City of Champions’ Week 5 NFL Picks


In week four of the NFL season Matt Shetler and Matt Gajtka each went 9-5 while Zac Weiss and myself both went 8-6. Making our total standings look like this:

Gajtka: 35-24

Shetler: 35-24

Weiss: 32-27

Harding: 31-28

We hope all of your season totals look better than ours does, but people often miss more early in the season. Here are the week 5 NFL picks.

Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

January 8, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) during the first quarter of the 2011 AFC wild card playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

The Eagles run defense managed to hold the Giants to a mere 57 yards on the ground last week. Pittsburgh’s rushing attack has been at a league worst 2.6 yards per carry. However, Ben Roethlisberger has been stellar in the air, but will be challenged by two of the NFL’s top corners. Defensively for Pittsburgh the return of James Harrison and Troy Polamalu will be the big talk on game day.

Steelers: Gajtka, Weiss, Harding

Eagles: Shetler

Miami at Cincinnati

The Bengals defense appears to be finding their stride a little bit more every week. The defensive line of the Bengals will need to improve this week against the run. They have given up 5.4 ypc  and with Reggie Bush and company coming to town that number will be watched closely. The object for the Dolphins will be to keep the ball away from the Bengals big play offense led by Andy Dalton.

Bengals:Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

Green Bay at Indianapolis

The Colts will have to overcome some adversity this week with Coach Pagano being hospitalized after being diagnosed with leukemia. Bruce Arians will be the acting head coach while Pagano is away. The Packers are still struggling to return to the form they once were. The offense is in the right direction finally putting up some points. This could be a big bounce back wee for Aaron Rodgers and he’ll have to do it without Greg Jennings who is down with a groin injury.

Packers: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

Baltimore at Kansas City

The Ravens traveling to Kansas City is one concern. The other is their fatigue level. They played 4 games in 18 days to start the season. Now they should be well rested after playing last Thursday, but the rusty feeling may cause for a slow start. The Chiefs will need the Ravens to be slow after the struggles their offense has shown. Fans are calling for Matt Cassel’s job after he has thrown 7 INT’s this season. This will likely be Cassel’s last opportunity to prove something before Brady Quinn will get his shot. Wouldn’t be surprised if they skip over Quinn and just go to Ricky Stanzi.

Ravens: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler

Chiefs: Harding

Cleveland at New York Giants

The Browns go to New York still looking for their first win of the season. They have lost all four games by a combined 25 points. A few plays and things sure could be different in Cleveland. The question this week is can the Browns stop the run? They’ve given up an average of 117 per game. The Giants were held to just 57 yards on the ground last week. New York needs to find a way to play quality football in the first half and not just the 4th quarter.

Giants: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

Atlanta at Washington

Matt Ryan continues to grow in the NFL, the problem is his line finding him some time. In a comeback win against the Panthers last week Ryan was sacked seven times. The Redskins will need to utilize their running game as the Falcons have given up 146 yards per game on the ground. Robert Griffin III continues to impress people with his arm at nearly a 70% completion rate.

Falcons: Weiss, Shetler

Redskins: Gajtka, Harding

Seattle at Carolina

Cam Newton may have cost the Panthers the game last week with a fumble, but the defense still let the Falcons march down the field to kick a game winning field goal. One man can only do so much for his team. The question this week is how much can Newton do against a very aggressive Seattle defense. Newton’s ability would have to slow down the pass rush and force Seahawks lineman to stay in their rush lanes. Big weekend for Russell Wilson as his job is starting to be questioned by experts around the league.

Panthers: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler

Seahawks: Harding

Chicago at Jacksonville

The Bears defense is coming off their biggest game in a long time with 5 INT’s last week against the Cowboys, two of which were returned for TD’s. Not good news if you’re the Jaguars. Their offense is the worst in the league in many statistical categories. Blaine Gabbert is just over 55% completion rate while MJD averages nearly 5 ypc. Something just doesn’t add up. The Bears offense on the other hand will look to just be consistent for the first time this season.

Bears: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

Tennessee at Minnesota

Chris Johnson finally had a solid game against the Texans defense nonetheless running for 141 yards. He is now the team’s leading rusher after Jake Locker held that spot for the first 3 weeks. Jake Locker will not dress this week after separating his shoulder in the loss to Houston. Matt Hasselbeck will get the start. Christian Ponder is happy to be off to a 3-1 start on the season and tied for top ranks in the NFC North. Much of the accreditation has to be given to a healthy Adrian Peterson. Hasselbeck starting makes this a very interesting game.

Vikings: Gajtka, Weiss, Harding

Titans: Shetler

Denver at New England

Tom Brady has beaten Peyton Manning 8 out of the 12 times they have played each other. Peyton has now changed jersey’s and will look to revenge the Broncos loss in last season’s playoffs. Both teams are 2-2 and need a win. These two teams are eerily similar in so many positions and stats. It is games like this that Denver paid Peyton to win for them. Will be curious to see how both defenses react in this one.

Patriots: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

Buffalo at San Francisco

Jim Harbaugh was able to spark his team coming off a tough loss and shutout the Jets 34-0 last week. The niners defense continues to impress people, mainly the play of Bowman and Willis. If the Bills look to have any success this week it will come from the offensive line. A big push up front with the ability to get to the second level to put a hat on a hat will be needed for CJ Spiller to be effective.

49ers: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

San Diego at New Orleans

September 23, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks for a receiver against the Kansas City Chiefs during second half of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

The winless Saints were able to put a good fight against the Packers, but despite Drew Brees efforts it just wasn’t enough. Brees is just one game away from setting the record for consecutive games with a td pass. Philip Rivers on the other side has thrown just 6 TDs to 4 INTs. Both teams will need to a way to make their run game more efficient immediately. Neither team has a 200 yard rusher to date.

Saints: Shetler, Weiss, Harding

Chargers: Gajtka

Houston at New York Jets

The Jets team may have just hit rock bottom and if they didn’t this week could be it for them. They lost Santonio Holmes for the season to injury just a week after losing Darelle Revis. New York’s defense gave up a staggering 245 yards on the ground last week to the 49ers. That is the number to watch this week when Houston comes to town with a 137 yards per game on the ground average. Once again New York fans are wondering when the use of Tim Tebow will take full flight.

Texans: Gajtka, Weiss, Shetler, Harding

Bye Week Teams: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay