With some tough matchups in Week 5, Nick Ballistreri (13-8) guides you to some winning picks.
Week 4 Record: 2-3
NFL Season Record: 13-8
After going 2-3 last week, I’m not happy. Yeah I’m 13-8 so far for about 62%, and if you’ve taken all of my games so far, you’d be profitable. That being said, I won’t stand for average, and need to get better. It starts this week!
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles Pick
Remember when the Jets were a trendy playoff team? Today, they’re fighting just to look like an NFL team. With Quarterback Sam Darnold still sidelined with Mono, the Jets will be trotting out Luke Falk again against an Eagles team that looks to have regained their mojo after their early season struggles. Coming off a huge win against the Packers in which the Eagles offense walked up and down the field in Lambeau, the Eagles must be licking their chops with the Jets on the schedule.
The Eagles are favored by 13.5 points in this one. Can you guess which way I’m leaning? If Sam Darnold was playing in this one, I would consider taking the Jets, but even then, I might’ve leaned the Eagles way. Now with Luke Falk under center again, this one has the potential to get ugly, and quick. Philadelphia traditionally plays better at home, and I expect their crowd to impact several huge plays on the defensive and special teams end. Take the Eagles at -13.5, and don’t expect to sweat at all in this one.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Pick
A week ago, the Steelers were 0-3 and left for dead. Now, after a big win on MNF against the Bengals of all teams, they’re world-beaters again? Give me a break. I’ll give credit where it’s due: The Steelers looked good on a national stage Monday Night, making Andy Dalton and his offensive line look like high schoolers. However, the fact that it was on a national stage has lead some people to overrate the Steelers.
The Ravens on the other hand are being undervalued at the moment. The spread for this one is set as Ravens -3. These two teams, no matter the records, always play each other tough. They simply don’t like each other. I do expect a relatively close game, but I don’t see a scenario where Mason Rudolph can go score for score with Lamar Jackson and company. Give me the Ravens in this one, but buy it to -2.5 in the case of a last second field goal.
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins Pick
Every week it seems like the Patriots are favored by an outlandish number. This week, they are favored by 15 points on the road against the Redskins. Normally, these huge lines would scare me away, and I was even burned a couple weeks ago when the Pats were 20-something point favorites against the Jets. However, this spot is too prime to pass up.
For starters, we don’t even know who is playing QB for the Redskins. If it’s Case Keenum, he has shown 0 ability to be anything resembling a starting QB this season. If it’s Dwayne Haskins, I feel sorry for the kid for having his first career start against Bill Belichick. The greatest coach of all time feasts on these young QB’s.
While 15 points is high, it’s not enough, especially considering the Redskins just lost 24-3 against the Giants last week. Give me the Patriots BIG in this one.
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals Pick
These two teams are bad. The Bengals are coming off an absolutely embarrassing performance on a national stage on Monday Night, losing 27-3 to the Steelers in a game that wasn’t that close. The Bengals are down offensive linemen, skill players, and A.J Green still doesn’t have a timetable. It can’t get much worse in Cincinnati right now.
The good news is that they’re playing another winless team, the Cardinals. The Cardinals looked competitive early on this season, but the last two weeks haven’t put up much of a fight against the Panthers and Seahawks. The offense isn’t putting up points like they should be, and rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury is having a hard time figuring the league out.
The Bengals are favored by 3 points in this one at home. When a team is 0-4, but still favored, somethings gotta give. However, I like the Cardinals in this one. For starters, I believe Kyler Murray is already a better QB than Andy Dalton. Another key motivational factor in this game is the passing of Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell this week. When a tragedy like this happens in sports, the team usually digs a little deeper to pull out a win in the memory of the lost friend. I like the Cardinals to cover 3 in this one, and wouldn’t be surprised to see them win outright.
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants Pick
This is a very interesting game. Both of these teams are 2-2, and you could argue that going into the season, both teams had entirely different aspirations and goals. Now, the Vikings are sitting at 2-2 after a bad loss to Chicago, with a controversy on their hands.
The Vikings do not trust QB Kirk Cousins to open up the passing game, and there are rumblings from star receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen that they are not happy with the team’s strategy going into games. Diggs and Theilen are not having the season’s they expected, and their targets are down drastically compared to last season. However, if there’s ever a week to get the passing game going, it’s this week against the New York Giants secondary.
The Giants are coming off 2-straight wins, and Danny Dimes is the talk of the town. Last week’s 24-3 win against Washington was indeed impressive, but it’s important to take note the opponent at hand. The Vikings are favored by 5 points in this one, and just based off the national thermometer on these teams, I believe most people are going to back the Giants with the points.
I am not most people. I’m taking the Vikings at -5 for a few reasons. One, I believe Mike Zimmer is going to make Daniel Jones day extremely difficult with his defense. Two, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the Vikings start to get these star receivers involved, and the Giants secondary does not have the personnel to matchup. Vikings by 2 scores in this one.