NFL Office Pool Picks Week 5
Last week was a more comfortable week for bettors and fans than we had experienced up until this point in the season. There is a good reason for that - more games made sense than in past weeks. Hopefully that is a sign that we are turning a corner and more games will go according to form. It would certainly make it easier to do well in our office pools. Here's how I see the games setting up this week - straight up, and not against the spread.
Indianapolis at New England: Andrew Luck played very well, and it wasn't enough to beat a really bad Houston team. That's really everything you need to know about this Colts team - they are so flawed that even a superhuman effort isn't good enough. And the Patriots seem to have woken up a little bit last week, and they are at home again. This one could get ugly. Take the Patriots.
Tennessee at Buffalo: The Bills are a truly ridiculous team. Three weeks this year they have looked like the worst team in the league. The fourth week they looked like one of the best. This is a good opponent for them, because the Titans are playing with smoke and mirrors, too. Tennessee is 3-1, and that makes no sense at all. But soon they will be 4-1. Take the Titans.
Miami at Cincinnati: These teams have at least two things in common - they are both 3-1, and both of their records seem about as trustworthy as a hungry wolf in a field of sheep. The Dolphins looked lousy last week, and the Bengals barely beat a deeply-troubled Atlanta team. Tough game. Take the Bengals at home.
Baltimore at Cleveland: Baltimore came off a nice win over the Steelers last week, but Pittsburgh mostly beat themselves. Cleveland, again, probably deserved a better fate last week than they got. Toss-up game. Baltimore probably has a slight edge, but cheering for Cleveland is more fun, so take the Browns.
Green Bay at Detroit: Green Bay hasn't always been trustworthy this year, but they have been more stable and reliable than the Lions, and that is good enough here. Take the Packers.
Jacksonville at Kansas City: This is a very interesting game. Denver's defense was able to give Kansas City some troubles, but not for long enough - the Chiefs found a way to move the ball in the end. Now Patrick Mahomes and company face an even more dangerous defense. Kansas City has been all but unstoppable so far, but if anyone can stop them it will be here. Close game. But I'm not picking against the video game offense. Take the Chiefs.
Denver at New York Jets: Denver is probably a bit frustrated after Monday night, and the short week won't help. But the Jets have some issues, and Denver's defense can expose them. Take the Broncos.
Atlanta at Pittsburgh: Who would have guessed a month ago that this would be a battle of two reeling, seemingly lost teams with just one win each. The only good news at this point for these teams is that they both can't lose the game. But who will win? I don't trust either team, so I'll default to geography and take the home team Steelers.
New York Giants at Carolina: This is the first week of the season that we have to worry about how teams are going to deal with coming off of bye weeks. Carolina has not been consistent yet, but I like what they are doing and the pieces they have. I like a lot less about what the Giants are doing. Take the Panthers.
Oakland at L.A. Chargers: I wish that the Chargers had been more impressive in beating San Francisco last week, but they are still the far better team here. Oakland barely deserved a win, and Jon Gruden has not even come close to earning his obscene salary so far. Take the Chargers.
Minnesota at Philadelphia: This is another game this week that features two teams that were supposed to be dramatically less lousy than they have been so far. Both have issues that aren't going to go away in a hurry, so the difference here comes down to location. Take the Eagles.
Arizona at San Francisco: The Cardinals are the last winless team. That's a distinction no team wants but one that this team is likely to have for a while yet. They try hard, but they just aren't very good. San Francisco hasn't been great, either, and their quarterback situation is far from rosy. But home field and a better defense will be big factors here. Take the Niners.
L.A. Rams at Seattle: The Rams are the best team in the NFL right now. With apologies to the Chiefs, we can't really argue about that at this point. Dangerous on both sides of the ball, and mentally tough. The Seahawks are none of those things, and that makes this a total mismatch. Take the Rams.
Dallas at Houston: Every football fan in Texas should be embarrassed that this game represents the best of pro football in the state right now. These are two underwhelming teams. I hate Houston slightly less than I hate Dallas at this point, and they are at home. Take the Texans - but not happily.
Washington at New Orleans: The Saints seem to have found their way after a rough start to the season. This won't be an easy test because the Redskins are coming off a bye, so they will be fresh and well prepared. But the better team is at home, and we can't ignore that - or overthink the situation. Take the Saints.
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