With the bye weeks officially starting in the NFL over this past weekend, I feel obligated to offer my annual bye week tips to all NFL players. Sure, this isn't actually an annual thing, and I just invented it now, but we're going to do it anyway before getting to this week's picks.
I know everyone wants to know what my bye weeks tips are, so let's hurry up and get to them.
Tip 1: Make sure to do something you enjoy during your time off. For instance, Carson Wentz killed a giant buck and now has enough food to feed everyone in Philadelphia for three weeks.
Tip 2: Do not bring a loaded gun to the airport. Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham didn't listen to this tip over the weekend and he had to deal with the fallout that comes with showing up to the airport with a loaded gun. Tip 2B: It's not fallout you want to deal with.
I forgot I had a water bottle in my bag going through airport security once so I can relate to Nigel Bradham forgetting he had a loaded gun.— The700Level (@The700Level) October 3, 2016
Tip 3: Do not show up at Roger Goodell's office unannounced. I'm not sure if this is Goodell's actual office, but a Patriots fan posted this picture on Instagram and said it is, so I'm guessing it is.
Tip 4: Do not loan your tablet to Bill Belichick because I promise you, nothing good will happen.
Belichick vs the tablet pic.twitter.com/pF7AKHE5H5— BostonSportsPub (@BostonSportsPub) October 2, 2016
I did that to a tablet once after I ran out of lives in Candy Crush and I'm still kind of mad at myself for it.
And that's it. If NFL players on their bye week follow those four tips, there's almost no way they can get into any trouble. On a somewhat related note, if I had to rank those tips in order of importance, I'd go two, four, one, three, but really, tip two is probably the only one you should make sure to follow.
Alright, no more tips, it's time for picks. Actually, before we get to the picks, here's your weekly reminder to check out the picks from every CBSSports.com expert, which you can do by clicking here. I highly suggest you check it out, but that's mostly because I get a free bag of Funyons every time someone clicks on that hyperlink. It's a weird thing I had written into my contract. Don't ask.
Oh, and if you were here last week, I'm no longer endorsing Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter for president. My vote's now for Mike Zimmer.
OK, no more stalling, let's get to the Week 5 picks.
NFL Week 5 Picks
New England (3-1) at Cleveland (0-4), 1 p.m. ET (CBS): Browns fans have been trying to convince me for years that the NFL is conspiring against their team in an effort to never let the city of Cleveland have any football joy, and I have to say Clevelanders, I'm starting to see it.
Conspiracy against the Browns. That's why we always losing 😳😭😭😭 https://t.co/bmtwnhhR9e— Anthony Pratt (@Ant_Pratt) October 3, 2016
Not only have the Browns been hosed by two weird officiating calls in two separate games this season, but guess who gets to face an irate Tom Brady in his first game back from suspension? Yup. The Browns.
If I had never seen the NFL schedule this year and you asked me who Brady was going to face during his return in Week 5, I would've bet my entire Pog collection on the Browns. It's almost like the league did this to Cleveland on purpose.
What the Browns are going to see on Sunday is a Tom Brady that's more motivated than Tom Brady's ever been, and we know that because "motivated" seemed to be his favorite word on Monday. During his weekly interview on Westwood One radio, here's what Brady had to say about returning from his suspension and being motivated.
"I was motivated 17 years ago, and I'm motivated today, so I'm motivated to win for my teammates, and I'm motivated to go out there and represent our city well."
I don't have many rules when it comes to picking games, but if Tom Brady uses the word "motivated" four times in one sentence, that means there's a zero percent chance of his team losing. That being said, I do think that Brady's going to be slightly rusty and if this was any team but the Browns, I'd think about picking an upset, but it's the Browns, so no upset.
The pick: Patriots 24-17 over Browns.
Washington (2-2) at Baltimore (3-1), 1 p.m. ET (Fox): The last time the Redskins and Ravens played each other back in 2012, Kirk Cousins had what might've been the best game of his career. Of course, that was mostly because he only threw two passes, and since he completed them both, Redskins fans had nothing to complain about, which is basically the opposite of this year, where Redskins find something new to complain about with Cousins every week.
If you've ever been on Twitter during a Redskins game, then you've probably noticed that this is pretty much how things go.
I think I actually hate Kirk Cousins— Bro Pelini, 😎 (@DawgPound_DJ) September 25, 2016
I hate Kirk cousins so much— Pipe Papi (@AOalphamale) October 2, 2016
Apparently, everyone hates Cousins.
I'm guessing that after Sunday's games, Redskins fans will start loving him again.
On the other hand, I'd like to apologize to Ravens fans beforehand for picking the Redskins to win this game because losing to Cousins is the kiss of death. The Redskins quarterback has never beaten a team that finished a season with a winning record, which means if Cousins wins on Sunday, the Ravens are doomed to finish 8-8 or worse.
The pick: Redskins 26-23 over Ravens.
Atlanta (3-1) at Denver (4-0), 4:05 p.m. ET (Fox): If Atlanta beats the Broncos on Sunday, that would mean they've won consecutive games against the two teams that played in Super Bowl 50, which means I would have to start taking the Falcons seriously, and I'm not ready to take them seriously.
Although the Falcons have looked impressive on offense this year, keep in mind that two of their three wins (Oakland and New Orleans) came against defenses that are currently ranked last and second to last in the NFL in yards surrendered (the Broncos are ranked fourth).
As for Denver, their formula for winning is pretty simple: Don't tell anyone who your quarterback is, and play great defense.
After Peyton Manning got hurt last year, the Broncos started Brock Osweiler until they got sick of him and put Manning back in. That same thing could happen this year if Trevor Siemian's shoulder injury is serious.
I think Siemian will start against Atlanta, but if he doesn't, I'm still taking the Broncos. I won't feel good about the pick if Siemian's out, but to be honest, it doesn't seem to matter who the quarterback is in Denver. They win no matter what.
The pick: Broncos 24-23 over Falcons.
Cincinnati (2-2) at Dallas (3-1), 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox): It's too bad Andy Dalton didn't get drafted into the NFC, because if he had ended up in that conference, he'd probably have five Super Bowl rings by now. HA HA HA HA HA HA, that's a joke, but seriously, he does dominate when he plays against NFC teams.
I can't explain why, but NFC teams just can't beat Dalton.
Since his rookie year in 2011, Dalton is an AFC-best 14-4-1 against the NFC, a record that's actually pretty close to being 19-0. Of Dalton's four losses to NFC teams, all came by five or less points, and the one tie ended with the Bengals missing a 36-yard field goal in overtime. Basically, forget "Daytime Dalton," to NFC teams, he's "Unstoppable Andy." And yes, I've already trademarked that.
Speaking of unstoppable, that's what Ezekiel Elliot has been over the past three weeks. The only problem is that he's been kind of running against air. Elliott put up his big numbers in Weeks 2, 3 and 4 against rushing defenses that are ranked 26th, 30th and 32nd in the NFL.
Anyway, I'm going to say that the Cowboys score 23 points in this game because that's how many team meetings Dez Bryant has missed in his career. I'm just kidding, I don't know the actual number. Only God does.
God probably also knows who's going to win this game, but unfortunately, he didn't tell me.
The pick: Bengals 33-23 over Cowboys.
NY Giants (2-2) at Green Bay (2-1), 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC): If you've watched any Packers games this season, then you already know how this game is going to play out: the Green Bay secondary is going to get torched for about 300 receiving yards.
Lions receiver Marvin Jones followed that up a week later by going for 205 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers. I'm not good at math, but at that pace, I think this means that Odell Beckham is going to go for about 275 yards and four touchdowns against Green Bay.
Of course, even if Odell scores seven touchdowns, I still won't be picking against the Packers this week, and that's because of the list below.
It seems that Aaron Rodgers is pretty much a lock when he's playing in a primetime home game.
The pick: Packers 27-23 over Giants.
NFL Week 5 picks: All the rest
Cardinals 20-13 over 49ers
Eagles 27-20 over Lions
Colts 30-24 over Bears: If the Colts lose, I'm blaming it on the fact that they refused to take a bye week after their trip to London. On the other hand, whenever they do eventually have their bye, I hope they read my bye week tips.
Vikings 23-13 over Texans
Panthers 23-20 over Bucs
Best pick: Last week, I said the Redskins would score 31 points and beat the Browns, and what happened? The Redskins scored 31 points and beat the Browns.
Did I know that the refs were going to forget the rules of football and completely botch a call in the second half that would go against the Browns? Of course I did. The refs do that every week to Cleveland.
If you somehow missed the botched call, I'm pretty confident that the picture below explains everything.
If that picture doesn't make sense, here's what you're looking at:
- Browns running back Duke Johnson is holding the ball that he supposedly didn't recover.
- Redskins players are still in the pile looking for the ball.
- The ref awards possession to the Redskins, who don't have the ball because Duke Johnson has it.
I can't wait until Week 8 when the Browns play the Jets. I bet Ryan Fitzpatrick throws 11 interceptions, but they all get overturned because the refs hate Cleveland.
Worst pick: Speaking of Fitzpatrick, last week I spent 600 words talking about how horrible he is, and then I turned around and picked his team to win. That's basically the equivalent of telling your girlfriend you hate chick flicks, but then turning around and spending three months worth of paychecks on Freddie Prinze Jr. movies. Not that I've ever done that, but if anyone wants to borrow my copies of "Scooby-Doo," "She's All That or Summer Catch," just let me know. I also have "Down to You."
By the way, it kind of feels like every movie that Freddie Prinze Jr. has ever made was done just to collect a paycheck, which I'm only mentioning because I'm 99 percent sure Fitzpatrick's doing the same thing right now.
Anyway, the worst part about the Jets loss to Seattle is that Fitzpatrick got off to such a hot start, I was thoroughly convinced that New York was going to win.
The Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't thrown any interceptions in warmups.— Dave Boling (@DaveBoling) October 2, 2016
Unfortunately, warmups turned out to be the best part of Fitzpatrick's day.
Straight-up in Week 4: 6-9
SU Overall: 33-30
Against the spread in Week 4: 9-6
ATS overall: 26-36-1