Week 5 is here. There are some goodies on tap for the week. San Diego-Pittsburgh; Dallas-Philly; Denver-Baltimore; and Giants-Foreskins. This is a good looking week. Last week, NFL offenses showed the first signs of life. The Redskins and Jaguars put up more than 60 points. Amazing. The Lions and Rams made Mike Martz proud. We’ll see who’s proud this week.
NFL Lines For Week 5 – NFL Football Line Week Five
NFL Game Dates 10/8 & 10/9, 2006
|Date & Time||Favorite||Line||Underdog||Total|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At Indianapolis||-18||Tennessee||48|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At NY Giants||-4.5||Washington||46|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At Minnesota||-6.5||Detroit||40.5|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At New Orleans||-6.5||Tampa Bay||35|
|10/8 1:00 ET||St. Louis||-3||At Green Bay||46|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At New England||-10||Miami||37|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At Chicago||-10||Buffalo||34.5|
|10/8 1:00 ET||At Carolina||-8||Cleveland||37.5|
|10/8 4:05 ET||At Jacksonville||-7||NY Jets||38|
|10/8 4:05 ET||Kansas City||-3.5||At Arizona||39|
|10/8 4:05 ET||At San Francisco||-3||Oakland||40|
|10/8 4:15 ET||At Philadelphia||-1.5||Dallas||43.5|
|10/8 8:15 ET||At San Diego||-3.5||Pittsburgh||37.5|
Monday Night Football Line
|10/9 8:30 ET||At Denver||-4||Baltimore||33|
Some interesting matchups are on tap this weekend. Some teams are going to have very easy weeks – at least on paper. But, that’s why the play the games. Here’s how I see it.
I like the Colts to roll over the Titans at home. 18 points is a huge margin, but the Colts routinely score tons of points. It will be interesting to see how Vince Young attacks an injury-depleted Colt defense. Given the volume of Indy’s crowd noise and the overall speed of the Colts D, the game should be challenging for the rook. Indy 52, Tennessee 13. Take the over and expect the Colts to smother the spread.
The Giants are coming off a much needed bye week and face a resurgent Foreskin squad that surprised the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Going into the bye, the Giants were unable to do things on defense: rush the passer and cover receivers. Since the Foreskins, under the leadership of Al Saunders, deploy an exquisite short passing game and a crew of precise route runners (Moss, Randle-El, Lloyd) – the Giants problems better get fixed in a hurry. I suspect you’ll see a new Giants team this Sunday. Still, I like Clinton Portis to have a good day; I like Santana Moss to be productive…and I like Al Saunders to come up with a plan to keep Brunell upright. Last year, Santana killed the Giants with screen passes they were unable to cover. If the Giants unleash a revenge-minded Lavar Arrington, it could tilt the balance in their favor. It’s not likely. Too conservative. Washington 22, Giants 21. I’m going under.
Minnesota and Detroit. I don’t believe that we’ve seen the real deal from either of these teams. The Lions offense is on the rise. The Vikings just lost at Buffalo and are a John Fox “brain freeze” away from mediocrity. Childress has the team ready to play, but the defense is not playing to its capacity. That could be a problem if a confident Lion team finds an offensive rhythm. I don’t know that the Vikings can score as many points as the Rams put up last week. They’re at home – I’ve learned my lesson about picking NFC North teams as road dogs. Fuggedaboutit. Vikings 24, Lions 20.
The Saints are getting a bit of respect. Last week’s game at Carolina revealed that this team is for real. They were a Reggie Bush fumble and a couple of missed field goals from beating the Panthers with Steve Smith. This will be the second game in the SuperDome since Hurricane Katrina. I like the Saints to be just as amped as they were against the Falcons. Without Chris Simms, the Bucs may actually be more dangerous. The word on the street is that the new QB is a fearless, big-armed kid who can get the ball down the field. Drew Brees has been tremendously accurate and efficient. The Bucs are not likely to alter that. Saints 31, Bucs 14.
Will the real St.Louis Rams please stand up. Never mind, sit down. The Packers were not impressive last week. I like the potential of Vernand Morency. I saw him absolutely destroy the Oklahoma Sooners a few years back. He displayed the skills that allowed the Packers to part with Samkon Gado. Morency is explosive (kind of like Willie Parker) and that kind of speed is sorely missing on the Packers. The Rams are as inconsistent a bunch as there is in the league. I’ll take the Packers to cover and beat the Rams. Packers 29, Rams 24.
Six months ago, I predicted the Dolphins would win this game in New England. Last week, I predicted the Dolphins would lose in Houston. This week, I am going against the conventional wisdom – and I’m picking the Dolphins to beat the Patriots in New England. The Pats looked like a well-oiled machine in Cincinnati. Saban and Belicheck are “intimate.” There is no rationale to this pick – except to say that a measure of the unpredictable has to be thrown in every week. I’m rolling the dice. Miami 31, New England 30.
Chicago is a ten-point favorite over the Bills. I’m figuring that much of that is based on beating down the depleted Seahawks. Seattle is simply not the same team without Shawn Alexander (long live the Madden Curse!!!!). Willis McGahee will be playing on Sunday. Buffalo has the capacity to run and throw – though not with the consistency of the Bears. I like the Bills to battle the Bears – after all, this is the classic trap game. I think the Bears are on national TV again next week. Chicago won’t cover, but will win. Bears 23, Bills 17.
Cleveland is going to Carolina. Not good. Panthers 41, Browns 16.
The Jets don’t travel well. Never have – never will. Jacksonville 28, Jets 10.
Last week, I said that if the Chiefs could produce coming off a bye week, they’d be on their way because it meant that Herman might have made some progress. The Chiefs won 41-0. The Cardinals are only marginally better than the 49ers. The new stadium does not provide the Cards with a substantive home field advantage. Larry Johnson is still Larry Johnson. Key matchup: Fitzgerald and Boldin vs. Surtain and Law. Age vs. Beauty, Week II. Going with age – on the road. Chiefs 37, Cardinals 24.
Niners – Raiders. Who cares?? Niners by 2. I’m kidding. Niners by 10+. The Raiders still suck.
The marquee matchup of the day is really not the Eagle-Cowboy game (in terms of the quality of the teams). It’s getting top billing (not here though) because of the storyline. The Eagles are playing without Stallworth. Westbrook is not definite. That’s not good. The Eagles defense is not likely to keep Dallas down the entire game. Aside from #81, the Cowboys have hard running Julius Jones, Bledsoe’s #1 – Terry Glenn and Marion Barber (a poor man’s Laurence Maroney – a really poor man’s Steven Jackson). I do not like the Eagles without Stallworth. Greg Lewis and whomever else they have will not be enough to keep Dallas’ swarming defense from getting in Donovan’s grille. Dallas 27, Philadelphia 17.
Pittsburgh as a road dog against the Chargers. I’ve gotta go with my boys. Feel free to disregard this pick. I’m riding my bias to the end. Steelers 21, Chargers 17. You’ll know if the Steelers are going to win if Polamalu can do what he did last year – cover LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. I see that Scouts, Inc. gives an edge to the Chargers LBs over the Steelers – because of Shawne Merriman. Whatever. The kids good, but Foote, Farrior, Haggans and Porter are better than the Charger LBs that no one can name other than Merriman. I don’t believe the hype – I believe the production. This Charger group has had 1 significant victory in 2 years – at Indy. Not even to get to the top of the pile. Beat the Broncos and call me in the morning.
Now that’s a segue. The Ravens will be the team to fear if they win in Denver. I bet Shannon Sharpe is really conflicted today. I’m not. I need Denver to win on Monday. I want Denver to win on Monday. Denver should win a close one. Every game with the Ravens will be a close – unless the Ravens win in a rout. Two very good kickers. Denver 17, Baltimore 14.