Has Deshaun Watson made a believer out of you yet? Last year, the story was rookie Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. This season, it’s another rookie quarterback out of Clemson that has suddenly made the Houston Texans the team to beat in the AFC South. Watson threw for four TDs and ran for a fifth as Houston crushed Tennessee 57-14 in a Week 4 blowout.
And how about the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers? Talk about surprises.
They’re both 0-4 and need to finish the season 9-3 in their remaining games to have a remote shot at the playoffs. It’s time to press the panic button for these two teams.
Four teams — Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans and Washington — have byes in Week 5, leaving 14 games on the schedule. Let’s try and pick the winners against the spread (odds provided by bovada.lv).
Patriots Allow 32 Points Per Game
New England at Tampa Bay — It’s time to face facts for the Patriots. They have the worst defense in the NFL. Their chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions are slim if changes aren’t made immediately. Tom Brady is still going strong at age 40, but he can’t score 35 points every game to bail out his defense that has allowed 128 points in four games. The Bucs (2-1) put up 434 yards of total offense against the Giants. They should be able to gain that against New England. The Over point total has won in all four games involving the Patriots.
VGB’s pick — Tampa Bay (+6), Over (55)
Bills Defense Might Be Best In The League
Buffalo at Cincinnati — Many said the Bills were giving up on the season when they traded receiver Sammy Watkins in August to the Rams. After four games, the first-place Bills seem to be just getting started. Buffalo’s defense has allowed a league-low 13.5 points per game. They just finished off the best offense in the league last year to move to 3-1 and ahead of the Super Bowl champs in the AFC East. The Bills, 4-0 ATS, haven’t earned much respect from oddsmakers as they’re the underdogs on the road against a 1-3 team.
VGB’s pick — Buffalo (+3), Under (39.5)
Finally, A Win For One Of These Teams
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants — Two of the NFL’s four winless teams hook up in this one. It’s the second home game in five starts for the Giants. Lose this one and their season is all but over. New York has improved in their last two games, leading in the fourth quarter in both of them. Eli Manning is completing almost 70 per cent of his passes for the season, but he also has five turnovers. The Chargers have lost their four games by a total of 21 points.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5), Over (44.5)
It’s Sink Or Swim For The Dolphins
Tennessee at Miami — If not for a meaningless last-play touchdown in Week 3 against the Jets, the Dolphins (1-2) would be scoreless in their last two games. At least they don’t have to travel for this one. Miami has a chance in their home opener considering the Titans arrive after giving up 57 points in Houston. But Jay Cutler is not Deshaun Watson, and the Dolphins have scored just 25 points all season. The Titans (2-2) play their second straight road game and have scored 25 points per game.
VGB’s pick — Tennessee (No line posted)
Winless 49ers Beating The Odds
San Francisco at Indianapolis — The winless 49ers (0-4) have lost their last three games by a combined total of eight points. Arizona had to rally in overtime to knock off San Francisco in its last game. The Colts (1-3) have lost their two road games this year by a total score of 92-27. It’s a good thing they’re home in Week 5. The 49ers are 3-0 in their last three games against the spread and they have yet to be favored this season. The Colts’ only win this season came against the winless Browns.
VGB’s pick — San Francisco (+1.5), Over (44)
Lions Could Easily Be Undefeated
Carolina at Detroit — Can you name five teams playing better football than the Lions? If you did, than you just don’t like this franchise. They are one unusual call in Week 3 from being undefeated. Make no mistake, this is Matthew Stafford’s team. If the defense can continue to keep the opposition under 20 points per game, Stafford will put enough points on the board to deliver a win. It’s hard to believe this is the first time this season the Lions (3-1) are favored in a game. The Panthers (3-1) come into this one off a huge win over New England.
VGB’s pick — Detroit (-3), Over (44)
Cards Winless Against The Spread
Arizona at Philadelphia — Bettors beware: The Cardinals (2-2) have been favored in three games but are 0-4 against the spread. Now, they take on the best team in the NFC East. The Eagles (3-1) are playing at home for just the second time this season. Their only loss was in Kansas City, which is a tough place to play for the best of teams. Philadelphia had 454 yards in offense in their most recent win against the Chargers, with almost half of that total gained on the ground.
VGB’s pick — Philadelphia (-6.5), Under (45)
Steelers Favored In Fifth Straight Game
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh — The Steelers (3-1) have been favored in every game this season. This contest is no exception, especially since the Jaguars come into this one off a loss to the New York Jets. Don’t be in a rush to give up the points in this matchup. The Steelers haven’t exactly been lighting teams up. The Bears proved in Week 3 that a team can run all day on this defense, and the Pittsburgh offense has only averaged 22.5 points a game.
Le’Veon Bell finally had a big game last weekend, with 35 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
VGB’s pick — Pittsburgh (-8.5), Under (43.5)
Jets Best Team In New York
New York Jets at Cleveland — The Jets (2-2) have a chance to win their third straight after beating the Dolphins and Jaguars. Some thought the Jets might not win a game all season. Now, they are tied with the Super Bowl champs in the AFC East and currently the best team in New York. Go figure. The Jets have done it mostly on the ground, gaining 256 yards against Jacksonville and 103 against Miami. The Browns (0-4) came up empty for September, so maybe this is their month to finally get into the win column.
VGB’s pick — New York Jets (-1), Over (39)
How About Those Rams
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams — Before the season began, the Seahawks would likely have been double-digit favorites in this NFC West matchup. Not anymore. The Rams (3-1) are the division leaders, led by quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley. The Rams enter this contest off a huge win in Dallas where they trailed the Cowboys 24-13. Are the Rams for real? This will be a great test. If the spread holds, it will mark the first time the Rams have been favored over the Seahawks since 2011.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Rams (-1), Over (47.5)
Back Injury Sidelines Oakland QB
Baltimore at Oakland — Derek Carr is out with a back injury. That’s not good news for the Raiders (2-2). The fact they’re facing the Ravens (2-2) this week helps though. Baltimore, which seems to be struggling on both sides of the ball, has scored 16 points in their last two games. Joe Flacco has just four touchdown passes against six interceptions and his QB rating is the lowest of his career. EJ Manuel takes over for Carr. If he can keep a lid on turnovers, the Raiders should roll in this one.
VGB’s pick — Oakland (-2.5), Under (39)
Rematch Of NFC Playoff Teams
Green Bay at Dallas — The Cowboys (2-2) blew an 11-point lead to the Rams last weekend. Now they face Aaron Rodgers and the banged-up Packers (3-1). At least they have had 10 days to get a few players healthy. The Cowboys will certainly remember the last time these two teams met — Green Bay knocked Dallas out of the playoffs in the NFC semi-final game last season. The Cowboys has been favored in every matchup this season, but they are 2-2 ATS. This is the game of the week.
VGB’s pick — Green Bay (+2), Over (52.5)
Watson Faces Undefeated Chiefs
Kansas City at Houston — Does anybody remember Tom Savage? He was the Texans starter to begin the season. Watson is certainly the man now. He gets another chance to steal this week’s headlines as the Texans (2-2) face the only undefeated team left in the league. Houston has put up 90 points in the last two weeks and the Chiefs (4-0) will have a tough time against their strong defense, especially on a short week. This is only the second time this year the Texans have been favored. Kansas City is 4-0 ATS.
VGB’s pick — Kansas City (No line posted)
Trubisky Starts In Prime Time
Minnesota at Chicago — The Mitchell Trubisky era begins. The Bears (1-3) made him the second overall pick in the draft. Now he is their No. 1 man behind center as he takes over for an ineffective Mike Glennon. Trubisky gets thrown right into the fire as well, facing a top defense in the Vikings (2-2), and in prime time no less. Minnesota is without its starting quarterback (Sam Bradford) and running back (Dalvin Cook). Can Trubisky live up to all the hype in Chicago? Bears fans sure hope so.
VGB’s pick — Chicago (No line posted)
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