2013 Week 5 Review & Week 6 Picks
Week 5 Review (Week 2-3-0, Season 10-13-2)
In a league where one team can be 28 point favorites, all anyone wants to talk about is the seeming evaporation of parity in the NFL, but if Week 5 revealed anything, it was that the NFL is still an incredibly competitive arena where one play or one twist of fate can dramatically swing the outcome of a game. Looking at our picks from last week, the difference between a New England fourth quarter comeback and a triumphant home victory for Cincinati was a timely torrential downpour that made it all but impossible to complete a forward pass. The difference between a Miami game winning drive on a short field (or at the very least a chip shot FG to tie) was an errant kickoff that netted Baltimore an extra 20 yards of field position. And of course, the difference between a game winning drive in Dallas and an easy road victory for Denver was a trip induced Romo interception (not to mention the difference between Denver winning by a FG and Denver winning by 7 points was a quarter of a yard on a Moreno dive up the gut). While parity may sink picks one week, it is a net positive for picking NFL games overall as small misconceptions in general perception open large windows of opportunity.
Week 6 Picks
Buffalo +7.5 (125) vs Cincinnati
Even though they lost big on the road in Cleveland last week, Buffalo looked about as impressive as they could have. They did benefit from an injury to Hoyer and a long run by from Spiller, but overall they were pretty unlucky and had almost no chance once Tuel took over. This week, we believe that Buffalo has two major tailwinds that should propel them to a victory, or at least a close loss. First, having played on a Thursday, this team has had an extra 3 days to prepare for Cincinnati, which gives them a huge leg up in the coaching phase of the game. Second, the strength of the Buffalo offense is their ability to run the ball, which not only minimizes the loss of EJ Manuel, but also matches up well against a defense that schemes more for the pass than the run. Teams have been able to run on Cincinnati, and week expect Buffalo to do the same.
Houston -7 (-120) vs St. Louis
An embattled QB in Houston can't stop throwing TDs to the wrong players and a QB in St. Louis just can't do anything at all. Coming off of a blow out loss on the road, public sentiment on Houston is at a season low, while a double digit victory over a hapless Jacksonville team has provided a slight boost to the reputation of an otherwise struggling St. Louis squad. At the end of the day, Houston is still a very talented team which should be able to hold St. Louis to a low point total. Seven points isn't generous enough, and we predict a blow out home victory for Houston.
Jacksonville +26.5 vs Denver
Denver could win by, almost literally, as wide a margin as they wanted to. The value in this pick is based not on what Denver could do, but rather what they most likely will do. Denver will almost certainly jump out to a large lead, but once they have the game locked up, they will sit their starters to avoid unnecessary injuries. Jacksonville is still a team of professionals and more importantly, real people who will feel disrespected by a number like +26.5. We expect Jacksonville to play a full 60 minutes a football as hard as they can regardless of the numbers on the scoreboard. For Jacksonville, this is the Superbowl, for Denver, it might as well be a bye week. A huge disparity in effort should allow Jacksonville to make it a little closer in the second half.
Tampa Bay +1.5 vs Philadelphia
Philadelphia is coming off of a high profile victory against a terrible New York team, while Tampa Bay is coming back from a much needed bye and playing at home. These factors alone should make Tampa Bay a favorite, but considering the fact that Glennon will have finally had some first team reps in practice, we think there is a strong possibility that Tampa Bay gets its first victory of the year.
Arizona +11 (120) @ San Francisco
After being largely written off before the season even started, Arizona and its defense has flown comfortably under the radar to a 3-2 record. They have been ferocious in the pass rush and should be able to stop Colin Kaepernick relatively easily. The clear path to victory for San Francisco is on the ground, but a heavy rushing attack will make it difficult for them to run away with this game. At the end of the day, this is a divisional game and should be close, making 11 points extremely attractive.