By Andrew Nason
Another rough week, but I’m pretty sure the entire football world had a rough one thanks to upsets like the Bills, Panthers, Rams and Jets winning. But hey, 2 straight 9-7 weeks must mean I’m due for double digits. Here are my picks for week 5’s games.
Last Week’s Record: 9-7
Season Record: 39-24
New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Patriots have lost 2 games at home this season, their defense has been an embarrassment, and currently have the same record as the Jets and the Jaguars. If history tells us anything, it’s that Tom and Bill will come into Tampa pissed off, which is why I expect an offensive explosion from the New England, and a much better showing from the defense.
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals
Ok, the Bills might be legit. Their defense is only giving up 13.5 points per game, and Tyrod Taylor has protected the ball well, turning it over only once through 4 games. The Bengals offense has picked up over the last 2 weeks since changing offensive coordinators, but they haven’t faced a defense like Buffalo’s yet.
New York Jets @ Cleveland Browns
The Jets really suck at tanking. 2 wins in the NFL may be able to get you the top pick, or at least a top 3 pick, but 3? 3 wins almost guarantees you aren’t getting one of the top 2 players, so the best quarterbacks may already be gone. I say 3 wins because they’re playing Cleveland this week, who I have learned never to pick in a game. For the sake of the sad Jets fans, I hope I am wrong here.
Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions
I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that the Panthers are back, I don’t buy that Cam Newton is back to MVP form, and I certainly don’t buy that they beat the Patriots because they’re a better team. One thing I do buy is that the Detroit Lions are legit, and right now, they’re the 2nd best team in the NFC, and Matthew Stafford has a chance to make a serious bid for MVP this year.
San Francisco 49ers @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are playing a bit better since Jacoby Brissett was inserted as the starting quarterback. With the news that Andrew Luck will return to practice soon and could be back to playing in a few weeks, the Colts should be motivated to pick up some “winnable games” over the next few weeks to set themselves up for a chance to compete for a playoff spot in the weak AFC South. The 49ers are sticking with Brian Hoyer for now, but may be changing their minds after this week.
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins
Miami’s offense has been pitiful. Whether or not Marcus Mariota is healthy after suffering a hamstring injury, or Matt Cassel is under center for Tennessee, I don’t see Miami coming out of this game with a win.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New York Giants
These teams have combined for 0 wins this season. That’s astounding. Both teams have terrible offenses and solid defenses, who have suffered because their offenses can’t stay on the field. So, this game is a toss-up for me. My head says go with the Giants, the better team on paper, despite how they’ve looked on the field.
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Cardinals have no running game and have given up the most sacks (17) in the league. This bodes very well for the red hot, Carson Wentz lead Eagles.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers finally have one of the league’s most dynamic players, Le’Veon Bell, playing like the fantasy superhero he is, and face a Jaguars team that just lost to the Jets. Thinking back to their loss to Chicago, Pittsburgh won’t be overlooking another easy opponent.
Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders
The last 2 weeks the Ravens offense has been atrocious. They are currently tied for 2nd to last in the league with an abysmal 15 points a game. They travel to Oakland, where the Raiders dream season may be coming to an end, as they’ve lost franchise QB Derek Carr for 2-6 weeks with a back injury. In what I expect to be a low scoring affair, I’ll take Oakland, who despite losing Carr, still have enough weapons on offense and a good enough defense to stay competitive, even with EJ Manuel under center.
Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are legit people! Coming off a huge win in Dallas, LA welcomes a struggling Seattle offense who just lost starting tailback Chris Carson for the season. Aaron Donald and the Rams front 7 should have a field day against Seattle’s struggling offensive line. Expect a few less empty seats at the Colosseum and another win for LA.
Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
Like many of the other preseason top teams, the Cowboys have struggled. The good news for America’s team, despite coming off a loss to the suddenly relevant LA Rams, is that they managed to get Ezekiel Elliot going, which, combined with the better play from Dak Prescott, bodes well for the Boys moving forward. The Packers have looked like the NFC’s best team so far, but with Zeke playing at his best and on the road in Dallas, I can see them struggling to stop the Cowboy offense.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson is a baller! He’s established that the last 2 weeks after he nearly beat the Patriots in Foxborough and dismantled the Titans to the tune of 5 touchdowns. If anyone is going to take down the undefeated Chiefs, it’s the reigning national champion and the Texans defense. Pencil this in as my upset pick of the week.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
I’m very excited to see Mitch Trubisky make his debut Monday night. The game being in Chicago will be good for him, and the running back duo of Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard should take some of the pressure off the rookie QB. Unfortunately, the UNC standout will be up against a tough Vikings defense, and on the opposite side of the field, the Chicago defense will have to contain Minnesota’s dynamic duo of receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.