I'd like to start things off here this week by congratulating the New York Jets, who beat the Tennessee Titans for what was easily the most shocking win of Week 4. I'd say the Titans had the worst weekend of anyone in the NFL, except Urban Meyer exists, so that's not true.
I'm not saying Meyer is trying to get fired so he can make himself available for the USC job, but I'm not not saying that. Meyer will actually be coaching against the Titans this week, so one of those two will definitely be embarrassing themselves for a second straight week.
So which one will it be?
Let's get to the picks and find out.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here, but you don't need to click over this week, because we have more important things to go over right now, like why you should sign up for the Pick Six newsletter that we have here at CBSSports.com.
Based on my unscientific research, I've found that roughly 57% of the people who read this picks column wish they could get an email from me every day. Well, YOU CAN. I write the Pick Six newsletter and it comes out every week day. If you want it sent your inbox, all you have to do is click here and subscribe. Once you sign up, you'll start getting one email per day where I'll be touching on every NFL-related topic I can think of and even ones I can't think of. If you're wondering how that's possible, you'll have to subscribe.
Although I'm writing the newsletter, I still make time in my busy schedule to bother Will Brinson three days per week on the Pick Six Podcast. For Tuesday's episode, which you can listen to below, we spent roughly 27 minutes debating whether the Chargers are the best team in the AFC West and then we spent another three minutes arguing about where the Raiders are going to finish in the division.
Alright, that's enough self-promotion for one week, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 5 Picks
N.Y. Jets (1-3) vs. Atlanta (1-3) in London
9:30 a.m. ET (NFL Network)
After a two-year hiatus, the London games are finally returning, which is good news for me, because I have a lot of tea and crumpets in my pantry that need to be consumed. Sure, I could have eaten the crumpets and drank the tea at any point over the past two years, but that's not how I do things. The only time I consume tea and/or crumpets is on Sunday mornings when there's an NFL game being played in London.
It's probably a good thing that there were no international games last year, because that makes it more likely that the people of London won't be upset that we're sending them the Jets and Falcons. Normally, I'd say that's arguably an act of war, but they're going to be so happy just to have football that they're not going to care that we're sending them two of the worst teams in the NFL.
That being said, this game could actually get crazy and that's because nearly every Falcons game somehow ends up being absolutely bonkers. The last time the Falcons went to London back in 2014, they blew a 21-0 halftime lead to the Lions and lost 22-21, which I believe is still remembered as the greatest collapse in franchise history. Just kidding, we all know that's Super Bowl LI.
I think what I'm trying to say here is that if you've watched any Falcons game ever, then you already know how this game is going to play out: The Falcons will have a big lead going into the second half and then suffer a spectacular collapse that will almost make you feel sorry for them, but then you'll remember this happens to them every week and that they're actually used to it.
The pick: Jets 22-19 over Falcons
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New Orleans (2-2) at Washington (2-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
After watching Washington and the Saints over the first month of the season, I've come to realize that I apparently know nothing about picking any game that involves either one of these two teams. To be more clear: I am embarrassingly bad at picking Saints and Washington games.
After four weeks, I'm 0-4 picking Washington's games and I'm 0-4 picking Saints games making them the only two teams in the NFL that I've completely whiffed on this year. If you don't like doing math, that means I'm 0-8 combined picking these two teams, which doesn't even seem possible when you consider that I'm 41-15 picking games that involve the other 30 teams that aren't Washington or New Orleans.
I haven't been this wrong about anything since the time I tried to convince people that "Smurfs 2" was a good movie. Spoiler alert: It was not a good movie and it's not even close to as good as the first "Smurfs" movie, which is an all-time classic if you like movies about tiny blue people.
The missed picks are starting to get out of hand. I mean, in Week 4, I picked the Saints to beat the Giants and they blew an 11-point lead over the final seven minutes. On Washington's end, I picked them to lose to the Falcons and they somehow won even though they were losing by eight with four minutes left.
No matter what I predict, it ends up being wrong. If I predicted the Saints to beat Washington by 47 this week, they would lose by 74.
Since the opposite of what I predict always seems to happen when these two teams play, I've decided to take that into account and I'm going to predict the opposite of what I think is going to happen. My gut originally told me to take the Saints, but I'm ignoring my gut and going with Washington. Last week, I tried this exact same strategy with the Chargers -- I was 0-3 picking their games heading into Week 4 -- and it worked. I am no longer winless picking Chargers games.
I'm taking Washington, and if they lose, I'm locking myself in a room with a "Smurfs 2" DVD and never coming out, well, except maybe to eat and use the bathroom, and for other stuff, but mostly never coming out.
The pick: Washington 20-17 over Saints
Denver (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-3)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
This game is fascinating to me, because I believe it's the only game on the schedule this week where both head coaches would prefer to be starting any other quarterback besides the one they're starting. In Denver, there's a good chance that Drew Lock could be playing on Sunday due to the fact that Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion on Sunday. Basically, the Broncos are either going to be rolling with a banged up Bridgewater or a QB in Lock who led the Broncos to exactly zero points in one half of action against the Ravens.
Normally, I'd say that favors the Steelers, but their QB situation isn't much better right now. I mean, Mike Tomlin was practically begging Aaron Rodgers to come play for Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers and Mike Tomlin. Pals. pic.twitter.com/gA6BbbPxAA— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 3, 2021
That's like taking your spouse out to dinner and then asking the waitress out on a date when she drops off the check. Ben is ON THE SIDELINE WITH YOU MIKE, he's watching you give Aaron GOOGLY EYES.
As you can probably tell, I'm not expecting much from either quarterback in this game, which means it's going to come down to defense and special teams play. Although I think Roethlisberger is going to struggle against the Broncos, I think Denver's quarterback -- whoever it is -- is going to be even worse against the Steelers.
If this game were being played in Denver, I'd probably pick the Broncos, but it's being played in Pittsburgh, so I'm rolling with the Steelers.
The pick: Steelers 19-16 over Broncos
Cleveland (3-1) at L.A. Chargers (3-1)
4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
I'm not going to say that Browns coach Kevin Stefanski can turn water into wine, but I do know that he can work miracles and that's because he's worked one in Cleveland. Stefanski hasn't even been on the job for one and a half seasons and he already has more wins (15) than the Browns three previous coaches COMBINED (14).
The next miracle he's going to have to work is figuring out how to win a game in the pacific time zone, because that's something the Browns seem to struggle at. In their past 10 trips out west, the Browns have gone 1-9 straight-up and that only win came in 2012, which is like 27 coaches ago for the Browns.
The Browns will also be going into this game with a QB who's struggling with his accuracy. Since completing 90.5% of his passes against the Texans in Week 2, Baker Mayfield has forgotten how to throw the football. Over the past two weeks combined, Mayfield has thrown 30 incompletions (34 of 64) and completed just 53.1% of his passes. Of those 30 misses, I'm pretty sure 29 of them were thrown over Odell Beckham's head on Sunday against Minnesota.
Normally, when a quarterback is playing that badly, I'd pick his team to lose by three touchdowns, but this isn't a normal situation. For one, although the passing game isn't up to par, everything else seems to be clicking for the Browns from their defense to their running game to their special teams.
That middle one is probably the most important and that's because the Browns will be going up against a Chargers team that currently has one of the worst rush defenses in football. With Mayfield struggling, I won't be surprised if Stefanski calls 45 run plays in this game.
The Browns have played in two road games this year and they've both been decided by one score, so I guess that means that I should assume that this game is also going to be decided by one-score.
The pick: Chargers 23-20 over Browns
Buffalo (3-1) at Kansas City (2-2)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
If you watched the Chiefs game in Week 4, you may have noticed that they didn't punt the entire game. As a matter of fact, the Chiefs' win over Philadelphia marked just the fourth time in NFL history that a game ended with two teams combining for ZERO punts.
The only reason I'm bringing that up is because the Chiefs punter might want to go ahead and plan on taking off this week too. For that matter, Bills punter Matt Haack might also want to consider taking the day off. I have a feeling there aren't going to be very many punts on Sunday night and that's because this game will feature two of the three highest-scoring teams in the NFL. The Bills and Chiefs have each scored 33.5 points per game this year, which is tied for the second in the league.
Basically, both of these teams have a high-scoring offense, so I'm thinking that this is going to come down to whose defense can play better. Unfortunately for Kansas City, comparing these two defenses is like comparing a covered wagon to a Ferrari: One is so much better than the other that it almost seems unfair to compare them.
On the Chiefs' end, they haven't been able to stop anyone this year. Through four weeks, they've given up the second most points in the NFL and the second most yards. On the other hand, the Bills have given up the fewest points in the NFL this season (just 11 points per game) and they've outscored their last three opponents by a combined score of 118-21. They've also pitched two shut outs through the first four weeks, which is almost unheard of in NFL history.
Only three teams over the past 30 years have pitched two shutouts in the first four weeks of the season:— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 4, 2021
The good news for the Bills: The first 2 teams on this list went on to win the Super Bowl #Bills #BillsMafia https://t.co/DI2mW09RGw pic.twitter.com/i1MSBQmvRQ
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I picked the Chiefs to get to the Super Bowl in each of the past two years (2019, 2020) out of the AFC, but I didn't pick them this year and that's because I took the Bills, which I think means I have to pick the Bills in this game.
The entire population of Buffalo might simultaneously smash themselves through a folding table if the Bills pull off the upset on Sunday night so my advice to any story selling folding tables is to make sure you have as many in stock as possible heading into the weekend.
The pick: Bills 37-34 over Chiefs
NFL Week 5 picks: All the rest
Rams 26-23 over Seahawks
Packers 27-24 over Bengals
Titans 30-23 over Jaguars
Vikings 27-20 over Lions
Panthers 24-16 over Eagles
Cardinals 30-24 over 49ers
Patriots 23-13 over Texans
Raiders 31-24 over Bears
Buccaneers 27-17 over Dolphins
Cowboys 34-24 over Giants
Ravens 31-23 over Colts
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Dolphins would score 17 points and lose to the Colts and guess what happened? The Dolphins scored exactly 17 points and lost to the Colts. Now, did I know that Miami's offense was going to fall flat on its face for the better part of three quarters? Of course I did. I mean, have you watched this team play? The Dolphins offense didn't work when Tua Tagovailoa was running it so there was a zero percent chance that it was going to work with Jacoby Brissett running it. Also, the Dolphins currently have two offensive coordinators which is like having two girlfriends who know about each other and also hate each other: You can try to convince yourself that it's going to work, but trust me, it's not going to work.
Worst pick: The Cardinals have been bad for so long that I'm basically automatically programmed to pick against them in any big game, but I'm definitely going to have to re-think things going forward because that strategy is really starting to backfire. Last week, I picked the Rams to destroy the Cardinals and if you watched the game, you may have noticed that the Rams definitely didn't destroy the Cardinals. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure the opposite happened, but i can't say for sure because I turned the game off at halftime to play Uno with my cat. That was much more enjoyable than watching the Rams try to play football.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, here's a quick look:
Teams I'm 4-0 picking this year: Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Broncos, Buccaneers, 49ers.
Teams I'm 0-4 picking this year: Washington, Saints.
Straight up in Week 4: 10-6 (10-4 picking games that didn't involve the Saints or Washington)
SU overall: 41-23 (41-15 picking games that didn't involve the Saints or Washington)
Against the spread in Week 4: 5-11 (Yikes)
ATS overall: 30-32-2
IMPORTANT NOTE: Ryan Wilson is an absurd 43-18-2 against the spread this year and if you want to know which teams he's picking to win in Week 5, then be sure to click here. I know what you're thinking and yes, I have thought about copying his picks, but that's not possible because he doesn't make them until Tuesday night.
Exact score predictions: 1
Exact score, wrong winner: 2
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, it's because they're both down.
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