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We have two more rescheduled games this week, including a Tuesday night game that may or may not see the Titans return to action depending on if there are any further positive tests. I would like to think that there will be no more unofficial workouts by the Titans’ players and this might go part way to explaining the number of positives the Titans have had compared to the other teams. That said, the positive test of Patriots’ corner Stephon Gilmore who apparently had dinner with Cam Newton, and the number of the close contacts Newton had is again a demonstration that no one can take the Covid-19 protocols lightly and we will have to see if the current plans will hold, or if things will need to change.

Anyway, having fallen a further point behind Dan in the picking competition thanks to a Bears win on Thursday, I hope to stop the bleeding a little over the rest of week five.

Early Games:

There are various games that look interesting to me in the early slot, but not a lot of obviously compelling watches.

The nearest we have to a competitive matchup according to the lines is the Carolina Panthers taking on the winless Atlanta Falcons, with the Falcons laying three and a half points to the Panthers who are coming off two straight wins. I will be watching this game as I haven’t had a chance to catch either team yet and I want to take a look at what Matt Rhule is building as well as what is going on with the Falcons and in particular their defence..

The other game that is catching my eye is a little self-serving, but the Bengals are coming off their first win with Joe Burrow and travel to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The AFC North is always a competitive division, at least amongst the top team and the Bengals have had a tendency to play the Ravens close so with Lamar Jackson dealing with a knee injury during the week I think this is likely a closer game that the line suggests and has the potential to be one of those division games that could give us a surprise result, even if it is merely a closer loss for the Bengals than expected.

Other things of interest:

  • The Kansas City Chiefs are heavy favourites, which is understandable to an extent as the Raiders have not won in Arrowhead stadium for seven years and with the Raiders’ defence still ranked in the thirties I like the Chiefs to continue their win streak but it could be a challenge to cover this line.
  • The LA Rams should win in Washington, except the Rams have been back and forth across the country at the start of this season so perhaps the Football Team can spring a surprise off the back of a different quarterback starting.
  • The Arizona Cardinals have fallen back in their division after two straight losses but will be hoping to get things back on track against a Jets team who will be without struggling quarterback Sam Darnold thanks to the AC sprain in his throwing shoulder. There will be some serious questions to answer if the Cardinals lose a third straight game.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles coming of their first win of the season travel to face the Steelers in a game that I think the Steelers are likely to win given the strength of their defense and the problems the Eagles are having on offence, but this game has the potential to get interesting if the Eagles defensive line can get going or if Carson Wentz finds some form.
  • There will be some who think the Texans will get a new coach bounce, and whilst that is possible, I don’t see it being a huge factor as their roster has structural issues thanks to letting Bill O’Brien make short terms moves as GM over the last couple of season. The Texans may well get their first win of the season, but this line is too high for me and the Jaguars offence may have success against a Texans defense centered around an ageing JJ Watt and not a huge amount more.

Panthers @ Falcons (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Panthers
Dan’s Pick:          Panthers

Bengals @ Ravens (-13.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Bengals
Dan’s Pick:          Bengals

Raiders @ Chiefs (-12.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:          Raiders

Rams @ Washington (+8.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Washington
Dan’s Pick:          Rams

Cardinals @ Jets (+6.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:          Cardinals

Eagles @ Steelers (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Steelers
Dan’s Pick:          Steelers

Jaguars @ Texans (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:          Texans

Late Games:

The matchup of the late Sunday games is the Indianapolis Colts taking their league leading by DVOA defense to Cleveland to face a Browns team who have won three games straight. The injury to lead running back Nick Chubb is a blow for the Browns, and the Colts will prove a lot sterner test than the miserable Cowboys defense last week. The Browns are getting points at home this week, but I think this is a close matchup and I think could be one of the more competitive games of the week.

The Dolphins could not keep up with the Seahawks last week and now face a trip across the country to face a 49ers team who are staying competitive despite their extensive injury list. I like the 49ers to win this one, but I think this game could be closer than the line suggests, and I would not be surprised if the Dolphins managed an upset.

The Dallas Cowboys simply cannot afford to lose this game, although no one is looking that capable of winning the NFC East. However, the Giants have the easiest offence the Cowboys have faced this season so this could be a chance for them to find something and it won’t take much of a defensive effort for the Cowboys to win given how well their offence is playing.

Dolphins @ 49ers (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:          Dolphins

Colts @ Browns (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Browns
Dan’s Pick:          Colts

Giants @ Cowboys (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:          Giants
Dan’s Pick:          Cowboys

Sunday Night Football:

Vikings @ Seahawks (-7.5)

I sometime worry that I am turning into Dan as I am really looking forward to this game as after a slow start the Minnesota Vikings are finding their feet on offence, and they will need every yard of the passing game to keep up with the Seahawks. That said, the Seahawks defense is not good and plain bad against the pass, ranking twenty-ninth by DVOA. I think this should be a fun game to watch given the offensive battle, and while it may be closer than eight points, it’s hard to see Russell Wilson losing this game given how well he is playing.

Gee’s Pick:          Vikings
Dan’s Pick:          Seahawks

Monday Night Football:

Chargers @ Saints (-7.5)

The LA Chargers have named rookie quarterback Justin Herbert their starting quarterback and he has definitely shown promise, but the Chargers only win came against the Bengals with Tyrod Taylor getting the start. The New Orleans Saints might not look quite like themselves, but with talk that receiver Michael Thomas could return and the Chargers looking decidedly average I find it hard to see them springing an upset on the road, even if the Saints are missing their passionate crowd. This line might be too big to cover, but I will be surprised if the Chargers do manage to get the win.

Gee’s Pick:          Saints
Dan’s Pick:          Chargers

Rescheduled Games:

Broncos @ Patriots (-10.5)

The first game of the Monday night doubleheader sees the Patriots host the Denver Broncos coming off their Thursday night win over the Jets. It is hard to know how the disruption of the last week will have affected the Patriots, but they will miss Cam Newton and so whilst I think that Bill Belichick will be able to lead his team to the win, I doubt they will cover this line. I could be wrong, but double-digit points after a disrupted week of preparation that sees the Patriots going against a well-rested Broncos team is too rich for me.

Gee’s Pick:          Broncos
Dan’s Pick:          Broncos

Bills @ Titans (+1.5)

After all the positive tests and the apparent out of facility workouts the Titans are currently scheduled to retake the field this Tuesday night, which sees the Bills game against the Chiefs that was supposed to happen two days later put back to the Sunday. No one truly knows if the Titans will be in a position to play this game, or how they will look when they finally do return to the field. I think the Bills should win if this game does get played, but a Tuesday night game puts the Bills in a situation no team will have seen to prepare for their Sunday night game against the Chiefs. We knew that this season would not be fair, and so it will be even more impressive if the Bills come out of their next two games with a win or two.

Gee’s Pick:         Bills
Dan’s Pick:         Bills

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.