At the beginning of this season, we launched our Sports On Earth Confidence Pool, which allows you to compete against me (and Vegas and FiveThirtyEight, ESPN's smart analytics site). The winner of the pool gets to assign an article to me about whatever they would like for my weekly newsletter. And I am proud to say that after five weeks I am 19th out of 123. But this is less because "I am smart" and more because "I'll make sure to do my picks every week because it's my job and not every reader will have time to do that." I'll wait you out, people!
Actually, we can track how I'm doing against FiveThirtyEight and Vegas. Current scores:
FiveThirtyEight: 425 (third place)
Leitch: 405 (19th place)
Vegas Odds: 397 (27th place)
FiveThirtyEight will win in the end, I suspect. Anyway! It's not too late to join, if you want to join: Just go here.
For now, though: Week 5! Here goes! Vegas and 538 picks are after mine. Home teams are in all caps, with spreads (via Bovada, subject to change, with points indicating first team listed) and tune-in info below (all times ET).
14. DENVER BRONCOS (3-1) over New York Giants (0-5)
(-12) 8:30pm Sunday, NBC
The Giants are officially in pack-it-in mode already. If this were baseball, they'd trade Eli Manning at the deadline.
13. ATLANTA FALCONS (3-1) over Miami Dolphins (2-2)
(-12) 1:00pm Sunday, CBS
The Falcons have already had their weird home-loss-to-an-AFC-West-team blip.
12. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-2) over New York Jets (3-2)
(-10) 1:00pm Sunday, CBS
That these two teams currently have the same record is one of the strangest NFL things I can remember.
11. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (2-2) over San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
(-10) 1:00pm Sunday, FOX
This feels way too confident for Snyder's boys even with the terrible opponent.
10. HOUSTON TEXANS (2-3) over Cleveland Browns (0-5)
(-10) 1:00pm Sunday, CBS
There is no more comforting TLC after losing your top two defensive stars than the Browns.
9. TENNESSEE TITANS (2-3) over Indianapolis Colts (2-3)
(TBD) 8:30pm Monday, ESPN
This division seems to get turned upside down every week. Most important question remains: When is someone going to get Karen Pence an authentic NFL jersey?
8. GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-1) over Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
(-3) 1:00pm Sunday, FOX
Sam Bradford could show up to the stadium without his head attached and I'm pretty sure the Vikings would play him.
7. BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-2) over Chicago Bears (1-4)
(-6 ½)1:00pm Sunday, FOX
Is it weird that I sort of liked Mitch Trubisky? I'm totally going to regret having that sentence on the record, aren't I?
6. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-0) over Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
(-5) 4:25pm Sunday, CBS
There is a temptation to pick for the Steelers to rebound from that nightmare last week … but they are facing the precise wrong team for that.
5. Los Angeles Rams (3-2) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-2)
(-2 ½) 4:05pm Sunday, FOX
I picked the Jaguars to win the AFC South last year and look what happened. Thus, I'll be the last person to get on board this year.
4. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-1) over Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)
(-3) 8:25pm Thursday, CBS/NFL Network
Let's not forget the real victims in this new America: Cam Newton's sponsorships.
3. Arizona Cardinals (2-3) over TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-2)
(-2) 4:05pm Sunday, FOX
The Cardinals are just lousy enough of a team to go 8-8 this year.
2. OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-3) over Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)
(TBD) 4:25pm Sunday, CBS
This one feels a little tricky; the Chargers are feistier than you think. This is more of a tossup than people are giving it credit for being.
1. Detroit Lions (3-2) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2-2)
(-4 ½) 1:00pm Sunday, FOX
The Lions are the perfect team for this everybody's-about-9-7-or-7-9 age.
14. WASHINGTON over San Francisco
13. HOUSTON over Cleveland
12. ATLANTA over Miami
11. KANSAS CITY over Pittsburgh
10. DENVER over NY Giants
9. BALTIMORE over Chicago
8. OAKLAND over LA Chargers
7. NEW ENGLAND over NY Jets
6. JACKSONVILLE over LA Rams
5. TENNESSEE over Indianapolis
4. NEW ORLEANS over Detroit
3. Arizona over TAMPA BAY
2. CAROLINA over Philadelphia
1. GREEN BAY over Minnesota
14. DENVER over NY Giants
13. ATLANTA over Miami
12. NEW ENGLAND over NY Jets
11. WASHINGTON over San Francisco
10. HOUSTON over Cleveland
9. TENNESSEE over Indianapolis
8. NEW ORLEANS over Detroit
7. KANSAS CITY over Pittsburgh
6. BALTIMORE over Chicago
5. GREEN BAY over Minnesota
4. OAKLAND over LA Chargers
3. CAROLINA over Philadelphia
2. JACKSONVILLE over LA Rams
1. TAMPA BAY over Arizona
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