Week five of the NFL season brings us some great divisional matchups and some games where preseason contenders are facing must wins in tough spots. The two big highlight games of the week will be the Jets at Pats and the Bears going to Ford Field for Monday Night Football. The Jets and Patriots have staged some really good games in recent years and the undefeated Lions will be looking to have their coming out party on national TV.
In the meantime, we've also got teams like the Eagles and Falcons, who both saw themselves as real contenders in the NFC before the season, is must win situations on the road in Buffalo and at home to Packers. Both are tough spots, but I think only one of those two begins to salvage their season. With that, onto our week 5 NFL picks.
Philadelphia Eagles At Buffalo Bills (+2) - The Bills get no respect here huh? They're 3-1 at home facing a 1-3 team and they're still underdogs. This should be a high scoring affair with two bad defenses and two pretty high powered offenses. My initial reaction was to take the Bills and run, but literally all of the trends and simulators favor an Eagles win and cover here. Pick: Eagles
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-1) - Two bad teams, two 2010 division winners that are really being humbled this year for different reasons... Both have played a little better recently as well. This game is basically a pick and I'd just take the home team here. Pick: Colts
Arizona Cardinals At Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) - This the matchup of ex Philadelphia Eagles QBs as Donovan McNabb faces the guy who unseated him after more than a decade as the Eagles starter, Kevin Kolb. Of course, Kolb himself was quickly unseated by Michael Vick... Neither ex Eagles are of to a great start in their new homes. The simulators seems to like the Vikings, but all the similar games models heavily favor the Cardinals. Pick: Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (-9.5) - This really comes to down to whether you think the Giants can cover here. They'll win this game, but can they do it by 10? Trends do favor the G-men to cover though. Pick: Giants
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) - This is a much trickier game than it seems. The Titans are playing well, Matt Hasselbeck looks good, Chris Johnson seems to be returning to form... and the Steelers are beat up. All the similar games models heavily favor the Titans to cover here. Pick: Titans
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+6.5) - I kind of want to believe in Carolina here because they are playing better and the Saints do have a habit of losing tough road games at times... but all the simulations and trends really do favor New Orleans. Pick: Saints
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5) - Blaine Gabbert faces another fellow rookie this week. This game is really a pickem and not an easy one to forecast. The trends don't say much either. Pick: Bengals
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-6) - The Texans will be without Andre Johnson this week, which will blunt their offensive attack at home. As a result, I like the Raiders to at least cover here. Pick: Raiders
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) - This is another game where the trends, the historical games models etc don't really have a lot of to say. The Bucs are probably a better team than the 49ers, but Tampa never wins pretty and always plays with fire. I think that's dangerous with a good 49er defense. Pick: 49ers
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (+4) - It's hard to have a lot of confidence in the Broncos for anything here. I don't really like the Chargers on the road in this spot, but I do have more confidence in them then Denver. Pick: Chargers
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9.5) - The Jets really haven't played well recently and this should be one of those spots where they really get crushed in New England. That said, the Jets treat this matchup like the Super Bowl every time they play. So there's no doubt they will be up for this game. That said, in 18 similar games with a spread of 9.5, the Pats have covered over 72% of the time. Pick: Patriots
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (+5.5) - Honestly I think this line is low. The Falcons are a big disappointment this year and while they do play better at home, the Packers are firing on all cylinders here and could very well be in the Falcons' heads after crushing them in Atlanta in the postseason last year. Pick: Packers
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-5.5) - This is a great NFC North matchup and a real chance for the Lions to show themselves off on national TV. They have really played with fire recently playing poor early, but coming back in the second halves of games... but in this spot I think they come out like gangbusters from the start. Pick: Lions