TB (3-1) @ CHI (3-1) / CHI +5.5
- While these two teams are both 3-1, one is clearly not as good as their record while the other is a legitimate contender. In case you hadn't figured it out the Tom Brady lead Bucs are the real deal while with the Bears, whether it's Trubisky or Foles, the end result is still the same. Asking the Bears to keep pace with this absolutely loaded offense is a tall task, even with Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard out. And while the Bears have the advantage defensively it isn't enough to make up for the lack of consistency exhibited offensively. The key for the Bears here has to be to get the running game going, but that's easier said than done when they are trailing the majority of their games. To be fair we don't expect Brady to be as effective vs this defense as he was vs the Chargers, but the fact of the matter is that even a fraction of that is markedly better than what the Bears can produce at that position. Overall we like the Bucs outright in what could end up being a lower scoring game to begin with until the Bucs pull away. Going with the Bears on the spread is tempting but we believe the Bucs will expose the Bears and prove to be too much to handle ultimately.
CAR (2-2) @ ATL (0-4) / ATL -3.5
- We have got a classic NFC South showdown on our hands and historically that means a very high scoring affair. And while the Falcons are still winless they find themselves the favorites in a game which will surely come down to an offensive shootout and seeing which defense can make one more stop than the other. Unfortunately for the Falcons as bad as the Carolina defense is their own unit is once again injury riddled and struggling to make stops. However, even with that being the case in previous years when these two teams have met the Falcons have thoroughly dominated the Panthers and we think that is a very real possibility once again. In our eyes we believe if the core of the Atlanta offensive playmakers (Ridley, Jones, and Gage)are available then they hold the advantage. Carolina has taken advantage of some young QB's these last two weeks and their inexperience, but facing Matt Ryan is a whole different animal. Truly the bet we feel most confident here would be to take the over on the points as this could be the highest scoring game of the week. In the meantime though as long as there are no setbacks for the Falcons offensively we like them to win a competitive game however the extra half point on the spread sways us to Carolina there.
BUF (4-0) @ TEN (3-0) / TEN +1.5
- This is a game that could very well not even take place as the Titans continue to battle their COVID-19 outbreak after having last week's game postponed. Assuming it does take place however, the Titans are in a rough spot as they will be without Corey Davis and Adam Humphries and there is no guarantee that A.J. Brown will return from injury either. Couple that with a good Buffalo defense and the MVP caliber play of Josh Allen and we just don't see how the Titans will be able to hang in this game. Right now the Bills are just a lot healthier offensively at crucial skill player positions so we give them the edge overall and that's even without factoring in the play of Josh Allen. For that reason we like the Bills to win outright as they likely pull away as the game progresses and with a spread of under 2 points we love the Bills there too.
CIN (1-2-1) @ BAL (3-1) / BAL -13.5
- Joe Burrow finally experienced his first NFL victory, but that feeling might be short-lived as a date with the Ravens looms. Last week Lamar Jackson has a vintage rushing performance and we believe he could very well do it once again vs this Bengal defense. And on the other side this Baltimore defense is much better than that of Jacksonville and will likely make things difficult for the rookie QB. Favorably for the Bengals they do have the better offensive pieces surrounding their QB, but like we've said before Jackson is the ultimate X-factor and he does a good job of closing that gap. For Cincinnati the key will be to get Joe Mixon going like they did last week, but again we just don't see this disciplined Baltimore team letting Mixon running wild. Truly this is just a bad matchup for the Bengals as the Ravens are good at pressuring opposing offenses and the Bengals defensively won't be able to stop Jackson. As a result we think the Ravens are in a great position to win outright. Admittedly though the spread is a little bit more interesting as it's almost at two TD's and we think that the Bengals can get some garbage time points with the weapons they have to make the score look closer than it actually is.
LV (2-2) @ KC (4-0) / KC -12.5
- All of a sudden the Raiders are on a two game losing streak and it doesn't get any easier with a matchup vs the undefeated Chiefs. While the Chiefs were maybe grounded for longer than expected vs the Patriots last week, we don't believe the Raiders have the personnel available to duplicate that effort. Last year, the Chiefs swept the Raiders and 2020 might be a similar type of situation. The problem for the Raiders is that they have been struggling to get Josh Jacobs going as they have faced stout defensive fronts and have had to abandon the run when trailing. When this occurs the Raiders become exposed at the WR position where they are dealing with injuries and having to rely on unproven rookies. At the end of the day we believe that the Chiefs will come out much faster here compared to Week 4 and will cruise to a comfortable win. While the spread is high we don't see how the Raiders will be able to keep pace with this KC offense so we like the Chiefs there too.
LAR (3-1) @ WAS (1-3) / WAS +8.5
- The big news in this matchup is courtesy of Washington as they finally decided to bench Dwayne Haskins for Kyle Allen. Honestly, we think this should have happened a while ago as Haskins has failed to show growth and has held his team back. And while Kyle Allen might not compile a lot of victories we do think he is a MUCH better fit for this offense. Some might forget, but Rivera and Allen spent last year together in Carolina and Allen is familiar with this system. While he can be turnover prone he provides a higher offensive potential than Haskins. For that reason, we think that this game will actually be a lot closer than some expect as Allen could provide a temporary spark to the Washington offense. However, when looking at both rosters the Rams are still the better team overall especially offensively where they have more experience at the QB position and more playmakers at WR. Defensively both teams have talent which could lead this game to be a lower scoring affair that is decided by a TD or less. For that reason we give the slight edge to the Rams, but actually love Washington on the spread.
ARI (2-2) @ NYJ (0-4) / NYJ +6.5
- There is no other way to say it, the Cardinals have been colossal disappointments these last few weeks and it now seems like years ago when they beat the 49ers. However, lucky for them they have a date with the Jets which seems to be a good way to cure such problems. The X-factor here for the Jets will be that they will be starting Joe Flacco in this game and could potentially get Le'Veon Bell back. While it's been some time since we've seen Flacco play he can't be that much worse than Darnold who got banged up in Week 4. Offensively I actually don't see this is a lost step for the Jets, but I just don't think they will be able to keep up with the Cardinals. For the Cardinals this should honestly be an easy win as along as Murray can get back on track which we thought might happen in Week 4, but didn't quite materialize. In all honesty this won't be the best litmus test for the Cardinals but the Jets are the perfect "get right" opponent. For what it's worth, if the Cardinals somehow lose again then we need to take a very serious look at them next week, but for now they still have our vote of confidence. While the Cardinals defense might give up some big plays and a lot of points we think that they will be able to put pressure on Flacco when it matters most and be victorious. The spread here isn't all that big here considering the Jets are involved so we like Arizona there too.
PHI (1-2-1) @ PIT (3-0) / PIT -6.5
- The Steelers are coming off an unplanned bye after their game vs the Titans got postponed last week, but that could have been for the better as one of their big weapons, Diontae Johnson, was given extra time to clear the concussion protocol. And for the Eagles even though they had a nice win vs SF that was a game where Garoppolo didn't play and Wentz continued to struggle. In fairness it's not all on Wentz as this WR group is absolutely devastated right now. But to be honest, even if all their playmakers magically returned this is just a bad matchup all around. The Steelers defense should be able to dictate the flow of this game and the way we see it this game will either be a blowout win for the Steelers or a bit of a closer lower scoring contest if Roethlisberger struggles, but either way we can't see the Eagles winning. Pittsburgh is simply the healthier team right now and has the advantage from top to bottom so we like them outright. The spread is tougher to judge, but we give the edge to the Steelers there as the Eagles are just too injury riddled at this point and Wentz won't have much to work with.
JAX (1-3) @ HOU (0-4) / HOU -6.5
- The big news surrounding this game won't feature any players but instead the firing of HC Bill O'Brien. It's possible that this is exactly what the Texans need to galvanize these players but let's not forget this is still a team with issues. Favorably however, their opponent this week is a Jaguars squad that can also be very inconsistent and is a mess defensively. After being run all over by Mixon last week the game plan for the Texans should be similar as they should try to unleash David Johnson and then set up the passing game. Regardless if Houston doesn't have a reliable WR they should be able to overcome that as Watson is a much better QB than Minshew. We feel very confident that the Texans win this game and believe we also see one of their better defensive efforts as they rally behind Romeo Crennel and separate from the Jaguars late.
MIA (1-3) @ SF (2-2) / SF -8.5
- While there might be some Tua whispers heading into Week 5 the Dolphins are still sticking with Fitzpatrick and for what it's worth we do believe that is the correct decision. To be honest though it shouldn't make too much difference here especially if the rumors that Jimmy Garoppolo is returning are true. Outside of the QB position the 49ers have actually for the most part gotten healthy and if Garoppolo plays this should be an easy win for them. The Dolphins defense isn't anything special whereas the 49ers even though injured are still playing well. The sole determining factor for this game in our eyes is Garoppolo and if he plays we like the 49ers outright and on the spread but if Garoppolo is absent yet again then we would urge you to go with the Dolphins especially on the spread.
IND (3-1) @ CLE (3-1) / CLE +2.5
- How much do we believe in the Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield? Yes, they just put up 40+ last week, but let's not forget that was against the lonely Dallas defense. To be fair though the Colts haven't looked as good as we expected with Rivers and this is truly a game that could go either way. Right now the Browns (even with Nick Chubb hurt) by far have more offensive weapons at their disposal, but the question is will Baker Mayfield do enough. Even after a big victory last week we still haven't seen all that much from Mayfield and probably give the edge to the more experienced Philip Rivers. For the Colts scoring has been an issue as they are hurting at the WR position and T.Y. Hilton has failed to step up during that time. With neither QB playing all that great right now we actually think this will be one of the lower scoring games of the week and would hedge our bets. Right now we are going with the Colts outright but the Browns on the spread as the result of this game is essentially a coin flip.
NYG (0-4) @ DAL (1-3) / DAL -9.5
- We've got a huge clash in the NFC (L)East, but in all seriousness this game could have huge divisional implications long term. The Cowboys are favorites here, as well they should be, but we question whether the spread should be this high especially with this awful Dallas defense. We recognize that the Giants have struggled mightily offensively but this should be a great matchup for Daniel Jones in what could be a very high scoring contest. And sure the Giants don't have as many weapons as the Cowboys offensively but we still believe they will have their fair share of opportunities. However, when it's all said and done we will take Dak Prescott and all of his weapons 10 time out of 10 compared to the injured Giants. But to be fair, we will go with the Giants on the spread as this Dallas defense is simply too big of a liability currently and we can't rule out garbage time points.
DEN (1-3) @ NE (2-2) / NE -10.5
- Unfortunately this is a game that won't garner a big audience as both teams are likely to be featuring their backup QB's. To be fair though this game is also in danger of not happening as Stephon Gilmore has also tested positive for COVID-19. If it takes place though we struggle to see high scoring potential as both of these offenses are without big time playmakers (for Denver due to injuries and for New England due to COVID). In all likelihood this will be a battle of Rypien vs Stidham where the QB that makes less mistakes likely comes out victorious. Favorably for Stidham we believe he has the better defense and play calling so for that reason we give the Patriots the edge outright. On the spread though we think a double digit margin of victory is too high and really like Denver there.
MIN (1-3) @ SEA (4-0) / SEA -7.5
- Great win for the Vikings over the Texans last week but now they have a true test on their hands with Seattle. And while it's true that the emergence of Justin Jefferson has provided a spark for the Vikings let's not forget that he is still a rookie and plays with an inconsistent QB in Kirk Cousins. Favorably though we know that the Seahawks defense tends to give up a lot of points so we could see a back and forth battle that turns into a shootout. However, the ultimate trump card is Russell Wilson in this game who will also have a very favorable matchup vs this poor Vikings defense. After a bit of a down game last week we fully expect this Seattle team to rebound and light up the Vikings. We like Seattle outright however the spread is a bit tricky with that extra half point and ideally we would recommend to tease it down but tentatively we'll take Seattle there too.
LAC (1-3) @ NO (2-2) / NO -7.5
- The storyline for this game will actually be the potential return of two injured players. For the Chargers it could be Tyrod Taylor while for the Saints we have Michael Thomas. Interestingly enough the return of Taylor in our eyes actually makes this offense for the Chargers worse compared to Justin Herbert who avoids just tucking the ball and running. Regardless though whether it's Hebert or Taylor and even if Michael Thomas, who the Saints have missed dearly, doesn't return we like the Saints to win this game. Simply put, neither one of the Charger QB's can keep up with Dew Brees and if a few of the injured defensive players for the Saints return then it's all but a done deal. The loss of Austin Ekeler who is arguably the best player the Chargers have offensively is also a big blow for them and just puts them further behind the 8-ball. The spread is the interesting bit here because if Taylor plays we actually like the Saints but if Herbert is the QB we would go with the Chargers.
- TB, BAL, KC, DAL, SEA