So let’s hope I can do a little better this week than the last one, we shall see, but first the proof that Dan’s dad is doing so much better at setting trivia questions that we are at answering them.
‘I don’t remember asking any questions so far about College Football yet its popularity is huge. Just this once I will allow the use of Google just this once:
Which college has produced the most Hall of Famers in pro football?
OK so here comes the promised Week 6 BONUS and this one is for 2 points so we can get the scoreboard ticking:
Who holds the in-game record all time FG distance and what is it?’
Okay, so this is a pair of interesting questions. I have a couple of theories on the first one, I think Miami Hurricanes have a lot because of their history on defence, and USC have a bunch as well but I think the college with the most is actually not one you might think of now because Notre Dame used to be huge as a football team (I’ve heard this thanks to listening to Tony Kornheiser) so that’s what I’m nervously going for.
The kicking thing is going to drive me round the bend whilst Dan is obsessed with it so think he’s going to beat me but my guess, and it is a shot in the dark, is Sebastian Janikowski but it’s a guess… Let’s say sixty-four yards as Gano’s last week was sixty-three.
‘I’m taking a decent lead here in the Trivia after a slow start!
So question 1, I am stuck on. I don’t watch and don’t follow college football, so I’m going to go with Texas A&M as one of the only ones I can name off the top of my head!
And for question 2, I think dad’s snookered himself here, because I think Graham Gano’s kick was the joint longest as it goes! So I’ll say along with him, Adam Vinatieri, and 63 yards.’
Buccaneers @ Falcons (-3.5)
This is a strange game in that the Atlanta Falcons are really struggling as the injuries reached a critical mass early, particularly on defence and so whilst the offence is ranked eleventh, they haven’t been able to overcome the problems on defence. This week they welcome a Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming off a bye but they were last been seen getting dismantled by the Chicago Bears. They are returning with Jameis Winston as the starter and a defence that ranks dead last in the league by DVOA. The up and down nature of the Bucs play doesn’t inspire confidence but neither does the Falcons, so how do you pick? The two teams are ranked next to each other and whilst the Falcons are at home and do have a better quarterback, the extra half point just makes me worry yet I can’t find it in myself to put my trust in the Buccaneers. I could be really wrong on this.
Gee’s Pick: Falcons
Dan’s Pick: Falcons
‘Difficult pick straight off the bat here. I’ll go with Atlanta as I think they’ve got enough to win this one, especially with Home advantage.’
Bills @ Texans (-7.5)
This line makes me nervous as the Texans have not exactly been convincing. Bill O’Brien failed to co-ordinate a lot of points in the red zone last week and got Deshaun Watson hit too much and his defence, whilst looking good in the front seven has problems in coverage. This week they welcome a Bills team who compete and have somehow managed to win two games despite the deficiencies in their roster and this is making this game and absolute nightmare to pick. I think the Texans are more likely to win than not, but the Bills have twice pulled an upset and the fact that the Texans need to win by eight points to cover is definitely worrying me. In the end I can’t quite back the Texans to do that, but I could look very silly by the end of this evening.
Gee’s Pick: Bills
Dan’s Pick: Bills
‘The Bills have looked a different team to that of the first couple of weeks of the year. That being said, the Texans look good too, but given the size of the spread, I’ll go with Buffalo.’
Bears @ Dolphins (+2.5)
The good news for the Miami Dolphins is that Laremy Tunsil has cleared the concussion protocol and is expected to play against the Chicage Bears. The bad news is that the Bears defence is currently ranked first in the league by DVOA and Khalil Mack has been an MVP candidate through the first four weeks of the season. Coming off their bye the Bears will be rested and looking to build on the offensive performance of their last game where Mitch Trubisky threw for six touchdowns. This is not the team that the Dolphins will exactly have chosen to try to arrest their two game losing streak against, but it’s not the worst either. The points at home are tempting but the injuries to the Dolphins worry me and with Tannehill dealing with a shoulder injury and the Bears having a week to consolidate on the best performance by Trubisky so far I’m plumping for the Bears.
Gee’s Pick: Bears
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
‘Even with the possibility of no Tannerhill, leaving us open to the return of Brock Osweiler…!’
Steelers @ Bengals (-2.5)
I’m really not sure about this game. The Bengals have scraped several wins this season and I’m still waiting to see how the Bengals offence holds up minus Tyler Eifert long term and whether the defence can really solidify. They host a Steelers team who got a good win against the Falcons last week and who have generally had the better of the Bengals in this bitter rivalry. The offence is top ten by DVOA and the defence looked better last week and given the history of this game I am going to make the emotional hedge of backing the Steelers and hoping to be proven wrong.
Gee’s Pick: Steelers
Dan’s Pick: Bengals
‘The Steelers are a bit of a mess at the minute… and if the Bengals can play how they did for the second half of last week, they should do this fairly easily.’
Chargers @ Browns (+0.5)
This should be an entertaining game as the LA Chargers and their third ranked offence by DVOA travel to face a two win Browns team and their second ranked by DVOA defence. I can see why Hue Jackson is trying to keep his team grounded but it’s just good to see the long suffering Cleveland fans excited about their quarterback. This is not an easy journey for the Chargers who seem to specialise in close games but are traveling cross country to play an early game and in front of an energised stadium I’m tempted by the Browns but there is a huge gap between them in rankings and Philip Rivers just has me backing the Chargers. I think…
Gee’s Pick: Chargers
Dan’s Pick: Browns
‘They’ve kept it close all season in Cleveland. I think they’ll win this week.’
Colts @ Jets (-2.5)
This is a strange game for me to pick as the New York Jets have been up and down all season and last week rookie Sam Darnold throwing three touchdowns as the Jets beat the Broncos. This week they face an Indianapolis Colts team coming off a long week following their Thursday night loss to the Patriots. Andrew Luck continues to look good as the Colts continue to compete every week and have several times made the games closer than the scores might suggest. As a consequence, I’m finding this one a little hard to pick but with the Jets at home and only needing a field goal to win I’m going for the Jets and let’s see how I do.
Gee’s Pick: Jets
Dan’s Pick: Jets
‘This is close. Tough pick…. I think I’m going to go with New York purely because they’ve got the home advantage.’
Seahawks @ Raiders (+2.5)
The Seattle Seahawks may not have got back to winning ways at home last week, but they made the LA Rams really work for their victory and are definitely beginning to look like they are establishing Pete Carroll’s old template of tough defence and running the ball. This may not be your legion of boom defence but I like them going against an Oakland Raiders team who have not looked good this season and who look slow on defence. I could be wrong, particularly as the fact that this game is the first in London this year throws the home/road situation into flux, but I just fancy the Seahawks to keep themselves in the playoff mix with a win this week.
Gee’s Pick: Seahawks
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks
‘Unfortunately for the Raiders, I think they’re going to go 0-2 at Wembley here. I’m going for the Seahawks, but as with all of the Wembley games, it really could go either way.’
Cardinals @ Vikings (-10.5)
The Minnesota Vikings got back to winning ways last week and now host an Arizona Cardinals team who got their own first win. In fact the Cardinals have a top ten defence by DVOA and have quietly only lost the two games before that by two and three points. I don’t think they can suddenly turn the Vikings over on the road but this is too many points for a team that are still righting themselves after a difficult start, even if they do have a genuine home advantage.
Gee’s Pick: Cardinals
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals
‘The Vikings will win this one, but I don’t think it’ll be by more thank 10.5 points, so I’ll go with the Cards.’
Panthers @ Washington (-1.5)
In something of a theme for this week I am really unsure about this game. We last saw Washington getting thrashed by a New Orleans Saints offence that seemed to have exactly the right mix of deception and skill on offence to expose their defence. It was bad enough that Josh Norman got sat but the Panthers are a different team on offence and this season have a surprisingly lowly rated defence. They had a tough time last week, needing a sixty-three yard field goal to beat the struggling Giants and so I really have no idea on what I can rely on in this game. That said I have more faith in what Norv Turner and Cam Newton are building on offence and with Thomas Davis coming back from a PED suspension for the defence I’m going to grab the points.
Gee’s Pick: Panthers
Dan’s Pick: Panthers
‘Hmmm… I really don’t know which way to go here… I think I’m going to call it as a Panthers win, but I don’t feel confident about it.’
Rams @ Broncos (+6.5)
So having had a tough time on the road in Seattle, the LA Rams now roll into Mile High Stadium to take on the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks demonstrated a formula for beating the Rams, even if they couldn’t pull off the upset and the Broncos actually have the number one ranked rush attack by DVOA so they have half of the Seahawk’s formula down. The problem is that this is not the Denver defence of recent seasons and can Von Miller get enough pressure to disrupt the rolling Rams offence? The Rams seemed to cope with two of their starting receivers leaving the game with concussions last week but both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp have cleared concussion protocol and will play this week. The question is can they beat this big line, which they have done four times already this season, but on the road in Denver I do wonder if they might come unstuck but given that this pits the league’s third ranked team in points scored per game versus the twenty-second ranked team in points allowed per game, I’m going to back the Rams.
Gee’s Pick: Rams
Dan’s Pick: Rams
‘Rams are going to continue their unbeaten run this week, going 6-0 against the Broncos.’
Jaguars @ Cowboys (+2.5)
The Dallas Cowboys lost last week in overtime and this week they welcome a Jacksonville Jaguars team whose third ranked defence by DVOA has the players to make life very difficult for a static offence who asks its receivers to win one on one matchups and whose offensive line and run game are not dominating as they have in recent years. What gives them a chance however is that Blake Bortles has pretty much been peak Bortles this year, with up and down performances that can’t be helped by Leonard Fournette’s injuries. I think the Jaguars are the better team but coming off a difficult road loss to the Chiefs but I do wonder if a second road game might suffer the same problem yet I can’t quite bring myself to back the Cowboys pulling off the upset despite getting points at home.
Gee’s Pick: Jaguars
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys
‘Another close one, but I think the Cowboys will do this. Zeke’s back on form so I think he’ll have a good one this week.’
Ravens @ Titans (+2.5)
So the Tennessee Titans are back home this week and facing a Baltimore Ravens team having lost on the road to the Buffalo Bills the week before. Last week I argued that the Titans’ offence looked to have turned a corner but that didn’t hold true and this week they face a Ravens’ defence that are top five in the league by DVOA, which they have paired with a mid-ranked offence and slightly lower special teams ranking than usual. The Ravens may have lost to the Cleveland Browns last week, but they are used to the scrappy games the Titans have been playing all season but there are six home underdogs this week and so far I have backed the road favourite in each game. I have a feeling not all of those are going to come in and the Titans look to be the best bet to cover for me so I’m going to grab them at home and hope…
Gee’s Pick: Titans
Dan’s Pick: Titans
‘Other than the Dolphins game in week one, Tennessee sound like they’re doing some good things this year. I’ll go for them this week against Baltimore.’
Chiefs @ Patriots (-3.5)
I am really excited about this matchup that pits the Andy Reid’s high flying unbeaten team against a Patriots that turned the corner at the beginning of October and who have won two straight pretty convincingly whilst scoring thirty-eight points. They need to do this given that their defence ranks nineteenth by DVOA but that is positively stratospheric compared to the Chiefs’ ranking of twenty-eighth. Something has to give and it just feels more likely that the Chiefs will end up 5-1 than the Patriots falling back to 3-3 despite the fact that the Chiefs won this very game last season, although that was in week one and the Patriots went on to the Super Bowl. I’m backing Brady and Belichick with revenge on the mind although I don’t feel that confident about it.
Gee’s Pick: Patriots
Dan’s Pick: Patriots
‘Wow, this should be a good one. Unfortunately for Kansas (and everyone fighting to keep up in the AFC East!) I think they’re going to get their first loss this week. I’m calling Patriots.’
49ers @ Packers (-9.5)
This game looked a very different fixture when the TV games were selected, but whilst CJ Beathard has not been a terrible replacement quarterback for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, it is hard to see the 49ers getting much on the road against the Packers. The question though is can they keep this game to within ten and that is trickier as Aaron Rodgers has been pretty unimpressed with how the offence has been playing as he fights the knee injury that has hobbled him for most of the season. The Packers are coming off a loss to the Detroit Packers, who interestingly now have three straight wins over the Packers but we have to go back to 2015 for the last time these two team faced each other and 2012 for the 49ers to be making a trip to Lambeau Field. A big part of last week’s Packers loss was Mason Crosby missing four field goal attempts and an extra point and that is likely to be on his mind in this nationally televised game. I’m really not sure how the Packers are going to look this week and whilst I expect them to win, the ten points require this feels like too many even if they are at home. I’m going back and forth but I’ve kept getting bitten by big lines this season but the 49ers just lost by ten points to the Cardinals at home and so I’m risking the Packers.
Gee’s Pick: Packers
Dan’s Pick: 49ers
‘I just cant back the Packers by 10 points here. It’s too much of a big spread, even with the 49ers not being great.’