We finally had the week I've been expecting all season. It wasn't quite perfect, but we went 6-1 this past Sunday and Monday to bring our total record to 23-13 for 2022. That's a heck of a start in my book, especially compared to the bit of struggles I endured a year ago. Even more impressive is that my Locks of the Week are on a tear, bouncing back from last week's first loss to sit at 5-1 through five weeks. (No, that's not a typo. I gave out a special double Lock of the Week in Week 2.
Let's keep it rolling into the sixth slate of NFL games and try to ride the momentum to notch our first undefeated week in my BSSR pick-giving history.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers Under 44.0
When in doubt, just bet the under in a game featuring the Bucs or the Steelers. Three of Pittsburgh's five games have stayed under the point total, as have four of Tampa's five games, including both road contests for them. The Steelers just have no offense whatsoever and are coming off a demoralizing game in which they could only muster three points in an absolute beatdown at the hands of Buffalo. On the other hand, the only time the Buccaneers have scored more than 21 points in a game were when they got into a bit of a shootout with Kansas City, though that game was never really even close. Tampa has a new play style with the aging Tom Brady at QB and it involves playing conservatively on offense and holding opponents to minimal points with their strong defense. And this game will play out no differently. The Bucs will win something like 20-10 leaving plenty of breathing room for our under play.
New York Jets +7.5 at Green Bay Packers
Another week, another New York team to cover an inexplicably high number against the Packers. I can't seem to figure out why Green Bay keeps getting favored by more than a touchdown, even against seemingly weaker opponents. I mentioned this in last week's article, but aside from their 17-point win over the Bears in Week 2, Green Bay's other two wins have been by a combined five points. And their total plus/minus this season factoring in their two losses is a measly one point. The Jets just demolished the Dolphins, albeit with Miami's third string QB playing most of the game, but injuries at the quarterback position shouldn't compromise your defense all that much... Or so you would think. However, New York put up 40 on a Dolphin defense that was giving up an average of 23 per game, and that was including two of the most explosive offenses in the league that they'd faced in the first four weeks of the season. Breece Hall is starting to explode for the Jets and Zach Wilson brought the spark back to the offense that I alluded to in Week 4's article. I still think the Packers find a way to win this game, but it'll be by less than a touchdown for sure.
Minnesota Vikings -3.0 at Miami Dolphins
I just talked about how the Jets destroyed Miami last week, and following the announcement that third-stringer Skyler Thompson will be making his first career start this week, I'm pretty shocked that Minnesota is only a 3-point favorite. The Dolphins had to rely on the run game after Teddy Bridgewater left last game very early with a concussion, and Thompson was only able to throw for 166 scoreless yards in his first live reps on the NFL stage. Miami's run game isn't strong enough to keep them alive without any kind of deep ball threat, and Thompson's arm and rapport with his receivers aren't enough to stretch the defense, even with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle split out wide. Kirk Cousins and the Viking offense are on a bit of a roll right now, winning their last three in a row and four of their first five matchups. Their defense should be able to hold up better against a weak Dolphins offense, allowing for an easy cover on the road.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Over 50.5
I'll be honest, the Seahawks aren't a team that I've been able (or willing) to watch a whole lot of this season. But man, is their defense atrocious. In their last four games, they've surrendered 27 to both San Francisco and Atlanta, 39 to New Orleans, and 45 to Detroit. None of those teams come to mind when thinking of the most powerful offensive units in the NFL. It's safe to say that the Cardinals, while they have had their struggles, are more talented offensively than any team Seattle has faced all season. In their most recent matchup, 68 total points were scored, and judging by the way Seattle has played so far this season, that should be right on par to where this game will end up too. This will be Arizona's final game without DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup, and I'd feel even better about this pick if he were suiting up this week. But there are enough weapons on both offenses and enough holes in both defenses that I see this game being a shootout all the way through.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Over 54.0
I honestly tried to convince myself to take the under in this game, but only because I think everyone will expect it to go over. I tried to imagine a lower scoring, more defensive game to follow up the thrilling overtime shootout these two teams put on in the playoffs last year, but no stats or observations can make me side with the under here. The Bills have the best offense in football in my opinion, and Patrick Mahomes continues to dazzle and make incredible plays week in and week out. Teams seemingly don't even try to cover Travis Kelce in the red zone, and I should know considering his four-touchdown showing Monday night cost me a fantasy football win.
The last three meetings between these two teams have all yielded in 58 or more total points, and after watching these two offenses for the last few weeks, I'm predicting the number in this game to be even higher than that. This is the game I'm most excited to watch this weekend, and I know points will be given out left and right from these two high octane offenses.
Dallas Cowboys +6.5 at Philadelphia Eagles
I'm back on the Cowboys again this week, who, yet again, are relatively big underdogs despite their dominant stretch since Dak Prescott went down. Like I said in last week's article, I just don't think Dallas will give enough the points that would allow Philadelphia to win by a touchdown or more. Philly's offense has been electric in both aspects this season, but the Cowboys have still not allowed 20 points in a game all year. This is sure to be another low-scoring game, but I feel more comfortable trusting Cooper Rush to keep the Cowboys in a game that might get a bit more high scoring than to rely on both defenses to hold each other under the point total.
Lock of the Week: Indianapolis Colts TT Under 21.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
My oh my, is this Colts offense bad or what? Last Thursday night's game between them and the Broncos put the game of football back 50 years, as not a single touchdown was scored in a 12-9 overtime snooze-fest. I have no faith in Matt Ryan and this Indy offense right now, which is why I was shocked to see their team total listed all the way at 21.5 points against a Jacksonville team that shut them out in Week 2. The Colts haven't scored 21 points in a game all season, with their highest output being 20 in their tie with Houston in Week 1. Indianapolis is somehow favored to win this one, but it's going to be extremely close and hard-fought. The status of Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines are still sort of up in the air, and Matt Ryan is good for a couple turnovers a game. The Colts are allergic to the end zone at the moment and that's why my Lock for this week is for them to stay well below their team total of 21.5.
Written by Nick Swatson