Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:02 PM
Sunday Blitz - Week 5
GAMES TO WATCH
Jaguars at Chiefs (-3, 49) – 1:00 PM EST
These two AFC playoff squads from a season ago have started strong in 2018 by combining for a 7-1 record. Kansas City (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) is the only team in the league that has covered each of its first four games, coming off the dramatic finish in Denver on Monday night. The Chiefs erased a late 23-13 deficit with a pair of touchdowns to cash as 3 ½-point favorites, capped off by Kareem Hunt’s four-yard touchdown scamper. Kansas City finished UNDER the total (barely) for the first time this season, while improving to 10-1 in its past 11 road divisional matchups.
Jacksonville (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) has proven so far that it is not a flash in the pan following last season’s run to the AFC championship. The Jaguars have limited all four opponents to 20 points or less, while coming off last Sunday’s 31-12 rout of the Jets as 7 ½-point favorites. Running back Leonard Fournette will not play on Sunday as he is sidelined with a hamstring injury, as T.J. Yeldon will get the bulk of the carries this week after rushing for 52 yards and scoring a touchdown in Week 4.
The Chiefs have captured the last three matchups since 2010, including a 19-14 triumph at Arrowhead Stadium in 2016. Jacksonville has covered in four of its past five opportunities as a road underdog since the start of 2017, while Kansas City owns a 7-2 SU/ATS record in its previous nine regular season contests at home.
Best Bet: Chiefs 24, Jaguars 20
Falcons at Steelers (-3, 58) – 1:00 PM EST
Not many people (or any people) would have predicted these two perennial playoff squads would combine for two wins through the first four weeks. Both clubs are coming off home losses last week to AFC North opponents as Atlanta fell in the final seconds to Cincinnati, while Pittsburgh was tripped up by Baltimore.
The Falcons (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) are the walking definition of a team that should be 4-0. In spite of numerous injuries to its defense, Atlanta led in the fourth quarter in losses to Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Cincinnati, while quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for nearly 800 yards and eight touchdowns in the last two losses. After the offense couldn’t score in the red zone against the Eagles, the Falcons have topped the 31-point mark in each of the past three games as each of those contests have sailed OVER the total.
The Steelers (1-2-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) have represented the AFC North each of the last two seasons, but are sitting at the bottom of the division alongside the Browns through one month. Pittsburgh is missing running back Le’Veon Bell (literally and figuratively) as backup James Conner has been limited to 19 rushing yards or fewer in each of its two losses. The Steelers rallied to tie the Ravens last week at 14-14, but Baltimore held Pittsburgh scoreless in the second half as Mike Tomlin’s team has started 0-2 at home for the first time since 2013.
Pittsburgh has won each of the last two meetings with Atlanta, including a 27-20 victory at the Georgia Dome in 2014. The Falcons own a 3-1 SU/ATS record in their past four opportunities as a road underdog against AFC foes, while the Steelers have won five of their last six at Heinz Field against NFC opponents.
Best Bet: Falcons 31, Steelers 28
Vikings at Eagles (-3, 46 ½) – 4:25 PM EST
These two teams played for the NFC championship last season as Philadelphia dominated Minnesota in a runaway, 38-7 en route to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title in franchise history. The two quarterbacks that started that day, Nick Foles and Case Keenum, will not start this time around with Carson Wentz back for Philadelphia and Keenum headed off for Denver. The key questions are if the Eagles can creep above the .500 mark and whether or not this is a do-or-die game for Minnesota.
To answer the first question, Philadelphia (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS) is suffering from an early Super Bowl hangover after losing to Tampa Bay and Tennessee through the first month. The Eagles threw away a 17-3 advantage against the Titans and ultimately lost in the final seconds of overtime, 26-23 to drop to 0-2 on the road. Playing at home has been a different story for the Eagles, who are 2-0 at Lincoln Financial Field and 11-1 in Philadelphia since the start of last season.
The second question is a little more difficult to answer. Minnesota (1-2-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) began the season as one of the top choices to win the NFC and took care of San Francisco at home. However, the Vikings missed a last-second field goal in a tie with the Packers, then were shocked by winless Buffalo at home. The Vikings hung with the undefeated Rams last Thursday night, but ultimately lost 38-31. Only five teams in the NFC own winning records heading into Sunday, so Minnesota can still come back. However, this normally reliable defense has yielded 94 points in the past three weeks.
Best Bet: Eagles 23, Vikings 19
Kevin Rogers (4-0-1 last week, 11-7-2 on season)
Bills +3 ½
Chris David (3-2 last week, 12-8 on season)
Bills +3 ½
Kevin Rogers (3-1)
Panthers over Giants
Chris David (3-1)
Steelers over Falcons
BEST TOTAL PLAY (1-0 last week, 3-1 this season)
UNDER 40 ½ - Cardinals at 49ers
Although Arizona is 0-4, the Cardinals have been very competitive the last two weeks in home losses to the Bears and Seahawks. The Cards scored a combined 31 points in those defeats, but limited their opponents to 36 points after allowing 34 to the Rams back in Week 2. Josh Rosen makes his second start for Arizona after throwing for 180 yards against Seattle, as the Cardinals have yet to score more than 17 points in a game. The 49ers continue to play without Jimmy Garoppolo, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. San Francisco lost a 29-27 shootout to Los Angeles last week, although two touchdowns were a pick-six and an 82-yard touchdown pass. Last season’s two meetings each finished UNDER the total, while Arizona is a perfect 4-0 to the UNDER.
TRAP OF THE WEEK
The Broncos came so close to handing the Chiefs their first loss of the season last Monday. However, Kansas City rallied back to win the fourth straight year in Denver. Now, the Broncos travel east on a short week to take on the struggling Jets. Under head coach Vance Joseph, the Broncos are 1-8 in their nine road games, while failing to cover a game in four opportunities this season. Denver has moved to a slight road favorite, while the Jets try to build on a 7-1 ATS mark as a home underdog in 2017.
BIGGEST LINE MOVE
The Titans opened up as 3 ½-point favorites against the Bills this week in Buffalo, but that number has jumped to 5 ½ at most books. All three of Tennessee’s wins have come by three points each, including recent underdog triumphs over Jacksonville and Philadelphia. The Titans are 0-1 SU/ATS as a favorite this season, while going 0-3 SU/ATS in the underdog role. This is the lowest line the Bills have seen this season, as Buffalo tries to end a three-game SU/ATS home losing streak in the underdog role.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
The Rams look for a 5-0 start as Los Angeles leaves the state of California for the first time this season with a trip to Seattle. It’s odd to see the Seahawks listed as a touchdown underdog at CenturyLink Field, but the Rams have won eight of their last nine games away from the Coliseum. Last season, the Rams drilled the Seahawks in Seattle, 42-7, for their second win at CenturyLink Field in three seasons. The last time Seattle was a home underdog of more than four points came against Baltimore in 2011 as the Seahawks won, 22-17 in the season before Russell Wilson was drafted.
Want FREE picks for Week 5 in the NFL? Check them out here for the top three games of the weekend along with other insider selections.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
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