Ramblin’ Fan’s NFL Picks and Predictions: Week 5


It turns out that a bye week for the Rams has solved the easily solved question of: Who is going to be the starting quarterback moving forward? Austin Davis is set to lead the franchise forward for the rest of the season. And I have to hope that the Rams rest week brings both the team and myself some rejuvenation moving forward. Last week ended up being my second worst week of the year, going 4-9 straight-up and 6-7 agasinst the spread.

What is the spread? In the gambling world, a “spread’ is a term used to handicap games by allowing a team to lose or win by a certain number of points while still winning for a bettor. If the Rams are +3 against the Seahawks, that means that the Rams could win outright or they could lose by two points and still be a victory for a bettor. In the same situation as above, the spread could also read as the Seahawks -3 which again would mean they have to win by three or more points to cover the spread.


Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-9)

Minnesota shocked pretty much everyone putting up 41 points against the high-flying Falcons. A lot of the credit can go to Teddy Bridgewater who threw for 317 yards in just 19 completions. It seems like the Vikings will go as far as the rookie quarterback will take them, but his medical situation is still foggy. I’m not sure what to make of the Packers this season. In both losses, and the win against the Jets, the team has not looked great. Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 648 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions in the team’s wins compared to 351 yards, two TD’s and an INT. Packers win 27-21 (Vikings cover)


Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

The Bears could easily be 3-1 and one of the favorites in the NFC, but they are 2-2 and flying under the radar. The entire key to the Bears offense though is size. Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett have tallied nine of the 11 Bears offensive touchdowns. The Panthers seem to be hitting a bit of a wall, after combining for 44 points, two wins and no turnovers to open the season. Since then the team has 29 points, two losses and three turnovers. Carolina seems to be showing their true colors and that is not something I feel confident in picking to win a football game. Bears win 31-14 (Bears cover)

Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (-1.5)

The Browns come out of their bye week knowing they could realistically be 3-0. Cleveland’s two losses this season have come by a combined five points. Though nothing jumps off the stat sheet with the Browns, they are playing solid technical football. It’s pretty clear that the Titans are a rudderless ship right now. Charlie ‘Clipboard Jesus’ actually started for this team in Week 4 and led the team in rushing. The Browns are better than probably anyone expected and the Titans are about as ‘meh’ as one could get. Browns win 27-13 (Browns cover)

St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles (-7)

The Rams come off of their bye facing a daunting task. Between Week 6 and 11 the Rams play the 49ers twice, travel to Philadelphia, Kansas City and Arizona; as well as host the Seahawks and Broncos. St. Louis looked like they were on their way to a 2-1 record heading into the bye before a complete implosion led to a loss to the Cowboys. Despite the collapse, Austin Davis looked like the best quarterback the Rams have had since a healthy Marc Bulger. The Rams better hope they get some added energy coming out of the bye when they travel to Philly this weekend. The Eagles have become the comeback kids of the NFL orchestrating three straight comebacks of double-digit points before falling to the 49ers in Week 4. LeSean McCoy will be looking to try and turn around his disastrous campaign so far against the 30th ranked run defense in the NFL. I truly believe that the Eagles are due for a letdown, but I don’t think it’s coming this week. I expect this game to be closer than most would guess and the Rams covering seem pretty safe to me. Eagles win 21-17 (Rams cover)

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-4.5)

The Atlanta Falcons are proving that you can’t always win by outscoring opponents. In Atlanta’s two losses this season they have given up five turnovers, while generating none themselves. This is a team that needs an opportunistic defense to win. Nobody expected a 45-14 beatdown orchestrated by the Giants last week, but that’s what we got. The biggest sign was an astonishing 11-18 3rd down conversion rate. I expect Eli Manning to revert back to the Eli Manning that has become the biggest meme in football and the Falcons should run away with this one. Falcons win 35-21 (Falcons cover)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-10.5)

There have been few positives for the Bucs this season. They did manage to squeak out a win against an overrated Steelers team, just barely. Tampa Bay’s defense has generated one interception compared to the offense surrendering five. Don’t look now, but the Saints are 1-3 and it can be brought back to fumbling. Through four games the team has fumbled the ball four times, to add to three Drew Brees interceptions, compared to just one fumble. The Saints should beat up on the lowly Buccaneers, but they need to use this game as a statement and just take it to Tampa Bay. Saints win 45-14 (Saints cover)

Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)

Maybe the Texans have not faced the toughest competition so far, but unlike last season they have capitalized on this and are 3-1. You can thank a defense that has held opponents to a lowly 28.6 third down conversion rate. It will be interesting to see how the Texans D handles the offense with the most rushing plays of 20 plus yards. DeMarco Murray has yet to rush for less than 100 yards in a game and has generated 30 first downs himself. The back will need to shore up his fumbling issues, two already this season against the tough Houston D. This battle of Texas should be surprisingly good pitting two unexpectedly strong teams against one another. Texans win 17-14 (Texans cover)

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions (-7.5)

And the dysfunctional world continues to turn for the Bills. After trading up to nab EJ Manuel in the first round last season, they bench him in favor of an over the hill quarterback who was once replaced by Tim Tebow. All the Bills woes should not be placed on Manuel, as the play-calling has been terrible in Buffalo. The Lions 3-1 record is thanks largely to a defense that has held opponents to 267 yards per game. Unless the Bills replace their staff and not just the quarterback, they will lose more often than they win. Lions win 24-17 (Bills cover)

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)

Despite a cloud fogging their vision the Ravens have started the season in the top seven in points per game, overall yards, turnovers and points against. Steve Smith has eight catches of 20 plus yards and is fourth in the NFL in yards. You can chalk up the Colts two wins to Andrew Luck who has done everything he can to put the team on his back. The defense has allowed 22 points per game and the rushing game that has been okay on its best days. The Ravens are just playing much better and well-rounded football than the Colts. Ravens win 28-24 (Ravens cover)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)

Offensively, the Steelers are one of the top teams in the NFL this season. The ‘Steel Curtain’ ranks in the top 10 in passing yards, rushing yards and overall offense. The 2-2 record is thanks to a defense that doesn’t rank in the top half in any meaningful defensive stats. Even though the Jaguars are winless, it’s clear that they made the right choice with Bortles. Despite two picks, the rookie signal-caller looked poised with no running game and without Marquis Lee against a team far superior. I truly believe this is the week that the Jags get their first win and we see Bortles start to show his top-flight ability. Jaguars win 17-13 (Jaguars cover)

Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos (-7.5)

This is the week we see if the Cardinals are for real. A win would put even more distance between Arizona and the rest of the NFC. Their undefeated mark is surprising because it has come with an offense that ranks in the bottom half in all categories. The Broncos are coming off of a bye and it looks like they might need it. Though they could easily be 3-0, the team has been mediocre, yet efficient, offensively. This team is looking to win the same way they did last season and they have not really grown. I think this will be a close game because these Cardinals are real, but I can’t expect the Broncos to falter coming off a bye. Broncos win 35-31 (Cardinals cover)

Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers (-6)

Are the Chiefs ever a different team with Jamaal Charles in the lineup. Kansas City absolutely decimated the Patriots last week and did it with a swagger of a top team. You can thank the 49ers defense for holding one of the top offenses in the NFL to zero points (all of Philly’s points came by defense or special teams). I don’t think anyone is sold on the 49ers and the Chiefs just looked too good to ignore. Chiefs win 28-21 (Chiefs cover)


New York Jets at San Diego Chargers (-6.5)

The Jets simply are just not that good and haven’t been for years. Geno Smith has more interceptions than touchdowns and his offensive line has gotten him sacked eight times already. Add that to a defense that has allowed more than 25 points per game and we have an early front runner for the first overall pick in the draft. Phillip Rivers is looking like a legitimate MVP candidate. He has willed this Chargers team to a 3-1 record and has nine TD’s to INT’s. Chargers win 32-14 (Chargers cover)

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots (Pick’em)

The Bengals have laid their claim to being the most balanced team in all of football and they’ve done it without Vontaze Burfict or Marvin Jones. Wow, what happened to the Patriots? After being absolutely blasted in easily their worst game in recent memory. I truly thought that New England’s start was just an anomaly, but now I can’t help but think this team is starting to fall apart. Bengals win 28-21 (Bengals cover)


Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (+7.5)

This game should easily be winnable for the Seahawks, but this will mark almost two weeks away from the gridiron. Add to that, the Seahawks travel across country and this could be a trap game. However, if Kirk Cousins plays the way he did against the Giants it won’t matter how far the Seahawks travel. The Redskins could very well be a team on the rise, but watching their lopsided loss last week, you witnessed a team with no heart or desire. Seahawks win 21-17 (Redskins cover)