Welcome to the Week 5 picks! At least I think this is the Week 5 picks. To be honest, I'm not sure if we're even doing picks anymore. Now that Taylor Swift has taken over the NFL, picks don't matter, the only thing that matters is Taylor.
The Chiefs are now 2-0 when Taylor shows up at one of their games, but more importantly, I am now 2-0 picking the Chiefs when Taylor shows up at one of their games. The only thing more impressive than that streak is that I'm 1-0 when Jake From State Farm randomly shows up at an NFL game.
I have no idea why he was sitting next to Donna Kelce. Also, I think I can read Donna Kelce's face there and I'm pretty sure it's saying, "This is so awkward. I don't even use State Farm. Where is Taylor? I miss her."
OK, that's enough talking about Taylor, let's get to the Week 5 picks.
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.
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Alright, I'm going to stop with the self-promotion so we can actually get to the picks.
NFL Week 5 picks
Chicago (0-4) at Washington (2-2)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime Video)
It took five weeks, but we have officially hit the part of the Thursday night schedule where the games are so bad that there's a 40% chance that Al Michaels will retire before kickoff just so he doesn't have to call the game.
When Michaels doesn't like an upcoming game that he has to announce, he doesn't even try to hide it. As a matter of fact, let's listen to Al as he tried to get the country pumped up for this Thursday's game.
It is not just you David, but in Al's defense, I don't think anyone is really feeling enthused for this game. There's no reason for Bears fans to watch because it will just be four quarters of torture and there's no reason for Commanders fans to watch because then that means you also have to watch the Bears play for three hours, which doesn't seem worth it.
Amazon needs to re-think how they market this game. If they want more than seven viewers, they definitely need to announce RIGHT NOW that they'll be loading a five dollar gift card into everyone's Amazon account every time a touchdown gets scored on Thursday. That would actually be a win-win. Amazon would get huge ratings because people would want the free money and Amazon could potentially win again because there's a 50% chance that there would be no touchdowns scored. I mean, this is the Bears and Commanders.
The Bears have given up the second-most passing yards in the NFC through four weeks and I don't see them getting much better at stopping the pass between now and Thursday, so I'm going to have to take the Commanders.
The pick: Commanders 27-20 over Bears. (Result: Bears 40, Commanders 20)
Tennessee (2-2) at Indianapolis (2-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)
I'll be honest here, I don't even want to pick this game and that's mainly because I've whiffed on every Titans game I've picked this season. There are 32 teams in the NFL and through four weeks, there is only one team that I've gone 0-4 picking, and yup, you guessed it, that team is the Titans.
I LIVE IN NASHVILLE, I WATCH MORE TITANS FOOTBALL THAN ANYONE BESIDES MIKE VRABEL AND I STILL SOMEHOW CANNOT FIGURE THIS TEAM OUT. I've picked them to win twice and they lost both times. I've picked them to lose twice and they ended up winning both times. This is maddening. This is clearly a sign that I need to move out of Nashville, I'll be talking to my wife tonight.
So how have I botched this up so badly? Glad you asked.
In Week 1, I thought for sure that the Titans would win in New Orleans, but then Ryan Tannehill decided to play the worst game of his life. He threw three interceptions, and even with that, they still only lost by one (16-15) to the Saints. I'm still bitter about.
In Week 2, I was going to pick the Titans to beat the Chargers, but Ryan Tannehill played so badly in Week 1 that I talked myself out of it. I , "I think Tennesee could pull off the upset, but in the end, I think this game will turn into a repeat of Week 1 for Tennessee where everyone but Tannehill plays well enough to win." I ended up picking the Chargers to win by three in a game that Tennessee would win by three (27-24).
After watching Tannehill bounce back in Week 2, I thought to myself, "Man, if he plays like that in Week 3, they might be able to beat the Browns," so I picked them to beat the Browns. Not only did they not beat the Browns, but they got destroyed 27-3.
In Week 4, I picked the Bengals because I'm a Bengals homer, but also because I thought Cincinnati's defense would give Tannehill fits and that Cincinnati would win a low-scoring game. In the end, the Bengals defense did not give Tannehill fits. As matter of fact, the only fit right now is the one I'm throwing because I'm 0-4 with my Titans picks.
I'm placing 100% of the blame for my 0-4 record on Ryan Tannehill. You never know if he's going to show up and even if he does show up, you don't know if he's going to play like Ryan Leaf, Matt Ryan, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Fitzpatrick or another Ryan that I can't think of right now. I now know why Titans fans are so frustrated with him. The Titans could literally beat the 49ers one week and then lose to the Bears by 41 the next week and no one would be surprised.
So what am I going to do this week? I have no choice: I'm picking the Titans to win. If there's one thing I do trust about the Titans every week, it's Mike Vrabel's ability to create a good defesive game plan. If you add in the fact that Tennessee gets to play against a rookie quarterback this week, that seems like a major advantage for the Titans.
The only way this will blow up in my face if Ryan Tannehill plays the worst game of his life. And based on my first four Titans' picks this year, there's a 71% chance that happens. I swear to Dolly Parton that I will stop making Titans picks if I whiff on their game this week.
The pick: Titans 20-17 over Colts.
Since I'm 0-4 picking Titans' game this season, I won't blame you if you want to check out someone else's pick for this game, and if you do that, I'd definitely click here to check out the SportsLine Model, which is leaning Under on the total, and it also says one side of the spread has better value! You definitely need to see it before locking in your own picks.
Philadelphia (4-0) at L.A. Rams (2-2)
4:05 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)
This feels like an obvious trap game for the Eagles: Not only do they have to fly all the way across the country, but they have to do it after playing an overtime game in Week 4. You know what, I take that back. Normally, that would be the perfect recipe for a trap game, but I haven't cooked in three years so I don't know the recipe for anything.
The Rams are actually in the same exact situation as Philadelphia this week. While the Eagles were beating the Commanders in overtime, the Rams were busy beating the Colts in overtime, so it's a clearly a trap game for both teams, which I think cancels out the possibility of a trap game.
Although the Eagles are 4-0, they definitely don't look as good as they did last year. Part of that has to do with the offense, but it feels like most of that has to do with the defense. Last year, the Eagles racked up 70 sacks on the season, which was tied for the third-most in a single-season in NFL history. This year, the pass-rush hasn't been as good and their secondary has taken a huge step back.
Through four weeks, the Eagles have surrendered nine touchdown passes, which is the third-worst number in the NFL. Only the Bears and Broncos have surrendered more, and as we all know, if you're mentioned in the same breath as the Bears and Broncos for any reason, that's almost certainly not a good thing.
The problem for the Eagles is that their struggling pass defense gets to face a suddenly revitalized Matthew Stafford. Last year, Stafford only had one weapon (Cooper Kupp) and when that weapon got injured, the Rams offense fell apart. This year, Kupp could be returning for this game, but even if he doesn't, Stafford has a new favorite weapon in Puka Nacua. Puka has 39 catches this season, which not only leads the NFL, but it's also an NFL record for the most receptions for a player through his first four games (No other player in NFL history even had 31 catches through four weeks before Puka came along).
Thanks in large part to Puka, Stafford is averaging 307.3 passing yards per game this season, which is second in the NFL, behind only Tua Tagovailoa.
The Rams have been surprisingly good this year and if people haven't started noticing them yet, they will after this game.
The pick: Rams 27-24 over Eagles
Dallas (3-1) at San Francisco (4-0)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo)
We are four weeks into the NFL season and no one has figured out how to stop the 49ers offense yet. In Week 1, the 49ers dropped 30 on T.J. Watt and the Steelers. In Week 2, they dropped 30 once again, but this time they did it against Aaron Donald and the Rams. I could keep going, but I'm just going to cut to the chase: The 49ers have scored at least 30 points in every game this season and if they score 30 or more on Sunday night, then they're going to win.
Of course, if anyone can hold them to under 30 points, it's the Cowboys, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Not only that, but the Cowboys also have Dan Quinn, who is the one defensive coordinator you want to have when you're facing a Kyle Shanahan offense.
Shanahan and Quinn know each other well and that's mostly because Shanahan spent two seasons (2015-16) as the Falcons' offensive coordinator while Quinn was the head coach in Atlanta. Quinn knows everything that Shanahan might throw at him and there's a good chance that he's going to throw it all back in his face.
Since Brock Purdy took over as the 49ers' starting quarterback, there has only been one game where the 49ers were held under 20 points with a healthy Purdy and that came in last's year divisional playoffs against Dallas. Purdy threw zero touchdowns and more importantly for the Cowboys, Christian McCaffrey was held UNDER 60 total yards. To put that in perspective, McCaffrey is averaging 150 total yards per game this season.
Quinn and Shanahan were coaching together when when the Falcons had their epic collapse in Super Bowl LI and I feel like this is the perfect week for Quinn to exorcise all the demons from that loss. In that game, the Falcons famously blew a 28-3 lead to Bill Belichick's Patriots. Well, guess who had a 28-3 lead against Belichick's Patriots in Week 4? Mr. Quinn and the Cowboys.
Quinn's team did NOT blow a 28-3 last week. I'm guessing the win over Belichick will make Quinn slightly less bitter about the loss in Super Bowl LI. He'll definitely still be better, just like 1% less bitter.
Quinn's defense couldn't close out the game in Super Bowl LI. Shanahan's offense couldn't close out the game in Super Bowl LI, so let's see if one of them can finally close out a game this week.
The 49ers and Cowboy have met twice since Quinn took over Dallas' defense and although the Cowboys are 0-2, the 49ers are only averaging 21 points per game in those two wins. The problem for Cowboys is that their offense hasn't shown up in big games, but I think that changes on Sunday night.
This is a big game and the Cowboys almost always choke big games, so my first inclination here was to take the 49ers, but the Cowboys were my pick this year to get to the Super Bowl out of the NFC so I'm going to stay on their bandwagon until it goes off a cliff, which could very well happen this week.
The pick: Cowboys 27-24 over 49ers
Green Bay (2-2) at Las Vegas (1-3)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN, fubo)
I don't want to say that this is going to be the greatest game in NFL history, but it certainly has the potential and that's because it's giving us something we haven't seen in 36 tears: A brotherly kicking duel.
Am I the only person in the country who's excited by this? Almost certainly. Actually, I take that back. The parents of Daniel and Anders Carlson are also probably pretty pumped about this game since BOTH of their sons will be taking the field.
Daniel Carlson is the kicker for the Raiders and he'll be facing his brother, Anders Carlson, who is the kicker for the Packers. This game will mark the first time since 1987 that two brothers will be kicking against each other in an NFL game. The last time it happened also involved the Raiders with Chris Bahr (Raiders) facing Matt Bahr (Browns).
So who has the upper-leg?
Although rookie kickers can sometimes struggle, that hasn't been the case with Anders who has hit 100% of his kicks this year. Not only is he a perfect 9 of 9 on extra points, but he's also 5 of 5 on field goals.
Not to be outdone, Daniel Carlson has been just as good. The Raiders kicker is also perfect on the year, going 6 of 6 on extra points and 4 of 4 on field goals.
It's two brothers in Vegas and I'm expecting nothing short of crazy. The last time I went with my brother to Vegas, things definitely got kind of crazy. I'm pretty sure we were taking tequila shots out of straws at 4:30 a.m. in front of the Bellagio fountain. I don't expect things to get quite that crazy for the Carlsons, but I do expect this game to be wild. As long as Jimmy Garoppolo plays, I think the Raiders can pull off the upset, and of course, I'm predicting that this game ends with a field goal from one of the Carlson brothers.
The pick: Raiders 22-19 over Packers
NOTE: If Jimmy doesn't play, I'll be changing my pick.
NFL Week 5 picks: All the rest
Bills 30-23 over Jaguars
Texans 27-17 over Falcons
Lions 31-20 over Panthers
Titans 20-17 over Colts
Dolphins 34-24 over Giants
Patriots 23-20 over Saints
Ravens 20-13 over Steelers
Bengals 19-16 over Cardinals
Jets 20-16 over Broncos
Chiefs 31-24 over Vikings
Best pick: Last week, I said the Jaguars would go to London and beat the Falcons and guess what happened? The Jaguars went to London and beat the Falcons. Now, did I know that the Falcons offense was going to be totally unwatchable? I did not, but ESPN did, which is likely why they turned this into a "Toy Story" game. As we all know, the easiest way to make an unwatchable team watchable is by turning everyone on their roster into a "Toy Story" character. Falcons fans might not have enjoyed watching Desmond Ridder play on Sunday, but my three-year-old did.
Of course, even my three-year-old could only handle so much of watching the Falcons offense play. She gave up on them at halftime.
Worst pick: The Texans have been bad for so long that I almost always pick against them without even thinking about it, but I'm definitely going to have to re-think that strategy going forward because it's really starting to backfire. Last week, I predicted that the Steelers would beat the Texans 23-16, which is laughable in hindsight, because those two teams could have played 71 quarters of football and I'm still not sure the Steelers would have been able to score 23 points. They might not score 23 points for the rest of the season.
I don't want to blame offensive coordinator Matt Canada for Pittsburgh's offensive woes, but when even Antonio Brown is piling on, you know things are bad.
Matt Canada is a horrific combination of being not only the worst, but also the most predictable playcaller in the NFL— AB (@AB84) October 1, 2023
If it makes Steelers fans feel any better, at least Pittsburgh scored more points than the Bengals last week.
Straight up in Week 4: 13-3
SU overall: 43-21
Against the spread in Week 4: 9-6-1
ATS overall: 34-28-2