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NFL picks and predictions for Week 5

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The top games in the NFL this week include the Houston Texans vs. Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons vs. Denver Broncos, and Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys. Let's get straight to the Week 5 action. Feel free to weigh in on some of the games in the comments section.

Week 5 Games Explanation Pick
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Note: This pick was posted in our TNF thread on Thursday. I am listing it here for record-keeping purposes.

Thursday Night Football: The Cardinals will be without QB Carson Palmer, which certainly isn’t ideal given the team’s 1-3 start and the fact that this should be a very winnable game for them. QB Drew Stanton will get the call instead, and he’d be best served handing the ball off to RB David Johnson of finding him as a receiver too. The 49ers’ run defense ranks dead last in the NFL.

The 49ers are also 1-3 and have lost three straight games as the cracks in Jim O’Neil’s defense quickly began showing after one good game to begin the season. I can’t see the 49ers’ run defense stopping Johnson — this is a game where I truly think Arizona can remain one-dimensional throughout the contest and dominate. Cardinals 26, 49ers 13

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Hoyer Creates Controversy: No matter where he goes, Brian Hoyer is going to create a quarterback controversy. Another win for Chicago could solidify his starting job moving forward over Jay Cutler. Although I think he'll continue to have success against a bad Colts defense, Chicago won't be able to stop the Colts' offense as often. Part of the Colts' issues are on Andrew Luck, though. Although his pass protection is not great, like Josh McCown, he often holds on to the ball too long. Colts 24, Bears 20

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Defensive Battle of the Week: The Vikings' defense has been outstanding so far, and that looks to continue. Their offense isn't pushing the ball for a lot of yards, but Sam Bradford has protected the football. I think that will continue to work against the Texans, but Minnesota is going to have to work some magic to improve their offensive productivity a little for when they face a higher-powered offense. Vikings 21, Texans 17

vs. Brady is Back: One narrative that I don’t buy in to is the fact that the Patriots are going to blow out the Browns because Tom Brady is pissed off and ready to unleash all of his frustration. You don’t just come in and say, ‘I’m having a good game because I want to stick it to the NFL.’ Brady will be effective because of how great a quarterback he is and the great system in place in New England.

The Browns have been competitive each week, and they’ll continue to do the same this week. Remember that in their only other home game, they got off to a hot 20-0 start. They’ve also given New England fits in the past; not many of the players from those games are still here, but there’s something about the stigma of Cleveland that could come into play, much like it did with Peyton Manning when he’d face the Browns. New England will come out on top with clearly the better-played game, but the Browns will continue to earn brownie points for their effort and gameplan. Patriots 27, Browns 20

vs. Back to Clicking: The headline fits one of these teams, and it's certainly not the New York Jets, where there should be significant concerns after the team's 1-3 (and likely 1-4) start. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' one-week offensive woes against Philadelphia were erased against the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The return of Le'Veon Bell adds that extra dimension to Pittsburgh's offense, making them very difficult to beat. Teams can try to compete with Pittsburgh in a shootout, but Ryan Fitzpatrick's struggles over the past couple of weeks have been concerning. Steelers 31, Jets 20

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Wentz Wagon: The Eagles could do no wrong through the first three games of Carson Wentz' career, and Philadelphia is coming off of an early bye to try to remain undefeated. All eyes will continue to be on Wentz to see if an opposing team will come up with something to throw him off his game. I thought Philadelphia would be the NFC's worst team this year, and I was obviously badly mistaken. Their defense has been a big reason for their success too. Eagles 28, Lions 23

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Close Your Eyes: Sit down and close your eyes. Now, think about the Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins playing each other this week. Did I just put you to sleep? OK -- I shouldn't be saying such things, given the Browns' record. However, this is one match-up I wouldn't have much of an interest in watching. I'll take the Dolphins on a coin flip; they could find some success in the running game this week. Dolphins 20, Titans 13

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Can't Tackle: The Ravens lost their first game of the season to the Raiders last week, while Washington won their second straight game to get back to .500. I desperately wanted to pick Washington to win this game, as I think Baltimore is ripe for another loss. However, after seeing how pathetic the Redskins' tackling was last week, coupled with the fact that Baltimore has the top-ranked defense in yards so far, I have to go with our AFC North foe. Ravens 28, Redskins 27

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Game of the Week: OK, the Falcons officially have me interested again. I thought they were on the path to another disappointing season, but the running game is hot, Julio Jones is coming off of a legendary performance, and they are averaging a league-best 38 points per game. Denver is the AFC's only 4-0 team, and Paxton Lynch has been thrust into his first career start due due to injury. I think the Broncos' defense makes enough timely plays to keep Denver ahead, but if Lynch struggles, Matt Ryan will have to capitalize. Broncos 24, Falcons 21

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Surprising Team of the Year: There have been a few surprising teams with losing records (i.e. Panthers, Cardinals). One of the surprising teams record-wise is the Los Angeles Rams, who are sitting at 3-1. After all these years, has Jeff Fisher's team finally figured things out? Let's pump the breaks on that. The Bills are coming in extremely confident after shutting out the Patriots on the road, and I think they ride that momentum into Week 5 for a mini-upset. Bills 17, Rams 14

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Sticking With Prescott: The Cowboys have the No. 2 offense in the NFL. If Dak Prescott keeps this up, should Dallas stick with him when Tony Romo comes back? It's a tough call, but I'd say "no." Romo can take Dallas' offense to another level still. Prescott has succeeded because of all the talent around him, but Romo can be more of a difference-maker. The Bengals got back on the winning side last week, but with Tyler Eifert missing another week, their offense will continue to struggle in the red zone. Cowboys 30, Bengals 23

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Shootout of the Week: Good for the Raiders being 3-1, and their push to be a wildcard team will continue with a big division win over the Chargers this week. Oakland will have to continue shooting out teams due to their porous defense. They really need Khalil Mack to get going. In the mean time, Derek Carr continues to impress while all San Diego can do is blow fourth quarter leads. Raiders 34, Chargers 28

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Sunday Night Football: The Giants are unraveling with Odell Beckham Jr. going from league sensation to problem child. The Packers are coming off of a bye week, and Aaron Rodgers will be anxious to get all of his weapons involved again. With the Giants' front unit not meeting the expectations I set for them, New York won't be able to match pace with the Packers' scoring in prime time. Packers 41, Giants 21

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Monday Night Football: Derek Anderson is back! With Cam Newton out with a concussion, Anderson gets the start for the first time since the 2014 season. What is hilarious is that he started two games that year for Carolina. Both of them came against Tampa Bay, and both of them ended up being victories! Here he is again, and his gun-slinging nature will carry Carolina as Tampa Bay's mental errors continue to pop up. Panthers 23, Buccaneers 20

Bye Week:

Survivor: Last week, I correctly picked the Broncos to defeat the Buccaneers. I am on a four-game winning streak, having used SEA, NE, DAL, and DEN. This week, I'll go with the Steelers over the Jets.

Week 4 Picks Record: 8-7
2016 NFL Picks Record: 35-28
Browns Picks Record: 3-1