2014 Quick Hitters (Week 5 NFL Picks)
Hit on both of my upset picks for a respectable 9-4 mark last week, so let’s get started on the Week 5 NFL picks! Thank you to the New York Giants (blew up Washington on Thursday) and Kansas City Chiefs (dominated New England on Monday) for being the teams who I thought you were. Glad to see the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders go on bye because both are highly inconsistent teams. Both the Dolphins and Raiders are probably a little better than public perception would say, so keep your eye on these teams going forward.
*Remember that my picks are straight up (MONEYLINE) and vegas lines are merely used to determine whether I’m choosing an upset, favorite or even pick.
Here are my results on the year:
Overall Record: 41-20
Last Week’s Record: 9-4
Record in Thursday Games: 3-1
Record in Sunday Games: 32-16
Record in Sunday Night Games: 1-3
Record in Monday Games: 5-0
Record in Upset Picks: 5-2
Record in Even Picks: 12-6
Record in Favorite Picks: 24-12
Record in “Toss-Up” Picks: 20-11
Record in “Moderate Confidence” Picks: 18-8
Record in “Lock of the Week” Picks: 3-1
*Even picks are classified as opening lines under 2.5 points.
Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers
Vegas Odds: Carolina (-3)
The Pick: Chicago in the UPSET
Reason: Carolina’s defense has been exposed in big losses to the Steelers and Ravens. The Bears defense is even worse, but Cam Newton and company aren’t even on the same level as the Bears’ offensive weapons.
St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Odds: Philadelphia (-8.5)
The Pick: Philadelphia as a FAVORITE
Reason: I’m usually a sucker for teams coming off a bye to upend teams who haven’t had an extra week to rest and prepare for their next opponent. But in this case, the Eagles are probably the better team by a longshot. I was surprised they could compete with the 49ers considering the health of their offensive line, even though it wasn’t their offense who did much. The Rams are better than what people give them credit for and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them pull off the upset. I’m just going to play it safe and back the home team in this one.
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts
Vegas Odds: Indianapolis (-4.5)
The Pick: Baltimore in the UPSET
Reason: I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the Ravens who have fought through adversity and put together a nice start to the season. After four games, their only loss is to a really good Bengals team, a game where they had a chance to win. The Colts’ passing game has been amazing as they rank first in the league in yards per game. Moreover, they easily put up a total of 85 points on the Jaguars and Titans over the past couple of weeks. But that last second loss to the Eagles at home still has me weary on them and I don’t like their defense much.
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos
Vegas Odds: Denver (-8.5)
The Pick: Denver as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Broncos have the potential to be the best team in football and the Cardinals have been a pleasant surprise so far. Both teams are coming off a bye, so we can’t say that one is more prepared than the other. However, Denver will play at home and aren’t near as beat up on injury front like Arizona is. I’ll ride the Broncos, but this has a shot to be a great game. On a side note, I think Arizona is a little overrated and it could show in this game.
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots (Sunday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: New England (-1.5)
The Pick: Cincinnati at EVEN
Reason: I was really hoping that New England wouldn’t get blown out in Kansas City, but rather have a close loss because they have to be motivated to turn it around now. I’m not sure they have the personnel to get it done though and I really like the Bengals. I’m sticking with the better team in this spot, even if I could see the Patriots winning at home in a desperate spot.
Kansas City at San Francisco
Vegas Odds: San Francisco (-7.5)
The Pick: San Francisco as a FAVORITE
Reason: Alex Smith gets to face the team who gave up on him, fresh off out-playing the great Patriots’ Tom Brady on Monday Night Football. For me, this has let-down game written all over it for the Chiefs all while the 49ers’ pick up the pieces from a disappointing start to the season. If the Chiefs do prove me wrong and rally for another win, I think we can call them legit going forward.
MODERATE CONFIDENCE PICKS
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Green Bay (-9.5)
The Pick: Green Bay as a FAVORITE
Reason: If I had to guess, the Vikings’ rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater probably won’t play in this game due to a high ankle sprain. That leaves nearly-forgotten Christian Ponder to take over the job he used to own. The Packers looked like an entirely different team while beating up on Chicago in the Windy City. The offense probably won’t have as much success because the Vikings’ defense is significantly better than that of the Bears. Yet, Green Bay is still at home on a short week and fairly healthy, so go with them.
Atlanta Falcons at NY Giants
Vegas Odds: NY Giants (-1.5)
The Pick: NY Giants at EVEN
Reason: Don’t get too high on the Giants as they still have some problems on the defensive side. However, that won’t matter this week when the woeful Falcons’ defense comes in to town. I expect Eli Manning to look really good for the third consecutive week. That doesn’t mean the Falcons will be out of this game early as their offense can stick with anyone as we saw in Minnesota last week. The Giants can win this game if they eat up clock and leave Matt Ryan on the bench.
Tampa Bay Bucs at New Orleans Saints
Vegas Odds: New Orleans (-10.5)
The Pick: New Orleans as a FAVORITE
Reason: I can’t believe the Saints looks so bad in Dallas. Rob Ryan appears like he will be fighting for his job soon as the defense can’t seem to stop anyone. They should be feeling lucky that the NFC South has displayed some pretty bad football to start the season. Even the Bucs are still in the race, but never pick against the Saints at home, at least not yet.
Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys
Vegas Odds: Dallas (-3.5)
The Pick: Dallas as a FAVORITE
Reason: I don’t want to overreact too much to the demolition of the Saints, but DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys looked damn good. It took like four years, but Dallas is finally playing the correct gameplan with the type of players they have. They have arguably the best offensive line in football which should neutralize the beast known as J.J. Watt.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans
Vegas Odds: Tennessee (-3)
The Pick: Cleveland in an UPSET
Reason: Here’s when I find out whether Cleveland is really a decent team or not. I was shocked to see the Titans open as favorites because they’ve been atrocious over the past two weeks. I have no idea why they don’t give rookie RB Bishop Sankey the ball more, it’s not like teammate Shonn Greene has good footwork. Until Tennessee figures out their offense, I’m taking average teams to beat them.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Vegas Odds: Pittsburgh (-4)
The Pick: Pittsburgh as a FAVORITE
Reason: Always picks against the Jaguars. Sure, the Steelers lost to the woeful Bucs last week, but that was a lot more about Pittsburgh losing that game than it was Tampa Bay winning it. Jacksonville doesn’t have the weapons to get the best of the Steelers even if they are at home.
NY Jets at San Diego
Vegas Odds: San Diego (-7)
The Pick: San Diego as a FAVORITE
Reason: This game scares me a little bit because the New York Jets are a lot better than their 1-3 record would tell you. I also don’t like that the Chargers can’t run the ball at all right now. As long as Philip Rivers keeps playing like an MVP candidate, he can figure out how the beat the Jets at home.
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (Monday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Seattle (-6.5)
The Pick: Seattle as a FAVORITE
Reason: Is anyone really going to take the Redskins in this game? Kirk Cousins was terrible against the Giants and the Seahawks are coming off a bye week. I’m pretty sure this game will be very high in the confidence pools even though Seattle has appeared vulnerable on the road in the past.
LOCK OF THE WEEK PICK
Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions
Vegas Odds: Detroit (-7)
The Pick: Detroit as a FAVORITE
Reason: Detroit has been one of the most impressive teams in football and the Bills one of the most inconsistent. Buffalo QB EJ Manuel has been benched in favor of Kyle Orton which doesn’t seem like a great plan when you’re traveling to take on a nasty defensive front in Motown. Give me the new and improved Lions team who doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot.
Week Five Pick Summary: 10 Favorites, 3 Upsets and 2 Even Picks
Let me know where you agree and disagree in week five. Good luck and most importantly enjoy the games!