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Week 5 NFL Picks

Eli Manning and the Giants are struggling mightily. The Eagles and their terrible defense may be just the cure New York needs. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

[Sorry for the lack of posts. My father-in-law came to visit. In conversation I mentioned Breaking Bad. He sounded interested so we watched the pilot. Then we finished the first season… and the second season… and the third season. We’re in season four. In seven nights we’ve watched 34 episodes. My TV may burn out and I’m 15 pounds heavier, but oh well.]

Last Week:  9 – 6 – 0
Season:     37 – 26 – 0

Watching the Atlanta Braves Choke… Again (Bye Week)

Vikings
When your bye week is spent debating Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder your season is already lost.

Steelers
Pittsburgh plays the Jets after their bye week. Two weeks later, they travel to Oakland. The Steelers are so bad I’m not sure they win either.

Buccaneers
Josh Freeman had been dreadful of late. Regardless, how do you give up on a guy that displayed so much talent two years ago? He’s only 25.

Redskins
If Washington doesn’t win seven games this season can Robert Griffin III get Mike Shanahan fired? If Griffin is your franchise, why not waste his recovery season getting him acquainted with a long-term coach?

Thursday Recap

Bills 24 at Browns 37
Of course I took the Bills, and I felt good about it right up until EJ Manuel left the game with a knee injury. I’m not sure why I picked against the surging Browns at home. I figured their inability to run the football would eventually come back to haunt them.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Saints at Bears
The Saints are rolling, coming off an impressive thrashing of the Dolphins. The Bears are looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to the Lions. It’s supposed to rain. Normally, these factors would favor the Bears but the Saints seem tougher this year. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -1

Patriots at Bengals
The Patriots are the Spurs of the NFL: Plug in a new player, coach him well, and the machine keeps moving. Regardless, I think the Bengals are too desperate and too talented for the crippled Patriots right now. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Pick ‘em

Lions at Packers
A ton of love was thrown the Lions way this week after their drubbing of the Bears. I’m likely wrong, but I still think the Lions are the team that stunk in Arizona and got lucky against the Redskins. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -7

Chiefs at Titans
With no Jake Locker for the foreseeable future the Titans may drop out of the playoff race. On the other hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick was once a capable starting quarterback until turnovers consumed him. Good luck against that Kansas City defense. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs -3

Seahawks at Colts
Seattle was supposed to lose last week and escaped with a win. I think the Colts have a chance here because Seattle’s offense is struggling and Andrew Luck is tough to beat at home. Still, I can’t see Seattle falling asleep at the wheel two weeks in a row. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -3

Jaguars at Rams
It’s been five years since David Garrard and the Jaguars upset the Steelers in the AFC Playoffs (in Pittsburgh, no less). Not a single thing has gone the Jaguars way since. RAMS If I were Charles Barkley; Rams -11.5

Ravens at Dolphins
The Dolphins were out of their league Monday night. They can hang with and even beat good teams, but not elite teams. The Ravens have bounced around between bad team, good team, and really good team this season. I’m betting on the really good Ravens showing up Sunday. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens +3

Eagles at Giants
The Giants are bad. Though, let’s not forget they met four of the better defenses in the league. Pair that with the Giants inability to protect the quarterback and it makes sense they’re 0-4. Enter the toothless Eagles defense and the Giants should find themselves happy campers come Sunday night. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants -1

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Panthers at Cardinals
The Panthers are in great position to make a run and compete for the division. It’s possible DeAngelo Williams’ rapid decline these last few years was due to poor coaching/utilization and not physical abilities. I’m feeling good about the Panthers as my wildcard team. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers -1.5

Broncos at Cowboys
DeMarcus Ware can win this game if he tallies 12 sacks. Not too much to ask. I think the Cowboys are a really good team at home and a below average team on the road. I’m giving them a 40/60 chance of pulling the upset. Also, Denver is continually losing players. At some point, don’t these injuries catch up to them? BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys +8.5

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Texans at 49ers
I’m not out on the Texans just yet. Their defense was stellar last week before they ran out of gas in overtime. Houston is a perfect example of the NFL’s golden rule: You can’t compete for championships with a questionable coach and inconsistent quarterback play. Houston suffers from both. Also, I can’t get behind those who defend Matt Schaub on the critical pick six against Seattle. Absolutely, the play call was lousy, but if you’re a veteran quarterback you know to eat the sack there. You can’t throw a jump ball into coverage on an out route. You just can’t. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers -6

Chargers at Raiders
Matt Flynn finally got a start. The result? Demoted to third string. Well done, Matt. Thanks to a scheduling quagmire with the Oakland A’s playoff run, the Raiders get to showcase Terrelle Pryor in prime time (sort of) for two straight weeks. I can’t decide if this is good or bad. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers -4.5

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Jets at Falcons
Geno Smith will be a welcomed sight for a Falcons team that has dropped two straight and looked quite awful doing it. Did Matt Ryan peak already? Are he and Joe Flacco the most underwhelming good quarterbacks in the league? It’s too early to count out the Falcons, but with the Saints rolling and the Panthers defense as good as it is, Atlanta could find itself out of the postseason, which could lead to Mike Smith being out of job. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons -10

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Last Week: 9 – 5 – 1
Season:    25 – 34 – 4


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