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Sam Farmer's NFL picks: Week 5

October 03, 2008|Sam Farmer

My 6-year-old daughter had a soccer game last weekend and the other team was short a player. The show must go on, though, so she happily switched jerseys and played goalie for the other side.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the NFL had that type of loan-a-player policy?

If it did, there would be a bidding war for the services of Brett Favre, who threw a career-best six touchdowns last Sunday.

He and the New York Jets are off this weekend, and surely the team that rented him would promise to return him good as new. You break him, you buy him.

Maybe he wouldn't even have to crack open a new playbook. Green Bay could certainly use him, considering the Packers are either going to start Aaron Rodgers, throbbing shoulder and all, or rookie Matt Flynn against Atlanta.

Cincinnati could use him too. The winless Bengals play at Dallas, and Carson Palmer plans to test his sore elbow after sitting out last Sunday. He has thrown only one touchdown pass this season.

Then, there's San Francisco, which has watched J.T. O'Sullivan get pummeled. He has already been sacked a league-high 19 times. Of course, the 49ers are playing New England, which would certainly want some say in the matter. With Tom Brady out for the season, the Patriots would kill for a loan-a-legend program, even if only for a week.

And what about Pittsburgh? Not only are the Steelers coming off a short week, but Ben Roethlisberger sat out his second day of practice Thursday because of a sore shoulder. They play Jacksonville on Sunday night.

So what do you think, Brett? Care to step in and save the day for one of those hobbled teams?

After all, your next game is against the Bengals, who have only two sacks this season, fewest in the league.

Not a chance, you say?

You'd never cut it in girls' soccer.

Tennessee at Baltimore: Two of the league's best defenses square off in a game that will help determine the AFC's pecking order. Even though Baltimore is at home, I like the experienced quarterback coming off a longer week. Pick: Tennessee.

Kansas City at Carolina: In their stunning victory over Denver last Sunday, the Chiefs moved the ball, got their running game going, actually looked inspired. A repeat performance in Carolina? Let's not get carried away. Pick: Carolina.

Chicago at Detroit: With Mike Martz out, the Lions vowed to run more this season. Well, at least they've handed off more. As for establishing a running game, that just hasn't happened yet. Pick: Chicago.

Atlanta at Green Bay: Regardless of whether Rodgers is able to play, the Packers need to get Ryan Grant and the running game going. Stopping the run is a soft spot for the Falcons. So is winning on the road. They have lost 10 of 11 away from home. Pick: Green Bay.

Indianapolis at Houston: The Colts are hobbled and hurting. Peyton Manning is off to his worst start since his rookie year, and his team's run defense is ranked 31st. That said, the Colts have beaten Houston in 11 of their 12 meetings, and old habits die hard. Pick: Indianapolis.

San Diego at Miami: The Chargers have pulled out of their tailspin, but they're not yet the team that they could or should be. If they can maintain the momentum they established in the fourth quarter at Oakland, they'll be fine. Getting linebacker Stephen Cooper back helps. Pick: San Diego.

Seattle at New York Giants: Considering the way the Giants have played in Seattle in recent years -- most notably their noise-induced miscues -- they're plenty happy this game is at home. Matt Hasselbeck has his best receivers back, so that could make things interesting. Pick: New York.

Washington at Philadelphia: Jason Campbell's grasp of Washington's offense looks firmer every week, and the Redskins have done a good job of using their running game to grind down the clock. Brian Westbrook isn't at full speed for the Eagles and that really hurts. Pick: Washington.

Tampa Bay at Denver: Brian Griese is 3-0 since taking over for Jeff Garcia, and now gets a chance to face his former team. Even better for him, Denver's pass defense is ranked 31st. The Broncos are looking to bounce back strong after an embarrassing loss at Kansas City, but the Buccaneers' defense will be ready. Pick: Tampa Bay.

Buffalo at Arizona: There's no place like home for the Cardinals, who have won their last four games in their own dome. They're ready to regain their balance too, after committing seven turnovers. The bad news: They're playing host to one of the NFL's hottest teams. Pick: Buffalo.

New England at San Francisco: The Patriots haven't lost a road game since the AFC championship at Indianapolis in 2006. Of course, that was with Brady at quarterback. Still, if Matt Cassel can manage the game, the Patriots should bounce back from their shocker of a loss to Miami. Pick: New England.

Cincinnati at Dallas: The stage is set for a Dallas blowout. Look for Terrell Owens to get the ball early and often. If he doesn't, and if the Bengals were to somehow pull off a shocker, then things will get really interesting. Pick: Dallas.

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville: The Steelers are the team to beat in the AFC North, but they've also taken a beating. They looked shaky at best in the first half against Baltimore, and Roethlisberger is nowhere close to 100% healthy. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have rounded into familiar form over the past two weeks. Pick: Jacksonville.

Minnesota at New Orleans: The Vikings have been a disappointment, and the Saints are starting to look like the offensive powerhouse a lot of people predicted. Adrian Peterson will test any defense, but the Saints' Deuce McAllister will be the difference maker. Pick: New Orleans.

Record to date: 34-26.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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