I went 9-7 with my picks last week, which puts my overall record at 38-26. It didn’t look good after the 1pm games. But I got all the 4pm games right, and both night games, to save the week and give me a winning record. Still, I continue to be average, with my 14-2 looking like an aberration now. Hopefully, this week, I can step up and have a good week. There is only one undefeated team left, the Kansas City Chiefs. On the other end, there are 4 teams who have yet to win a game, the Chargers, Giants, 49ers, and Browns. Though after this week there will be at least one less winless team, as the Chargers and Giants meet in New York. Four teams have a bye this week, with Atlanta, Denver, Washington, and New Orleans getting an early rest.
Patriots(2-2) at Buccaneers(2-1)
If the Patriots hadn’t lost last week, I would pick the Bucs here with confidence. The Bucs are set up well to kill the Patriots defense, especially with Doug Martin returning from suspension. But hell hath no fury like a Tom Brady Scorned. Patriots have only lost two games in a row 6 times since 2003. Still, this is the worst Patriots defense in the Brady era. If they gave up 30 points to the Panthers, how much will they give up to the Bucs? It is in Tampa, on short rest. This is tough, but I will forget who the two teams on, and just go off the matchup, and that favors the Bucs.
Buccaneers 45- Patriots 41
Cardinals(2-2) at Eagles(3-1)
The Cardinals have a leaky o-line, and the Eagles have a great front 7. The Eagles are clearly the better team here. The question here is if the travel back from the west will have a lingering effect. In paper though, this should be an Eagles win. Cardinals can’t run the ball and don’t have an o-line good enough to throw deep.
Eagles 27- Cardinals 17
Bills(3-1) at Bengals(1-3)
The Bills have been a surprisingly good team. They have upset good teams two weeks in a row. This week they do not play a good team. This week they play the Bengals. After the Pats lose on Thursday night, the Bills will have a chance to take a two-game lead over them. They won’t miss the opportunity.
Bills 17- Bengals 13
Jets(2-2) at Browns(0-4)
Like the Bills, the Jets will have a chance to separate themselves from the Patriots. No one expected them to be in this position, but here we are. They are 2-2 in part because of good running game. Browns continue to search for their first win. I have picked them to find it two weeks in a row and was burned. Despite that, I will let it ride and pick them again. I don’t know why maybe I just like losing, but I think the Jets are due to fall back to Earth.
Browns 23- Jets 20
Panthers(3-1) at Lions(3-1)
Panthers got a surprise win in week 4 over the Patriots. They looked impressive, but every offense has looked impressive against the Pats. I need to see more from them. The Lions, on the other hand, have impressed all season. Their defense held the Vikings to 7 points this last week and continued to look much improved. With Lions consistently playing well, and the Panthers not, I take the Lions.
Lions 24- Panthers 16
49ers(0-4) at Colts(1-3)
Both of these teams are bad. The Colts have looked a little better with Jacoby Brissett at the helm, but even then, they were blown out by the Seahawks. The problem in Indy isn’t just talent, it is coaching. Chuck Pagano is not a good coach. Great guy, bad head coach. The 49ers at least have a system in place.
49ers 13- Colts 10
Titans(2-2) at Dolphins(1-2)
Both of these teams need a bounce back. The Dolphins got embarrassed in London as they were shutout. Jay Ajayi struggled again, and Jay Cutler looked lost. Meanwhile, the Titans were trounced by their division rival. Their defense completely collapsed, while their offense failed to get going. Worse yet, Marcus Mariota was hurt, and there is some question on if he can go this week. This makes it difficult for me to predict. If he plays, I think the Titans win, but it seems like he may miss a week. So I will take the Dolphins for now.
If Mariota plays- Titans 24- Dolphins 17
If Mariota doesn’t play- Dolphins 24- Titans 10
Chargers(0-4) at Giants(0-4)
Both these teams are better than their 0-4 record. Both have been in many close games and just failed to win. Both are bad teams, but neither are so bad that they deserve to be 0-5. Yet, one will be, barring a tie. Both teams have struggled against the run, but only one has a running back talented enough to exploit that. Melvin Gordon, whilst overrated, can do damage against a defense who cant play the run. He has a good game and carries the Chargers to their first victory.
Chargers 20- Giants 17
Jaguars(2-2) at Steelers(3-1)
In week 1 and 3, the Jaguars have had huge blowout wins. In week 2 and 4, the Jaguars have lost, once to the Titans and once to the Jets. Will they keep the pattern up of winning on odd weeks? I don’t think so. While they are superb against the pass, they have struggled at times against the run. Laveon Bell is a hell of a running back. If Bilal Powell can gash this team, then he can.
Steelers 17- Jaguars 10
Ravens(2-2) at Raiders(2-2)
Both teams are looking for a bounce-back, but one of them will have to do it without their QB. Derek Carr has to sit for two to six weeks with a back injury. Ej Manuel is the Raiders backup, and he is not good enough to beat the Ravens. Ravens have stumbled the past two weeks, but this is a good chance for them to bounce back against a shaky defense and a team without their starting QB.
Ravens 24- Raiders 14
Seahawks(2-2) at Rams(3-1)
This is a chance for the Rams to really take command of the division. At this point, some people still think it is the Seahawks division, despite their early struggles. However, I trust the Rams fast start. The Rams D-line is very good, and the Seahawks O-line is very bad. Rams take this one and make a statement that this is their division now.
Rams- 31- Seahawks 24
Packers(3-1) at Cowboys(2-2)
The Packers finally got a dominant win last week. They had struggled for 3 weeks and then pounced on the Bears. The Cowboys meanwhile, took a step back, losing to the Rams in a game where their defense couldn’t stop anyone. On paper, I feel like the Packers should win this, but I have a gut feeling the Cowboys win this one. Packers coming in on a high, Cowboys on a low, the Ebb and flow suggest the Cowboys take it. Besides, the will need a win to keep up with the Eagles.
Cowboys 34- Packers 32
Chiefs(4-0) at Texans(2-2)
The Texans have been on a roll. They came close to beating the Patriots and then crushed the Titans. The Chiefs, on the other hand, remained undefeated, winning a close one over Washington. This game offers a chance for the Texans to really prove they belong and can compete, but I don’t think they capitalize. They certainly will be in the game, but the Chiefs win it and stay undefeated.
Chiefs 24- Texans 20
Vikings(2-2) at Bears(1-3)
The Vikings lost Dalvin Cook for the season in their loss to the Lions last week, and it is the type of injury that ruins a season. Sam Bradford may be coming back, but without the dynamic running back behind him, he will find it hard to get into the zone like he did in week 1. the Bears meanwhile are running out their rookie QB. I tend to like rookies in their first start. Vikings don’t have any tape on Trubisky yet, and he can come in as an unknown. The Vikings lose again, while the rookie Qb impresses for the Bears.
Bears 27- Vikings 21