Last Week : 8-6
Overall : 29-30-3
One more week above .500 and I will have regained respectability. So raise your glasses to my finally deserving your respect and becoming the quality NFL picks guy that I should be.
Anyway, to the picks.
Denver Broncos (+7) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
After 4 weeks, Baltimore’s games have been decided by a combined 16 points, 7 of which came against the Browns. While we can commend Joe Flacco for leading a game winning drive against an outstanding Pittsburgh team, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
No outstanding team averages 15.25 points per game. Add in Ray Rice’s injury (he has to be the early winner for biggest 1st round fantasy bust) and Josh McDaniels’ misguided belief that his team is a legitimate playoff contender and we’re looking at a close game.
Despite their offensive struggles, Joe Flacco has found his inner Tom Brady in the 4th quarter. As always seems to happen this season, the Ravens pull out a close one.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) over BUFFALO BILLS
There are two phenomena that have baffled me throughout my football-watching career.
1) No matter the ineptitude of a team’s offense during a game, they can always score during the last 2 minutes.
2) Bad teams always extend a near-fired coach’s tenure through a string of improbable wins.
For those of you keeping score at home, Jacksonville has succeeded in both phenomena. The question then becomes, why does no one else run a hurry-up style offense besides the Colts? Is it a coincidence that they have one of the strongest offenses in the NFL every year? I think not.
If you wanted me to address the game, sorry to dash your hopes. This game needs no addressing. Pick against the Bills in any relatively close spread for the foreseeable future.
Kansas City Chiefs (+7.5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
I’ll come out and say it now: there’s no way Kansas City wins this one. Despite Todd Haley’s remarkable ability to inject life into an otherwise lifeless Kansas City team, it’s unfair to overly credit the Chiefs for defeating the 49ers, Chargers and Browns.
At the same time, this newfound spirit will put up a great battle with the Colts and push this game to the brink. That is until Peyton has the ball with 2 minutes left down by 4. We all know what happens after that.
St. Louis Rams (+3) over DETROIT LIONS
One year ago today this game had about as much appeal as the MLS. If I had told you then that it had division race implications, you would have smacked me across the face. Well, the 7-9 division winner is becoming more and more a reality of the NFC West.
No team has stepped up and decided to take control of the division. By default, St. Louis will be the leader after 5 weeks. While I love Detroit’s scrappiness and ability to stay in games, they can no longer play the underdog card (their key to being competitive).
Never trust teams not used to being the favorite. In other words, don’t trust Detroit this week.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
Is Jake Delhomme’s potential regaining of the starting role a positive? Probably not. This seems like a Vick/Kolb situation emerging in Cleveland with Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Go with the hot hand, Mangini. Maybe Wallace has not displayed Vick-like superiority, but nothing in Jake Delhomme’s recent past suggests that he deserves the starting role.
Atlanta’s inconsistency and Cleveland’s upset win has brought this spread down lower than it should be. Had Cleveland been a 5.5 or 6 point underdog, I would have had to rethink my pick.
Cleveland only kept Cincinnati’s offense relatively in check because Cedric Benson only rushed for 60 yards. Atlanta’s 4th ranked rushing attack should remedy the situation.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (-6.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa is a struggling 2-0 against inferior competition (Cleveland and Carolina, won by combined 16 points) and a definitive 0-1 (25 point loss to the Steelers) against superior competition. Cincinnati may not be on Pittsburgh’s level, but Tampa’s 28th ranked rush defense will put up less resistance than Brett Favre on Michael Strahan’s record-setting sack.
Chicago Bears (+1) over Carolina Panthers
If there were ever a matchup that Jimmy Clausen could win, it would be this week against Todd Collins. From a defensive standpoint, the Bears are extremely strong. Even though Jay Cutler’s offensive line had more holes than a Jerry Manuel press conference, it wasn’t exactly a blowout. For those of you unfamiliar with Manuel’s speaking ability, let me give you a brief synopsis.
Reporter: Jerry, what did you think of the Mets season overall?
Jerry: Uh…(smacks lips together)…uh…well I thought…I thought we…uh…we didn’t play that well.
Anyway, I trust Chicago’s defense to carry the load. Think Denny Green’s infamous, “They are who we thought they were!” Don’t be surprised if Chicago’s defense and special teams finds their way into the end zone multiple times.
Green Bay Packers (-2.5) over WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Had this game been scheduled for Monday Night, the Redskins would have been the easy pick. Green Bay is probably still wondering how they allowed the Lions to hang around as long as they did. Green Bay’s entire rushing attack may average under 4.0 yards per carry, but Washington’s 31st ranked pass defense should provide little resistance to Aaron Rodgers.
More importantly, Donovan McNabb will experience a revenge hangover. After Philadelphia callously disposed of him, Donovan exacted his revenge in one of the biggest “eff you” games of the past few years. But as any NFL fan knows, overconfidence leads to poor performance.
New York Giants (+3) over Houston Texans
Just abiding by the “don’t pick against your team when the spread is close” rule.
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) over Arizona Cardinals
This game can go one of two ways:
1) Undrafted QB Max Hall plays like an undrafted QB and New Orleans walks all over Arizona.
2) Undrafted QB Max Hall harnesses his inner Kurt Warner and goes on to propel the Cardinals into the playoffs.
I’ll go with the first option. And if you were wondering where that maniacal, cackling yet somewhat soured laugh was coming from, look no further than Matt Leinart.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (+6.5) over San Diego Chargers
San Diego is one of the biggest mysteries of the first 4 weeks. Despite his hoard of #2 receivers, Philip Rivers continues to put up Madden-like numbers in the regular season. Ryan Matthews and Malcolm Floyd have hurt the fantasy hopes of millions of Americans.
Kansas City is pulling a Denver and threatening to steal the AFC West. So why am I saying all of these things? Because San Diego follows the same pattern every season. Poor start to the season, strong finish. But it’s still the start of the season.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-7) over Tennessee Titans
The Roy Williams/Dez Bryant controversy exemplifies why I love the media. When we smell trouble, we pounce. Whether it’s a $54k meal or carrying shoulder pads, any Roy Williams/Dez Bryant interaction sparks questions.
As much as they can pretend that they like each other, Roy’s bitterness at the Cowboys’ drafting a receiver in the 1st round has not gone away. But don’t worry, this will not affect Dallas’ effectiveness. It will only add to the theatre that is the Cowboys.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (-3) over Philadelphia Eagles
Kevin Kolb has been handed multiple opportunities to cement his starting role and has refused to do it. Add in San Francisco’s potential explosion if they don’t win and we’re looking at a blowout.
Minnesota Vikings (+4) over New York Jets
Any time a close matchup’s spread exceeds 3, take the underdog. Randy Moss will rejuvenate the Minnesota offense (how smart am I for pointing that one out?) to the point that Brett Favre will be slapping asses in no time.
On another note, all Brett Favre fantasy owners should send a thank you note to Minnesota management.► Read more articles written by Pardon The Opinion.
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