Christopher’s Picks: Week 5

Last week I went 7-6, bringing my season total to 36-25.

Green Bay over Minnesota

Christian Ponder got the start for an injured Teddy Bridgewater and it went exactly how we thought it would. Great game for the Packers on both sides of the ball, but they hardly broke a sweat doing it.

Cleveland over Tennessee

Jake Locker is back under center for Tennessee, which makes a difference over Charlie Whitehurst. But with the Titans defense giving up 100 points in their last three games, albeit against strong offenses, Cleveland’s the better team overall right now.

Philadelphia over St. Louis

Here’s a surprising stat: After a 19-sack season in 2013, Robert Quinn has yet to register one through four games. Considering how the Rams need all the help they can get on both sides of the ball, that number stands out. Lucky for them, the Eagles offensive line is pretty injury-riddled, so they should be able to generate some pressure today. But in the end, I don’t think it will matter much.

New York Giants over Atlanta

This game has “what you think you know is a lie” written all over it. The Giants exposed Kirk Cousins last week, pummeling Washington by 31. Meanwhile, Atlanta made a mediocre Vikings defense look prolific, giving up 41 points. New York may not hang 41 one them, but Falcons will still have a hard time slowing down Eli Manning and company.

Chicago over Carolina

Panthers still have too many injuries in key areas (defense and running back) to really compete. If they can find a way to pressure Jay Cutler early and give Cam Newton a chance to put up points, they may have a shot. If not, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall are in for huge days.

New Orleans over Tampa Bay

These 1-3 teams aren’t created equal. The Mike Glennon-led Bucs came back late against Pittsburgh last week, but their 56-14 slaughter by Atlanta is more indicative of where they stand. The Saints haven’t been much better (especially on defense), but it’ll still be tough for teams to beat them in the Superdome.

Dallas over Houston

Still not sold on either team here, but I can’t wait to see J.J. Watt against the Cowboys offensive line. The Texans are fourth in the league in points allowed, but nearly half of those points came from the Giants. Dallas’s offense is playing better than New York’s though (especially DeMarco Murray) and Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t fare well in a shootout.

Detroit over Buffalo

EJ Manuel is on the bench as $5 million man Kyle Orton gets his first start for the Bills. You can’t help but question the wisdom of paying that much money for a free agent quarterback a year after you took a QB in the first round, but it won’t matter much either way. Detroit is the better team. And if they jump out to an early lead and force Orton to throw often, I doubt he fares much better than Manuel.

Baltimore over Indianapolis

The Colts have scored 85 points in their last two games combined, with Andrew Luck throwing 8 TDs and just one interceptions. But those numbers came against Jacksonville and Tennessee. Baltimore won’t be as easy of a game. The losses of Robert Mathis and Arthur Jones will hurt their ability to pressure Joe Flacco, which means Andrew Luck will have to turn in another heroic performance. I don’t see it happening against this Ravens defense.

Pittsburgh over Jacksonville

The Steelers just let one of the worst teams in the league beat them at home, but Blake Bortles can’t muster that kind of effort yet.

Denver over Arizona

Drew Stanton has worked for Arizona so far, but he faces his toughest test yet against the Broncos defense. The Cardinals receiving corps vs. the Denver secondary will be a fun matchup to watch, but Peyton Manning should put up enough points on offense to put the game out of reach.

San Francisco over Kansas City

Don’t let last Monday night fool you. The Chiefs are a good team, but they aren’t a great one. The Niners haven’t exactly been playing great football either, but they should win this one.

San Diego over New York Jets

Philip Rivers should have a field day against this Jets secondary. The only question is whether he wants to target Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, or Malcom Floyd the most. What a great problem to have.

Cincinnati over New England

My general rule of thumb used to be “don’t pick against New England unless they’re playing one of the elite teams on the road”. That rule is no more with the way they’re playing on both sides of the ball right now. Unbeaten Cincinnati is coming to town for a primetime game though, and these are usually the games that New England shows up to and plays their best. It could happen, but until I see something better from Tom Brady, I’m going the other direction.

Seattle over Washington

I’m pretty sure about this one.

Record (Week): 11-4

Record (Season): 47-29

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