Saturday, October 8, 2011

NFL Week 5 Game Predictions

Week 4 of the NFL season didn't turn out the way I had pictured it.  While posting an 11-5 prediction record for the week, many of the games wound up scoring much different than I assessed, with some teams teaching me a lesson when it comes to underestimated the "down and out" teams, while some teams that had been power-houses turned to the be simply average.  There were numerous comeback games.  In fact I can't remember an entire season with the amount of comebacks that we've seen so far through four weeks, it's really makes for some fun football, as it seems that no team is ever truly dead any given week.  

I correctly picked 11 of the 16 games for an 11-5 weekly record.

This brings me yearly record to 45-19.  Not too shabby.

Before moving on to the Week 5 picks, I'll begin by recapping the 5 losses and a few other notable games from week 4. 

Buffalo 20 Cincinnati 23.  Now this game should have been my 12th correct prediction.  However you just can't predict unfair officiating, which was the case in this contest.  I wrote an entire post dedicated to this travesty of justice.  If you'd like to read it it's a few posts back.  But in short:  Buffalo had a 20-13 lead with about 8 minutes left on the clock.  It was 3rd and 5 on the Buffalo 48.  Fitzpatrick hit Stevie Johnson with a 6 yard crossing pattern, which by all accounts and every angle possible proved the catch was textbook.  However the official making the call ruled the pass incomplete.  Buffalo challenged the call but the Head Official doing the review agreed with his crew member.  It was an absolute robbery, as the catch was good.  Buffalo could have ran off at minimum 2 minutes off the clock and most likely would have been able to take a shot at a FG. But they had to punt and the game swung in Cincinnati's favor.  All because of a horrendous call.

Houston beat Pittsburgh 17-10.  I thought the game would be a good game but with Big Ben going down for a bit, LB James Harrison leaving the game with Injury and a revolving door of walking wounded offensive linemen offered the Steelers really no ability on offense, while it assisted Arian Foster running for 150 + yards.

The lions wound up coming back by 21 points or more in the second consecutive week.  Dallas looked to have this game in their back pocket, but Tony Romo threw 2 pick sixes and the tide turned.  Really amazing what Detroit has overcome the past two weeks and this team looks for real.  Dallas, injured as they are, both physically and emotionally, get a most-needed Bye week this upcoming week, while Detroit hosts a huge game on Monday Night Football against division rival Chicago.

Another comeback game.  A real shocker.  San Francisco was getting hammered in this won but wound up climbing the ladder all the way to a 24-23 comeback victory against Philadelphia last week.  I'm not sure what to think about SF yet, they are 3-1 and in a terrible division, so right now it looks favorable for a title for new coach Jim Harbaugh.  As for Philly, well they're making mistakes and the first signs of implosion are there for the picking, as QB Mike Vick has gone from blaming the officials to now, blaming his teammates.  They look to rebound against Buffalo this week in Orchard Park, NY.  Hopefully the implosion will continue, at least for one more week.

The Minnesota-Kansas City game was just a bad football game involving two bad teams.  Minnesota just happened to be the worse of the two last weekend.  Each team is clearly in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes right now.

Those were the five losses, here's a few quick random notes:

Cam Newton didn't have a great game, but he almost led his team back against the Bears.  This kid's going to be really, really good once he gets the offense down pat.  Should be fun to watch him evolve.

The Banged up Giants just keep getting the breaks, and to be fair are making their own breaks as well.  With a depleted secondary, defensive line and receiving corps, they've seen a lot of unknown players step up huge.  They've also had some fortunate bounces and turnovers to assist them, but they're moving on, and at 3-1 they are tied with Washington for first place in the NFC East.  Once they start getting all their guys, or at least a few more of them, back healthy they could be a team to watch out for in the NFC.

And finally, not really a need to mention it, but WOW, Aaron Rodgers is just crazy good.

Week 5 Predictions.

Philadelphia @ Buffalo

Both teams are looking to rebound off poor play in week 4.  Both teams seem ready to take on the other.  I'm not sure what's going to happen here.  If Buffalo's offense plays like they had in the first 3 weeks I can easily see them winning the game.  However, I'm not sure how they'll be able to handle Mike Vick and will cautiously take Philadelphia in a close, shoot-out styled game.  Philadelphia 38 Buffalo 31

New Orleans @ Carolina

Should be a fun game to watch.  The Saints offense seems to be clicking. They should get more snaps out of WR Marques Colston this week and RB Darren Sproles is seemingly the player they once hoped Reggie Bush would have been.  Carolina's playing inspired football but are young and are still learning.  Newton's been the talk of the league and is doing better than anyone could expect so far.  It'll be interesting to see how he moves the ball against Gregg Williams defense.  I'll take New Orleans 42 Carolina 28

Oakland @ Houston

I'm expecting Houston to win this game.  However, with the passing of Al Davis, the only owner they've ever had, I can see one of two things to take place.  1. They lay down as their hearts just can't be in a game being played just a day after their owner passed away.  2.  They play a game of all games, honoring their late owner with a win of wins.  That all said I like what Houston's been able to do and with Andre Johnson out it'll be interesting to see where his targets are distributed.  Because of the Andre Johnson factor and the emotional factor for the Raiders I expect that the game will be very close, with Houston just edging Oakland out.  Houston 20  Oakland 17

Kansas City @ Indianapolis

Not a good game.  This one should be brutal to watch, even if you're a fan of either team.  KC gets the fortunate scheduling bounce by facing winless teams in back to back weeks.  Curtis Painter is not suited to be an NFL quarterback, and this team looks flat.  I expect to see a few nice plays out of Pierre Garcon, who has had seemingly clicked with Painter, and Joseph Addai, who's having a decent year despite everything else falling apart around him.  Begrudgingly I have to take Kansas City, as I think we'll see again in Week 5, KC is the better of two bad teams.  Kansas City 13 Indianapolis 10

Cincinnati @ Jacksonville

This could be a win for the Jaguars.  But Cincinnati's defense was able to stop Buffalo's high flying attack, an offense that had been averaging 37.5 points per game.  The Bills offense only was able to score 13 points against the Bengals defense.  Jacksonville, with rookie QB Blaine Gabbert still getting his NFL feet wet, will look to pound MJD all game long yet again.  The Bengals will try to take MJD out of the game early, and if they do it'll be a long day for Blaine Gabbert as they bring the heat.  Cincinnati 27 Jacksonville 13

Arizona @ Minnesota

Minnesota's been terrible and with another loss the Christian Ponder era may just begin sooner than later.  Donovan McNabb is clearly struggling learning the new offense and the coaches have been working with him on his mechanics, not good for a veteran QB.  That said, Kevin Kolb has not been worth the high price the Cardinals dished out for him yet, both trade value-wise and financial value-wise.  However, he's shown that he and elite WR Larry Fitzgerald are truly in-sync.  RB Beanie Wells, however, has been the story in Arizona so far this year.  I'm going to pick the upset here.  I look for Minnesota to do everything they can to stop Beanie Wells and just hope Peterson can provide their offense with enough to win.  Peterson has been unbelievable yet again this year and I can't see it stopping, especially not this week against a pretty bad Arizona defense.  Minnesota 21 Arizona 17

Seattle @ New York Giants

For all the Giants woes, they've been getting it done.  Tarvaris Jackson's passing performance last week is an anomaly, he's terrible.  The Giants win this game easily regardless where it's played.  Being in NY makes it all the easier.  NYG 24 Seattle 6

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh at home, against a Titans team that hasn't seen their star RB do anything of real value yet this year, should be a no-brainer.  However with the previously mentioned injury issue Pittsburgh's stumbled upon and with Titan's QB Matt Hasselback having perhaps his best year of his career I think this could be tilted in Tennessee's favor, and that's despite the loss of elite WR Kenny Britt.  Without Harrison I'm expecting Chris Johnson to have a good game and Nate Washington should be up for his old team, in his new role as the teams #1 receiver.  Washington and Hasselback have shown a nice connection thus far and it's not showing any signs of letting up.  Tennessee 17 Pittsburgh 10

San Diego @ Denver

Denver's hanging in these games but they're not good enough yet.  I just wonder how long before Tim Tebow's given his shot.  It won't be this week and despite this being a divisional matchup, where games are typically much closer than anticipated, SD should roll in this contest.  San Diego 31 Denver 23

Tampa Bay @ San Francisco

Kind of an interesting game by the numbers.  Neither team has shown any sort of offensive identity yet.  Both teams have underperforming WR's and not the sort of line play they expected.  That said both these defenses, especially SF's, has played above expectations.  I think this game could swing one of two ways.  Either the trip to the West Coast will be too much for the Buc's to overcome, which really shouldn't be the case, but if it is, then I see SF winning a close one.  Or, which I think will be the case, TB's more talented team offensively will pull the close game out.  Tampa Bay 20 San Francisco 19

New York Jets @ New England

The Jets have flaws all over the place.  The Patriots give up a lot on the defensive side of the ball.  Rex Ryan and the Jets win the pre-game media contest but the all too powerful Brady led offense will win the actual game.  New England 49 New York Jets 29

Sunday Night Football

Green Bay @ Atlanta

I'm really looking forward to both the primetime games this week.  This game should see a lot of points scored and we'll get to see if Matt Ryan can play up to public perception or if Clay Matthews and company take advantage of the unexpected poor play of Atlanta's offensive line.  I'm not worried, nor do I have question marks, about Green Bays potent offensive attack.  I do have questions about Atlanta.  Therefore the pick for me is easy.  Green Bay 35 Atlanta 24

Monday Night Football

Chicago @ Detroit

Big, big ball game.  Chicago desperately needs the win.  But they're not playing well.  RB Matt Forte is the entire offense and the defense is playing uncharacteristically bad.  Detroit is lights out on offense, playing inspired defense, should get rookie DT Nick Fairley ready to play, and have shown they can win, even when the games get seemingly out of hands.  The only thing stopping Detroit this week is the stage, and how they react to being seen by everyone in America on the week's last game, on Monday Night Football.  I think Stafford and company will be just fine.  Detroit 38  Chicago 21

Washington, Miami, Dallas, St. Louis, Cleveland and Baltimore all have Week 5 BYE weeks.

I hope everyone enjoys a good week of football, unless you're an Eagles fan:)

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