By Dallas Soukup
Week 5! Teams are starting to show who they are as we pass the quarter mark of the season. Lousy Thursday matchup as usual, but big game for the emerging Falcons at Broncos, and the Giants need to steal a win at Lambeau. All eyes on Cam’s health in this week’s de facto NFC South elimination game on Monday Night Football. If you haven’t yet, check out yesterday’s column- I break down why my man Ryan Fitzpatrick is now terrible. WITH MATH.
Arizona Cardinals (-3) at San Francisco 49ers, 42.5
Yawn. Carson Palmer and Arizona in general hasn’t looked right at all this year- told you last week the Rams would beat them. San Francisco has Blaine Gabbert. Whatever. Don’t bet this game, don’t trust your hard earned cash on Blaine Gabbert or Drew Stanton. You’re welcome, kids.
Arizona 14, San Francisco 10
Houston Texans (+5.5) at Minnesota Vikings, 39.5
Minnesota looked dominant on defense against past MVPs Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers, as well as holding Odell Beckham to a net 8 yards (counting his unsportsmanlike flag) last week. I’m not betting against Minnesota until they lose. Osweiler is making Elway look smart- he’s okay, but just okay- not the dominant passer Houston was hoping for.
Houston 13, Minnesota 24
Tennessee Titans (+3.5) at Miami Dolphins, 43.5
Yawn. I guess this will be another data point in my quest to determine if QB Ryan Tannehill isn’t good or if coach Adam Gase is overrated. So far, leaning towards Tannehill isn’t good. Tennessee has a decent run game and, more importantly, with Cam’s concussion I am trusting Mariota in fantasy- it is 4-0 me vs 4-0 Crazy Evan. I guess all good things need to come to an end. Yes, someone did beat me to get Hoyer.
Titans 17, Dolphins 10
New England Patriots (-10) at Cleveland Browns, 46.5
This just seems like a cruel joke by the schedule guy. Welcome back to Tom Brady, play the Browns. Sorry, Browns.
Patriots 42, Browns 20
New York Jets (+7) at Pittsburgh Steelers, 48.5
Ah, my beloved Jets. Just 9 picks in the past two games. The Chiefs beat the Jets 24-3, and the Steelers beat the Chiefs 43-14, so based on math, Steelers 50, Jets 0. That’s how much faith I have in my team after what I have seen thus far. (I know that’s not how math works. Please prove me wrong, Jets.)
Washington Redskins (+3.5) at Baltimore Ravens, 46.5
Neither team is great, but Baltimore is at home and look to have a solid option at RB with Terrance West. That being said, the fact they couldn’t get it done against Oakland at home, a team that is 2-19 in their 21 most recent East Coast 1 PM games, scares me. Could go either way, I expect a good game between two mediocre teams.
Washington 23, Ravens 27
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Detroit Lions, 46
Wentzylvania comes to Detroit to run over the Lions, who after a great win over Indy in Week 1, appear to have totally fallen apart. No reason to think they right the ship against a Philadelphia defense that held Pittsburgh to a field goal. Wentz continues his tear, Philly improves to 4-0.
Eagles 27, Lions 13
Chicago Bears (+4.5) at Indianapolis Colts, 47.5
Everyone pick up Hoyer, Indy has no secondary! Ten years ago this was a Super Bowl. Now, not quite. Two bad teams, but one has a great QB, so I guess give it to the Colts. Bears finally got a W last week, but Andrew Luck is better than Stafford. Lot of mediocre vs mediocre this week.
Colts 24, Bears 17
Atlanta Falcons (+6) at Denver Broncos, 47
Here’s where I show I’m crazy. I’m taking Atlanta. Their offense played weak defenses, sure, but 42 points on average over the past three weeks can’t be ignored. Fantasy tip of the week: Coleman has anemia (as in, he probably won’t do much if anything in Denver, unless Dan Quinn is a full blown psychopath) so Freeman owners, start him. He will have nearly all the carries. Lynch and Siemian appear to be more or less interchangeable, and I don’t think Atlanta gets to 40, but I think they find a way to pull it off. Stay tuned next week when I look really dumb for falling for Atlanta.
Falcons 30, Broncos 23
Buffalo Bills (+3) at Los Angeles Rams, 40
Buffalo is riding high after the first-ever shutout of the Patriots in Gillette Stadium. Looks as if Greg Roman may have actually been the problem- all of Rex’s guys are in place, so it’s now or never for him. The Rams also shut down the high-flying Cardinals offense last week; I don’t know what to think about this one. Defensive struggle with LeSean McCoy the difference.
Bills 20, Rams 14
San Diego Chargers (+4) at Oakland Raiders, 50
San Diego is suffering from the same problem that last year’s Giants have- they blow it at the end. All the time. They were up 34-21 with 6 minutes to go and the ball at home against New Orleans, one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and proceed to turn the ball over three times on their last three drives- two leading to Saints TDs and one ending the game. I can’t take a team that chokes that hard. Wouldn’t shock me if Mike McCoy lost his job soon. When is Joey Bosa going to get to play? That standoff was so dumb. Wouldn’t shock me if the Chargers clean house before moving to LA. Also, the Raiders are good now. Chargers 21, Raiders 30
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) at Dallas Cowboys, 45.5
Think Dak’s pick free streak ends here, but still, been super impressed by Dak so far. Cincinnati crushed the Dolphins last week. Wow, this one’s tough. Feel like Cincinnati has red zone issues again, which didn’t matter against Miami, but will hurt them here.
Bengals 22, Cowboys 27
New York Giants (+7) at Green Bay Packers, 48.5
The New York Odell Beckham’s Anger Issues seem to have some internal stuff they need to deal with. Green Bay at home is scary to bet against- I’d expect a shootout, but I can’t bet against Aaron Rodgers at home in prime-time in a shootout.
Packers 38, Giants 34
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (N/A) at Carolina Panthers, N/A
The NFC South elimination game. Just as I expected. Depends on Cam’s availability- concussions are tricky, and we don’t want Cam to die. Tampa, after their dominant performance Week 1 against my beloved Atlanta Falcons, look like pretenders after getting crushed by Arizona and Denver and a tough Week 3 loss to the Rams.
Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 16