NFL Office Pool Picks Week 5
by Trevor Whenham - 10/4/2011
Last week was just the kind that I hope for each week, and a very useful one for office pools. It wasn’t 16-0, but it was almost the next best thing. There were 13 wins, and two teams I didn’t pick — San Francisco and Cincinnati — weren’t teams that most people would have picked, either. There’s nothing wrong with getting one wrong if few people get it right.
This week is the first with teams on their bye, so there are only 13 games. That means that I’d be really happy with 13 wins again for our NFL office pool picks. Here’s a look at how I see this week’s games play out — straight up, not against the NFL point spread:
New Orleans at Carolina - Cam Newton has been the biggest surprise in the NFL. Very impressive. This is a tough spot for his team, though. The Saints don’t have a great secondary, but they have faced some strong passing teams so far, and they have been good enough to overcome them. The Panthers are going to win a few more games this year, but the smart bet is that this won’t be one of them. Take the Saints.
Philadelphia at Buffalo - The Bills were embarrassed in a game they should have won easily last week. It was the first lasting adversity that they have faced this year, so this will be a huge indicator of whether we should take them seriously or not. Philadelphia is a mess and Buffalo should be able to beat them if they have their heads in the game. I never would have guessed I would have said this at the start of the season, but take the Bills.
Seattle at N.Y. Giants - The Seahawks don’t travel to the East Coast particularly well, and though Tarvaris Jackson is getting better with each game he’s still the second best quarterback in this one, and he plays for the second best team. Take the Giants.
Cincinnati at Jacksonville - I have no respect for either of these teams right now. The Bengals are inconsistent with terrible coaching, and the Jaguars are just plain ugly. The Bengals at least showed some life last week, so that makes them the lukewarm choice here. Take the Bengals.
Kansas City at Indianapolis - The league couldn’t schedule a worse game right now if they tried. This is a total mess. On Monday night the Colts showed two things, though — they have a pass rush, and they are capable of simplifying the playbook enough to make their offense at least a little bit effective. It’s not much, but since they are at home it’s enough. Take the Colts.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh - At the start of the season I would have guessed I would have been heavily on the Steelers here. Things sure can change in this league. Big Ben is banged up, the offensive line is a mess, and they lack cohesiveness. The Titans, on the other hand, are getting strong coaching, surprisingly strong QB play, and are doing a lot of likable things. Take the Titans.
Arizona at Minnesota - Donovan McNabb has been unimpressive. To say the least. Arizona has some issues, but they are better in many ways in this one. Take the Cardinals.
Oakland at Houston - The Raiders have been better than I thought they would be in a lot of ways, but they are still the second best in this one. The Texans still have some work to do, but this should be the year they make the playoffs. If it is then this is the kind of game they have to cruise through. Take the Texans.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco - Jim Harbaugh is the Coach of the Year so far, and it’s not even close. His team should have been a mess, but they are playing very tough. They just won two in a row on the East Coast, and Alex Smith has been very solid. Tampa is good, but the Niners will be tough at home. This should be a very good one. Take the 49ers.
N.Y. Jets at New England - The Patriots are horrifying on defense right now, but their offense is obviously impressive. The Jets aren’t impressing me on either side of the ball. They may be able to score some points, but with Mark Sanchez at the helm they won’t score a ton of them. They won’t be able to score enough to keep up with New England. Take the Patriots.
San Diego at Denver - If the Chargers don’t win this one then they have real problems. I don’t love how they are playing, but they are still very much the better team here. Denver just isn’t playing very well right now. Take the Chargers.
Green Bay at Atlanta - This game should be a tight one, but I really don’t believe it will be — the Falcons have been too much of a disappointment. Green Bay is red hot offensively, and they should be able to continue that here. I don’t trust Atlanta to keep up. Take the Packers.
Chicago at Detroit - I like what the Lions are doing, but I’d really like to see them win one without the crazy comeback. A home game against a flawed Bears team is a good spot for them to get that. Take the Lions.