This N’ That with Tony Mack: NFL PICKS: Week 5

By Tony McClean
Updated: October 7, 2004
NEW HAVEN, CT.—We’re now five weeks into the season and we’d like to give you some food for thought. It appears that even with all the aerial displays that we’ve seen over the weeks, it still comes down to football at its most basic.
Speaking in just plain terms, it all about having a consistent running game. Here are some basic facts for you and your buddies to chew on.
Through the first four weeks of 2004, there have been 41 100-yard rushing games in the league. With just two more this week, this season will have the most 100-yard games through the first five weeks of any year since the merger in 1970.
Case in point: In Week 4, teams that ran for more yards than they passed went 11-1.
Just something to think about while you contemplate which running back you may have to sit this week for fantasy purposes. It could be worse though. You could be the Vikings who’ve already lost Michael Bennett (knee injury) and Onterrio Smith (drug suspension).
Where’s Robert Smith and or Chuck Foreman when you really need them??
LAST WEEK: 7-7 (32-27 on the year)
I’d like to personally thank the Titans, Redskins, and Raiders for failing to show up last week. These guys showed a brotha no love at all on Sunday. I know I was taking a chance with the Bills, but they played tough.
What will happen first: A Falcon loss or a Braves’ elimination? By the time this story is printed Bobby Cox’s boys may be checking for Sunday tee times. But I digress….The Falcs have been playing well on both sides of the line so far. Not even the threat of physical violence is stopping No. 7 this season. Wouldn’t it be just like the Boys from Motown to ruin a good thing. Nah, not this week.
Pick: Falcons.
While New England fans will have one eye on the Red Sox, the other eye will be hoping the Pats can make it 19 straight regular season wins. It would break a record set by several teams including the Fish. Remember when the Bears were going for a perfect season in 1985, only to be derailed by Dan Marino? That night, several ex-Dolphins were on the sidelines. Sunday they may have to suit up on offense.
Pick: Patriots.
The nasty phone calls (and e-mails to yours truly) from Jersey to New York sports radio shows have temporarily stopped since Big Blue’s disastrous opening day. A big win at Lambeau Field will do that to fans. There’s even been reports that Tom Coughlin was seen smiling for five seconds. Another road win would put the Giants in good spirits heading into their bye week. Do you think Coach C knows the lyrics to “Kumbaya”??
Pick: Giants.
The Battle of the Beltway matches a pair of teams that are coming off losses. While the Ravens helped give K.C. its first win, Grandpa Gibbs and the ‘Skins fell at Cleveland. In the last two games, it appears that Coach is confusing time outs with pit stops. If he’s healthy, Deion Sanders will get a chance to meet his old teammates. “Prime Time” is listed as questionable with a bruised ego…..Oops, I meant sore hammy.
Pick: Ravens.
Is it too early to call a game in Week 5 between a pair of 1-3 teams crucial? Both teams looked good Week 1, but have severely fallen on hard times since. Not to mention the fact that both quarterbacks (McNair questionable with bruised sternum; Favre probable with a concussion) are ailing. We’re not saying the loser can kiss the playoffs goodbye, but another loss will be a serious setback for either team.
Pick: Packers.
Texans over Vikings: Just a hunch. Especially since Minnesota’s running game is a bit unclear as of now.
Colts over Raiders: Indy’s defense may actually get a breather.
Bucs over Saints: Chris Simms will make poppa proud.
Steelers over Browns: Big Ben is making a believer out of his lineman.
Jets over Bills: Sorry, Roland. I can’t pick Buffalo to win two weeks in a row.
Jaguars over Chargers: Jacksonville gets back on track.
Panthers over Broncos: Again, just a hunch. Plus, Quentin Griffin is questionable with an ankle boo-boo.
Cardinals over 49ers: That’s just for the 12 folks who will watch this game.
Seahawks over Rams: Plain ans simple, Paul Holmgren will out coach Mike Martz.