NFL Supercontest, Week Five

After a 5-0 Week Four, how does your local handicapper stack up to the sharps in Vegas?

Last week's 5-0 showing and my overall 12-8 record had me feeling pretty good about myself. That is, until I looked at the current Supercontest standings, in which the first-place contestant has a record of 15-3- 2!  It's almost like these guys do this for a living. 

These lines and picks are for entertainment purposes only.

(Home team in CAPS) 

STEELERS (-3.5) over Eagles

This is a classic letdown game for the Eagles after their dramatic intradivision victory over the Giants on Sunday night.  For their part, the Steelers are coming off a bye and are getting a couple previously injured defensive stalwarts back this week.  Keystone State bragging rights are on the line, and I doubt that Andy Reid will be able to keep from calling too many passes with the Steelers packing the box against LeSean McCoy.  This a game that is closer on paper than what will show on the field.

Browns (+8.5) over GIANTS

It's becoming obvious how much the Giants miss Hakeem Nicks as their offense just has not been clicking (save for five quarters of action spanning the Buccaneers and Panthers games).  The Browns are still throwing too much for their own good, but I trust that someone in Cleveland will get the memo that Trent Richardson is really good and that riding him hard is the only way the Browns stand a chance in the Meadowlands.  The Giants under Eli Manning are notorious for laying eggs at home, and this line seems a little generous considering that the Browns have been competitive against some very tough teams thus far.

Bears (-4.5) over JAGUARS

This seems like an obvious letdown game for the Bears and a similarly obvious desperation game for the Jaguars.  As I state almost every week, though, Blaine Gabbert is just not getting it done, and the Bears defense is too disciplined to let Maurice Jones-Drew consistently gash them.  Add it up, and I don't see the Jaguars scoring more than 13 points.  An inspired effort by the Jacksonville defense is possible, but the Bears just have too much overall team quality to be scared off by the points or a home crowd that is essentially a non-factor in most weeks.

VIKINGS (-5.5) over Titans

I would tend to say that the Vikings aren't deserving of getting this many points quite yet despite consecutive impessive performances.  I also like Matt Hasselbeck in this spot more than I would like Jake Locker.  However, it's been a revelation to see how far the Titans defense has fallen, and I don't trust Chris Johnson to be able to get things going against an improved Minnesota defense. 

SAINTS (-3.5) over Chargers

Sean Payton will be in the house to witness Drew Brees attempt to break Johnny Unitas' record for most consecutive games with a passing TD.  He had better take his seat promptly because I don't think it will take very long against a Chargers defense that I believe is very overrated.  The Saints haven't looked good all year, especially on defense.  However, this is a team that is better than its 0-4 record, and prime time at the Superdome is where the misery on the Bayou ends.     

Last Week's Record:  5 - 0

Season Record:  12 - 8

Games That I Didn't Pick:

Falcons (-3) vs. REDSKINS

Packers (-6.5) vs. COLTS

BENGALS (-3.5) vs. Dolphins

Ravens (-6) vs. CHIEFS

PANTHERS (-3) vs. Seahawks

PATRIOTS (-6.5) vs. Broncos

49ERS (-9.5) vs. Bills

Texans (-8) vs. JETS

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