Week 5 Vibe Check - Apologies for my Apple repair-induced vacation last week. For those curious, my offline picks kept me afloat at 3-2, while waiting to hear exactly how much a new keyboard for a MacBook costs.
The Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Arizona Cardinals all chipped in for me, but the Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars nearly cost me letters "Q" through "T."
What did we figure out this last week? Well, Tom Brady's favorite number is four and like I've been saying all year, "THE BUCS AREN'T THAT GOOD." Meanwhile, down in Atlanta, the Panthers once again showed us that they ARE a competitive football team by smacking down the Falcons so mercilessly that Dan Quinn got the ax. You could've gotten pretty good odds on his firing. Or if you're like me, you lost money for the second time that Adam Gase hasn't cleaned out his office yet.
Moving onto new business…
Titans -3.5 over Texans
The Ryan Tannehill experience keeps on rolling from town to town, even if a couple performances had to be delayed. The Titans wiped out an undefeated Bills team on the second ever Tuesday Night Football game on the strength of their passing game, which finally had its young, talented receiver, AJ Brown back in fighting shape and Jonnu Smith mid-breakout. This allowed them to leave Derrick Henry, Ford F-150 with a Ferrari engine, in the garage most of the night, tallying a season low in carries, two TDs, and one of the nastiest stiff arms in recorded history. The Texans may have managed to beat up a flailing Jaguar team, but they'll have a lot more trouble handling a surging offense, even if Deshaun Watson will be able to do some damage against a subpar pass rush.
Panthers -1.5 over Bears
THE! PANTHERS! ARE! GOOD! I've been trying to say it all year. Matt Rhule gets it. Joe Brady gets it. Teddy Bridgewater gets it. They've looked competent in every game this season and the offense keeps improving with each start, seemingly not missing a beat without McCaffrey. (Imagine what happens when he gets back). Meanwhile, the Bears are statistically one of the worst 4-1 teams in NFL history. They've lucked into a Charmin soft schedule that still required multiple collapses, a Foles' comeback, and a Brady blunder to get to where they are, which isn't that impressive.
Mike Davis has taken up the torch for his injured teammate and looked like a star in his own right. AP Photo/John Bazemore
Ravens -7.5 over Eagles
The Eagles have proven themselves to be a bit frisky, having found a gem in Travis Fulgram and benefited from the health of Miles Sanders. However, everything still hinges on Carson Wentz and his protection, currently averaging just a shade under four sacks let up a game. Bad news: the Ravens are coming off a seven sack performance against the Bengals. As for their offense, Lamar Jackson's run production has dropped this season, and with it, the overall effectiveness of their offense, which currently ranks 17th in DVOA. That's a ranking for a team whose victory has come by at least two scores. If this is a team who hasn't hit anything close to their stride, watch out.
Packers -1 over Buccaneers
This is QB matchup everyone's been talking about. Aaron Rodgers is a man on a no holds barred, take no prisoners, scorched earth mission to assert his dominance. Tom Brady is a man on the edge of a fall down, flat out, faltering 43 year old's breakdown. Rodgers has continued to elevate playmakers like Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan well above their ceilings. Brady has continued on without playmakers like Chris Godwin or Mike Evans from week to week and looked more human with each passing possession. The Bucs are destined to go 8-8 and you can hang this one up in loss column towards that unavoidable reality.
Aaron Rodgers has looked ten years younger orchestrating his offense this season. The Associated Press
Chiefs -4 over Bills
Patrick Mahomes has only lost back-to-back games in his career twice, once in 2018 and 2019. I wouldn't bet on this being the third. The Bills were left reeling after that thorough shellacking, while the Chiefs got caught trading punches with a scrappier Raiders team than anyone expected, leading to the largest loss in Mahomes' career. If the Bills couldn't keep the Titans under wraps, watch out for a motivated Chiefs offense that's talking about going back to basics and refocusing their play around the fundamentals. The star quarterback himself said that he can't rely on his scrambling and broken-plays-turned-good to win games. Do you hear that? It's the sound of 31 NFL defensive coordinators slamming their heads against the wall of their office in concert. The only interesting competition in this game should be who has the bigger arm.
It was locked up. A done deal. Over.
Within all reasonable expectations of how a football game should and could end, we were on the verge of Miller Time. Instead, as gamblers, we faced heartbreak. Agony. Torture. Defeat. Tickets, once as golden as Charlie's to the Wonka factory, now as worthless as the paper they were printed on.
Obviously, I'm talking about Sunday night's wonky, ass backwards, very no-good game between the Seahawks and the Cardinals. Let this article serve as a postmortem and an exorcism.
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast.
If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it. Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
Week 6 Vibe Check (2-3) This past week offered us a worthy entry into the Bad Beat Hall of Losers.
A brutal 22 point fourth quarter by the Eagles killed an easy -7.5 point cover by the Ravens, who haven't quite looked as dominant as we expected them to heading into this season. Meanwhile, the Panthers and Packers decided to make my big sweeping proclamations that Carolina's good and the Tampa Bay Bucs are bad look very silly.
As for my two wins, they were decent nail biters, too. The Titans, thanks to some creative coaching, managed to secure us a cover with a King Henry wildcat TD and the Chiefs showed us all a different dimension they have to crush people, their running game. This kept the game a little closer than most would've liked, but imagine adding Le'Veon Bell to this team. Yeah, start checking Super Bowl futures.