Week 5 of the NFL season is upon us, the Rams won on Thursday night to go to 4-1 and put some pressure on the Cardinals at the top of the division. With Russell Wilson now out for over a month It’s looking even more two-tiered than it was. The 49ers could still be all right, but injuries have once again shafted them before they really get going.
Some cracking games at all time-slots tonight, the London Game probably isn’t one of them, but I’ve done a separate previews of that one.
The Chiefs v Bills to close out the night could be the AFC #1 seed decider and should be an absolute belter.
I’ve set up a Showdown Slate for the London game – https://www.draftkings.co.uk/draft/contest/115367655 – $3 entry, top 3 get paid, with such a random game and rosters there should be some interesting line-ups.
Denver Broncos -1.5 @ Pittsburgh Steelers: 39
At the start of the season Sky probably had this pencilled in as the live game. How things change. Thanks to their atrocious offensive line and Big Ben falling off the cliff faster than a ton of dogshit the Steelers are horrible to watch. He can’t throw the ball, their whole offense are targets to Dionate Johnson or dump offs to Najee Harris, the opposition isn’t respecting it and it means they struggle to do anything on that side of the ball.
Luckily for all of us it’s not Drew Lock under center as it looked like it could have been all week, Teddy Bridgewater has passed through concussion protocol and should start this game. It’s still not cosy for the Broncos but he should be secure with the ball at least and that might be all they need to beat this bunch of chumps.
Defenses will be on top, low total, but probably still leaning under it. I obviously lean to the Broncos covering. The Steelers really have been quite poor recently.
Detroit Lions +10 @ Minnesota Vikings: 49.5
Not a whole lot to say here, the Lions have one of the poorest defenses in the league and suffered yet another injury last week with Okwara out for the season meaning they will struggle even more to get pressure. On the other side of the ball they’re without Center Frank Ragnow and superstar, franchise saving, god of all football Penei Sewell may miss out as well. If only the Bengals had drafted him.
TJ Hockenson had a day or two off in the week with a knee, but looks like he’ll play through it. They still don’t have many other people to throw the ball to other than Hock and the running backs, but in fairness they have been playing hard. Kaliff Raymond scored twice last week, Quintez Cephus and Amon-Ra St. Brown have been doing all right. They have said they will play a “hot-hand” approach in the running back room, last week that was Jamaal Williams.
The Vikings should win this comfortably, and really they should allow Dalvin Cook time to rest otherwise it seems he’ll be in and out of the line-up all season, but I think he’ll probably play even though Alexander Mattison has shown he’s perfectly capable of filling in. It’s in the Vikings stadium so Justin Jefferson should score, he’s scored the last 3 games in a row. Thielen will always get his yards, or a TD and Tyler Conklin has been getting involved at tight end this year as well with Irv Smith out.
The Vikes defense isn’t exactly good either, but Anthony Barr returns at linebacker which will help and if the Lions OL is as injured as expected then they should be able to get pressure on Goff who’s a traditional pocket passer.
Vikings have to win, I lean to them covering, but it’s a rough line. Lean under. Justin Jefferson anytime – 10/11 (Paddypower/Skybet)
Green Bay Packers -3 @ Cincinnati Bengals: 51
The Sky game this week sees the Bengals on the big show for the first time in years. As a fan of the home team, them being 3-1 is weird and them being the Sky show really worries me; There’s finally a little hope for my team and now they get a big TV slot for the people of the UK to watch them lose.
I have conflicted opinions on this game, on the one hand, can you imagine the Packers only being 3 point favourites before the season started? It would have been laughable, but both these teams come in at 3-1 and I can make a good argument for the Bengals winning.
First off, the Packers. After a capitulation in week one they’ve been pretty good, 8 TDs in the three games they’ve scored points in, both last week going to his bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Randall Cobb who he demanded returned before he stopped crying and signed a renegotiated contract over the summer. There’s not a whole lot to say about Rodgers, he’s still pretty good.
Aaron Jones is definitely the starter but AJ Dillon got involved a fair bit last week where they finished with 15 carries apiece, Dillon for 81 and Jones for 48. I would imagine the Dillon role drops back to a more normal 66/33 kind of split but I’ve no idea.
Davante Adams is still one of the best in the league, he’s had a couple of 100 yard games this year but just the 1 score so far, his 31 receptions is good for second in the league, so safe to say they’ll be throwing to him a lot in this one. Cobb got the TDs thanks, in part, to Marquez Valdes-Scantling going to IR, meaning the likes of he and Lazard should get more targets as well as Robert Tonyan at TE.
They will be missing Jaire Alexander at cornerback which is a big hit for them, and Elgton Jenkins is questionable on the offensive line where he’s already replacing a starter, that could be costly too.
The Bengals are somehow ranked top 10 on offense and defense so far this year, it’s been an impressive start for them, especially on the defensive side of the ball where they were very poor last year. It’s amazing how having a relatively healthy team can make a team look better. They should welcome back Chidobe Awuzie, who I never thought I’d ever say would be a benefit to a team and should-be-pro-bowl Safety Jessie Bates is back as well. Although they have also beaten no-one, Vikings was a good result, they should have won against the Bears but a failed scoop gave them the ball back, the Steelers are atrocious and they came back from 14 down to beat the Jags last week.
On the fun side of the ball they should be missing Joe Mixon at RB, but it sounds like they’re going to try and get him some action despite an ankle sprain, so it may well be a mix of him, Perine and rookie Chris Evans in the backfield.
Personally I think they should rest Mixon and throw the ball a little more, it’s where the best players are and they’ve been making it look really good this year, Boyd and Chase did it last week while Tee Higgins returns from injury for them this week to give them their 3 main weapons. Ja’marr Chase has 4 TDs this year, mainly on deep shots and he should be able to take advantage of backup corners should they shadow him. CJ Uzomah had a big game on Thursday, but there’s every chance that was a one-off as they chased the win.
I have had the Packers covering this pencilled in all week, but the more I think about it, the more I think the Bengals have a chance, on paper they’re the better team (In my very biased eyes) so I’m avoiding the spread. What I am sure of is that both teams can counter the oppositions scoring, so I like the over despite it going up from 49 earlier in the week.
Miami Dolphins +10 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 48
The Dolphins are horrible to watch, whether it’s the offensive line, or the talent under center they’ve not moved the ball well this season. I think it’s a little of both and I’m shocked at how little criticism seems to be targeted at them for passing on Penei Sewell who would have given them at least one decent lineman to protect their QB, but they went for Jaylen Waddle instead, so they could turn him from home-run threat in college to a poor mans Jarvis Landry. Well, from what we’ve seen anyway.
One man who is loving life with Jacoby Brissett at QB is Mike Gesicki who has lined up as an actual tight end fewer times than Cooper Kupp this year. He was drafted as basically a big WR and he’s showing that recently, yet they keep pricing him at o3.5 receptions, so I keep taking it. It’s probably not worth talking about the run game against the Bucs, so it will probably be Gesicki, Waddle, and not a whole lot more in fairness. Which is a shame as the Bucs secondary is decimated and there to be beaten, I just don’t think this is the team to do it.
They’re good at cornerback at least, so might be able to slow two of the three excellent options of the Bucs team. I would imagine it will be Antonio Brown getting the softer coverage. I am a little surprised at the lack of chat about Mike Evans this year, so had a nose at his numbers. He’s been doing fine, just not finding the end-zone which is what he was so used to, 75, 106 and 75 in his last 3 games, really not that bad. Godwin has been a little more consistent, but I do think TB likes AB.
The run game hasn’t been working for them, but they gave Leonard Fournette a proper workload for once last week and he finished with 92 from 20 carries, but is yet to find the endzone yet, in fact on Gio Bernard has scored from the backfield and that was through a reception.
The Bucs defense is there to be got at, I don’t think the Dolphins an do that, so I’ve got to take the Bucs to win, covering 10 won’t be easy but I’ll lean that way too and I’ve got to say over on the total.
New England Patriots -7.5 @ Houston Texans: 39
Rookie QBs haven’t started well in the league but Mac Jones has looked good including 19 completions in a row in the loss to the Bucs last week, he should be fine against a terrible Texans team who may well give the Pats a few favourable field starting positions if the 4 interception game of last week even half-repeats itself.
It should mean a lot of work for Damien Harris on the ground and he’s a good bet at Evens to score. They don’t have much competition for him, so it will be him or probably one of the tight ends finding the endzone.
The Texans have Brandin Cooks who will probably get double-digit targets. They had 8 yards of offense at half time last week. It can’t be that bad but I don’t think it will be much better.
Pats win, lean cover, and under, a rare combination.
New Orleans Saints -2.5 @ Washington Football Team: 43
I can’t judge the Saints, they’re up and down. They seem to be out-thinking themselves in regards to the QB situation and I really wish they’d just let Jamies sort shit out instead of switching and changing between him and Taysom Hill. In fairness Hill scored a crazy running TD last week where he broke “8 tackles”, well, maybe 3 but they called it that on comms.
Such is the fuckery from them that I can’t even say who will do anything on offense other than Kamara, and even he has been restricted so far. They have for some reason tried to make Kamara a ground based running back. So far he’s on 78 carries, 3rd in the league and just 10 receptions this season. It makes no fucking sense.
The Washington team were meant to be built on their defense, but it’s been terrible this year so far. DVOA has them ranked 27th, and that’s mainly due to them being 29th vs. the pass. It does however mean that they have to do more on offense so it’s a bit more exciting for bettors and fantasy players.
Taylor Heinicke has done all right as a starting QB, nearly 1,000 yards, 8 TDs this year including a crazy throw across the field for JD McKissic to score last weekend. Realistically he should have gone out of bounds, but it didn’t cost them in the end. Terry McLaurin is outstanding, the shit he’s had to play with and he still puts up numbers week in, week out.
They lost Logan Thomas last wee at tight end, so Ricky Seals-Jones might be someone to look at, although 9/2 isn’t enough for me to put anything on. At running back Antonio Gibson has been running well despite apparently playing through a stress fracture in his shin. Might be a game for Jaret Patterson who looked good in pre-season, although more likely just more JD McKissic, over 3.5 recs for him at 4/6 isn’t bad.
Philadelphia Eagles +3 @ Carolina Panthers: 46.5
The Eagles are another I’m a bit confused on, they can clearly put up points but coaching hasn’t been, erm, good and cluster injuries to the offensive line, and a few on defense have hurt seemingly them. I believe and hope that they realise at some point that Miles Sanders is a pretty good running back, just 9 carries and 6 receptions in the last fortnight seems stupid to me, but they seem to like Kenneth Gainwell who is living up to his name in the rushing and receiving game.
Jalen Hurts has been playing all right, albeit in a lot of catch-up situations recently, he likes the tight ends, mainly Dallas Goedert who scored last week, but when he scrambles it could be anyone really, Devonta Smith looks very good as you’d expect the reigning Heisman trophy holder, Quez Watkins has put up some yards, while Greg Ward randomly has a couple of scores this year.
I believe the Panthers will be without Christian McCaffrey again but it does seem like he’s trying to play here, if he doesn’t then Chuba Hubbard takes the main RB role, but it may well be leading rushing TD scorer Sam Darnold running the scores in to add to his 5 this season. He’s thrown for 5 as well, mainly to DJ Moore who had a couple last week as he racked up another game with over 100 yards, and the third game in a row he’s had 8 receptions. It’s safe to say Sam likes him. It’s rough for Robby Anderson who’s on just 149 yards for the season, although the 5 receptions last week constituted his best of the year.
They added to their defense this week by trading for Superbowl winning, defensive player of the year Stefon Gilmore from the Patriots. He can’t play this week but adds depth and experience to a young roster going forward.
I’ve no reason for this, so ignore it, but I think the Eagles win, and I’d lean to the overs. As I say, no reason why, just a weird feeling.
Tennessee Titans -4.5 @ Jacksonville Jaguars: 49
The Titans lost in New York last week, if any team should have had their coach not travelling back on the team plane it should have been them. Sure they were without Julio and AJ Brown and Jeremy McNichols was their leading receiver but you still shouldn’t lose to the Jets. I’d imagine Vrabel regrets not going for 2 at the end of the game now, but it’s done.
They will have AJB back for this one although Julio is ruled out. That at least gives them one proper target and that might be enough for the win. More likely is Derrick Henry running for 150+ and a 2 TDs. His record in division is outstanding and I see no-one on the Jaguars likely to slow that. A plus for him this year is his involvement in the passing game where he’s had at least a couple of receptions and 19 yards in each game so far, so 16.5 rec. yards seems low to me. Anthony Firkser dropped a few last week including a probably touchdown, could be worth a look.
The Jaguars actually looked pretty good last week, Lawrence ran the option very well and it took a half for the Bengals to figure it out. They lost DJ Chark early in that game and have said they’ll get Laviska Shenault more of the ball, although it could be Marvin Jones getting all the receptions down the field. Dan Arnold the recently acquired tight end was straight into the action at the Bengals and should have a good role with another week under his belt. James Robinson took advantage of the option working in last weeks game as well as he had his best game of the season so far with a couple of TDs last week.
Neither defense is very good, neither can really generate pressure, so the offenses should do well, I think the Titans bounce back and cover, and I’d lean over.
Chicago Bears +5.5 @ Las Vegas Raiders: 45.5
The Bears got a win against the Lions last week despite the Lions seemingly constantly in the redzone, I guess we’ve got to say it was a good defensive performance, but they’ll be a little worried the Lions moved the ball so well. Justin Fields looked good on the little he had to do, only 11 completions for 209 yards, over half of that to Darnell Mooney down the field. We all assume that there will be more designed runs for the rookie QB, and with David Montgomery ruled out that might come tonight. It’s either Fields, or Damien Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert. Williams has typically been a pass-catching back although can do the job as a proper RB if needed. Herbert 15/2 on Betfred is tempting.
On paper this is the easiest game the Raiders have had this season and they’ll want to bounce back from a loss to the Chargers on Monday night. Derek Carr has started the season on fire, averaging 400 yards a game before they shut him down on Monday, the Bears secondary can be got at and he’ll be looking for Hunter Renfrow in the mid-range and Henry Ruggs and co. downfield. As always Darren Waller is performing well 7 targets a game for the last 3 and a couple of TDs on the year. Running back… Josh Jacobs should be a week healthier after 13 carries on Monday. They have players there, but when he’s in, it’s all him.
I think the Raiders bounce back and cover the spread. Nothing on the total, would lean under though
Cleveland Browns +2.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers: 47
A big game in terms of AFC seeding with both teams sitting at 3-1. It was a contrasting week for them though as Baker Mayfield had his worst game in years while Justin Herbert showed his talent on Monday.
It turns out Baker is nursing a labrum injury to his non-throwing arm which might have affected him, but he’s going to play through it so he’ll have to figure something out as he missed wide-open players last week, the highlight of that Odell being missed for what would have been a walk-in score to ice the game last week. Beckham returned 2 games ago and has looked good in both game despite the numbers not exactly backing that up. The passing game doesn’t actually have a whole lot of options, Rashard Higgins and the tight ends really.
Probably a fair bit for Kareem Hunt who forms half of the best double-headed running game in the league. It’s that area where they’ll win of lose the game tonight. The Chargers pass defense is good, but they’re susceptible to the run, the only loss for them this year came against the Cowboys where Zeke and Pollard have 180 yards between them. Chubb has at least 83 yards in each game so far, good for second in the league while Hunt has 355 combined yards this year. It’s impressive.
Justin Herbert is getting all the plaudits for his start and is up there with Mahomes according to some podcasts I listen to, he’s got the strength and accuracy. He threw for another 3 TDs on Monday to make it 9 on the year. They’ve got some talent in the passing game, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen doing the majority of the work, but even with Williams only having 11 yards last week they showed they could move the ball with Jared Cook leading the team in yards and finding the end-zone, and Donald Parham Jnr. getting on the score sheet.
Austin Ekeler looks fine after his injury scare early in the season, had 117 and a score on the ground as well as 28 and a receiving TD last week, he’ll need to have a good game to get them through here, the Browns defense ranks 3rd on DVOA, #1 against the run according to them this season.
This should be a great game, and one I’m firmly avoiding for betting purposes. The Browns run game matches well against the Chargers defense, while the Chargers should be able to move the ball through the air. If it’s close I guess take the better QB and that’s Herbet. Lean to Chargers and under.
New York Giants +7 @ Dallas Cowboys: 53
An NFC East clash sees the resurgent? Giants take on the Cowboys in what should be a high-scoring one. The Giants beat the Saints in OT last week with Daniel Jones putting up over 400 yards including a bomb to the lesser-seen John Ross and getting pace involved seemed to be the game-plan as he and rookie Kadarius Toney had 150 yards between them. Kenny Golladay stepped up finally with 116 yards while Saquon Barkley looked back to near his best on the ground and through the air with a TD in each area.
The Cowboys defense is far better than last year but the Giants should still be able to move the ball and put up points here, it’s whether they can slow the best offense in the league that’s the key.
The Cowboys have leaned more heavily on the run game this season with Zeke sitting 6th in attempts, 4th in yards and tied 1st in TDs scored, while Tony Pollard has 250 and a TD as well this year.
Dak has looked comfortable since coming back from his season-ending injury which occurred when these two faced each other last season. He’s over 1,000 yards already and 10 TDs, despite throwing it fewer than 30 times the last 3 games. Fair play to the Cowboys for managing his return. Not often I say something positive about them. Amari Cooper has been nursing a hamstring all year but is expected to play, Ceedee Lamb is probably the WR1 there now although they do move the ball around with Cedric Wilson, Blake Jarwin and mainly Dalton Schultz all stepping up to the plate.
Should be a good game, but I’ve got to think the Cowboys out-score the Giants and Trevon Diggs notches up his 6th interception of the year against Danny Dimes. Lean over.
San Francisco 49ers +5 @ Arizona Cardinals: 48
Another divisional clash in the NFC as the 49ers try to keep pace at the top of that division. I don’t think they will, it seems a split division at the moment as injuries have once again hit them. George Kittle the latest to confirm he’s out as he’s gone to IR for at least 3 games.
Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a suspicious Tonya Harding type injury at half time last week meaning Trey Lance came in, and he’s out for this one, so Lance gets the start with a week of preparation. They paid a lot to take him and it will be interesting to see what Shanahan has planned with time to get a game-plan in place for him. It’s expected that he runs a lot, his rushing line opened over 40 yards which is more than I expected, although he did have 41 in his half last week, so I guess it makes sense.
He only completed 9 passes, but had 2 TDs in that, although one was a blown coverage which left Deebo Samuel to stroll in from 76 yards out, definitely padded his numbers. Second half last week saw Deebo with 31% target share, Sanu, Sherfield 2nd and 3rd while Aiyuk didn’t have a target with Lance playing. So, look at Sanu rec. yards? Hmmm – With Kittle out it will be Ross Dwelley having to step up, and he scored last week.
Eli Mitchell is returning in the run-game, but Trey Sermon ran well last week and I think it will be a RBBC situation, which isn’t good for us, however it has given us a low line on Sermon, of 24.5 on Skybet. Having a running QB usually helps the runners as well, so should be good for both of them.
The Cardinals are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league and will be looking to extend that. No-one so far has been able to shut down Kyler Murray as his athleticism has been screwing over defenses. He’s 2nd in QBR, 4th in yards, has thrown 9 TDs and rushed in for 3 as well. His throwing on the run is great to watch and despite his rushing numbers he rarely gets hit.
They brought in AJ Green over the summer and the addition of him and Rondale Moore has given them a great 4 WRs to work with, and Deandre Hopkins getting healthier after acting mainly as a diversion in recent weeks will help them even more. It’s nice to see AJ Green doing well after a tough few years in Cinci, and he’s been getting some deep shots. Even tight end Maxxxxxx williams has been getting involved as well with 5 out of 5 targets last week.
The running game is mainly Chase Edmonds between the 20s and James Conner at the business end, Edmonds is questionable for tonight though, so that might have to change. 14 redzone rush attempts for Conner and 4 TDs including a double last week.
I have to take the Cardinals to win, but I wouldn’t back it with the unknown at QB for the 49ers. Over on the total. Arizona are 7-3 straight up in the last 10 vs SF, although those 3 have been in the last 4 meetings.
Buffalo Bills +2.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs: 56
To round off the night it’s a stonker in prospect as the rematch of last years AFC Championship game takes place at Arrowhead. This game may well decide the AFC #1 seed this year so it’s safe ot say it’s an important one.
The Bills have destroyed all the shit teams they’ve faced so far including a kerb-stomping 40-0 win against David Mills’ Texans last week. You can only beat what’s in front of you, but the manner of the victory is important and they’ve fucked up everyone so far. Shutting out the Texans and the Dolphins. But look at the QBs, Big Ben (done), Tua/Brisset (shit), Heinicke (a few starts) and Davis Mills (late round rookie) – It’s a fine balance between over-rated for the wins and under-rated for the manner of them. That makes no sense. How they lost to the Steelers is mind-boggling, obviously you can’t predict a blocked punt return.
Josh Allen hasn’t actually been that good this year, but it’s impossible to judge him when the games have been so one-sided. The one game he actually had to do something this year he put up 358 yards and 4 TDs, although the Wash defense has been terrible. He led the team in rushing yards when these two played in the championship game last year and they have been trying to push the actual running backs in the walk-overs this year, Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have done well, despite missing the opening game Moss has 4 TDs now, scoring in every game he’s played.
The passing game is still mainly Stefon Diggs who’s rightly the main target, but the pickup of Emmanuel Sanders looks to be paying off so far this year 48+ yards per game and at least 6 targets in each this year. Cole Beasley does his stuff as well, while Gabe Davis chips in when needed. They will have to be good to keep up with the Chiefs as we all know they’ll keep scoring no matter the opposition. Tight end Dawson Knox has been scoring well with a couple last week making it three games in a row, and 4 TDs on the season. The Chiefs have allowed a lot of yards to the position but only one score, in last weeks game.
The Bills defense has been out-standing, but again, has played utter garbage opponents. It will be interesting to see how they do against Hill and Kelce.
Despite them losing twice already this year, The Chiefs offense has actually been better than ever according to the numbers. Mahomes leads the league in QBR and TDs thrown with 14 already this year. There’s not much left to say on him, although it is fair to say that his mistakes could have cost them games, especially the one against the Chargers.
Tyreek Hill scored 3 last week as he destroyed the Eagles defense, he’s had games of 196 and 186 yards through 4 games so far, when he’s hot, he’s hot. Both he and Travis Kelce had huge games last January when these two last met, Hill with 172 yards while Kelce had 118 and 2 TDs in that win. I have raised concerns over how shallow their offense is, but with Mahomes leading it, it’s hard to be critical. They have moved the ball about a little more with random tight end Jody Forston scoring a couple this season and they have tried to get the running game going as well.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has had a rough time of it since being drafted, however he has now had two 100 yard games in a row on the ground and has caught a couple of TDs this season. Things do seem to be getting better for him although they do seem to give Darrel Williams a few carries a game in short yard situations though.
The defense has been a major issue for the Chiefs though and is the main reason the Bills could win here. Football outsiders have it literally the worst defense in the league, 31st against the pass and 32nd against the run. That’s not good. Although one mitigating thing, teams don’t punt against them, so they do probably get more aggressive teams against them than anyone else.
I have no idea who wins this one, there should be a TONNNN of points here, the Bills defense is definitely better than the Chiefs, and arguably the offenses are fairly close with the Chiefs sneaking it, so really it should be the Bills favoured, but I can’t ever back against Mahomes and they do tend to win when it’s needed.
I do like Dawson Knox to make it three in a row though – 11/4 for that on Paddypower.
Bets for the week
I don’t actually have anything on the spread, they’re really tough lines this week.
I’ve been terrible on totals too, so it’s all props this week I guess.
TD Scorers (2 pts unless stated)
- Damien Harris anytime – 11/10 (Paddypower) – NAP – 4 points stake
- Justin Jefferson anytime – 10/11 (Paddypower/Betfair)
- Greg Ward anytime – 10/1 (Paddypower) – 33/1 on Spreadex if you’ve got an account there- 1pt stake.
- Dawson Knox – 11/4 (Paddypower)
- Trey Sermon o25.5 rushing yards – 20/21 (Bet365)
- AJ Green longest reception o20.5 – 5/6 (WillHill)
- Mike Gesicki o3.5 receptions – 6/10 (WillHill)
- Derrick Henry o16.5 rec. yards – 10/11 (365)
That’ll do, I would have had a good week if I’d put up lines last week so hopefully that’ll carry on now.
As always we’ve got our Draftkings slates running – If you’ve not got an account sign up through my banner below for a free $10 when you deposit $10 on signing up.