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NFL picks 2015: Week 5

No Andrew Luck means a last-minute change for Colts-Texans.

The poster child for last-minute losses lived up to the reputation last week as Chicago rallying past Oakland and Washington edging Philadelphia on late scores helped contribute to a lousy week.

While salvaging something by going 9-6 straight up, that didn’t help the spread count, where a 5-9-1 mark continued my less-than-stellar start in the tougher of the two prediction categories. The ignorance certainly applies on the home front, where I’m just 2-2 straight up in Colts games and 0-4 picking them to cover.

The Colts went from one-point favorites to four-point underdogs in the last few days. Whatever I pick on the Colts against the spread, just do the opposite.

Week 5

(Odds provided by OddsShark)

Colts +4 at Texans — After another week of posturing about how quarterback Andrew Luck was trending in the right direction and looking good in practice, the truth is that sore right throwing shoulder isn’t going to let him play after all. Colts backup Matt Hasselbeck was in a hospital two days ago due to an illness. What in the name of third-stringer Josh Johnson is going on? Pick: Texans 23, Colts 13.

Redskins +8 at Falcons — Atlanta has been so hot lately, but Washington has won a couple of games and wide receiver DeSean Jackson could return for the visitors. The gut instinct is the Falcons have been too hot, but Julio Jones is ailing It will be close. Pick: Falcons 34, Redskins 27.

Browns +7 at Ravens — Baltimore finally delivered with a road win at Pittsburgh, although it was a push against the spread. In other words, the Ravens are like the Colts when it comes to adding in the spread. They’re killing me. Pick: Ravens 27, Browns 17.

Seahawks +3 at Bengals — Is this the week Cincinnati reverts to the Bungles of years past? Expectations have soared in this unbeaten start. While Seattle has won two in a row at home, Monday's win over Detroit came within a Calvin Johnson fumble near the goal line of being a loss. These aren’t the same Seahawks. Pick: Bengals 30, Seahawks 20.

Rams +10 at Packers — St. Louis stunned unbeaten Arizona on the road last week, which makes taking them with the points too easy. But the hunch is the Rams can’t surprise again, not at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers will see to it. Pick: Packers 26, Rams 13.

Bears +10.5 at Chiefs — Jay Cutler’s return enabled Chicago to win its first game at home against Oakland. But the Chiefs are due to break out after consecutive losses to Denver, Green Bay and Cincinnati. The Bears revert to form. Pick: Chiefs 33, Bears 17.

Saints +4.5 at Eagles — New Orleans also finally ended its winless drought in a home overtime win over Dallas. Philadelphia has been up and down, but something tells me the Eagles are about to snap out of their unpredictable funk. Pick: Eagles 38, Saints 24.

Jaguars +2.5 at Buccaneers — Tampa Bay’s one win came at New Orleans. In the other three games, the Bucs have been bad. Jacksonville knocked off Miami, which at the time seemed like an impressive win, but not so much now. The Bucs have lost 11 in a row at home. The Jags have lost 11 in a row on the road. Maybe it will end in a tie. Pick: Buccaneers 24, Jaguars 20.

Bills -1 at Titans — Tennessee rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota has been nothing short of impressive so far and the home team is coming off a bye week. But Buffalo got embarrassed at home by the New York Giants last week. The Bills are better than that. Pick: Bills 33, Titans 27.

Cardinals -2.5 at Lions — Winless Detroit will probably snap out of it this week after losing a close one at Seattle. Arizona just lost at home, which makes me want to pick the Lions even more. So, of course, the final thought suggests otherwise. Pick: Cardinals 38, Lions 34.

Patriots -10 at Cowboys — After a week off, New England faces a Dallas squad that has lost two in a row, mostly because of too many important bodies dropping. The smart play is to take the home team and the points. Smart? Oh, OK. Sure. Pick: Patriots 37, Cowboys 26.

Broncos -4.5 at Raiders — Denver’s defense has allowed just 69 points in four wins. The Raiders have allowed 108, although wins at Cleveland and at home against Baltimore suggest this one could be closer than some expect. Pick: Broncos 27, Raiders 20.

49ers +7 at Giants — The G-Men played their best game yet in bouncing the Bills in Buffalo. Now on a two-game winning streak, there’s nothing to suggest that 1-3 49ers will be able to keep this close. San Francisco has allowed 110 points. Pick: Giants 31, 49ers 16.

Steelers +3 at Chargers — San Diego gets tight end Antonio Gates back, a good thing because the Chargers struggle to prevent opponents from scoring. The Steelers could win this one, but the Bolts are at home for a second straight week and will score enough. Pick: Chargers 34, Steelers 26.

Picks totals

Straight up

Last week: 9-6 (.600).

Overall: 36-27 (.571).

Last year after Week 4: 38-23 (.623).

Spread ‘em

Last week: 5-9-1 (.367).

Overall: 28-34-1 (.452).

Last year after Week 4: 31-29-1 (.516).

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