NEW ORLEANS. Missouri is the Show Me State and football is a Show Me game. Potential means nothing in this pigskin precinct. As Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells used to say, “Your record is what it is.” Right now, in our opinion, the two teams in the NFL really tearing it up are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams. (For a brief period, the latter team was known as the St. Louis Rams, but that’s already history.) So let’s begin our CDN NFL 2018 Week 5 Preview and Bettor’s Guide with a short “Show Me” discussion of these two powerhouses.
Far from conservative on the field: Show Me the 2018 Rams and Chiefs
While the heartland of Middle America is supposed to be conservative, the Rams and Chiefs are anything but. Forget three yards and a cloud of dust. These teams have pinball offenses and playmakers everywhere. They always have something to Show Me.
For the Rams, a coaching change from defensive-minded Jeff Fisher to offensive innovator Sean McVay visibly sparked their offense. Jared Goff has played like the top overall pick he always was. Meanwhile, Todd Gurley is being used just as creatively as Marshall Faulk was when the Rams were the Greatest Show on Turf. Aaron Donald leads the defense. But the real improvement comes from the Rams’ defensive schemes. Michelin Man Wade Phillips has them wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines.
For the Chiefs, Walrus Lite Andy Reid finally has a quarterback. Gone is the dinking and dunking and two yard passes on third down and four. Alex Smith is flailing in Washington, while Patrick Mahomes is setting the league ablaze. He has weapons in Tyreeq Hill and Kareem Hunt in addition to a cannon of an arm. He stretches the field.
The unbeaten records of these teams are no fluke. They are both that good. A Super Bowl showdown between these teams is already very realistic. Time will tell if anyone in their respective conferences can stop them. Until then, here is our own take on this Show Me league. Hard on the heels of NFL 2018 Week 4, here’s our CDN NFL 2018 Week 5 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by OddsShark and all game and show times listed Eastern (ET).
NFL 2018 Week 5
Thursday, October 4, 2018, 8:20 p.m.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-10.5)
A few years ago this was the best rivalry in the league. But now, Peyton Manning is retired, Andrew Luck is getting no help, Tom Brady is as good as ever, and the Colts have zero chance in this first stanza of NFL 2018 Week 5. This game could be over by halftime.
Sunday, October 7, 1:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
The Jaguars have a good defense. But nobody has any answers on how to stop the Chiefs. Denver contained them for three quarters, but then Patrick Mahomes and the offense showed up and unleashed. At home, expect Walrus Lite Andy Reid’s train to keep rolling. Chiefs cover.
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Buffalo Bills
The Titans are 3-1, but do not be fooled by the record. The Bills pulled a shocker in Minnesota before returning to awful form at Green Bay. Neither team is any good, but give the Bills one more chance at home before writing them off as truly awful. Upset special, Bills win outright.
Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
Both of these teams can put points on the board but have question marks on defense. The Falcons have more talent, and the Steelers looked awful at home against Baltimore. Upset special, Falcons win outright.
Denver Broncos at New York Jets (-2.5)
Denver bottled up the Chiefs for three quarters but collapsed in the fourth quarter. The Jets usually begin their collapse right after the opening kickoff. Upset special, Broncos win outright.
Green Bay Packers (-1) at Detroit Lions
Green Bay’s offense is not up to its usual standards, and Aaron Rodgers is publicly griping about it. Outside of the big emotional win over New England, Detroit has looked awful. Rodgers will find a way against the unimpressive Detroit defense. Packers cover.
Baltimore Ravens (-1.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns dominated the Raiders yet gave away the game 45-42 due to a hail of turnovers in their own red zone. Baltimore creates mistakes. Cleveland makes them. The Browns are vastly improved. But after watching Baltimore go on the road and throttle Pittsburgh, odds are they can Show Me and can do so once again against Cleveland. Ravens cover.
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (-7)
The Giants are a young team with growing pains. The Panthers have a good defense and an inconsistent offense. This one could get ugly early. Panthers cover.
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)
Miami was exposed as a 3-0 fraud before getting walloped at New England. Now on the road at Cincinnati, they encounter an offense that is scoring at will. Cincinnati looked very impressive in its heart-stopping road win at Atlanta. They should steamroll the fish. Bengals cover.
Sunday, October 7, 4:00 p.m.
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-6)
The Raiders would be 0-4 if not for being given a sympathy victory last week. The Chargers are constant underachievers, but the Raiders have taken underachievement to new lows. Expect Philip Rivers to take years of frustration out on the horrendous Oakland secondary. He could set passing records in this game. Meanwhile, Donald Penn is on injured reserve and Derek Carr now has rookies at both tackle spots. Chargers cover.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-3)
Josh Rosen sparked the Cardinals to a near upset at Seattle. CJ Beathard was competent if not thrilling in place of Jimmy Garoppollo. At home, go with the 49ers. They can run the ball. 49ers cover.
Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) at Seattle Seahawks
The Rams look unstoppable. Seattle has beaten a couple of bad teams, but the loss of Earl Thomas is only going to hurt. The Rams’ offense is a pinball machine. The spread is high for a road game. Rams win but fail to cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Both these teams from last year’s NFC Title Game have regressed. There was no excuse for Minnesota to get blasted by Buffalo or for Philadelphia to lose to Tennessee. Go with the home field. Eagles cover.
Sunday, October 7, 8:00 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (-3.5)
The battle of Texas features a pair of teams with some talent but not enough results. Ezekiel Elliott is still running the ball well. Houston won an overtime thriller last week. But Dallas has more talent to Show Me. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
Monday, October 8, 8:20 p.m.
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints (-7)
Washington is not very good. The Saints are, especially on offense. While their victory over the lowly Giants was uninspiring, they still put 33 points on the board. Washington simply does not have the defense to slow down Drew Brees. Redskins cover.
It’s a wrap
That’s our wrap for this edition of CDN’s NFL 2018 Week 5 Preview and Bettor’s Guide. More to come next week.