Week 4 proved to be stellar for all who follow this weekly column. Our biggest loser was the Atlanta Falcons at No. 10 but then nothing but winners until our bottom three picks. Let’s check out Week 5 where we rate our most confident straight up pick (16) all the way to our least confident (1). The point spread on each game is in parentheses but these picks are not against the spread.
Week 4 Straight Up Record: 12-4 (104 of possible 120)
15. (Confidence rating) Patriots: Colts at Patriots (-10): Thursday night. After the Patriots fileted the Fish last week we’re not ready to say New England is all the way back, but they certainly bore a striking resemblance to their 2017 edition. That’s bad news for a Colts team who will still be mourning their absurd loss to the Texans. In other developments, the search continues for Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich’s mind. First Colts visit to Foxboro since “Deflategate.”
14. Rams: Rams (-7) at Seattle: Although we’re not fond of laying points on the road or using one of our highest picks on a highway traveler, we can’t ignore that this LA juggernaut is poised to feast on a Seattle defense that is now without their last piece from the Legion of Boom with Earl Thomas on the shelf for the rest of the season.
13. Panthers: Giants at Panthers (-7): Some of the best online sportsbooks are dealing the Panthers as touchdown or better favorites because they’ve had two weeks to prepare and the Giants can’t seem to score despite having a Super Bowl-winning QB, a stud wide receiver, and a No. 2 overall pick in the draft that has been lauded as the next Eric Dickerson.
12. Chargers: Raiders at Chargers (-5½): The Raiders rallied to defeat the Browns in overtime but they may still be gassed after that marathon as they travel to meet the Bolts. Oh, and if you are a trends kind of guy or gal, the Raiders are 1-5 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5-7 points over their last six such situations. If they can’t even cover the number, then how are they supposed to win the game?!
11. Bengals: Dolphins at Bengals (-6½): The entire Miami squad should be jailed for public indecency because they were exposed last week against the Patriots. Now, it’s the Bengals’ turn and what do cats like more than just about anything? Fish, of course!
10. 49ers: Cardinals at 49ers (-4½): Despite the fact that San Francisco was far more competitive in their loss last week than most believed they would be without the injured Jimmy G under center, this isn’t necessarily an endorsement of the Niners but a fade against the god-awful Cardinals.
9. Saints: Redskins at Saints (-6½): The Redskins confuse me because sometimes they’re present and beat a team like the Packers 31-17 but then at other times they can’t even crack a lousy Colts defense and lose 21-9. One thing we can say about the Saints is that they score early and often despite their suspect defense. That’s good enough for us.
8. Packers: Packers (-1½) at Lions: Yes, this is a divisional game and no it wouldn’t shock us if the Lions rose up in front of their home crowd to vanquish their ancient rivals from Green Bay. But the bottom line is that the Packers are better than the Cats from Motown, so let’s not overthink it and just play it.
7. Ravens: Ravens (-3) at Browns: Read directly above, just change the names.
6. Titans: Titans (-3½) at Bills: The Bills don’t need to win another game all season (and they might not) after stunning the Vikings in Minnesota as 17-point road dogs. Meanwhile, the Titans aren’t winning big, but they’re beating top-notch teams and the Bills are far from elite.
5. Cowboys: Cowboys (+3) at Texans: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan decided he liked his job and wanted to keep it, so he retooled a lifeless Dallas offensive blueprint and incorporated Ezekiel Elliott into the passing attack. Quarterback Dak Prescott thrived, as did Elliott, and the Cowboys will do it all over again against a Texans team that went into overtime and won a weird one last week in Indy.
4. Falcons: Falcons (+3) at Steelers: Been fading the Steelers all season long so why stop now? Bell will reportedly return in Week 7 but last time I checked we were heading into Week 5.
3. Eagles: Vikings at Eagles (-3): Carson Wentz gets his mojo back this week against a team in the Vikings that has dropped their last two and have look dazed and confused on defense.
2. Broncos: Broncos (+1) at Jets: Denver pounded the Jets last year 23-0 and 10-4 straight up over their last 14 meetings. I’m not sure the oddsmakers have the right favorite in this one.
1. Jaguars: Jaguars (+3) at Chiefs: The Chiefs will eventually lose and Patrick Mahomes will ultimately reveal himself as mortal. If it doesn’t happen against the Jaguars, the top-rated defense in the league, then when does it?