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THUD NFL Picks Week 5

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Week 5

Week 5

D.T.: The thing we love most about the NFL is often what makes it frustrating: the natural unpredictability of each and every game, in each and every week. Football is arguably one of the most difficult sports to predict (just ask the guy who rage-quit my fantasy league on Monday), but it’s also the reason we keep coming back. For ever bet we lose, every dive we take in fantasy, and every time we swear we’ll find something better to do next Sunday, we come back. It’s the investment in something you think you can guess the outcome of, but know you have a 50/50 chance of getting right. It’s the excitement of believing your team can win the next one, even though they lost the last. Week four of the NFL’s regular season was a shining example of why we love football so much, and why it drives some of us crazy. Week five is likely to follow suit.

BMK: Last week the main storyline was “Is this formerly elite team REALLY this shitty?”  This week, the storyline is: “Are these teams really that good.”  Arizona will have a tough match-up in Denver this week.  If they win, then we’ll all know AZ is for real. If they lose (SPOILER: they will), it all depends on how.  Manning needs nine more touchdowns to tie with Favre’s career record.  If Peyton does this in this game, check the emergency rooms for me and DT.

VIKINGS at PACKERS

D.T.: Last week, the Packers surprised everyone by… well, playing like the Packers for a change. In their first meeting with bitter rival Chicago, the team looked poised and composed, and gave the daunting Bears’ secondary a real run for their money. Rodgers and Nelson showed incredible chemistry and even Eddie Lacy decided to show up and make a few plays. The Vikings, in Teddy Bridgewater’s first outing as a true starting Quarterback, shocked everyone by defeating a Falcons squad high on their historic stomping of Tampa Bay in week three. I’m not sure if the meeting of these two fired up teams will be as explosive as their week four match-ups, however. I think the Packers, if they can hold on to the lessons they’ve learned in prior weeks and keep their momentum going, can overcome the Vikings and get themselves back on track.

What we all HOPE this game will be...

What we all HOPE this game will be…

...and what it'll likely end up being.

…and what it’ll likely end up being.

PACKERS

BMK: Ponder vs. Rodgers!  A Thursday night QB Duel!

Pssh…not at all. This one’s over before it starts. Oh, and by the way, Chavez, I did you a favor last week by picking the Bears to win. This week though…

PACKERS

—–

BEARS at PANTHERS

D.T.: The Bears defense has been killing it, their offense is picking up the pace. Carolina, however, is allowing their weaknesses to show through more with each passing week. The Panthers’ offense is still struggling to click, and their defense is having a difficult time pulling it together without Greg Hardy. There’s still some greatness on the Panthers’ roster, and in a division that’s absolutely bonkers so far, they have a chance to pull it together. Especially if they keep giving it to this beautiful son of a bitch:

This guy is prettier than some of the girls I've dated. And you know the D.T. only dates dimes.

This guy is prettier than some of the girls I’ve dated. And you know the D.T. only dates dimes.

Ultimately, I think the Bears are on too big of a roll, and Carolina’s not going to be able to keep up. Oh, and here’s a photo of the Panthers’ cheerleaders dancing in the rain. Just because.

Panthers Cheerleaders

Panthers Cheerleaders

BEARS

BMK: Here’s the problem: I’m not sure I trust Jay Cutler.  Sometimes he looks great (second half of the 49ers game), other times, he don’t look so good. However, Cutler’s been pretty good on the road (106.3 QB rating) and the Panthers don’t have any real offensive playmakers.  All the Panthers’s playmakers know which fork to use and always remember to send their hostess a thank you note.

See what I did there?

Yeah yeah yeah….

These bears do well away from home too...

These bears do well away from home too…

BEARS
—–

BROWNS at TITANS

D.T.: Raise your hand if you had any idea the Browns were on a bye last week. I tease, but the Browns have been pretty competitive so far this season, and when they’re not trying to pull trick plays that would embarrass a high school coach, they kind of look like a halfway-competent team. The Titans have lost three straight after their surprising win over the Chiefs, leaving many to think it may have been a fluke, and I’m inclined to agree. My prediction? The Browns find themselves at 2-2, and don’t have a terribly difficult time getting there.

BROWNS

BMK: The Browns are probably 3rd best team in the AFC North. But they’ll be more than a match for the Titans.  It’ll be like that time in Return of the Jedi when the Stormtroopers were kicking Ewok ass. Before the shot of the dead Ewok which bummed everyone out.   Except Ken Wisenhunt. He likes dead Ewoks.  He likes them so much he has a picture of one on his play calling sheet. That and a picture of Rita Hayworth.

Ken Wisenhunt is a strange, strange man.

Inside Ken Whisenhunt's mind...

Inside Ken Whisenhunt’s mind…

BROWNS
—–

RAMS at EAGLES

D.T.: The Rams have fought hard to prove themselves more than a broken team with too many holes, and fared better against the Cowboys in week three than the Saints did last week. The Eagles, in their own narrow loss against San Francisco, proved that their hurry up offense needs some work against a determined defense. It’s these two scenarios that make this game more interesting than one would expect. The Rams’ secondary is still formidable, and they’re every bit as capable of slowing up the Eagles as the Niners were. Expect two teams to show up, points to be scored, fantasy owners to continue being nervous about Foles, but an Eagles victory by a narrow margin. Man, imagine what a team would look like if you combined the Rams’ defense and the Eagles’ offense.

I just gave myself chills.

I just gave myself chills.

EAGLES

BMK: Last week the Eagles proved that you can’t count on miracle finishes every week.  At some point your offense needs to score.  At the very least, your offense needs to pick up a first goddamn down. The Eagles’s offense looked so bad against the 49ers, I’m tempted to pick the Rams. And they’ve started slow in all of their games so far.  In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I am going to pick the Rams.  To hell with it – I’m living dangerously!

RAMS
—–

FALCONS at GIANTS

D.T.: Two teams who, thus far, have walked all over others that can’t get their acts together, and fall apart when playing teams that can. The Falcons have had strong victories over the Saints (who are perhaps the most confusing mess in the league right now) and the Buccaneers (a win that will likely live on in infamy for the rest of the season), but were absolutely trounced by the Vikings last week, and couldn’t hold their own against the impressive Bengals. The Giants are just as terribly inconsistent, having beaten the Texans and Redskins but failing miserably against the Cardinals and Lions. If I had to forego all statistical and logical analysis and go with my gut, I’d honestly give it to the Giants. They’re a mess, but at least they’ve lost to teams who deserved to win.

GIANTS
BMK: The Falcons are banged up and their defense is terrible.

And that’s still better analysis you get from Deion Sanders.

GIANTS

—–

BUCCANEERS at SAINTS

D.T.: Back on the topic if unpredictability in the NFL: last week’s outings for the Bucs and Saints were jaw-droppers. After the way they’ve played up to this point, no one expected Tampa Bay to sneak in a win against the Steelers, and the only logical explanation for it is the lack of consistency from Pittsburgh’s defense, and some flat out luck on Mike Glennon’s part. The Saints should have come into this season looking like unstoppable Super Bowl contenders, and last week they looked like the aliens from Space Jam had stolen all their talent.

Yeah, I made a fucking Space Jam reference. That's what this season is doing to me.

Yeah, I made a fucking Space Jam reference. That’s what this season is doing to me.

I honestly have no idea how to predict the outcome of this game, because neither team is predictable at this point. But, going by sheer talent involved, and the fact that New Orleans has to turn this thing around at some point… well, there’s no better time to do that than this week.

SAINTS

BMK: The Bucs beat the Steelers but there’s no way this team beats the Saints.  Not when the Saints are at home and coming off a humiliating performance against the Cowboys.

I think it’s probably safe to pull the Saints out of the elite category, but even if they’re just very good, they’re still better than this Tampa Bay team. Yes, the Saints defense stinks more than Rob Ryan after  getting the meat sweats at Fogo de Chao, but they should be able to handle the 31st ranked passing attack. At least I hope.

Crap. Now I want Fogo de Chao.

SAINTS

—–

TEXANS at COWBOYS

D.T.: A grudge match to move on from 3-1 and claim Texas supremacy (which I know is an oxymoron). I don’t trust the Cowboys’ win over New Orleans as a righting of the ship. It was a wild fluke against a team that has some serious issues to work out, and I think the best thing they have going for them is the running game. The Texans’ defense is too good, and if there’s one thing I can predict about this game with confidence, it’s Romo tossing some turnovers. Maybe even to JJ Watt, who at this point must be neck and neck in touchdowns with Megatron. I think the Texans surprise everyone with an upset and walk out of Dallas the victors.

And I end up killing someone after seeing this commercial twelve times before the half.

And I end up killing someone after seeing this commercial twelve times before the half.

TEXANS

BMK:  I’m giving it to the Cowboys this week. DeMarco Murray is running like crazy and Romo hasn’t been stupid lately.  A great recipe for a win. Plus I hate that stupid JJ Watt commercial.  It fills me with the hatred of a 1000 suns. Or maybe more like 992 suns, but the difference is negligible.  Seriously, when you already got 992 suns, will 8 more make a difference?  I don’t think so, but I’ll let history be the judge.

I need a job.

COWBOYS
—–

BILLS at LIONS

D.T.: The Bills are back in quarterback controversy with the decision to bench E.J. Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton. It’s not the most confidence-instilling decision, but the Bills passing game has been a bit of a joke this far, anyway. The Lions passing game is better, and could be fantastic if Megatron would get healthy, and the franchise would shift him back to relevance instead of decoy status. Overall, the Bills are at a precarious crossroads, and the Lions are the superior team. I expect them to hold down the fort in Detroit.

LIONS

BMK:  I’m going with the Lions here.  I like Stafford and Johnson at home. For those of you that don’t know, I’m referring to Calvin Johnson. I refuse to use that stupid nickname.  Unlike my partner DT, who’ll fall for any nicknamed receiver.

LIONS
—–

RAVENS at COLTS

D.T.: The Colts are riding high at the moment, and as an unabashed Andrew Luck fan, I’m happy to see it. They were off to a terrible start, going 0-2 in the first couple of weeks, but they’ve looked dynamite in their last two outings. However, their defense will be starting an inexperienced safety in Sergio Brown (most known for special teams), with LaRon Landry having been suspended for four games. This leaves a real soft spot for the Ravens’ offense to exploit, and they’re capable of doing so. The Colts have historically walked over the Ravens, however, and I don’t see the Ravens stealing a win in Lucas Oil Stadium. If Luck can keep throwing the way he has, and the ball keeps getting fed to Ahmad Bradshaw over Trent Richardson…

Don't make that face. You know you're terrible.

Don’t make that face. You know you’re terrible.

…the offense should have no trouble securing the victory.

COLTS
BMK:  I’m going with the Colts on this one. The Ravens and Colts, statistically, are fairly similar and Joe Flacco just irritates me. So I’m going with the home team.

COLTS

—–

STEELERS at JAGUARS

D.T.: It’s just a matter of time…

Jax Bear

Jax in London

But, American would like to keep the blond in the front, if that's okay.

But, American would like to keep the blond in the front, if that’s okay.

STEELERS

—–

BMK: A pulsar (portmanteau of pulsating star) is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing toward the Earth, much the way a lighthouse can only be seen when the light is pointed in the direction of an observer, and is responsible for the pulsed appearance of emission. Neutron stars are very dense, and have short, regular rotational periods. This produces a very precise interval between pulses that range from roughly milliseconds to seconds for an individual pulsar.

The precise periods of pulsars make them useful tools. Observations of a pulsar in a binary neutron star system were used to indirectly confirm the existence of gravitational radiation. The first extrasolar planets were discovered around a pulsar, PSR B1257+12. Certain types of pulsars rival atomic clocks in their accuracy in keeping time.

STEELERS

This is the Game of the Week

This is the Game of the Week

Cardinals at Broncos

D.T.: Two teams I know very well, and a match-up I’ve been simultaneously excited for and dreading since the regular season schedule was announced. I’m born and raised in Arizona, so the Cardinals are my team. My family is a bunch of hardcore, Raider-Hater Broncos fans from Colorado. I own an equal number of jerseys from both teams (3), and if not for work deadlines, I’d be attending the game in Denver, getting rowdy with my cousins. I’m hoping for a great game (because the last thing I want to see is one of these teams get crushed), and for both squads to bring their A-games. Both teams are coming in rested from a bye, so we just might see an excellent match-up here, folks.

The Cardinals will be without Quarterback Carson Palmer, as a nerve injury he suffered in week one has suffered a major setback, and he’s unable to throw. Drew Stanton looked good in the two games he’s filled in, however, and he has one of the best receiver corps in the league to lean on. Backing him him on the ground is Andre Ellington, whose toughness in playing through a foot injury has been admirable, and hopefully his week off will have him back at full strength. Arizona’s offensive line should give them both ample time to make decisions, even in the face of Denver’s daunting secondary.

Denver put a lot of thought and money into their defense this past off-season, with the most notable acquisition being DeMarcus Ware, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve put him to good use alongside Bronco veterans Von Miller and Derek Wolfe, and they’ve created a defensive backfield that’s frankly pretty scary. The Cardinals’ secondary has proven that even without Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington and recently-injured Darnell Dockett, they’re still a force in the league. They’ve held fast to a 3-0 record, celebrating a win over Colin Kaepernick’s San Francisco offense before taking the week off. But let’s be honest: Kaepernick is no Peyton Manning.

With Wes Welker back in the folk, Manning has a lot of weapons at his disposal. Emmanuel Sanders, believed to be a stopgap of sorts in Welker’s absence, has proven himself much more, and has found himself a spot in regular rotation. The Cardinals defense will find themselves truly challenged in trying to cover Sanders, Deymarius Thomas, Wes Welker and a shining example of Arizona’s biggest weakness: covering Tight End Julius Thomas. Arizona will need all of their faculties, and key players like safety Tyrann Mathieu will need to play at an enhanced level to keep up. On the flip side, the back of the Broncos’ defense, lead by Cornerback Aqib Talib will be pushed to keep up with the quadruple threat of Larry Fitzgerald, speedster John Brown, Michael Floyd and Jaron Brown. Drew Stanton has shown a lot of proficiency in spreading the passes around, and the Arizona offense has become tricky to cover.

Arizona’s defense will be the key to this game, and Denver knows it. Their one big weakness these past couple of seasons has been NFC West defenses, and they’ve likely watched hours of game tape to formulate a plan. If the Arizona defense can maintain focus and fluidity, they have the ability to contain this game and allow the offense to do their part. But… fuck, man. It’s the Broncos.

Can I just have 60 minutes of this, instead?

Can I just have 60 minutes of this, instead?

BRONCOS
BMK: This is the ultimate test for Arizona. As an old time Cardinals fan (I wasn’t born there, but I did grow up there), I fully expect them to lose.  But I want them to lose well.  There would no shame in losing to Peyton Manning by a touchdown, especially considering all the losses Arizona has had on its defensive side this year.  It would be disappointing, but not totally deflating. Anything more than a touchdown though…

Truth be told, this is not the Peyton Manning of yesteryear.  As the Seahawks showed, he is beatable, and the fanboy in me wants to think that Arizona’s combination of guile, luck, and skill in the secondary can cause some havoc for Mr. Manning.  But as my man DT pointed out above, Denver has plenty of weapons.  Throw in the fact that Manning is one of the most cerebral quarterbacks to ever play the game, and it starts looking bad for the Cardinals in a hurry.

Of course, Arizona is not without offensive weapons. Arizona has two very good receivers in Floyd and Fitzgerald, at least two excellent ones after them (the Browns, Ginn).  So if your Denver, who do you cover? Futher, Arizona has a decent tight end in Carlson, and Ellington is no slouch when it comes to catching the ball either.  Stanton will have to get the ball out quickly (the Massie vs. Von Miller match-up doesn’t fill my heart with joy), and if he does, and doesn’t turn the ball over, this game might be more competitive than I’m expecting.

At the end of the day, I’m sure Denver will win. And when have I ever been wrong?

BRONCOS
—–

CHIEFS at 49ERS

D.T.: The Chiefs enjoyed a stunning victory over the Patriots last week, in yet another example of unpredictability in the NFL. However, I think the 49ers are going to bounce back from their loss against the Eagles, and return to form with a victory at home. A no-doubt bitter return for Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith, he’s likely eager to stick it to the team that let him go in favor of the younger, flashier, tattooier Colin Kaepernick. It was Kaepernick who showed Smith up during a stint on the injured list, and claimed his spot as the team’s starting passer (and subsequently lead the team to a Super Bowl). Smith brings with him star Running Back Jamaal Charles, who finally launched himself back into relevance, and the two of them have the opportunity to do some real damage. But, Kaep is going to want to prove that he’s the big dog to his bosses, even with San Francisco’s questionable atmosphere behind the scenes.

49ERS

BMK: A lot of experts (and DT – zing!) are picking the 49ers in this game. I think they’re right (THIS TIME!).  But I would not be surprised if the Chiefs took it. Jamaal Charles is looking like a beast lately. And by that I mean he’s dressing like a furry.

I’m not sold on the 49ers at all. Now, true, I am a dyed-in-the-wool 49er hater, but how can you watch their first four games and think this team is elite?  They still have a very good defense, but their offensive line is having problems and Vernon Davis is officially listed as Questionable.   I’m going with the Chiefs here.

Incidentally, I read the ESPN profile on Jim Harbaugh.  It says he lacks empathy, has trouble maintaining relationships with people, and needs to hate his opponent in order to beat them. Is it just me, or does that sound like the clinical definition of a sociopath?

CHIEFS
—–

JETS at CHARGERS

D.T.: Here’s the thing about the New York/San Diego game: The Jets have an absolutely stellar rushing defense, and the Chargers have virtually no running game at all. So, the Jets’ one strength and superiority over the Chargers is likely to not even be a factor, because Phillip Rivers is good enough to control this game in the air without having to resort to running the ball, except in first down situations or garbage time. The Chargers come into this with an advantage in nearly every aspect, and I don’t think they’ll have a terribly difficult time adding another mark in their win column.

CHARGERS

BMK: Bolo Tie boy will pass all over the Jets terrible secondary.
—–

BENGALS at PATRIOTS

D.T.: Holy shit, what’s happened to the Patriots? They struggled to hold back the Oakland Raiders, and where absolutely stomped by the Chiefs last week. Brady has said he won’t think about retiring until he starts to suck, but what about switching to another team since the rest of his team sucks so badly? The Pats are going to be grossly outmatched by the Bengals, and this will be the Atlanta/Tampa Bay equivalent of week five. Expect Dalton, AJ Green and Gio Bernard to have themselves a day, and maybe expect Tom Brady to have himself a cry.

"If I played center, would they call them 'ginger snaps'?"

“If I played center, would they call them ‘ginger snaps’?”

—–

BMK: This week, the NFL world spent its collective time burying Tom Brady and the Patriots. It’s not entirely unjustified.  But what I think we’re seeing here is reality crashing in on Belichick’s hubris.  The Patriots have been doing very well for a long time without a roster of superior talent. Brady can usually overcome those problems, but what you’re seeing now is the result of Belichick believing he can win with anyone. That’s not the case, buddy.  Anyway, since I’m a bandwagon guy, I’m going with the Ginger of Doom.

BENGALS

SEAHAWKS at REDSKINS

D.T.: I should be thankful to the NFL for how they’re scheduling these Monday night games, because there’s nothing worse than being hung over on a Tuesday. With these MNF match-ups, there’s been barely enough reason to watch, much less invest money in alcohol. At least the Seahawks are guaranteed to net me some major points in fantasy. Goodnight, everyone!

SEAHAWKS

BMK: The Seattle Seahawks beat Peyton Manning twice.  Kirk Cousins is no Peyton Manning. Hell, he’s not even an Eli Manning at this point.

SEAHAWKS

BMK:  Please note, DT never sent me an updated gif of our scores through week four.  I think it’s because I pulled ahead of him in the standings. So I took the liberty of making my own. Which I think kicks a whole lot of ass.

If you were to open up my mind, this is what you'd see. That and brains. Lots of brains. Cause I'm smart and shit.

If you were to open up my mind, this is what you’d see. That and brains. Lots of brains. Cause I’m smart and shit.

This post was compiled and edited while listening to Spotify’s Deep Focus playlist.  That and my superego telling me that I’m terrible.  😦

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