What on earth is going on in the NFL? Through four weeks we have just one undefeated team left. Ten teams won double-digit games last year. Their combined win percentage last year was .784. This year those ten are a combined .564… That’s the kind of crazy season we are dealing with right now. Only 11 teams are over .500, compared to 16 last year and 13 in 2015.
An average of six underdogs are winning outright per week, with 14 in the last two weeks. And that’s not just one or two point dogs either. The Panthers were +9 in Foxborough and won, Buffalo were +8 going to Atlanta and won last week. The Texans and Jaguars have won in blowout fashion as underdogs.
With all that in mind, Week 5 is going to be underdog week. If in doubt, take the points. If you aren’t 100% certain, take the points! (Now watch all the favorites cover with ease…) My best bets have taken a blow this year after much success in 2016, and yet my overall tally is a profit-making 54.2%…. So is life.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+10) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS
This is an intriguing battle between an offense that is stuttering, and a defense that could be a killer. Antonio Brown is averaging 97 yards a game, but both Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye are playing extremely well and have put themselves in position to be called the best cornerback duo in the league.
When Jacksonville get a lead they can lean on check downs and Leonard Fournette they can chew clock, look after the ball, and secure wins. However, this team still doesn’t look like one that can claw its way back from a ten-point second half deficit.
That said, they don’t need to win, just be within touching distance. A ten-point line gives a lot of room for a backdoor cover, and with that defense there is certainly scope for an upset as well.
DETROIT LIONS (-1) over Carolina Panthers
Both sides are 3-1, but the difference between their performances is stark. Where the Panthers have struggled offensively, only producing against the horror-show that is happening in New England, the Lions have excelled on both sides of the ball and are unlucky to not be 4-0.
Matthew Stafford has a run game to help support him, and Teryl Austin’s defense is far more impressive than anyone thought it would be so far. Meanwhile, Carolina are yet to fully integrate Christian McCaffrey’s talents to the offense, and their defense can be scored on by a good offense.
Buffalo Bills (+2.5) over CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Bills are getting no respect. No one expected them to win in Atlanta last week, including me, but their performance against them, the Broncos, and Carolina, have all confirmed that this roster is fully behind Sean McDermott and buying in to what he is selling. The fact that they are getting points against the Bengals, who have looked terrible against everyone not from Cleveland this year, is somewhat ridiculous.
Rest of the picks
BUCCANEERS (+5.5) over Patriots
EAGLES (-7) over Cardinals
Jets (+1) over BROWNS
COLTS (PK) over 49ers
DOLPHINS (+1) over Titans
GIANTS (-3) over Chargers
Ravens (+2.5) over RAIDERS
RAMS (-1) over Seahawks
Packers (+2) over COWBOYS
Chiefs (-1) over TEXANS
Vikings (-3) over BEARS
Last Week: 9-6-0 (0-3-0)
Overall: 32-27-1 (3-9-0)
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