Pudge’s Picks – Week 5 2014

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Orton is back!

Thursday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers continued this year’s trend of blowouts on the short week much to my chagrin. Perhaps next week’s Indianapolis Colts-Houston Texans matchup will mark the first time that there is actually a close, competitive game this year.

* All lines come from ESPN.

Atlanta Falcons (2-2) at New York Giants (2-2)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Giants (-3.5)

I feel optimistic about the Falcons chances this week, given the Giants struggles to get off to fast starts. The Falcons haven’t had many opportunities to play with a lead thus far this year, and I think the conditions are prime for that to change this week. If so, I think the Falcons should be able to score against the Giants defense and keep their own porous defense in favorable situations. There are a lot of injuries that the Falcons will have to deal with, but I don’t see the sort of playmakers on the Giants that can really take advantage of them. These are basically two evenly matched teams that normally I’d favor the Giants at home, but I think the Falcons will be a lot hungrier than the Giants this week.

Spread Pick: Falcons
Straight Pick: Falcons

Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Detroit Lions (3-1)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Lions (-7.5)

Kyle Orton will be making the start for the Bills, and this smacks to me of the move to Kerry Collins that the Colts made at the start of the 2011 season. While I’ve been a bigger fan of Orton than most, much of that favoritism for the Orton was back in 2009 and 2010. That was a long time ago, and I doubt plugging him into the lineup against a formidable Lions defense is going to pay positive dividends for the Bills on the road.

Spread Pick: Lions
Straight Pick: Lions

Chicago Bears (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-2)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Panthers (-2.5)

This is a tough matchup given that the Bears should win this game, but they haven’t inspired me with a ton of confidence in their last three games. The Panthers have struggled the past two weeks, but they are a team that is usually due for a big Cam Newton game at some point that will get them an unexpected win. The Panthers defense has also struggled the past two games, which raises questions about whether they are capable of being the unit that can carry the team as they did for most of 2013. The Bears have their fair share of injuries that are concerning, particularly with guard Michael Ola making his first start at left tackle. But without Greg Hardy in the lineup for the Panthers, I’m not sure defensive end Wes Horton is going to the sort of game that can truly exploit such a matchup. However, picking the Bears may be more due to wishful than prudent thinking.

Spread Pick: Bears
Straight Pick: Bears

Cleveland Browns (1-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-3)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Titans (-2.5)

Jake Locker returns this week, which should provide a boost for the Titans offense. But they still have one of the league’s weakest defenses, which isn’t a huge deal against a weak Browns offense. But both of these teams are likely going to want to make this a run-first, defensive contest and that clearly favors the Browns.

Spread Pick: Browns
Straight Pick: Browns

Houston Texans (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Cowboys (-4.5)

The Cowboys are rolling with a big win last week against the Saints. They are the obvious pick, which gives me pause, since the Cowboys are notorious for being inconsistent. But they have smartly relied upon DeMarco Murray to carry the offense this year, and their defense has not been nearly as terrible as expected to be. Going up against a Texans team that doesn’t have a healthy Arian Foster should result in a fourth win for the Cowboys.

Spread Pick: Cowboys
Straight Pick: Cowboys

Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Colts (-3.5)

The reason to pick the Colts in this game is largely because of their ability at home. Their last two wins have come against two of the league’s worst teams (Titans and Jaguars), which might be raising a false sense of confidence. I have concerns about their offensive line holding up against the Ravens front. But again, the Colts are at home, which makes them tough to bet against given the Ravens notorious struggles on the road.

Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Colts

St. Louis Rams (1-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Eagles (-7.5)

The Eagles offensive line problems could become very problematic against the St. Louis Rams pass rush. This is the sort of game that could easily become a low-scoring affair if the Rams are successful in getting after Nick Foles. The problem is that the Rams pass rush just hasn’t been as dominant as it was expected to be with Robert Quinn being relatively quiet and a season-ending injury to Chris Long. If that trend continues, there just isn’t any reason to believe Austin Davis and the Rams offense can keep pace with the Eagles.

Spread Pick: Eagles
Straight Pick: Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) at New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Saints (-10.5)

The Saints have struggled this year, but seem to be due for a big win at home. They get a Bucs team that is looking better with Mike Glennon at quarterback, but have been a team that has struggled to win on the road under Glennon. At this point, if the Saints fail to show up and dominate this week, then all the concerns surrounding them are very legitimate.

Spread Pick: Saints
Straight Pick: Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
Sunday, October 5 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Jaguars (+6.5)

This is the classic sort of game where the Steelers manage to play down to a much weaker opponent on the road, as they have been known to do against the Oakland Raiders over the years. Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles should be a little more comfortable at home this week, but the Jaguars simply have one of the worst offensives in the league, which should allow even the Steelers subpar defense to look good against them.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Arizona Cardinals (3-0) at Denver Broncos (2-1)
Sunday, October 5 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Broncos (-7.5)

The Cardinals defense could give the Broncos offense a number of problems, and will have to if the Cardinals hope to pull off the upset with backup quarterback Drew Stanton once again under center. Ultimately, you’d think Peyton Manning and Co. will be able to outpace Stanton and the Cardinals offense at home.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
Sunday, October 5 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

*Line: 49ers (-7.5)

The 49ers offense has struggled throughout this year, largely because their offensive line has not shown the sort of dominance that the team is used to. That will likely be the case again this week with right tackle Anthony Davis injured, and Jonathan Martin in to potentially replace him. The Chiefs defense has taken a number of blows this year due to injuries, but they still have a formidable group of edge-rushers in Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford. Given that Jamaal Charles is relatively healthy and should be able to continue to play at a high level, this one feels like a potential Chiefs upset.

Spread Pick: Chiefs
Straight Pick: Chiefs

New York Jets (1-3) at San Diego Chargers (3-1)
Sunday, October 5 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Chargers (-7.5)

I’ve been burned by picking the Jets the past two weeks and thus I won’t let that reach a third time. Because of that, it’s likely that this is the week the Jets finally live up to my expectations and their defensive front and running game control the game. But it’s a long road trip for Geno Smith, who has struggled there in the past, and the Chargers are clicking on most of their cylinders thus far this year. I thought the Chargers were overrated going into the year, but it’s time to start to admit that I’ve been very wrong about them this year.

Spread Pick: Chargers
Straight Pick: Chargers

Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) at New England Patriots (2-2)
Sunday, October 5 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

*Line: Patriots (-2.5)

Hard to imagine why the Patriots are favored in this one. Their offense is reminiscent of the Falcons during the middle of 2013 when Julio Jones and Roddy White were out, and the team’s offensive line was porous. Against a formidable defense like the Bengals, it’s hard to imagine that combination leading to a win. I could see the Patriots defense bouncing back and keeping this a low-scoring affair, but it’s not likely to be enough to get the win.

Spread Pick: Bengals
Straight Pick: Bengals

Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at Washington Redskins (1-3)
Monday, October 6 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

*Line: Redskins (+7.5)

The Seahawks should roll in this one, although they have a history of sluggish starts when traveling east. But the fact that it’s a primetime game should negate such troubles. The Redskins offensive line got pushed around by a mediocre Giants pass rush, just imagine what the Seahawks will do. Kirk Cousins will likely be better than he was a week ago (can he get worse?), but it’s not likely to be enough unless the Redskins can get Alfred Morris going early. Against a good Seahawks front, that is unlikely to happen.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com