NFL Office Pool Picks Week 5
by Trevor Whenham - 9/30/2014
I am man enough to admit that I have been mostly clueless about the NFL this year. It isn't through a lack of effort. It just seems like every time I figure that I have a team figured out they pull a 180. I'm not alone in this -- scores have been lopsided, and sportsbooks have certainly not hated September. All you can do in a case like this -- a season with two completely forgettable weeks worth of picks in the books already -- is just work harder next time out. With that in mind, here's how I see this week's games playing out:
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Minnesota at Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers and company have finally woken up and showed what they are capable of on offense. It wasn't perfect, but it was much better than what we have seen before. Minnesota had a good outing in the first game of the Teddy Bridgewater era, but they are on the road in a tough spot, and their QBs health is unclear. Take the Packers.
Chicago at Carolina: The Bears had a rough outing against Green Bay, but this game should be a remedy for them. Chicago has won both of their road games, and Carolina looked just lousy last week. Take the Bears.
Cleveland at Tennessee: Tennessee is just not good right now, and they have QB issues -- along with so much else -- to figure out. Cleveland isn't exactly great, either, but they have the edge at quarterback, and they have had a week off to get ready for this one. I'm nervous backing the Browns on the road, but Cleveland is the pick.
St. Louis at Philadelphia: It was a truly disastrous week for the Eagles -- their vaunted offense didn't score against San Francisco. The Rams' defense will have learned some lessons from what San Francisco did, but the Eagles are tough at home, and Chip Kelly will be furiously motivated after last week. Take the Eagles.
Atlanta at N.Y. Giants: The Falcons are what we thought they were -- a mentally-soft team that can't realize their potential. They have lost both of their road games, and they are going to lose another one to a Giants' team that has some issues -- plenty, really -- but which has been surprisingly tough the last two weeks. Take the Giants.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans: Very tough game. The Bucs get a lot of credit for being tough and for doing what they should have done all along and going with Mike Glennon at QB. It was a tough win against Pittsburgh, but the Steelers all but beat themselves with a shocking lack of discipline. Picking against Tampa should be easy, but the Saints have been one-dimensional offensively and disastrous on defense. I'll take the home team, but not happily. Take the Saints.
Houston at Dallas: Dallas looks not at all like a Cowboys team lately -- their first half against the Saints was as good a half as they have played in a couple of years. Houston has been solid, but I still don't trust their quarterback. On the other hand, J.J. Watt and company will harass Tony Romo relentlessly, and there are certainly guys who handle pressure better. Another tough game, and another default to the home team. Take the Cowboys.
Buffalo at Detroit: The Bills have done the right thing by benching E.J. Manuel -- he just isn't progressing, and they have a sound second option in Kyle Orton. I'm not confident it will be enough here, though, Detroit has been sound this year -- especially at home -- and Calvin Johnson should be more ready this week after essentially taking last game off to the chagrin of fantasy owners everywhere. Take the Lions.
Baltimore at Indianapolis: Baltimore deserves credit for playing tough football this year in the face of all sorts of distractions. They are in a tough spot here, though. Andrew Luck has been brilliant this year, and the Colts have been much stronger than their 2-2 record suggests -- they have lost two close games to very tough teams. Take the Colts.
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville: The Steelers are coming off a demoralizing loss, have injury issues galore, and can't stay out of penalty trouble. It would be very tempting to bet against them. This is Jacksonville, though. Blake Bortles looked solid in his debut, but he just doesn't have enough help yet. My coin is getting worn out from flipping it this week. Take the Steelers.
Arizona at Denver: Both teams are coming off of a bye week, so they are ready for what is a great matchup. I like so much of what Bruce Arians is doing in Arizona, and I really want to pick them. My head says I can't, though. The Broncos are at home, and while they aren't what they were last year they are still the right pick. Take the Broncos.
Kansas City at San Francisco: Kansas City dominated the struggling Patriots Monday night at Arrowhead. The Niners recaptured something that had been missing in a defensive dismantling of the Eagles, and that isn't going to go away - especially against a team with some issues coming off a short week. Take the Niners.
N.Y. Jets at San Diego: The Jets should take the lead of the Bills and ditch Geno Smith for Michael Vick, but that would do nothing to change this pick. The Chargers are a very good team, and they have been exceptional the last three weeks. That won't change here. Take the Chargers.
Cincinnati at New England: The Patriots played one of the worst games of the NFL season in Monday night's loss to the Chiefs. I am concerned about a few things regarding the Bengals in the long term -- especially their coaching -- but right now they are playing great football, and they have had a bye week to prepare for this one. New England is not creative on offense, and that will be an issue here. Take the Bengals.
Seattle at Washington: I have obvious issues with the Seahawks on the road. Things change so quickly in the NFL, though, and I can no longer trust Kirk Cousins like I did last week -- at least until he shows that he can shake off a total dud of an outing. Shaking off anything is tough against this Seattle defense. Take the Seahawks.
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