Well, that Thursday game was interesting. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Ryan Mallett turned out to be more interesting than anyone could have thought. It was helped out that the first half ended on a Hail Mary TD, and the games was close until the end. Anyway, I would rather just let those memories leave my mind. This week, besides my picks, I will be reviewing where my playoff picks stand now, and what changes would I make if I could pick from right now. So without further ado, the picks for week 5.

This week, the Vikings, Dolphins, Jets and Panthers are on a bye this week, so there are only 13 games left(without the TNF game). All stats are provided by ESPN and football outsiders unless noted.

Falcons over Washington

Julio Jones should light this secondary up on Sunday. Honestly, if he ended up with 150+ yards and multiple touchdowns I would not be shocked. Devonta Freeman will bo looking for his third straight amazing day on the ground, but Washington has the second best run defense so far this year. They are limiting opponents to 78 yards a game, but if the Falcons can get up big, they should run the ball enough for Freeman to have a nice day. This game should be an easy win for the Falcons

Bills over Titans

I am still a believer in the Bills as a good team. Many will say that their victory over the Colts is not worth much since Indy might not be good anymore; however, I would point to the fact that they hung around with the Pats for a while as a reason that they are good. While the Bills defense appears weak in pass defense, ranking 30th in yards allowed, but they rank 11th in passing defense DVOA, suggesting their pass defense is better than simple stats show. I think they will get to Mariota early, and force him to turn the ball over a lot. This will take the pressure off Tyrod Taylor with McCoy, Williams, Watkins and maybe Charles Clay out Sunday.

Chiefs over Bears

Like last week, I need to see who is actually playing for the Bears before picking this game. Here is the thing, and I may be biased but I think this is fair, we don’t really know exactly how good the Bears are this year. They’ve lost to the Packers, Seahawks, and the Cardinals, who are arguably the three best teams in the NFC(football outsiders say that the Bears have had the 2nd hardest schedule in the league). For all we know the Bears aren’t that bad. The good news is that Jay Cutler will be playing, which is a positive for the Bears. Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal are both questionable, if both are out I have some serious doubts about exactly how well the Bears can move the ball on Sunday. The Bears could be without three starters along the offensive line, and arguably their best defensive player so far in Pernell McPhee. If the Bears are severely undermanned on Sunday, the Chiefs should win. I’ll take the Bears if Long, McPhee and at least one of Jeffery/Royal can go.

Seahawks over Bengals

This could be the Seahawks chance to prove that they are not to be forgotten this year. On the other hand, this is also the Bengals chance to prove that this is the year they need to be taken seriously. I think the Seahawks might be the better team, but they have just been trying to figure stuff out on the offensive end of the ball. Their defense should be able to shut down Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green. It sucks that Marshawn Lynch is out, but I think that the Seahawks will be able to figure it out. I really just expect that the Seahawks defense is going to come out and make a statement in this game, potentially pitching a shutout.

Ravens over Browns

Typically, the Ravens play the Browns pretty well. This is also a Ravens team that really needs to win this game, just like last week. This team is probably not making the playoffs, but if they want to they need to start winning the rest of their game. This Browns team might be one of the worst in the league, and the Ravens should be able to take advantage of this team. Ravens win easily, especially since they are playing at home.

Packers over Rams

The Rams alternate between looking like a wild card team, and one of the worst teams in their conference. I have no idea which Rams team is going to show up on Sunday. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, and that is enough for me to pick the Packers. I would rather lose betting on Rodgers, than lose because I bet against Rodgers. Side note: Todd Gurley might be really good.

Eagles over Saints

Hmm… Sam Bradford did not look awful when he was airing it a little bit. This could give the Eagles life. Getting anything from Nelson Agholor would be nice, and not that’s just my fantasy teams(yes multiple, I LOVED him this year in fantasy). The Saints are one of the worst teams in the league, and I just think this is a game that the Eagles have to win.

Jaguars over Buccaneers

This is a game that I have no idea what is going to happen. I actually don’t hate the Jaguars this year. I don’t know, but the Bucs have one of the worst defenses in the league, and I don’t hate the some of the pieces that the Jaguars have on offense. Allan Robinson is actually decent, Allen Hurns has been good this year, and T.J. Yeldon has showed competence. I have concerns about Jameis Winston, but one of the biggest knocks on him coming into the league that he would turn the ball over. It is honestly a gut call, but I think the Jaguars pull this one out

Cardinals over Lions

While I think that the Lions will win a game soon, I do not believe this will be the game that they win. Carson Palmer did not have the best game last week, but I think that he should rebound nicely this week. The Lions have a very predictable offense that the Cardinals D should have no problem taking care of. Look for the Cardinals to show again why they are one of the best teams in the league this Sunday.

Patriots over Cowboys

I think I am going to be picking the Patriots in every game this season. They are that good. This section in each weekly picks column will read something like this: Brady and Gronk are just lightning the league up this year, and this is Brady’s F you tour. The Pats are unstoppable, and the Cowboys have Brandon Weeden at QB, give me the Pats

Broncos over Raiders

The Broncos look pretty damn good, mostly because their defense has been so good so far this year. Yes, Peyton Manning, their offensive line, and their running game have struggled, but I think that by the end of the year they will have it right. They still have Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, which means Peyton should be fine. The Raiders look like a team on the rise, and this could be a statement win, but I don’t think it is in the cards. The Broncos should be able to just shut down the Raiders offense, making it easy on Peyton to help the Broncos win the game.

Giants over 49ers

The 49ers might just be the worst team in football. In fact, I wrote about just that for Thursday night. Why would I pick the worst team in the league to win a game against a Giants team that might not be awful. They should be able to move the ball almost at will against the 49ers defense(huge OBJ game), while their league’s best running defense should shut down Carlos Hyde and force Kap to beat them. I am betting that Kap will throw a couple picks, and the Giants will win.

Steelers over Chargers

Not a huge fan of this Monday night game, but how could they foresee that Big Ben would be out. The Steelers still have LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown, and Michael Vick will have another week to perfect the playbook. Me picking the Steelers is mostly me betting on Vick getting better with another week playing with the starters. Philip Rivers has the potential to have a big game here because the Steelers secondary is not that good. But I will still have to go with the Steelers just because of how good the skill players around Vick can help make his play seem better than it is.

eliminator picks: Falcons(my pick), Ravens, Cardinals, Patriots, and Giants(sleeper almost)

So far I would like to think that most of my playoff picks look good so far. I thought that the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Colts, Broncos, and Dolphins would make the playoffs. Not going to lie, two of those are going to make me look pretty dang stupid. Granted, the Suggs injury killed the Ravens, but it is hard to make the playoffs after starting 0-3. The Dolphins are a disaster of a team and will definitely not make the playoffs this year. Replacing those teams at this point in the season for me are the Bengals and the Bills. I am a huge believer in the Bills, just because of how good their defense and running game are/can be(the Bills run game will get there, give it time). The Benglas are 4-0 and look like one of the top 10 teams in the league. But hey, 4/6 ain’t bad.

In the NFC, I thought the Eagles, Cowboys, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, and Cardinals would make the playoffs. So far, 5/6 of those teams look on the right path. I think Seattle ends up in the playoffs, as that team is just way to talented to miss the playoffs. The only team I think is in trouble is the Eagles. In their spot, the Panthers who are currently 4-0, are the top choice right now to make the playoffs. I think I did a pretty good job in the NFC, and overall. Through 1/4 of the season, it looks like 9/12 of my picks could make the playoffs.

As for MVP, I picked Rodgers, but now feel that either Brady or Rodgers is destined for it. I’ll stick with my Rodgers pick.  JJ Watt could still be DPOY. Nelson Agholor isn’t winning OROY, but Todd Gurley might. Coach of the year probably won’t be Chip Kelly, and I guess Dan Quinn is the favorite through four weeks. My award picks appear very hit or miss so far through four weeks. Well, we will check back with these picks in four weeks after the halfway point of the season.

as always, follow me on twitter @TVG_5

Ted Van Green

Spark Sports NFL Analyist

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