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Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 5

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Another week, another increase to Stella’s lead.

This time, she’s gained two more games, extending her cushion to five. I’ll be real – being down this much after just four weeks isn’t ideal. However, it does mean that I have plenty of time to try and catch up. All I need to do is, you know … pick better.

Weeks like Week 4 – a mediocre 8-7 – certainly aren’t going help my case. Particularly when Stella is putting up a 10-5. But as long as we keep having those sorts of weeks, where we’re at odds on a good number of games, I at least have a shot at cutting into her lead (or at least keeping things manageable).

Week 5 is another big one – Stella and I differ on seven of the week’s 15 scheduled matchups (though we’ll see if all 15 actually wind up getting played) – so I once again have a shot at cutting into her lead. Heck, if I pull off a miracle, I could even take the lead myself (although we all know that the likelihood of such an occurrence is miniscule at best).

Our head-to-head week kicks off at the same time the league’s does, with the Tampa Bay/Chicago tilt. I’m picking the Buccaneers to win on the road. I’m still not sold on whether the Tom Brady experience in Tampa will be successful, but he’s done enough to handle his business thus far. If his weapons can make it to the field, the Bucs should cruise. However, Stella believes that to be a pretty big if. She also thinks that the Bears are coming into their own behind Nick Foles and have a real shot to surprise Tampa Bay – particularly since Chicago has the home field advantage. She’s expecting a close one with the Bears on top.

Next up is Carolina versus Atlanta. I’m going with the Panthers here, though I don’t feel tremendously confident about it. While Mike Davis has largely picked up the slack left by the absence of the injured Christian McCaffery, I’m a little leery of counting on Teddy Bridgewater under center. Still, the Falcons have struggled and I think Carolina pulls it out. Stella recognizes the issues that the Falcons have had thus far, but she also chocks many of those concerns up to bad luck. She feels like Matt Ryan is going to answer the call, though she’s also a little worried about whether Julio Jones takes the field. Still, she’s going with Atlanta either way.

I have Jacksonville going into Houston and taking out the Texans. I’m slowly starting to develop some good vibes w/r/t this Jaguars team – I think Gardner Minshew might actually be a legitimate NFL starter. And the defensive unit has been able to make some plays along the way. Plus, the Texans just fired their head coach. Stella views that firing differently, deeming it a net positive and the sort of action that might light a fire under the Texans. She’s counting on Houston’s offense to get going behind Deshaun Watson and expects a big game from at least one of the Texans receivers. She also thinks J.J. Watt is going to blow up in this one.

Following that game, we’ve got Indianapolis going into Cleveland to take on the Browns. I’ve liked the steps forward that I’ve seen from the Browns thus far – Baker Mayfield might yet prove worthy of his status as the number one overall pick. The offense has looked interesting, and while Nick Chubb’s injury isn’t great, I expect Kareem Hunt to pick up the slack. Stella’s not a huge believer in the Colts, but she believes that regression is coming for Cleveland and that the absence of Chubb will be a more difficult hurdle to clear. She also expects a big game from one of the Indy youngsters – likely Jonathan Taylor – and solid defense forcing a big turnover or two.

In what I think is one of the more inexplicable picks of the season thus far, we’re somehow at odds in the Giants/Cowboys matchup. To my mind, it’s a no-brainer – Dallas has been SO dynamic on offense, particularly through the air. Combined with a hard-running Zeke Elliott, it’s tough to imagine the Cowboys not winning by double digits, let alone losing. Stella keeps looking at that suspect Dallas D, however, and she has some real doubts. She also believes that in some ways, this is the biggest game of the Giants’ season – she expects that this could well be their 2020 highlight. She’s counting on that energy – plus the aforementioned abysmal Dallas defense – to let the G-men eke out a win.

After that, we’re looking at the matchup between Minnesota and Seattle. I’ve got the Seahawks winning comfortably at home. It’s hard to pick against Russell Wilson here – I expect him to have a legitimate case for MVP when it’s all said and done – and while the once-vaunted defense isn’t what it used to be, they can probably handle the slow-starting Vikings. Stella, on the other hand, really liked what she saw out of Minnesota last week – she thinks that slow start might well be a distant memory by season’s end. She’s seen Justin Jefferson as a breakout candidate since the season began and she loves what Dalvin Cook is doing as a runner. Her only concern – and it’s a minor one – is whether Kirk Cousins can handle his business. All told, she likes the Vikes.

Last but not least, we arrive at the Monday night game. I’m picking the Chargers to go into New Orleans and beat the Saints. It’s a bit of a risk – star RB Austin Ekeler is out for multiple weeks after a hamstring injury – but I’ve really liked what I’ve seen out of rookie QB Justin Herbert. He’s got a lot of guys to throw to as well; if they can get even 75% of what they saw from Ekeler from backup Joshua Kelley, they’ll be a tough out. Stella recognizes that the Saints have been inconsistent so far this season, but they’ve been without the services of all-world receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas is reportedly back for this one, so the complexion of the New Orleans offense is going to change significantly. She also thinks that the Saints defense will be able to harass the young Chargers QB into a rookie mistake or two. That combo, she feels, is enough to get them the win.

And there we have it. Seven games for your Week 5. If I can pull off a big week – 6-1 or even 7-0 in our faceoffs – I can surge back into contention. Of course, if Stella pulls off a big week, I might be in a hole too deep to dig out of with only a quarter of the season in the books – something she would be only too happy to do.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 8

TAMPA BAY at Chicago

Sunday, Oct. 11

CAROLINA at Atlanta

BUFFALO at Tennessee

Las Vegas at KANSAS CITY

ARIZONA at NY Jets

Philadelphia at PITTSBURGH

LA RAMS at Washington

Cincinnati at BALTIMORE

JACKSONVILLE at Houston

Miami at SAN FRANCISCO

Indianapolis at CLEVELAND

NY Giants at DALLAS

Denver at NEW ENGLAND

Minnesota at SEATTLE

Monday, Oct. 12

LA CHARGERS at New Orleans

Week 4 record: 8-7

Season record: 38-24-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Oct. 8

Tampa Bay at CHICAGO

Sunday, Oct. 11

Carolina at ATLANTA

BUFFALO at Tennessee

Las Vegas at KANSAS CITY

ARIZONA at NY Jets

Philadelphia at PITTSBURGH

LA RAMS at Washington

Cincinnati at BALTIMORE

Jacksonville at HOUSTON

Miami at SAN FRANCISCO

INDIANAPOLIS at Cleveland

NY GIANTS at Dallas

Denver at NEW ENGLAND

MINNESOTA at Seattle

Monday, Oct. 12

LA Chargers at NEW ORLEANS

Week 4 record: 10-5

Season record: 43-19-1

Last modified on Thursday, 08 October 2020 11:11

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