Last week, I went 10-6 picking games, my best performance yet. So far, I’ve either held steady or improved every week. Sooner or later, that luck is going to run out. But I feel good about the fact that I haven’t had any losing weeks through a quarter of the season.
My on-the-money selections from last week included picking the 49ers (+10.5) to cover against the Eagles (San Fran won straight up) and the Lions (+1.5) to beat the Cowboys (Detroit came back from 24 points down in the third quarter to win). Mayhem in the NFC East.
My less genius picks included thinking the Broncos (+13.5) could cover in Green Bay (the Packers beat them by 26, nearly double the spread) and picking the Bengals (+2.5) to get blown out (they won, as you probably didn’t get to see). I also still haven’t picked a Chiefs game correctly all year.
Week five is the first bye week, so there are only 13 games to pick. On to the predictions:
Eagles (-2.5) over Bills — Last week I lamented picking a bunch of road favorites, and a few of them (Vikings, Falcons, Bills) burned me. Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson. I’ll take the 1-3 Dream Team over the 3-1 Mirages in this one.
Steelers (-3.5) over Titans — The Steelers have been disappointing this season, starting 2-2 and scoring just 16 points per game. But this is only their second game at home. In their first, they beat the Seahawks 24-0.
Colts (-2.5) over Chiefs — This should be a thrilling match between two of the league’s worst offenses. The Chiefs average 270.5 yards per game, good for 29th in the league. The Colts average 270.0. Then again, neither of these teams is good at defense, either. I’ll take the 0-4 home team.
Vikings (-1.5) over Cardinals — Just like Chiefs-Colts, this is another game in which a 1-3 team (Arizona) is on the road to face an 0-4 team (Minnesota). Yet again, I’m going with the 0-4 favorites. The Vikings seem to have too much talent to be this bad.
Raiders (+6.5) over Texans — The loss of Andre Johnson is a huge blow to the Texans offense. Look for the Raiders to stack the box in an attempt to stuff Arian Foster. Sooner or later, I was going to have to pick an underdog.
Saints (-6.5) over Panthers — Cam Newton and the Panthers are 1-3, but they’ve been better against the spread, with all four of their games decided by seven points or fewer. I’ll play it close and say the Saints win by a touchdown.
Giants (-9.5) over Seahawks — Seattle is brutal on the road, especially on East Coast time. Plus, the Giants are on a roll, and I want no part of Tarvaris Jackson.
Buccaneers (+2.5) over 49ers — After they beat the Eagles on the road last week, I think it’s safe to say that the 49ers are better than most people thought coming into the season. Still, in a battle of similar teams, I’ll take Josh Freeman over Alex Smith. Are you the type of football fan who gets frustrated when the media reduces teams to their quarterbacks? Then this isn’t the picks column for you!
Jets (+9.5) over Patriots — Yeah, I know. I always pick the Patriots and never pick the Jets. Yes, the Jets are 1-3 against the spread while the Patriots are 3-1. And sure, I’ve noticed that the Jets have been outscored 41-68 in their two road games. But this line feels wide to me, and I’m going with my gut.
Chargers (-4.5) over Broncos — The Chargers got their first win against the spread last week (they’re 3-1 in real life), and I’m hoping they can keep that momentum going in Denver. I should probably be more concerned about the Chargers being away from home.
Packers (-5.5) over Falcons — I know I’m loading up on road favorites again here, but the Packers offense is a juggernaut, and the Falcons haven’t impressed me yet this season. Here’s their chance.
Lions (-5.5) over Bears — This is only the Lions’ second home game. They won the first one 48-3. Detroit’s fans should be hyped about the team’s first winning squad in a decade, making it hard for the Bears to operate their already shaky offense.
Bengals (+1.5) over Jaguars — The Jaguars are comically inept on offense, scoring less than ten points per game. I think the Bengals defense will hold them to right at their average, and Dalton and the offense will do just enough to win. Final score: 16-10. If you’re a Bengals fan, you don’t want me picking your team (see below).
Record last week: 10-6
Record overall: 36-28
Record picking Bengals games against the spread: 2-2
Record picking Bengals games straight up: 0-4