Sometimes, you just need to start over.
It’s hard to make sense of things sometimes. This was a week where the Nobel Prize winner for economics was a guy who wrote one of the most influential papers ever published on the NFL Draft. Jacksonville’s (the good one, in Texas) Josh McCown got the first three-game winning streak of his 15-year career. And the Patriots, Jets and Bills are all tied for the division lead, which usually never happens after June.
This was a week where I rethought everything.
I no longer think the Giants will win the NFC East. In fact, I’m not sure I could pick them to do anything else except end the seasons of their own wide receivers.
I will never again doubt Aaron Rodgers, no matter how little time is left in the game, half or life in general.
I will begrudgingly admit the Jets will win more than three games, although I’m still not sold they won’t wind up at the bottom of the division. It just seems like the Dolphins are trying harder to suck this year.
I’ll admit Leonard Fournette is going to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and not Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers are totally committed to not running the ball with anyone other than Cam Newton, right up until the point where he shatters.
And lastly, I can’t take Dallas to make the playoffs any more. Going 2-3 wasn’t what they were hoping for, and now it looks like Ezekiel Elliott will be out. The offensive line defections were more serious than anticipated, and Sean Lee is the heart and soul of the defense, which means they frequently have to play with an injured heart and a sprained soul.
After splitting it down the uprights for week five, I was correct on the Thursday night game. The Eagles are strong defensively, Carson Wentz is a lot better than we realize, and the Panthers don’t win without Luke Kuechly. I’m starting to really worry about that kid.
I’m now 18-18 straight up, and 13-22-1 picking against the odds. I’m now back to even again after a horrible start, so I know exactly how Jets fans feel. Time for the week six picks. As always, these are for the purposes of discussion only, and based on this season, you’re far better off picking against me. As always, no wagering.
Cleveland (+9.5) at Houston: I think too much is being made of the Browns not drafting Deshaun Watson. They draft at the top every year, so the league is filled with players the Browns passed on. It’s not a one-time miss; it’s a two-decade-long pattern of despair.
Pick: Texans to win, Browns to cover, which means I think the Texans win by nine or less.
Miami (+12.5) at Atlanta: The Dolphins have lost their quarterback to a preseason injury, their bye week to a hurricane, their big free agent signing to a road trip walkout, and their top assistant coach to a drug-snorting video posted by a woman who described herself as his “cocaine platter.” Against a freshly rested Falcons team playing at home, I give them roughly the same chance to win as I give Jay Cutler of sprouting wings and flying to the moon.
Pick: Falcons to win and cover, winning by 13 or more. And that’s a lot of points, I know.
N.Y. Giants (+11.5) at Denver: If you wonder why NFL ratings are down, Exhibit A is a Monday nighter with a pair of 2-3 teams with backup quarterbacks against each other. And Exhibit B is a Sunday primetime game with the Giants, who are winless, clueless and receiverless.
Pick: Broncos to win and cover, which means they’ll win by 12 or more.
L.A. Rams (+2.5) at Jacksonville: I actually heard a radio sports show host refer to this as a “potential Super Bowl matchup,” which should lead to a push for drug testing in the media.
Pick: Rams to win it outright.
Tampa Bay (-1.5) at Arizona: Adrian Peterson is the new Emmitt Smith. And by that I mean he’s a Hall of Fame running back whose last year in Arizona will be completely forgotten.
Pick: Bucs to win and cover, winning by two or more.
Green Bay (-3.5) at Minnesota: The Vikings aren’t sure whether they’ll start Sam Bradford or Case Keenum at quarterback. I don’t think it matters if they play both of them at the same time.
Pick: Packers to win and cover, winning by four or more.
I’ll also take the Chiefs to stay undefeated, the 49ers to score less than 20, and the second season of “Stranger Things” to be not quite as good as the first one. Good luck, everybody.
- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.