With every team now at least a quarter of the way through the regular season, we are starting to see things take shape in the NFL. There was plenty of offense across the league in Week 5 with nine teams scoring at least 30. One of them was a shootout between the Texans and Falcons in which the Texans won, 53-32. Deshaun Watson finished with five touchdowns passes in that contest, three of which went to Will Fuller.
Several winless teams remained just that with the Bengals, Jets and Washington all losing once again. Meanwhile, the Cardinals put their first one in the win column by defeating the aforementioned Bengals, 26-23. Although the Bengals stormed back in the fourth quarter to tie the game, the Cardinals emerged victorious on a 31-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez as time expired.
Among the surprising losses was the Bears falling to the Raiders in London. The Raiders jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but the Bears stormed back with 21 points in the third quarter. However, they failed to register another point after that and the Raiders completed the victory on a Josh Jacobs two-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Another shocker came from the Colts, who went on the road to defeat the Chiefs. They held Patrick Mahomes and company to just 13 points while Adam Vinatieri added four field goals to Jacoby Brissett’s one-yard touchdown run.
As we turn the page to Week 6, we are met with four teams on a bye. There might be a couple of duds on the schedule, but we also have the potential for some great games, including the Chiefs hosting the Texans. As far as underdogs go, here are three who might be worth placing a wager on.
The Eagles provided one of the more lopsided wins of Week 5, trouncing the Jets by the score of 31-6. It was a quiet performance from Carson Wentz, who finished with 189 passing yards and a touchdown. However, the Eagles’ defense dominated Jets’ third string quarterback Luke Falk, who had only 120 passing yards to go along with two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The Eagles’ defense capped off their impressive showing by returning a fumble for a score in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Vikings got back on the winning track in their matchup against the Giants. They held down Daniel Jones in the process, who finished the game having completed 21 of 38 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The normally run-heavy Vikings also did plenty of damage through the air, including Adam Thielen hauling in seven catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
The key to this game could be the Eagles slowing down Dalvin Cook. While he’s been one of the most productive running backs in the league so far, the Eagles have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game. If they do slow him down, the Vikings might have a hard time putting points on the board. I can see a path for the Eagles to win this game outright, making the points even more appealing.
Dolphins (+3.5) vs. Washington (O/U 41.5)
In a mismatch of epic proportions, Washington had to face the Patriots last week. They surprisingly had a 7-6 lead after the first quarter and were only down 12-7 at the half, but the Patriots scored 21 points in the second half while Washington never put any more point on the board. After yet another loss, Washington decided to fire coach Jay Gruden and name Bill Callahan their interim head coach.
In a bit of good news for the Dolphins, they didn’t lose last week! Well, ok, that’s only because they were on a bye. Still, if they are ever going to win a game this season, this is likely going to be their best opportunity. They’ve had two weeks to prepare and will be facing another team who also has a ton of glaring holes. While Washington might be motivated by the head coaching change, the Dolphins being at home could give them the edge in this matchup. Like with the Eagles, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dolphins emerge victorious here, so I like taking the points.
Among the most impressive wins last week was the 49ers dismantling of the Browns, 31-3. They dominated the game on the ground, totaling 40 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Tevin Coleman looked sharp in his return from an ankle injury, turning 16 carries into 97 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, their defense generated four sacks and two interceptions of Baker Mayfield, who completed only 8 of 22 passes for 100 yards.
The Rams faced the Seahawks in what was a thrilling game Thursday night. They trailed by one point after two quarters, but took a 26-21 lead into the fourth thanks to two touchdown runs from Todd Gurley. Both teams then traded field goals before Chris Carson caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson with less than three minutes to play. The Rams then had a chance to win the game in the closing second, but Greg Zuerlein missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide to the right.
The Rams will now look to rebound at home, but there is some concern about the status of Brandin Cooks (concussion) and Gurley (quadriceps). If both or either of them can’t play, it would deal a significant blow to their offense. As it is, the 49ers have played extremely well on defense, allowing the second-fewest passing yards and the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game. Even if both players do take the field, the 49ers have played well enough that taking the points could prove to be profitable.
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