OK, dear readers, I owe you both an apology and an explanation.
First, the apology: Sorry for choosing the New York Giants last week as my top choice for your survivor pools. Thanks to an Eli Manning interception that was returned for a 94-yard touchdown as New York was driving for the winning score, the Seattle Seahawks did what they never do: Win on the East Coast.
However, now the explanation: I actually switched my choice in all of my pools to the New Orleans Saints after the Week 5 advice column was published. See, here’s the deal. In an order to get you the information early, this story is often written on Wednesday but no later than Thursday. However, I should always include the caveat that last-second injury news should change your choice (and didn’t). This is why you should always wait until the absolute final second on Sunday to make your choice (usually an hour before the first kickoff).
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With that said, when last week’s column was written, both New York’s Justin Tuck (the team’s best defensive player) and Brandon Jacobs (the Giants’ co-No. 1 running back) were expected to play. But both were ruled out early Sunday. Tuck’s was so surprising that even former Giants Antonio Pierce and Michael Strahan publicly questioned him. Anyways, once I saw that, I felt a little uneasy and changed my pick to New Orleans (at Carolina). I always wait until about 11:55 a.m. ET to actually make my choice just for scenarios like this.
So that’s my disclaimer from now on and why I always give you more than one “worth considering.” I mentioned last week that I almost picked the Saints at Carolina anyways – and New Orleans, it must be said, was a bit fortunate to win – but settled on the Giants. Those two key injuries changed that. So now I have used the following this season: Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego and New Orleans.
Here’s hoping you saw the injuries and also changed, or just disregarded my advice altogether. On to Week 6.
Falcons vs. Panthers: The Panthers are a scary bunch now with Cam Newton. And they will beat at least a team or two they shouldn’t, but I’m guessing that will happen at home. The Falcons can’t afford to fall to 2-4 and they are generally nearly unbeatable at the Georgia Dome – other than against Green Bay.
Bengals vs. Colts: I’m rather shocked that the Bengals are 3-2 as I didn’t think they would win three games maybe all season. Andy Dalton seems like he may be the real deal. One thing to monitor is the status of Bengals RB Cedric Benson, who could be suspended any day for another run-in with the law this offseason. Then I’d probably steer clear of this one.
Packers vs. Rams: I could see Green Bay sleepwalking through this one and not covering (currently -15), but no way the Pack lose.
Steelers vs. Jaguars: Pittsburgh is too battered and inconsistent this year to ever take the Steelers on the road. But at home and against a rookie quarterback, this should be a layup.
Jets vs. Dolphins (Monday): New York looks disorganized and suddenly traded No. 3 WR Derrick Mason this week to Houston, presumably because he criticized the coaching staff. The Jets don’t have much at the position now beyond Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. But this is almost a must-win for the Jets and they are 2-0 at home.
Too Even To Bother
Giants vs. Bills: That’s what I get for risking anything on Eli Manning. I truly have no idea who wins this game.
Eagles at Redskins: I love how oddsmakers still are on the Philly bandwagon, as a 1-4 team on a four-game skid is a favorite at a 3-1 division leader.
Ravens vs. Texans: Yeah, I presume Baltimore wins at home here, especially as Houston again will be without stud WR Andre Johnson. But it still wouldn’t be a shock if the Texans pulled the upset.
Patriots vs. Cowboys: If the good Tony Romo shows up, the Cowboys could win this game. Big ‘if’.
Saints at Buccaneers: New Orleans might be the second-best team in the NFL (sorry Lions). And the Bucs lost a few key guys last week to injury (Gerald McCoy and LeGarrette Blount). But Tampa Bay always beats the Saints at least once a year.
Stay Far, Far Away
Raiders vs. Browns: You probably never thought you would get to use Oakland this year. I would be a bit too nervous here but it’s worth a look. However, the Raiders might be spent after a very emotional win last week in the wake of Al Davis’ death.
Lions vs. 49ers: The Lions’ bandwagon grows and grows, but if there’s ever a trap game it would seem to be here for Detroit: Off their first home Monday night game in a decade and their first win over Chicago in a few years. Plus the Niners are so well coached.
Bears vs. Vikings: Worst offensive line in the NFL since the turn of the century? That Bears unit sure looked like it and now comes Jared Allen, who is on pace for a record 27 sacks this season.
And The Pick Is ….
I don’t normally like taking games on Monday night, again because of that potential for a last-minute injury that leaves you in a hole. So, wait until the last minute, but I lean toward the Jets even though Miami is off a bye. The Falcons would be my second choice if there is a key New York injury that you learn about before it’s time to pick.
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