Notes from the North

Coming off an awesome 12-3 performance last time out, I fear a huge disappointment is in store for my picks for Week 5 of the NFL season. I'm up to sixth place (out of 68) in my football pool and figure I've got nowhere to go but down.

With that in mind, here are the World's Worst Football Picks for Week 5:

Rams over Arizona: The Cards are starting to believe in themselves... maybe a little too much. How else do you explain them barely escaping with a win over Miami in overtime last week? Meanwhile, I think we're too quick to dismiss the 2-2 Rams, who have the talent to do a lot of damage. Yes, Stephen Jackson is a bit nicked right now but this Thursday night game in St. Louis has all the signs of an upset. (4)

Baltimore to beat Kansas City: I've given up on KC: not because I don't think they can win but because they win when I pick them to lose and lose when I say they're going to win. I think there is a real chance that the Chiefs will power-run their way to a win over the Ravens in this one but it won't happen if I pick them to win. (10)

Miami over Cincinnati: Upset special. The Dolphins are playing good football and really deserve a win. The Bengals, meanwhile, seem vulnerable to me, fragile almost. This one will be a better game than any of us would have imagined at the start of the season but I think it's Miami's to win. (5)

New York Giants to beat Cleveland: I just don't see the Browns staying in this one past the second quarter. NY is angry and smarting from recent losses. (13)

Green Bay to beat Indy: That was some test for the Pack last week and they found a way to win. I can't see Rodgers and Co dealing their early playoff hopes a knock-out blow by losing one to the weak but improving Colts. (14)

Pittsburgh over Philly: They're coming off a bye, they're coming off an embarassing loss, and they've recognised that their biggest weakness on offense is their line and their running game. With RM back and two weeks work for the O-line, I see Pittsburgh surprising an Eagles team that has been too inconsistent and too turnover prone to be trusted. (1)

Washington to beat Atlanta: Is this an upset? Maybe. But Washington's got a pretty good club on their sideline and I like what RGIII is doing. I also like the fact that a late-round back (Alfred Morris) has emerged to take some of the pressure from his shoulders, giving the Redskins a balanced attack. The Falcons, meanwhile, are due for a bit of a reality check, especially after their close call last week. (3)

Jacksonville over Chicago: No idea. The Bears have been dominant on defense and explosive on offense. From time to time. I say they come out flat against the Jags and pay for it. (2)

Carolina to beat Seattle: Sorry Russell. I just don't think you're getting enough support from the guys around you to beat a Panthers team that is finding itself. (9)

Minnesota over Tennessee: I'm worried about this one, to be honest. This might just be a chance for backup Titan quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to prove he can still lead a team. And he can be a heck of a player when he's motivated. But, on the other side, the Vikes have been playing pretty solid ball and their defense is stronger than expected. (6)

San Fran over Buffalo: Funny game. The Bills looked like World Beaters in the first half against New England and, if they play like that against the Niners, could win this one. But I haven't seen any proof that Buffalo can maintain that level of play for a full 60 minutes. And San Fran can beat you in every facet of the game. (12)

New England to beat Denver: Peyton versus Tom, in a new set of colours. I know the Pats are vulnerable. I know they're not the team they have been in the past and that nobody can pick apart a young, inexperienced secondary like Peyton Manning. But I just think that the Patriots are the better team. And they're at home. (8)

New Orleans over San Diego: Two underachieving teams. Both played very well last week. Both are fighting for their entire seasons here. But it's in the dome and, well, the Saints have to win some day, don't they? (7)

Houston to beat the Jests: To be honest, the Jets make me sick. For a wide variety of reasons, from their owner to their coach to their attitude to their disappointing performances this year. Now we find out they've lost Santonio Holmes for the season and have a full-blown quarterback controversy on their hands. Did I mention they have to face the dominating Houston Texans this week? The only way New York wins this is by putting Tebow in midway through the second quarter and letting him work his magic. Then again, Tebow doesn't play defense (does he?). (11)


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