What an unpredictable week again, as injuries are piling up and concussion conversation is back on the table yet again. We’ll see if the league handles it any less ham-fistedly this season than in the past, but I have little confidence in the owners to actually do the right thing rather than hire flashy PR firms to put together self-congratulatory ads talking about doing the right things…Week 5 has arrived, and with it the beginnings of teams settling into who they will be in 2022. I went 11-5 this week, which is more my usual neighborhood once we see who teams really are. As one coal miner said to another, ‘Let’s get to the picks!’
Colts at Broncos – The Colts are just broken. I knew Tennessee would best them in a contest of wills, and they did. There is still time to turn things around, but do you see it happening for Indy? At 3.3 yards per carry for Taylor’s last 3 games, I’m not seeing signs that they are turning the corner, notwithstanding that flukey win in Arrowhead. Denver is having the same ‘Who are we now?’ struggles, and Mel Gordon’s ‘hot potato’ game with the football (4 fumbles) isn’t helping. This is a toss-up of two underperforming clubs. I think Taylor is overdue for a breakout game, and the thin air at Mile High is as good a place as any. Colts buck the Broncos.
Giants at Packers – After last week’s horrible performance by Rodgers against New England’s 2nd & 3rd string QBs, he gets to face…who knows? Jones and Tyrod Taylor both took ambulance rides last week, so maybe Eli Manning can don a disguise and get an anonymous walk-on tryout this week? I’m not overthinking this one…Giants get whacked by the Pack.
Steelers at Bills – Well, we have seen True Bisky. He’s who we always thought he was. Steeler fans Pickett-ed for Kenny, and green as he is, they got him. Does anyone miss Mason Rudolph yet? Pittsburgh is always gritty, but that ain’t gonna buy em a bus ticket home from the Buffalo beating they are heading into. Mike Tomlin can’t Steel one on the road, as the Bills come due again.
Chargers at Browns – The banged-up Bolts charge into Cleveland for a tilt with the Brownies. LA has shown resilience in this season of the IR looking like an ICU, which good teams will do (see Titans & Ravens last season). We’re Keen on Allen having a big game if he returns this week. This is a pretty good matchup, as Cleveland has shown some spine, especially Jacoby Brissett. Myles ‘Crash’ Garrett will be hunting Herbert’s pocket, so Ekeler’s spurts and outlet passes will be crucial to keeping Justin’s ribs connected. Even so, Cleveland steams to a home port victory.
Texans at Jaguars – The Jaguars have discovered that they are good, recovering rapidly from the brain damage done by Urban Liar. Pederson’s Peppered Predators are starting to sink their fangs into good teams, and developing a taste for fresh meat. Lovie Smith’s steers are ripe for market this week in Duval. Long-Locks Lawrence lassoes Lovie’s limping Longhorns.
Bears at Vikings – Divisional scuffle here, and Chicago is still a hot mess. The Vikes are just a better team, and under their new coach this should be one of those games they might have dropped last year, but won’t this year. The Windy City blows home empty-handed.
Lions at Patriots – After Brian ‘Fossil’ Hoyer got conked on his ancient squash in Green Bay, we got to watch Bailout Zappe take the reigns for New England. The neo-natal QB was Barely Zippy as he handed off a lot and threw just a little, in Matt Patricia’s VERY CONTROLLED offense. That said, New England played solid defense and forced the Packers to win in OT on their own grass, no small feat. Here come Dan Campbell’s schizo Lions, who only see endzones in front of them and none behind. They own the dubious distinction of being the league’s top offense AND the league’s most generous defense at the same time. They are currently good for 35pts each way…My feeling is that Belichick & Company will have a scheme to slow down the Goffer, while the New England ground game grinds out yards and minutes off the clock to control the tempo. Nubians get nixed in New England.
Seahawks at Saints – I don’t know what to make of Seattle this year. Mr. Smith goes to Washington, and they start winning games they shouldn’t. I like the remake of Geno ‘Cappelletti’ Smith, feisty and treating this like it’s his last opportunity to prove he was ranked correctly out of college. The Saints are dinged up and a little lost right now. Seabirds divebomb the Saints in the swamp.
Dolphins at Jets – Teddy Bridgequarter returns this October, just like Michael Myers. Can he guide the Phins past the homer Jets? He certainly has enviable weapons to work with. Will DJ Reed the routes and pick him off? Zach ‘Cougar’ Wilson is back also, looking decent last week against Steeler pressure. He will see a sea of sea creatures in his grill this week, as the Dolphins attempt to treat him like baitfish. My money is still on Miami to bring the heat. Phins ‘school’ the Jets.
Falcons at Buccaneers – Arthur ‘Blank’ Smith brings his raptors to Pirates Cove for some booty-hunting. Atlanta has been forming up better under Maui Mariota and this may work out for a while yet. They are flapping into unhappy Tampa, where the QB is distracted by his (seemingly) impending divorce. Speaking of pirates, what do call alimony? It’s the bounty on the mutiny!! Tampa will be ornery to get back to winning, and this game should put the wind back in their Jolly Roger. Bucs pluck the clucks.
Titans at Commanders – I’m calling them the Collanders this week, because offenses run right through them like water. Enter DeWreck Henry & Company, fresh off a needed win against div-rival Indy. No reason to think Vrabel has forgotten the recipe for thrashing Carson Wentz after his flameout in Indy. The W’s take another L at home.
Niners at Panthers – I don’t see how the Niners fumble away a game like this after slamming the Rams last week. Do we even know who is under center for Carolina this week? Won’t matter, trust me. The Baker experiment is about over, and the Darnold experiment is a proven fail….as is the Rhule experiment. Panthers fold while the Niners strike gold.
Eagles at Cardinals – Interesting matchup here, only because Philly is due for a loss. They’re playing good because the ARE good, but a loss at this point will refocus the team so they stop believing their own press clippings. Dortch the Torch had a good week pulling in balls from Murray, and Hollywood Brown finally went downtown. It’s Ertz against Hurts, and the Liberty Bell just keeps ringing this week. Eagles soar while the Cards fold.
Cowboys at Rams – Boy, LA found out what a good defense can do to you last week. They will again this week, as the New Doomsday Defense comes to LaLa Land. Will Diggs steal Cooper’s Kupp or will Jalen Ramsey silence the Lamb? Speaking of Coopers (will this be the first game with two Coopers opposing each other?), Dallas has to decide whether to give Dak the ball back, or continue to ride the Rush that is Super Cooper the 4-0 backup? Tough call, who gets the ball. I’m going against nearly all the NFL Network pickers on this, because Dallas feels feisty to me and LA feels like a championship hangover still. Cowboys clear the air in LA.
Bengals at Ravens – Deuces are wild in this one, as two 2-2 teams collide. The Ravens defense has come to life more lately, which is a massive relief to Action Jackson, whose Herculean efforts have gotten Murder City to .500 instead of No Hundred. Joe ‘Big Throw’ Burrow is looking better, getting a bit more time vertical in his pocket as his line improves. If Baltimore’s two star D-backs can stay healthy in this one, I think Harbaugh’s harbingers have a good chance to hold home court. Bengals bungle in Balty.
Raiders at Chiefs – Lost Wages finally got in the Win column, busting the Broncos last week. This week they face the war paint of Andy Reid’s tribe of all Chiefs and no Indians. KC doesn’t need to ‘find out’ who they are, they know. Josh McDaniels’ team should be further along than this, since they didn’t lose any core players on offense, only added more weapons. Should be a good game to watch, but I think the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Chiefs’ war dance scares the Faders back to Vegas.
Enjoy the games!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nate Clark)