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NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: Steelers Edge Eagles; A Couple Teams Get Their First Win

We have made it to Week 5. But the league is starting to face some serious challenges with COVID-19.

Pittsburgh Steeler fans by Steelcityhobbies is licensed under CC BY 2.0

NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: Steelers Edge Eagles; A Couple Teams Get Their First Win

Estimated Reading Time: 13 Minutes

Well, there are currently four teams in the league who do not have any wins yet this season – Giants, Jets, Texans, and Falcons – and half of them are going to grab their first win this Sunday. I’ll give you a hint, they won’t be any of the New York teams.

But if you’re a Jets fan, not only do I feel terribly bad for you, but I think you ought to get excited this Sunday, because it’s FLACCO TIMEEEEEE!

The last time Flacco started was Week 8 in the 2019 season. He will be replacing Sam Darnold who is out with a shoulder injury.

This Awful Dallas D Though…

Thanks Cowboys. Thank you for being my absolute worst pick of the season so far. I picked Dallas to “blow out” the Browns last week and the only thing that got blown out was Dallas’ defense. Their defense is just…awful. The Cowboys are 30th in the league in total defense and have allowed the most points (36.5) to opponents this season. This is something Dallas has to fix, or they’re going nowhere this year.

I think a great start however would be to take a serious, hard look at Julius Randle’s son; because this is the kind of defense the Cowboys need but I’m not sure they deserve:

That’s how you get after a quarterback folks.

Ok, let’s get to the picks shall we?

Week 4 Picks: 12-3

Season Picks Record: 45-18

Buccaneers at Bears (Thursday Night)

Tom Brady certainly looked like the GOAT that he is last week against the Chargers, throwing for 369 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He goes to Chicago and faces a respectable defense and an old foe of his.

Mr. Nick “Philly Special” Foles

This will be the first time Brady goes up against Nick Foles since the 2018 Super Bowl. However, this time, I don’t think Foles will get the best of Brady. I’m not expecting Brady to have a performance like last week’s, but I am expecting a Tampa Bay win here. Buccaneers win 28-17.

Panthers at Falcons

The Panthers have been playing better recently, and Atlanta’s defense has been really bad. They might have one of the worst secondaries in football. However, luckily for the Falcons, Carolina is not really a big play offense.

I think Atlanta will finally do just enough to get their first win of the season in a high-scoring affair. Falcons win 37-31.

Bills at Titans

I’ll say this…the Titans are the worst undefeated team in football right now.

They’re extremely lucky they beat a terrible Denver team by two, they almost blew it against a very bad Jaguars team giving up 30 points, and they probably should have lost their game against the Vikings. The defense has allowed at least 30 points in two of their three games.

Oh, and it’s probably worth noting they have over 20 players and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. As a result of potential violations of COVID-19 safety protocols, the Titans may be facing some serious discipline from the league – something to certainly keep an eye on this week. And I’ll add that as I was writing this, the NFL had decided to move this game to TUESDAY NIGHT!

Meanwhile, the Bills offense has been firing on all cylinders this year. I just don’t see Tennessee taking down a tough Buffalo team while having to overcome all these COVID cases and significant, looming discipline that may soon be coming down from the league. Give me Buffalo to win big. Bills win 31-13.

Raiders at Chiefs

Speaking of luck, I think the Chiefs were a little lucky last week beating a stingy New England team on Monday night who were without Cam Newton. Honestly, I hate to say it, but I think if Cam is in that game the Patriots win; and Kansas City would have dropped its first game. But, here we are…the Chiefs are still undefeated, and after this Sunday they will remain undefeated.

The Raiders are a fun offense to watch, but boy their defense has been terrible. They give up too many big plays through the air, and guess what…they’re facing a quarterback who is quite good at making big plays through the air.

The Raiders have not been able to hold opposing teams to under 24 points all year. As a matter of fact, their defense has allowed exactly 30 points per game this season. This is just a terrible matchup for them going up against a powerful Kansas City offense. Chiefs win 34-21.

Cardinals at Jets

It’s Flacco time baby. And hey, maybe he can provide some spark for this abysmal Jets team. But I doubt it.

The Cardinals have been struggling a bit lately on offense, but going up against this Jets team is the perfect elixir. Surprisingly, however, it won’t be as easy as you think. But still, I like Arizona here. Cardinals win 28-20.

Eagles at Steelers

The battle for PA! The Eagles finally got their first win last week, but against a very depleted 49ers team. Meanwhile, the Steelers had an unexpected Bye week after the Tennessee Titans – who the Steelers were slated to play – had some of their players and staff test positive for COVID-19. This resulted in the league deciding to give the Steelers and the Titans an early Bye week.

Big Ben Was Not Happy

Roethlisberger said that he believed the Steelers “got the short end of the stick” when the league decided to alter their schedule and give them an unexpected early Bye. I get it. You now have to play 13 games in a row without a Bye, and that’s unfortunate. But also, at the same time, I don’t like the excuses. And at least the Steelers don’t have a quarter of their team testing positive for a deadly virus. And hey, you know who had a Week 4 Bye last season?

The 49ers. And they went on to the Super Bowl.

So, an early Bye week is not the worst thing in the world. And while I don’t like the attitude from Big Ben coming into this game, I still like the Steelers’ chances. Unlike the Titans, I think the Steelers will come ready to play off their early Bye Week. Pittsburgh’s defense will be a lot for a thin Philly offense to handle. Steelers win 26-23.

Rams at Washington Football Team

Washington has decided to make a change at quarterback. Ron Rivera is moving off of Dwayne Haskins and is going to start Kyle Allen who Rivera is already pretty familiar with from having spent time coaching Allen in Carolina.

One of the primary reasons Rivera made the decision is because he believes Washington has a chance to win the division.

We’re in a situation where if we’re still trying to teach one guy and the other 52 aren’t given the opportunity to see if we can win, then that’s not fair. If someone [in the division] was 4-0 or 3-1, OK. But there’s a chance to win the division. You have to look at it that way.

Honestly, who can blame him? The NFC East is atrocious. NFC East teams currently have a combined record of 3-12-1. They are easily the worst division in football. Not to mention, Haskins has not been all that sharp this year anyway. Through four games he has just four touchdowns, three interceptions and is throwing for just over 230 yards per game with a 80.3 QB Rating.

So How Will Allen Do?

I think he’ll be solid. But is he going to come in and solve Washington’s problems? I’m not sure about that. And I don’t think he leads Washington to a win over the Rams. The Rams were a bit sluggish against the Giants last week, but I expect their offense to rebound this Sunday. Rams win 24-21.

Bengals at Ravens

Lamar Jackson has been battling a knee injury as well as an illness and he has not practiced yet this week. That can’t be good. The Ravens have said that the knee injury is not serious, but it makes you wonder if Jackson will be limited this Sunday against the Bengals.

This Baltimore defense is the best defense so far that Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow will face. Burrow has been solid in his rookie year, but when the Bengals are able to get their run game going, they are a much better team. The problem is, Baltimore doesn’t really allow teams to run all over them – having the 6th-best run defense in the NFL this season.

I think the Bengals will keep it competitive. After all, they have been competitive in all their games they have played this year. But I’m still going to go with the Ravens despite the injury concerns involving Jackson. Ravens win 31-20.

Jaguars at Texans

It has been a rough week for Houston. The Texans are still looking for their first win of the season, and they just fired their Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien; a move that was probably a bit overdue if you ask me.

This week may be Houston’s chance to finally get one in the win column, however. They are facing a bad Jaguars team at home, who have allowed each of their last three opponents to score over 30 points in a game. It will be a big day for Deshaun Watson, and Romeo Crennel, who takes over for O’Brien, will get his first win as head coach this season. Give me Houston to grab their first win. Texans win 31-23.

Dolphins at 49ers

The 49ers are really banged up, and they have not beaten a good team yet this season. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have actually been playing decent football lately.

Two weeks ago their defense really clamped down on the Jaguars, holding them to just 13 points, and then last week they hung around with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Even in Weeks 1 and 2, Miami hung tough with the Patriots and Bills. This is a team that I think is well-coached, and the players will scrap and fight for their guy Brian Flores. I don’t think the Dolphins will be very good this year, but I think Flores has already won over that locker room. Give me Miami to win it in a bit of an upset special. Dolphins win 20-17.

Colts at Browns

Ready for this one? Guess who leads the league in takeaways and turnover differential? The Browns. Guess who’s a top-5 defense against the run? The Browns. Guess who the #1 rushing team in the league is? Yup, the Browns.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Cleveland Browns finally have a playoff caliber team this year. They don’t have a child for a head coach anymore, they have a much improved offense this year, they’re protecting their quarterback (Baker has been sacked only six times this year) and they are making plays on defense. Say what you want about the Browns and the city of Cleveland, but this is a GOOD football team.

Browns Identity

The Browns have something the Dallas Cowboys do not: An identity.

They are a ground and pound team complemented with play action offense and a defense that makes plays. They’re not a great overall defensive team, but they are defensive playmakers – there’s a difference…see the 2016 Atlanta Falcons, for example. Not to mention, Cleveland has done well against the run.

And Baker does not have to do too much in order for this team to win. Fun fact, in his career, when Baker throws less than 25 times in a game he’s 6-1.

Don’t Forget About the Colts Defense Though

Believe it or not, the Colts are actually currently the #1 defense in the league and are allowing just 14 points per game to their opponents. So this game is going to have two good defenses going at each other and it really may come down to which quarterback has the better game. Baker doesn’t have to do to much, but I think Rivers will have to be on his game for this one.

I think it’s a real close one, but I am really liking (but really hating) how Cleveland has been playing lately. Give me Cleveland in a thriller. Browns win 23-20.

Giants at Cowboys

After last week, I joked that I was never going to pick the Cowboys again this season. But they’re facing a really bad Giants team at home without Saquon Barkley. I just don’t think I can go against Dallas here. And if the Cowboys do lose this game, then I am probably for real never going to pick them again. Cowboys win 24-10.

Vikings at Seahawks (Sunday Night)

This will be an entertaining game, make no mistake about it. Russel Wilson could explode on Minnesota’s young DBs. But the Seahawks are also the worst defense in the league against the pass, and Kirk Cousins is leading the NFL in average completed air yards at 9.8 yards. With two good quarterbacks, big-play receivers, and talented pass-catching RBs on both sides, we could see a lot of offense on Sunday night.

The key here for Seattle will be containing Dalvin Cook. And while Seattle’s defense has not been very good overall this season, one thing they have done quite well is stopping the run. Seattle has the 3rd-best defense against the run so far this season; limiting teams to just 75.8 rushing yards per game.

I think Pete Carroll and the Seahawks are going to challenge Cousins to get into a shootout with Wilson, who is having an unbelievable year. Give me Seattle in a high-scoring battle. Seahawks win 40-32.

Broncos at Patriots (Monday Night)

Both starting quarterbacks for these teams have a chance to come back for this game on Monday night. We could see Cam Newton back from his COVID illness and we could see Drew Lock potentially coming back off a shoulder injury.

I think no matter what happens, New England is going to take this game. I learned from Weeks 2 and 3 not to pick against Bill Belichick and the Patriots two weeks in a row. Probably should have known better. It just seems like the man never loses consecutive games. And the crazy thing is the Patriots probably should have beaten the Chiefs last week too. Give me New England to improve to 3-2. Patriots win 30-17.

Chargers at Saints (Monday Night)

I was tempted to go with the upset here. But a rookie quarterback not having his starting running back on the road against a good Saints team gave me cause to pause. This Saints defense has not yet reached its potential this season, and they are watching the Buccaneers storm through their division. This is a big game for New Orleans and I think they will get it done. It won’t be easy though. Saints win 30-23.

Enjoy the games!

Matt lives in Newnan, Georgia but was born and raised in Upstate New York. He is a fan of the New York Yankees, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Boston Celtics. At the collegiate level, he is a Notre Dame and Syracuse fan (yeah he can root for both, and what?!) He must, however, find a soccer team to root for. So him out there. All suggestions are welcome. You can catch Matt on the Turf mostly covering NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football and Basketball, and Horse Racing (that is not a typo, he practically grew up on a racetrack). It's nothing's strictly sports.

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