Welcome to this week’s edition of NFL Breakdown. We focus on three games you need to check out and all the info that you’ll need ahead of the contests. This week, our attention is on the matchups between the Browns vs Steelers, Packers vs Buccaneers, and Chiefs vs Bills.
Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers
- Spread: Steelers -3.5 (-110)
- Point Total: 51 (-114)
Both teams made the breakdown last week, but with all the bad blood between the two, I had to bring them back. We’re a year removed from the “Pittsburgh Started It” debacle and both teams are ready to stake their claim to the AFC North. The Steelers saved me last week from my first 0-3 since we started tracking, scoring with 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Though their number one ranked defense gave up 29 points, they intercepted Eagles QB Carson Wentz twice. They also allowed 80 yards to RB Miles Sanders, however, 72 of those yards came on one carry. Both games against NFC East opponents have been the Steelers only wins by more than one score.
The Browns blew my day wide open, despite quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s two interceptions and a fumble. Anthony Walker also deflected two Mayfield passes and was seemingly everywhere on Sunday. Cleveland’s offensive line did keep Baker upright, only allowing one sack. In an absolute stunner, Cleveland was able to convert 58% of their third-down attempts, keeping Indy’s defense on the field all day.
This game pits the number one defense vs the number one rushing offense in a battle for the top spot in one of the best divisions in football so far this season. Pittsburgh will once again be without guard David DeCastro but should have linebacker T.J. Watt chasing Baker all over the field. When asked if he would play this week, Baker Mayfield said, “Oh yeah. Mama didn’t raise no wuss.” The Browns may be without Odell Beckham Jr., who was sent home with an illness yesterday as a precaution, per Adam Schefter. Cleveland definitely surprised me last week, but the Steelers look like the real deal. I’m taking Pittsburgh, but just barely.
Green Bay Packers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Packers -1 (-105)
- Point Total: 55.5 (-110)
If there is one thing for certain about this NFL season, it’s that the Packers can score points. They lead the league with 38 points per game so far. They continued their dominant stretch last week hanging 30 on the Atlanta Falcons. I know drafting Jordan Love pissed Aaron Rodgers off, but this man is on another level right now. He’s on pace for 4,800 yards, 52 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Zero. Through four games neither he nor anyone on his team has turned the ball over. Last week he made tight end Robert Tonyan, who I know you’ve never heard of, look like George Kittle.
Rolling out the red carpet for Rodgers and Company are Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. A team that reminds me of the Gary Payton and Karl Malone Lakers if you took away Shaq and Kobe. The Bucs narrowly beat rookie Justin Herbert and the Chargers in week 4 and Brady’s demons continued to haunt him in the loss to Nick Foles‘s Bears last week. Lost in the gifs and memes following Tom’s fourth-down miscue were his season-worst 61% completion percentage and lone touchdown. Ronald Jones did manage 106 yards on the ground, which was less than Chicago’s average rush yards allowed going into the game.
Green Bay’s defense hasn’t forced many turnovers this season, but Brady may provide them with opportunities this week. Tampa Bay is averaging three takeaways per game at home, and you have to think Rodgers will come a little bit back down to earth at some point. Still, he’s clearly playing like a man with something to prove. What better way to do that than to outshine the GOAT in his new house? Give me the Packers all day and show me all the articles about Brady’s inevitable decline.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Chiefs -4 (-118)
- Point Total: 57.5 (-110)
Oh, the Buffalo Bills. The Bills were unbeaten heading into their week 5 matchup against the Tennesse Titans. Much was written about the Titans’ inability to practice due to their positive COVID-19 tests and how they would be so unprepared. Malcolm Butler was apparently prepared as he picked off Josh Allen‘s first pass. He would grab another in the third quarter and both led to touchdowns as Tennesse would never trail. Buffalo was unable to get any real production from anyone not named Stefon Diggs and Josh Norman ended up on the wrong side of a Derrick Henry stiff-arm.
Kansas City gave up 40 to the Las Vegas Raiders and lost their first game as well in week 5. They let Derek Carr throw for a season-high 347 yards and three touchdowns and gave up 139 yards on the ground to Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker. Patrick Mahomes did manage 340 and two TDs, but the Chiefs were unable to muster up much of a rushing attack. Clyde Edwards-Helaire brought his streak of below 65-yard games to 4 and caught only 37.5% of his targets. Looking to solve their running back issues, Andy Reid brought in Le’Veon Bell after his release from the Jets this week. Bell will be unable to help against the Bills due in part to the league’s COVID-19 protocols that restrict free agents from entering a team’s facility for six days after their arrival.
Both teams lost their undefeated streak last week. Buffalo is coming off a weird week where they played on Tuesday night, but they are also at home. In terms of bounce back, I trust Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City. They simply have too many options and Buffalo has only won one game by more than one score. I’ve got the Chiefs and I’d take them at much more than 4.
Here’s to hoping I get back on track as well.
Week 5 Recap: Thank God the Steelers got the late cover or we would have had our first 0-for. We’ll pick it back up this week.
- Last week: 1-2
- This season: 6-3
*Odds via DraftKings