NFL Expert Picks for Week 5

12-3 last week! That’s how we do it at GmenHQ!! I’m now tied for third with Adam Schefter at 39-24 (61.9%).

Cardinals @ Rams The 4-0 Cardinals will not be slowed down by the Rams’ average defense.

Dolphins @ Bengals The Bengals have been playing well and the Dolphins will bring them back to earth. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill has found a new favorite target in WR Brian Hartline. These two have connected for 455 yds and 25 receptions. Hartline is leading the NFL in receiving yards. Cincy has a mediocre pass defense and I would not be surprised to see Hartline have a big game this Sunday. In addition, Miami RB Reggie Bush will be one week healthier and I predict he will run all over the Bengals. The Miami defense will need to really step up their pass defense skills to slow down QB Andy Dalton and I think they will do just that. I realize there are few people picking Miami to win.

Packers @ Colts Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and friends will control this game from start to finish. The two defenses are mostly an even match. The problem for the Colts is they’ve only scored 15.25 pts/gm this seasons to the Packers’ 21.25 pts/gm. The officials made some questionable calls against the Packers again last week and as I said last week, I believe they are determined to never again let a game be decided by the final play. Watching their game last week you could see a new fire in their bellies. I recognize that looking good against the Saints is not the hardest accomplishment. What I liked was the execution and the focus on both sides of the ball.

Ravens @ Chiefs The Ravens offense looks great and ranks second in total yards (1696) and fifth in total points (121). The Chiefs offense is mediocre and their defense has given up 136 points, 31st in the league. The Ravens will manhandle the Chiefs.

Browns @ Giants Statistically speaking, there isn’t much difference in these two defenses. The real difference is on the offensive side of the ball. The Browns average 18.3 points and 311.5 yds per game while the Giants average 27.8 points and 411 yds per game. Clearly, the Giants’ offense is an advantage for them. The Giants will be playing at home and will be looking to make a statement after taking a tough loss last week. Look for the Giants to win decisively.

Eagles @ Steelers This looks to be a really fun game to watch. The Eagles looked very good against the Giants last week. The whole team was much more disciplined than in the previous three games. In the first three games of the season the Eagles gave away 6 interceptions and 6 fumbles. Against the Giants they didn’t give up any turnovers, not one. QB Michael Vick seemed much more comfortable in the pocket and when pushed out of the pocket he avoided making bad throws on the run. More proof of a more disciplined Eagles is that they averaged 8 penalties per game over their first three games and committed just 5 against the Giants. The problem here is the Eagles have not been consistent with Vick at the helm and that is not to say they won’t have a good game this Sunday. What that means is that we shouldn’t be surprised if the old Vick shows up and throws three interceptions and the team adds a fumble and 8 penalties to the mix. On the other side of the field, the Steelers have set the reset button and will come out with guns blazing. They’ve had two weeks off to rest and prepare for this game and they have thee key players returning. Pro Bowl LB James Harrison practiced fully Wednesday and will play in his first game of 2012 this Sunday. Pro Bowl S Troy Polamalu was injured in the first game of the season, and after practicing fully on Wednesday he will play his second game of the season this Sunday. In addition, powerhouse RB Rashard Mendenhall is listed as probable and says he, “believes” he will play against the Eagles. Having players like these three on the field is sure to energize the entire team. Look for the Steelers defense to frustrate Vick and cause turnovers. I like the Steelers to win by a touchdown.

Falcons @ Redskins The Redskins have made big improvements since last year and they will be a dominant force in the NFL soon. This week they will see the return of WR Pierre Garcon who is certain to add a spark to the offense. The Falcons offense is very strong and is quite comfortable scoring regularly. Both teams have very strong offenses and the defenses will be the difference in this game. Atlanta has given up just 19 points per game to Washington’s 30.8 points per game. This game will be won by Atlanta and it will be a close game.

Seahawks @ Panthers According to ESPN, the Seahawks are, “On pace for their fewest passing yards since 1992, but solid defense keeps the Seahawks competitive. (Sando)” Yet, Matt Flynn still sits on the bench, I will never understand this. The Panthers offense is averaging just 3 more points per game than the Seahawks. I don’t see this as enough offensive power for the Panthers to outplay the number two defense in the league which is giving up just 275.8 yards and 14.5 points per game. I like the Seahawks.

Bears @ Jaguars Da Bears! Last week the Bears showed the most overrated team in the NFL, the Cowboys, how a true playoff team plays football. The Jaguars need to improve in many areas. I made a bold prediction at the beginning of the season and you can call me nuts if you want, everyone else does and I’m comfortable with that. I predicted that the Cowboys will not re-sign Romo and that this will be the season that he will fall apart. If they do re-sign him, I assure you that it won’t be a super lucrative deal and there will have been talk within the Cowboys organization about letting him go. I’m tired of everyone making excuses for him year after year. No matter how may great players they put around Romo he still loses. Nobody squanders talent like he does. They say “the O-line is bad”, “the receivers are inexperienced”, “there is no running game”, “the coach is incompetent”, “Jerry Jones gets in the way”, “the team is undisciplined”, “the defense is weak”, “there are too many injuries” and it is all bullshit. All elite quarterbacks have the ability to bring a team together and win despite all the troubles surrounding the team. Every team has multiple problems to overcome and the winners find solutions. Romo is great on paper but he can’t win when it is most important and cannot lead his team to overcome challenges because he is just not a leader. OK, I’m done ranting about Romo. I feel better now.

Titans @ Vikings I like the Vikes. The Vikings are ranked 8th in defense and 17th in points allowed. Statistically, this makes them just about average. The reason they are 3-1 is these guys have a lot of heart and play like a team that is accountable to each other. The Titans are struggling on both sides of the ball.

Broncos @ Patriots The Patriots win. The Broncos have a better defense than the Patriots and they do have a good offense led by Peyton Manning. The problem for the Broncos is the Patriots offense is very powerful and loves to play at home. The Patriots finally got their offense moving and scored 45 points in the second half against Buffalo last week. The Broncos won’t be able to keep up.

Bills @ Niners On defense, the Bills (32.8 pts/g) have given up twice as many points per game as the Niners (16.3 pts/g). Statistically, the Bills are a little better on offense. However, the Niners were on fire last week and crushed the Jets at MetLife Stadium 34-0. The Niners will win at home.

Chargers @ Saints The only way the Saints can win this is if a miracle has happened since last Sunday and they’ve created a defense that can actually stop an offense. Saints defense is giving up 32.5 pts/g versus the Chargers defense giving up 17.8 pts/g. This means the Saints are giving up almost twice as many points as the Chargers. The Saints offense is a little better than the Chargers but I don’t think it is strong enough to stay ahead of the Chargers. It is hard to believe that the Saints could be 0-5 after this weekend. I’m taking the Chargers.

Texans @ Jets Texans are ranked 1st in defense with 14 pts/g and and 2nd in offense with 31.5 pts/g. The Jets lost 0-34 last week. It looks like the Texans will be 5-0 next week.

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