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Week 5 NFL Picks

Bye weeks return to the NFL in Week 5 and so do I. Are the Raiders done?

Last Week: 6 – 10 – 0
Season:    37 – 26 – 0

Thursday Recap

Patriots 19 at Buccaneers 14
It’s been five games and the Patriots still look like a 10-6 team waiting to be bounced in the Wildcard round of the playoffs. I’m not declaring that they’re destiny, but sheeeesh it’s been a rough start for the defending champs. Also, is there a lonelier place in sports than an NFL kicker after a big miss?

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Bills at Bengals
I’m sick of Sean McDermott defenses being at the top of the NFL. The Eagles once pushed him out of his Defensive Coordinator job and REPLACED HIM WITH AN OFFENSIVE LINE COACH! Speaking of ex Eagles in Buffalo, wouldn’t it be nice to have LeSean McCoy on the Eagles right now? Of course, we’d have to surrender all the talent we received in that trade… oh wait, we have nothing to show for that trade. Thanks, Chip. You’re the best. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; Bills +3

Jets at Browns
I hope Cleveland doesn’t panic and fire Hue Jackson after a 3-13 season. I like him. You can’t fix decades of incompetence in just two seasons. I haven’t watched any of the Jets outside of their overtime performance last week. I think that was enough for 2017. BROWNS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +1

Panthers at Lions
Let’s all pump the breaks on the public tar-and-feathering of Cam Newton. This is Cam Newton, after all. I’m not defending what he said or his disrespectful laugh, but we have to consider the source here. Cam is probably the most immature quarterback in the league. Perhaps before we sentence him (or anyone) to a public execution, there could be discourse where we actually try to understand the offender. Teaching comes from understanding. Anyone with kids knows this. You just can’t yell at a kid for screwing up. You have to show them and help them understand why what they did was wrong. Cam isn’t apologizing because he understands his mistake. He’s apologizing because there’s an angry mob outside his door. Humans are the worst. Dang it, I spent all that time on Cam I won’t even get to talk about how solid the Lions have been, especially that defense. LIONS If I were Charles Barkley; -3

49ers at Colts
Here’s the Colin Kaepernick truth no one wants to talk about: Yes, Kaepernick is being black-balled from the league for his public protest/beliefs. No, Kaepernick is not good enough to change the fortunes of any team. Kaepernick went 3-6 in 2015 and 2-10 in 2016. Why are we pretending he’s Cam Newton or Philip Rivers? Sure, he’s probably better than a number of backups in the league, but the thing about back up quarterbacks is… YOU’RE SCREWED IF YOU HAVE TO PLAY YOUR BACKUP QUARTERBACK. So, if 5-16 Kaepernick isn’t going to help your team win games, why would any coach, team or organization want to deal with the drama and media attention? This isn’t complicated. People get so caught up in why he isn’t in the league and the explanation is pretty clear: Kaepernick’s good enough to be a backup in the NFL, but he’s not good enough to warrant the baggage that comes with him. If he were, he’d have a job. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers +1.5

Titans at Dolphins
Hey, aren’t the Dolphins starting a backup quarterback? How’s that working out for them? Did the Titans thrive when their backup entered in relief of the injured Marcus Mariota last week? Backup quarterbacks stink. Color, size, arm strength, experience; none of it matters. They’re backups for a reason. DOLPHINS If I were Charles Barkley; No Line Yet

Chargers at Giants
A lot was made about Eagle fans crashing LA last week and making a Chargers home game a road one, or at the very least a neutral site. This problem isn’t going to just go away. The Chargers are the franchise that should’ve been moved to Vegas, not the Raiders. I know this isn’t entirely up the NFL, but they should have had some idea as to how this would play out. The Clippers existed in LA for decades with no fanfare. As big as that market is, there’s not a big enough base to blindly support an NFL franchise, let alone two. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants -3.5

Cardinals at Eagles
I love hearing NFL pundits and analytical guys poo-poo all over Carson Wentz. It’s his second year in the league for goodness sake. If you take Wentz’s first four games this season and extrapolate them out to a full season; they look like this:
4,232 Yards, 61% Completion, 7.2 AVG, 24 TD, 8 INT, 64.6 QBR, 90.5 Rating.

Let’s look at the early numbers of other starting quarterbacks in the NFL:

QB A: 4,038 YDS, 64%, 7.5 AVG, 28 TD, 13 INT, 64.4 QBR, 94.8 Rating.
QB B: 3,764 YDS, 62%, 6.3 AVG, 28 TD, 14 INT, QBR N/A, 85.7 Rating.

QB A was Aaron Rodgers’ first season as an NFL starter, which was also his fourth year in the league. QB B was Brady’s 2nd full season as a starter. Being an elite quarterback doesn’t happen overnight. I laugh when these analytical sites jump all over young quarterbacks because their “numbers” don’t look good. Wentz isn’t perfect and he obviously has his struggles. He’s also only 24. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -6.5

Jaguars at Steelers
I’m sure you’re sick of the protest stuff, but allow me to offer why NFL players screwed up by protesting Trump. Trump is a child. When he attacked the NFL and its players for protesting and called them sons of female dogs he got exactly what he wanted. I repeat, EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTED. Trump doesn’t process things rationally. He woke up that Sunday and saw hundreds of football players reacting to his words. That empowered him. He loves to see his actions impact people, for better or worse; he doesn’t care. He just needs to be involved. My Dad compared him to a screaming toddler. If you ignore them, eventually they’ll stop screaming. I have four kids. This works. NFL players should have ALL STOOD AT ATTENTION for the anthem. Sure, it would have looked like Trump won, but he would have lost the long game. His ire at the NFL would have faded and the spotlight would have shifted to whatever act of buffoonery came next. Instead, Trump is riding the NFL wave of protests and keeping his name in the headlines attached to it as opposed to his failures with healthcare, Puerto Rico, and just being a decent human being. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +8.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Ravens at Raiders
Derek Carr is supposed to be out two to six weeks. Two or three weeks could salvage Oakland’s season. Six weeks would be a death sentence. After hosting the Ravens, Oakland welcomes the Chargers and Chiefs before traveling to Buffalo and Miami. Their bye week is up next and that puts Carr back after six weeks. It’s not a horrible schedule, but the Raiders can’t afford to come out of that bye any worse than 5-4. Look at their remaining schedule following the bye; NE, DEN, NYG, @KC, DAL, @PHI, @LAC. It’s going to be hard to get to 9 or 10 wins with that slate. Also, why are people surprised Marshawn Lynch has mostly stunk for the Raiders? If any other 31-year-old running back came back after a year off we’d all expect the worst. For some reason fans and the media love Lynch so much they forgot the rules of the NFL; there’s no such thing as a “good” 30-year-old running back. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens +3

Seahawks at Rams
I say this every season and I’ll say it again. I don’t understand why Seattle invests so heavily on the defensive side of the ball and then asks Russell Wilson to run for his life. Seattle’s defense isn’t even that dominant. I mean they’re good, but Seattle isn’t getting performance on par with what they’re paying for that unit. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks Pick

Packers at Cowboys
Dallas’ offensive line being a bit of a disaster through four weeks is a pleasant surprise I did not see coming. On the other hand, the poor play of the offensive line has confirmed Dak Prescott as the real deal. The throws that guy makes on the run are simply incredible. The NFC is a hot mess of mediocrity right now waiting for a few teams to hit their stride. Green Bay is finding that groove and Aaron Rodgers in a dome outside of Atlanta is a scary thought for a Dallas team struggling to establish it’s once dominant run game and a defense that flat out stinks… again. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers +2

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Chiefs at Texans
Kansas City’s offense went from one of the NFL’s most frustrating units to can’t miss TV, at least for me. Andy Reid continues to be one of the most underrated coaches of all time. Furthermore, whenever we talk about offensive geniuses in the NFL like Kyle Shanahan or Sean McVay, Reid is never on the list. Allow me to remind you that Reid turns unknowns into All-Stars. Reid has Alex Smith looking like one of the top QBs in the league. Reid also plucks stud running backs with amazing proficiency (Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Kareem Hunt, he even drafted Dion Lewis). I’m excited to see what DeShaun Watson looks like against a defense capable of you know, playing defense. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs -1

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Vikings at Bears
Been a tough go for the Vikings. Sam Bradford looked amazing for a week before going down. Now their stellar rookie running back is lost for the year. Case Keenum and Latavius Murray don’t instill the same kind of fear in opposing defenses. One could argue the Vikings would be the class of the NFC right now if not for injuries. They boast the best defense and that offense proved itself capable of putting up numbers. Such is life in the NFL. As for the Bears, I’m all for going to the rookie quarterback, but are we sure this is the right week? I know you get the extra time after a Thursday night contest, but Minnesota’s defense is a handful and it’s in front of a national audience. Nevermind, he’s going to be fine. Anyone but Mike Glennon, am I right? Besides, the Bears have already proven themselves feisty at home. BEARS If I were Charles Barkley; No Line Yet

*****

If I were Charles Barkley;
Last Week: 6 – 10 – 0
Season:    30 – 32 – 1

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