This week, I will be joined by fellow sports writer Ryan Moreland for the weekly picks.
Week 5 Record: 10-4
Correct: Vikings, Steelers, Lions, Redskins, Colts, Titans, Patriots, Raiders, Packers, Bills
Incorrect: Cardinals, Cowboys, Falcons, Buccaneers
Overall Record: 46-31
Back in the saddle with a double-digit win week.
(** I am already starting 0-1 after picking the Broncos on Thursday night against the Chargers. Did you see that Hail Mary by Trevor Siemian? Yikes.)
Shelby — Eagles 20, Redskins 17
Carson Wentz and the Eagles came back down to earth in a loss to the Lions last week. I think both of these teams are a bit above average, and the Redskins come in riding a three-game winning streak after a rough start. However, I think Wentz and the Eagles get back to form against a division-rival on Sunday.
Ryan — Eagles 24, Redskins 21
The Redskins have all of the momentum heading into this tough match-up in the always competitive NFC East. Washington heads home hot off their third consecutive victory, meanwhile, the Eagles are fresh off their first loss. Momentum aside, the Eagles have the better team and will come out on top in a tight ball game.
Shelby — Jaguars 27, Bears 22
Brian Hoyer is playing good football. Brian Hoyer… good football. Brian Hoyer. Brian. Hoyer. The same quarterback that threw four interceptions and had a QBR of 5.0 in a playoff loss last year to the Chiefs is balling right now. Now on his fifth different NFL club, Hoyer is averaging 338.6 yards per game in his three starts. He’s completed over 70 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and zero interceptions. I can’t believe I just wrote that. And how about this rookie running back Jordan Howard from Indiana? 295 scrimmage yards in the last two games. I think ‘Da Bears’ have a chance to keep it rolling when a poor Jags team heads to Soldier Field on Sunday, but I like Jacksonville being well-rested after picking up a momentum-shifting division win in London a few weeks back. Jags in a close game.
Ryan — Jaguars 24, Bears 17
The Jaguars looked poised to turn things around after a promising offseason, but only just recorded their first triumph in week four. They come off their bye week to face a Brian Hoyer led Bears squad. Look for the Jaguars to start delivering on their potential this week with a solid win over a struggling team.
Shelby– Bengals 20, Patriots 28
Ugh. Once again, hate picking against the Bengals, but after last week’s loss to Dallas — where they trailed 28-0 — it’s hard to see Marvin Lewis and company heading to Gillette Stadium and leaving a victor. Tom Brady returned last week and — like we all expected — lit up the Browns to the tune of 406 yards and three touchdowns. Now he makes his return to Foxborough, where he’s 48-1 in the regular season against AFC opponents since 2007. Not a favorable formula for Cincinnati to win its first game in New England since 1986. Pats move to 5-1 and the Bengals drop to an abysmal 2-4.
Ryan — Bengals 16, Patriots 35
The second act of Tom Brady Revenge Tour sees the Patriots taking on another Ohio team. The Bengals are still trying to figure out life without Sanu and Jones. It doesn’t help Cincy that their defense is not playing up to its’ talent level. Everything they do this week will likely not work as they become the next victim of Brady and Belichick.
Shelby — Ravens 16, Giants 20
If you listen closely, you can hear the overrated chants about the Ravens. Baltimore was climbing the power rankings after beating three low-level teams to start the season, but have since lost back-to-back games to Oakland and Washington (both at home), respectively, and they responded to those defeats by firing offensive coordinator Mark Trestman. The last time the Ravens did that was in 2012 — Cam Cameron — and ended up winning the Super Bowl. Not this year, though. In Eli Manning I trust this week.
Ryan — Ravens 10, Giants 13
This is one of the hardest games to pick this week. Both teams are struggling to return to recent glory and both come into this game with losing streaks. As tight as this game is, the advantage will have to go to the G men for two reasons. First, home field advantage, and second, Odell Beckham Jr finally seems back to normal
Shelby — Steelers 34, Dolphins 20
It’s tough to admit being a card-carrying member of the Steeler-hater club, but Pittsburgh has so many weapons that it’s down right scary. Sammie Coates is emerging as a threat with Martavis Bryant suspended, and Big Ben has been dealing with 15 touchdown tosses in five games. The Dolphins are terrible. Miami’s offensive line is yielding unlimited pass rushers to hit Ryan Tannehill at will.
Ryan — Steelers 38, Dolphins 10
A few of these game are difficult to pick, but this is not one of those. The Steelers have been flying high outside of a hiccup in Philadelphia. Miami’s only win was an overtime contest with the lowly Browns. This game will be over before it begins.
Shelby — Browns 12, Titans 16
Cody Kessler is back after getting hurt against the Patriots. It doesn’t really matter, however, as the winless Browns are just an NFL atrocity at this point. The Titans finally got back on track with a conference road victory last week, and now DeMarco Murray will go nuts against Cleveland’s awful run game this Sunday in Nashville.
Ryan — Browns 17, Titans 31
The NFL’s only remaining winless team heads to Nashville in search of their first victory. They will be hosted by a Titans squad that is coming off their best collective game of the young season. The Browns middle of the road rush defense will be tested this week as they face they second best rushing attack in the league. DeMarco Murray will be the most hated man in Cleveland this week as the Titans pound their way to their second straight victory.
Shelby — 49ers 13, Bills 20
The Bills have won three straight games since firing its offensive coordinator after a week two loss to the Jets. The Niners are in shambles, but I do think the offense gets better with Colin Kaepernick taking the snaps in Chip Kelly’s offense. However, the Ryan Brothers extend the Bills’ winning streak to four as San Fran fails to show in a cross-country trek to Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Ryan — Bills 27, 49ers 17
The Buffalo Bills are riding a three game winning streak that was sparked by the firing of their former offensive coordinator, Greg Roman. New coordinator Anthony Lynn has the offense outscoring their opponents 79 to 37 since he took over. This pattern will continue this week as the Bills take on the 49ers, who have given up the fifth most points so far this season. Bills continue their streak and San Francisco continues to look for answers.
Shelby — Rams 20, Lions 24
I like to pick the Lions when they are at home. Matthew Stafford plays better in the dome, but runs into a tough Rams’ defense on Sunday. However, Detroit is able to institute the same formula that led them to a win over Philadelphia last week.
Ryan — Rams 13 , Lions 17
The Rams have played their role of the NFC’s enigma to a tee, beating impressive teams like the Seahawks and Cardinals and also getting easily handled by the likes of Buffalo and San Francisco. This week they will have their secondary tested by Matthew Stafford and the high powered Lions offense. This game was another that was hard to pick, but the Lions have the momentum after beating the surprisingly good Eagles. Stafford and company do just enough to overcome the Rams at home.
Shelby — Panthers 27, Saints 31
Both of these defenses are, well, let’s just say sub-par (that’s the nice way to put it). No one on earth would have scripted the Panthers’ 1-4 start after only losing once during the 2015 regular season. Cam Newton is returning from a concussion, but that won’t help his team’s cause with Drew Brees picking apart the Carolina defense.
Ryan — Panthers 35, Saints 31
The injury-riddled Panthers will look the healthiest they have been in quite some time. Cam Newton and running back Johnathon Stewart both come back this week. This is bad news for the Saints defense, who is struggling to stop anyone again this year. The Panthers start to right the ship this week with a win is a game full of fireworks.
Shelby — Chiefs 17, Raiders 24
Derek Carr and the Raiders are a fun team to watch. Oakland has won all four of their games by less than seven points, but are finding ways to win late in exciting fashion. Kansas City is 2-2, but both of their losses have come on the road. I give the Raiders the edge this week in the Black Hole, even though Oakland may not be the team’s home for much longer.
Ryan — Chiefs 30, Raiders 31
The Oakland Raiders have been the king of the close game this year, winning by an average of three points this season. They stay within the AFC West this week taking on the Kansas City Chiefs, who have yet to win a game on the road. Derek Carr will pull out some more late game heroics to pull off their fourth straight win.
Shelby — Cowboys 20, Packers 23
I think Green Bay is the team to slow down Ezekiel Elliot. The Packers rank first against the run, allowing just 2.0 yards-per-carry, nearly two yards better than the second-place Eagles. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been his normal self, struggling last week against the Giants despite having all day to throw. Being at Lambeau Field, the Packers win a tight game.
Ryan — Cowboys 27, Packers 21
A Tony Romo-less Cowboys head to Lambeau Field in what will be a definite loss, right? One would have thought that was the case, but Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot say otherwise. This match-up will pit the best rushing offense against the best rushing defense, but do not make the mistake of thinking it will be the tightest of battles. Rodgers recent struggles and the Cowboys phenomenal offensive line give them the win in hostile territory.
Shelby — Falcons 22, Seahawks 24
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are playing good football after looking bad in the first two weeks. The Falcons, meanwhile, are riding high after heading to Mile High and defeating the defending Super Bowl-champion Broncos in dominating fashion. In the 12th man, I think Matt Ryan may struggle,while Wilson and Christine Michael are able to sustain drives, keeping that vicious Falcons’ offense off the field.
Ryan — Falcons 20, Seahawks 17
The Falcons are averaging 35 points a game, the NFL’s best. The Seahawks are only allowing 13.5 points a game, which is the third lowest league-wide. The story of this game will be told by the Falcons offense and the Seahawks defense. That story will be one of sorrow for the Seahawks, who will do enough to slow down Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but not nearly enough to stop them.
Shelby — Colts 20, Texans 24
I feel so bad for Andrew Luck. A no. 1 pick should have some protection, but Luck has none in the form of his offensive line. He is constantly trying to dodge pass rushers, while the Colts’ ground game have not had a 100-yard rusher since Vick Ballard in 2012 against Houston. Brock Osweiler should finally bounce back after tough outings against New England, Tennessee, and Minnesota, leading the Texans to a 4-2 record and keeping the top spot in the dreadful AFC South.
Ryan — Colts 20, Texans 31
The AFC South has yet to have a team step away from the others, but these could be the first week that it will. The Texans are undefeated (3-0) at home and the Colts are winless (0-2) on the road. The Colts will be unable to stop Lamar Miller and Andrew Luck will struggle against this Texan defense.
Shelby — Jets 16, Cardinals 24
David Johnson. That’s really all I have for this. The Cardinals have been surprisingly bad as their chances of returning to the NFC Championship have been decreasing since they lost to the Patriots in week one. But Johnson is leading this team, averaging five yards per carry and catching passes out of the backfield, too. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have his struggles against Arizona’s “No Fly Zone” secondary, and will probably throw multiple interceptions yet again.
Ryan — Jets 9, Cardinals 30
Even with all of the recent struggles that the Cardinals have had, this should be an easy game for them. Ryan Fitzpatrick played well enough to be paid, then has been miserable since. He leads the league with 10 interceptions and has fans calling for back-up Geno Smith to start. The Jets struggle to pass the ball against a great secondary and Arizona exits with an easy win.