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Week 6 NFL Picks

Though lacking talent and depleted by injuries, Bill Belichick has the Patriots near the top of the AFC (again). How long can they survive? (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

[Gut feeling says I’m going 2-13 this week. Tread carefully.]

Last Week:  8 – 6 – 0
Season:     45 – 32 – 0

Exceeding the Federal Government’s Productivity (Bye Week)

Falcons
Atlanta is a dome that’s played four of its first five games indoors. Amazingly, they’re 1-4. Now that Julio Jones’ season is over, so is the Falcons’. Firing Mike Smith is the next move.

Dolphins
Reality slapped the Dolphins in the face in recent weeks. Regardless, a relatively soft second half schedule should keep Miami within striking distance in the AFC playoff race.

Thursday Recap

Giants 21 at Bears 27
For the first time since their Week 1 defeat to Dallas, the Giants were respectable in defeat. Yes, it’s gotten so bad in New York that we’re rationalizing their sixth straight defeat as a moral victory. It’s probably not a stretch to argue the Giants win last night if not for three horrific Eli Manning interceptions. One should have led to Chicago points, another was returned for a touchdown, and the final one all but sealed another Giants defeat. If you’re a Giants fan, you can find some solace in the defense’s improvement, Brandon Jacobs’ impressive outing, and Eli Manning looked pretty good when he wasn’t chucking the ball at the Bears. Even in the abysmal NFC East it’s likely too late for the Giants to turn things around. When was the last time New York’s season was over before Columbus Day?

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Bengals at Bills
Buffalo is a significantly better team at home. Wins over the Panthers and Ravens, and a last second loss to the Patriots prove as much, especially when compared to ugly road losses to the Jets and Browns. After suffering a knee injury, the Bills will be without EJ Manuel. The Bengals boast one of the NFL’s better defenses, which certainly won’t help Buffalo’s cause. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -8

Lions at Browns
Last week’s loss to the Packers was a perfect example of why I’m out on the Lions. Jim Schwartz is a lousy coach. Well-coached teams win ugly games without star players. The Browns are the complete opposite; a fundamentally tough team that lacks talent (at least at certain positions – most notably, quarterback). I’d take the Browns if Brandon Weeden weren’t involved. LIONS If I were Charles Barkley; Lions -3

Raiders at Chiefs
Kansas City is itching to lose. They’ll go down next week against the Texans. How about Terrelle Pryor? With the A’s now out of the baseball playoffs and Steph Curry and the Warriors a month from the start of the NBA season, Pryor has the entire Bay Area sports scene to himself. Nice to see the young man bounce back from his “horrific crimes” in college. (Shame on him for making money off his own autograph and driving cars given to him. I’m appalled.) CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Raiders +9.5

Eagles at Buccaneers
Nick Foles scares me more than Michael Vick, and neither scare me more than the Eagles secondary. Vincent Jackson may surpass 500 yards on Sunday. I’m only taking the Eagles because Mike Glennon is playing quarterback for the Bucs. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -2.5

Panthers at Vikings
My brother is a diehard Panther fan. It’s been a rough go the past 18 months as Cam Newton regresses on a consistent basis. His footwork is bad, his decisions are worse, and his sideline demeanor is, in my opinion, laughable. Is it possible Cam Newton just isn’t very good? Or better yet, does he even care about being good? I think it’s time Steve Smith busts out the Ken Lucas treatment on Mr. Newton. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers +2.5

Steelers at Jets
I made fun of the Jets and Geno Smith earlier this season. I was wrong. Smith, not EJ Manuel, may be headed for rookie of the year. With that said, the Steelers can’t start the season 0-5. Not while Dick LeBeau is alive. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers +2.5

Packers at Ravens
I trust the inconsistent Ravens at home more than I trust the wildly inconsistent Packers on the road. Then I remember Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a great game since Week 2. He’s due. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -3

Rams at Texans
I love passionate fans. Going to an athlete’s house to vent is pathetic. Here are a few things you can do instead: 1. Get a life. 2. Get a life. 3. Stop drinking. 4. Get help. 5. Get a life. 6. Grow up. 7. Move out of your mom’s basement. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -8

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Jaguars at Broncos
Forgive me for not buying a seat on the Bronco Super Bowl bus, but I need to see the offense (and Peyton Manning) excel in December and January. If Jacksonville can’t cover this spread, management should be forced to resign. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +28

Titans at Seahawks
Jake Locker’s hip is to blame for Tennessee’s fall from playoff contender. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be to blame for Tennessee’s fall into the top 12 of the 2014 NFL draft. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -14

Cardinals at 49ers
The 49ers won last week by 31 points without surpassing 300 yards of total offense. Colin Kaepernick completed just six passes. Translation: San Francisco was the beneficiary of horrific quarterback play. (Thanks, Mr. Schaub!) This week, Carson Palmer rolls into town. In six games this season, guess how many times Palmer’s committed less than two turnovers? Once. Congrats, San Francisco. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; Cardinals +11

Saints at Patriots
The Saints are the NFC’s best team. Who knew New Orleans would have a defense… under Rob Ryan, no less? I like the Patriots this year. Though they lack talent and are crippled all over the board, they still compete as a top 10 team. New England will struggle against better teams until they’re healthy, but don’t sleep on them come playoff time. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints +1

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Redskins at Cowboys
Even in defeat, the Cowboys proved they’re the class of the NFC East. I’m not sure that’s anything to be proud of, but it is what it is. The back-and-forth all week between Tony Romo apologists and Romo haters has been quite entertaining. I fall in the middle. Romo is an underrated quarterback that takes more heat than any other quarterback in the league. At the same time, Romo comes up smaller in critical moments more than any other big name quarterback. Did Romo cost the Cowboys the game? No way. They’re not even in the game without Romo’s terrific play. But those who support Romo’s decision on that decisive interception are crazy. He threw to a receiver that was surrounded by four Broncos. Dallas has never been a mentally tough team under Romo or Jason Garrett. I expect a sluggish woe-is-us game from Dallas. I think the Redskins can steal one here. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +6

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Colts at Chargers
Turnover prone Philip Rivers returned last week and scuttled any chance the Chargers had at victory in Oakland. Sunday’s performance would scare me to death if I were a Chargers fan. San Diego has no chance unless Rivers is at or near the top of his game. The Colts and Andrew Luck were supposed to struggle this season. Instead, they knocked off two of the NFC’s best within three weeks. It’s hard to trust the Chargers but gut feeling says they pull this one out at home. Too bad none of the locals will see it. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers +2.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Last Week: 8 – 6 – 0
Season:    33 – 40 – 4


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