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Kibbles and Picks 2021 - Week 5

October 7, 2021
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What a delightful surprise!

It’s always nice when Stella takes pity on me and removes her paw from the accelerator for a moment. To wit, my 10-6 record in Week 4 outperforms her 8-8, allowing me to get back two games on her. Yes, she’s still in the lead, but only by a single game. We all know how it will ultimately play out, of course, but it’s nice to still feel a little bit of hope after the season’s one-quarter(ish) mark.

Now, that lead is guaranteed to change after Week 5 – we’re at odds on seven of the week’s contests, so there’s no opportunity for a tie. Whether Stella rebuilds her lead or I (gasp) tie or even pass her remains to be seen. I know what’s PROBABLY going to happen – I’ve been doing this a long time – but it’s nice to dream.

We hit the ground running with the Thursday night matchup. I’m going with the host Seahawks here. While I respect what the Rams bring to the table (and believe they are ultimately the better team), I like Seattle to pull out a close one on their home turf. Really, it boils down to whether Russell Wilson can overcome a very good Rams defense. I think he can – it’s all about avoiding the pass rush. Oh, and Chris Carson needs to be on his game. Stella thinks I could have stopped after “ultimately the better team” – she agrees with the sentiment, but believes that the better team will win in this game. She loves what Matthew Stafford has brought to that potent LA offense and expects that Wilson will not be able to handle everything that the Rams throw at him. Not only does she predict a Rams win, but she thinks they’ll win it comfortably.

I’ve got Green Bay going into Cincinnati and picking up a win. The Packers have definitely had an uneven go of it so far, but it looks like Aaron Rodgers is settling into the groove. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got two of the league’s most talented skill players – Davante Adams and Aaron Jones – alongside him on offense. If Green Bay can hold up against the intermittently-explosive Bengals offense, the Pack should be fine. Stella’s not a huge fan of Cincy, but she does think that QB Joe Burrow is due for a massive breakout game. He’s got some real talents to throw to – Tyler Boyd, rookie Ja’Marr Chase, the dinged-up Tee Higgins – which helps. The key will be whether RB Joe Mixon can bounce back and get something going on the ground; she thinks he will, and that’ll be the key to a Bengals W.

From there, we’re off to Pittsburgh, where neither one of us feels all that confident about our choices. I’m going with the visiting Broncos, despite the massive uncertainty at the quarterback position – neither concussed Teddy Bridgewater nor washout Drew Lock inspires a whole lot of confidence. This is more a pick against the Steelers. Stella acknowledges that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger looks absolutely cooked and that the Denver D is stout, but she’s counting on another huge game from rookie back Najee Harris on offense and the return of T.J. Watt on defense to add up to enough for a win. Again – neither one of us feels great, nor will we be surprised when the other turns out to be correct.

In the New Orleans/Washington contest, I’ve got the Football Team winning at home. While I’m still not sold on Taylor Heinicke at QB, I’m less sold on whatever the hell is happening in New Orleans. Tight end Logan Thomas is out with an injury, which hurts the WFT offense, but I like Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to pick up enough of the slack to keep them in the game, while the defense will likely prove opportunistic against the turnover-prone Saints. Stella’s not expecting perfection from Saints QB Jameis Winston – she’s baked a couple of turnovers into her prediction. She just thinks that the WFT is going to have a hell of a time trying to handle Alvin Kamara, who she expects to run wild over the course of this game. The truth is that this will likely be a battle of attrition, where the team that best takes care of the ball will eke out the victory.

For our next game, we’re heading down to Carolina, where I have the Panthers winning against the visiting eagles. Look, do I think the Panthers are a good team? Jury’s still out; they’re certainly not as good as they were when Christian McCaffery is on the field. But Sam Darnold has looked competent and the defense has been solid and I think that’s enough to take care of the Eagles (sorry, boss). Stella isn’t a huge proponent of Philly, but she has taken a shine to QB Jalen Hurts, who is somehow both good and bad at the same time. There are a number of talented pass catchers on this roster, while the Eagles can move it on the ground when necessary. It’s going to come down to which defense can most exploit the weaknesses of the opposing QBs, and Stella thinks Hurts will wind up rattled by the Carolina defensive scheme.

This one is the second-trickiest pick of the week for me (we’ll get to the trickiest next). I’m taking Cleveland over the Chargers. Yes, I know the Chargers are at home, but theirs is the most negligible home-field advantage in the league. Baker Mayfield is banged up, but the Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt RB tandem will likely ease some of the pressure. And I expect Myles Garrett to be in Justin Herbert’s face all game long. It won’t be easy, but the Browns will win. Stella thinks this is nonsense. She loves what Herbert has done so far this season and thinks that Cleveland will struggle to handle the wealth of talent on the LA offense. She anticipates a mix of long balls to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and checkdowns to Austin Ekeler. Oh, and the Chargers have some guys who can get after the QB as well – particularly a QB who’s a little banged-up.

Lastly, I’m picking the Bills to go into Kansas City and beat the Chiefs, a choice that would have seemed inconceivable a month ago. While I like the Buffalo offense – Josh Allen has looked good, while Stefon Diggs remains a stud – this is about the Bills D. Sure, this is a stacked KC attack, but the Bills have looked great on defense, with two shutouts already this season. They’ll force a turnover or two and keep it close enough for Allen and the rest to pull out a win. Stella likes the Bills as well, but she’s not going to bet against Patrick Mahomes. She expects a big game from either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce – she thinks the Bills will struggle to keep both under control. Toss in a resurgent Clyde Edwards-Hilaire and she expects that Buffalo isn’t going to be able to quite get it done. Where we agree is that this game is almost certainly going to be a fun one to watch.

And there we have it. There’s our seven. Wish me well – I hope that my glimmer of hope can continue past this Sunday night. Stella, as always, remains unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 7

LA Rams at SEATTLE

Sunday, Oct. 10

NY Jets at ATLANTA

GREEN BAY at Cincinnati

Detroit at MINNESOTA

DENVER at Pittsburgh

Miami at TAMPA BAY

New Orleans at WASHINGTON

Philadelphia at CAROLINA

TENNESSEE at Jacksonville

NEW ENGLAND at Houston

Chicago at LAS VEGAS

CLEVELAND at LA Chargers

NY Giants at DALLAS

San Francisco at ARIZONA

BUFFALO at Kansas City

Monday, Oct. 11

Indianapolis at BALTIMORE

Week 5 record: 10-6

Season record: 38-26

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 7

LA RAMS at Seattle

Sunday, Oct. 10

NY Jets at ATLANTA

Green Bay at CINCINNATI

Detroit at MINNESOTA

Denver at PITTSBURGH

Miami at TAMPA BAY

NEW ORLEANS at Washington

PHILADELPHIA at Carolina

TENNESSEE at Jacksonville

NEW ENGLAND at Houston

Chicago at LAS VEGAS

Cleveland at LA CHARGERS

NY Giants at DALLAS

San Francisco at ARIZONA

Buffalo at KANSAS CITY

Monday, Oct. 11

Indianapolis at BALTIMORE

Week 5 record: 8-8

Season record: 39-25

Last modified on Thursday, 07 October 2021 11:53

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