NFL Week 5 Spread Locks

670 The Score

Any given Sunday is the cliché phrase of football. It is supposed to be used as a polysemic motivational tool used by coaches to keep their teams focused. For the first time in a long time, that phrase once again holds meaning at the top level of the sport.

Through the first quarter of the season, parity has been the top trend. The Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins are the only two teams you can throw away for the season. The remaining 30 teams are all viable to win, on any given Sunday.

There are 13 teams are 2–2 right now, almost half the league. Underdogs are 5–0 on Thursday Night Football, and were 9–4 against the spread last week.

Every league dreams of parity, and the NFL seems to have figured it out. The result has been entertaining games, and an extremely volatile gambling terrain. Teams can look like contenders one week and a bunch of slapdicks the next.

Such volatility also brings opportunity. Vegas has had trouble figuring teams out, leaving some surefire locks on the board. The Giants laying only three points last week versus the Redskins was criminal. The Rams being asked to cover ten points against a good Bucs pass offense with a suspect secondary was another easy one.

What wackiness awaits us in Week 5. Let’s take a look.

Home teams are in CAPS.

TITANS (-3) over Bills

Josh Allen possibly missing this game is enough to break my golden rule of picking against Mediocre Marcus. In case you missed it, Allen was knocked the fuck out last week against the Pats.

Allen practiced, but at the time of this writing, has not passed concussion protocol. No Allen means Matt Barkely would start on the road against a good defense. The Titans made this slightly more attractive by undressing the Falcons in Atlanta. Mariota’s three touchdown performance was a fluke, however Derrick Henry’s 100 yards and the strong defense is not.

Sunday will be a rock fight and the Titans are better equipped to outlast the Bills.

Prediction: Bills 13, Titans 17

Buccaneers (+3) over SAINTS

Jameis Winston returns to the scene of the crime. The crime in question? Perhaps one of the worst pre-game speeches in the history of sports.

Winston is still the reckless gunslinger he was when he ate that W, only now he’s slinging to his teammates more than the other team. He led his squad to a shocking 55-point performance on a healthy Rams defense. It helps that he has one of the five best receiving corps in the league.

The other side to that 55-point performance was the Bucs almost choking the game away. Who exactly the Bucs are in the scheme of the league is anyone’s guess. They’re entertaining as hell, score a lot of points and will always find a way to blow it.

Things are much simpler in New Orleans. The Saints are a good team with good players, even without Drew Brees. Teddy Bridgewater does enough to win games, mostly by not taking risks, which is all you can really ask.

The risk tolerance between the quarterbacks will play a pivotal role. Winston should have the better stat line. Bridgewater should leave with the win.

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Saints 27

Vikings (-5) over GIANTS

Kirk Cousins being trash has become so universally accepted even his teammates have given up hiding it. Adam Thielen, someone I didn’t know spoke, had some words about Cousins not getting him the ball. Stefon Diggs is dangerously close to pulling a Eric Bledsoe.

Good news is Vikings fans only have to deal with Cousins for 523 more days.

Things are not nearly as dire for the Giants. Daniel Jones wasn’t the menace he was in his debut, but 2–0 is 2–0. The Vikings will be a significant jump in competition after facing the Bucs and Redskins in his first two starts. The Dimes hype is at a record high, and anyone familiar with New York sports in 2019 knows that when things are going too well something bad has to happen.

Dalvin Cook has a day, Cousins does enough to not prevent his team from losing, and the Vikings defense have success versus Danny Dimes.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Giants 20

Falcons (+4) over TEXANS

Please, stay away from the Enigma Bowl. Both these teams continue to waste talent. The Texans are wasting Deshaun Watson with a poor line, which in effect wastes DeAndre Hopkins. Almost the same exact problem has plagued the Falcons. Their bad offensive line has limited their run game and forced Matt Ryan to make more bad throws than usual.

Last week as home favorites both lost outright. Neither head coach inspires confidence. The Falcons are marginally better if only because their defense isn’t a dumpster fire and they actually have a running back. Take the points if you must, but save yourself the headache and throw some extra money elsewhere.

Prediction: Falcons 24, Texans 21

Poo Poo Platter

Warning: Don’t spend much time watching the following four games.

A truly appalling platter this week. Bad quarterback play will be plentiful. The only possible highlight is the impending massacre in London.

Bears (-5.5) over Raiders

This is what Khalil Mack looks like when he isn’t pissed off.

Mack has downplayed this as a revenge game against the Raiders, but he’s not fooling anyone. Expect Mack to go off on the team that willingly traded him. That’s right the Raiders traded Mack instead of paying him because, well there is no because, other than Jon Gruden being a fucking moron.

Add in the fact that Mitchell Trubisky can’t sabotage this revenge game and I barely checked the point spread. The English fans are surely in for a treat.

Prediction: Bears 20, Raiders 10

Cardinals (+3) over BENGALS

The last time I trusted the Bengals to cover at home they took a wet shit on the field. Since then they have continued to lose games, and have not looked good doing it. They scored a whopping three points on Monday night, and have failed to score more than 20 points this season.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals aren’t much better. Since their surprisingly good first two weeks of the season they have nosedived. They got blown out twice at home, first to Kyle Allen and the Panthers, followed by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The losses don’t worry me as much as the lack of points do.

Someone has to win this game. The quarterback play is the only appealing part of an otherwise truly unwatchable football game. Murray has looked like crap for back to back weeks, so he’s due for a bounceback performance in a plus matchup, even without Christian Kirk suiting up.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Bengals 23

EAGLES (-14) over Jets

I did not bother looking at the spread. Luke Falk is starting, Adam Gase is call the plays, and the Eagles got their mojo back last week. The only weakness in Philly’s game is their secondary, a weakness Sam Darnold might have been able to exploit. Falk will not exploit it. The Jets will lose and they will lose badly.

Prediction: Jets 6, Eagles 31

Patriots (-16) over REDSKINS

Congratulations to the Redskins for becoming a team that you can now trust to never cover. They join the Dolphins in the basement of the league as they carry on their recent tradition of being laughingstocks. To make it even better, Colt McCoy is back baby!

I wish I was joking. Set the over/under on RedZone spots for this game at 2.5, and take the under.

Prediction: Patriots 23, Redskins 3

Ravens (-3.5) over STEELERS

What the hell happened last week against the Browns is anyone’s guess. Just expect Lamar Jackson and company to come back with a vengeance. The Ravens might not be as good as we thought they were, but I believe they are good enough to tame a timid Mason Rudolph.

The Steelers protected Rudolph by running a training wheels gameplan. It was good enough to beat the hapless Bengals. It will not be good enough to keep up with the high octane Ravens offense. To win this game Rudolph’s unit will have to get to 20 to 24 points, best case. I don’t see that happening despite what I saw on Monday night.

Prediction: Ravens 31, Steelers 20

Jaguars (+3.5) over PANTHERS

Jalen Ramsey can continue to sit out games, it’s his loss. Minshew Mania is a thing and I feel incredibly stupid for doubting it at its inception. Since that ill advised bet against him in Week 2 I have ridden the Minshew train to back to back wins, and I ain’t stopping.

You can’t watch plays like this and not believe the hype.

Minshew is Good Value Mahomes, and trust me I mean that as the highest possible compliment.

Kyle Allen has some moxy to him as well.

He has brought the Panthers back from an 0–2 hole to 2–2 and tied for first in their division. The only thing left for Allen to do is perform well against a good defense. Minshew has won three in a row, and beat two good defenses in the process.

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Panthers 21

CHARGERS (-6) over Broncos

Are the Broncos bad or unlucky? Twice they have lost on walk off field goals at home. The other two games were unforgettable road losses. The common thread in all four losses is they remained in the game. Flaccid Flacco has had moments where he hasn’t looked like a corpse.

In those moments it dawned on me that the Broncos are better off tanking for Tua Tagovailoa. You put a real quarterback on this team and you see a massive difference in the win-loss record.

That tank train can continue with a visit to the Chargers, who are welcoming their best player back. Melvin Gordon realized what leverage was and saw what Austin Ekeler was doing to it. As a team the Chargers had a get right game against the loser Dolphins, and for once they covered the spread. Good vibes all around and a reason to ride a small ripple of momentum.

Prediction: Broncos 23, Chargers 30

Packers (+3.5) over COWBOYS

Dak Prescott faced a real defense and did not look like an MVP candidate. Shocking, I know. I have to hand it to Dak, the confidence to scoff at $30 million a year while being worth half that is inspiring. He looked extremely mids last Sunday night as the Cowboys only scored 10 points. The best course of action against the Packers is giving Zeke the ball 30 times.

Green Bay came down to earth in a sense as well too. They could’ve won an exciting shootout at home, but they are allergic to giving Aaron Jones the ball. Why Jones is never given the ball 20-plus times a game is one of the great mysteries in the league. They might not have a choice this time around with Davnate Adams out with turf toe and Jamaal Williams out with a concussion.

As an Aaron Jones fantasy owner I pray this is the game he gets to shine, and helps the Packers cover, and possibly win a big road game.

Prediction: Packers 20, Cowboys 21

Colts (+11) over CHIEFS

T.Y. Hilton’s availability heavily influences this pick. If Hilton can go than I feel the Colts have just enough firepower to keep it within 10 points or less. The Chiefs have quietly gone 1–3 against the spread despite their 4–0 start.

Patrick Mahomes did not reach the end zone last week so he has some making up to do. There is a possibility of an absolute explosion in primetime, but with a healthy backfield and still no Tyreek Hill, that explosion could wait another week versus a much more vulnerable Texans defense.

Straight up I’d take the Chiefs and wouldn’t think twice. Asking the Chiefs to cover eleven points is a tougher ask. The Colts are a solid team that had a bad week. If the game does get out of hand, some garbage time points can save the day.

Prediction: Colts 24, Chiefs 31

Browns (+5) over 49ERS

Shoutout to Baker Mayfield for doing his job last week. Not impressive I know, but after an atrocious first three games it was refreshing to see the Browns remember who their best player is: Nick Chubb.

Feed Chubb and everything else opens up. That was the recipe for success in Baltimore and should be replicated against a gassed up 49ers team. The 49ers could be good. But they can also be bad. The combined record of the three teams they beat are 3–9.

The Browns may be frauds, but their two wins came against good teams. As much as it kills me to roll with Baker after trashing him, it has to be done.

Prediction: Browns 27, 49ers 23

This Week: 0–1*
Last Week: 9–6
Overall: 34–30

*The epitome of a bad beat. Russell Wilson did exactly what I expected him to do. The Seahawks were so close to being the first favorite to cover on a Thursday. But DK Metcalf couldn’t catch a ball thrown right at his numbers. I’m not sure if I hate Metcalf or Vegas for that spot on point spread. I’m not even mad, just disappointed.