NFL Week 5 Winners
[6.6 Units] Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) at home with Carolina Panthers
6.6 Units – ATL -2 or less
3.3 Units – ATL -2.5
No Action – ATL -3 or more
Despite the 0-4 start to the season, the Atlanta Falcons are about a league average team. They have lost respectably to two of the better teams in the league (Seahawks and Packers) and completely blown two games in epic proportion against squads that should end the year being above average (Bears and Cowboys). Previous games in 2020 aside, we have to take a hard look at the teams actually taking the field this week and it's easy to make the case that the Falcons have the most amount of talent between these two. Matt Ryan is the superior QB and the Falcons have Todd Gurley while the Panthers are still without Run CMC. Our models have the Falcons as closer to a TD better than the Panthers in this one which is enough to anticipate a cover.
[6.6 Units] Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) at Houston Texans
6.6 Units – JAX +5 or more
3.3 Units – JAX +4 or +4.5
No Action – JAX +3.5 or less
This game is a microcosm for how weird the 2020 season has been...which is obviously just par for the course for this fucked up year. You can comb through the annuls of history until you're blue in the face and you aren't going to find another situation where an 0-4 team that fired their head coach and GM (even though it's the same person) is a touchdown favorite for the following week's game. This is a field goal game even if you can convince yourself the Jags and Texans are evenly matched, but we have the Jags as the better team right now and that's primarily because of the Texans' offensive line that is ranked dead last in adjusted sack rate against. Firing Bill O'Brien may help the media and alleviate some player frustration, but it's not going to instantly fix how terrible these guys are at giving Deshaun Watson a chance to shine. We do think the Texans will get off the schneid on Sunday, but 6 points is too much.
[6.6 Units] Washington Football Team (+7.5) home with Los Angeles Rams
6.6 Units – WAS +7 or more
3.3 Units – WAS +6.5
No Action – WAS +6 or less
This Ron Rivera defense is really good. He inherited an absurdly talented squad on that side of the ball, but he's getting the most out of those guys and has them playing like a top-5 unit. Unfortunately, their offense has been arguably the worst in the league and it's put that defense in a lot of bad situations and/or just left them out on the field too long. Ron is a results driven man and isn't afraid to send a message to wake up his team or specific players. If he was a dickhead like some coaches, the benching of Haskins may have left a few players disgruntled, but we are banking on his track record of respect getting the desired reaction out of this team. If they can take care of the football and manage the game on the offensive side of the ball, this defense can keep the game within the 7.5 we are getting.
[6.6 Units] Philadelphia Eagles (+7) at Pittsburgh Steelers
6.6 Units – PHI +7 or more
3.3 Units – PHI +6.5
No Action – PHI +6 or less
Injuries have undoubtedly been a factor for the Eagles less than stellar start to the 2020 campaign, but that's part of playing in the NFL. Doug Pederson and staff have to find a way to make things work with only 2 of the original 5 starting offensive linemen and they did that last week against San Francisco. Carson Wentz can be dynamic when he's on and the game plan last week had him getting back to playing more of a backyard style of football that seemed to rejuvenate the performance of the offense as a whole. The Steelers are as solid as it gets up front on defense, so look for another week of moving the pocket and roll-outs from the Eagles offense. Defensively, we like this match up for the Birds defense who has already played pretty good so far, leading the NFL in sacks with 17 on the young season. The Steelers will win this in-state rivalry, but the Eagles will be playing with enough pride and purpose to keep it inside a touchdown.
[6.6 Units] Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Seattle Seahawks
6.6 Units – MIN +7 or more
3.3 Units – MIN +6.5
No Action – MIN +6 or less
If we offered you cash money on the spot to name the NFL defense who is last in the league in yards given up, we would take the bet that you couldn't name the Seattle Seahawks at a wild 477 yards per game. We know that traditional stats like total yards or total points given up don't tell the full story, but when it's almost 500 yards a game, it lets you know there is an issue. The Vikings have the better defense in this game and their offense has snapped out of it's funk, averaging 30.5 points the last two games. We had Minnesota getting points last week and they won the game outright. That isn't the base case prediction for this game, but they are good enough on offense to have success against the current version of the Seattle defense.