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NFL Pro Football 2011 Week 5 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 5 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | October 9-10

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Sunday, Oct. 9

New Orleans Saints (-7, 52) at Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm - The Panthers are just 1-3, but they've been close in all of their games thanks to Cam Newton's inspired play, and, since this is a divisional contest at Carolina, the Saints aren't going to have an easy time winning this one.

Additionally, the Saints are a poor 2-5 ATS over their last seven road games and 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Carolina.

Carolina's losses have come by 3, 5 and 7 points, so, if that trend holds up, they'll have enough in the tank to cover here and maybe pull off the upset over Brees and Co.

Prediction: Panthers 30 Saints 27

Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 50) at Buffalo Bills 1:00 pm - These two haven'tmet since 2007, so head-to-head match-up comparisons are useless. What is helpful is the Eagles on a three-game skid and Buffalo losing by a field goal at Cincinnati last week will be happy to be back home.

Since the Eagles were crowned the kings of the NFL at the start of the season, things have not gone well as neither the offense nor the defense has lived up to its advance billing. Mike Vick is surely healthy, but the Bills have plenty of speedy athletes on defense to keep him in the pocket and to cover Philly's swift receivers.

On the discipline front, Buffalo gets the nod, and also adds a big plus for playing hard all 60 minutes. Home fans will be wild in upstate New York as the Bills - for now - look like playoff contenders.

Prediction: Bills 23 Eagles 21

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2 1/2, 36 1/2) 1:00 pm - Here's a surprise. The Bengals are 2-2, while the Jags have lost three in a row since beating the Titans in Week 1.

As trends go, nothing works better than "winning teams win, losers continue to lose," and it applies here, though the Bengals will have to play solid rush defense in order to halt the advances of Maurice Jones-Drew. Meanwhile, Cincy QB Andy Dalton is beginning to show some of the athleticism and poise that made him a star at TCU.

Despite the usual assortment of off-field distractions, the Bengals have pulled together and are beginning to look like a real football team, which is a welcome change. If they get a few scores early, it could be lights out, as Jacksonville scores at a rate of just 9.8 ppg, their 39 total points scored is the lowest in the league.

Prediction: Bengals 24 Jaguars 16

Seattle Seahawks at NY Giants (-9 1/2, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - The Giants narrowly avoided a loss at Arizona last week, scoring three TDs in the 4th quarter to upend the Cardinals, and are rewarded with a home game against one of the league's worst teams.

Seattle nearly had a surprise win of their own, scoring 21 send half points after trailing the Falcons, 24-7, at the half, but eventually fell just short, losing 30-28. The Seahawks are just 1-3, and may have fired their best shot of the season in a losing cause. A trip across the country to the Big Apple generally does not translate into wins and if the Giants get their ground game going early on, this could be one big mess.

Prediction: Giants 31 Seahawks 14

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Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, 39 1/2) 1:00 pm - The 2-2 Steelers need to begin stringing together some wins, especially if they intend to have a shot at catching the Ravens in the NFC North. Pittsburgh has, uncharacteristically, been qite sluggish on the offensive end, averaging just 16 points per outing; only five teams have scored fewer points through the first quarter of the season.

That should be cause for concern, because the Titans have been playing fairly stoutly on defense, tops in the league in points allowed at 14 per game and very solid against the run, allowing only 87.8 yards per game.

Matt Hasselbeck is also getting comfortable with the Tennessee offense, throwing for three scores in last week's 31-13 romp over the Browns. All of this points to the Titans pulling off the minor upset.

Prediction: Titans 21 Steelers 17

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Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-5 1/2, 48 1/2) 1:00 pm - Houston, one of the strongest teams in the league over the first four weeks, has won three and lost just once, with a great combination of tough defense (17.5 ppg, 4th best in the league) and opportunistic offense. They will have to contend with the loss of wideout Andre Johnson, who may be out as many as eight weeks, but QB Matt schaub has a QB's best buddy - a hot running back - in Arian Foster, who rumbled for 155 yards last week in Houston's 17-10 win over Pittsbugh.

The Raiders stunned the Jets two weeks ago, but were outclassed and outplayed by the visiting Patriots last week in a 31-19 loss. RB Darren McFadden leads the league in rushing and the offense has revolved around him, to the point that Oakland is 7th in points scored, just ahead of the Texans.

This one could turn into a real grinder, but at home, the Houston defense should provide the winning edge, shutting down McFadden and the Raider attack.

Prediction: Texans 24 Raiders 14

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 39) 1:00 pm - The Colts' offense showed some signs of life last week, but still came up on the short end of a 24-17 score at Tampa Bay on Monday night. The offensive woes of the Colts are more than matched by the Chiefs, who are the third lowest scoring team in the NFL, ahead of only Jacksonville and St. Louis.

The Colts are also just a little better on defense than the Chiefs, and because they've played better teams that should mean a lot in this contest of two teams going nowhere fast.

Kansas City got its first win of the season with a 22-17 home win over the offensively-inept Vikings, but any ball movement by the Colts offense should result in a winning effort at home.

Prediction: Colts 23 Chiefs 13

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 45) 1:00 pm - It's hard to believe the 0-4 Vikings are favored, though they are at home and Arizona isn't exactly a contender for anything other than the bottom of the NFC West, at 1-3.

In a scheduling oddity, these two teams met last November and the scene will be the same, in Minnesota, where the Vikings won by a field goal, 27-24, last time.

While Arizona QB Kevin Kolb has been adequate for the Cardinals, it's about time Donovan McNabb showed up for the Vikes and took some pressure off Adrian Peterson, who only gained 80 yards on 23 carries in last Sunday's loss at KC. McNabb has the arm, and the weapons, to slice through the Arizona secondary which was diced up by the Giants last week in the 4th quarter.

Prediction: Vikings 33 Cardinals 23

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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