By: Jake Bevans (Twitter: @bevmo4less)
After having the pleasure of writing this article for two weeks, I can now look back on the picks I’ve made. Man, last week was a good one. Who saw the Dolphins putting on a show in San Francisco? Probably just Fitzmagic and myself, but even I didn’t think it would end 43-17.
Through two weeks my picks are 3-3 and I will continue to keep track of my “record” to stay accountable. There’s no way I would’ve taken the Patriots over Chiefs in week four had I known Cam would’ve gotten Covid but I’ll take the L there. On to week six!
Houston Texans (1-4) upset Tennessee Titans (4-0)
Vegas Spread Titans -3.5, O/U 53.5
Ryan Tannehill has been nothing short of amazing since week 7 of last season when he took over as starting Quarterback. Credit Mike Tagliere for this, in the 14 games since Tannehill has taken over he’s scored no less than 17.9 fantasy points only twice. Now, of course, this is an upsets article but to score those numbers in fantasy for so long Tannehill has been playing very efficiently while only throwing 33 times per game so far this season.
That being said, we can’t forget about the Stiff Arm King himself, Derrick Henry. The Houston Texans are allowing an NFL high 802 yards on the ground this season so Derrick Henry, who’s third in the league in rushing yards in just four games will smash. I see this game ending earlier than any of the early games because of this, time of possession will be key.
What a difference a week makes, after firing Bill O’Brien the Houston Texans hung 30 on the Jacksonville Jaguars after averaging 20 points per game in the first four games of the season. Maybe the players have rallied around Romeo Crennel as I had mentioned last week? Instead, I believe it’s because they now have a coach who knows how to gameplan. Houston is averaging an NFL low in time of possession with 25 minutes per game, however, they held the ball for 28 minutes last week against the Jaguars which is a good sign should that trend continue.
It will take JJ Watt and the Texans’ defense stepping up in a big way to keep this game from getting out of hand but I can’t bring myself to bet against Deshaun Watson who’s made some of the most unreal plays since entering the league. While the Titans held Josh Allen in check, they’ve allowed Kirk Cousins and Gardner Minshew to throw for 250+ yards and three touchdowns. If I’m Romeo Crennel I’m letting Watson chuck it while adding a healthy dose of David Johnson, who’s averaging 4.3 yards per attempt, to keep the ball out of the Titans’ hands.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) upset Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
Vegas Spread Cardinals -1, O/U 55
I’m amazed to see that the Cardinals are favored here, Vegas must not have much faith in Andy Dalton or the Dallas defense. I, opposed to Vegas have less faith in Kyler Murray’s arm than in Dalton’s. Murray has turned the ball over in each game this season and while the Cowboys’ defense isn’t stout, it can compete next to the defenses of the Jets, Panthers, Lions, and Washington Football team who have all forced a turnover against Murray. Back in week four, I said turnovers would be the key to a victory against the Cardinals and the same can be said here. The biggest difference between now and then is what will we see from the Cardinals backfield? Should the Cardinals continue to use Chase Edmonds as a receiver out of the backfield, Murray could have a better game. With that said if the Cowboys are smart, they’ll shift half of their defense towards DeAndre Hopkins and force someone else to beat them.
No Dak, no problem? It’ll be up to Andy Dalton to see if that’s the case. With a much worse supporting cast, Dalton threw for 268.8 yards per game in Cincinnati which is more than enough should Ezekiel Elliott continue to rush for four yards per carry. I see the Cardinals stacking the box as much as possible this week to force Dalton to beat them and I think he’ll do it after not showing much rust last week after Dak’s injury.
Decision making by both quarterbacks will be very important in this game and turnovers will be the deciding factor. Similar to my reasoning of why the Panthers would beat the Cardinals back in week four, if Andy Dalton can keep the ball out of the other team’s hands while providing a heavy dose of Zeke, the Cowboys can run away with this one.
Buffalo Bills (4-1) upset Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
Vegas Spread Chiefs -4.5, O/U 57.5
In a game that most would smash the over, the key to a Bills’ victory will be the defense. It’s no secret that the Chiefs are still the Super Bowl caliber team we are all too familiar with, but they’ve shown last week that they can be beaten. The Raiders held Mahomes and the Chiefs to only eight points in the second half and one can only imagine the number of times Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott has watched that film since then. With the Leveon Bell signing there is a chance that this Chiefs team doesn’t lose again once they have him on the field, however, this is the Bills’ best shot to get a win and most importantly a lead in the AFC that comes with a bye week in the playoffs.
Last week was tough sledding for the Bills who seemed to come crashing back down to Earth after a 4-0 start. It was very obvious that not having John Brown to play the field stretching role was hard on Josh Allen who was forced to target a double-covered Stefon Diggs 16 times. With their offense back at full strength, the Bills have already proven that they can hang with the best of the best. On the other side of the ball, missing Tre’Davious White was a huge blow even against such a run-heavy team in the Titans. Without White, the Bills defense allowed A.J. Brown seven receptions with 82 yards and a touchdown. This week won’t be the same as White is back and is a shutdown corner who may chase Tyreek Hill around but I can also see McDermott putting White on the Travis Kelce whenever possible and bracket coverage on Tyreek to stop the deep ball. This game will be very exciting to watch and I believe it will come down to which team makes the one major mistake.