Another successful week of good picks that were only slightly offset by 4 games. Of those games, the surprises were the wins by Tampa Bay over Pittsburgh and Minnesota over Atlanta. The Giants and Packers won toss-up games that ended up being blowouts instead. Oh well. Because the Thursday game has already been played it makes no sense to list that here, but know that I picked the Pack to win that game.
42-19 prior to the beginning of Week 5.
Atlanta at New York Giants. In a game of two teams seemingly going in different directions, it’s even more likely that this game will just feature lots of offense. The Falcons seem to go as their defense takes them and live on how few turnovers they commit. With Roddy White back, you’ have thought they would have rolled over the Vikings. Instead they struggled and eventually lost the game. Eli Manning has recently experienced a resurgence and gotten some help from his offensive line. The Giants look like a serious contender for a division title that initially looked one of the most difficult in the league. Now all four teams just look mediocre and none of them has a legit defense. New York Giants 38, Atlanta 35
Buffalo at Detroit. We’ve got a battle of two curious teams here. Both have good, young defenses with inconsistent offenses loaded with stars at the skill positions and both are inconsistent as hell. Every fantasy owner wonders why the hell Calvin Johnson doesn’t dominate every game he plays. But this isn’t fantasy of course. Joique Bell may not be available this week and even if he is it may not matter. The Lions’ defense will be ready though. If CJ Spiller shows up then the Bills will score, if not, then Fred Jackson will have a solid game and Detroit will win. Detroit 24, Buffalo 17
Chicago at Carolina. Who can figure out these two teams? Chicago should have an explosive offense, but they have Jay Cutler so you know how that goes. Carolina has a great defense, but the Ravens just blew them out last week in their first game playing against all-time leading receiver Steve Smith. So who really knows what to expect? Well, neither team is really trending upwards at the moment but the Panthers have a strong defense and will have home advantage. While Brandon Marshall is the premier receiver in this matchup, young wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Kelvin Benjamin may be the stars in the end. Carolina 30, Chicago 24
Cleveland at Tennessee. It might not look like it, but Cleveland is getting closer by the week to becoming a good team. And the confidence and excitement from Browns fans is real. Sure, the Brownies have another year until they really get it going but the defense is legit and there’s some talent on the offense that doesn’t wear jersey #2. Tennessee is an interesting team. The defense has actually been a constant so far but there’s not much to be sure of on offense. Shonn Greene isn’t the future and shouldn’t be the present much longer. Bishop Sankey will eventually get there and be that guy for them, but Jake Locker is not the answer. Unfortunately, that’s where the Titans think they are headed and the passing game is struggling as a result. Cleveland 17, Tennessee 7
Houston at Dallas. If you had told me that Houston and Dallas would be playing in Week 5 with identical 3-1 records I would have told you that you were crazy. The schedules so far haven’t been ridiculously hard, but each of these teams has still done really well to get where they are. JJ Watt and the Texans D is as good as we knew they could be and the Cowboy offense is just as good as we knew possible as well. Dallas continues to run the ball and Houston continues to get pressure on the ground game of opponents. Dallas 27, Houston 17
Baltimore at Indianapolis. Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco might not be mentioned in the same breath usually, but when considering general demeanor both are pretty close. That’s why I think this game is going to be close to the end. Still, the Colts have been getting better and better and Chuck Pagano has done his best job of imitating everything he learned in Baltimore as a defense coordinator and implementing it in Indy. Meanwhile, Steve Smith has experienced a career resurgence and is having a monster start to the season. With the committee of backs playing big for the Ravens and the defense playing very well, it’s not unrealistic to foresee a possible playoff berth in the distant future. Indianapolis 28, Baltimore 24
St. Louis at Philadelphia. The Rams have no real offense to speak of, but that won’t stop them from surprising a few teams this year. Not saying this is one of those games, but it may be closer than most think. They still have an elite defense, it’s just that the Eagles have a really talented offense and are playing at home. Should be interesting to see how Philly plays in this on after taking a tough loss at the 49ers without getting much of anything to go their way on offense. Expect that to change in a big way in this one. Philadelphia 42, St. Louis 24
Tampa Bay at New Orleans. This might’ve looked like a shitty game before last week, but somewhere in between the Bucs decided to show up for a game. Not saying Tampa is going to win often, but winning against the Steelers was impressive. On the flip side, the Saints haven’t been what many expected but the division as a whole has been a bit of a disappointment. Drew Brees needs to cut down on the turnovers quick or this could be another close one and then who knows what the hell might happen. New Orleans 31, Tampa Bay 27
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville. On the outside looking in, this should be an easy win for Pittsburgh. But the Jags are playing at home and really have nothing to lose yet again early in a season. With Blake Bortles making a decent debut and no running game to speak of, look for solid numbers against a Steelers defense that just keeps getting weaker. Le’Veon Bell might go off if given a chance. The Jags have the better defense, but this one still shouldn’t be that close. Pittsburgh 20, Tampa Bay 10
Arizona at Denver. After a bye week you can bet that Peyton Manning is itching to get back out there. Just remember, the Cardinals defense is tough and they’ve got some playmakers on the other side of the ball if they get things going. If Montee Ball can finally get his shit together, then the Broncos should be firing on cylinders. Andre Ellington was supposed to have a big season, part of that was dependent upon a healthy Carson Palmer, now that he should be back we will see just how good Ellington can be. Denver 31, Arizona 21
Kansas City at San Francisco. Either Kansas City is really good or New England is really bad. Okay, who am I kidding? The Patriots are terrible. But that shouldn’t diminish how well the Chiefs played last Monday. In fact, the KC defense has been playing well since the beginning of the season. Now that Jamaal Charles is back and Dwayne Bowe isn’t suspended there is actually some talent for Alex Smith to utilize. Frank Gore has been a bright spot on offense while the defense hasn’t look as dominant as in seasons past. But that was to be expected a bit. With all the talent at wide receiver, you’d think Colin Kaepernick would be having a career year. I am still waiting on one of those kind of performances that wow me. San Francisco 23, Kansas City 20
New York Jets at San Diego. While Geno Smith and the Jets struggle with who is going to do much of anything on offense, the defense continues to play pretty well. A lack of playmakers is really what holds these guys back. Philip Rivers isn’t having that problem so far even with all the different injuries plaguing his team. Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal have been big so far. All those guys that drafted Rivers in the 10th round of fantasy drafts look like fucking geniuses right now. San Diego 34, New York Jets 21
Cincinnati at New England. It’s not do or die for the Patriots this week because let’s be honest, the AFC East sucks donkey balls. But for the sake of their playoff future, this could go a long way in seeding. Trading away Logan Mankins was curious, especially now that their offensive line is a big question mark. Releasing Kenbrell Thompkins when they had no real options at receiver to speak of already was also a head-scratcher. Or is it the fact that Tom Brady has fallen off himself? Meanwhile, the Bengals are flying high and Gio Bernard is just one of the many to thank for it. Cincinnati 27, New England 21
Seattle at Washington. For as ugly as the Thursday Night games have been so far, this looks even worse for the Skins. Seattle isn’t playing out of their minds’ but I’m not sure Washington could stop my high school JV team right now. Kirk Cousins better find his touch quickly. The Seahawks are still a tough defense and it would have been tough had the Redskins come into this game playing really well. The easy solution is to feed Alfred Morris and hope they can stay in this game. Not likely. Seattle 28, Washington 13