Week 5 got off to a cracker on Friday with a 14-point Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts with a lot left to be desired with both team’s defences. Last week being the first BYE week for teams is certainly food for thought in the Pick 7 in terms of energy levels and mentality for certain teams this round.
Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday 18:00)
Both sides come into this with identical records and find themselves at the foot of their divisional tables. This really is a must win for both teams and it’s poised perfectly to entertain; Big Ben Rothilsberger recently got his mojo back and the Falcons seemingly find defending a step too far. Couple that with the ongoing political feud at Pittsburgh limiting their offence then it makes a tasty battle between two serious under-performers. The only thing that really tips this one is the home advantage for Pittsburgh and as a result they should get home in a close one.
New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers (Sunday 18:00)
The Giants are rooted to the bottom of the NFC East and face a flourishing Panthers roster that is high on confidence and energy off the back of a BYE week. The Giants have a poor offence despite snagging Saquon Barkley in this year’s draft and having a plethora of offensive talent pre-existing in the roster. Combine this with a poor defence against the run against a Panthers team that are 3rd in yards per rush and like the run and the likelihood is the Giants are going home with another loss on their record. A highlight for the English fans in this one, is the return of Nigerian-born, English defensive end, Efe Obada off the back of an exceptional performance from which he came away with an interception, a sack, and a game ball. No doubt he’ll be poised for a big performance again after two weeks of media coverage of his rags to riches story.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday 18:00)
Undoubtedly the best match-up of the round with the best offence in the NFL going up against the best defence. Despite having the least impressive game of his season last time, Patrick Mahomes guided the Cheifs to victory against a hot Broncos defence but will likely face an even sterner task in this one with the infamous ‘Sacksonville’ defensive line eating good offences for fun this season. Mahomes somehow slid out of the stickiest of pressure situations last week and its beginning to look like his offensive line need to do more before he gets well and truly thwarted. This will most likely be the week it happens with the hot KC offence against a near impenetrable Jacksonville that has conceded only 56 points in total this season. Probably the best match up of the round.
Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday 18:00)
Miami come into this off the back off a hammering at the Patriots which brought their dream-like 3-0 start back to reality, while the Bengals clinched a win late on against the struggling Atalanta Falcons. Injury-wise, it’s likely both teams will be missing their centres which is arguably one of the most undervalued positions from a betting perspective; Cincinnati’s centre has been out for the past two weeks and Miami lost their team-captain centre last week with a torn tricep. The replacements, however, have had mixed fortunes, with the Bengals still surviving without Billy Price and the Miami offensive line getting pounded by the Patriots last week without their first choice. The Bengals are also notoriously good off the back of a win and it doesn’t look like a weak Miami offensive line will change that. No doubt Tannehill is going to have an interesting day out.
Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday 21:25)
The Vikings come into this off the back of a respectable loss against loss last Thursday against the Rams, while Philadelphia are looking to make reparations after a soul-destroying overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans in Tennessee. It looks as though it could be a very pass-heavy game offensively with the Eagles having a very pass-heavy offence, the Vikings exhibiting frailties against the pass, and the Eagles running a defence that’s good against the rush with a weak secondary. The Vikings have had a rough start to the season, clocking their sole win against the 49ers before going down to Bufallo and Green Bay. The Vikings, however, generally perform well as a road underdog and will be well rested off the back of a Thursday – Sunday preparation period, whereas the Eagles most likely have on eye on their huge divisional match-up and quick turnaround next week for a trip to the Giants. Couple that with their underperforming secondary and it looks as though Minnesota could rack up a few points and get their season back on track in this one.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (Sunday 21:25)
The Rams are on fire this season and it won’t stop here. They come into this off the back of wins against two strong title contenders – the Vikings and the Chargers – and will likely not face any equitable level of competition in this one from the 2-2 Seahawks. The only redeeming feature for the hosts will be their raucous crowd getting behind their team for a strong home advantage – although they’ve also lost 4 of the last 5 at home. With TG3 still unstoppable and Jared Goff having the time of his life with the Rams passing offence, this should be a comfortable win for the Rams.
Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans (Monday 01:20)
A pretty poor way to end the week’s NFL – a faltering Dallas Cowboys outfit against an equally average Texans side. If it was at Dallas then the Cowboys are a shoe in, unfortunately for America’s team, it’s not and they’ll probably struggle to get up in this one. JJ Watt had a decent day last time out when the Texans took advantage of erroneous Indianapolis play calling at the death and he could be the key to stopping the brutish Dallas offence this weekend. Either way, this’ll be a very interesting one and the Texans probably deserve favouritism.