That’s more like it! The ATS picks improved from God-awful to a tick below just plain old mediocre last week. Grasping at straws? Sure. That’s what two double-digit-loss weeks out of three will do to a guy.
This has the makings to be “one of those weeks.” You know the ones. A slate full of games that appear to be complete mismatches on paper that maddeningly turn out to be nail-biting affairs if you go with the chalk.
Yeah, I glance at the Week 5 schedule and I see games that should be blowouts all over it. Those are the potential landmines if Week 5 turns out to be one of those weeks. So tread with caution. Of course, at 11 games below .500 after just four weeks, I’m not sure how much more caution I can afford.
With that, I confidently … brazenly … reel with terror as I present my against the spread picks for Week 5. As per always, home teams are in CAPS:
Cardinals (pick ‘em) over RAMS: The Rams are feisty at home as they’ve proven with wins over the Redskins and Seahawks. But Arizona just isn’t losing right now. As long as the spread’s not ridiculous—and a pick ‘em is about as non-ridiculous as it gets, I’m going to keep flipping for the Birds.
STEELERS (minus 3) over Eagles: Three wins by a combined four points to go with a single loss by 21. Yeah, the Eagles are a great team to stay as far away from as possible.
Packers (minus 7) over COLTS: Andrew Luck has the look of a guy who could be a great NFL quarterback some day. Aaron Rodgers already is one and he’s got a heckuva lot more weapons, to boot, even if Greg Jennings sits.
GIANTS (minus 8½) over Browns: Michael Vick made the Giants defense look silly by beating outside containment. Brandon Weedon doesn’t remind a soul of Michael Vick.
REDSKINS (plus 2½) over Falcons: As evidenced last week, mobile quarterbacks give the Falcons fits. Robert Griffin III is about as mobile as they come so this is a dangerous spot for Atlanta.
BENGALS (minus 3½) over Dolphins: I keep reading and hearing people that I believe know things raving about Ryan Tannehill like he’s going to be the next big thing at quarterback. Then I watch him and see Daunte Culpepper—great big numbers, itty bitty results. Of course, in a world of football fandom slowly having its soul sucked out by fantasy geeks, the stats matter more than wins and losses. Yikes.
Ravens (minus 5) over CHIEFS: I remember from my time living in the South that whenever someone uses the expression “bless his/her/their heart(s),” they’re getting ready to say something particularly insulting. Bless their hearts, the Chiefs sure do find new and inventive ways of turning the football over.
Seahawks (plus 2½) over PANTHERS: Bruce Irvin is a beast coming off the edge and I think the football gods may still be punishing Cam Newton for that Superman thing he did in the end zone while his team was getting blown out … at home.
Bears (minus 6) over JAGUARS: The only thing that slowed the Bengals down last week was the rain. Jacksonville’s sluggish on offense but they seem to make up for it by being slow and vanilla on defense. Great combination.
49ERS (minus 9½) over Bills: The bad news for Buffalo? They’re not likely to hang 28 on the 49er defense. The worse news for Buffalo? San Francisco’s offense may still hang half-a-hundred on the Bills’ D.
PATRIOTS (minus 6½) over Broncos: Look, it’s not that I don’t trust Peyton Manning in New England at this point in his career. It’s that I never trusted Peyton Manning in New England at any point in his career.
Titans (plus 5½) over VIKINGS: I looked at this game and hear sirens, saw flashing red lights and even heard the robot from “Lost In Space” screaming “Danger! Danger!” The Vikings have great potential to be this week’s Cardinals—the team that spent a week hearing how great they were, then struggled like crazy to put away an inferior opponent at home.
Chargers (plus 3½) over SAINTS: Las Vegas seems to be slow to tumble to this, so let me help (best Herman Edwards voice): HELLO! This is a terrible football team right now. Tackle? Can’t tackle nobody. Not today. Not tomorrow. Probably not this season.
Texans (minus 8) over JETS: Why yes, yes I would have laid 21 points in this game and not broken into any type of sweat. It was bad enough when Santonio Holmes was your best offensive player. It’s even worse to be crestfallen over losing Santonio Holmes.
Last Week: 7-8
Season: 25-36-2 (hanging head in utter shame)