The 2010 NFL Picks
Week Five


For the year so far, favorites are getting clobbered. Their record is 21-36-5 overall. Look lopsided to you? Looks lopsided to me. Heck, over just the past two weeks, favorites have covered in 10 of the 30 games.

Yup… not even one out of three.

And yet, it would be too easy to tell you to run with the underdogs. (At least from the information presented here in introduction so far it would be easy enough to say. Keep in mind… I haven’t started examining each game yet. There’s a trick though.)

Divisional games always seem to avoid the rules and screw things up. And wouldn’t you know it… they seem to be screwing things up in 2010. During weeks 3 and 4, almost half of the games featured teams playing within their division. Last week, New England was favored by 1 point over Miami, entered the game with questions surrounding their defense and looking vulnerable, so of course they destroyed the Dolphins on the scoreboard primarily thanks to special teams and defense. Yup. Of course they did. New York defeated Buffalo easily. And in the 8 games featuring divisional pairings in week 4, only the Patriots and Jets managed to win and cover. 2-6 for the week. (In the other 6 contests from the week, those without divisional battles, the favorites were 3-3. Yes. Even. Suddenly a potential trend emerges. Underdogs winning divisional games and splitting in the rest. But does it last? Well…)

If you consider that favorites in division matches were 1-4-1 in week 3, I think you could say there might be something more to the theory. The favorites of such battles were 0-3 in week 2 and 1-5-1 in week 1.

For those of you scoring at home… with me giving it just a quick glance… in divisional games, favorites have gone 4-16-2 this season. Even if someone does the true math and I’m off, that’s enough so that I think my theory is safe.

Take the underdog almost without exception in a divisional contest.

This week there is only one divisional game… San Diego at Oakland. And now you know the reason for my marking this divisional thing as a trend. See… on the surface, favorites are seemingly getting killed. And that is true. But, even a quick glance reveals that one potential factor is when the favorite is facing a divisional opponent.

This week there aren’t divisional matches scattered across the day. Just one. The favorites might not be such a bad thing to consider. (And I’m not ready to pick Oakland, the underdog, in the divisional game.)

Food for thought. Use it as you will.

Molly is looking great so far. Last week she went 8-6, which didn’t distance herself from the pack… she maintains a 4-game lead over second place. But it did solidify her standing, with only me keeping pace and no one gaining ground.

No picks from Mike Jr to list. I’ll get in touch with him on that and let you know later.

This week we take a journey with the Griswolds… National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Denver at Baltimore (7)“Hey, hey, easy kids. Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes. Or perhaps you don’t want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth, which is only four short hours away.” I’m sure it’s just me… but every time I see an interesting game with a non-division or non-conference opponent preparing for the Ravens, the game always seems to be in Baltimore. Obviously, that’s got to be me, right? The Ravens play 8 road games every year… 3 in the division, 3 in the conference, 2 non-conference… just like everyone else. But here we are, with Denver heading in to Baltimore for a game. (Guess where they played last year? Yeah. Baltimore.) Ok. Three quick things. (1) Much as I would like to pick Denver, they are traveling a ton recently. After playing Indianapolis at home, they traveled to Tennessee for a big game… flew home… then will fly back east for this game. Travel that fast sucks. (2) This could be a big game for Ray Rice. I just don’t see how the Denver defense shuts him down unless he’s hurt. (3) While declaring the best team in the AFC is still a tough thing to do… Baltimore is a candidate, Denver is not.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Baltimore
Mike: Baltimore
Molly: Denver
Gus: Baltimore
Sam: Baltimore

Jacksonville at Buffalo (Pick)“Roy… can I call you Roy? Have you even driven cross-country?” “Oh, hell yes. Drove the whole family to Florida. Worst 2 weeks I ever spent in my life. The smell from the back seat was terrible.” “Ooooh. Ooooh, I know that smell. Roy, could you imagine if you had driven all the way to Florida and it was closed?” “Closed? Uh, they don’t close Florida.” A pick ‘em? Really? The Bills stink on ice and the Jaguars defeat the Colts and we’ve got a pick ‘em? Wow. Even if emotionally the Jaguars are spent, they should easily have enough to win this game.
Bob: Jacksonville
Terry: Jacksonville
Mike: Jacksonville
Molly: Buffalo
Gus: Buffalo
Sam: Buffalo

Kansas City at Indianapolis (8)“Ed, this is not the car I ordered. I distinctly ordered the Antartic Blue Super Sports Wagon with C.B. and optional rally fun pack.” “You didn’t order the Metallic Pee?” This is one of those games that fits the introduction… consider the favorite and not the record of favorite’s this season. It’s not a divisional contest, and the favorite looks solid. People are talking about teams like the Chiefs and the Bucs (unexpected treats… with Kansas City actually undefeated). I trust Tampa against Cincy, because the Bengals aren’t solid. I don’t like Kansas City in Indianapolis, because the Colts are.
Bob: Indianapolis
Terry: Kansas City
Mike: Kansas City
Molly: Indianapolis
Gus: Indianapolis
Sam: Indianapolis

St. Louis at Detroit (3)“Roll em up!” Would you believe St. Louis has won (3 times) or tied (once) their games so far against the spread? No losses for gamblers picking the Rams. That ends this week. The Lions are such an unknown commodity, I think they’re going to catch the Rams flatfooted and win easily. (Seriously… don’t look it up. You tell me are they more dangerous running or passing this year?)
Bob: Detroit
Terry: Detroit
Mike: Detroit
Molly: St. Louis
Gus: St. Louis
Sam: St. Louis

Atlanta (3) at Cleveland “Despite all the little problems, it’s fun, isn’t it?” “No. But with every new day there’s fresh hope.” For me this is another clear-cut favorite. Not much else to say.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: Atlanta
Mike: Atlanta
Molly: Atlanta
Gus: Cleveland
Sam: Cleveland

Tampa Bay at Cincinnati (7)“I’m making out a check for $1,000. All you have to do is give me $300 in cash and keep the $700. All for doing nothing more than acting like a total creep.” I don’t think there is another team in the NFL that wins by low margins the way the Bengals do. The Jets, maybe. But without doing the research it sure seems like if they win 8…9… 10 games in a season, the Bengals will only have one or two by more than 3 points. In this match, I like what Tampa has shown this year and honestly think the Bucs can take the game with the outright victory. The favorite is shaky.
Bob: Tampa Bay
Terry: Tampa Bay
Mike: Cincinnati
Molly: Tampa Bay
Gus: Cincinnati
Sam: Cincinnati

Chicago (3) at Carolina“Get out of the car!” “I don’t think I was speeding. Was I weaving or something?” “Shut your mouth, sir! You know, if I weren’t in uniform, I’d split your skull with the butt of this revolver faster than you can say ‘police brutality!’” I know what you’re thinking… Jay Cutler on the road. Danger! And normally, you’d be exactly right. I’m expecting a brutally horrible game. But this time, when it comes to betting against Cutler on the road and counting your winnings, don’t do it. See… in our introduction we established that when non-divisional teams play, at best we’re looking at 50-50 for the favorites. In the last game I used a good word for a favorite… shaky. I thought you had a solid underdog against an iffy favorite. Here I think the reverse is true. While I would never tell you Cutler on the road is awesome… the Panthers are just not reliable at all. They’re going to lose this game… the only question is by how much.
Bob: Chicago
Terry: Chicago
Mike: Carolina
Molly: Carolina
Gus: Chicago
Sam: Carolina

Green Bay (2½) at Washington“How do you like yours, Clark?” “Oh, medium rare, a little pink inside.” “No, I mean your bun.” And then we have this… pesky underdog playing a decent favorite that has… even as potentially one of the best NFC teams… turned in some shaky moments. The Redskins actually look like they will be one of those “with a win this week, and some other games playing out just right, this team finds itself moving into playoff position” teams that you debate in weeks 12 and 13 and 14 while heading to the finish line. You never want to count them out… but you never really believe they’re that good. I’m taking Green Bay because I expect them to win. But I’m not that confident in this pick.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Green Bay
Mike: Green Bay
Molly: Green Bay
Gus: Washington
Sam: Washington

New York (Giants) at Houston (3)“I got laid off when they closed that asbestos factory, and wouldn’t you know it, the army cuts my disability pension because they said that the plate in my head wasn’t big enough.” Houston has been pulling things off so far. 2-1-1 against the spread, and not really looking awful in those games that you lock up as victories. Won big against Indy. All of that scares me to death here, because I expect them to throttle the Giants this week. Don’t bet this game for the Texans… even as I pick them.
Bob: Houston
Terry: Houston
Mike: Houston
Molly: New York
Gus: Houston
Sam: Houston

New Orleans (6½) at Arizona “Clark, let’s just skip the house of mud. I think Dodge City was enough fun for one day. Besides, Catherine and Eddie are expecting us.” “It’s living history Ellen. But if you’d rather see your cousins. Personally I’d rather see a pile of mud than Eddie.” The only thing that worries me about this game is that I don’t believe we’ve seen the Saints show anything offensively this year. Last season they were dominating opponents… smashing them into the turf and doing whatever they wanted. This year, they’re surviving. Some times happens to defending champions… but it doesn’t inspire confidence when big spreads are involved. Trick is… the Cardinals are a bad football team. If they make the playoffs, it will be because the NFC West sucks, not because they’re good.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: New Orleans
Mike: Arizona
Molly: New Orleans
Gus: New Orleans
Sam: New Orleans

San Diego (5½) at Oakland“We watch his program. We buy his toys. We go to his movies. He owes us! Doesn’t he owe us? He owes the Griswolds, right? F**king-A right he owes us!” Divisional game… so nothing would surprise me here. But, the reality is that Oakland is a bad football team. Not only do they have no quarterback, but with limited draft options, they are years away from having one. You have to take the Chargers. (Norv Turner… worst head coach in the NFL… you’re going to make me regret this, aren’t you?)
Bob: San Diego
Terry: Oakland
Mike: San Diego
Molly: San Diego
Gus: Oakland
Sam: San Diego

Tennessee at Dallas (6½)“That’s not a real gun, is it Clark?” “Are you kidding? This is a Magnum, P.I.” And again… shaky favorite with a big spread. I’ll take the underdog.
Bob: Tennessee
Terry: Dallas
Mike: Tennessee
Molly: Tennessee
Gus: Tennessee
Sam: Tennessee

Philadelphia at San Francisco (3)“Sorry folks, park’s closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya.” Interesting. I was absolutely 100% ready to take the 49ers in this game. Figured the Eagles would be favored and that would be that. Perhaps this is one of those wonderful examples of the world of gambling though… the line is set to get you to bet, and not as a prediction of the outcome. Philly with quarterback questions… 49ers quite possibly due, if such a thing is worth considering… I couldn’t have been the only one feeling like San Francisco would be a nice underdog selection. I’m very worried by the offense in San Francisco. It hasn’t seemed balanced. And the defense… well… let’s just say they haven’t exactly been holding everyone down. Enter Philly… a team that to my mind doesn’t seem to go coast-to-coast that well when they travel. They are a quarter of the way into their season, and they haven’t even come close to answering questions that became issues when they traded McNabb. Stats tell you Eagles in this one. I’m still believing the 49ers are better than they’ve played.
Bob: San Francisco
Terry: Philadelphia
Mike: Philadelphia
Molly: San Francisco
Gus: San Francisco
Sam: San Francisco

Minnesota at New York (Jets) (4½)“I think you’re all f**ked in the head. We’re ten hours from the f**king fun park and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much f**king fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You’ll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you’re a**holes! I gotta be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy S**t!” I haven’t seen anything from Minnesota yet this year to justify picking them in this game.
Bob: New York
Terry: New York
Mike: Minnesota
Molly: Minnesota
Gus: New York
Sam: New York

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Molly: Last week 8-6, currently 33-24-5
Bob: Last week 8-6, currently 29-28-5
Terry: Last week 7-7, currently 28-29-5
Mike Jr: Last week 7-7, currently 27-30-5
Gus: Last week 7-7, currently 25-32-5
Sam: Last week 5-9, currently 24-33-5
Mike: Last week 6-8, currently 24-33-5

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at