At least Pro Picks handles knockout pool and upset specials

October 6, 2021 GMT
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Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners in Week 5 action; 3c x 4 1/2 inches; ETA 5:30 p.m.
1 of 3
Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners in Week 5 action; 3c x 4 1/2 inches; ETA 5:30 p.m.

One week after a monumental performance by Pro Picks, it was more like Prodigious Misses, with bad choices across the board. At least we’ve survived in knockout pools and, somehow, have hit on every upset special to win outright.

The challenge for any prognosticator is to rebound quickly. Unfortunately, the Week 5 schedule provides far too many tossups, starting with Thursday night, when the Rams and Seahawks of the powerful NFC West meet in Seattle.

The Seahawks come off a significant victory at San Francisco — no, we didn’t get that one right. Los Angeles was manhandled by visiting Arizona, another one we got wrong.

And now, it’s a short period for getting ready.

“The Thursday night kind of puts it in such a fast-forward tempo as far as the preparation goes,” says Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who previously was with the Rams. “So you don’t really have a lot of time to stop and think about how would this be different than going against another opponent.”

LA has struggled on defense, where it excelled in 2020 but has undergone significant changes in personnel. Only five teams have allowed more yards per game than the Rams’ 396.8. They are giving up 24.8 points per game, 18th in the league.

Worrisome? Well, when facing Russell Wilson and a strong group of receivers, it should be.

“With our players, there’s a lot of new pieces that we’re asking to step into significant roles, whether it be from injuries or just some different things specifically to the back end,” coach Sean McVay said. “You lose some key guys. That’s such a vital part of it.”

Also a vital part is that Los Angeles (3-1) has the offensive pieces to keep up with Seattle (2-2). The Rams, ranked No. 4 in the AP Pro32, are 1 1-2-point favorites over No. 15 Seattle, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

RAMS: 30-23

KNOCKOUT POOL: While we were getting a whole lot wrong last week, at least the Bills came through as the survivor choice. This week, it’s NEW ENGLAND.

No. 27 New York Giants (plus 7) at No. 9 Dallas

The Giants shocked us, and most folks in the Big Easy, last week. Not now.


No. 2 Buffalo (plus 2 1-2) at No. 10 Kansas City

Living dangerously given our spotless record in these ...


No. 16 San Francisco (plus 5 1-2) at No. 1 Arizona

Thought about this for top upset, but Niners’ QB situation too iffy.


No. 14 Denver (plus 1 1-2) at No. 22 Pittsburgh

Ditto here with Broncos. Indeed, two selections because of Teddy Bridgewater’s concussion.

BRONCOS, 20-16 (with Bridgewater)

STEELERS, 16-13 (without Bridgewater)

No. 25 Chicago (plus 5 1-2) at No. 11 Las Vegas

The Bears’ defense is beginning to look better. Not good enough here.

RAIDERS, 23-20

No. 20 New England (minus 9½) at No. 30 Houston

Now that the Brady “reunion” is over ...


No. 26 Miami (plus 10) at No. 3 Tampa Bay

Now that the Brady “reunion” is over ...


No. 8 Cleveland (plus 1) at No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers

This is what we mean by a tossup game.

BROWNS, 27-25

No. 24 Indianapolis (plus 7) at No. 5 Baltimore, Monday night

Don’t think John Harbaugh should worry about rushing yards streak here.

RAVENS, 27-23

No. 29 New York Jets (plus 3 1-2) vs. No. 28 Atlanta at London

It figures Jets get a W and are sent across the ocean.

FALCONS, 30-22

No. 31 Detroit (plus 7 1-2) at No. 21 Minnesota

For those who are calling the Vikings underachievers ...

VIKINGS, 36-26

No. 6 Green Bay (minus 3½) at No. 13 Cincinnati

Not a good time for the improving Bengals to meet Aaron Rodgers and friends.

PACKERS, 30-20

No. 17 New Orleans (minus 2) at No. 19 Washington

No, we can’t figure out the Saints either.

SAINTS, 27-26

No. 23 Philadelphia (plus 5) at No. 12 Carolina

One day, Philly fans will be singing “Hurts So Good.”


No. 18 Tennessee (minus 4½) at No. 32 Jacksonville

Boy, could Urban and Trevor use a win. Sorry ...

TITANS, 36-27



Last Week: Straight up: 8-8. Against spread: 4-12.

Season: Straight up: 37-27. Against spread: 34-28-2.

Best Bet: Straight up: 3-1. Against spread: 3-1.

Upset Special: Straight up: 4-0. Against spread: 4-0.


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