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So thanks to the schedule changes this week, competition Thursday has merged into Sunday picks and maybe the change up in schedule will breathe life into a season where I’m four games behind evens and a whopping eleven points behind Dan. First things first though, I’ll run through the late things from Thursday and then roll into games.

Gee:Week 5:  7 – 8Overall:  35 – 43
Dan:Week 5:  9 – 6Overall:  46 – 32

Survivor Competition

Not content with bad picks, I jinxed the Chiefs into a loss against the Raiders last week so Dan is now evens with me in this competition and I’ve wasted the Chiefs so we shall have to see how things go. I am really struggling to have a strong feeling on this one while Dan is still riding the whoever is playing the Jets strategy, but I’m not going to be scared off by last week’s mishap and I have been very impressed with the Ravens so even if they are on the road that’s where I am going.

Current Score

Gee: 3
Dan: 3

Week 6 Selection:

Gee:     Ravens
Dan:    Dolphins

Bold Prediction of the Week

My not very bold but I was really struggling prediction this week is that the Giants are going to get their first win of the season this week against Washington.

Early Games:

The split between the early and late games is even more lopsided than usual, but the pick of the early games for me is the divisional clash between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. After the Steelers’ re-arranged non-resting bye in week four caused by the Titans Covid-19 outbreak, the Steelers maintained their unbeaten start to the season against the Eagles, but this week’s game is probably the Steelers’ sternest test so far. That said, Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield is nursing a shoulder injury and so we don’t know how well the Browns offense will play. The Browns will be pitting their fourth in the league by DVOA rushing attack against the Steeler’s league leading by DVOA rush defense and with Mayfield’s health being a questions I am leaning towards the Steelers in this one.

The other really interesting game for me sees the 3-2 Carolina Panthers hosting the 4-1 Chicago Bears. This is a game that will see Chicago’s strong defense led by Khalil Mack try to keep them close enough that an offence now helmed by journeyman if Super Bowl winning quarterback Nick Foles can do enough to win. The Panthers already seem to be building something in Matt Rhule’s first season as head coach and whilst I don’t have a strong lean in this game, I think the matchup of the Bears’ defense against quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Panther’s top ten offence should make for a fascinating game.

As for the rest of the early games:

  • I don’t know what kind of reaction the Falcons will have with Raheem Morris taking overt as head coach, but it feels like there are structural problems at the franchise, where as the Vikings have something to build on even if a 1-4 start does not inspire confidence
  • The Colts are 3-2 but there have been rumblings about the form of Philip Rivers. I don’t see them having a problem with the Bengals this week, but I have been wrong a lot this year and I’d love to see some signs of progress from the Bengals after last week.
  • I am not wholly sure what will happen with the Patriots hosting the Broncos given more players have gone on the Covid list for the Patriots and a Denver coach has also tested positive. The Patriots in theory should win this one but given all that has happened for both teams in the last week I would not rely on anything too much.
  • I am not sure what the Lions have done to be laying points on the road against the Jaguars. Both teams’ defenses are ranked in the thirties by DVOA and the stand out unit is the Jaguars offence so whilst I can see this being a close game and maybe the Lions do win, to win by four seems a little off to me.
  • The Houston Texans may have a got a win last week, but the Tennessee Titans came roaring back from their Covid-19 situation with a big win against the Bills and I have a feeling will do well against the Texans.
  • The whole situation with Washington’s quarterbacks feels odd, but this week they must take on the New York Giants. It’s strange to see the teams right next to each other in overall DVOA when Washington’s defense is top five, but I’m leaning towards the Giants and will be watching this game out of curiosity to see what is going on for myself.
  • The Ravens travel to Philadelphia looking for another win and the line reflects the problems the Eagles have had at the start of the season. I don’t see much changing for the Eagles in this one but there’s always the chance for a surprise.

Falcons @ Vikings (-3.5)

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

Bears @ Panthers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Bears

Bengals @ Colts (-7.5)

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

Browns @ Steelers (-3.5)

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

Broncos @ Patriots (-8.5)

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

Lions @ Jaguars (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Texans @ Titans (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Washington @ Giants (-2.5)

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

Ravens @ Eagles (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Late Games:

The pick of the late games is the Green Bay Packers taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but with no home crowd to make life difficult for the Packers offence I have a feeling that Aaron Rodgers is still going to be okay against a Buccaneers’ defense who ranks second in the league by DVOA. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was competitive, but with Rodgers operating so well in his second year of running Matt LaFleur’s offence I think the Packers are the more likely to win, especially given the penalties that the Bucs can give away.

The Jets face a Dolphins team who are coming off scoring forty-three points in a big win against the 49ers last week and whilst I think it is unlikely the Dolphins repeat that feat, the Jets have given no indication that they can spring a surprise in this one. You cannot rule it out completely given that this is a divisional game, but with a dearth of positives to take from their first five games I think it is a pretty small chance for the Jets on the road in Miami.

Jets @ Dolphins (-8.5)

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

Packers @ Buccaneers (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Sunday Night Football:

Rams @ 49ers (+3.5)

This is an odd game for the LA Rams who seem to have been travelling back and forth across the country in the opening five weeks and who are taking on a 49ers team beset by injuries. This divisional game still has the capacity to spring a surprise as the 49ers have been competitive in every game bar the last one, but they also have played four teams who currently have losing records and if the Rams cannot repeat the Dolphins success, you would expect their fourth ranked by DVOA offence to have enough for them to run out winners in this one.

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

Monday Night Football

Chiefs @ Bills (+3.5)

Once again, we are treated to two Monday night games and this looks like a tasty matchup between the Bills and the Chiefs. The Bills finally played the Titans on Tuesday having had several postponements, but it can’t have made preparations easy and they had a bad loss. The worrying thing is how many problems quarterback Josh Allen had against zone coverage and it will be interesting to see what the Chiefs’ defense can do a week after their loss to the Raiders. Last week was the Chiefs’ only loss in fourteen games dating back to last season and including the playoffs so it is certainly not time to panic, but neither team will want to lose two in a row and this could well be the matchup of the week if both teams can bring their A game. I think you would always back the team with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, but I certainly feel like the Bills could be able to compete at home in this one.

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

Cardinals @ Cowboys (+2.5)

Week six finishes with an intriguing game that sees Andy Dalton get his first start for the Dallas Cowboys after Dak Prescott’s gruesome displaced ankle fracture last week. With the experience Dalton has the Cowboys probably have the best backup quarterback in the league, but if Dak playing brilliantly was having issues keeping the Cowboys’ in games thanks to their awful defense, I do wonder if Dalton will be able to do the same. However, although the Cardinals beat the Jets comfortably on the road last week, this is their third game in a row on the road and with losses to the Panthers and Lions so far this season I do wonder if this game might be closer than the line suggests.

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

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.