NFL Week 5 open thread

So far, the Steelers have had a tough season.  They’ve played three of their first four games on the road … and it shows.  They kept the score close against the tough Houston Texans but never really got into the game, losing 17-10.  They come back to Pittsburgh today to play the 3-1 Tennessee Titans, no pushovers.  If the Steelers can fix their O-line issues and get a running game going — Tennessee is 8th against the rush so far this year, 7th against the pass — Pittsburgh should eke out a 20-17 win at home over the Titans.  I hope.

Last week I went 4-2 to bring my season total to 14-10.  Can I get a clean sweep this week? Let’s find out:

  • Raiders at Texans – Al Davis passed away yesterday, a true American original, and so one might think his team would be fired up to win one for him.  The Texans are tough, though, especially at home.  Can the emotion overcome the difference in talent?  I’m going to make the upset pick and say Oakland beats Houston 24-19.
  • Cardinals at Vikings – This game features two Philly ex-QBs, Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, neither of whom are leading their teams to glory this year.  Kolb has almost 400 more yards than McNabb this year on almost as many attempts, though, and at least his team has won one game.  I made the mistake of picking Minnesota against the winless Chiefs last week, but I’m not going to make that mistake this week.  Kolb and the Cards engineer a 2nd-half comeback and beat the league’s greatest 30-minute team, 27-24.
  • Jets at Patriots – I’m going to break The Ban and make a Jets pick this week — sorry, Jazz.  This game should get plenty of attention as the late CBS feature game, and it should, since it’s a tough division rivalry.  The Jets will play better today than their 2-2 record would indicate, but there is no way that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will allow another New York team to surprise them.  Pats over Jets, 33-21.
  • Packers at Falcons – The Falcons are playing under expectations but are always tough at home.  The Packers, though, look nigh well unto unbeatable this year.  They’re 4-0 for a reason, and they have the added pressure of being in the same division as the only other undefeated NFL team, the Detroit Lions.  Expect the Pack to prevail in Atlanta, 31-20.
  • Bears at Lions – Another great division rivalry, and of course the Detroit Lions are one of the big story lines this year.  Da Bears haven’t looked especially impressive so far, and they’ve played three of their four at home to only go 2-2.  Detroit didn’t get to 4-0 by a fluke, and they came back huge against Dallas last week.  Lions eat Bears, don’t they?  Detroit 35, Bears 17.

Today’s games and all the rest of the games this year will feature a moment of silence in honor of Al Davis.  He was never beloved by the NFL establishment, so this is a nice tribute to a man who contributed far more than his share into making the NFL what it is today.

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