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Kibbles and Picks 2017 - Week 5

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That was fun while it lasted.

My lead over Stella lasted precisely one week, thanks to another break-even week from me and a solid 10-6 performance from the pooch. Only Stella’s odd affection for the Browns – I assume it’s a Dawg Pound thing – and a two-point win by the Eagles kept me from getting really trounced.

(For what it’s worth, she was right on the Saints, the Steelers, the Titans and the Broncos.)

We’re at odds on a half-dozen games – same as last week. Hopefully, I can keep things close, but it kind of feels like things are on the verge of getting a little bit out of hand.

And we’ll start with Jets/Browns. Now I’m the one expressing an inexplicable faith in Cleveland’s terrible football team. I don’t like the Browns. Nor do I think they will have any kind of quality performance. However, I like the Jets even less. So here we are. Stella isn’t particularly enthused about picking the Jets, but she’s kind of mad at the Browns. Neither one of us feels great about this game.

Next up, I’ve got Carolina going into Detroit and pulling off the win. I think the Panthers are riding high after their victory over the Patriots; Cam Newton is ready to keep pushing this team toward victory. Stella thinks that Newton and company may struggle against a competent defense and that Detroit’s offense will put up plenty of points against Carolina. She likes the Lions to handle their business on their home field.

In a battle of winless teams, I’m going with the Giants to win at home while Stella is picking the Chargers. This might be one of the least interesting games of the entire season. I’m basically just going with the “most talented player” argument here – and that’s New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. Not that I have any faith in Eli Manning’s ability to get him the ball. Stella thinks Philip Rivers is fork-sticking-out-of-him levels of done, but she also thinks running back Melvin Gordon is due for a bounceback performance. Feels like a coin flip – hell, it’ll probably wind up a tie.

Stella made an unusually bold pick for this next one, picking the Jaguars to go into Pittsburgh and upset the Steelers. She’s not a Blake Bortles believer, but she really likes the look of rookie running back Leonard Fournette. She’s banking on a run-heavy slugfest, a low-scoring affair that benefits the Jags defense. Pittsburgh hasn’t looked quite right all season, but they’ve got guys like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown who could blow up at any moment. That big play potential will make the difference – especially on Pittsburgh’s home turf. The Jags aren’t ready for this.

Stella also is outing herself as a believer in the new-look Los Angeles Rams. She likes the team to handle their business at home against the Seahawks. She’s not quite sold on Jared Goff, but she thinks Todd Gurley has 100 percent turned it around after last year’s struggles. Throw in speedy wideout Sammy Watkins and a scrappy defense and she’s on-board with the Rams this week. I don’t disagree with her as far as the Rams, but I don’t think they’re ready to take on Seattle. Even with injury issues and a porous O-line, I can’t quite bring myself to go against Russell Wilson in this one. Feel free to mock me for this pick when Wilson gets sacked eight times and picked twice.

Finally, I’m going with the Packers on the road against Dallas. Even though the Packers offense has been riddled with injuries, they still have Aaron Rodgers under center – and that counts for a lot, especially against a Cowboys team that has had its share of struggles thus far this season. Rodgers just finds ways to make stuff happen – and the Dallas D isn’t strong enough to stop him. Stella disagrees; she thinks Green Bay’s skill players are just a little too beat-up. She also thinks Dak Prescott is on the verge of getting it together and that Ezekiel Elliott is poised for a big game. She likes the Packers – and actually thinks that they’re the better team in a vacuum – but she just doesn’t think it’s Green Bay’s week.

And there we have it. This feels like a week that will prove significant in the bigger picture of the full season. So root for me to at least keep it close.

Stella isn’t worried.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 5

NEW ENGLAND at Tampa Bay

Sunday, Oct. 8

BUFFALO at Cincinnati

NY Jets at CLEVELAND

CAROLINA at Detroit

San Francisco at INDIANAPOLIS

TENNESSEE at Miami

LA Chargers at NY GIANTS

Arizona at PHILADELPHIA

Jacksonville at PITTSBURGH

Baltimore at OAKLAND

SEATTLE at LA Rams

GREEN BAY at Dallas

KANSAS CITY at Houston

Monday, Oct. 9

MINNESOTA at Chicago

Week 4 record: 8-8

Season record: 37-26

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 5

NEW ENGLAND at Tampa Bay

Sunday, Oct. 8

BUFFALO at Cincinnati

NY JETS at Cleveland

Carolina at DETROIT

San Francisco at INDIANAPOLIS

TENNESSEE at Miami

LA CHARGERS at NY Giants

Arizona at PHILADELPHIA

JACKSONVILLE at Pittsburgh

Baltimore at OAKLAND

Seattle at LA RAMS

Green Bay at DALLAS

KANSAS CITY at Houston

Monday, Oct. 9

MINNESOTA at Chicago

Week 4 record: 10-6

Season record: 38-25

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