NFL Week 4: Sunday Games Picks & Predictions with Colin Cowherd’s Balzin’ 5

Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 1:00 PM (Texans -5.5, O/U: 47.5)

Allen gets his second start but against an always hungry defense. The Texans have been in fairly close games all season so far due to the lack of running game which gives the offense an overall inconsistency despite the excellent passing game. With all the weapons Allen has, expect the Panthers to keep it close. Take the Texans to win but the Panthers to cover in the over, Texans 27-24.

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM (Ravens -7.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Browns are struggling mightily to score only averaging 16 points per game. Baker looks to have regressed with additional weapons while only completing 56.9% of his passes. The Ravens have had an offensive output unlike ever seen in this organization. They’ve averaged 36.7 points and went toe to toe with the supreme offense of the Chiefs last week in a close losing effort. Lamar Jackson has completed 63% of his passes for 863 yards, 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Take the Ravens to cover in the win, in the over, Ravens 31-20.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions, Ford Field, 1:00 PM (Lions +7, O/U: 54.5)

The Chiefs have been one of the top offensive teams in the league since week 1 of last year. This year they are averaging 33.6 points and even without Tyreek Hill the last 2 weeks. Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Demarcus Robinsons and newly signed LeSean McCoy have all stepped up when needed. The Lions are a scrappy team who surprisingly lead the NFC North while beating a road tough Chargers and upsetting a championship team in the Eagles in their house. They come home to try their hands at another upset. Stafford has been efficient but the running game with Kerryon Johnson has been lacking which takes a dimension away from this team. Take the Chiefs to cover in the under, Chiefs 31-21.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM (Dolphins +14, O/U: 44.5)

The Chargers are always a tough road team. They’ve missed key players and especially on defense with Derwin James. Phillip Rivers has been exceptional and especially with top target Keenan Allen, expect that to continue with Fitzpatrick now a Steeler. The Dolphins handed the keys to Rosen last week and given how bad the defense was and the many drops his receivers had, overshadowed the good things he did. Expect him to have a his best outing of the season today. Take the Chargers to cover in the under, Chargers 34-17.

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills, New Era Field, 1:00 PM (Bills +7, O/U: 41.5)

The Patriots defense has started out very strong, probably the strongest any Pats defense have ever started by blowing out the Steelers, Dolphins and the Jets, only allowing 17 points. Brady has completed 68% of his throws for 911 yards, 7 TD’s and zero picks. The rushing game hasn’t really been there but it hasn’t been needed with how efficient Brady has been. The Bills have been scrappy and impressive with wins against the Jets and Giants on the road and beating the Bengals in a close one at home. You should rarely if ever bet against Bill Belichick and the Pats even though this one will be tough for them. Take the Patriots to cover in the under, Patriots 27-17.

Oakland Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, 1:00 PM (Colts -6.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Raiders have looked ok to start off the season. Sure they had a bad week against the Vikings but they held the Chiefs scoreless in 3 of 4 quarters the week before and beat the Broncos in week 1. Josh Jacobs has looked like an offensive rookie of the year candidate averaging 5 yards per carry. Carr has completed 73% of his passes but has 4 TD’s and 3 picks. The Colts have kept all games under a touchdown and have won 2 of them. Brissett has also completed over 70% of his passes and Marlon Mack has averaged 4.9 yards per rush on 61 carries for 299 yards. Both teams have allowed 70+ points in the first 3 weeks but the Colts have faced one team that is mediocre at best on offense where the Raiders have faced a top team in the Chiefs and held them to 28. Take the Colts to win but the Raiders to cover in the under, Colts 21-20.

Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1:00 PM (Falcons -3.5, O/U: 46.5)

Tennessee has been inconsistent as a team since drafting Mariota and having him lead this team. The one thing Mariota has done well is not throwing picks. What has helped him do that is the rushing game with Derrick Henry and Mariota’s own legs. The Falcons have been shockingly average given the big names on this offense. The rushing game has been non existent and the big performances by Julio Jones to nab 4 reception TD’s and 2 for Hooper and Ridley, to be 1-2 with 2 road games and barely coming away with a win against an Eagles team who lost their 2 top receivers in the opening quarter at home is concerning for their defense and if they can hold an average Mariota. Titans defense can be stout but I expect the better quarterback to be more careful with the ball and start to turn it around. Take the Falcons to cover in the over, Falcons 31-17

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM (Giants -3, O/U: 48.5)

The Redskins are choppy but hang in games for some reason. Keenan is a never give up guy and is very fiery. Keenan has completed 69% of his passes despite having a big name but we may see a big name emerging for them, Terry McLaurin who has 16 catches for 257 yards and 3 scores. Chris Thompson has been amazing out of the backfield with 16 catches and 195 yards as the second leading receiver on the team. Danny Dimes has breathed life into this team but it came at the expense of losing Saquon Barkley for at least 1-2 months with a severe sprain of his ankle. Evan Engram has been their top receiver, surprisingly. Given the Barkley injury, expect this one to be close.  Big late injury report has McLaurin out for the game as well. Take the Giants to cover in the under, Giants 24-13.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:05 PM (Cardinals +5, O/U: 47.5)

The Seahawks defense hasn’t been anywhere close to what they had been but Wilson has bailed them out with big time consistency, completing 71% of his passes for 901 yards and 7 TD’s with zero picks. Tyler Lockett has been the main target while D.K. Metcalf has emerged as another favorite target. Chris Carson has been a bruiser of a back but relatively ineffective. The Cardinals have played tough to start the season marking a tie against the Lions, going toe to toe with the Ravens and losing by less than a touchdown and suffered mightily against the Panthers at home. The defense hasn’t been great and they start slow in the first half, being outscored but have outscored opponents in the second half as you saw against the Lions. Take the Seahawks to cover in the over, Seahawks 27-21.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 4:05 PM (Rams -9, O/U: 48.5)

Jameis Winston has been highly inconsistent only completing 60% of his passes while tossing 5 TD’s and 4 picks. Ronald Jones has been a bright spot of the offense, emerging as their top back averaging 5.29 yards per carry but is not used as much as he should be given they’re often behind in games. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been Winston’s top receivers. A big win against the Panthers makes you question their power but their losses haven’t been terrible. The Rams are looking as powerful as ever and Cooper Kupp being back shows how much Goff missed him while catching a team best 23 passes while seeing the teams best 31 targets for a team best 267 yards and a team best 2 reception TD’s. Cooks and Woods are right behind him and are virtually seeing the same amount of targets. The duo of Gurley and Brown have been powerful and effective in mixing it up, keeping defenses on their toes. Take the Rams to cover in the over, Rams 34-23.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, 4:25 PM (Broncos -2.5, O/U: 37.5)

The Jags new found quarterback Gardner Minshew has taken the world and the meme world by storm. He’s come out firing and efficiently while also using his legs when in need. He’s been so good that Jalen Ramsey now doesn’t want to be traded. Minshew has completed 73.9% of his passes for 692 yards and 5 TD’s and just 1 pick. Fournette has been good enough when used but Minshew has 80 yards on 11 carries. DJ Chark and Chris Conley have been the top air targets with both averaging at least 16+ yards per catch, which is astounding. The Broncos thought the savior to their offensive troubles was the signing of Joe Flacco, who is trying to stave off retirement. they’ve played tough teams to start the year and have lost to them all but they weren’t terribly bad losses. He’s completed 69% of his passes but low yardage (773) and only 2 TD’s with 2 picks. Courtland Sutton has been his top target but has yet to reach the endzone while Emmanuel Sanders is showing he still has it being the second favorite target and 2 scores. With all of the big time players on this defense and defensive front, they are without a sack, which is a big deal! Take the Jaguars to cover in the win, in the over, Jaguars 24-21.

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, 4:25 PM (Bears -1, O/U: 38.5)

The Vikings have been an up and down team so far this year, beating 2 teams that are also inconsistent and tough. It almost seems like the Vikings don’t want Cousins to throw the ball given his inconsistencies, completing only 59% of his passes for 3 TD’s and 2 picks. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison have been the real leaders of this offense with over 500 yards combined, both averaging over 5 yards per carry and 5 TD’s. The Bears offense has been stagnant and also don’t fully trust Trubisky throwing the ball. The best quote about him was from the Packers Tramon Williams who said the key to their planning on defense was making Trubisky play quarterback. If that doesn’t scare you about your QB situation, I don’t know what will. Take the Bears to win in the under, Bears 20-17.

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8:20 PM (Saints +3, O/U: 48.5)

Dak has been unbelievable to start the year, completing 75% of his passes for 920 yards, 9 TD’s and 2 picks.  He’s playing for a contract so expect him to be at the top of his game against a banged up Saints defense.  Zeke has been averaging over 5 yards per carry. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb have been going nuts on the offense and have seen many targets because it’s just too tough to cover all of them.  Bridgewater shocked everyone in the Seattle game with the win but he didn’t look great.  Going against a much tougher defense will expose him greatly.  Take the Cowboys to cover in the over, Cowboys 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5:

  • Tennessee at Atlanta – Tennessee (+3.5)
  • Cleveland at Baltimore – Baltimore (-7)
  • Oakland at Indianapolis – Oakland (+6.5)
  • Seattle at Arizona – Arizona (+5.5)
  • Dallas at New Orleans – New Orleans (+2.5)

2019 NFL Week 1: Sunday Games

The first full Sunday of games is upon us! We opened off with a sweet but nail biting cover with the Packers, lets continue that momentum in probably the hardest weeks to bet on NFL football.

Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Vikings -3.5, O/U: 47)

Devonta Freeman is not as strong of a feature back as he once was years ago. Hampered by injuries, the Falcons had to go out and get him some insurance/backup to help with the load, in Ito Smith. They are stocked full at receiver power though with Jones, Ridley and Sanu. It’ll be tough to cover all 3 guys effectively. For the Vikings, Thielen had the NFL’s 4th most receptions last year with 113 while Diggs had a career high 102 catches. With Cook back 100%, the offense is at full capacity with weapons at Cousin’s disposal to match their strong defense. Take the Vikings to cover in the under, Vikings 24-20.

Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Dolphins +7, O/U: 40)

The Ravens are all in on revamping their offense and signed Ingram to lead their backfield as they’ve been searching to rediscover a talented back. With Jackson and Ingram’s running abilities, look for many RPO’s and read options to counter Jackson arm but don’t expect to see 300+ through the air as they lack heavily at receiver and don’t really have a true #1 guy there. The Dolphins saw how their Florida counterparts (Buccs) had successes with Fitzmagic however, they too are without a decent receiving corps and lack a true #1 guy on the outside. Having Drake carry the ball mixed with Balage helps but this one will probably be a snoozer. Take the Ravens to win but the Dolphins to cover in the under, Ravens 20-14.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Jets -2.5, O/U: 41)

Allen showed flashes of his potential all season last year and it was shocking given his supporting cast being below average. Don’t believe me? Don’t watch many Bills games? Watchin his game against the Viking last year. After offloading Shady McCoy, they’re looking to the impressive in camp and preseason rookie, Singletary, to take most of the workload along with Gore mentoring him up. Allen still doesn’t have anything to write home about in the receiving corps but he’ll make it work. The Jets went out and snatched up Bell after his drama with the Steelers last year where he sat out the whole year seeking a new contract. He will take some pressure off of young Darnold as there wasn’t much of a running game for him to rely on last year in his rookie season. They have some ok receivers but are thin on talent there. Take the Bills to cover in the over, Bills 27-18.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars, TIAA Bank Field, 1:00 PM, CBS (Jags +3.5, O/U: 50.5)

Losing Hunt didn’t seem to slow this offense as other guys stepped up and filled the roll nicely. Don’t get me wrong, he’s dynamic and offered you a lot of options when using him, but Williams is capable to doing similar things. Mahomes stunned in his first year starting (2nd year in the league) with 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring with 35.3 points per game (7 touchdowns) which is unbelievable! Reid had Shady McCoy signed to give another weapon to use in the backfield as he can be very shifty and elusive. Adding the Honey Badger for their secondary was a nice upgrade to their air defense. The Jags moved on from Bortles and signed Foles who had been great for the Eagles and even led them to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots a few seasons ago. The last time he left the Eagles, he didn’t fair to well so we’ll see if he can keep his play up still having a decent supporting cast around him. They also added Conley from the Chiefs to help the receiving corps with the loss of Robinson to the Bears. Fournette still hasa bunch to prove since he hasn’t played to his potential and is reported to have worked hard this off season to improve his game and personal life. I can’t believe this game is only at 3.5 points. Take the Chiefs to win in the over, Chiefs 35-20.

Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Panthers +1.5, O/U: 49.5)

Goff resigned quietly to match the output he’s had the last few seasons under McVay (last year: 4,688 yards with 32 TD’s). Gurley, Woods, Cooks and Kupp are all healthy and they are all explosive. The offense especially suffered without Kupp. They added some veteran defensive pieces in Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle. Cam had shoulder surgery in the offseason, then had a scare with an ankle injury in the pre season but his supporting cast stays the same (CMC, Moore, Samuel, Olsen). Defense moves to a 3-4 so there could be a learning curve yet with that going into the season. Take the Rams to cover in the under, Rams 24-20.

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Browns -5.5, O/U: 45)

Mariotta still hasn’t started 16 games in a season which is problematic when talking about your franchise guy.  After a strong 2016, he’s had a rough go with a TD/INT ratio of 1/1 and barely cracks 3,000 when he does play most of the season. The Titans defense proved tough under new head coach Vrabel and will continue that trend this year.  The Browns added OBJ to the opposite side of the offense alongside former LSU teammate Landry.  They also will be led by Nick Chubb in the backfield with newly signed Hunt sitting 8 weeks on suspension from his time with the Chiefs.  Baker had a solid rookie season with a 2/1 TD/INT ratio, led the Browns to a handful of unforeseen wins given their 1-31 record the previous 2 seasons and even had the pull to get his OC and coach fired early in the season.  Take the Browns to cover in the under, Browns 27-13.

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Eagles -10, O/U: 44.5)

The Redskins will have Guice back after being lost all of last year with a knee injury.  AP was figured to be shuffled in with Guice and Thompson but as of Sunday morning, AP may be deactivated and the Skins will only suit 2 backs.  They are very young at receiver and have a very average quarterback in Keenam.  The Eagles will have Wentz back 100% and doubled down on his health by allowing Foles to fly the coup to the Jags to start there.  Desean Jackson is back in town and looking to continue what he does best in a high powered offense, take the tops off defenses.  Eagles also added depth in their backfield by signing Howard from the Bears and drafting Sanders from PSU with Sproles coming back for what seems to be his last season.  We have our first HUGE line on the young season.  Take the Eagles to cover in the under, Eagles 28-10.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field, 4:05 PM, CBS (Seahawks -9.5, O/U: 44.5)

The Bengals are without star receiver Green for at least this week and maybe the next 2 which leaves them shorthanded in their air attack.  Mixon looked great in his rookie season with 1,100 yards and 8 TD’s even with injuries to their top offensive guys like Dalton and Eifert who were out for large chunks of the season.  Dalton and Eifert are back at 100% however.  The Seahawks were in desperate need of a turnaround seeing their defense slip from Legion of Boom to middle of the road.  They went out and traded for Clowney to add to the front/pass rush as Wagner still leads them.  Wilson has been consistent over his career and is finding himself with a running game that he can rely on again.  Take the Seahawks to cover in the under, Seahawks 24-14.

Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers, StubHub Center, 4:05 PM, CBS (Chargers -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Luck’s retirement caught everyone off guard.  Luckily they had traded for Brissett a few years ago when Luck had nagging, reoccurring injuries that made him miss a bunch of games.  When Brissett played, he played fairly well.  In 2017, he played most of the year in Luck’s absence and piled up over 3,000 yards and had a 2/1 TD/INT ratio.  With Mack in his second season in the backfield, the addition of Funchess to the receiving corps and Ebron building on a career year last year (750 yards and 13 TD’s), look for the Colts to not miss much of a beat over Luck’s departure.  The Chargers however are missing key players in key roles.  No Gordon due to a holdout, no Williams who singed with the Raiders and no James on the defensive side of the ball with an injury.  Mix that with no Gates for the first time in 15 years and Rivers has an uphill climb to start the season.  Take the Colts to win in the over, Colts 24-21.

Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Cards +3, O/U: 46.5)

The Lions had a rough first year under Patricia during his rookie campaign as head coach.  New additions will help the Lions get back on track with Flowers on the defensive side and Amendola on the offensive side.  Johnson will once again lead the backfield as he was one of the few bright spots on this offense last year during his rookie season as he averaged a massive 5.4 yards per carry.  Stafford will still have Golladay and Jones after Kearse went down with a potential career ending leg injury in the pre season.  The Cardinals drafted quarterbacks in back to back years in the first round.  As they selected the 5’10” Murray, they eventually then traded Rosen to the Dolphins.  Murray didn’t look fantastic in the pre season but with a great offensive mind like rookie head coach Kingsbury, he could flourish.  Johnson needs to get back to his 2016 self soon as he’s been ineffective the last few seasons though not all his fault as the offensive line hasn’t done it’s job either.  Adding Terrell Suggs on the defensive side of the ball is a great pass rushing pairing with Chandler Jones.  Take the Lions to win in the under, Lions 24-17.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Cowboys -7, O/U: 45.5)

The Giants are trying to fool everyone here.  Trading away start receiver OBJ to solely put the offense on Barkley given his 2,000+ yards from scrimmage in his spectacular rookie season.  The Giants are thin at receiver and now are relying on Sheppard as their #1 guy with Engram continuing to build on his successes at TE.  Question is, how long does Manning last before the impressive rookie Jones comes in?  The Cowboys spent the entire offseason talking about money.  With Zeke holding out and feuding with Owner Jerry Jones up until late last week, Zeke hasn’t been with the team all pre season.  Cowboys are assuring us that he is game ready.  Dak stayed quiet and poised that they will have a great year and it is promising with Cooper having a tremendous impact on the offense last year and Gallop looking great his rookie year along with the surprising emergence of Vander Esche in the middle of their defense, 2019 is looking up for the Boys.  Take the Cowboys to win in the over, Cowboys 31-20.

San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Buccs -1, O/U: 51)

Jimmy G is back 100% from his season ending knee injury and really nothing much has changed on his offense to improve the squad he left.  He looked good for the 9ers in 2017 ending the season going 5-0 after being traded but only lasted 3 games last year.  Receiving corps is still thin, there’s not really a #1 feature back behind Jimmy G and the defense struggled at times.  The Buccs ring Arians out of retirement as this could be Winston’s last chance to prove himself before his out as starter.  He loses Desean Jackson on the outside but still has Evans, Godwin and OJ Howard to throw to.  Barber and Jones will split the backfield but neither have looked like the feature back the team needs.  Take the Buccs to win in the under, Buccs 24-20.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, 8:20 PM, NBC (Patriots -5.5, O/U: 49.5)

Brown and Bell both gone, 2 explosive players.  Enter in Conner (973yards and 12 TD’s rushing) who proved he could give the Steelers just as good a chance to win games as Bell with less gruff and the emergence of JuJu (111 catches and 7 TD’s in 2018) and James Washington on the outside and it’s as if the Steelers really won’t seem to miss a beat and just offloaded a bunch of drama.  Steelers also have been rebuilding their defense through the draft with TJ Watt a few years ago and now Devin Bush Jr just this season.  Brady loses Gronk and will be without rookie standout Harry to kickoff the season against the Steelers in which he is a perfect 8-0 at Gillette against them.  Brady will always be a quarterback that makes hero’s out of guys you’ve never heard of but this year will be different with Josh Gordon being back, Edelman, Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas and now Antonio Brown in the receiving corps.  A major bright spot last year was Michel becoming the feature back as a rookie and looks to have that locked up for as long as he plays well.  The only thing against the Patriots at home is that they’re known to start seasons a little slow, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  Take the Steelers to cover in the loss, in the over, Patriots 31-27.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin 5:

  • LA Rams at Carolina – LA Rams (-1.5)
  • Atlanta at Minnesota – Atlanta (+4)
  • Indianapolis at LA Chargers – Indianapolis (+6.5)
  • Pittsburgh at New England – Pittsburgh (+6)
  • Houston at New Orleans – Houston (+7)

Week 3: Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh at Tamp Bay, 8:15pm, ESPN, (Buccs -1.5, O/U: 55)

The Steelers are in somewhat of a tailspin at the moment.  Bell still holding out and now the Steelers announce this past weekend that they’re listening to trade inquiries and Brown staging a mini coup, are facing an 0-3 start.  They have looked good on offense, which you should expect with the young talent around Big Ben, but the one time strength of this team, their defense, has looked very mediocre.  Tying Cleveland and blew a two touchdown lead in the 4th quarter against the Chiefs and the Mighty Mahomes, they’re looking to bounce back and right the ship against a red hot Buccs team.

The Buccs obviously didn’t think their season would start 2-0 with Fitz-Noodle-Arm turning into Fitz-Magic, who’s looking to become the first quarterback in league history to start a season with over 400 yards in each of his first three games.  Desean Jackson is looking like the D-Jax of old and Mike Evans is actually getting decent balls thrown his way which has given him the ability to make plays like he did in college and early on in his career.

The difference maker in this one will be which defense holds up against the others offense.  The Buccs front eight have been like a bull in a china shop. Vita Vea will likely be making his rookie debut joining his teammates in battle, making them even more vicious.  This Buccs team look like the Eagles team from last year, running around, making huge plays, scoring a ton and just plain old having fun, man!  It’ll be close but take the Buccs to continue to elevate The Beard and continue Fitz-Magic’s McGregor like swagger, wining and covering in the over, Buccs 31-28.

Ride the Buccs, finishing the week on your way to #beatyourbookie.