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NFL Week Five Preview & BRB Pick 'Em Extravaganza

We can only hope for more weeks like Week Four. Houston won, Tennessee and Indianapolis lost, and Dallas was nowhere to be found. All in all, it was a pretty good Sunday, right?

This week, your Houston Texans take on the Giants of New York (Giants vs Texans coverage). I hear someone may be making his return on Sunday, but I don't remember his name. Brain Crushing? I think that was it. I haven't heard much from this man since Tim, and other BRBers, praised this pick many moons ago...or so the legend goes.

While our attention is on this week's most important game, the rest of the NFL will be busy playing their own games. Wanting to keep tabs on the rest of the league for betting and/or fantasy purposes? Well, I got you covered with a brief snapshot of each game below the jump.

After the weekly NFL preview, we'll also get a mix of F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Shakespeare, 18 people who had pick weeks of 9-5 or better, Battle Red Drank, and Clint Eastwood. Yes, it must be time for an update on the BRB Pick 'Em League.

Before you jump, here's a map of this week's TV Coverage (h/t nolander, who shared it yesterday). The Giants-Texans game will be called by Fox's B-Team: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnson, and...ugh...Tony Siragusa.


Chicago Bears (3-1) @ Carolina Panthers (0-4) (Sunday 10/10 at Noon CDT)
A week ago, this looked like a pretty good game to pick. However, Jay Cutler will not play, and Chicago's pass protection looks pretty bad. If the Bears had a running game, I would stay with them, but Mike Martz uses a pass-heavy attack. Carolina has a good defense, evidenced by their shutdown of New Orleans, but they can't score many points and won't against Chicago's defense. It's a tough call, and it won't be a good fantasy game for anyone involved, but I'll say...Bears win 16-6.

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (2-2)
I've heard this story before. The Colts return home after losing a game on the road. Last time this happened, Peyton and the Colts destroyed the New York Giants. In fact, here's a statistic for you: The Colts have won 11 straight regular season home games that follow a regular-season loss. The last time anyone beat them in Indianapolis when they were coming off a loss? 2002. Considering that Kansas City hasn't really beaten anyone, I can see Peyton and his merry band of receivers run this streak to 12. Colts win 31-13.

Atlanta Falcons (3-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-3)
Congratulations to the Browns for winning a big division game last week. Atlanta struggled against the 49er defense, but I can't see them struggling against Cleveland, who gave up over 400 total yards last week. Considering what Terrell Owens did a week before, Roddy White could be in for a huge game. Falcons win 24-13.

Denver Broncos (2-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
The Broncos, behind Kyle Orton, have the league's best passing offense. The Ravens, who entered the season thin in the secondary, have the league's best passing defense. This should be a fun match-up for that aspect alone. The Ravens have the league's second-best defense, and I think they'll hold the score low enough for the offense to top them. Ravens win 23-17.

New York Giants (2-2) @ Houston Texans (3-1)
I like that the Giants won on Sunday night so they don't come to Houston desperate. The Texans need to mimic what Indianapolis did so well against New York - run the ball, score TDs, and tee off on Eli Manning to force him into making the mistakes he has made in Giants losses. The Texans are able to do that, but can they? Consistency needs to be there, Reliant needs to be rocking, and a Houston win is possible. Texans win 34-31.

St. Louis Rams (2-2) @ Detroit Lions (0-4)
Raise your hand if you thought these two teams would be battling for draft position here. Now raise your hand if you thought one of these teams would be entering this game at .500. Now raise your hand if you thought it would be the Rams. The Rams have doubled their win total from last year and found a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. The Lions have looked improved, but they can't get over the hump. It's been a bunch of heartbreaking losses. If Matt Stafford were playing, I would take them, but I like Sam Bradford versus the porous Detroit secondary. Rams win 31-24.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) @ Washington Redskins (2-2)
The lack of a running game is hurting Green Bay. They really should be trying to do what they can to find someone to help bring balance back to that offense. Under improved coaching and quarterback play, Washington leads the NFC East, but lacks a true #1 guy for Donovan McNabb. Ryan Torain is getting the start at running back and is worth picking up since he fits the zone-blocking scheme to a T. The Packers should be able to pass against Washington, but they'll never be able to put the game away without a running game. Packers win 27-21.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
The transitive property doesn't work in the NFL, but it does influence my picks. A week ago, I would have said Cincinnati easily wins this one. However, the Bengals then lost to the lowly Browns, who Tampa Bay beat. This will be a closer game than I envisioned. It's hard to pick the talented Bengals a week after their loss to Cleveland, but the Bengals, at home, are desperate to get a win. Bengals win 20-16.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) @ Buffalo Bills (0-4)
What's my rule? Never pick Buffalo? Think last week's performance inspires me to take the upset? LaDainian Tomlinson ran wild over Buffalo, so Maurice Jones-Drew should be able to do the same. Jaguars win 31-17.

New Orleans Saints (3-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-2) (Sunday 10/10 at 3:05 PM CDT)
The Cardinals have been blown out against perceived good teams. They're starting rookie quarterback Max Hall. The Saints are due for an offensive explosion. You do the math. Saints win 45-6.

San Diego Chargers (2-2) @ Oakland Raiders (1-3) (Sunday 10/10 at 3:15 PM CDT)
After last week's game, I buy the Raiders pass defense. If they were disciplined in their gap assignments, they'd have a top-five defense easy. Their secondary's talented enough to man up on teams, so I don't get why they don't just push eight in the box. They probably should to slow down Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. The Chargers outclassed the Cardinals, but they're now heading on the road where they don't particularly look good this season. Keep in mind that the Raiders lost both games to the Chargers last season by a combined 11 points - with JaMarcus Russell at the helm. I may shock some people...Raiders win 23-21.

Tennessee Titans (2-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
Last week, Tennessee got beat by a good passing team. It's probably not a good time for them to go to the Dallas Air Show. The Cowboys should get pressure on Vince Young to force him into mistakes like Pittsburgh did. I know Texans fans hope for the meteor to win, but barring that...Cowboys win 27-13.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-4) (Sunday 10/10 at 7:20 PM CDT)
The Eagles come in wounded - Mike Vick is out while LeSean McCoy has a fractured rib. They make the long trek to San Francisco looking pretty vulnerable.  On the flip side, I'm not sure the 49ers know the regular season has started. Fortunately for the 49ers, a win could pull them within one game of the division lead. Wow, the NFC West is bad. The 49er defense showed signs of life, a second week with their new offensive coordinator should help, and being at home could provide a boost. I'll take the upset here because I think the 49ers will stop shooting themselves in the foot. 49ers win 23-17.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2) @ New York Jets (3-1) (Monday 10/11 at 7:30 CDT)
Oh, Durga. Who will ESPN slurp up in this game more? Heck, we could turn this into a drinking game, but I would worry about the number of blackouts as Brett Favre and Mark Sanchez play in the same stadium in front of Jon Gruden. The Jets come in off an impressive scrimmage, while the Vikings have had an additional week to dissect this Jets defense and gel together as an offense...then added deep threat extraordinaire Randy Moss. The Vikings need this win more, and I like their pass rush to harass Sanchez. Vikings win 20-17.

Bye Week Teams:
Miami Dolphins (2-2) Back-to-back losses in the division are not how the Phins wanted to enter the bye week. I would bet that the special teams units will not get time off.

New England Patriots (3-1) On the flip side of that, an all-around dominant effort should please the Hooded One. The Pats have a lot of young players who may get better over the course of the season.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) I am sure Pittsburgh fans would have done backflips if you had told them that they would go 3-1 without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. Behind a dominant defense, this may be the league's best team. Will Big Ben disrupt their momentum or add another dimension to this team?

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) As Pete Carroll made changes to the Seahawks, I know people were snickering. Is anyone laughing now as Seattle sits atop the NFC West? Seattle is more competitive than most people thought they'd be - especially at Qwest Field, which has to be the toughest stadium to play at in the NFL.

BRB Pick 'Em Extravaganza

Once again, 49 BRBers fought for cyber-glory (leacheatsbabies, come on!). BrownCrayon and chrisd21 entered the fray to replace two no-shows. With the bye week taking out the 15 and 16 pointers, the week was too close for comfort. How close? 18 BRB pickers had a record of 10-4 or 9-5. The week's worst record? 6-8 by six pickers. It really was a week that came down to points. This week's winner of the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence took home the trophy by one point over PapaBear.

This week's winner of the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence is a man of few words. I say this because he only has 19 comments and a FanPost to his good name. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that, "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." Thus, when TexanKevin speaks, we should all take heed and bask in his football knowledge since "In Schwab We Trust" is Week Four's BRB Pick 'Em Winner with a 9-5, 83 point effort.

Fueled by narrowly losing in Week Two, TexanKevin observed the comments of the masses and rose above the glut of BRBers at the top of the Week Four standings. How did he pull it off? After nailing his top 4 confidence picks of Green Bay, New Orleans, San Diego, and New York on Sunday, TexanKevin was lurking in fourth place like a silent predator. He listened to everyone hype up the Dolphins and saw through their foolishness. Where four of the other top-five veered Miami, TexanKevin went with the visiting Patriots. While Patrick Chung went on a special teams tear, TexanKevin nodded approvingly in silent badassery alongside other silent asskickers Clint Eastwood and Andre Johnson. When Monday night was over, TexanKevin had climbed to the top of the BRB Mountain and third in the overall points standings.

As William Shakespeare once said, "Men of few words are the best men." This week, the man of few words is the best man, as TexanKevin has taken home the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence in Week Four. May we only be so lucky to hear his wisdom on football.

"Should've Put Money On It" Game of the Week: 49 out of 49 BRBers picked Houston to beat Oakland. Mmmm, that's good homerism!

"We Know Nothing" Game of the Week:
48 out of 49 BRBers incorrectly picked Indianapolis to defeat Jacksonville. Kudos to RED56 for envisioning Josh Scobee kicking a game-winner.

Sippin' on Battle Red Drank: Papabear, Distant_Texans_Fan, DilloTex, chrisd21, AllenOU, WhiskeyR, rrtx, txknight, Shake, NWestTexan, Taco Joe, ketchuppants7, SouthernLion, RED56, NoSafetiesNeeded, and CFHTim all drank the Drank by placing 14 confidence points on the Texans.

Hidin' Out In the Back of the Meeting Hall:
Everyone picked the Texans! A first!

The Rex Grossman "F**k It, I'm Goin' Deep" Award: Well, technically RED56, the only BRBer among 2% of Yahoo Pickers, called seven-point underdog Jacksonville pulling the upset. However, he put one point on this upset, so I don't know if he actually went deep enough to win this outright. Whether he simply hates Tennessee or went deep, chrisd21 put 11 points on 6.5-point underdog Denver to beat the Titans. RED56 and chrisd21 can share the Rexy this week.

The David Carr Misguided Faith Award: Arizona and Detroit were bigger underdogs, but Buffalo got absolutely stomped by the Jets. Plus, I keep saying how no one should ever pick the Bills. Jaws placed 14 (maximum value) points down on a Buffalo win. That's just downright delusional, buddy.

The Charlie Casserly Decision Making Award: It's hard to call 6-8 Casserly-esque because it's way too good for Charlie. However, someone had to pull up the rear, and this week it was NoSafetiesNeeded. Aside from picking Buffalo and San Francisco, it's not as if he even made bad picks either. The BRB Pick 'Em League is a tough league, and NoSafetiesNeeded was just the worst of a pretty solid bunch this week. Charlie would kill for near .500.

For Comparison's sake...strictly straight up:
John McClain: 8-6 (38-24).
BRB Pickers: 8-6 (36-26).
ESPN Average: 9-5 (36-26).
Jerome Solomon: 10-4 (34-28).

BRBers with the best weekly record: PapaBear (papabear), chrisd21 (tony homo & the romosexuals), riversmccown (Glover Quin Never Allows TDs), DilloTex (Black Hat Saloon), BigTexBD (BigTexBD), .Bonzo (Bonzo's Montroeux), and do (do) 10-4.
BRBer with the most weekly points: TexanKevin (In Schwab We Trust) 83 points.
Overall best record: SATexan (Cake) 46-16, leads by 5 games over riversmccown (Glover Quin Never Allows TDs).
Overall points leader: SATexan (Cake) 403 points, leads by 34 points over riversmccown (Glover Quin Never Allows TDs).

Once again, congrats to TexanKevin! As always, Pickers get your picks in on time. Let the comments be your home for League-wide observations for Week Five or BRB Pick 'Em Trash Talk. Hope everyone enjoys the football weekend and GO TEXANS!