I hit both Sunday night and Monday night football games and all of the afternoon games. If only I picked the Thursday game and the early games better.
Thursday night games have been my kryptonite. I have only hit on one all season. I am guilty of overthinking those games. It’s a hangover from last year when Thursday games were extremely unpredictable. I’ve taken an unpopular positions on Thursday game, but that will change.
Let’s talk about how good the Kansas City Chiefs are this year. The addition of rookie RB Kareem Hunt made a huge difference, but he isn’t the only improvement. QB Alex Smith is playing with new life in his arm. Who knew that think could throw passes farther than 12 yards?
Can the Chiefs keep winning and beat the Texans on Sunday night football?
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season.
New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We found out the Patriots were mortal last week. I guess we all knew their defense was bad, but thought QB Tom Brady could throw his way to victories. The thing that shocked me about their loss to the Panthers was that Carolina’s offense looked GREAT last Sunday. They haven’t looked great on a single drive against any other team this season. I fear what the Bucs might be able to do to the Pats. They get RB Doug Martin back, so that will be a big boost to the Bucs offense. This will probably hit the over/under of 55 and then some. I have to take the points here in what could be a shootout.
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (+1) – My pick is New York Jets
The Jets beat a jet-lagged Jaguars team in overtime last week. The Jets relied on RBs Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire to run for a combined 256 yards on the ground. QB Josh McCown didn’t need to do much but to try and not throw interceptions (he still threw one). Browns rookie QB DeShone Kizer had a rough outing a week ago. QB Kevin Hogan actually had more success than Kizer. The Browns will need to get RB Duke Johnson Jr. the ball and hitting him in the flat will help Kizer get more confidence as they move the ball. These teams are pretty equal, but as crazy as it sounds, I’d take McCown over Kizer, right now, to lead a team. I have to take the Jets here. I fear Kizer will turn the ball over.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
I feel we need to throw out last week’s performance by the Jacksonville Jaguars. They came from London and that’s one hell of a trip to recover from in a short time. The Jags are best when they run the ball. They win when they run the ball. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette’s success is one of the keys for Jacksonville this week. The Steelers secondary is filled with Pro Bowl talent and Jags QB Blake Bortles will be over-matched if he tries to test them. The Steelers have issues of their own with RB Le’Veon Bell struggling to find last year’s form. The Steelers will probably win, but I love the extra point over the touchdown spread. I’m taking the points.
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
The Bills won’t wow a ton of people in their wins, but they have been gutting out wins late in the game. Their last two wins over Denver and Atlanta were damn impressive. I’d give the nod to their secondary for forcing turnovers. QBs Trevor Siemien and Matt Ryan both threw two interceptions in each game against the Bills. They could cause the same amount of turnovers against QB Andy Dalton. I’m taking the points.
Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins (+2.5) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
As we already know, Titans QB Marcus Mariota might be out with a hamstring issue. He is reportedly a game-time decision, but I will move on with this choice as if he is not playing. I don’t have much faith in his backup, Matt Cassel. He looked like garbage when he came in last week against the Texans. They will need to run the ball a lot, but with RBs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, that seems like a decent option. Miami’s offense hasn’t really got on track since hurricane season. Dolphins QB Jay Cutler hasn’t been sharp and is job is on the line. I predict this game will be close. The Dolphins run defense is pretty good and the Titans will need more than a running game to beat Miami. I’m taking the points.
San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
This could be an ugly game. Both offenses can screech to a halt at any moment. The Colts defense has also given up huge plays late in the game. Indy has an issue with only playing three quarters of the game. It’s not always the fourth quarter, but one quarter in every game is always a disaster. I realize QB Andrew Luck is injured and they are without their best player, but it could be time to let head coach Chuck Pagano go. The Niners have been quite competitive the last two weeks (in losses) and they are due for a win. I expect San Fran QB Brian Hoyer to connect with WR Pierre Garcon throughout the game. I’m taking the points.
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
The Cardinals are 2-2 on the season, but winless against the spread. I blame QB Carson Palmer (and his piss poor offensive line) for nearly every single mediocre game. They were able to win against San Francisco and Indianapolis, but needed overtime in each game. Palmer just doesn’t have the same touch he had in previous years. On the flip side, Philly QB Carson Wentz is coming into his own this season. He also benefits from having an endless supply of talented running backs. Arizona’s secondary will need to have a great game to keep Wentz in check. I’m taking the balanced offense of Philly to cover.
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-3.5) – My pick is New York Giants
I’m actually shocked both teams come into this game without a win. The Chargers have been worse by going 0-3-1 ATS, so they are worse than even the lowest expectations. It would be nice if they could run block, but that’s a huge issue. RB Melvin Gordon can’t find holes and he’s banged up as well. As far as the Giants are concerned, they came into the season with a lot of injuries on offense. WR Odell Beckham Jr. is still dealing with an ankle injury and could miss the game on Sunday (keep an eye on injury report). QB Eli Manning has been getting better and better every week. The Giants are due for a win and I think they will squeeze out a cover.
Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-2.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
I basically threw in the towel on the season for the Panthers last week. They beat the Patriots, but all in all, considering their poor defense, I can’t take much from that win. They struggled to score points against some other weak defenses too. I’m a big fan of Detroit right now. QB Matthew Stafford has a lot of weapons and he actually has a little run game this season. Panthers will be without safety Kurt Coleman, which could be an issue. He’s a ball hawk and the Panthers will need to force turnovers to keep this one close. I’m taking the Lions to cover at home.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (pk) – My pick is Seattle Seahawks
This one is a tough one. The Rams have been a surprising team so far this season. Their 35-30 win at Dallas was the most impressive. RB Todd Gurley is playing like the guy who dominated at Georgia. I love what he’s doing and his hands are better than anyone imagined out of college. The Seahawks will have a gameplan to stop Gurley. I’m sure they would love it if they force QB Jared Goff to beat them through the air. That would be a tough go of it against the Legion of Boom. The Rams defense has given up at least 27 points in each of their last three games. I worry they could let Seattle score one too many touchdowns. I’m taking Seattle in this game.
Balitmore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (-2.5) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
Oakland QB Derek Carr’s injury makes picking this game much harder. I realize the Raiders are more than just Carr, but QB EJ Manuel came in did fine. He didn’t light the world on fire, but he did better than expected. The Raiders running game has went MIA the last two weeks. That will need to change if they wish to beat the Ravens. Both Raiders and Ravens defenses has given up a lot of yards last month. I have to take Ravens QB Joe Flacco over Manuel in this game. The Ravens has a few running backs that have had success this year. RBs Alex Collins and Javorius Allen should share duties to help the Ravens. I’m taking the points.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-2) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
The Cowboys are going through some growing pains. Defenses have had an entire offseason to gameplan against QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. The Packers have some of the best coaches in the league, so they will be prepared. The Packers have some running back issues with RB Ty Montgomery banged up and they are now wide receiver-turned running back Aaron Jones and another inexperienced back Jamaal Williams. QB Aaron Rodgers has all his receiving weapons, so I have to give the Packers the edge. I’m taking the points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (+1) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
The Texans offense got a kick in the pants the last two weeks. Those outbursts of power came against two bad defenses, but still impressive. QB Deshaun Watson has taken the next step and Houston is relying on him to win games. The defense will now be the second banana…they hope. The Chiefs are the best team in the NFL. It will take a lot for me to bet against them in roughly a pick’em game. I have to take KC to get the win at Houston on Sunday Night Football.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (+2.5) – My pick is Chicago Bears
Minnesota QB Sam Bradford is still questionable, so this is another game-time decision. If he can’t go, QB Case Keenum will start another game. The Vikings will also start a new running back after rookie RB Dalvin Cook tore his ACL last week. It looks like Latavius Murray will get the start. He had success last year with the Raiders, but we shall see if he can be as productive as the injured rookie. Speaking of rookies, QB Mitchell Trubisky will make his first NFL start for the Bears. He will have a nice backfield to bail him out if he needs it. I expect he will throw a lot to fellow rookie, RB Tarik Cohen. The two-headed rushing attack with RB Jordan Howard and Cohen kept the Bears in most games with then-starting quarterback Mike Glennon. I expect this game to be close and low-scoring, so I’m taking the points.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob