Guys, let me start off here by saying that I regret all of my picks from last week. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Of course, I probably don’t regret them quite as much as the Vikings are to Kirk Cousins, but it’s still a lot of regret.
I had an ugly week of picks. I went 5-10. The only redeeming factor for me is that it seems I wasn’t the only one who struggled with picks in Week 4. Apparently, the public lost so much money on Sunday afternoon that the bookies in Vegas were getting drunk before the night game even kicked off.
Coincidentally, I was also “into the wine,” except the difference is that I was trying to drink away every memory of my 5-10 week, which ironically took 5 to 10 glasses. I’m guessing the only people who drank more than me on Sunday were Vikings fans, and I’m not going to judge them, because you would drink, too, if you had to watch Cousins play for four quarters. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Cousins’ contract hasn’t been a great value for the Vikings, and to be honest, I kind of know what they feel like right now, because I once threw away money, too. Sure, it was only six dollars and it was to see “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” but the principle is the same: I didn’t get good value for my money.
Speaking of value, it’s a good thing these picks are free, because I didn’t give you any value last week with that ugly 5-10 record. The good news is that I think things can only get better from here, so let’s get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here, and if you click over, you’ll notice that not everyone completely embarrassed themselves last week like I did. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora had a winning record picking games straight up in Week 4, while Will Brinson had a winning record picking games against the spread.
Speaking of Brinson, he’s the host of the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. The only reason I’m mentioning that is because if you listen to the podcast, there’s a 60 percent chance you’ll get to hear my voice, and who doesn’t want to hear my voice. For the rest of the 2019 season, I’ll be joining Brinson three days per week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday).
Even though I’m only on three days per week, there’s a new episode every single day from Monday thru Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible (You can listen to Tuesday’s episode below and make sure to click here to check it out and subscribe). On Tuesday’s episode, we all had a good laugh about the fact that I picked a horrible Bengals team to win in prime time and we also went through the list of 2-2 teams to decide if they’re “contenders” or “pretenders.”
Alright, that’s enough jibber-jabber, let’s get to the Week 5 picks.
NFL Week 5 Picks
L.A. Rams (3-1) at Seattle (3-1)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime)
Point spread: Pick’em
I’ve never spent $134 million on something, but if I ever do, I hope I get better value than what the Rams are getting for Jared Goff. Since signing his , all Goff has done is look completely below average. In four games this season, he’s thrown as many touchdowns (6) as interceptions, and the Rams seem to be winning in spite of him, which probably isn’t exactly what they were expecting to happen when they gave him all that money. Now, I’m not ready to say the Rams offense is a total failure this season, but I definitely haven’t been impressed with it so far. Not only has Goff been erratic, but I still have no idea what’s going on with Todd Gurley. His knee is still a mystery, he only got five carries on Sunday — a career low — and I’m not actually even completely sure that he wants to play this week since the game’s on a Thursday.
I think what I’m trying to say here is that the Rams are in total disarray and there’s no way I can pick them to beat a Seahawks team that’s gone 14-2 in home prime-time games since drafting Russell Wilson in 2012. As a matter of fact, the Seahawks were so dominant at one point, the NFL wanted to stop giving them home night games.
For this game, I’ve decided to just go ahead and let Russell Wilson make the prediction.
So what’s your prediction, Russell?
Hawks win? I agree.
The pick: Seahawks 34-31 over Rams
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Tampa Bay (2-2) at New Orleans (3-1)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Saints, -4.5
After watching the Buccaneers and Saints over the first month of the season, I’ve come to realize that I apparently know nothing about picking games involving either team. After four weeks, I’m 0-4 picking Buccaneers games — they’re the only team I’ve completely whiffed on so far this year — and I’m 1-3 picking Saints games. That’s 1-7 combined picking these two teams, which doesn’t even seem possible when you consider that I’m 38-16-1 picking games that involve the other 30 teams that aren’t Tampa or New Orleans. Basically, when I think these two teams will zig, they zag. When I think they’ll zag, they zig. When I pick them to win, they lose, and when I pick them to lose, they win.
I haven’t been this wrong about anything since the time I tried to convince people that “Corky Romano” was a good movie. Spoiler alert: It was not a good movie.
Since the opposite of what I predict always seems to happen when these two teams play, I’ve decided to take that into account and I’m going to predict the opposite of what I think is going to happen. My gut originally told me to take the Saints, but I’m ignoring my gut, and here’s what I now think is going to happen: The Buccaneers, who have the best rushing defense in the NFL through four weeks, are going to shut down Alvin Kamara and put the game in the hands of Teddy Bridgewater, which is going to turn into a nightmare for Teddy, because the Bucs have a one-man wrecking crew on their defense (Shaq Barrett), who leads in the NFL in sacks this year.
I’m taking the Buccaneers, and if they lose, I’m going to punish myself by watching “Corky Romano” on a loop for nine straight days. It’s a punishment no one deserves.
The pick: Buccaneers 23-20 over Saints
Jacksonville (2-2) at Carolina (2-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Panthers, -3.5
The Jaguars are on a roll and it’s all thanks to Gardner Minshew, who has led Jacksonville to two straight wins. Now, that might not seem like much of a winning streak, but remember, this is the Jaguars we’re talking about, a team that only had one two-game winning streak in all of 2018. With Minshew under center, the Jags have been nearly unbeatable, which makes sense, because he has a mustache, and if you lived through any part of the 1980s, then you already know that people with mustaches rarely lose at anything.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know that, which is why I’ve picked against Minshew in each of the past two weeks, only to see the picks blow up in my face each time. I mean, I picked against a guy who took a picture with Uncle Rico, so I definitely deserved to be wrong.
With Minshew Mania sweeping the nation, another backup quarterback who has been equally as good has been flying under the radar, and that QB is Carolina’s Kyle Allen, who is arguably the best quarterback in the league with the last name Allen. Like Minshew, Allen has also started three games, but unlike Minshew, Allen has never lost. As a matter of fact, Allen might have more Minshew Magic in him than Minshew himself. I mean, just watch this escape Allen had from J.J. Watt on Sunday.
In his three career starts, Allen has thrown six touchdown passes and zero interceptions while averaging 253 yards per game. Basically, he’s been delivering the same amount of magic as Minshew, but without the mustache. In this game, Allen will have a Panthers defense behind him that has given up the fewest pass yards in the NFL this year, and mustache or not, it’s not going to be easy for Minshew to put up big numbers against Carolina.
For the third week in a row, I’m picking against the Jags, and if I’m wrong this time, I might just grow a mustache, embrace my inner-Minshew and pick them to win every game for the rest of the season.
The pick: Panthers 23-20 over Jaguars
Green Bay (3-1) at Dallas (3-1)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Cowboys, -3.5
Although both of these teams are 3-1, I have on idea if they’re actually any good. On the Cowboys’ end, I’m not even sure we should count their three wins as actual wins, and that’s because they’ve beaten the 0-4 Redskins, the 0-4 Dolphins and a Giants team that didn’t have Daniel F. Dimes starting yet. At best, those games should count as a half win each.
On the Packers‘ end, they’ve beaten some slightly better teams, but their offense is still a mess. I once saw a dad get spit-up on by his baby at an airport, and the dad reacted with a look that I basically see on Aaron Rodgers‘ face every time he tries to go out and run Matt LaFleur’s offense: Slightly annoyed, but trying to make it work, because he knows their stuck together for the long run.
The problem for the Packers this week is that it’s going to be tough to make that offense work and that’s because Davante Adams might not be on the field after injuring his toe in Week 4. Normally, that’s the kind of injury that would have me thinking about picking the other team, but the Cowboys suffered an equally rough injury on Sunday when they lost left tackle Tyron Smith to a sprained ankle. Although Smith isn’t expected to be out long, there’s a good chance he’ll miss this game.
Trying to replace a wide receiver for one game is a lot easier than trying to replace a left tackle. Although I expect this game to be close, I can’t pick against the quarterback who has never lost a game at Jerry World: Aaron Rodgers. Whenever he plays in Dallas, Rodgers morphs into a super version of himself: Not only he is 3-0 all-time in his career, but the Packers have averaged 35.3 points per game in those wins.
With Adams potentially out, I don’t think the Packers will quite hit that number, but he’ll come close.
The pick: Packers 27-24 over Cowboys
Lock of the Week
New England (4-0) at Washington (0-4)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Patriots, -15.5
There’s no team in football that’s more dysfunctional than the Washington Redskins. I mean, you know your team is a mess when your fans are jumping ship to cheer for the Raiders. They used to be the POSTER CHILD for dysfunction and now they’re stealing fans away from the Redskins.
Although to be fair, I’m not sure if that guy is now a fan of the Raiders or is now a fan of the actual city of Oakland.
Anyway, on this week’s episode of “Dan’s Dysfunction,” starring Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, we have a head coach who has no interest in starting the quarterback (Dwayne Haskins) who the front office just spent a first-round pick on. Jay Gruden doesn’t seem to think that Haskins is ready to start, which means there’s a 100 percent chance Snyder is going to fire him at some point and hire someone who will actually play Haskins. If Gruden’s smart, he’ll stay one step ahead of the curve and just fire himself before Snyder can get rid of him.
As for Haskins, I have no idea who the Redskins starting quarterback is going to be on Sunday — it might be Case Keenum, it might be Colt McCoy or it might be Haskins — but let’s be honest, it doesn’t really matter who it is, and that’s because the Redskins chances of winning this game are about the same as the chances of me leaving sober at a wedding that’s serving free alcohol, which, if past weddings are any indication, is something that has a zero percent chance of happening. Through four weeks this season, the Patriots defense is giving up the fewest points per game, the fewest yards per game and they lead the league in both sacks and interceptions. Oh, and did I mention that the Patriots defense has scored more touchdowns (2) than they’ve given up (1).
The Patriots are going to jump out to an early lead and then milk the clock away so their starters can get some extra rest since they play on Thursday in Week 6.
The pick: Patriots 34-13 over Redskins
Lock of the week record: 3-1 straight up, 1-3 against the spread
NFL Week 5 picks: All the rest
Bengals 30-24 over Cardinals
Titans 19-16 over Bills
Bears 24-13 over Raiders (London)
Vikings 30-17 over Giants
Eagles 24-13 over Jets
Ravens 27-20 over Steelers
Texans 22-19 over Falcons
Chargers 30-20 over Broncos
Chiefs 37-23 over Colts
Browns 30-27 over 49ers
BYE WEEKS: Lions, Dolphins
Best pick: Last week, I predicted the Titans would go into Atlanta and beat the Falcons, and then the Titans went into Atlanta and beat the Falcons. Now, did I know that this was basically going to be a home game for the Titans because Falcons fans were’t going to show up? Of course, I did.
As someone who lived in Atlanta for nearly four years, I’m well aware that the fans there can only concentrate on one team at a time, and right now, the team that’s getting all the focus is the playoff-bound Braves, and not the 1-3 Falcons. Although the Falcons could steal a lot of that attention if they do something crazy in the next few weeks, like fire their entire coaching staff.
As for that empty stadium, in an ironic twist, the fans who did show up might have actually done a better job of scolding the players than the Falcons’ coaching staff.
Worst pick: You might want to sit down, because this section could last for awhile due to the fact I had a lot of worst picks last week. I’ll be honest though, I feel like I have a valid excuse for most of them. For instance, let’s take the Vikings. I was going to pick the Bears, but then the Vikings gave me a shoutout on Twitter, so obviously, I had to pick them. That’s basically the first rule of social media.
In the Eagles-Packers game, I feel confident that my pick of Green Bay would have been correct if NFL officials HAD ANY IDEA WHAT PASS INTERFERENCE IS. However, they do not.
I haven’t read the entire NFL rule book lately, but I’m pretty sure that blatantly hitting someone in the face before the ball arrives is a penalty.
You know, I was going to go through every game I missed and give you an excuse for missing it, but then I realized that taking responsibility for your mistakes is important, so I would like you guys to know that I am going to take responsibility for one of my 10 wrong picks. In what might go down as my most embarrassing pick of the year, I predicted that the Redskins would beat Danny Dimes and the Giants. It was a dumb pick, and I deserved to be made fun of for it. Why would I ever pick against Double D?
Unfortunately for my Twitter friend above, it seems I didn’t learn any lessons last week, because I’m picking against Double D and Minshew again in Week 5, and I’m also picking Kirk Cousins to win.
Straight up in Week 4: 5-10
SU overall: 39-23-1 (1-7 picking the Saints and Buccaneers, 38-16-1 picking everyone else)
Against the spread in Week 4: 5-10
ATS overall: 32-30-1 (2-6 picking the Saints and Buccaneers, 30-24-1 picking everyone else)