Welcome back for another week of NFL picks. Last week, we went 2-and-2 with our full introduction of our YPP metric which went 1-and-1, same as our EW picks on the week.
The raw numbers had slightly better performances as EW went 9-and-6 and YPP was 8-and-7 straight up against the spread. As we wait for the sample size to increase making our metrics more reliable, things are already getting going in the right direction, predicting the Carolina Panthers upset and the Los Angeles Rams' victory.
This is also a unique week as we have two fewer games with byes weeks starting and we have three important quarterback injuries, two of which are holding up lines right now that are still not available as of Thursday night.
It’s also worth noting that last week we witnessed two teams play after having traveled to London for the first time ever instead of going into their byes. The results weren’t pretty, as both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars lost. That doesn’t bode well for the Miami Dolphins who’ll be faced with the same test this week against the Tennessee Titans - which is annoyingly one of the games without a line right now as we wait to hear Marcus Mariota’s status in this contest.
With all that going on, we as always, are offering up our two in-house lines and three consensus picks for our YPP selections while EW is a lone wolf. Dig in. as news comes out on the injuries you can also use our lines for the games that are still up in the air, assuming the starters
As news comes out on the injuries you can also use our lines for the games that are still up in the air, assuming the starters play if not the stats become tricker to rely on.
Note, with the late release of our picks we missed Thursday night football which we typically advise against. However, the numbers are below. We're also switching up our numerical charts and giving you one sheet with both the EW and YPP spreads and differentials from Vegas. Here we go.
YPP picks of the week
Los Angeles Chargers +3 at the New York Giants
This is one of those classic crap bowls where neither team is any good. It’s also a matchup of two offenses with struggling ground games, offensive lines, and a pair of quarterbacks who were swapped on draft day. Oh did we mention they’re both winless?
That aside, this evenly matched game presents intrigue and like the metric has for over a year now, YPP likes the Chargers where they’re the 11th ranked team. The Giants instead are 22nd. The difference all comes down to LA’s ability to move the chains with more consistency on offense, though they’re spectacular in blowing games. On their end, the Giants are giving them a run for their money lately as they’ve now lost their last two games by a combined 5 points.
The Chargers are slight favorites per YPP and their defense seems to match up better against the G-men as well. With two bad teams, you never know. The over-under here is 45 which might not be low enough as these two teams are amongst the lowest scoring in the NFL averaging 15 (Giants) and 18 (Chargers). Look at that under.
Also worth noting, the over-under here is 45 which might not be low enough as these two teams are amongst the lowest scoring in the NFL averaging 15 (Giants) and 18 (Chargers) respectively. Keep an eye on the under.
Los Angeles Rams -1 vs. the Seattle Seahawks
The Rams are favored against the Seahawks ladies and gents. Let that sink in for a second. That’s the world we live in right now in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season.
Crazier still YPP likes the Rams here who’ve completely changed their offense around, as LA is currently leading the league in points scored and is second in offensive YPP behind only the scorching hot Kansas City Chiefs. They’re also fifth in YPP total with 0.7.
Seattle, on the other hand, has been a disappointment thus far, and they’ll face the tough assignment of stopping Aaron Donald who’s rounding into shape against their beat-up offensive line.
Defensively the Hawks just haven’t been the team we expected them to be, especially against the run where they’re the 27th “best” defense in the league. That’s a recipe for disaster against Todd Gurley. The Rams have had similar issues on the ground, but with the injuries and uncertainty in Seattle’s backfield, that’s less concerning.
YPP wise, so far the Seahawks have been a mediocre team which is why the metric has the Rams favored by -5 at home. They’ve also always played Seattle tough even before this offensive renaissance, so give us Sean McVey and his guys.
Kansas City Chiefs -1 at the Houston Texans
Houston burned us last week, yet we’re back at it again. With the Kansas City Chiefs as the hottest team in the league and best per YPP with an impressive 1.3 positive output, we feel good.
The Texans are still figuring out their offense with rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson who’s bailing them out of some shortcomings in other areas, first and foremost the offensive line.
That’s where the real advantage lies for the Chiefs as their pass rushing core should feast against the beat-up Texans line. Which should prove to be a big proving ground for the young Watson.
This’ll be a great test for both teams, especially when KC is on offense, as they’ll be going up against a seemingly stout defense in Houston. Per YPP the Texans are only 14th in the league and when you look at the offense's they’ve faced this season they're a pretty pedestrian bunch once you exclude the New England Patriots.
We’re betting on the Chiefs high-level offense here that has been the best in the league by any measure so far, especially in running the ball where they’re dominating right now. Even on the road, I don’t see the Chiefs slowing down anytime soon and the Texans just have too many deficiencies to make this a pick'em. YPP has them as -5.5 point favorites and the eye test would agree.
EW pick of the week
Buffalo Bills +3 at the Cincinnati Bengals
This line really jumped out when going through the numbers for the week, as the 3-and-1 Bills are currently undefeated against the spread, yet they're underdogs to the lowly Bengals here.
The Bengals, who mind you, started 0-and-3 and looked absolutely awful until a week ago where they whopped their divisional rivals in Cleveland, no big feat.
Cincinnati still has plenty of issues regardless of the win last week, starting with Andy Dalton and an offensive line that’s made out of Swiss cheese. That could be an issue against the Bills who have the league’s best scoring defense, allowing 13.5 per game (Cincinnati is only scoring 16 per).
Buffalo's also benefitted from quarterback Tyrod Taylor's play as he's been more efficient and a running game that's been productive. Despite it all, Cincinnati’s defense is actually playing well so this won’t be a walk in the park.
With the Bills on a roll right now this just seems too good to pass up, give us Sean McDermott’s crew to keep this going.