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NFL Week 5 Spread Locks

That was a letdown. Following an electric Week 3 it’s easy to look at Week 4 as a letdown. But that is not the case. There were upsets- Panthers knocking out Patriots in Foxboro, Bills winning in Atlanta. There were “did that really fucking happen again” moments- Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota going down in the same day for second straight season, Dolphins shut out again.

All in all the action is starting to settle. The Chiefs have ascended to the top of the league, Deshaun Watson has become the rookie sensation and everything else is upside down. The Patriots and Jets have the same record, the Giants are winless and the Rams are in first place. What chaos awaits us in Week 5? Let’s take a look at the slate.

Armchair GM

We’re going to put the three point stance to the side this week. Nothing has changed too drastically and if you happen to live off my advice, my apologies in advance. This week we’ll roll out Armchair GM. This is where we talk about the macro of a situation because often times the micro requires legitimate knowledge on a situation. In case the middle of the road game pick record was not an indicator, I’m no expert and neither are you, yet here we are.

This week we take a look at what the New York Giants should do with the remainder of their season. They are 0-4 with a bad head coach, no semblance of an offensive line and a declining franchise quarterback. Sounds bad right? Not completely. Here is the general outline real Giants GM Jerry Reese should follow this season.

I. Fire Ben McAdoo

Remind me, what has Ben McAdoo done as head coach? The offensive guru has been searching for answers since he took over for Tom Coughlin. Maybe start by stripping play calling duties away from him. I’d much rather accelerate the inevitable. The New York Giants are a classic franchise, a head coaching vacancy off the name alone would be enough to attract top candidates. Attach names like Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Janoris Jenkins and other good young players? That becomes the top job in the league.

To be fair to McAdoo, he won eleven games last season. But to also be transparent, it was not due to the offense. In McAdoo’s head coaching tenure the Giants have eclipsed 20 points nine times in 20 regular season games. They have yet to eclipse 30 points in the McAdoo era. Mind you this is with Odell keeping pace for the greatest receiving stats in league history.

Thanks for coming Ben, but in the words of the immortal Ari Gold…

II. Bench Paul Perkins for Wayne Gallman

Watching Paul Perkins run is like watching a Meg episode of Family Guy. I hate both and flip the channel almost instantly when it pops on my screen. The Giants offensive line already sucks as Don La Greca can tell you with his advanced metrics. Having Perkins, who has the versatility of napkins, plow into a sea of defenders simply won’t work.

This is where the young legs of Wayne Gallman can come through. In his debut the former Clemson Tiger ran for 42 yards on eleven carries. Gallman could have success similar to what Chris Carson of the Seahawks was having before going down for the season. The Seahawks’ line is worse than the Giants, yet Carson’s young legs were able to navigate the messy terrain his lineman set up for him. Gallman could be that same lightning in a bottle.

III. Target Saquon Barkley in Draft

Playoff hopes are not looking good right now at 0-4. The top pick is closer than a playoff spot at this point although things can change quickly. If the season ends with a top five pick the Giants should not obsess over finding Eli Manning’s successor. They should obsess over NYC native and Heisman frontrunner Saquon Barkley.

Barkley has been scorching defenses since he first threw on his Penn State uniform. This season he has already totaled 574 rushing yards, 27 receptions, 386 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns. The Penn State offense flows through him and the pairing of him and Odell is too enticing to pass up. The last stable running back the Giants had was Tiki Barber. It’s actually a credit to Eli that he has been able to be successful without that stable force behind him.

Taking Barkley does not necessarily mean they cannot take a quarterback. This year’s draft class is loaded with quarterbacks. Some could drop and the Giants could trade back into the first round to get their guy or simply see if one falls to them in round two. I believe Eli or a veteran free agent could have success with an arsenal of Odell, Barkley, Shepard, Evan Engram and Brandon Marshall.

IV. Give Odell the Bag

Last and not least, give Odell his damn money already. To say he is the Giants offense right now would be a massive understatement. The first two touchdowns of the season were scored by Odell and at times it seems like he is carrying the Giants on his back. Despite the severe scoring droughts under McAdoo, Odell has still managed to find paydirt 12 times in his last 19 games.

I understand the apprehension doling out big cash for someone who does not have the ball in his hands every play. I’m not suggest the Giants give Odell quarterback money but something in the neighborhood of Antonio Brown’s five-year $73 million extension earlier this year.

Odell could leverage for more cash given that he means more to the Giants than AB does to the Steelers, but he needs to be taken care of. With Odell locked up it doesn’t really matter who is under center. That’s value you cannot risk losing.

The Locks

My biggest takeaway through the first four weeks is that I know absolutely nothing. This year has been incredibly unpredictable, but that is still no excuse. Last week I went 8-8 overall but 1-3 in Locks. If you simply want to pick against me, be my guest. If you still have hope in me, let’s pray this is the week I figure this shit out.
Jets (+1) over BROWNS

Maybe my Jets just need my stink in order to lose. I, a rational Jets fan, was looking forward to a lot of losing this season. Witnessing Jamal Adams become the safety I always wanted the Jets to have would have been satisfaction enough. But in case you hadn’t noticed the Jets enjoy torturing their fans so here they are at 2-2, undefeated at home.

They will be on the road for this one, but at the lowly Browns. Deshone Kizer has had his peaks and valleys through four games, but has yet to secure a win. Right now the Browns are close but not close enough in these games. With the exception of last week’s 31-7 beatdown at the hands of their Ohio rivals, the Bengals, they have hung tough in games. That should be the case this week against a Jets team that does not have the firepower to blow anyone out.

This will likely be a game rarely featured on Red Zone but still has some young talent worth watching. The aforementioned Adams, Leonard Williams, Kizer, Jabrill Peppers are names worth tuning in for. Most importantly, top pick Myles Garrett will make his debut. Factoring all this in should result in a Browns win, but we know the Jets just love to piss us off.

Prediction: Jets 20, Browns 17

GIANTS (-3.5) over Chargers

Let’s stay in New York and hop over to the disappointing Giants. Their woes were covered earlier so we won’t harp on them any longer. As for the Chargers, life is not much better for them. They stink and no longer have a home crowd to lean on thanks to incompetent owner Dean Spanos uprooting the team from gorgeous San Diego to the crowded sports scene in Los Angeles.

A bad west coast team playing an early game east should be reason enough to ride with the Giants. Further evidence is that the Giants possess the best player in this contest (Odell Beckham Jr.), best defense and (somehow) the better coach. Both teams are 0-4 so desperation gets cancelled out. I believe the Giants are too talented to fall to 0-5. I’m calling a rare 20-plus point performance from Eli and company and a first win for Big Blue.

Prediction: Chargers 20, Giants 27

Jaguars (+8) over STEELERS

The Steelers are the quietest 3-1 team in football. They have yet to get rolling this season, thanks in large part to Le’Veon Bell working himself back into game shape. Last week Bell was a bellcow (no pun intended) against a Ravens defensive line missing Brandon Williams. The Jaguars defensive line will be a bigger challenge as will their secondary.

Where the Jaguars will win or lose this game on offense. Last week against the Jets they were unable to separate or take advantage of Josh McCown’s ineptitude. Leonard Fournette is the stud we expected him to be, but Blake Bortles is also as inconsistent as we expected him to be. There has to be a middle ground and the Jaguars have to find it if they want to play meaningful football past November.

Taking the points here is the safe route, but also dangerous. The Steelers have looked eh on the road but in their lone home game looked great. This game is the litmus test on a couple fronts for the Steelers. First, are they an elite squad and secondly, are they trustworthy of a decent spread at home. My respect for the Jags defense and skepticism around the Steelers is enough to take the points.

Prediction: Jaguars 19, Steelers 24

Chiefs (-1) over TEXANS

Now this is a primetime worthy game. The Chiefs are the best team in football at the moment and Deshaun Watson has the Texans on fire. Since stepping in for the impotent Tom Savage, Watson has breathed fresh life into the offense. He went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady two weeks ago and followed that up with a career performance against division rival Tennessee.

Watson obliterated the Titans to the tune of four touchdowns to only one interception. His presence opens up the run game (Lamar Miller fantasy owners know exactly what I’m talking about) as well as the pass game. DeAndre Hopkins is relevant again as is the Texans offense. What a time.

Things are just as peachy in KC. The Chiefs have yet to taste defeat and have not been beating up on bums. They have taken down the Patriots in Foxboro, handled the Eagles at home and escaped a scare against the Redskins at home. They’re a perfect 4-0 against the spread as well which could scare some people off. I’m not one of those people.

If everything plays out well this game will be the best of the day and feature two of the best rookies in football. I have not talked nearly enough about Kareem Hunt, but I’m sure you’ve heard enough from everyone else. Hunt is on pace for a rookie season unknown to us.

Look at this stat:

Insanity, no other word to describe that. Watching Hunt vs. Watson is reason enough to tune in. This game should be close throughout and hopefully we get a late game-winning drive. When it’s all said and done I think the weapons of the Chiefs proves a little too much for the Texans.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Texans 24

The Other Guys

Bills (+3) over BENGALS
LIONS (-2.5) over Panthers
COLTS (-1.5) over 49ers
DOLPHINS (-1) over Titans
EAGLES (-6.5) over Cardinals
Seahawks (+1) over RAMS
Ravens (-4) over RAIDERS
Packers (+2) over COWBOYS
Vikings (-3.5) over BEARS

Last Week: 8-8
Overall: 28-34-1

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