AFC Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks For Week Five

Last Week: 13-3
Season: 42-22

Tennessee at Pittsburgh – Let’s face it, the Steelers are in big trouble. Their O-line isn’t very good, it’s beat up, and now they are without LB James Harrison. The Titans are 3-1, and they pounded the 2-1 Browns last week. Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t played well against the Steelers, but he also hasn’t had Chris Johnson behind him either. The Titans should be able to contain the Steelers offense, and I think in the end the Titans will score enough to get to 4-1 and drop the Steelers under .500. Tennessee 23 Pittsburgh 13

Cincinnati at Jacksonville – A huge comeback last week by the Bengals, and some big steps forward by Andy Dalton, the rookie QB who showed some great gusto in the comeback win. Now they head to Jacksonville, taking on a Jags team that actually hung with the Saints last week, but were unable to make enough big plays to pull off a win. The Jags need to use MJD more, and they need to keep the Bengals offense off the field. Cincy has the number one D in the NFL right now, and that will be enough to get them to 3-2. Cincinnati 20 Jacksonville 13

New Orleans at Carolina – Could be a fun shootout between Drew Brees and Cam Newton in Carolina. The Panthers have hung in every game, but have won only won. The Saints have won every which way, and seem to be on pace for a playoff run that could end with a rematch against the Packers in the NFC Title game. Newton will continue to play well, but Brees is playing really well right now, and I can’t see the Panthers defense being able to go blow for blow with him. New Orleans 34 Carolina 21

Oakland at Houston – This could be a fun game to watch, with Arian Foster and Darren McFadden going run for run in this shootout. It could come down to which team can stop the run better, and I think that is going to be the Texans. Their D showed against the Steelers they can rush the QB, and also stop the run. Kudos to Wade Phillips for turning the Texans around, and this is a week they need to prove they are a threat in the AFC. Houston 17 Oakland 13

Philadelphia at Buffalo – The “Dream Team” in Philly is dead, at least that’s what Mike Vick says. The Eagles are going to try to get back to the basics, but right now it’s too late, and this team is clearly not as good as the NFL world thought it was. The Bills fell to the Bengals last week in a game they should have won, and while they are 3-1, they can’t fall asleep at the wheel this week, and I think Ryan Fitpatrick has a big game at home vs the Eagles D. Buffalo 27 Philadelphia 23

Arizona at Minnesota – The “no one cares” game of the week, as the Cardinals, who are 1-3, head to Minnesota to take on a Vikings team that is 0-4 and going nowhere but down. Donovan McNabb clearly is getting ready for life after football, and the team really should go with Christian Ponder. Minnesota has shown the ability to get ahead in games, but can’t close them out. Look for Kevin Kolb and Arizona to put up points, enough to send the Vikings to 0-5. Arizona 28 Minnesota 17

Kansas City at Indianapolis – Two teams in the midst of a bad season, but both had some good points a week ago, with the Chiefs winning their first game over the Vikings. The Colts played well on Monday night, but a late Bucs TD blew what was a good effort by QB Curtis Painter. The Colts should stick with Painter, and it’s a bad decision to go back to Kerry Collins. I think the Colts keep playing well, and at home they have a slight edge over the Chiefs. Indianapolis 16 Kansas City 12

Seattle at New York Giants – How bout those Giants, a team that was pounded with injuries in the preseason, yet have overcome them with solid play and good coaching to start the year at 3-1. A huge win two weeks ago in Philly was followed up by a frantic comeback win against the Cardinals. The Hawks are a pretty bad team, and unless the Giants put the ball on the ground a lot and play a terrible game, they will be 4-1 come Sunday night. New York Giants 31 Seattle 13

Tampa Bay at San Francisco – Two teams on the upswing, and one of these clubs is going be 4-1 when it’s all said and done. The Niners are getting good play from Alex Smith, and they will continue to need it as well as a solid game from Frank Gore. Tampa Bay has shown all year they have a solid defense, and they will put the heat on Smith, who can’t afford to make mistakes. The Bucs are for real, and will prove it here. Tampa Bay 21 San Francisco 17

San Diego at Denver – The Chargers haven’t knocked my socks off with their play this year, but they have been above average, and now is the time they will start to dominate the division. The Broncos are still in the midst of trying to find themselves, and while John Fox is sticking with Kyle Orton, this year clearly isn’t going as the team thought with injuries as well as poor play in various positions. San Diego 24 Denver 14

New York Jets at New England – The Jets are another team in trouble, sitting at 2-2 and losers of two in a row. They haven’t gotten good enough play from Mark Sanchez, and the run game has been pretty poor as well. The Pats have revenge on their minds after the playoff loss a season ago, and I think Tom Brady and the Pats offense does more than enough to overcome a Jets team that isn’t as good as they thought they were. New England 27 New York Jets 14

Green Bay at Atlanta – Packers are hitting on all cylinders, Aaron Rodgers had a six TD day last Sunday, and this team isn’t going to go down easily. Last year the Falcons were pounded by the Pack in the playoffs, and while Atlanta finally got on track last week against a bad Hawks team, Green Bay is simply too good. On a national stage, the Pack is ready to get to 5-0, and will do enough to get it done here. Green Bay 35 Atlanta 24

Monday:

Chicago at Detroit – The Lions host their first Monday night game in nearly a decade, and Motown will be rocking as the Bears come to town. Chicago held off the Panthers last week, but the Lions have shown the ability twice already in 2011 to comeback from big deficits. There’s a sense this Lions team is going places, and this is a huge test. They need to make sure to protect Matthew Stafford, but they have done that so far in 2011, and there’s no reason to think it won’t happen this week. Detroit 17 Chicago 14


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