Back in the mid-2000s, there wasn’t a better rivalry in football. Every time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — arguably the two greatest quarterbacks ever — would face off in their primes, it was must-see TV. Every single time.
But now it’s 2018, and Manning has been retired for a few years. It’s been even longer since he played for the Colts. Brady is still doing his thing at age 41, but there’s no longer a sense of rivalry between these clubs. Indianapolis hasn’t beaten New England since 2009. If it wasn’t for Andrew Luck, the Colts of today would be straddling the border of irrelevancy.
Last night was more of the same. The final score of 38-24 indicates that the game was closer than it was, but truth be told, the Colts were never really in it. They never are whenever they are in Foxboro.
Meanwhile, Brady threw his 500th touchdown pass, and Josh Gordon caught his first-ever touchdown in a Patriots uniform. There were plenty of milestones to go around for this Pats team in Week 5, and now they just need a Miami loss on Sunday to reclaim first place in the AFC East.
Now that the Patriots have officially taken care of business this week, let’s plow through the rest of these picks for Week 5…
(As always, home teams are in caps and lines are courtesy of OddsShark.com)
STEELERS (-3) over Falcons
Have there been any bigger disappointments through the first four weeks of the season than the Steelers and the Falcons? These are two teams that are supposed to be Super Bowl contenders, and yet neither team is at or above .500 and nobody feels safe betting on them.
An interesting fact: Pittsburgh is 0-6 against the spread in its last six home games. And yet, even though they are at home this week and have looked super shaky in their first four games, they still feel like the safer pick in this game. This has been a weird season.
BROWNS (+3) over Ravens
Even though the Browns turned the ball over four times against the Raiders last week, Baker Mayfield makes me feel a little bit less like a moron whenever I pick the Browns. After all, despite their 1-2-1 record, they are 3-1 against the spread this season. I’ll probably regret, but I’m going all in on Cleveland this week.
There’s something I never thought I would say.
JETS (-1) over Broncos
I’m backing the Jets here only because they are at home and because the Broncos are playing on short rest following their Monday night game against Kansas City last week. That’s literally the only reason.
Packers (-1.5) over LIONS
Getting throttled by this Lions team in Week 3 will hopefully be the most embarrassing moment of the 2018 Pats season. God help us if something more embarrassing than that happens.
Jaguars (+3) over CHIEFS
This is the most must-watch game of the week. It’s the NFL’s No. 1 offense against the NFL’s No. 1 defense.
It will be tough for the Jags to beat this undefeated Chiefs team on the road without Leonard Fournette, but with that defense, they sure can make it a close game. Hopefully the Jacksonville defense can rough up Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill a little bit before they come to New England next Sunday.
BENGALS (-6) over Dolphins
As mentioned earlier, a Bengals victory here puts the Patriots in first place. After putting up 37 points in Atlanta last week, they shouldn’t have much trouble getting it done at home against the Dolphins this week.
PANTHERS (-6) over Giants
The key to a Giants victory is to get Saquon Barkley going off to the races. While the rookie running back has an extremely bright future in the NFL, he still has plenty of work to do, and this Giants team has a long way to go. They have no momentum after getting smacked by the Saints 33-18 last week.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are coming off a bye week. They are fully rested and they are at home. I’m taking Carolina to win and cover.
Titans (-5) over BILLS
Stay away from this Bills team. Don’t bet on them and don’t bet against them. One week, they brutalize the Vikings as 17-point underdogs. The very next week, they can’t even crack the scoreboard against the Packers. I’m warning you, just stay away from this game. Just keep on walking. Don’t even look at it.
As for making a pick against the spread… well… the Titans are obviously the better team, so we’ll just go with them.
Raiders (+5) over CHARGERS
Congrats to Jon Gruden on finally getting the first win of his second tenure in Oakland. Way to go, Jon, you beat the Browns!
All jokes aside, the Raiders’ offense, with Marshawn Lynch and all, can be dangerous as long their defense doesn’t blow games for them. But if they can’t get a win this week, then Oakland fans can probably just pack it in for the season.
Alright, you’re probably tired of my constant yapping. I’ll zip through these last few picks and then you can be on your way.
Cardinals (+4) over 49ERS
The dreadful Cards can take advantage of an injury-plagued Niners team.
Rams (-7) over SEAHAWKS
Rams all day, every day.
EAGLES (-3) over Vikings
Carson Wentz is due for a monster game.
Cowboys (+3) over TEXANS
It’s the battle for Texas. This game could actually be pretty entertaining.
Redskins (+6.5) over SAINTS
This is bold, but you have to live life on the edge sometimes.
Last week’s record: 5-8-2
This week’s record: 1-0
Season record: 31-30-3