The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 5
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on October 9, 2009, 12:29 PM
John: Welcome to week five of the Oratory's NFL Picks. I am John Canton joined as always by my fellow prognosticators James Deaux and Matt Henry. I had a 12-2 record last week that could have been 14-0 rather easily if only I picked the Pats and Jags like I was inclined to do. Oh well. I'm not going to complain about 12-2. It was a very predictable week, that's for sure. This week looks like it has four or five blowouts on the horizon and then a bunch of games that are mostly tossups.
James: Well, I had a pretty disappointing week given how well I’d been doing, but hey, I’ve made at least 10 correct predictions every week so far. And really, when you’re averaging 12 correct picks a week, you can’t really complain too much.
Matt: Week five in theory should be an easy week to pick, but then again, that’s why they play the games. Looks like a pile of blowout, or potential upsets. I’m going to be pretty brief with quite a few of these because there really isn’t much to say.
Last week's results:
The standings for the season:
James 48-14 (.774)
Matt 43-19 (.694)
John 41-21 (.661)
The following teams have byes this week: Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Diego
All game times are Eastern.
Cleveland at Buffalo 1:00 PM James: Props to John for the “Mistakes by the Lakes” header for this matchup. I don’t know what to make of Cleveland now that Derek Anderson is back at the helm. They looked really good in the second half against Cincinnati last week before losing in overtime. Given their newfound chemistry on offense, I think I have to go out on a limb and predict a road “upset” here in a battle of morbidly mediocre teams. I mean, hell, if Cleveland is going to win any game before their Week 9 bye, this is it. Cleveland 28 – Buffalo 20
Matt: Nobody really cares about this game do they? Bills win because the Browns are horrid this year while the Bills are just bad. Bills 28-6
John: Ugly. I thought the Bills would be better this year. Instead, the offense continues to sputter even though they have some good weapons. I think this week they will show up and beat up a Browns team that is pitiful right now. Bills 27-14
Pittsburgh at Detroit 1:00 PM James: The Steelers may get Troy Polamalu back this weekend. I ask, “Why rush him back?” It’s not like they need him this weekend anyway. Pittsburgh 31 – Detroit 13
Matt: I think I can feel confident picking the Steelers this week without looking like a Homer. As I type this there is talk that Troy Polamalu may be cleared to play this week. My thinking is that he takes another week off simply because he really doesn’t need to play for the Steelers to win. I still don’t have much good to say about the Lions other than the fact that they are doing better than the Rams and Bucs. Steelers 32-18
John: The Steelers found something in Rashard Mendhall, who showed the kind of burst and power that Willie Parker doesn't seem to have anymore (not that Willie ever had power). I think that makes their offense very dangerous considering how well they seem to be able to throw the ball especially against bad defenses. The Lions won't pose much of a threat. The worry with the Steelers is can they shut somebody down like we've seen from them in the past? I say yes. Steelers 27-3
Dallas at Kansas City 1:00 PM James: If Tony Romo doesn’t start picking his game up, the half-joking calls for Jon Kitna to start for Dallas will no longer be jokes at all. There is absolutely no chemistry on the Cowboys’ offense right now—least of all between Roy Williams and Romo. The only reason they’ve been in games at all is because they’ve been running Marion Barber into the ground. Kansas City is atrocious, and there is no reason for Dallas to lose this game; but it’s not like an upset here would be the most shocking thing in the world. Dallas 30 – Kansas City 21
Matt: I think a lot of people lost faith in the Cowboys last week with the loss to Denver. That said, I don’t think that they are so bad that they lose a game to KC. Dallas seems to be decidedly average this year and I don’t seem to think that this team does much better than 9-7 to complete the season. KC maybe wins three? At least they get to face the Redskins soon. Cowboys 27-10
John: I love betting against the Cowboys against the spread because they are always overrated by the bettors. They didn't look good against Denver last week as they struggled on offense and still are unable to make big plays on defense. Still, are they better than the Chiefs? Probably, but not 9 points better. I wouldn't be shocked if the Chiefs won here, though. Cowboys 17-14
Minnesota at St. Louis 1:00 PM James: Magic number of the day—84. That’s how points the Rams have been outscored by already. After this game, it will probably be well into the hundred-teens...possibly the hundred-twenties... Minnesota 35 – St. Louis 3
Matt: Brett Favre and the Liberal conspiracy team up to overcome the Rams. Not that there needs to be much more done to stack the odds against the Rams. I’m thinking that the Vikings are a pretty safe Survivor pick this week. Vikings 34-6
John: My Rams are worse than I imagined. Starting the year with three road games in the first four weeks didn't help. However, playing the hot Vikes in week five doesn't help either. Can't slow down Peterson or Favre, I'm afraid. Plus that Minnesota defense is looking especially strong. Another long day for my boys. Vikings 34-10
Oakland at NY Giants 1:00 PM James: Eli Manning is hurt, but what difference does it make? I don’t care who starts for New York this weekend. They could throw the long snapper out there at QB, and he’d still be better than Jamarcus Russell. New York 28 – Oakland 7
Matt: I think the commentary on Sunday night football said it best “... and then you have the Raiders who are, well the Raiders.” Next week should be interesting with both the Giants and Saints essentially coming off of a bye week. Yeah, that’s how much I care about this game, I’m previewing week six here instead. Giants 30-0
John: I know Eli Manning might not play. It won't matter. That's saying something since one of the greatest busts ever, David Carr, is the backup. The Giants will run the ball 40 times and the Raiders will be unable to move the ball downfield. They can't run or throw at this point. Giants 24-3
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia 1:00 PM James: What is with this trifecta of horrible games? Minnesota/St. Louis, Oakland/New York, and now Tampa Bay/Philly? Ugh. Yet another blowout ready to happen, especially with McNabb back. Philadelphia 34 – Tampa Bay 14
Matt: Well, McNabb is supposed to be back this week right? The Eagles, like the Giants have got nothing to worry about this week. I just can’t get motivated to write about most of these lousy lopsided games. Eagles 42-10
John: I always find this stat interesting: Andy Reid has never lost on the week after a bye. He's 10-0. The streak continues with McNabb and Westbrook back while feasting against a brutal Bucs team. Eagles 31-6
Washington at Carolina 1:00 PM James: Okay, seriously...who decided this schedule? This one will be godawful, too. Carolina 28 – Washington 16
Matt: At least this game won’t be a complete blowout. I like the Panthers to take their first win here. The pick has little to do with Carolina having any improvement coming out of the bye week, rather it is the fact that they are playing a team that lost to the Lions and came all too close to losing to the Rams. The Redskins have played what should have been one of the easiest schedules in the league and still have won only two games. The Panthers have lost to three average or above teams. I think they do at least enough to beat the even more lousy Redskins. Panthers 24-18
John: The Panthers are underachieving while the Redskins are definitely the worst 2-2 team in the league. Coming off a bye, I really like the Panthers to rediscover their running game and roll over the Redskins here. They're better than 0-3 and at some point they have to show that. Right? (Cue up confused Jake Delhomme picture.) Maybe not. I'll go with it, though, mainly because I don't want to pick the Redskins. Panthers 23-10
Cincinnati at Baltimore 1:00 PM James: This is my pick for game of the week. These two teams despise each other, and with Cincinnati’s improvements, this should be quite entertaining. I’m not predicting the Bengals to win (especially on the road), but this should be a close one. Baltimore 24 – Cincinnati 17
Matt: This is a big game in the AFC North as it could either give the Ravens a big division lead, or possibly create a major scramble for the AFC north with the Bengals one game up on both the Ravens and the Steelers and owning the tie breaker right now. As a Steeler fan, this is what I want to see happen. That said I don’t find it all that likely. I do think that the Bengals pass attack matches up well against what has so far been a sub-par Ravens pass D. In the past with the typical anemic Ravens offense, this would have led me to take the Bengals here. As it stands though, the Ravens have shown their ability to put points on the board. I’m taking the Ravens to win here, but I’ll be cheering for the Bengals. Ravens 38-30
John: The Bengals sure love to play in the close games, huh? All four of them have come down to the wire. You could make the case for them being 4-0 instead of 3-1 just as easily as you can say they should be 2-2 or worse. This is a big game for both teams because it puts the winner into sole position of first in the very difficult (sans Cleveland) AFC North. I like the Ravens more. Flacco's playing well, they've established the run game and defensively, while they have given up more points than you'd expected, I still think they're an elite group. The Bengals just aren't there yet. I do like them to cover the 8½ points, though. Ravens 24-20
Atlanta at San Francisco 4:05 PM James: Atlanta has had two weeks to stew in that poor effort at New England, so I think they come out and really try to take it to San Francisco offensively. Matt Ryan hasn’t been taking many downfield shots, and I can see that changing here. The Falcons tend to do well against teams that don’t have a well-established pass offense, and the 49ers certainly fit that description (27th in pass offense). I think the Falcons recover and get an important intra-conference win here. Atlanta 24 – San Francisco 21
Matt: Atlanta seems to be playing a classic bend, but don’t break defense this year. They have given up piles of yards against both the run and the pass. Despite giving up more yards that all but two teams, the Falcons have the eighth ranked D in terms of points allowed. The 49ers meanwhile are second in points allowed. The limited success that teams have had against them has been by throwing the ball. Both teams have lost to the only good teams that they have had to face. I’m going to go with the 49ers. They just seem to be a much better team. 49ers 21-7
John: I like the Falcons here. Two weeks ago they got manhandled by the Pats on the road and they've been sitting at home for two weeks now stewing about it. The Niners are coming off a huge win against my Rams and have a lot of momentum as they sit 3-1 while they probably think they should be 4-0 if not for Favremania running wild on them in week three. I think San Fran will miss Frank Gore in this game because you need to have a consistent run game against the Falcons and I don't think you can get that with Coffee running the ball. If Atlanta has the ball they'll put up enough points to win because their offense is good enough. I also think coming off the bye will pay big dividends for them here. Simply put, I think Atlanta's the better team. Just by a bit. Falcons 23-20
New England at Denver 4:15 PM James: This is another game with subplots that will be overblown to the point of nausea by ESPN, but in whatever case, it will be a good game. If Denver manages to win this game, then I think most of the critics (including me) will finally accept them as a top-tier NFL team. I’m not predicting a Broncos win, though. New England 22 – Broncos 16
Matt: I said it last week and I was wrong. This week, Denver will get that wake up call. I over estimated the Cowboys last week and under credited the Denver D. Still, it’s pretty easy to have the top ranked D when the toughest offense you have faced all season is Dallas. While I don’t expect the Patriots to completely shred the Broncos this week, I think it is safe to say that they win by a comfortable margin. Patriots 24-10
John: I believed in the Broncos last week as home underdogs to Dallas. They won. Now they're dogs again although this time it's against a team that is actually good, New England. The Pats of 2009 don't play like the Pats of 2007. The deep strike attempts aren't as common, nor are the four TD games by Brady. Instead they play ball control football with their unheralded defense keeping them in games. I believe in the Broncos defense. I really do. I just don't think they can score enough to keep up with the Pats. Patriots 23-13
Houston at Arizona 4:15 PM James: I still don’t know what to make of either of these teams. Arizona’s window seems to be rapidly closing, and I think at home, they will respond with a close win in a shootout. Arizona 31 – Houston 28
Matt: The Cardinals have looked solidly one dimensional this year. No defense, no run game. Houston seems to be suffering from the same problem. Arizona doesn’t seem able to stop teams from attacking through the air, and it appears that Houston can’t get down the field other than through the air. This seems like a good matchup to favor the Texans in. They lost last week too so a win here will keep that trend alive as well. Texans 28-12
John: Two teams I can't figure out this year. Neither is very good defensively and neither is very predictable. I'm going to ride the home team coming off the bye just because I have no good reason to think the other way. Plus, I think Larry Fitzgerald is due for a big game. This will be it. Cardinals 30-24
Jacksonville at Seattle 4:15 PM James: Jacksonville has looked much better of late, and even with Hasselbeck starting, I don’t see Seattle’s offense generating enough to keep up with MJD and company. I don’t understand why they went out and got T.J. Houshmandzadeh when they never throw the ball to him. Seattle’s defense doesn’t exactly impress me, either. Jacksonville 28 – Seattle 24
Matt: I had Jacksonville ahead of the Titans in the AFC South in my pre-season rankings. They are better than the Titans right now, but then again, by the records so is Detroit. Seattle has won a single game this year, a dominating victory against a doormat team. Another pick decided based on the concept of which team sucks less. Jags 17-10
John: Two teams that aren't good enough to be in a playoff race and aren't bad enough to be considered among the worst in the league. They're both somewhere in the middle. With Matt Hasselbeck back it helps the Seahawks a lot since Seneca Wallace is pretty useless. The Jags have to fly all the way across the country to play in an environment they're not used to. I'm not sure why really, but I'll go with the Seahawks here. Seahawks 23-14
Indianapolis at Tennessee 8:20 PM James: Well, apparently Tennessee actually is that bad, after all. They have the worst pass defense in the NFL this year. Who are they facing this week? Peyton Manning? This one seems pretty elementary. Indianapolis 38 – Tennessee 20
Matt: The only hope that the Titans have to climb out of the cellar this year is to beat the Colts and the Patriots in successive weeks, strategize through the bye week to figure out how to avoid a repeat raping by the Jags. Sounds simple enough. The Colts are going to have their way with the Titans this year to make up for the loss of the top spot in the AFC South last year. Colts 38-3
John: Best player in the NFL right now? Peyton Manning. He is in some kind of zone. When the Colts jump on you early and force you to pass the rest of the game they kill with the pass rush they get from Freeney and Mathis on the ends. That team is really playing well right now. The Titans? Too many issues. Not enough talent on either side of the ball to right the ship. The only way they get out of this mess is to give Chris Johnson 25 touches and hope he carries you. It's a nice hope, but the problem with hope is reality gets in the way sometimes. Colts 24-14
NY Jets at Miami 8:30 PM (Mon) James: I’m sure that before the year started, this looked like a neat matchup to a couple people. The Jets should rebound in a huge way from the embarrassment they suffered in New Orleans last week. New York 28 – Miami 10
Matt: The Jets have nothing more to prove to me for now. They are in the driver’s seat in the AFC East and Miami is going to be nothing more than a bump in the road. Jets 27-17
John: Last week Chad Henne's debut for the Dolphins went well. Lucky for him, he was against a Bills defense that isn't very good. This week? The blitzing Jets. I don't like Henne's chances. On the other side of the ball, I see the Jets offense being able to do enough to get the win. It will be one of those field position type games with the Jets winning thanks to their elite defensive unit. Jets 20-13
JC's Money Picks John: Every week I'll pick four games against the spread or using the over/under. Last week I went 3-1 for the third straight week to put me at a very good season record of 11-5. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com on Friday morning as I write this.
Season: 11-5 (.688)
Vikings -10 over the RAMS – Not enough points. Plus the Rams have no home field advantage.
PANTHERS -4 over the Redskins – Going against the Redskins rather than for the Panthers.
Colts -3½ over the TITANS – I just really like betting on Peyton Manning right now.
Colts/Titans UNDER 45½ - Gut feeling more than anything.
Thanks for reading. We'll see you next Friday for week six.