08 October 2015

2015 NFL Predictions: Week 5

I think it is a shame that the Dolphins are on bye this week as they will be under a new boss, Dan Campbell. Campbell, formerly the team's tight end coach, has only been a coach since 2010 (when he was a coaching intern) and he certainly is looking to crank up the intensity as he even implemented the Oklahoma drill the other day. I have no idea what to expect out of him but it probably will be more interesting than what we saw under the listless Joe Philbin.

Here are my picks for Week 5.

Last Week: 11-4
2015: 41-22
Locks: 3-1

Thursday, October 8th
Colts (2-2) vs. Texans (1-3) - CBS/NFLN, 8:25
This game has become very tricky not because the Colts have gotten off to a disappointing start (well, that too) but now since Andrew Luck will be out again, leaving the ageless Matt Hasselbeck to start as he did this past Sunday. Hasselbeck didn't look bad against the Jaguars but now he will have to face J.J. Watt and a Houston defense that is pretty solid. Even as Houston's offense is truly dreadful, I think their defense will carry the way.
Texans 7 Colts 6

Sunday, October 11th
Bears (1-3) vs. Chiefs (1-3) - Fox, 1:00
Chicago got off the schneid with a home win over the Raiders but by no means do I think that things are poised to change for them. Kansas City still has lost three games in a row but I think that they are in a good matchup here at home. Their strong pass rush will get to Jay Cutler a number times, and perhaps forcing him into some mistakes.
Chiefs 23 Bears 17

Seahawks (2-2) vs. Bengals (4-0) - Fox, 1:00
We are still waiting for the Seahawks to look like the team went to back-to-back Super Bowls the past two seasons. Sure, they've won twice at home but one was against an awful Bears club and last Sunday they struggled to put away a winless Lions team, nearly losing down the stretch. And they have not looked all that great in their two losses on the road. Cincinnati is playing some great football right now, and they are a good team in the early window.
Bengals 28 Seahawks 20

Washington (2-2) vs. Falcons (4-0) - Fox, 1:00
The NFC East is currently a quagmire with nobody above .500 and even Washington is tied for the division lead. To their credit, they pulled out a wild win at home over the Eagles late on Sunday but can they put together a similar performance on the road against a team in the Falcons that is looking pretty good right now? I don't think so.
Falcons 34 Washington 21

Jaguars (1-3) vs. Buccaneers (1-3) - CBS, 1:00
This is a barnburner if I have ever seen one. This could be a tough contest for the Jaguars simply because this is their third straight road game, a rare sight indeed. However, Tampa Bay looked bad at home last week against the Panthers and may actually be the inferior team in this matchup. And right now, if I am picking a quarterback between Blake Bortles and Jameis Winston, I'm going with (gulp) Bortles.
Jaguars 10 Buccaneers 8

Saints (1-3) vs. Eagles (1-3) - Fox, 1:00
This is a really big game right here for a pair of clubs that have been pretty disappointing thus far this campaign. The Saints did crank out a big win over the Tony Romo/Dez Bryant-less Cowboys on Sunday night but now they're back out on the road. For the Eagles, their offense has been very bad at times as Sam Bradford, particularly in the first half of games, has very spotty. Playing at home will help and I barely like the Eagles here.
Eagles 24 Saints 21

Browns (1-3) vs. Ravens (1-3) - CBS, 1:00
The Ravens finally got that first win against the Steelers last Thursday, abeit a Steelers team without Ben Roethlisberger. Alas, a win is a win so there is that. They now to get to hose a feisty Cleveland team that played hard in San Diego before ultimately coming up short but I do find it hard to believe that Josh McCown can light it up once again.
Ravens 27 Browns 17

Rams (2-2) vs. Packers (4-0) - CBS, 1:00
Even without Jordy Nelson, it has been full speed ahead for the Packers this season as their offense has been terrific. And even in a contest like one where they faced a solid defense on the road, like they did against San Francisco, their offense was able to do just enough to secure the win. Now they return to the friendly confines where they are always dangerous. The Rams cranked out a nice upset against the Cardinals in Glendale but it'll be a tough go of it at Lambreau.
Packers 31 Rams 17

Bills (2-2) vs. Titans (1-2) - CBS, 1:00
I don't think that anybody is certain what to expect from the Bills from week to week, in other words: par for the course for a Rex Ryan-coached team. The team came back from a big win over the Dolphins by disappointing in a loss to the Titans, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor doesn't look healthy right now. But while they will face a rested Titans club, I think Ryan can concoct enough defensive chaos to fluster Marcus Mariota.
Bills 21 Titans 17

Cardinals (3-1) vs. Lions (0-4) - Fox, 4:05
When you start a season with losses in your first four contests, things are clearly not going well and that is the case for the Lions right now. They had their chances in Seattle on Monday night thanks to a good defensive performance but it took too long for the offense to come alive and then they got hosed on the critical Calvin Johnson fumble at the end of the game. Arizona is a really good team but they showed some vulnerability in their loss to the Rams at home. I'm feeling the upset with the Lions finally getting that first win thanks to a strong performance from their defensive line.
Lions 28 Cardinals 27

Patriots (3-0) vs. Cowboys (2-2) - CBS, 4:25
Through their first three contests before their bye week, the Patriots have looked pretty omnipotent offensively as they lead the league in offensive yardage per-game by far, passing yardage per-game by far and scoring per-game. You think they have an edge in the wake of the whole Deflategate brouhaha? The Cowboys have some problems right now as they are still without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant and this is a bad matchup for them, even in Arlington. New England is my Lock of the Week.
Patriots 35 Cowboys 14

Broncos (4-0) vs. Raiders (2-2) - CBS, 4:25
Peyton Manning continues on the track to having the worse season of his career since his rookie campaign. His arm has noticeably weakened as seen on many difficult throws and he simply can't carry the Denver offense like he has the last few years. An even bigger problem for Denver is that their running game has been largely ineffective but what will save them on the road is their defense, which has been awesome this season.
Broncos 26 Raiders 23

49ers (1-3) vs. Giants (2-2) - NBC, 8:30
San Francisco was in a winnable contest against the Packers at home but Colin Kaepernick continued to look dreadful throwing the ball. It's never a good sign when you start hearing comparisons to Chuck Knoblauch. When it starts to get to a point where you are hearing serious suggestions of trotting out backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, that's not a good sign. The Giants are looking sneaky good right now and they'll win it under the lights.
Giants 30 49ers 20

Monday, October 12
Steelers (2-2) vs. Chargers (2-2) - ESPN, 8:30
Yes, the Chargers were able to pull out a win over the Browns at home on Sunday afternoon but they allowed Josh McCown (!!) to throw the ball all over the yard. That should give some hope to Michael Vick as he didn't look all that comfortable last Thursday in the loss to the Ravens. But I'm still not sold on his performance and I like San Diego is a close one.
Chargers 30 Steelers 26


  1. Hi Ben
    Given the injuries the Cowboys have suffered I wonder if CBS regrets making it their Game of the Week... it could be all over before Half-Time. Definitely the LOTW. Do you think a change of coach will make the Dolphins' Offence more dynamic (or less anaemic)?

    1. Sorry for the delayed answer, as for your second question I am not certain as to what Campbell will do for the Dolphins offensively and perhaps by bringing in Al Saunders as basically a consultant, you'll see some changes.

      The thing is that a Patriots-Cowboys matchup would be a lead game no matter what. Also note that CBS, unlike Fox, can switch out of any game and to any game and with the secondary late game, if it gets out of hand CBS will move out quickly.