Week 5 of the NFL season provided us with a couple of shocks as the Chicago Bears fell as a touchdown-favorite while the Kansas City Chiefs lost outright as a 10.5-point favorite. We’ll start with the latter in our ‘What We Learned’ article as the Chiefs’ hype train came to a sudden halt on Sunday.
The Chiefs Are Beatable
Yes, I know the Chiefs are banged up on both sides of the ball. Yes, I realize the Indianapolis Colts have one of the best offensive lines in football – if not the best. The Kansas City Chiefs still had no business losing to the Colts on Sunday.
Remember that this is a Colts’ team that lost at the Los Angeles Chargers and were smoked at home by the Oakland Raiders last week. The Colts are also banged up as T.Y. Hilton was not 100%, and the team was missing multiple defenders, including All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard.
Forget the Chiefs’ defense for a second, the offense did absolutely nothing. Patrick Mahomes had a ton of passing yards in between the 20s, but the touchdowns weren’t there. The Chiefs can’t and don’t run the ball (14 carries for 36 yards), and their offense just drops back and passes a ton. Of course, that’s the way of the new NFL, but it looks like the Chiefs have been figured out.
I’m not worried about this team as they’ll get healthy and finish the year with 11 or 12 wins. However, Mahomes now has just one touchdown pass in the last two weeks (Kirk Cousins has more) and it looks like there’s a clear-cut blueprint on how to beat this team. Moreover, they have a loss and the New England Patriots are still undefeated. That will haunt them come playoff time. As a result, I’d avoid all Chiefs’ Super Bowl futures.
The Bengals Are Among The Worst Teams In The NFL
I know, I know, it’s not breaking news. To me, it was a little bit as I didn’t think this team was among the worst of the worst. I thought they were a cut above.
Look, this team has Andy Dalton, who is not elite but is much better than what the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins are trotting out there. The team also has Joe Mixon and some decent parts on defense like Geno Atkins. And when you look at their early schedule, their first three losses were to Seattle, San Francisco, and Buffalo – three teams who are a combined 11-1. Even the loss to the Steelers was understandable as they were walking into a buzz saw on Monday Night Football.
However, their loss at home to Arizona just emphasizes how bad they are. The game wasn’t as close as the final (26-23) would indicate. The Cardinals and their terrible running game somehow churned out 266 rushing yards. Arizona kicked a ton of field goals in the red zone – something most teams would punish Cincinnati for. The Bengals were pulse-less.
Whether it’s injuries, a lack of talent, or a coaching staff that looks like they’re in way over their head, I’d avoid the Bengals at all prices for now.
The Panthers Are A Good Bet With Kyle Allen
Most people figured the Panthers would struggle with Kyle Allen under center. Instead, the changeover has sparked the team. They’ve now won three straight, covering the spread every time.
This team is so good under Allen that they were able to seal the win yesterday even with star running back Christian McCaffrey sidelined. There’s no reason to doubt this team without Cam Newton. They’re playing even better than anticipated with Allen. He’s now played in five NFL games in his career, and he’s compiled seven touchdowns and no interceptions. The Panthers are a good team when their quarterback does the basics and wins the game. They’re probably a good bet again this week against Tampa Bay in London.
The Vikings Are The Easiest Team In The NFL To Handicap
This team has become quite the simple story. Bet on them when they play bad teams, and bet against them when they play good teams. Of course, a lot of that has to do with Kirk Cousins, but when the running game is able to cut-up teams like the New York Giants or Oakland Raiders, the passing game and defense thrive off of it and the Vikings tend to roll. When they play elite teams and they can’t run and Cousins can’t pass, everything goes awry.
Just take a look at their opponent and make a determination before betting them. They should be an easy bet-on or bet-against for the foreseeable future.
The Atlanta Falcons Are Finished
We’ve seen one head coach already fired, and Dan Quinn will be gone shortly too. The Falcons are nothing short of a disaster, and they’re starting to lose by more and more each week.
Remember that the Falcons were 4-9 last season before a late-season three-game winning streak made things look better than they were at 7-9. They’re now 1-4 to start the year and have rarely been close in their games. Save for a garbage-time touchdown at Indianapolis, this team has lost by double-digits in four of their five games. Their defense has collapsed, as evidenced by the 53 points they gave up to Houston on Sunday. Remember, Quinn is supposed to be a defensive guru.
The offense is also a mess, though, as the team simply can’t run the ball. Devonta Freeman has a total of 187 rushing yards through five games, and even Julio Jones isn’t looking great. He has a decent 359 yards and four touchdowns through five games, but he had 128 yards against the Colts and 231 total yards in his other four games.
This team is a dead-set fade for me until Quinn gets fired – and possibly the rest of the season. They need to make significant changes and there aren’t many in-season solutions that can help them.