Well we certainly had a bizarre Week 5 of NFL games. First off, there was a TUESDAY NIGHT GAME. Only in America. And really only in the NFL and by the one and only Mr. Roger Goodell. Robert Manfred decides to have 7-inning double headers in the MLB, and Goodell just asks him to hold his beer.
We also saw the defending Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs drop a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, allowing them to score 40 points. The last time the Raiders scored at least 40 points? You have to go back to Week 4 of the 2018 season when they beat the Browns in overtime 45-42. And you want to know what’s really bizarre? Last season the Chiefs dropped 40 points on the Raiders. Except it was not even a game (40-9). Nevertheless, the Raiders returned the favor last week.
Speaking of Dropping 40 Points…
We saw the Dolphins score 43 points, torching the 49ers last week. And when you allow the Dolphins to score more than 40 points on you then you know you have problems. Jimmy Garoppolo was so bad that not only was his QB rating 15.7, he was benched for C.J. Beathard, who has a career 1-9 record and an exact 1-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio (13-13). Now maybe Garoppolo was still feeling off from his ankle injury, but he still looked really, really awful. And because the Niners are also suffering from a ton of injuries, Garoppolo is going to have to put this team on his back. We don’t even know if he is going to start this Sunday Night’s game, however, so that is something to keep an eye out for.
Week 5 Picks: 10-4
Season Picks Record: 55-22
Texans at Titans
Texans won their first game of the season last week against a bad Jaguars team and I think Deshaun Watson and Brandin Cooks may have just become best friends. In the first four weeks of the season combined, Cooks had 10 catches for 138 yards with zero touchdowns. Just last week against the Jaguars, he broke out and reeled in 8 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown.
Maybe the Texans will pick it up going forward. With Watson under center it seems like you always have at least a chance. Meanwhile the Titans will be coming off a very short rest having played on Tuesday night. And facing Watson on that short rest will not be easy.
The Titans looked really impressive against the Bills. But these two teams always tend to split and go back and forth with each other. I think this time the I’m going with the upset and taking Houston. The Titans will finally get their first loss against a divisional foe. Texans win 26-21.
Bengals at Colts
Joe Burrow struggled mightily against a very good Ravens defense last week. Unfortunately for Burrow, he faces another good defense this week on the road in Indy. If the Bengals aren’t able to run the ball effectively, forget about it. It could get ugly. Colts win 27-9.
Falcons at Vikings
We get two teams who really like blowing leads playing each other here. Dalvin Cook will most likely not be playing in this one, but Alexander Mattinson has run well in his place. Mattinson rushed for 112 yards on 20 carries against the Seahawks last week.
Meanwhile, it looks like Julio Jones may be back from is hamstring injury for the Falcons. So that should be a big boost for Atlanta.
Last week Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff were fired, and when asked about the future of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, the team’s owner, Arthur Blank, was reluctant to commit to the veteran quarterback. If that doesn’t light a fire under Ryan’s belly, I’m not sure what will.
The Texans fired their coach and GM, and were able to get their first win the next week. And I think the Falcons will actually end up doing the same thing. Give me the mini upset here. Falcons win 31-26.
Broncos at Patriots
Cam Newton should be back for the Patriots and that’s a huge boost. I think I have a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing Brett Rypien beat Bill Belichick in Foxborough. Patriots win 22-10.
Washington at Giants
I’ve stopped writing out the full team name for Washington, and I’ve also stopped writing “WFT” because, you know, we’ve gone over this already.
A lot happened last week but I think the biggest story around the league was the return of Alex Smith. It is truly amazing that Smith was actually playing football last week considering how severe his leg injury was. What a comeback. Smith actually underwent 17 surgeries and nearly had to have his leg amputated. But now he is the starting quarterback for the Washington football team. What a journey to recovery – absolutely amazing.
I’m hoping Smith does well and I’m rooting for him and Washington this week. But unfortunately, I have a feeling New York is going to take it. The Giants finally grab their first win too. Giants win 30-20.
Ravens at Eagles
Despite having a 1-3-1 record, the Eagles have actually been playing better football lately. They got their first win against San Francisco two weeks ago, and last week they hung tough with the Steelers at Heinz Field. Carson Wentz may have found his new #1 target. Travis Fulgham has been a monster lately. He caught two passes for 57 yards including a game-winning TD in the win against the Niners. But last week in Pittsburgh, Fulgham racked up 10 catches for 152 yards and touchdown.
The Eagles are playing better lately, but unfortunately they face a really good Ravens team this week. The Eagles just aren’t there yet. I think Baltimore will be too much for them. Ravens win 36-26.
Browns at Steelers
The Browns haven’t won in Pittsburgh in 17 years. Could they finally grab a win at Heinz Field this week? I’m going to say no, but damn it is going to be a close one. The Browns have been playing really good football, but the Steelers haven’t forgotten what Myles Garrett did to their backup quarterback last season. I think the Pittsburgh defense is really going to go after Baker in this game. The Browns have been running the ball well, and that seems to be a big part of their identity. But the Steelers hold the second-best run defense and without Nick Chubb, the Browns may find it difficult to get the run game going.
The Steelers are going to make Baker throw and throw rather quickly out of the pocket. It will not be an easy road game for the third-year quarterback. Meanwhile, the key for the Steelers is going to be protecting Big Ben. Cleveland’s secondary isn’t great, but they are strong up front. If you give Big Ben enough time in the pocket to attack that Cleveland secondary, Pittsburgh might be in good shape.
In addition, Dionte Johnson will be back from his back injury, and so the Steelers should be healthy and loaded on offense. Dionte Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, James Washington, and Eric Ebron…I am looking forward to seeing all of those guys out on the field together against this Cleveland defense.
I think it will be a very tough, close game, but I am cautiously going to pick Pittsburgh to take it. And with a Titans loss, all of a sudden the Steelers hold the best record in the AFC. Steelers win 21-17.
Bears at Panthers
I swear the Bears have been the luckiest team in the NFL this season. Week 1, if DeAndre Swift doesn’t drop that pass in the end zone, Bears lose to the Lions. In Week 2, Saquon Barkely leaves the game with an ACL injury on the first play of the second quarter. Bears barely get by, winning 17-13. If Barkley stays in that game, Giants win. Then in Week 3, they play a Falcons team who doesn’t know how to play football with a lead. And then in Week 5, Tom Brady forgets what down it is for the first time in his life. This is a 4-1 Bears team who could very easily be 1-4.
The Panthers have been playing quite well recently, winning their last three games. Chicago’s defense has been solid, but I think Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers offense will do just enough to pull off a win. This time, the Bears’ luck runs out. Panthers win 26-23.
Lions at Jaguars
This could actually end up being a shootout between two not so good teams. If that is the case, give me Stafford. As a matter of fact, I will tell you that Matthew Stafford is my choice for Daily Fantasy this week at quarterback. I like his chances against a bad Jaguars team; especially coming off a Bye week and Kenny Golladay coming back to full health. Only the Browns, Falcons and Seahawks allow more passing yards per game from opposing quarterbacks than the Jaguars. I like Detroit to win it in a high-scoring affair. Lions win 33-27.
Jets at Dolphins
Woof, woof, and woof. Unless you’re a Jets or Dolphins fan, the only reason I can think of why someone may want to watch this game is if the Dolphins get a large enough lead to put Tua in at quarterback. But other than that, I’ll move along. The Jets are a dumpster fire. At least the Dolphins are heading in a good direction. Dolphins win 24-14.
Packers at Buccaneers
This might be the game of the week. Brady vs. Rodgers should be great entertainment; especially with Brady being on a new team. These two veteran quarterbacks have only faced each other twice before, and they have split 1-1, so this is the ultimate rubber match.
In 2014, Rodgers and the Packers beat Brady and the Patriots by five points, and in 2018 the Patriots handled the Packers beating them by two touchdowns. This time around, Rodgers has been on fire. He is playing at an MVP level and he still does not have a single turnover this season.
Meanwhile, Brady has been a little bit up-and-down this year, but one thing we know Brady has a tendency of doing is playing very well coming off a bad performance or coming off a loss. I think that’s what happens here. I’m going against the world and picking Tampa Bay in an upset; handing the Packers their first loss of the season. I think it will be more about Tampa’s defense showing up to play in a big way. But I do expect both quarterbacks to play well in what will be a great game to watch this week. Buccaneers win 30-28.
Rams at 49ers
San Francisco looks really bad, and they are chock-full of injuries. Again, I’m not even sure Jimmy G plays in this game. Will it even matter? I’m going to say no, not really. Give me LA to stay hot. Rams win 31-21.
Chiefs at Bills (Monday Night)
This is the first of a Monday Night doubleheader this week, and boy it will be a good one. The Bills got embarrassed by the Titans on Tuesday night. And that’s the thing…will the Bills be prepared to face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on such a short, bizaree rest? I don’t think so.
The Bills are a good team and they may keep it competitive here. But they still have problems to work out on defense. Yes, the Chiefs gave up 40 against the Raiders last week. But before that game, the Chiefs never allowed their opponents to score more than 20 points per game all season. I think Andy Reid will have his defense ready and I expect at least a little better of a performance from them. Give me the Chiefs to rebound in a tough battle at Buffalo. Chiefs win 36-31.
Cardinals at Cowboys (Monday Night)
The second game of the Monday Night doubleheader, we get a real intriguing matchup between the Cardinals and the Cowboys; who will be without starting quarterback Dak Prescott. Andy Dalton has taken the wheel, and luckily for the Cowboys, Dalton at least has experience being a starting quarterback for some time, who even has adequate playoff experience.
The Cardinals have tremendous potential offensively, but they really haven’t beaten anyone good yet this season. I think Dalton is actually going to do just enough to pull out a tough win at home on Monday Night. And then people are going to start talking about Dak’s future and value, and questioning whether the Cowboys need to pay him, but I just don’t think that’s really fair. But, I do like the Cowboys to win this one and climb up to first place in the division. Cowboys win 28-27.
Enjoy the games!