Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at Chicago Bears (3-1) Line: Buccaneers by 3. Total: 44.5. Thursday, Oct. 8, 8:20 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Buccaneers.
WEEK 4 RECAP: It was our first losing week of the year, as we went 6-7-2 (-$675). The 49ers were a terrible call on my part. The Jaguars loss was very unlucky because they lost half their defense in the second half. The big loss was the Lions, and I have no idea what happened with them. They had some nice matchup edges, and they were up 14-0. They just imploded. I guess going against Drew Brees off two consecutive losses was a mistake.
My Week 5 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
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In this book, I talk about the top NFL Draft busts, and what would've happened had each team gone a different route. Also, I discuss why Roger Goodell has banned us from the NFL Combine.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Tom Brady has gotten better with his new team each week. He tossed a pick-six in the opener and then fired a couple of miserable interceptions against the Panthers in Week 2. He improved at Denver and then went on to fire five touchdowns against the Chargers. He was 30-of-46 for 369 yards, five scores and the interception. Five of his 16 incompletions were dropped.
Brady has a tough test against a tough Chicago defense, though we just watched Philip Rivers have some success moving the chains against them. There are holes in the stop unit, particularly in the linebacking corps. Slot corner is also a weakness. Brady can attack these areas with Scotty Miller, Ronald Jones and his tight ends, and it's not like the Bears can pay extra attention to them because they'll be dealing with Mike Evans on the outside.
Of course, the Bears have their defensive strengths as well, namely their two talented edge rushers. However, Brady is well protected by his offensive line, which has made great strides since failing Week 1. Tristan Wirfs, in particular, has been excellent despite being a rookie. I don't think he and Donovan Smith will fully protect Brady, but they'll at least give Brady a chains to move the chains on several drives.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: I got a text from Kenny (from the WalterFootball YouTube channel) on Monday evening: "I'm watching the Colts-Bears game right now from yesterday. Wow, Nick Foles is bad at football." Kenny is the most ardent supporter of Foles, whom he dubbed "Nicky Franchise" when his Eagles won Super Bowl LII. If Kenny is saying that Foles stinks, that means a lot.
Kenny is right. Foles was abysmal against the Colts. However, he was excellent in relief of Mitchell Trubisky against the Falcons during the previous week. None of this should be surprising, as we saw Foles do this in 2017. He looked like the worst quarterback in the world in a regular-season Christmas game against the Raiders, and a month-and-a-half later, he out-dueled Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
While the Buccaneers have the best run defense in the NFL, they can be beaten aerially. We saw this last week when Justin Herbert was terrific against them. I don't see why Foles can't have the same success, as the Buccaneers don't have the personnel to cover Allen Robinson. He'll pick up where Keenan Allen left off.
RECAP: I think I'd be willing to bet the Bears if this game were played on a Sunday. However, one of the rules for Thursday night games is to just select the better team. This is because the superior squad, if fully focused, will be able to generate a better game plan with virtually no time to prepare.
Though these teams have identical records, I believe that the Buccaneers are the better squad. Their offense is improving each week, while the Bears are three plays away from being 0-4.
I'm not planning to bet this game, however, because the spread is inflated. The advance line on this game was Tampa Bay -3, and yet it has swelled to the -5.5/-6 range. We're just getting no value with the Buccaneers.
Our Week 5 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have been betting the Bears heavily, bringing this line down to +3 (-125). I wonder if this means Mike Evans might be out in addition to Chris Godwin. I wouldn't want to bet against Tom Brady or the better team on short rest.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Mike Evans will play, which is very important because Chris Godwin was already slated to be out against Chicago's terrific defense. The sharps bet this down to +3.5, with the best vig being available at Bookmaker at -101. I'm going to stick with the Buccaneers for no units, as Tampa Bay winning by exactly three is one of the most likely outcomes of this game. With that in mind, if you're betting the Buccaneers, you should pay down to -3, and you can get -126 vig at Bookmaker. The Buccaneers should be the play because they're the better team on limited time to prepare.
Carolina Panthers (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (0-4) Line: Falcons by 1.5. Total: 54. Sunday, Oct. 11, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Panthers.
My overrated-underrated feature was posted in this spot the past couple of years. I thought it would be better if there was less clutter on this page, so I set up a new NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams page that will be updated every Monday. I have overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!
CAROLINA OFFENSE: If you watched the Monday night game, you're asking yourself the same question I am: How in the world are the Falcons going to stop a red-hot Teddy Bridgewater and his excellent receivers? The Falcons, down two safeties and two cornerbacks entering the Monday night affair, lost two more defensive backs. As a result, they couldn't cover the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Robert Tonyan.
Aaron Rodgers is better than Bridgewater, obviously, but D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel far outclass Rodgers' weapons from Monday night. Unless the Falcons get a mass surge of returning players on a short week, they're going to have problems covering everyone.
Mike Davis will be a problem as well. The Falcons are much better against the run than the pass, but they struggle to cover receiving backs out of the backfield. Davis has been excellent in that regard, so he should have a strong PPR performance.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons also have some injury woes on this side of the ball, as both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley entered the Monday night affair with questionable tags. Jones was knocked out of the game in the second quarter, while Ridley didn't catch a single pass. Jaire Alexander's terrific coverage had something to do with that, but I have to believe that Ridley wasn't quite 100 percent.
Will Jones and Ridley heal on a short week? Maybe, but probably not. With that in mind, this is obviously good news for a Carolina back seven that has been torched for most of this season thus far. The team clearly misses James Bradberry and Luke Kuechly.
That said, the Panthers got a reinforcement back from injury last week in Kawann Short. One of the better defensive tackles in the NFL, Brown was available to harass Kyler Murray, and he should cause some disruption versus the Falcons.
RECAP: There's been lots of money made fading teams coming off blowout losses on Monday night. This is because a shortened week doesn't fully allow them to make the adjustments they need to in order to improve. That is true in Atlanta's case, and the injury factor is also quite prevalent.
With that in mind, I think the wrong team is favored. The Falcons have so many players injured and banged up that they should probably be a home underdog to the Panthers, who have impressively beaten the Chargers and Cardinals in the previous two weeks. They almost defeated the Raiders in Week 1 as well. Had they done so, they'd be 3-1, and they'd probably be favored with that sort of record.
Unless the Falcons get a mass block of players back from injury on a short week, I'm going to be on the Panthers for a big play.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I thought we'd have a day or so to lock in this pick. I wanted to think about it some more and perhaps see one injury report. Nope. This spread dropped to +2.5 - and to +1.5 since - thanks to heavy sharp action on Carolina. I still like the Panthers at this number, though not as much as I did at +3.
SATURDAY NOTES: Well, this is a bummer. I thought the short week would hurt the Falcons' ability to recover from injury. Instead, the opposite occurred. Keanu Neal will play. Ricardo Allen will play. A.J. Terrell will play. Takk McKinley will play. All of these defensive starters have been out recently, and they're all returning. This completely changes the dynamics of this game. I'm dropping the unit count on this game. I may bet a unit on the Panthers if Julio Jones is out; none otherwise.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Julio Jones is out, so I'm willing to put a unit on the Panthers. However, I'm not nearly as high on Carolina with the Falcons getting all of their injured players back into the lineup. The sharps initially bet the Panthers down from +3.5 and +3, but they haven't touched this game since. The best line is at Bookmaker (+1.5 -108). If I were betting heavier, I'd go with PK +101.
Las Vegas Raiders (2-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) Line: Chiefs by 11. Total: 54. Sunday, Oct. 11, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. The highest-bet sides were 44-40-2 last season and 11-12 heading into Week 4.
Here are the teams getting the most bets last week:
Highest-bet sides were 3-3-1 against the spread in Week 4. The books profited, especially when accounting for the vig (plus teasers and parlays.)
Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:
I can't say I'm surprised by any of this. People are betting on Tom Brady and the Steelers, and they're fading the worst team in the NFL. It seems like this happens every week.
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: I figured Bill Belichick would have something up his sleeve against Patrick Mahomes, and that turned out to be the case Monday night. Belichick had Mahomes thoroughly confused for at least three quarters. Mahomes eventually figured things out and was able to open up a double-digit lead before Julian Edelman gift-wrapped the cover for the Chiefs with his drop-turned-interception.
Mahomes obviously won't have the same problems against the Raiders, a team that lost some players to injury against the Bills. A couple of defenders, including Johnathan Abram, were knocked out of the game. It remains to be seen if they'll be able to suit up against the Chiefs. If not, Mahomes will have an easier time than usual, as his weapons will be able to get open.
The way to beat Mahomes and other elite quarterbacks without having a genius like Belichick on the sidelines is to pressure them heavily with just four players and drop everyone else back into coverage. The Raiders can't do this because their pass rush is rather lackluster. The Raiders, as a result, have been blitzing more frequently this year, which is basically a death sentence against Mahomes. We saw what Mahomes did to Baltimore's blitz-heavy defense, and yet the Ravens have far better personnel in their secondary than the Raiders do!
LAS VEGAS OFFENSE: I've been heavily critical of Derek Carr in the past, but I have to hand it to him: He's played very well this year. I figured he'd struggle mightily against the Bills because he was missing two blockers and his top two outside receivers (top three if you count Tyrell Williams), and yet he moved the chains methodically against Buffalo, at least until the fourth quarter when the pressure finally got to him.
That doesn't necessarily mean Carr will have the same success against the Chiefs, who have an underrated defense. I believe it'll depend on who's available on both sides. Will Carr have one of his outside receivers back? Will Trent Brown return to help the Raiders' declining blocking? Will Chris Jones, one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL, be able to play after missing the Monday night game?
It's difficult to handicap this game at the moment, given all of this uncertainty. Luckily, we'll get some clarity as the week progresses, so we'll have a better idea of how the Raider offense is expected to perform in this contest.
RECAP: It's difficult to make a confident prediction for this game at the moment because there are many injury question marks. Most of those are for the Raiders, but Jones is a huge deal as well.
One thing we do know, however, is that the Chiefs have to play against the Bills next Thursday. This is an extremely important game because it could serve as the tie-breaker for the all-important No. 1 seed, which is the only way to get a bye in the new playoff format.
With the Chiefs having to prepare for that game on a short work week, they may not have a great game plan for the Raiders. This could allow Las Vegas to at least steal a cover here, despite their impending pass-rush-related troubles against Mahomes. Whether they do or not will depend on how many players they can get back from injury. Stay tuned!
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the virus, which matters because he and Patrick Mahomes shook hands after the Monday night game. Hopefully this doesn't mean Mahomes is infected as well. Speaking of the virus, one Raider player tested positive, but we don't know who that is yet.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Raiders will be stronger this week with Henry Ruggs and Trent Brown potentially returning. However, there's less of a chance the Chiefs will be distracted now that they won't be playing on Tuesday. The sharps have been betting the Raiders down from +12.5 to +11.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Trent Brown is active! That is huge news for the Raiders, as they'll have four of their five offensive linemen on the field for the first time since Week 1. The Chiefs won't be looking ahead anymore, but the Raiders should be able to keep up. The sharps have been betting the Raiders, for what it's worth.
The Motivation. Edge: Raiders.
The Chiefs, coming off a short week, have to prepare for the Bills on Thursday night.
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Washington Redskins (1-3) Line: Rams by 7. Total: 46. Sunday, Oct. 11, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
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LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: Jared Goff has been the luckiest quarterback in the NFL over the past four seasons, as he's been surrounded by great talent and coached by several geniuses. The great fortune ran low last year when the offensive line struggled, but Goff may once again have his four-leaf clover against the Redskins because he might not have to go up against Chase Young.
Young, who has not disappointed thus far in his rookie campaign, got hurt against the Browns and missed last week's contest. We'll see if he can return, but if he can't, the Redskins' excellent defensive line will be down two important players, as Matt Ioannidis is sidelined as well. I still don't trust the Rams' offensive line, so this would be a huge boon for Goff.
The Redskins don't have great personnel in their back seven, which will obviously benefit Goff. The Redskins have struggled to cover tight ends this year, so Tyler Higbee should thrive. Meanwhile, their slot cornerback situation is quite dubious, so perhaps Cooper Kupp will break a long gain like he did against the Giants.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: I suppose someone on the Redskins' coaching staff warned Dwayne Haskins not to commit any more turnovers. Haskins followed those instructions perhaps a bit too well, as he checked down on almost every single pass against the Ravens. He even checked down on a fourth-and-goal. He was at Baltimore's 13-yard line, but tossed a helpless 4-yard pass that had no chance of reaching the end zone. It was a truly lackluster performance.
Haskins may opt to utilize the same strategy because of how ferocious the Rams' defensive line is. His blocking unit, meanwhile, is sorely missing Brandon Scherff, while the left side of it continues to be weak. Haskins may not think he has a choice but to check down the ball repeatedly, especially given that his only quality receiver, Terry McLaurin, will be tied up against Jalen Ramsey.
There's not much else to say about the Redskins' offense. Antonio Gibson has looked better of late, but it's tough to imagine him having success running against the Rams' front. Perhaps he'll do well as a receiver out of the backfield, given that the Los Angeles linebackers have struggled mightily this year.
RECAP: I don't know about you, but I don't think the Rams are good enough to be favored by nearly double digits on the road. My calculated spread is Los Angeles -6. The Rams struggled to defeat the Giants last week; they were getting blown out at Buffalo before the Bills fell asleep; and they were a pass interference penalty away from losing to the lowly Cowboys at home in Week 1. They crushed the Eagles in Week 2, but the Eagles stink.
The Redskins stink as well, but Haskins is at least taking care of the ball. If he can avoid turnovers once again, he may be in position to score a back-door cover.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Dwayne Haskins has been benched for Kyle Allen. Blue checkmarks on Twitter have panned this move as racist, but the smart money likes this decision. This spread has moved from +9 to +7 since. I suppose the blue checks think the sharp bettors are racist as well. At any rate, Allen is better than Haskins, so I like the Redskins' chances more, especially in the wake of my realization that the Rams could be looking ahead to battling the 49ers.
SATURDAY NOTES: There is some potentially big news for the Redskins in that center Chase Roullier may miss this game. He missed Friday's practice with knee soreness, and he's listed as questionable. If the Redskins are down both Roullier and Brandon Scherff, that'll be a huge problem against the Rams. Unfortunately, we don't know the status quite yet. I'll switch to the Rams if Roullier is inactive.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Chase Young is back, and Chase Roullier is active. This is big for the Redskins. I considered a small bet on them, but I'll pass. The sharps bet the Redskins down from +9.5 to +7, but haven't touched them since.
The Motivation. Edge: Redskins.
The Rams play the 49ers next week.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Ding-dong, the witch is dead! Bill O'Brien has finally been fired, a move that is several years overdue. I'm usually not one to celebrate a firing, but O'Brien is a scumbag who deserved it. There will be many stories that come out about O'Brien in the coming months and years. I know some of them, but I can't wait to learn them all. By the way, you can see my Bill O'Brien Firing Grade via this link.
As for this game, the Texans will have a huge advantage against the Jaguars, depending on the injury report. You may have noticed that the Jaguars held a lead against the Bengals last week, but then blew it in the second half. This is because they lost all of their top defensive players to injury. Myles Jack, who is having an amazing year, went down, as did two of the top cornerbacks, C.J. Henderson and D.J. Hayden. As a result, Cincinnati's offense could not be stopped.
If Joe Burrow was able to thrive against the injury-ravaged Jaguars, Deshaun Watson will have similar success unless Jack and Henderson return to the field. Also, Watson's big problem this year, aside from O'Brien's decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins, has been his offensive line. The Jaguars provide no pressure, as Burrow learned last week.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: O'Brien has correctly been criticized for trading Hopkins for a decrepit running back and a second-round pick, but he made other mistakes this offseason. He allowed some talented defensive players to walk. The result has been the Texans' great run defense transforming into the league's worst ground unit.
Everyone has run on the Texans this year, and things won't be any different in this contest. James Robinson has been impressive despite no one ever hearing about him prior to the season. Also, Jacksonville's offensive line has been much better than expected. These two things are why the Jaguars haven't been the dumpster fire everyone expected them to be when the season began.
Gardner Minshew has also played well at times. He struggled against the Dolphins in Week 3 because he was missing D.J. Chark. Minshew was back to performing well last week with Chark back at his disposal. Chark should be able to abuse Houston's beleaguered secondary.
RECAP: What are the Texans doing favored by six? Has no one watched them this year? They are terrible! People made the excuse for them that they battled the Chiefs and Ravens in the first two weeks of the season, but they were blown out in both contests. They were also blown out at home last week against the Vikings, at least before Harrison Smith suffered an injury and the Texans were able to mount a comeback as a result.
That said, O'Brien's firing will help, perhaps as early as this week. Mid-season firings often hurt teams in the near term, but O'Brien was so hated by his players that they will be more motivated to play well, especially under interim coach Romeo Crennel, who is beloved by all.
I'm actually considering a bet on the Texans if the Jaguars continue to miss some of their best defensive players. However, if Jack and Henderson can return, I'll probably just take the points on this inflated line. My projected spread is Houston -4, so we're getting some line value with Jacksonville.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: D.J. Hayden has been placed on injured reserve. He's the lesser of the three key Jacksonville players in which we are waiting injury news. The news on Myles Jack and C.J. Henderson is imperative.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's god news and bad news for the Jaguars. The good news is that Myles Jack and C.J. Henderson both practiced Thursday and Friday, so there's a good chance they'll return this week. The bad news is that top pass-rusher Josh Allen missed practice all week and is listed as questionable, so he may not be able to play. The inactives list will be huge.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, this sucks! I took the Jaguars at +6.5 in the Circa contest because I thought they'd get Myles Jack and C.J. Henderson back from injury, with both of them practicing last week. So much for that! Both are out, as is Josh Allen. This means the Jaguars are missing their top pass rusher, their best linebacker, two starting cornerbacks, and one starting safety. This injury-ravaged defense couldn't stop Joe Mixon and Joe Burrow in the second half last week, and I can't see them containing the Texans. The sharps just bet Houston at -5.5, and I like the Texans a lot at -6. I'm going to bet Houston for three units. The best line is at FanDuel, where -5.5 -115 is available.
The Motivation. Edge: Texans.
The Texans should react positively to Bill O'Brien's firing.
Arizona Cardinals (2-2) at New York Jets (0-4) Line: Cardinals by 7. Total: 48.5. Sunday, Oct. 11, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Cardinals.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. It all started seven years ago, when a man named Jon Wire from the "United Bank of Africoan" promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a "lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP)." Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.
I've been messing around with spammers ever since, pretending to be Harvey Weinstein, Tom Brady, Ramsay Bolton and Walter White. I had plenty of Spam Mails this year, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers. I'll have new ones every week this year!
ARIZONA OFFENSE: Kyler Murray was on fire to start the year, but has dealt with some issues the past two weeks. He stared down his receivers against the Lions, then barely could move the chains against the Panthers. However, a game against the Jets could just be what the doctor ordered.
The Jets provide no pass rush, and they have some major holes in their pass defense. Brett Rypien learned this first hand last Thursday night when he was able to move the chains well against the Jets, at least until he self-destructed in the fourth quarter. Murray is unlikely to do that, especially given that the Jets have no one to deal with DeAndre Hopkins.
The Jets are much better against the run than the pass, but they can be beaten by pass-catching running backs. I'm not sure why, but Kenyan Drake has not been utilized very much as a receiver out of the backfield this year. The Cardinals should attempt to do that, though Chase Edmonds has handled that role well.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: It doesn't sound as though Sam Darnold will play this game despite having extra rest. He suffered a shoulder injury versus the Broncos, and he was never really the same after that. If he misses this game, it'll be the Joe Flacco show.
Flacco may be old and decrepit, but he could have at least one solid performance, depending on who's available for both teams. Jamison Crowder returned for the Jets last week, which was a huge boon for the passing attack. This week, Le'Veon Bell may return, which will be huge. Bell may not be the same player he once was in Pittsburgh, but he'll be a big upgrade over Frank Gore, especially as a receiver out of the backfield.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals were a fade last week because of numerous injuries to their secondary. The top two safeties were sidelined, which made it difficult for them to cover the Panthers' excellent receivers. Having at least one of Budda Baker or Chris Banjo back on the field should be enough to stymie Flacco.
RECAP: We're getting the Cardinals on a discount. They were -8.5 on the advance line, and now they're -7 because of their two most recent losses. I like this bargain, especially if Arizona gets one of its safeties back from injury.
Quite simply, the Jets are trash. They couldn't even beat someone named Brett Rypien at home. Adam Gase is the worst coach in the NFL, so the Jets should continue to struggle to cover most of their games.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It's been confirmed that Joe Flacco will start for the Jets. It's hard to imagine New York's offense being very effective if the Cardinals get some players back from injury. Kyler Murray, meanwhile, will rebound with better luck this week.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Cardinals will definitely be getting back Budda Baker and perhaps Chris Banjo. Baker is the important player to return, as it'll be difficult for Joe Flacco to throw on the Cardinals, especially behind an offensive line missing Mekhi Becton. I like the line value we're getting with the Cardinals, so after mulling this over, I've decided to place three units on Arizona. I'm locking in -7 now, just in case this spread rises to -7.5.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Chris Banjo won't play, which is a bit of a bummer, but Budda Baker is back, while Mekhi Becton won't play for the Jets. I made a mistake by locking in this pick in hindsight because -7 -103 is available at Bookmaker, but I think it was worth the risk. I'm disappointed the sharps didn't bet Arizona. They haven't touched this game.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) Line: Steelers by 7. Total: 44.5. Sunday, Oct. 11, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Steelers.
Video of the Week: Someone did a mockery of ESPN's 30 for 30, covering Jameis Winston's 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. It's hilaruous and worth watching:
Bravo! This sounds like a real episode. This was very well made, and I'd like to thank Charlie Campbell for showing this to me.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: The Eagles somehow eked out a victory at San Francisco last week. They were lucky the 49ers left so many points on the field with Nick Mullens' poor passes. The Eagles won't have that luxury with Ben Roethlisberger airing the ball out to talented receivers, so Philadelphia will need to be better offensively in this game.
That will be difficult, considering the matchup. The Eagles have major injury issues on their offensive line, as they happened to be down three offensive linemen without even considering that Lane Johnson is very hobbled. The 49ers couldn't really take advantage of this because they were missing Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, but the Steelers will be able to. Between T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree and the excellent defensive line, Carson Wentz will be swarmed in the backfield.
Making matters worse for Wentz, his mediocre group of receivers will have trouble getting open against the Steelers' secondary. This will force some bad decisions, which could lead to a few turnovers.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: As mentioned above, Roethlisberger is poised to have much better success than Nick Mullens did last Sunday night. Mullens missed multiple opportunities for touchdowns. Roethlisberger, conversely, will capitalize on those situations.
The Eagles have injury woes on the defensive side of the ball as well. They were down multiple cornerbacks against the 49ers, which didn't end up mattering because of Mullens' incompetence. The Steelers have several excellent receivers who will be able to get open for big gains. Roethlisberger will have time in the pocket to locate these weapons because he's well protected with David DeCastro healthy again.
Philadelphia happens to be better against the run than the pass, so this is the one aspect of the Steeler offense that will not function as well. Then again, the Steelers should be able to attack the middle of the field because the Eagles have one of the worst linebacking corps in the NFL.
RECAP: Betting on the 49ers last week was foolish because it was incorrect to lay so many points with a terrible quarterback like Mullens. We won't have such concerns in this matchup, as Roethlisberger has been improving each game. In this instance, he'll have had an extra week to continue growing a rapport with his receivers.
The Eagles haven't enjoyed such a luxury, as they'll be tired after coming back from the West Coast. They're not nearly as good as the Steelers, especially with Pittsburgh having an extra week of preparation. This game could get ugly, so I'll be betting the favorite heavily.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: DeSean Jackson is practicing, but I haven't heard about the status of other Philadelphia players. I can't wait to see Friday's injury report.
SATURDAY NOTES: All of the Eagles' receivers are out, and several offensive linemen will be missing as well. This is not an ideal situation against the Steelers' great defense. I love Pittsburgh this week. I'm going to lock in this pick now, as some of the -7s are disappearing. Some sportsbooks have -7.5 posted, but Bookmaker, DraftKings and FanDuel still have -7 for -113, -115 and -115 vig, respectively.
FINAL THOUGHTS: While locking in the Cardinals didn't turn out to be correct, I was right to lock in the Steelers at -7 -113. This line has risen to -7.5 across the board, as the sharps have jumped on Pittsburgh. You can buy down to -7 for -119 at Bookmaker, which is definitely worth it.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: The Bengals stood no chance against Lamar Jackson last year, surrendering 72 points in two meetings. They vowed to improve their linebacking corps this offseason, but they didn't really do that. We saw how much they struggled to tackle in their Week 2 loss to the Browns, so we should see a repeat of that in this contest.
Quite simply, the Bengals won't be able to stop the Baltimore running game, which obviously includes Jackson. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt trampled them a few weeks ago, and all of the Raven runners should have similar success with the Bengal defenders worrying so much about Jackson.
Jackson should have a nice outing as a passer as well, assuming the Bengals are still down multiple cornerbacks. This was the case against Jacksonville, which is part of the reason why Gardner Minshew and D.J. Chark had a great connection going in that game. The Bengals won't be able to cover Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Joe Burrow has been tremendous as a rookie thus far, but this is his first great challenge since Week 1, when he struggled to move the chains against a strong Charger defense. Since then, Burrow has battled a Cleveland team missing several starters, the banged-up Eagles and the miserable Jaguars. Thus, it's only reasonable to expect some regression from Burrow in this contest.
The Ravens don't have a great pass rush, which is why they rely on the blitz so much. However, considering that Burrow is poorly protected, they may be able to get to Burrow on occasion when not blitzing, which will obviously be problematic for the No. 1 overall pick, whose weapons will be smothered by talented Baltimore defensive backs.
Meanwhile, Joe Mixon won't run nearly as well as he did last week. Mixon exploded in the second half versus Jacksonville once Myles Jack left the game with an injury. The Ravens are much tougher against the run, so Mixon won't repeat what he did this past Sunday.
RECAP: Though the Ravens match up very well with the Bengals, it seems as though people think this spread is too high. The public is actually on the Bengals, which seems like a mistake to me.
I don't think the Bengals have the personnel to be competitive with the Ravens. Not yet, at least. That'll change once they continue to build around Burrow, but Cincinnati will have trouble keeping up in this game, especially if the team doesn't get any healthier. Missing two key defensive linemen and two cornerbacks against the Ravens will give them no chance.
I like the Ravens to cover this high number, as I'm sure they'll be focused to defeat a divisional opponent with the No. 1 overall pick from the previous draft. However, I'm not going heavy on this because there's a decent chance Burrow will find a way to get a back-door score at the end.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's been a bit of sharp money coming in on the Bengals. I don't really have anything else to update, but the Saturday notes will be important because we'll learn the status of the Bengal corners.
SATURDAY NOTES: Good news, bad news for the Bengals. The good news is that Geno Atkins will play for the first time this year, giving the team a big boost in the trenches. The bad news is that Cincinnati will once again be without two starting cornerbacks, as Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander will both be sidelined. Lamar Jackson should thrive as a passer against the Bengals as a result, but the Raven receivers, outside of Marquise Brown aren't good enough to take advantage of this liability. I still like the Ravens, but I'm going to reduce the unit count from two to one.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Right guard Tyre Phillips is out for the Ravens, so it's a good thing that Ronnie Stanley is returning. There was some sharp money on the Ravens at -11.5 and -12, perhaps because of the Stanley news. I'm still going with Baltimore for one unit. FanDuel has -12.5 -105 available.
Week 5 NFL Picks - Late Games
Dolphins at 49ers, Colts at Browns, Giants at Cowboys, Vikings at Seahawks, Chargers at Saints, Broncos at Patriots, Bills at Titans
A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 11, 2020): 3-11 (-$1,935)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 11, 2020): 0-5 (-$1,575)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 11, 2020): 1-2 (-$690)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 11, 2020): 11-3 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 11, 2020): +$230
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 0-2, 0% (-$1,735)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 80-76-5, 51.3% (-$1,115) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 28-31-3, 47.5% (-$2,750) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-14, 60.0% (+$2,585) 2020 Season Over-Under: 83-74-4, 52.9% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$420
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,937-2,713-177, 52.0% (+$9,190) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 938-847-49 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 436-388-22 (52.9%) Career Over-Under: 2,406-2,368-65 (50.4%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 43-29-1 (59.7%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.