John Royal’s NFL Picks, Week Five: Sports Writers Are Athletes Too…

I went 7-7 last week to raise my record on the season to 27-35. But I’m hopeful that with this week’s NFL picks I might get closer to .500 territory. I’m hoping that once I start getting a winning record that Alyssa Milano, who has now sworn off athletes, might look my way.

As always, these picks are not for gambling purposes, and they are based on the point spreads handed down from New York headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

1. The Texans are favored by 5.5 points and are hosting the Dolphins. I picked the Texans last week. I ain’t making that mistake again. The Dolphins are pretty bad this season, but don’t you just know that Trent Green is salivating at the thought of one of his receivers going up against DeMarcus Faggins? Especially since Kubiak is refusing to bench Faggins. And hey, Super Mario, Green’s not exactly the most mobile of QBs, so maybe you can get to him this week, huh? Take the Dolphins.

2. The Cowboys are favored by 10 points over the Bills on Monday night. I hate picking the Cowboys. And I hate picking the favorite with such a large point spread. But the Cowboys have been good this season, and the Bills have been bad. Take the Cowboys.

3. The Giants are favored by 3 points over the Jets in the battle of the Meadowlands. Does anyone outside of New Jersey really care about this game? I’m taking the Giants.

4. The Saints are hosting the Panthers and are favored by 3 points. The Saints are winless this season, and they’re coming off of a bye-week. The Panthers have won twice, but David Carr is starting for the second game in a row. I think it’s time for the Saints to win one.

5. The visiting Jaguars are picked by 2 points over the Chiefs. I can’t figure out either of these teams. But the Chiefs offense has been showing some life lately. So I’m taking the Chiefs.

6. The Redskins are favored by 3.5 over the Lions. I guess the bettors don’t know that God’s behind the Lions. Or maybe they think that God’s going to be too busy with the Colorado Rockies and won’t have time to handle the Lions. But I’m thinking the Lions have too much offense for the Skins, so take Detroit.

7. The Vince Youngs are favored by 8 points over the Falcons. The Falcons beat the Texans last week, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that Jeff Fisher’s not going to be as unprepared and as ill-equipped to manage the clock as Gary Kubiak. And I’m beginning to buy into the Vince Young magic. So take the Titans to win by 8.

8. The Steelers are favored by 5.5 over the Seahawks. I don’t really care for either of these teams. And I think the fact that the Cards can beat Pittsburgh shows that anyone can beat Pittsburgh. I’m taking the Seawhawks to at least keep this to within a field goal.

9. The Patriots are favored by 16 points over the Browns. The Patriots are the home team, and the Patriots have been rolling over everybody. But there’s just something about the Browns. About how the Browns have regrouped after that first week debacle and have been playing good football. The Browns shouldn’t win this game, but I think they’re going to make this contest and keep the score to within single digits. Take the Browns.

10. The Cardinals are favored by 3.5 points over the Rams. The Rams are a mess. Marc Bulger has been benched in favor of Gus Frerotte (yes, he’s still in the league). Stephen Jackson is still out. The Cards have a QB controversy going on with Matt Leinart upset about the coaches running Kurt Warner out there midway through the game the past several weeks. This is going to backfire sometime soon, but not this week. Take the Cards.

11. The Colts are favored by 10 points over the Bucs. I like the Colts. I like Peyton Manning. But the Colts have several key defensive players injured, and the Bucs have been running ball pretty good this season – though it’s going to be interesting to see how good the Bucs do with Cadillac Williams out for the rest of the season. I don’t know if the Bucs can win this thing, but the Bucs are going to keep the score close. Take the Bucs in a possible huge upset.

12. The Broncos are favored by a point over the Chargers. I’d like to pick the Chargers so as to piss off my Broncos-loving little brother. But despite the fact that Jay Cutler’s parents are having big fights in front of the TV cameras, I’m taking the Broncos to win. After this game, I think the question of the week will be whether Norv Turner gets to coach the Chargers the rest of the season.

13. The Ravens are favored by 3 points over the home team 49ers. I think I’ve made it clear before that I don’t like the Ravens. I just can’t pull for a team that glorifies a man who was involved with a murder. The Niners have several problems, the least of which is that QB Alex Smith is injured and his replacement is Trent Dilfer (I didn’t know he was still around either). But I’m taking the Niners.

14. And finally, the Packers are favored by 3 points over the Bears. So, Bears fan, I guess Rex Grossman wasn’t the problem, huh? And Brett Favre seems to have rediscovered the magic. Take the Pack. -- John Royal