Here are my week 5 NFL picks.
Tampa Bay @ 49ers: 49ers. Tampa Bay’s offense plays right into the Niners’ hands. The Bucs want to run power with LeGarrette Blount up the middle and they want to throw “underneath,” as they say, to Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow Jr., and Earnest Graham. This is the type of offense the Niner defense was built to stop. The Niners struggle against speed, but Tampa doesn’t have much of that. On the other side of the ball, Tampa has a good pass rush and good cornerbacks. Look the 49ers to run Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter at the defensive ends, because Adrian Clayborn and Michael Bennett tend to leave big running holes open when they rush the quarterback around the edge. In the passing game, look for Alex Smith to avoid cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib, and throw over the middle of the field to his running backs and tight ends – Vernon Davis in particular. I’m picking the Niners to win by two scores, and to hold the Bucs to less than ten points.
Philadelphia @ Buffalo: Philadelphia. The Eagles have been embarassed the first quarter of this season. They’ll bounce back this Sunday and blow out the Bills in Buffalo.
Kansas City @ Indianapolis: Indianapolis. As bad as the Colts are, they still have a first-rate pass rush with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. If the Chiefs had running back Jamaal Charles they could win this game, but they don’t and they won’t.
Arizona @ Minnesota: Minnesota. There are a handful of teams the Cardinals could beat on the road, and the Vikings aren’t one of them.
Seattle @ New York Giants: New York Giants. The Giants are very good and the Seahawks are very bad. This will be a blowout.
Tennessee @ Pittsburgh: Tennessee. These aren’t the same old Steelers. Their offensive line is subpar, Ben Roethlisberger is nicked up, and the team can’t run or stop the run. Tennessee has done everything well in 2011 except run. Look for them to finally get Chris Johnson and the run game on track this week, and look for Pittsburgh to fall to 2-3.
New Orleans @ Carolina: Carolina. This is my upset of the week. The New Orleans defense will not be able to stop Cam Newton. He is unsackable, he will match Drew Brees passing yard for passing yard, and he will win his first big game in the NFL.
Cincinnati @ Jacksonville: Cincinnati. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is having a stellar year, but he’s Jacksonville’s only weapon. Cincinnati has the seventh ranked run defense in football.
Oakland @ Houston: Houston. Arian Foster could rush for 200 yards in this one. The Raiders always struggle against zone-blocking run games, and Houston’s is the best one in the league right now.
San Diego @ Denver: San Diego. Denver is sorry. It’s Philip Rivers’ turn to pass for a million yards against Denver’s defense.
New York Jets @ New England: New England. The Jets were built to beat the Patriots, but they won’t beat them in New England in October. The Patriots are always unstoppable in the fall.
Green Bay @ Atlanta: Green Bay. Atlanta barely squeaked out a win against the Seahawks last week. They will not beat the best team in football this week.
Chicago @ Detroit: Detroit. As long as Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are healthy, the Lions can beat any team. The Bears are any team.
My results last week: 11-5