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October 08, 2015

Week 5 NFL picks

Eagles NFL
100815GregHardy Brandon Wade/AP

Don't piss off Tom Brady, Greg.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 5 picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

Colts helmet
Colts at Texans (-2): The duo of Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer have combined for the following stat line this season: 106 for 201 (52.7%), 1188 yards (5.9 YPA), 6 TD, 4 INT, 72.3 QB rating. That isn't a surprise. However, what has been surprising is that a defense that includes guys like JJ Watt, Vince Wilfork, Jadeveon Clowney, and Brian Cushing has given up 27 points per game. The Colts, meanwhile, have been equally disappointing. They were barely able to fend off the Jaguars at home Week 4, and have looked nothing like the Super Bowl contenders many thought they'd be to open the season. My pick here will be more of a game time decision. If Andrew Luck is a go, I like the Colts. If he's not, I'll begrudgingly take Houston. For now, let's just assume Luck will be a go.

Chiefs helmet
Bears at Chiefs (-9): The Bears, as we note every week, are prime candidates to get the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Big Red's Chiefs are just 1-3, but their three losses all came at the hands of undefeated teams -- the Broncos, Packers, and Bengals. I've seen way too many Andy Reid games in my day in which the Eagles were heavy favorites and the team came out flat. I'll take the Chiefs to win, but give me the Bears and 9 points.

Seahawks at Bengals (-3): This is a great game. The Seahawks were gifted a win last week at home against a winless team, and have looked nothing like the team that went to the last two Super Bowls. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton has a 123.0 QB rating, and the Bengals have racked up four impressive wins to start the season. Cincinnati isn't often thought of as a difficult place to play, but the Bengals are 15-2-1 there since 2013.

Redskins at Falcons (-8): The Redskins are the #1 rushing team in the NFL, and they have the #2 rushing defense in the NFL. Anyone see that coming? Surprisingly, the Redskins have won in the trenches early this season, which will make it difficult for teams to blow them away. The Redskins are too banged up in their secondary to stop Julio Jones for four quarters, but I like the value of getting 8 points here.

Buccaneers helmet
Jaguars at Buccaneers (-3): The Buccaneers haven't won a home game since 2013. The Jaguars haven't won a road game since 2013. Something has to give. This may be the least-watched game of the entire NFL schedule this season. I'll be honest -- I'm just going to flip a coin here. Aaaand, it looks like I'm taking the Buccaneers. Let's go Jameis!

Saints at Eagles (-5): So far this season, I'm 40-19 picking games that don't involve the Eagles. I'm 0-4 picking the team I cover day-in, day-out. That's pretty embarrassing, really. The Eagles are as baffling a team as any in the league, and really I have no confidence picking either way this week. The Saints, on the other hand, are just as big a mess. So, Eagles. (I'll have a more thorough breakdown of the Eagles-Saints later in the week).

Ravens helmet
Browns at Ravens (-7): There are 12 teams in the NFL with one win so far this season, and here are two of them. The Ravens are coming off a huge win in Pittsburgh last week, although they weren't exactly impressive, as that was a simultaneously great and awful football game. This will be a big opportunity to get back in the hunt after starting 0-3.

Rams at Packers (-9): It has now been 1040 days since Aaron Rodgers last threw an interception at Lambeau Field. He was picked off on a gadget play by Harrison Smith of the Vikings on December 2, 2012. Since that pick, he has thrown 47 consecutive TD passes at Lambeau without being picked. We're witnessing the Michael Jordan of the NFL right now.

Bills (-2.5) at Titans: The Bills got waxed last week at home by the Giants, and seem to be another one of these "good one week, bad the next week" teams. Buffalo has a staggering 47 penalties this season (almost 12 per game) in their first year under Rex Ryan. The Bills' defense should seemingly be a very tough challenge for a rookie quarterback, but I think I like Marcus Mariota and the Titans coming off their bye.

Cardinals (-2.5) at Lions: The Cardinals got served a little humble pie last week, when they couldn't stop Rams rookie Todd Gurley from running all over them in the second half. However, the Lions are the most inept running team by a mile in a league that includes the Philadelphia Eagles. On the season, the Lions are averaging 47 rushing yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry. They're on their way to 0-5.

Patri*ts (-9.5) at Cowboys: Greg Hardy is such a scumbag and an idiot. In an interview session after returning from suspension in which he threw his girlfriend onto a futon with a pile of guns on it, Hardy started talking about Tom Brady's girlfriend, Gisele Bundchen, via USA Today.  

“Have you seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game, all her friends come to the game."

Hang 70 on them, Tom.

Broncos (-4.5) at Raiders: I'm not sure why this line is only 4.5, but if I were a gambling degenerate, I'd be all over this one. Since Peyton Manning got to Denver in 2012, in six games the Broncos have outscored the Raiders by a combined score of 222-78. Now, the argument against the Broncos here is that this Raiders team is a little better than ones in years past, and Peyton Manning isn't the same guy he used to be, but look at this dominance:

Broncos vs Raiders Score 
 Week 4, 2012, Raiders at Broncos37-6 
 Week 14, 2012 Broncos at Raiders26-13 
 Week 3, 2013, Raiders at Broncos37-21 
 Week 17, 2013, Raiders at Broncos34-14 
 Week 10, 2014, Broncos at Raiders41-17 
 Week 17, 2014, Raiders at Broncos47-14 

I mean, the Broncos have won every game over that span by at least 13 points. I'm going to believe history repeats itself here.

49ers at Giants (-7): The 49ers are just so bad. Over their last three games, the Niners have been outscored 107-28, and they have the worst point differential in the NFL, at -62. Meanwhile, if the Giants hadn't urinated away a pair of 10-point leads in the fourth quarter Weeks 1 and 2, they'd be sitting at 4-0 at the moment.

Steelers at Chargers (-3): I've finally come to the realization after years of picking the Chargers almost every week that they're really just not that good. However, I like any team that gets to play the Steelers while they have to roll with Michael Vick. Pittsburgh has other pieces in their offense, like LeVeon Bell, but Vick's presence really limits what Antonio Brown can do to opposing defenses. The Steelers have a timing-based offense, which is a bad fit for Vick. While Vick is certainly still worthy of being a #2 QB in the NFL, I'm not sure why the Steelers signed him. They have to completely change what they do offensively when he's in there.

Byes: Dolphins, Vikings, Jets, Panthers.

Picks against the spread: Bears (+9), Redskins (+8), Saints (+5), Broncos (-4.5).

Last week, straight up: 10-5

Season, straight up: 40-23

Last week, ATS: 2-1

Season, ATS: 11-9

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski