COVID screwed me!
I would have been 3-0 had COVID not taken Cam Newton out of the Week 4 matchup between the Chiefs and the Patriots. As bad as Kansas City played, New England still almost covered the spread. But, it is what it is. I went 2-1 on the picks and am currently sitting at 7-5 (with an asterisk on the 5!)
Green Bay looked like Green Bay and Atlanta looked like Atlanta. The only real surprise in this game for me was that Rodgers continued to be Rodgers with no name receivers or tight ends. I expected more out of the running backs in this game, but either way, the Packers covered.
Minnesota was the better of the two 0-3 teams. I fully expect them to continue to win and pass the Bears in this weak division (other than Green Bay).
***I have also decided to write this column on Thursday morning rather than Tuesday/Wednesday. Some of the info I included last week had players end up playing who were expected not to play earlier in the week. Granted, Julio/Ridley were ghosts when they did play. Lol
Let’s dive into Week 5…
LOCK PICK OF THE WEEK
Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) vs Philadelphia Eagles
There are so many reasons I see Pittsburgh having their way with the Eagles this week.
The Steelers are the best in the game against the run so far this season, so any rushing attack Philly was hoping for goes right out the window. Pittsburgh is also +2 on turnovers this season (playing one less game than the Eagles), and the Eagles come in -5 in turnovers on the season. I see Pittsburgh stuffing the run and capitalizing on Wentz turnovers as he tries to make things happen in a season where the pressure is all on his shoulders.
Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson are also currently questionable for the game.
The only thing that scares me is that Pittsburgh twice now has laid down instead of scoring another TD late in an effort to run the clock out. Great for them, horrible for gambling and fantasy owners. If this game ends up closer than I expect, Philadelphia could come in with a back door cover and Pittsburgh will run the clock out rather than cover.
The bottom line is…Pittsburgh is as rested as any team can be since their week 4 game was cancelled due to the Titans having COVID issues. They will be the fresher team and should win by double digits.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) at Houston Texans
Texans land in my upset pick of the week again…with good reason.
Jacksonville is not nearly as bad as people think they are. Houston is also not nearly as good as people think they are.
Jacksonville plays right into the weaknesses that Houston has. Houston is worst against the pass in the NFL so far. Gardner Minshew has to be drooling right now waiting for Sunday. Throw in the fact that Minshew has his #1 WR DJ Chark back in the lineup, and it looks like it might be a long day for the Houston defense again. Offensively, both teams are ranked about the same, so the edge clearly goes to the defense, and somehow, Jacksonville gets the nod there.
I think this game will be a high scoring one, and I honestly expect Jacksonville to win this game. If you are going to give me 6.5 points for a team that I think will win outright, I will take that every time.
Just to throw it out there, I also see Miami covering the -8.5 spread at SF & Carolina will beat Atlanta even though they are +2.5 underdogs.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Cleveland Browns
*Buffalo (4-0) @ Tennessee (3-0) would have been the game of the week, but it’s looking like that game may not be played this week due to COVID issues again.
I cannot make Tampa Bay (3-1)/Chicago (3-1) the game of the week based on how banged up Tampa is, so I had to go with the next best matchup.
Who would have thought Cleveland would be in the mix at this point in the season? They finally had a chance to show what they can do against a bad defense. They carved up Dallas last week to the tune of 49 points! They are a team that is built for shootouts for sure…
The only problem is, they are running into the best defense in the NFL so far in this early season. I will admit, The Indianapolis schedule has helped them quite a bit in being the defensive rank they are, but they were able to shut down the Minnesota Vikings. They are going to finish as one of the best offensive teams in the NFL before the season is over.
I see this as a low scoring game, much like the games Indianapolis played against the Bears and the Vikings this year. Philip Rivers should be able to do whatever he wants in this one. Cleveland is pretty good against the run, so expect Rivers to check it down to his running backs quite a bit too.
This one comes down to the better defense, and in a low scoring (kind of boring) game, expect the Colts to win by a TD or more.