After a couple of average weeks picking winners in the 2011 NFL regular season, I really needed to step it up with a solid week reminiscent of the first couple of weeks. So step it up I did big time, with a scorching 10-3 week five, highlighted by both "Upset Specials" coming in as winners (Buffalo over Philly & Cincy over Jags), although despite them being underdogs on wagering sites, they weren't significantly long stretches of the imagination to take them.
Steelers over Jaguars: The early reports of Pittsburgh's demise were greatly exaggerated as they are far from "old and done" while Jacksonville is on a tough streak after playing the Bengals last week and still have the Ravens next week on Monday Night Football. Ouch.
Bengals over Colts: I actually was tempted t go with Indianapolis in the upset as I think QB Curtis Painter looks pretty comfortable after watching Peyton Manning for so long, but Cincinnati's defense is better than advertised and their rookie QB and WR are looking like they will be a solid combination for years to come. Carson Palmer who?
Falcons over Panthers: This could have been another Upset Special, but Atlanta is pretty tough at home and should get back on track against a surprisingly decent Carolina team, led by a rookie QB that no one could have predicted that he would be this good so soon.
Giants over Bills: Buffalo has beaten a couple of good teams, although at home and now they must go on the road against a solid, yet inconsistent New York team that has a decent QB and a ferocious pass rush that will bring the Bills back down to earth and if I am wrong here, then the Bills should be ranked as one of the top teams in the league if they can win this one to go 5-1.
Lions over 49ers: Both teams are having great years but to expect San Francisco to go into an undefeated team's dome when Detroit is on such a high, is a bit of a reach, as the Lions have been playing lights out on both sides of the ball, although I am crossing my fingers for a big game from my fantasy RB, Frank Gore.
Redskins over Eagles: Despite losing four in a row and being on the road, Philadelphia continues to get the bettor's money and therefore are favorites in this game, s it qualifies as my "Upset Special Pick of the Week." Yeah, I know Philly put up 50+ points last year on Washington, but both teams are headed in opposite directions and the 'skins defense is as good as any Michael Vick has faced so far and Rex Grossman is well, good enough to get the job done today and pretty much end any playoff hopes for the embarrassed self-proclaimed "Dream Team!"
Raiders over Browns: Oakland is playing good ball both with skills and emotion but have returned to the physical play that marked their reputation in the 70's and early 80's, while Cleveland will return to the AFC North basement where they truly belong.
Saints over Buccaneers: Tampa Bay got crushed last week by the 49ers and now they get to face New Orleans? Ouch, this will hurt just as much in front of their home fans as the Saints offense is just too good to stop.
Patriots over Cowboys: I am surprised how many so-called "experts" are picking Dallas to upset New England, much less on the road. No way that Tony Romo can play mistake-free football, especially in the game's closing moments in a close one, which I do not expect this to be. Oh, I can see the Cowboys put a lot of points on the board, but win a track meet against Tom Brady and Wes Welker? Uh, no.
Vikings over Bears (Sunday Night Football): I was so disappointed to see Minnesota blow large leads at the beginning of the season as I had tabbed them as a Wild Card contender. However last week's big win might have them back on track and Chicago is getting pretty upset at QB Jay Cutler, but how can you blame him when he is forced to run for his life all game. I like McNabb to play better than Cutler and of course, some guy named Peterson runs the ball pretty good for the Vikes in what will be my second "Upset Special Pick of the Week."
Jets over Dolphins (Monday Night Football): This game looks like an easy win for New York and while they should win this game, it won't be easy. Their offense basically sucks and their defense is not anywhere as good as advertised, despite looking pretty good against an offensively-challenged team in Baltimore two weeks ago. Fortunately for the Jets, Miami is in a state of flux, unsure about their QB situation, although Matt Moore will probably over-achieve and keep this game close until late when the Jets put it away long after I will be asleep.
Last Week: 10-3
Season Record: 51-26