NFL Office Pool Picks - Week 5
by Trevor Whenham - 10/8/2009
It was a fairly straightforward week for picking office pool winners last week - it's not hard to be right more often than you are wrong when the better team wins most of the games. Let's get right at it to see if we can have an even better week this time. Remember, these picks are straight up, not against the spread.
Cleveland at Buffalo - The Bills aren't a great team right now, and they have a ticking time bomb on their hands with Terrell Owens. That being said, they are like the undefeated 2007 Patriots when compared to Cleveland. The Browns have a terrible offense, an inept defense, and a truly terrible coach. They have nothing going for them, and are far from worthy of support. Take the Bills.
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Pittsburgh at Detroit - The Steelers are struggling and have been one of the bigger disappointments of the young season. Despite that, they have superior firepower compared to Detroit at this point in the development of both teams. The Lions will put forth a strong effort, just like they have the last couple of weeks. I doubt that it will be enough, though. Take the Steelers.
Dallas at Kansas City - The Cowboys have looked rough for the last couple of weeks, and they are afflicted with inner turmoil. The Chiefs should be a short-term remedy for their problems. A big part of Tony Romo's problems has been that he hasn't had the time to make good decisions. That won't be a problem here - the Chiefs don't exactly rush quarterbacks. Take the Cowboys.
Minnesota at St. Louis - There is one way that the Vikings could reasonably lose this game - if they aren't focused on the task at hand after the euphoria of the big Monday night win. Other than that they have substantially better talent on both sides of the ball, and will be playing on a field that is practically tailor-made for their skills. Take the Vikings.
Oakland at New York Giants - We don't know if Eli Manning is going to be healthy enough to play, and we don't know how effective he will be even if he does play because of his injured foot. Thankfully, that is totally irrelevant here. The Giants could randomly pick someone out of the stands and he or she would be at least as good at quarterback as JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders are in chaos and won't be ready to face one of the best teams in the league. Take the Giants.
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia - Tampa Bay is struggling, and Josh Johnson will be facing the most hostile setting of his short career. He'll be facing a very tough opponent. Donovan McNabb is back from injury, the Eagles are well rested and well prepared after a bye week, and the crowd is going to be frenzied. That's too much for the Bucs to handle at this point in their development. Take the Eagles.
Washington at Carolina - This is my least favorite situation - having to choose between two flawed and directionless teams. Washington won last week, but they looked far from dominant doing it. Carolina has yet to win. I think that the Panthers will end their luckless streak here. They have had a week off to prepare for this one, and despite their struggles they have looked more cohesive and effective than the Redskins have up to this point. If Jake Delhomme can play even reasonably well then they will win here. Take the Panthers.
Cincinnati at Baltimore - These two teams are tied atop probably the toughest division in football right now. That doesn't mean that they are equal, though - at least not in my eyes. The Bengals have benefited from a weak schedule. Baltimore has looked better than the Bengals, and they would be 4-0 if they had got better breaks from the referees. Baltimore is very tough to play at home, as well. Take the Ravens.
Atlanta at San Francisco - It's amazing how fickle the public is. Last year people couldn't quit talking about the Falcons. This year they have played competent ball and sit at 2-1, yet they aren't getting nearly as much coverage. This week isn't going to help them get more coverage, because I expect them to lose. San Francisco has been remarkably strong, and has covered the spread every week of the season. They are getting better on offense and are tough defensively. Take the Niners.
Jacksonville at Seattle - Like the Carolina game, this one features two teams that are not at their best. Neither team is likely to set the world on fire this season, so it is a matter of determining which one is the best of the bad bunch right now. Despite their struggles, the Jags are coming off a good win over the Titans. I expect them to channel that confidence and momentum and win another one here. Take the Jaguars.
Houston at Arizona - This is a very good game. The Texans can look very good, but they can also look incredibly lousy. The same goes with the Cardinals. Every time I think about this game I imagine a different scenario, so it is essentially a coin flip scenario. In a case like that I have to go with the team coming off the bye week - especially when that is the home team. Take the Cardinals.
New England at Denver - At the start of the season this one would have been easy to call. Now it is much harder since the Patriots have looked questionable and the Broncos are, very unexpectedly, undefeated. Most people are going to be on the Patriots, so I am going to gamble and try to open up some space on the crowd. The Broncos are at home, and coach Josh McDaniels knows the Patriots' offense as well as anyone outside of Boston. Take the Broncos.
Indianapolis at Tennessee - This game should have been a very interesting one, but it isn't set up that way right now. The Colts, despite having to introduce new talent on offense and struggling with injuries defensively, are firing on all cylinders. The Titans have been lousy, and I am tired of waiting for them to snap out of their funk. I don't expect this one to be pretty or particularly close. Take the Colts.
New York Jets at Miami - The Jets came crashing back to earth last week after an explosive start to their season. Miami had their first win of the season, and they did it in grand style against the Bills. This divisional game is crucial, and will establish the second level of strength in the AFC East behind the Patriots. My guess is that that will be the Jets. Coach Rex Ryan and his defensive staff will find all sorts of ways to make young QB Chad Henne miserable. Take the Jets.