NFL Office Pool Picks Week 5
The best part of this being the first week of the NFL season with byes is that there are fewer chances to be wrong with our office pool picks. It might sound silly, but after the last two weeks anyone who thinks that they know what is going on in the NFL is lying to themselves - and you. It has been just plain bizarre. All you need to see as undeniable proof of this is that the Bills and Rams are both in first place in their divisions. That's not just shocking - it might be a sign of the apocalypse. When faced with adversity, though, all we can do is keep on keeping on. So, fearlessly, let's plunge back into straight up NFL office pool picks and predictions:
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New England at Tampa Bay: Belichick and Brady are magicians, but even they can't win consistently with this total mess of a defense - quite possibly the worst in the league. Short of major moves, the defense isn't going to get better in any hurry, either. The Bucs haven't beaten a good team yet, though, and are dealing with injuries and issues defensively, too. Very tough game to start the week - on short preparation, no less. I'll take New England, but with no real strength of conviction.
Buffalo at Cincinnati: The Bengals are just plain lousy when they aren't playing Cleveland. Buffalo is playing some real defense, and they have been almost competent offensively. This one, surprisingly, sets up as a bit of a mismatch. Take the Bills.
New York Jets at Cleveland: It's possible for there to be a worse game this year in the NFL, but the possible combinations for one are few. Cleveland is every bit as Cleveland as they always are. They looked like they were taking steps forward, but it sure hasn't shown up on the field yet. The Jets are not nearly the team a 2-2 record would suggest, so a 3-2 record will be even more misleading. Take the Jets.
Carolina at Detroit: Carolina got a nice win over New England, and they are doing some things well, but there are still some issues on defense, and they still don't seem totally on the same page offensively. They have work to do. Detroit, meanwhile, has looked as complete as any team so far in this bizarre season, and they are at home. Take the Lions.
San Francisco at Indianapolis: Remember when I said few games could be worse than the Jets and Browns? This is one of them. Without a redeeming feature. Both teams have shown that they can be competitive for stretches of games, but they haven't been able to sustain it. Just a total coin toss. San Francisco has better and more stable coaching, so pick the Niners.
Tennessee at Miami: Who could possibly have guessed that Jay Cutler would look rough after spending an offseason not preparing for the NFL? Shocking. He has looked bad, and the team around him looks rough. Tennessee isn't where I hoped they would be at this point, but they are still by far the better team. Take the Titans.
San Diego at New York Giants: Let's take two of the most disappointing teams and face them off against each other. It will be thrilling, must-see TV. If the past has taught us anything it's that San Diego will be close late but will find a bizarre and painful way to lose. Take the Giants.
Arizona at Philadelphia: The Cardinals have only looked okay this year when they are up against bad, outmatched teams. Philadelphia is neither bad nor outmatched here. Not even close. Carson Wentz is looking like a real NFL QB, and the team is doing a lot right. Take the Eagles.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh: The Jaguars were really good in Weeks 1 and 3 and really bad in Weeks 2 and 4. This is an odd-numbered week, so should we trust them again? Or should we have faith in Pittsburgh, a team that has looked largely like they should but then lost to the Bears? Either team could fail to show up for this one, but Take the Steelers.
Baltimore at Oakland: The Raiders have fallen off a cliff the last two weeks after a solid start. The offense is gone, and injuries are a major concern. Baltimore, though, has been really lousy. That's a good remedy for the Raiders - especially at home. Derek Carr is out of action, but the Raiders still have to be the pick. Begrudgingly.
Seattle at L.A. Rams: The Seahawks have major offensive line issues and have struggled against real teams this year. So, are the Rams a real team? They have far exceeded expectations this year, and they have done it despite not exactly getting thunderous support at home. What the heck - take the Rams.
Green Bay at Dallas: Neither of these teams are where they should be, nor where they need to be to compete at a high level later this year. So you have to wonder which one is easier to have faith in right now. Being at home is big for Dallas, but they have defensive issues that concern me here. Take the Packers.
Kansas City at Houston: The Chiefs are the only unbeaten team in the league, and they are deserving of that distinction given how they have played. This is a tough spot for them, though, and the unbeaten streak ends right here. Deshaun Watson has been every bit as good as anyone could have hoped for, and he gets a big win here. Take the Texans.
Minnesota at Chicago: Mitch Trubisky is getting the much-deserved start here. Good move for the Bears. And it won't be enough. Minnesota has been sound defensively, and they are showing real toughness in the face of more QB uncertainty. Take the Vikings.
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