Here’s the Week 5 picks against the spread from Confessions of a Sportscaster and Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron. Richard Sherman’s pick-six against Matt Schaub last week sent Lucas to a winning 8-7 record and yours truly to a losing 7-8 record – for the season, we’re still both above .500. This week, we’re only disagreeing on two games, which has to be the fewest games in a week we’ve ever disagreed over – feel free to scroll through the COAS/SSLYAR category to see if my preliminary hunch is wrong. At any rate, check out our apparently groupthink-filled picks below.
Thursday Night: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (-4.5)
Lucas: Browns. Brian Hoyer as the new Eff You Quarterback? Brian Hoyer as the new Eff You Quarterback.
Nathaniel: Browns. Funny how fast the Browns went from completely hopeless to having as good a chance as anyone to win the AFC North.
Sunday, Early Afternoon: New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears (-0.5)
Lucas: Saints. This past Sunday was an enjoyable experience for me as I got to relive my days in 2009 as an intern for ESPN Chicago where I was in for every Bears game and took great joy in every Cutler interception. The Onion article on him published on Monday was the proverbial cherry.
Nathaniel: Saints. I’m relatively flabbergasted how this is a virtual pick’em. I’m rooting for the Bears as much as any Chicagoan (not named Lucas Mitzel, anyway), but I don’t think anybody debates that the Saints are a considerably better team.
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)
Lucas: Patriots. Yeah, I know Vince Wilfork is probably done for the year, but I feel like the Pats offense can put up enough points to not worry about it this week.
Nathaniel: Patriots. Getting tired of doubting Belichick and expecting the Bengals to actually play as well as their talent level suggests they should play.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
Lucas: Packers. Detroit still hasn’t won in Green Bay since I was like 2 and didn’t know anything about the NFL. Detroit’s defense took advantage of turnovers that Aaron Rodgers is probably 89% less likely than Jay Cutler to commit, yet they still gave up 32 points to the Bears. Ah, the joys of having the best quarterback in the league…
Nathaniel: Packers. Rule of thumb: no matter how good a team has looked in the first four weeks of the season, always pick against them if they’re facing an opponent in a stadium they haven’t won at in 22 years.
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans (+2.5)
Lucas: Chiefs. I was originally thinking the Titans based on home field and some regression to the mean, but with Jake Locker hurt after looking really good for a while this past week… I just can’t take them.
Nathaniel: Titans. On the one hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick tends to throw as many passes to the other team as he does his own. On the other, Kansas City hasn’t really played anybody yet and there’s still a good chunk of me that questions how good they actually are.
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts (+2.5)
Lucas: Colts. Maybe this is one of the supervisors at work (who’s from Indy and is a Colts fan) rubbing off on me. But Seattle hasn’t played quite as well away from the Link and would likely be 3-1 if Matt Schaub would quit throwing pick-6’s. Maybe I’m wrong, but Indy is starting to round back into decent form.
Nathaniel: Colts. Indianapolis has played really well the past two weeks and Seattle doesn’t look anywhere near as terrifying on the road as when they’re back home in CenturyLink Field.
Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams (-11.5)
Lucas: Rams. If for no other reason than I felt like an idiot for taking the points with Jacksonville last week. I’m just really looking forward to the 27.5 point spread next week…
Nathaniel: Rams. It ought to say something that the Rams have lost their last two games by 24 points each and are still 11.5 point favorites against the Jaguars. At this point, I’d have to say Florida International should be giving 3.5 points to the Jags.
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
Lucas: Dolphins. Riding the “Miami is pretty good” and “Baltimore sucks on the road” bandwagons this week. Seems safe with this spread.
Nathaniel: Dolphins. Things are usually pretty simple with the Ravens: pick them at home and pick against them on the road. Don’t you dare muck up my complicated formula this week, Joe Flacco!
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5)
Lucas: Eagles. Through four weeks, I’m not really impressed with Chip Kelly at the NFL level so far. Fortunately for him, the reeling Giants were just what he needed.
Nathaniel: Eagles. I honestly don’t understand how the Giants could be favored over anybody right now – other than Jacksonville, of course.
Sunday, Late Afternoon: Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals (+2.5)
Lucas: Cardinals. I don’t know if it’s home field, Arizona’s decent defense, Ron Rivera, or what it is… but it’s sure smarter than Scott Burnside taking hallucinogens before picking the Phoenix Coyotes to win the Stanley Cup.
Nathaniel: Panthers. I can’t underestimate the misgivings I have with this pick, though – they’ve only played three games so far, but the Panthers already look like this year’s team that no one can figure out. Well, I take that back – we know that if they play a close game, they’ll undoubtedly lose. Other than that, we know nothing.
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)
Lucas: Broncos. I have yet to meet the man who can stop this Denver offense. I don’t think Jerry Jones is that man, unless DeMarcus Ware injures Peyton in taking advantage of Ryan Clady being gone.
Nathaniel: Broncos. I feel a certain sense of loyalty to Peyton and will continue to pick the Broncos until he throws an interception. After that, though? Never again. A SACRED BOND HAS BEEN DESTROYED.
Sunday Night: Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)
Lucas: Texans. San Fran beat the Rams pretty convincingly last week, but I’m still not sure how I feel about them after 4 weeks. This isn’t an advocation of Houston by any means, I just think the points are safer.
Nathaniel: Texans. I feel like 6.5 points gives Matt Schaub leeway to play really well for most of the game and ensure the cover while ultimately throwing the game-killing pick-six that sends Houston to 2-3.
Sunday, Late Night: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (+4.5)
Lucas: Chargers. If you were going to reschedule a Raiders game to accommodate the MLB, at least it involved another West Coast team so biorhythms don’t get all wacked out. Though Phillip Rivers’ biorhythm being out of wack wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to find out.
Nathaniel: Chargers. By far the coolest thing about this game is that it’ll get started a few minutes before midnight on the East Coast. Thank you, Oakland, for reminding us how weird scheduling can be when you have a playoff baseball team and a football team sharing the same stadium!
Monday Night: New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5)
Lucas: Jets. It’s an odd numbered year, so the Falcons are holding tradition by being down this season. I know, the Jets are the Jets, but 9 ½ is still a lot to be giving.
Nathaniel: Jets. That’s a mighty big line for a 1-3 team with little to no defense to be covering!
Lucas: 37-26 (8-7 last week)
Nathaniel: 32-31 (7-8 last week)