NFL Picks, Week 5:

Full Disclosure: I Live Indoors
by Pete Tothero


Last week: 9-6
Season: 23-24

I'm kind of busy, but the NFL doesn't seem to care—they continue to schedule nonsensical Thursday night games, which means my deadline for spending a few minutes with my crystal ball (also known as my stupid, stupid head) is Thursday afternoon. So let's get to it. I'm looking...an image is emerging...it is of...


Arizona (4-0) at St. Louis (2-2)

I see football being played in a dome! It's...it's...well, this image in the crystal ball is boring, quite frankly, because it's an image of football being played indoors. And when I was a kid and collected little plastic NFL helmets my mom gave me a quarter to buy from the vending machine by the exit from KMart, St. Louis was the Cardinals and the Rams were from Los Angeles.

Sheesh. What a crotchety thing to mention. I might as well complain that they're not still wearing leather helmets. I'm clearly off my oats today. Damn! That's another crotchety thing to say!

Remember how Arizona's quarterback controversy was going to be so distracting and problematic? Pick: Arizona


Miami (1-3) at Cincinnati (3-1)

Weird fact: I've never known a single person who has been to Cincinnati. Isn't that bizarre? Why is that? Is there nothing there? I have such a paucity of knowledge about Cincinnati that I almost wrote something about WKRP here. Hasn't anything happened since then?

I guess if you're a Bengals fan, well, no, not really. There were a couple nice Ken Anderson years, and that one Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals are going to be mostly ignored for a little while while the hot Reds move into the baseball playoffs, but they have Miami this week and Cleveland next week, so they may quietly move into a controlling position in the AFC North. Pick: Cincinnati

Green Bay (2-2) at Indianapolis (1-2)

Yes, Green Bay feels that Seattle game was stolen from them, but I have a question I don't believe has been addressed: What was Green Bay doing allowing Seattle even within an arm's length of them? The Packers destroyed everyone last year and then fell flat on their face in the playoffs, and it seems like their heads are still a bit messed up about it. Or maybe it's just my head that's messed up about it. Or both. Maybe everyone's messed up. Can I say that? Is that too easy? Yeah, maybe that's too easy. It's me. I'm the one who's messed up. I know. Pick: Green Bay

Baltimore (3-1) at Kansas City (1-3)

I should have trusted my fingers last week when they refused to type the words "Pick: Kansas City." It's weird how the condition has completely cleared up now that I picked them and they responded by getting blown out. "Pick: Kansas City." See? Easy. "Pick: Kansas City." I'm typing it without any problem at all now. I'm glad I got that out of my system. Feels great. Oh, and also: I did a lot of personal work to be ready and open to you, Chiefs, and you let me down. You suck. Pick: Baltimore

Atlanta (4-0) at Washington (2-2)

What kind of weird backyard football game did Atlanta's game against Carolina devolve into last week? Was Matt Ryan calling a regular play, and then just adding, "Or but also maybe one of you guys go super long and I'll just heave it up there and maybe they'll fall down and you catch it?" Carolina, that worked against you. Explain yourself.

It's about time for Atlanta to have a let down, but against Washington? Probably not. Pick: Atlanta

Cleveland (0-4) at NY Giants (2-2)

Poor Cleveland. Poor, poor Cleveland. Pick: NY Giants

Philadelphia (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-2)

I made fun of Philadelphia last week, and they promptly went out and beat the Giants. I like to pretend that the things I do and say have real effects in the world, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. So these constructions in which I describe what I said and then suggest that a team's performance was somehow a response to that? They make me feel alive. They make me feel alive in a way that actual life does not. How screwed up is that?

I'm stalling. I don't know who's going to win this game. Let's press the EAPS (Entirely Amateur Psychological Speculation) button. Boom!

Philadelphia, satisfied with itself after beating the Giants on Sunday Night (winning on Sunday night, as we know, counts for more than a usual victory, except for the fact that it doesn't), will likely suffer a let down of some sort. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, had a bye last week, so they've been staring at their 1-2 record for two straight weeks, which, as we know, is infuriating...in a motivating way. And Pittsburgh is at home. They're going to wake up so angry Sunday morning, in their own beds, and that's going to be intolerable...in a way that leads to playing football well. Does all of that make sense? Yes? No? Kind of but not really? Well, that's EAPS. Pick: Pittsburgh

Seattle (2-2) at Carolina (1-3)

Seattle, you are nonsense. I don't want you here. I didn't invite you, I don't want you here, just leave. I'm not messin'. Seriously. Get out. You think I'm joking? I'm not joking. Get. Out. I don't want to see you, I don't want to think about you, I don't want to hear about you. Leave. Now. Pick: Carolina

Chicago (3-1) at Jacksonville (1-3)

I like Jacksonville better when I pronounce it YOKS-un-VEE-ya. It somehow makes Jacksonville seem folksy and engaging. Zee YOKS-un-VEE-ya YOG-wahs, zey are goink to...lose. Pick: Chicago

Tennessee (1-3) at Minnesota (3-1)

I don't like teams that play indoors. Don't like 'em, try not to watch 'em, prefer not to think about 'em. (Full disclosure: I have more than once fallen down and hurt myself indoors.) It's just not real football. (Full disclosure: I live and work indoors, both of which don't always go well.) I don't think their statistics should even count—they're not facing the same challenges. (Full disclosure: When people have said mean things to me, it has sometimes been indoors.) Football is an outdoor game and should be played as such. (Full disclosure: I am unhappily indoors at this very moment.) I haven't watched any Vikings games this year, and don't intend to. (Full disclosure: I watch football indoors.) Pick: Minnesota.

Denver (2-2) at New England (2-2)

I think Denver may be a yo-yo team this year. If they won the previous week, you gotta bet against 'em the week after. If they lose, then you gotta pick 'em. They won last week, so... Pick: New England

Buffalo (2-2) at San Francisco (3-1)

This is what I call an Airline Logic game. You can start thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of these teams, or you can look on a map and think about how long that flight is from Buffalo to San Francisco, and how people feel after long, coast-to-coast flights, especially when they end with John Harbaugh punching you in the face for no reason at all other than his own intense weirdness. He'll apologize, but only after the 49ers have won. Airline Logic: San Francisco

San Diego (3-1) at New Orleans (0-4)

Sometimes a man has to stand for something. He has to take a risk—has to step out and boldly proclaim what he believes, and to not give a damn what anyone else thinks.

I have mostly not lived my life that way. I'm in a cubicle, in an office building, frightened that someone is going to see that I'm typing this instead of doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But dammit, I'm a man! I have a right to secretly, quietly type that New Orleans is going to win this game! I used an exclamation point to suggest that I'm shouting, even though it's actually very quiet here—just the sound of a lot of clicking and typing. But I'm a man! I'm a bold, vibrant, manly man in here! Somewhere! In here. A man. In the office here. I think.

I do have to go to a meeting in a couple minutes, though. I should maybe use the bathroom first. Pick: New Orleans


Houston (4-0) at NY Jets (2-2)

You know that saying about how even a train wreck is on schedule once a day? Wait, what? You don't know that saying? Oh. I wonder if that's because it isn't one. I wonder if that's because the Jets are a train wreck, and they're not on schedule, ever. Yeah, that's probably it. You don't know that saying because it isn't one and the Jets are a mess. Pick: Houston

Pete Tothero is not a certified professional football analyst, and does not have access to any information unavailable to the average American. He is not contractually bound to watch all of the games.