I don't usually throw around statements like this unless I mean it, so I'm just going to say it: The NFC East is trash. Through the first four weeks of the season, the NFC East race has somehow turned into the football equivalent of Joe Exotic: It's a total disaster that I can't take my eyes off of.
The entire division should be quarantined, and preferably for three months, just so we don't have to watch them play anymore. The division has a total of three wins so far this year and the only reason they even have that many is because one of those wins came in a game that involved two NFC East teams.
Going into Week 4, the Philadelphia Eagles were WINLESS, and somehow, they're now in first place. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that my NFC Super Bowl pick (the Cowboys) came out of this division. Of course, the one upside for me is that if you play in the division, that means that you get to play six games against the division, so I'm now officially banking on the Cowboys to win the division with a 7-9 record.
To celebrate how bad the NFC East has been, I'm picking the entire division to lose this week. Actually, I'm picking one of them to win, but only because there's one game this week that involves two teams from the division.
So which NFC East team am I picking to win in Week 5? 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 Podcast newsletter that we have here at CBSSports.com.
Based on my unscientific research, I've found that roughly 53% of the people who read this picks column wish they could get an email from me every day. Well, NOW YOU CAN. I've been put in charge of the Pick Six Newsletter, which covers all things NFL. I have no idea why anyone would put me in charge of anything, but it happened, and now, you can hear from me five days per week. All you have to do is click here and subscribe. Once you sign up, I'll be filling your inbox with one email per day where I'll be touching on every NFL-related topic I can think of.
Although I'll be making the foray into the world of newsletters this week, don't worry, I'll still be on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com. For the rest of the 2020 season, I'll be joining host Will Brinson three days per week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday).
You can listen to Tuesday's episode below. The reason you're going to want to listen is because we spent way more time than we probably should have debating whether or not the Falcons will actually fire Dan Quinn during the season.
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Alright, that's enough self-promotion for one week, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 5 Picks
Which teams will cover the spread in Week 5? Pete Prisco, R.J. White and SportsLine's Kenny White join Will Brinson to break down their best bets and every game; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Buffalo (4-0) at Tennessee (3-0)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Bills -1
I'm not sure what the best thing about living in Nashville is for me, but I can you that it's definitely not the fact that the Titans have turned the city into ground zero for the NFL's first coronavirus outbreak. It's like the Titans took the NFL's COVID-19 protocols and threw them out the window. I'm not sure which window, but if I find out, I'll let you know. A total of 20 members of the organization have tested positive for COVID over the past two week, which is basically 20 more than almost every other team is dealing with.
Due to the circumstances, this game is definitely the most fascinating one on the schedule this week. Not only is it the one game in Week 5 that features two undefeated teams playing against each other, but there's also an element of mystery involved because I have no idea what the Titans are going to look like. I mean, they've been banned from their practice facility for more than a week now, which means they haven't been able to hold a single on-field practice since at least Sept. 26.
On one hand, that could be advantage, because it means everyone's going to be fresh. On the other hand, the offense could be a little rusty after taking more than a week off. Of course, if there's one quarterback in the NFL who probably doesn't have to worry about getting rusty, it's Ryan Tannehill, and that's because 90% of his job is to just turn around and hand the ball off to Derrick Henry. That's a rust-proof job.
The problem for the Titans is that trying to stop Josh Allen seems like it might be slightly difficult to do without any actual practice. Basically, I think the Bills are going to be able to move up and down the field on Tennessee's defense and although I feel like the Titans offense will able to keep things interesting, I don't think they're going to be able to outscore Buffalo in a shootout. I'm picking the Bills to win even though it means all of my neighbors are going to hate me (My neighbors expect me to pick the Titans every week). Of course, I haven't really been hanging out with my neighbors since the pandemic started, so I don't really care what they think.
The pick: Bills 30-27 over Titans
What picks can you make with confidence in Week 5? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,300 on its top-rated picks.
Jacksonville (1-3) at Houston (0-4)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Texans -6.5
Houston, we have a problem. Actually, check that, it appears that Houston has fixed its problem. Ladies and gentlemen, after just four weeks, we finally have our first firing of the season: Bill O'Brien is out in Houston.
The Texans are 0-4 this year and a big reason for that is because their general manager got rid of their best offensive skill player during the offseason, their head coach kept making horrible decisions and their offensive play-caller couldn't figure out how to move the ball on a bad Vikings defense in Week 4. The Texans responded to this by firing all of those people this week, which wasn't actually that hard since O'Brien held every job.
Now that O'Brien is out, I think the logical next move for the Texans should be to petition the NFL to undo every trade that he made while he was coach, because I'm pretty sure they came out on the losing end of every single deal.
From the sound of it, O'Brien wasn't too popular in Houston. If you need an example of why O'Brien wasn't popular, I think it was because of his friendly personality.
When former Texans coach-GM Bill O'Brien fired people over the years, he did so with a lot of F bombs and orders to get the F out of the building immediately, per sources. That wasn't how he was dismissed today by Cal McNair, though— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 5, 2020
If someone ever writes a book on how to NOT run an organization, I'm guessing that O'Brien will be featured prominently. O'Brien basically mortgaged the team's future so that they would be good this season, but the problem with that is that they haven't been good.
Watching the Texans over the past two weeks, it feels like some of the players had kind of mentally checked out on O'Brien. Now that he's gone, I think we might see them mentally check back in. I will not be surprised at all if the Texans come out this week and beat the Jaguars by 45 points.
The pick: Texans 34-24 over Jaguars
Miami (1-3) at San Francisco (2-2)
4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: 49ers -8
Sometimes I get a little crazy with my picks and this one is probably going to qualify. The 49ers seem like the obvious pick here until you realize that everyone on their roster is injured, and although that might sound like an exaggeration, it is not.
To be honest, I was surprised they even had enough players to field a team against the Eagles on Sunday.
If you've lost track of how many injuries the 49ers are dealing with, here's a brief summary: Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas have already been lost for the season. There's a good chance that Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Dee Ford won't play this week. Also, the 49ers have three cornerbacks (Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon) who might not be able to suit up, and that's not even every injured player. As a matter of fact, now that I'm thinking about it, it probably would have been much easier to just name the players who aren't injured.
On the other hand, you have the Dolphins, who might be the best bad team in the NFL. Is that a compliment? I have no idea. I mean, would you rather be the most attractive ugly person or the ugliest attractive person? There are definitely upsides to both, and no, I had no idea this pick was going to turn into an existential debate with myself, kind of like the debate Brian Flores is having with himself about who should start on Sunday.
Brian Flores does not commit to Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Dolphins' Week 5 starter yet. Said it will be discussed during meetings tonight.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) October 5, 2020
I'm not an NFL coach, but starting your rookie quarterback in a game where you have to fly across the country to play the defending NFC champion seems like a bad idea. If I'm Flores, I'm definitely starting Ryan Fitzpatrick this week.
The thing about the Dolphins is that they have just enough talent to put a scare into every team they play. They LED the Bills in the fourth quarter in Week 2. They were only down two points to the Seahawks in the fourth quarter on Sunday. They were only down three points to the Patriots during the fourth quarter of their Week 1 game in New England. This Dolphins team has been able to stay competitive with good teams and that's when those teams are healthy. The 49ers are not healthy, so I'm taking the Dolphins in an upset.
The pick: Dolphins 20-17 over 49ers.
Indianapolis (3-1) at Cleveland (3-1)
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Colts -2.5
If you've watched any Colts games this season, then you already know how this game is going to play out: The other team won't be able to score on Indy's defense and the Colts will get all the points they need from their kicker.
In what might go down as the greatest kicking stat of all-time, Rodrigo Blankenship has single-handedly outscored Indy's opponent in every game the Colts have won this year, which doesn't even seem possible, but in fact, has actually happened.
Fun special teams fact: Rodrigo Blankenship has outscored the Colts' opponent in every game Indy has won this year.— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 5, 2020
Week 2: Rodrigo 14-11 over Vikings (28-11 final)
Week 3: Rodrigo 10-7 over Jets (36-7)
Week 4: Rodrigo 13-11 over Bears (19-11)#Colts #ForTheBrand @RodTheKicker3 pic.twitter.com/NMujYQzTnN
The crazy thing about that picture is that I think I created a kicker who looked exactly like Rodrigo during a drunk night of Madden back in college. That guy won me every game and now Rodrigo is doing it in real life.
Based on how the season has gone so far, the Colts don't even need to bring their offense to Cleveland this week. As long as their defense and Blankenship both show up for this game, Indy is guaranteed to win.
Defensively, the Colts have been one of the best teams in the NFL through the first four weeks. Actually, when it comes to points allowed, they haven't been ONE of the best, they've been THE best. Through four weeks, the Colts are only surrendering 14 points per game. To put that in perspective, the Browns have beaten three teams that have have surrendered 24.8 points per game (Bengals), 28 points per game (Washington) and 36.5 points per game (Cowboys). Basically, I think the Browns offense is going to get a reality check in this game and not the kind of reality check where you learn an important life lesson that ultimately leads to eternal happiness. Although I'm picking the Colts, I think the Browns are going to outscore Indy's kicker, which is almost as impressive as winning.
The pick: Colts 23-20 over Browns
Lock of the Week
L.A. Chargers (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread: Saints -7.5
Look guys, I'm not going to lie, after watching Drew Brees play over the early part of the season I thought he was totally washed up, but as it turns out, I might have been wrong. I think what actually happened is that Brees simply played like a 41-year-old man who didn't get a preseason, which makes sense, because he is in fact a 41-year-old man who didn't get a preseason. When you're that old, you need all the warm-up time you can get and Brees didn't get that this year due to the pandemic.
The other explanation for Brees' early season struggles is that this happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR and I just decided to ignore that fact. If you look at the Saints past few seasons, there's a general pattern: They seem to struggle in September before destroying everyone in their path once October starts.
Even though I hate research, I decided to do some for this pick and what I found is that the Saints are literally unbeatable in October. Since Week 8 of the 2016 season, the Saints have won 13 STRAIGHT games played in the month of October and they've scored an average of 30 points in those games. Now, I know what you're thinking Saints fans, and I completely agree: They should move the Super Bowl to October. Just kidding. I don't want that.
To put the Saints' ridiculous streak in perspective, I'm going to use a nice round number: 20. In their past 20 September games, the Saints are 8-12. In their past 20 October games, they're 18-2. That's an insane difference and does seem to indicate that maybe they're just a slow-starting team. Well, guess what, I'm also a slow-starter. I didn't learn to read until I was 14 and I didn't get my driver's license until I was 26. OK, those aren't true, but I'm still picking the Saints.
The pick: Saints 31-23 over Chargers
Lock of the week record: 5-1 straight-up, 5-1 against the spread
NFL Week 5 picks: All the rest
Panthers 30-23 over Falcons
Buccaneers 24-17 over Bears
Steelers 30-20 over Eagles
Chiefs 34-20 over Raiders
Cardinals 23-16 over Jets
Rams 30-17 over Washington
Ravens 27-20 over Bengals
Cowboys 38-27 over Giants
Patriots 24-16 over Broncos
Seahawks 30-27 over Vikings
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Seahawks would beat the Dolphins 31-24, and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? The Seahawks beat the Dolphins 31-23, and I have to say, I think I now know what contestants on the "The Price Is Right" feel like when they miss the exact price of a Showcase Showdown bid by one dollar. It's excruciating. This hurts more than any of my missed picks from last week. I was ONE POINT away from predicting the exact final score. This is like missing out on $1 million in the lottery because you got one number wrong on your ticket.
Some day, I'm going to go on "The Price Is Right" and if I get to the Showcase Showdown, I'll let you know which one is actually more painful: Being one point off on the score prediction for an NFL game or losing out on a Showcase Showdown worth $30,000 because I bid over the exact price by one dollar.
Worst pick: The Cowboys beating the Browns was one of my "Locks" for Week 4 and I'm not sure if you saw the game, but, um, the Cowboys didn't win. It's almost ironic that I made the Cowboys one of my "locks" because I think someone locked their defense in a room before the game. At least that's my theory. I mean, that's only way I can explain why the Cowboys defense didn't show up on Sunday. The Cleveland Browns piled up more than 500 yards of total offense! I thought for sure I would see a talking cat before I saw the Browns rack up 500 yards on someone, but here we are.
Anyway, I think the moral of the story going forward is to never make an NFC East team the lock of the week.
Straight up in Week 4: 9-6
SU overall: 41-21-1
Against the spread in Week 4: 6-9
ATS overall: 30-32-1
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