's injuries as Green Bay drops two straight.
The Pack had a lot of players injured last week, one of them being quarterback Aaron Rodgers who suffered a concussion in overtime against the Skins. Without Rodgers starting, however, I'm not so confident that Green Bay can win. My decision rests in the hands of Aaron Rodgers'; if he starts, the Packers win. Likewise, if he doesn't, the Packers will probably lose. Seeing as he sat on Wednesday's practice, I'll take the Dolphins. Plus, the Pack has a wealth of other injuries to deal with, including linebacker Clay Matthews' hamstring injury.
San Diego Chargers (2-3) at St. Louis Rams (2-3)
For both of these middle-of-the-pack teams, this game means either moving up to .500 or falling to .333. If the Chargers can clean up the sloppiness, namely their high number of turnovers they should move past the Rams.
The Chargers have probably had the easiest schedule so far. They have to be pretty frustrated with a record of just 2-3 after dropping games to Kansas City, Seattle and Oakland. There's no way San Diego can screw this one up, though. The Rams lost to Detroit, 44-6. If the Bolts don't win this they're just embarrassed.
After being completely embarrassed by the Raiders, the Chargers better win this game. If the Lions can beat the Rams, so can San Diego.
Baltimore Ravens (4-1) at New England (3-1)
The Ravens beat the Patriots in New England back in a wild card game back in January and they can do it again. Even though they are anxious to get revenge on Baltimore, without Randy Moss the Patriots are left weak at wide receiver.
This'll be a good one. Baltimore's playing well and sit at 4-1 while the Pats are 3-1 coming off their bye week. Ray Rice finally got it going in week five, rushing for 133 yards and two scores. The Ravens defense will slow down Tom Brady and the Moss-less offensive attack. Big games from Rice and Joe Flacco get Baltimore the "W."
Hardest pick of the week by far. The Ravens have won their last two games by considerable margins and quarterback Joe Flacco has been extremely consistent. Running back Ray Rice has also been a huge factor by scoring two touchdowns and running for 133 yards last week against the Broncos. But the Patriots are one of the best teams in the league and are coming off a bye week so they'll be well rested. Even though wide receiver Randy Moss was traded to the Vikings, I don't really think it's going to make that much of a difference for New England. Patriots win in what looks to be the most intense game of the week.
Detroit Lions (1-4) at New York Giants (3-2)
The Giants will need to step up their defensive game for this match up on Sunday. Fortunately for them, the Lions only have one win on the season and haven't won a game on the road since 2007.
I've got to go with the Lions. 44 points is a lot, no matter who it's on. Shaun Hill had the game of his life last week, throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Something's telling me that Detroit's got it in them for the second week in a row, but maybe that's just me hoping the G-Men lose so that the 'Skins get a stranglehold on the NFC East.
The Lions finally won so I will no longer embarrass myself by picking them to beat teams that I know they can't. After last week's showing, the Giants should definitely be able to beat the Lions.
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
The Falcons are on a hot streak. And whether or not Michael Vick will start at quarterback for the Eagles, Atlanta won't make things easy for them.
Ooo-wee. You know how badly Vick wants to suit up and face his former team. But I just don't think he'll be healthy enough. As of Wednesday, Vick still hadn't practiced with the Eagles since his injury but he wouldn't rule out the possibility of playing come Sunday. Meanwhile, Atlanta's rolling and third-year quarterback Matt Ryan looks primed for his best season. If Vick plays, it'll be a game. If not, I don't think Kolb has it in him.
The Falcons are flying under the radar, with a 4-1 record and some strong wins. The Eagles, although they pulled out a win last week, are stuck in a hard place. Vick's still out and they barely beat the 0-5 49ers last week. I'll take the Falcons to soar over the Eagles in what looks to be an interesting match-up.
Cleveland Browns (1-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
The Steelers have proven this far into the season that they can hold their own without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but now that he's back, they're hoping they can break away from the pack. On top of that the Steelers haven't lost at home in six games. Sorry Browns, things aren't looking too good for you.
I can't remember the Browns ever being good .
Steelers are coming off a bye week and should be pretty well rested. The Browns lost to the Falcons last week and just aren't ready for the challenge the Steel Curtain will present them with. Steelers win defensively as always.
New Orleans Saints (3-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
The Saints will need to step their game up this week. As the defending Superbowl champions, losing by ten to a team with a rookie quarterback in unacceptable. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, have surprised everyone and are still pumped after a come from behind win against the Bengals last week.
The Bucs played well last week and beat the struggling Bengals. I'm really tempted to pick them again, especially after the Saints looked god-awful in a 30-20 loss to the Cardinals. However, I'm feeling a bounce-back win from New Orleans as they let out their frustration in Tampa.
The Bucs beat the Bengals last week and surprised quite a few people. The Saints aren't playing like the Super Bowl caliber team they were last year and have a lot to prove. I'll take the Saints because they need the win, but I won't be surprised if the Bucs are able to get the "W."
Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) at Houston Texans (3-2)
Houston has never made the playoffs, but if there's a year for that to change, it's this year. Andre Johnson's ankle shouldn't be bothering him too much this week, however, and the Texans hope to avoid their third straight loss for the season.
I hope you enjoyed that three-game winning streak, Kansas City, because it's only going downhill from here on out. Look for Matt Schaub to air it out after an ugly game v. the Giants last week.
Texans lost to the Giants last week, which no one really saw coming since the Giants had previously been playing terribly. But now Houston has to take on the Chiefs, who lost last week to the Colts in what looked like the worst game on television. Colts score late, Chiefs undefeated streak ends. Texans win this one easily.
New York Jets (4-1) at Denver Broncos (2-3)
The Jets will get their third straight win on the road this week. Although their defense is not nearly as strong as it was in back 2009, currently ranked twenty third, the Jets are definitely good at running the ball in order to relieve pressure.
The Jets are looking nice through five games. A rejuvenated L.T. has rushed for a combined 224 yards the last two weeks and is looking like LaDainian of old. Expect the Jets to improve to 5-1 after a solid win over Denver.
The Jets, who are 4-1, are coming off a Monday night win against the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos lost last week to the Ravens and were frustrated by the Baltimore defense that was able to keep the Broncos from scoring points, even though quarterback Kyle Orton scored two touchdowns and threw for 314 yards. Denver will again be frustrated by another defense in the form of the New York Jets, who should be able to win as long as they can keep Orton from leading his team down field and scoring.
Oakland Raiders (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
The 49ers need a win, in fact they're craving one. Nobody expects them to make the playoffs, especially since no team has lost their first five games and made it that far, but it's time for the 49ers to turn it around.
It blows my mind that the 49ers are 0-5. I'm still convinced that this is a good team. They have all the weapons, and they're in every single game, but they just need to, well, win. I'm confident that they can finally cash in against division opponent Oakland in week six.
Even though the Raiders won last week, the 49ers have to win eventually, right? It looks like their first win will come against the Raiders, who are usually pretty inconsistent. Oakland's win over San Diego was a fluke, don't expect their defense to come up with another huge play like they did against the Chargers. Plus, quarterback Bruce Gradkowski's status is questionable, and his backup, Jason Campbell, isn't consistent.
Dallas Cowboys (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
Neither Dallas nor Minnesota wants to fall into a 1-4 slump. Although he's been in a rough patch the past few weeks, Brett Favre will turn things around for the Vikings giving them their second win of the season.
Minnesota looked completely out of sync for much of their Monday night loss to the Jets. But the Viking offense did start to click near the end of the game, with Favre connecting on a 37-yard touchdown pass to new addition Randy Moss. Their chemistry should have gotten even better after another week of practice. Meanwhile, Dallas lost to Tennessee and hasn't lived up to expectations as of yet.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre became the first NFL to throw for 500 touchdowns and 70,000 yards but he couldn't lead his team to victory last Monday against the Jets. Adding insult to injury, Favre is amidst a racy scandal that could possibly throw his game off this week. Dallas lost to the Titans last week, even with quarterback Tony Romo throwing for over 400 yards. This one's a toss up, but I'll give it to the Cowboys. They need the win, and the Vikings are just burned out at the moment.
Indianapolis Colts (3-2) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
After such an amazing win against the Packers, how could I not pick the Skins? This may be a dumb pick but I have to show some love for the home team. It'l be close and it most certainly won't be easy but if they play with the same tenacity the Redskins can do it.
One thing about Washington is that they're in every game; they play to the level of their competition. It's a gift and a curse for the 'Skins, as it garners wins against teams such as Green Bay, but proves to be their downfall against the likes of the Rams. Call me crazy for picking the 'Skins three weeks in a row, and against Peyton Manning at that, but I have faith that they'll be able to pull this one out somehow.
Keeping in mind that every time I pick the Redskins, they lose, I'll still pick them this week. The Colts just don't look that great this season, even in their victory against the Chiefs last week. Indy quarterback Peyton Manning was also unable to throw for a touchdown, something that is unusual for one of the best quarterbacks in the league. If Manning can't lead his team to victory, McNabb will surely get the job done.
Monday, Oct. 18
Tennessee Titans (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
In this division rivalry, both teams have shown significant offensive progress in the last few weeks the only difference is the Jaguars don't have Chris Johnson.
C.J. and the Titans were on point against the Cowboys last week, topping Dallas by a touchdown. Their winning ways will continue against Jacksonville in week six.
The Jags beat Buffalo last week, but that's not really a huge deal. The Titans' running back Chris Johnson ran all over Dallas last week and led his team to victory. He'll do it again against Jacksonville and they won't be able to stop him.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside ... More »