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Digging For Orange Gold -- Week 5 Picks and Thoughts

Well, I had a much better week in my picks last week, so maybe my new format is working for me. Yeah, right. Every time you start to think, "I'm getting good at this," you get blasted with a week where you pick only 6 games right based off sound reasoning. Oh well. All the more reason to not take this too seriously. It's all about just having a good time and talking casually about the teams in the NFL. With that said, let's get week 5 started.

Week 4 Picks

I'm putting in a couple new features this week. I'm now doing a "watchability" ranking for each game. It's made by a pretty simple algorithm that I'll share in the comments if you ask to know. Also, I'm going to put my picks in bold font so you can scroll through and see what you're really looking for without all the hot air. Seriously, though, if you're coming to THIS post just for the picks made by a guy who'd probably sprain his ankle just stepping on a football field, you're just addicted to picks. Anyway, let me know if there are other important stats you'd like to see considered.

As before, the concept of stat comparison is that a team's unit (offense/defense) has a significant advantage if their rank is at least 15 lower than the opponent's unit that faces them (offense A vs. defense B, etc.). These advantages will be in bold. Since all rankings given are stats that are either per game or percentage of attempts, bye weeks should have no effect on the matchups.

On to last week's results:

 

To break down the format, Pigskin Pickem fav's is the record you would have if you picked the favored team in ESPN's Pigskin Pickem. Busted Bandwagons are favored teams I picked to win that lost. Triumphant Underdogs are non-favored teams I picked to win that did win. If agentj007 posts his results again, I will put them in here.

Week 3 results: 9-5

Pigskin Pickem fav's: 7-7

Busted Bandwagons: Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears

Triumphant Underdogs: Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams

(Note: The only underdog I picked that lost was the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens were hard to call underdogs since the split was about 50-50 in who picked them. I really got lucky to scrape by the way I did this week. A lot of major favorites lost, like the Colts.)

Now, let's get started making some picks!

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

(2-2)

vs.

Buffalo Bills

(0-4)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Jacksonville Jaguars

(off.)

22

24

26

12

8

18

Jacksonville Jaguars

Buffalo Bills

(def.)

32

27

12

32

31

27

23

Jacksonville Jaguars

(def.)

30

30

30

13

30

27

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills

(off.)

28

32

32

16

30

28

27

Watchabillity

D

Statistical Advantage: Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

Well, the Jaguars beat the Colts, and if anything that reminds us the outcomes of divisional games are less assured than any other game. I don't think the Bills will go undefeated at sucking this year, and this is one of their few likely shots at grabbing at least one win. Note to Bills owner: while you were chuckling to yourself about the Broncos drafting Tim Tebow early because they thought you were going to take him when you supposedly had no actual interest - when you were busy laughing, you should have been drafting Tim Tebow. You won't get better until you draft a good QB. And stop scouting college teams that haven't been good since 1890.

Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(2-1)

vs.

Cincinnati Bengals

(2-2)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(off.)

25

26

23

20

11

21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cincinnati Bengals

(def.)

16

6

9

15

17

13

19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(def.)

17

20

10

28

13

18

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals

(off.)

14

10

6

23

22

15

14

Watchabillity

C

Statistical Advantage: Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)

Both of these teams fall in the fat part of the bell curve right now. The Bengals have one matchup advantage, and they are the home team. They have, however, perhaps lost some of the mojo as the most dysfunctional team in the league with the trade of Randy Moss to the Vikings. I haven't seen the Buccaneers play, but it looks like they are, as they seemed toward the end of the year last year, a defensive team. They're starting a rookie, but Carson Palmer, my fantasy QB, has been playing like a rookie, so maybe that's a wash. How about this for a prediction: score me some freaking points, Palmer.

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals

 

Atlanta Falcons

(3-1)

vs.

Cleveland Browns

(1-3)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Atlanta Falcons

(off.)

9

6

10

4

3

8

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

(def.)

14

22

24

17

22

20

10

Atlanta Falcons

(def.)

6

15

18

11

11

13

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns

(off.)

24

21

22

14

20

22

20

Watchabillity

D

Statistical Advantage: Atlanta Falcons (2-0)

I know that my watchability rating says C, but I think the Browns are going to make this a closer game than you think. They haven't been blown out yet this year, and the Falcons almost let the 49ers beat them last week. Surely that wasn't because they let it be a trap game on account of thinking ahead to the week when they face the tough Browns. This game looks like another remake of Trading Places. Now if only Dan Akroyd was the Browns QB and Eddie Murphy was his #1 receiver, maybe the Browns would sell some tickets. As much as I want to pick the Browns, I picked them last week, and my format doesn't allow me to pick against an obviously superior team.

Pick: Atlanta Falcons

 

St. Louis Rams

(2-2)

vs.

Detroit Lions

(0-4)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

St. Louis Rams

(off.)

16

20

19

21

19

19

St. Louis Rams

Detroit Lions

(def.)

28

26

26

25

16

24

17

St. Louis Rams

(def.)

4

23

21

20

5

15

Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions

(off.)

13

15

7

25

16

15

20

Watchabillity

C

Statistical Advantage: Upchuck (0-0)

Shaun Hill has been playing okay, but since Matthew Stafford won't be back for this game, I have a hard time seeing the Lions winning it. Oddly enough, from what we've seen so far this season these are both teams that need to be taken seriously. The Lions won't make the postseason, but they might spoil some other teams' chances of doing so. The Rams have a real shot because the NFC West looks about as it ever has to my memory, and Sam Bradford seems to be doing well (I haven't seen them play, though). The ratings don't really give you any direction as to who to pick, so I'll just go with my gut (which is currently emptying onto the floor).

Pick: St. Louis Rams

 

Kansas City Chiefs

(3-0)

vs.

Indianapolis Colts

(2-2)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Kansas City Chiefs

(off.)

10

18

27

3

26

17

Kansas City Chiefs

Indianapolis Colts

(def.)

23

24

15

29

29

24

13

Kansas City Chiefs

(def.)

2

14

25

5

4

10

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts

(off.)

2

3

2

29

7

9

16

Watchabillity

B

Statistical Advantage: Kansas City Chiefs (2-1)

I was really excited to plug in the numbers for this one. I wanted to see how these teams match up. Only 14% of people in ESPN's Pigskin Pickem are taking the Chiefs, although based on my stats they are the better team. Of course, they don't have Peyton "What Stats" Manning. God, can you imagine if the Chiefs had Peyton Manning? Oh yeah, we can. They'd go 11-5 and lose in the AFC Championship game. You gotta ask yourself, does Matt Cassel carry over the mojo he found late in the 49ers game, or will he be a handoff machine? If this game were in Arrowhead, I'd be more confident picking the Chiefs. Oh well, no guts, no crap.

Pick: Kansas City Chiefs

 

Green Bay Packers

(3-1)

vs.

Washington Redskins

(2-2)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Green Bay Packers

(off.)

5

19

14

22

5

13

Green Bay Packers

Washington Redskins

(def.)

19

31

31

14

18

23

14

Green Bay Packers

(def.)

13

10

7

24

25

16

Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins

(off.)

19

17

13

19

31

20

21

Watchabillity

C

Statistical Advantage: Green Bay Packers (1-0)

Underachievers vs. Underwhelming. What a game. On paper, the Packers look a fair sight better than the Redskins, but the Packers have shown that they aren't necessarily going to play up to their paper profile. The Redskins haven't beaten a non-divisional opponent yet. I find it hard to work up any enthusiasm for this one. The Packers have been over-hyped for so long that they're just kind of boring. I got tired of the Superbowl-lock talk a year ago. Until they prove they're not, they're an average team that benefits from sharing a conference with the Lions. Take those two insta-wins away, and there are divisions that they wouldn't even make the playoffs in. Now, I'm not hating. They haven't done enough for hate. As for the Raiders of the NFC East, I'm not really interested. Wake me up when either of these teams makes it to the playoffs.

Pick: Green Bay Packers

 

Chicago Bears

(3-1)

vs.

Carolina Panthers

(0-4)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Chicago Bears

(off.)

23

25

17

31

32

26

Chicago Bears

Carolina Panthers

(def.)

21

18

16

19

20

19

20

Chicago Bears

(def.)

8

17

27

6

9

13

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

(off.)

32

30

28

17

24

26

23

Watchabillity

C

Statistical Advantage: Chicago Bears (1-0)

Odd that a 3-1 team barely looks better than a 0-4 team. I think that shows how close the Bears came to being 1-3. They've been squeaking by. Remind me, I thought the Bears traded the kitchen sink for a franchise QB. Why is it that they're ranked last in 3rd down percentage on offense and can barely score points? Because Cutler-Martz is dynamite! That's why. Dynamite in the sense where you light it and forget to throw it away. You're supposed to throw it away, Bears. The Panthers? They're not much to speak of. They have their own QB issues, with a new QB who looks like an angry baby with a man-body. A phrenologist never would have drafted this guy. I'm just sayin'. I don't want to pick anything here other than the back of my throat with two fingers. I am picking based solely of lingering Culter hate.

Pick: Carolina Panthers

 

Denver Broncos

(2-2)

vs.

Baltimore Ravens

(3-1)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

Denver Broncos

(off.)

11

4

1

32

12

12

Denver Broncos

Baltimore Ravens

(def.)

5

1

1

21

1

6

14

Denver Broncos

(def.)

20

16

17

12

19

17

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

(off.)

27

22

15

24

10

20

13

Watchabillity

B

Statistical Advantage: Blech (0-0)

This looks like a possibly exciting game, maybe on par with the Chiefs vs. Colts. I don't think the Ravens have yet impressively dominated an opponent, and although it might seem like the Broncos dominated the Seahawks, that was only true in the second half. Since I'm a Broncos fan, I've seen their games. When they play well in the second half, especially on defense, they win. I only saw Baltimore week 1. My impression, however, is that they are looking good. Their key to the game is to rattle Orton, though that might not be as easy to do as last year. Only 8% of the fans on ESPN picked Denver, so maybe this ranks as the Misperception game of the week. Baltimore has the advantage, being at home, but I think this one is close enough for another Homer pick. Mmmm ... beer.

Pick: Denver Broncos

 

New York Giants

(2-2)

vs.

Houston Texans

(3-1)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg

Overall

New York Giants

(off.)

21

7

9

7

21

13

New York Giants

Houston Texans

(def.)

26

32

32

2

7

20

12

New York Giants

(def.)

22

3

2

22

7

11

Houston Texans

Houston Texans

(off.)

4

2

8

1

4

4

12

Watchabillity

A

Statistical Advantage: Tied (2-2)

I wasn't really excited about this game just glancing at it, but after seeing how these teams match up it could be pretty interesting. I don't think the Giants are playing well on the road this year, though. The Giants are a mystery to me, though. And I feel like the Texans are going to implode any day now. They always have. They might not this year, but man last year I couldn't pick one of their games to save my life. Every time you thought they'd win, they lost, and visa versa. Then again, after a win, Eli Manning seems about due for an implosion. When that dude is bad, it seems like he's channeling Ryan Leaf. Since this is so close, anyway, I'm going to go with the home team.

Pick: Houston Texans

 

New Orleans Saints

(3-1)

vs.

Arizona Cardinals

(2-2)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg.

Overall

New Orleans Saints

(off.)

15

12

5

30

6

14

New Orleans Saints

Arizona Cardinals

(def.)

31

29

23

30

28

28

16

New Orleans Saints

(def.)

12

19

11

26

27

19

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals

(off.)

29

31

29

18

27

27

28

Watchabillity

D

Statistical Advantage: New Orleans Saints (6-0)

Once again, the Cardinals are the chump in the dogmeat match of the week. How do these guys have 2 wins? They are like the NFL version of the guys in pro wrestling who get paid to lose to the real stars. The funny thing? The Saints aren't that good. They got handed a gimme in their 1st place schedule when Kurt Warner retired and Derek Anderson moved into town. Now the Cardinals are starting rookie Max Hall at QB. Before you get excited, keep in mind that the Cardinals needed a HALL OF FAME QB just to give them a CHANCE of winning games. Even a rookie Peyton Manning couldn't lead this team to a winning season. Nuff said, and I didn't say diddly about the Saints. Who dat? This week's benefactors of an easy win.

Pick: New Orleans Saints

 

San Diego Chargers

(2-2)

vs.

Oakland Raiders

(1-3)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg.

Overall

San Diego Chargers

(off.)

3

1

3

10

14

6

San Diego Chargers

Oakland Raiders

(def.)

29

11

3

31

21

19

7

San Diego Chargers

(def.)

11

2

4

7

10

7

Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders

(off.)

17

9

20

6

25

15

17

Watchabillity

C

Statistical Advantage: San Diego Chargers (3-0)

Keep in mind that this is a divisional matchup. The Raiders, despite their records, aren't that bad. They could be 2-2. They really should have beaten the Cardinals, at least. The Chargers statistically should be the best team in the league, but they're 2-2. Is it bad luck? Or is it bad mojo? Either way, based on recent history, you have to figure this game is going to be close. This is one of the games the Raiders probably would most like to win this year. The Chargers already lost in Kansas City. I think their time of running the division is over, though I might be underestimating the Chiefs in doing that.

Pick: Oakland Raiders

 

Tennessee Titans

(2-2)

vs.

Dallas Cowboys

(1-2)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg.

Overall

Tennessee Titans

(off.)

7

27

30

9

14

17

Tennessee Titans

Dallas Cowboys

(def.)

10

8

14

8

2

8

13

Tennessee Titans

(def.)

9

9

13

10

3

9

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys

(off.)

20

5

4

26

25

14

11

Watchabillity

B

Statistical Advantage: Tied (2-2)

The matchups even out, and the teams are about equal. Both teams are pretty good. All the advantages of both teams are on defense. This will probably be a field position game. There may be a slight special teams advantage for the Titans. It's hard to say. I just really don't believe in the Cowboys, even though they're coming off a bye and should have had more time to prepare. Whatever. I knew when I first saw who was playing who I was going to pick, and nothing in the stats changed my mind.

Pick: Tennessee Titans

 

Philadelphia Eagles

(2-2)

vs.

San Francisco 49ers

(0-4)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg.

Overall

Philadelphia Eagles

(off.)

8

8

12

11

17

11

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

(def.)

27

21

20

16

26

22

13

Philadelphia Eagles

(def.)

18

12

5

27

15

15

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

(off.)

31

23

18

28

28

25

24

Watchabillity

D

Statistical Advantage: minus Michael Vick? I don't feel so good.

The Eagles aren't good without Vick. Maybe if he wasn't there, the players would play okay for Kolb. But they know damn well they've got a lesser unit at the center of the team. But does that mean they're worse than the 49ers? Well, the Eagles won't be throwing much so a windy night ought not be a factor. Man, I don't really know. When an eminently stoppable object meets a flappable force, what is Candlestick Park's capacity for vomit?

Pick: San Francisco 49ers

 

Minnesota Vikings

(1-2)

vs.

New York Jets

(3-1)



 

 

Rank



Team (off./def.)

Pts.

Tot.

Pass

Rush

3rd %

Avg. rtg.

Overall

Minnesota Vikings

(off.)

30

16

24

5

23

20

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

(def.)

7

13

22

4

22

14

13

Minnesota Vikings

(def.)

3

4

8

9

6

6

New York Jets

New York Jets

(off.)

6

14

25

2

15

12

13

Watchabillity

B

Statistical Advantage: Tied (1-1)

Another good-looking game. I wouldn't have believed the hype from the MSM, but the stats show these are two good, evenly matched opponents. The New York Jets are good at trying to make sure I lose my fantasy football game this week, as they figure to shut down Adrian Peterson. Thanks a lot, boys. Given a game this matched, I have to pick the home team. The narrative-minded folks are likely to pick the Vikings because "no way they go 1-3," and it's possible that may be a factor, but I don't pick based on that. Even though I did in Chargers vs. Raiders lol.

Pick: New York Jets

 

Game of the Week: New York Giants vs. Houston Texans

You can officially complain if your network is providing you with a crappier game.

As usual, please comment and let me know how bad I suck. Or not.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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