Mon, Oct 14, 2019

What a difference one week in the NFL can make. 

This time two weeks ago, Eli Manning was still an NFL starting quarterback for a New York Giants team that was still searching for its first win of the season. This time last week, the Cleveland Browns, a trendy pick to win their first-ever AFC North division crown, was 1-2 heading into this past Sunday’s game in Baltimore against the defending North champion Baltimore Ravens

Giants and Browns fans, after watching their teams fight to get to the .500 mark at the season’s quarter point, should feel optimistic about their teams’ chances going forward. Several players from both teams made our biggest surprise breakouts from Week 4. In my weekly NFL game predictions, I’ll make two particular picks that should make both fanbases happy heading into the weekend. 

I was able to win 11 of my 15 Week 4 picks; let’s see if I can strike similar gold this week. 

Los Angeles (3-1) at Seattle (3-1)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime) 
Point spread:
 Seahawks -1.5

In a battle of two NFL West foes, I like the Seahawks winning a pretty evenly matched game against a Rams team that just surrendered 55 points at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Russell Wilson is off to an MVP start, while Seattle’s defense is coming off of their best performance of the season. 

The pick: Seahawks 20, Rams 17

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Baltimore (2-2) at Pittsburgh (1-3) 

1 p.m. (CBS) 
Point spread
: Ravens -3.5 

Baltimore comes to Pittsburgh with a two-game losing streak. They’ll leave Pittsburgh with a three-game losing streak unless they find a way to fix a defense that has allowed 73 points in their last two games. 

The pick: Steelers 23, Ravens 20 

Chicago (3-1) at Oakland (2-2) 

1 p.m. (Fox) 
Point spread:
Bears -4.5

After a solid performance in Chicago’s convincing home victory over Minnesota, Bears backup quarterback Chase Daniel should have a solid outing against a Raiders defense that is currently 26th in the NFL in both passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed. Chicago’s pass defense, a unit that has allowed just four touchdowns in four games, should also do well against a Raiders passing attack that is currently 25th in the NFL in passing. Khalil Mack is also motivated to have a big game against his former team. 

The pick:: Bears 31, Raiders 13 

Arizona (0-3-1) at Cincinnati (0-4) 

1 p.m. EST (Fox) 
Point spread:
Bengals -3.5 

The Bengals get their first win of the season against a Cardinals team that is having issues in all three phases. Andy Dalton should have a solid outing against an Arizona defense that is currently 22nd in passing yards allowed and 30th in touchdown passes allowed. 

The pick:: Bengals 24, Cardinals 21

Jaguars (2-2) at Panthers (2-2) 

1 p.m. (CBS
Point spread: Panthers -3.5

This game not only features a matchup of two .500 teams, it’s also a showdown between the NFL’s two 1995 expansion teams. While the Panthers looked good in their Week 4 win in Houston, I’m riding the Gardner Minshew bandwagon for at least one more week. 

The pick: Jaguars 16, Panthers 13 

Vikings (2-2) at Giants (2-2) 

1 p.m. (Fox)
Point spread:
Vikings -5.5 

Just like I’m riding Minshew’s magic, I’m also picking Danny Dimes (aka Daniel Jones) to pull off the upset in his third NFL start. In order to pull off the upset, Jones will need a strong outing from his running game, a unit that is currently eighth in the NFL in terms of rushing yards per game. He’ll also need a good outing from a defense that allowed just three points in Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins

The pick: Giants 21, Vikings 20

Jets (0-3) at Eagles (2-2)

1 p.m. (CBS)
Point spread:
Eagles -14

Sam Darnold’s uncertain status insn’t impacting my prediction for this one. While Darnold’s presence would ultimately make the game closer, the Eagles aren’t losing at home to a team that is still in search of its first victory. 

The pick:: Eagles 27, Jets 17

Tampa Bay (2-2) at New Orleans (3-1)

1 p.m. (Fox) 
Point spread: Saints -3.5 

As good as the Saints’ defense looked in shutting down Dallas’ offense in Week 4, Tampa Bay’s offensive explosion in Los Angeles this past Sunday has convinced me to pick them to pull off one of this week’s biggest upsets. New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians needs to start getting more props for the job he’s done with Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston, who is currently fourth in the NFL with nine touchdown passes. 

The pick: Bucs 31, Saints 28

Falcons (1-3) at Texans (2-2) 

1 p.m. (Fox)
Point spread:
Texans -5

With both teams coming off disparaging losses at home, I like the Texans rebounding at home. While they give up a considerable amount of yards, Houston’s pass defense has done the job in the red zone, as they are ninth in the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed after four games. 

The pick: Texans 24, Falcons 20 

Bills (3-1) at Titans (2-2) 

1 p.m. (CBS) 
Point spread:
Titans -3

Despite their uncertainty at the quarterback position, I like the Bills — who nearly upset the Patriots at home last Sunday — defeating an inconsistent Titans team in their backyard. Buffalo’s No. 2 rushing attack and No. 4 run defense should be good enough to overcome whatever deficiencies they may have under center on Sunday. 

The pick: Bills 13, Titans 12 

Broncos (0-4) at Chargers (2-2)

4:05 p.m. (CBS) 
Point spread:
Chargers -6.5

Denver’s nightmare of a season got worse on Monday when linebacker Bradley Chubb was ruled out for the season with an ACL injury. The Broncos will get no sympathy from the Chargers, who are looking to get over the .500 mark for the second time this season. 

The pick: Chargers 20, Broncos 17

Packers (3-1) at Cowboys (3-1) 

4:25 p.m. (Fox)
Point spread:
Cowboys -3.5 

While Green Bay boasts the league’s third-best pass defense, they are No. 26 against the run, and that may be what holds them back from being 4-1 this time next week. The Cowboys, led by running back Ezekiel Elliott (324 rushing yards and three touchdowns thus far) are surely hungry to get back in the win column after their close loss in New Orleans on Sunday night. That being said, this one should come down to the wire. 

The pick: Cowboys 21, Packers 20

Colts (2-2) at Chiefs (4-0)

8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Point spread:
Chiefs -10.5

The Colts have rushed for as many yards (530) as they have allowed through four games. While I like Indianapolis’ running game heading into Sunday night’s showdown, their 24th league ranking against the run (as well as their 26th league ranking in touchdown passes allowed) was too much to pick against the still undefeated Chiefs. 

The pick: Chiefs 31, Colts 27

Browns (2-2) at 49ers (3-1)

8:15 p.m. (ESPN) 
Point spread
: 49ers -3.5

Cleveland will take full advantage of a San Fransisco offense that gave away turnovers like Christmas presents during their most recent game, a 24-20 win over the visiting Steelers. The Browns, who put up 40 points in their Week 4 victory in Baltimore, appear to have found their mojo after a slow start to the season. 

The pick: Browns 27, 49ers 20

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