In Week 4 we did pretty well, 9-4-1. It was nice to start winning some games again. That got us to .500 for the season and hopefully the trend continues in Week 5.
Week 5 storylines: Can the Jets get back on track? Will the Saints finally get their first win? Can RGIII and the Redskins slow down the Falcons? Is Minnesota for real?
Hopefully I have the right answers to those questions and we can move our record into the black.
Stay in the loop. I usually tweet out some picks on Sunday morning, so follow me on Twitter (@Fantasource) to get the latest.
Let’s keep the hot streak going with some more winners this week…
Sunday, Oct 7
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins (+3, O/U 50 1/2)
One thing we know is that this is going to be a high scoring game. Both teams can put up the points, Falcons (3rd, 31 ppg) and Redskins (4th, 30.8 ppg) are both near the top of the league in point per game.
But in order to pick a winner we need to figure out which defense can overcome their weakness. For the Redskins, it’s the pass defense. they are giving up 326 passing yards per game, which ranks 31st out of 32 teams. But the Falcons can’t seem to stop the run, giving up 146 yards per game, putting them 29th out of 32 teams.
I’m putting my money on Matty Ice and the Falcons. Yes, Alfred Morris is good and the Redskins lead the league in rushing with 175 yards per game. But I think the Falcons are focused and will come in firing. They are 4-0 and have two nice wins over Denver and San Diego, the Redskins are 2-2 against a pretty weak schedule (Saints, Bengals, Bucs and Rams).
I like the Falcons to stay undefeated and get a nice road win at FedEx Field.
Pick: Falcons -3
Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3 1/2, O/U 43)
The Battle of Pennsylvania. The Eagles come in off of a huge win over their division rival NY Giants. Pittsburgh should be fresh and ready to play after a bye week. RB Rashard Mendenhall is expected to be back for the Steelers this week and that should give a boost to their running game that is struggling, only managing 65 yards per game on the ground.
But I like the Eagles in this one, mainly for one reason, the defense. The Eagles offense has been ok, but turnovers have killed them. 12 turnovers in 4 games for the Eagles, but none came last week against the Giants, so maybe they are turning it around in the turnover department. The Philly defense is solid and they should be able to create enough problems for Big Ben and the Steelers to get out of Heinz Field with a win and move to 4-1.
Pick: Eagles +3 1/2
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts (+7, O/U 47 1/2)
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia this week and will probably miss the rest of the season, will that be enough motivation for Indy? I don’t think so.
The Packers got a 1 point win at home last week over a struggling Saints team, but the game wouldn’t have been as close if the Packers backup QB what’s his name (doesn’t matter, he’s not playing again) didn’t fumble on the goal line in the 4th quarter. What should have been an 8 point (or more) win ended up as a nail biter.
This week I think Aaron Rodgers will be able to throw the ball on a Colts defense that is rated near the bottom of the league in pass defense. Green Bay should be able to control Andrew Luck and get out of Indy with a win and a cover.
Pick: Packers -7
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants (-8 1/2, O/U 44)
The Giants, the Giants, the Giants. Lay the points. New York is coming off a tough Sunday night loss to the Eagles, 2-2 after 4 weeks and they need this game to keep pace with the big boys in NFC East.
Cleveland is 0-4 and going nowhere fast. This pick really comes down to the fact that Cleveland just doesn’t have the offense to move the ball on the Giants defense. Laying 81/2 points is a lot, but I don’t see how the Browns score points this week.
This looks like a Giants 31-13 type of game and I’m laying the points.
Pick: Giants -8 1/2
Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings (-5 1/2, O/U 44)
Minnesota is the darling of the NFL so far this season. Upset wins over the 49ers and Lions and the Vikes are suddenly 3-1 and tied for first place in the NFC North
And Tennessee? Well, let me tell you about Tennessee, they aren’t a very good team. In two road games this year they have been beaten by 24 points (at Houston) and 28 points (at San Diego). RB Chris Johnson will need to carry the load this week since QB Jake Locker is hurt and old man Matt Hasselbeck will be behind center. Johnson has had a rough season, but he did break out last week for 141 yards at Houston. But see here’s the problem, the Vikings have only given up 85 yards rushing per game so far this season. So CJ2K has his work cut out for him.
On the other hand, Minnesota will look to Adrian Petersen to lead the way on the ground, and unlike the Vikings, Tennessee can’t really stop the run. The Titans are surrendering 137 yards per game on the ground.
I think the Minnesota offense (AP, Christian Ponder, Percy Harvin) will be too much for the Titans, and the Vikings will get the win (and the cover) and move to 4-1 on the season.
Pick: Vikings -5 1/2
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-3 1/2, O/U 45)
I’ll admit it, I’ve underestimated the Dolphins this season. And you know what, I like the Dolphins here. Yes, it’s on the road and it’s against a pretty good Bengals offense, but I’ll take the points and even say the Dolphins will win outright.
Miami has a good defense, most notably holding teams to 56 yards rushing per game this season. So it will be up to Andy Dalton and AJ Green to move the ball. I think the Miami defense will be up to the task of slowing down the Cincinnati offense and the Dolphins will ride Reggie Bush to an upset victory against one of the worst rush defenses in the league.
Pick: Dolphins +3 1/2
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (+6, O/U 46 1/2)
Why in the world would I pick the Chiefs this week? I don’t know, call it a hunch.
This looks like a trap game. This line is fishy and the Ravens look like the obvious play (The Chiefs stink and yet the Ravens are only laying six?). And that is why I’m going with the other side.
The Ravens defense that you remember is now a little older, and giving up almost 400 yards per game. The Chiefs have their backs against the wall and this is the game where KC, and the Arrowhead crowd, need to show up and keep their season alive.
I think this could be a high scoring game, and in that case I’m taking the home team getting the six points.
Pick: Chiefs +6
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3, O/U 43 1/2)
Seattle’s defense is good, like really good. And I think the combination of the Seattle defense and Marshawn Lynch running the ball will be enough for the Seahawks to get the win.
Carolina is giving up 135 yard rushing per game so expect Marshawn Lynch to get the ball all day long.
The Seattle defense should be able to keep Cam Newton in check, and the Panthers are coming off a tough division loss to the Falcons last week. Will they be ready to bounce back against Seattle.
The Seahawks come east for the second week in a row, and that could be a factor, but I am putting my money on the Seattle defense to shut down the Panthers and win this game.
Pick: Seahawks +3
Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars (+6, O/U 40)
After an impressive road win last week at Dallas the Bears stay on the road and head to Jacksonville this week. I’m expecting a letdown here for Chicago, and I like the Jaguars plus the points at home.
I am aware of the Jacksonville offense, or lack thereof. I am aware that they are last in the league in total offense, they only average 15.5 points per game and their defense gives up over 400 yards per game.
But coming off a huge win on Monday Night at Dallas, the Bears go on the road again, with game time temperatures around 90 degrees with high humidity and a chance of thunderstorms. And everyone will be taking the Bears at -6, so I just have to go the other way.
Yes, I’m taking Blaine Gabbert plus six points. God help me. Go Jags!
Pick: Jaguars +6
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-6 1/2, O/U 51 1/2)
Forget Obama v. Romney, Peyton Manning v. Tom Brady is the matchup of the week.
Last week each team had a big win, Denver by 31 over Oakland, and New England by 24 at Buffalo. So we know that they both can score. But who’s going to win, and more importantly who is going to cover the spread.
When I’m on the fence with a pick, I always lean to the home team and I’m doing the same here. I like New England to get the win, it seems that their offense is clicking pretty well and last week’s comeback in Buffalo shows me that Brady thinks his guys have another playoff run in them.
I’ll lay anything under a touchdown in this one and say the Patriots keep rolling and move to 4-1.
Pick: Patriots -6 1/2
Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers (-10, O/U 44 1/2)
Last week the 49ers smashed the Jets 34-0, and the Bills got rolled 52-28 by New England.
I think the 49ers are a good team, don’t get me wrong but last week it was more of a case of the Jets completely falling apart.
But why would I take the Bills? They had a 21 point lead (21 points!) at home and collapsed in the 2nd half.
This will be a game where the public will be on the 49ers, expecting another blowout of an AFC East team, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I expect Buffalo to put together a complete game on Sunday, I’ll take the ten points. I don’t think they are going to win, but I think it will be close, and with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s arm you can expect some late TD’s to get this one within the spread.
Pick: Bills +10
San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints (-3 1/2, O/U 54)
The Saints are 0-4, playing against the 3-1 Chargers, and New Orleans are the favorites? Yup, you know what that means, Go Saints!
I’m taking New Orleans in this one. Even with their winless record, their terrible defense (463 yards per game allowed) and their rudderless coaching staff, I’m going with Brees and his boys. I think this is a game with one team that is not as bad as they have looked (Saints) matching up against a team that isn’t as good as it has looked (Chargers).
San Diego is 3-1 with wins against the Titans, Raiders and Chiefs. FootballOutsiders.com has those three teams ranked 30, 31 and 32 in team efficiency. Not an impressive resume for San Diego.
I think Drew Brees finally gets his team into the win column, it’s going to take a lot of points because the Saints defense stinks, but I like Brees to light it up and get the win and the cover.
Pick: Saints -3 1/2
Monday, October 8
Houston Texans at New York Jets (+8, O/U 41 1/2)
There aren’t many reasons to take the Jets this week. “Home dog on Monday Night”? Maybe. But as we’ve witnessed after 4 games, the Jets aren’t very good. They had a nice win to open the season against Buffalo, and an overtime win at Miami in Week 3, but losses at Pittsburgh and a home blowout last week against the 49ers make me wonder if the Jets can beat good teams.
Not to mention Mark Sanchez has a passer rating of 69.6 (30th in the league), while Texans QB Matt Schaub has a rating of 105.3 (3rd in the league). So yeah, there’s a bit of a mismatch at QB.
I think the Texans are on a mission this season, Super Bowl or bust. And the combination of a high powered offense (against a banged up Jets D), and a top rated defense (against a stagnant Jets offense) makes me think this is a blowout in the making.
How about a 34-14 win for Houston. At some point in this game the Jets crowd will be calling for Tebow and with the way Sanchez has been playing, they just might get him.
Pick: Texans -8
Last Week: 9-4-1
Season Record: 21-21-1