Another big week! #DajaniDimes went 11-5 against the spread and 3-2 for my top five picks. I can't lie, I'm pretty upset with how the "game of the century" went down. I was told Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to play football in Foxboro. Apparently they missed their flight out of Tampa, because Tom Brady did not look like Tom Brady, and I'm not going to blame it on the rain. Should have covered the spread.
Anyway, we have another incredible slate of football games to watch this weekend. I love that we get two NFC West matchups again this week, as the Los Angeles Rams kick off Week 5 against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night, and then the San Francisco 49ers take on the red-hot Arizona Cardinals. There's a chance Trey Lance may be making his first official start as well.
Let's go ahead and jump in. Peep my season stats below.
Top five picks record: 11-9
Overall ATS record: 35-29
Straight up record: 41-23
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
The Eagles are coming off of a double-digit loss to the Kansas City Chiefs -- who have a terrible defense. The Panthers, on the other hand, have the No. 3 defense in the league. This Panthers franchise has turned over a new leaf with Matt Rhule, and Sam Darnold has been playing fairly well. Somehow he's now a dual-threat quarterback running speed options in the red zone. He leads the NFL with five rushing touchdowns and had two last week. Darnold has also turned up the Panthers' passing game. D.J. Moore leads the NFL in 20-plus yard receptions (eight), and is in the top four in receptions (30) and receiving yards with (398).
Philly has flopped over its last three games. The Eagles lost a defensive matchup to the 49ers in Week 2 and then lost their last two games by double digits. Carolina had a wake-up call last week against the Dallas Cowboys but now return to its home fans for the first time since the season opener. The Eagles defense is struggling. Over the last two weeks they rank dead last in the league in average points allowed per game, average rushing yards allowed per game and third-down percentage. I'm going to lay the points with Carolina at home.
The pick: Panthers -3.5
Projected score: Panthers 27-23
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Tom Brady has gotten past the New England matchup and now it's on to bigger and better things. It has to be a relief for him in some way, even though he didn't play well. Now, he and the Buccaneers are presented with a get-right spot against a struggling team. I'm 2-2 ATS picking games involving the Buccaneers, but I think I can get back into the green this week.
No one wants to read any advanced stats about this matchup. I think everyone believes the Buccaneers will win this game, but will they cover the spread? Jacoby Brissett isn't very good, and he has to operate behind a bad offensive line. Then the defense has allowed 25 plays of 20-plus yards, which is the most in the NFL. The Dolphins lost by 10 points to the Indianapolis Colts at home last week, I'll take the Buccaneers to roll.
The pick: Buccaneers -10
Projected score: Buccaneers 30-17
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Cardinals are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL, and a divisional matchup in Week 5 seems like the perfect time for them to suffer a loss. I agree with that narrative, but I'm not high on the 49ers. They couldn't finish the job against the Green Bay Packers or Seahawks at home, and now they don't know who the starting quarterback will be. Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a calf contusion last week and said after the game that he hoped he would be out "just a couple weeks." Now, head coach Kyle Shanahan says he has a chance to play Sunday, but it's unknown if he will practice. I say if Garoppolo plays Sunday, he won't be 100%. If he doesn't play, then in comes the rookie Lance. Lance didn't play well in relief of Garoppolo last Sunday, but I guess you could argue the game plan didn't fit him. Either way, rookie quarterbacks don't fare well in their first-career starts, and Lance would have to play against the hottest team in the NFL.
The pick: Cardinals -5.5
Projected score: Cardinals 27-20
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New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Cowboys have won three straight and are rolling right now. This week, they get to build on that momentum at home in what should be an emotional game. The last time the Cowboys hosted the Giants, Dak Prescott suffered his gruesome season-ending ankle injury. A reason the Cowboys should be taken seriously this season is because of the emergence of the defense. Thanks to star cornerback Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys have recorded a takeaway in 11 straight games, which is the second-longest active streak in the league behind the Dolphins.
The Giants appeared to get back on the right track last week against the New Orleans Saints with great games from Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, but when it comes down to it, the Cowboys are just a better squad. "America's Team" has won seven of their last eight games against the Giants in Dallas. Throw in the fact that Prescott is hot and playing for revenge, and that makes me want to lay the points with the Cowboys.
The pick: Cowboys -7
Projected score: Cowboys 31-23
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Here it is, the game of the week. In the grand scheme of things, this matchup is incredibly important. According to the NFL, this is the ninth time in 10 seasons that teams who played in the most recent AFC Championship are meeting the following year. Over the previous eight rematches, the winner has gone on to the Super Bowl five times and won it all four times.
Yes, the Chiefs got back on track with a win over the Eagles last week, but this defense is incredibly worrisome. They rank last in yards per play allowed (6.9), second-to-last in points allowed per game (31.3), second-to-last in total yards allowed per game (437.8) and third-to-last in rushing yards allowed per game (146). As for the Bills offense, well, they are destroying defenses. Buffalo has scored 118 points over the last three weeks, which is the most in the NFL. Josh Allen is obviously great, but it's the emergence of the ground game that has me more bullish on this team. The Bills are fifth in the NFL in rushing (145.3 yards per game), and have three players with over 100 rushing yards. Only two other teams in the NFL can say they have three players with over 100 rushing yards.
The Chiefs do have home-field advantage, but the Bills have won 13 out of their last 17 regular season games on the road. They have won four straight away from Buffalo and have scored 34 points in each of them! Are the Bills the better team right now? Right now, yes, I think so.
The pick: Bills +2.5
Projected score: Bills 31-27
Other Week 5 picks
Rams (-2.5) 24-20 over Seahawks
Falcons (-3) 24-14 over Jets
Vikings 25-21 over Lions (+9.5)
Broncos (+1) 24-23 over Steelers
Patriots (-9) 28-17 over Texans
Titans (-4.5) 27-20 over Jaguars
Bengals (+3) 28-23 over Packers
Saints (-2) 23-20 over Washington
Browns (+2) 26-24 over Chargers
Raiders 23-21 over Bears (+5.5)
Ravens (-7) 31-23 over Colts