- Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
This week’s football news was dominated by two things: Odell Beckham Jr., who says he is no longer having fun playing football, and the league’s inability to regulate player celebrations after several players celebrated with pelvic-thrusts, some of which were flagged and others that were not.
Oh right, and Tom Brady is back.
The whole No Fun League stuff feels a little stale to me, honestly. Is it news that refs are inconsistent, or that the league is extremely self-serious when it comes to on-the-field behavior? I’m not sure exactly how to fix it, but clearly a more lenient policy on touchdown celebrations is the first step. Nobody is getting hurt, and it’s not like any of these celebrations are Terrell Owens-esque.
My feeling about Beckham, meanwhile, is pretty simple. He needs to figure out a way to not get so upset when he’s targeted by his defenders. He’s going to be targeted unfairly (just as most elite wide receivers are), and they’re only going to continue to target him seeing how quickly he starts to loose his cool. Just run back to the huddle! Beckham is a generational talent and this stuff is only getting in the way. Plus, he’s on my fantasy team and really underperforming.
Anyway, I clawed my way back to .500 on the season this week, and still felt in retrospect like I missed some very obvious picks.
Why do I continue to take the Dolphins? Or the Lions?
All lines courtesy of Vegas Insider.
Last week: 8-7
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at San Francisco 49ers (Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET)
- Rick Scuteri/AP
No Carson Palmer, no problem. It’s hard to imagine Drew Stanton throwing the ball a ton, which means a lot of action for David Johnson against a terrible 49ers defense, which looks especially vulnerable now that NaVorro Bowman is out for the year.
Meanwhile, when are we going to see Colin Kaepernick? What’s the worst that can happen: the Niners lose?
The pick: Cardinals -3.5
Houston Texans (+6.5) at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Hannah Foslien/Getty
Peter King has Sam Bradford as his quarter-season MVP. Sam Bradford!
Now, Bradford’s numbers have been good. He’s completed 67% of his passes, and hasn’t turned the ball over. But he’s not really MVP quality, is he? I guess it gets to the old question of how you define “value”, and it’s only Week 5. I don’t want to get into that yet.
Anyway, Houston’s offense is struggling and the Vikings are red-hot.
The pick: Vikings -6.5
Tennessee Titans (+3.5) at Miami Dolphins (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Gary Landers/AP
The Dolphins are a joke, and I’m still mad I took them last week. Titans win outright in a game that you shouldn’t watch.
The pick: Titans +3.5
New England Patriots (-10.5) at Cleveland Browns (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Charles Krupa/AP
Nothing to see here…
The pick: Patriots -10.5
New York Jets (+7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Jared Wickerham/AP
So: The Chiefs killed the Jets. The Steelers killed the Chiefs. See where I’m going with this?
The pick: Steelers -7
Washington Redskins (+4) at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Chuck Burton/AP
Oof, this is a weird one. I’ll take the Ravens to win, but not to cover.
The pick: Washington +4
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Detroit Lions (Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Chris Szagola/AP
Wentz coming off a bye week? Done.
The pick: Eagles -3
Chicago Bears (+4.5) at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
- Ben Hoskins/Getty
I’m just going to write “poor Andrew Luck” every week from here on out. This team needs to either fire Chuck Pagano, fire Grigson, or both. Luck is too good to be wasted like this because the rest of the team is so bad.
The pick: Colts -4.5
Atlanta Falcons (+5.5) at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
- USA Today Sports
Game of the week!
Julio Jones vs. Aqib Talib! MVP candidates Trevor Siemian vs. Matt Ryan!
I’ll keep riding with the Broncos defense, which has proved to be incredibly reliable.
The pick: Broncos -5.5
Buffalo Bills (+2.5) at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
- Bill Wippert/AP
I’m not expecting this game to be a particularly thrilling one, but it will be revealing. The Bills’ two wins are against the Cards and Pats; the Rams are 3-1. Still, neither of these teams actually feels like a playoff team. Let’s see what happens.
The pick: Bills +2.5
San Diego Chargers (+3.5) at Oakland Raiders (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
- Patrick Smith/Getty
The thing is, when the Chargers inevitably blow this game late in the 4th quarter and lose, will they lose by more than 3.5 points? Probably.
LaDainian Tomlinson said this week that the Chargers should trade Philip Rivers. They’re in rebuild mode, and he’s still quietly great. Meanwhile, his big contract is taking up too much of the cap to fully rebuild. I say deal him – to the Jets!
The pick: Raiders -3.5
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
- Getty Images
I like the Bengals here. The Cowboys defense is … not good.
The pick: Bengals -1
New York Giants (+7.5) at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Instead of talking about Beckham, let’s complain about Ben McAdoo!
The conservative play-calling is infuriating. The draw plays are maddening. This team has an extremely dangerous receiving corp! Please mix in some play-action! Maybe let Eli throw it more than five yards at a time. Especially when down 14 in the fourth quarter.
The pick: Giants +7.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) at Carolina Panthers (Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
- Kevin C. Cox/Getty
I’m taking the Panthers at -7 here but am reserving the right to change this if and when it is announced that Cam Newton won’t be playing.
Speaking of, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman had a scary story this week that said team executive are seriously worried about Newton’s career because of all the hits he’s taken. Some say he’s got five years left, tops.
Cam is 27. That’s terrifying.
The pick: Panthers -7
Now check out our Week 5 power rankings…
- Joe Sargent/Getty