Week 4 was rough to us and we ended the week at a frustrating 2-3-2. The two pushes were exceptionally brutal, as the Dolphins settled for five field goals in a game in which we had the over, and the Chargers blew a 24-7 lead late in the first half to lose by a touchdown (which I did say would be the worst case scenario in my prediction last week). On top of that, three of the top four receivers expected to play in the Packers-Falcons game were out due to injuries, and the over didn't really come close as a result. That brings the Lock of the Week to a measly 2-2 and our total record to an average 13-12-2 through four weeks. Hopefully we'll have better luck this week and get further above .500 heading into week 6.
Carolina Panthers Money Line at Atlanta Falcons
Carolina is a one-point underdog in this one, but I think they should be favored. The Falcons have been dreadful this season and are sitting at 0-4, while the Panthers are coming off back-to-back wins against fairly formidable opponents in the Chargers and the Cardinals. Additionally, the Falcons could be without their top two receivers, as both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are currently listed as questionable. As we saw on Monday night, even if both suit up to start the game, there is a decent probability one or both of them won't finish it. And even with their two receiving stars, Atlanta's defense has proven itself to be lackluster at best. Teddy Bridgewater has been rolling as of late, and I like the Panthers to extend their win streak to three games on Sunday.
Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Under 55.5
The Chiefs have surprisingly played in several low-scoring games this season, as their defense seems to have improved significantly since last year. This has taken the pressure off of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense, and Andy Reid hasn't had to open up the playbook too much and score a lot of points to win games. I expect that trend to continue against the Raiders, who barely reached 20 points in each of their last two games against the Patriots and the Bills. Out of Kansas City's four games thus far, the over has only hit once, and the point total of 55.5 is the highest point total of their four contests. With their high-powered offense, there's always a danger in taking the under in a Chiefs game. But I think they'll be able to let off the gas in this one as well and stroll to an easy, relatively low-scoring victory.
Los Angeles Rams at Washington Football Team Under 46.5
Washington decided to bench Dwayne Haskins for Kyle Allen this week, and while that could provide a spark for their offense, I am leaning toward the opposite effect. The Rams defense has been strong this season, holding three of their four opponents to below 20 points, including only nine points allowed last week against the Giants. L.A. typically scores only as much as they need to win, as they totaled just 20 points in week 1 and 17 points in week 2. Washington's offense is obviously struggling if they're going to a new quarterback, and shouldn't be much more of a threat to the Rams than the Giants were a week ago. I don't expect the point total to touch 40 in this one.
Miami Dolphins +9 at San Francisco 49ers
I'm shocked that the 49ers are 9-point favorites in this one. While Miami only has one win, they've hung in there with the Patriots, Bills, and Seahawks, all teams in the top third of the league in my opinion. On the other side, the 49ers just lost to the lowly Eagles, and while Jimmy Garoppolo may return, I don't see him making a huge impact. I think the Dolphins remain within a touchdown, and could even escape with a win if Ryan Fitzmagic plays to his capabilities. The connection between Fitzpatrick and DeVante Parker looked incredibly strong last week, and I think a big day is in store for Miami's offense. Miami's defense played relatively well against the Seahawks as well, holding them to their lowest point total on the season, albeit still exceeding 30. Nonetheless, the Dolphins at +9 is a no-brainer for me.
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Over 56.5
Seattle's offense has been phenomenal this season, and the over would've hit in the game we bet last week against the Dolphins had Miami been able to convert one of their five field goals into a touchdown. Minnesota has finally found an offensive groove, compiling 61 points over their last two games. Seattle is averaging 36 points per game (PPG) while surrendering 27 PPG, and the Vikings have scored 27 PPG while allowing 31 PPG. For all you math wizards out there, that's a combination of 63 PPG scored and 58 PPG allowed for the two teams. Using the law of averages, that would put our expected point total at 60.5, which would allow the over to hit comfortably. Numbers aside, I really like the way Minnesota's offense looks, as their trio of Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Adam Thielen have been explosive of late. I'm fully expecting fewer field goals and more touchdowns in a high scoring affair.
Los Angeles Chargers +8 at New Orleans Saints
Hey, I took the Chargers at +7 last week against the Bucs, citing the fact that they hadn't lost a game by more than five points all year and claiming the worst-case scenario would be a push. The worst-case scenario ended up taking place despite the Chargers mounting a 24-7 lead in the first half, but we at least didn't lose money. I'm rolling with the Chargers in these heavy underdog matchups until they prove me completely wrong. And everyone knows now that L.A. hasn't lost a game by more than seven points all year. I'm going to say the worst-case scenario against the, so far, unimpressive Saints on Monday night is that the Chargers lose by a touchdown again, so that we'll at least cover this time.
Lock of the Week: Dallas Cowboys -8.5 vs. New York Giants
Okay, I know the Cowboys has struggled to win games early on this season, but their offense is legit, as they've put up 40, 31, and 38 points in their last three. The issue has been on the defensive side of the ball, where they've given up 39, 38, and 49 in their last three. Those games were all against good offenses, and their opponent this week has anything but a good offense. In fact, they don't have that good of a defense either. There has been a lot of hate toward Dallas this year, with people deriding Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy and Jerry Jones. But I'm actually a believer in Dak, and think this is an easy decision. I credit Dallas's struggles for allowing this line to be so low, because the Cowboys should be at least two touchdown favorites in my opinion. The Lock of the Week will improve to 3-2 for sure.
Written by Nick Swatson