Eleven years ago this week, the most incredible person I know made the most ridiculous decision of her life when she agreed to marry me. She’s been my fantasy wife ever since.
So this week, my wife, the biggest sports fan I know, gets the final say on all picks. Good luck Kristen, and by the way, this is your anniversary present. At least I remembered.
Week 5 game picks – Sunday 9:30 AM EST
Giants @ Packers (-8)
The Giants and Packers are both 3-1. Richie James had one catch for 9 yards as the de facto WR1 in the win against Chicago. Aaron Rodgers had a nice 40-yard TD to Jack Jones last week. Unfortunately, Jack Jones plays for New England.
The Giants have won, so far, with smoke and mirrors. I think Aaron Rodgers likes smoke, and definitely, loves mirrors. The Giants lead the league in rushing yards. Only 10 teams have allowed more rushing yards than the Packers. They eat a lot of cheese in Green Bay. They eat crumpets in England. The game is in London. No more British jokes for me, bruv.
Fantasy Wife says: The Giants have too many injuries, take the Packers
Week 5 game picks – Sunday 1:00 PM EST
Lions @ Patriots (-3)
Mac Jones has an ankle injury. Brian Hoyer has a head injury. Bailey Zappe is fine. He went 10-15 for 99 yards and a score against the Packers. He also scores points for having the second-best name in the NFL. I’m sorry but you can’t beat Easton Stick.
No one has more yards, points, or touchdowns than the Lions. No one has thrown for more touchdowns than Jared Goff. No one is more surprised than Jared Goff. Both teams are 1-3. The Lions don’t have a road win. New England last covered against the Steelers as a favorite. Bill Belichick is no one’s favorite.
Fantasy Wife says: Take the Pats. Belicheck will NOT let them go 1-4; Patriots motto: if you´re not cheating you’re not trying.
Chargers @ Browns (+3)
Good god, the elf is back. Honestly, that thing gives me the creeps. Why is it so big? Why does it have webbed fingers? Why does it look like Harry Styles? How the Browns lost to the Falcons last week is equally perplexing. Nick Chubb entered the game as the league’s leading rusher but Atlanta outrushed Cleveland with 16 fewer plays.
The Chargers were out-rushed by the Texans last week, but the game was never really in doubt. Austin Ekeler had three scores including his first two on the ground. After four weeks Cleveland remains number two in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns. And if someone doesn’t get rid of that elf, it’ll scare the number two out of me.
Fantasy Wife says: This one’s a coin flip so I’ll take the Chargers for our buddy Dennis.
Texans @ Jaguars (-7)
Trevor Lawrence had 5 turnovers last week, but what about his takeaways? As far as I’m concerned, Trevor Lawrence took away any chance for Robinson and Kirk owners to win their matchups. Jamal Agnew had two scores, making three for his career. The Texans lost to the Chargers but at least held the ball long enough for Dameon Pierce to grab 131 yards and a TD.
Trevor Lawrence was the first pick in the 2021 draft. Davis Mills was picked 66 spots later. Mills has one more career touchdown than Lawrence. Think Mills will have a chip on his shoulder? It won’t matter. Jacksonville has a top-ten offense. Houston certainly doesn’t. They also don’t have a win. Maybe Trevor Lawrence will still be in a giving mood?
Fantasy Wife says: Jacksonville recovers from the Philly game.
Falcons @ Buccaneers (-8.5)
His name is Pitts. Kyle Pitts. P-I-T-T-S. He’s 6’6”, 247 pounds. His name is even on the back of the jersey. He belongs in the end zone, not on the side of a milk carton. Don’t they see him? His name is in big giant letters on the back of the jersey. P-I-T-T-S. And how does Atlanta win a game by completing only 7 passes? Better yet, how does a team score 31 points and rush for only 3 yards? Actually, Tampa did that against the Chiefs top last week and they didn’t win.
Nobody stops the run better than the Chiefs, but the Falcons aren’t the Chiefs. Neither are the Bucs, but Tampa’s defense is top ten in all categories. Somehow, the Falcons are top ten in points scored. Just imagine how good they’d be if they had a tight end?
Fantasy Wife says: Tampa Bay. Brady will lose the divorce settlement, but win the game.
Steelers @ Bills (-14)
Kenny Pickett’s floor looks much higher than Mitch Trubisky’s ceiling; so Coach Tomlin is putting the team’s fate in Pickett’s tiny little baby hands. He gets his first-ever start this week against the Bills. Good luck. He had three interceptions last week. Only two teams have forced more turnovers than the Bills. They also have 14 sacks.
Pickett reached the end twice last week and the bottom of a Pringles can once. Pittsburgh also upset Buffalo last year. With 1,227 yards, 10 touchdowns and 3 wins so far, Josh Allen appears to have this game (and the league) in the palms of his much larger hands.
Fantasy Wife says: Take the Steelers. This may be Pickett’s best game all month.
Dolphins @ Jets (+3)
Zach Wilson returned from a meniscus tear and bone bruise to throw for 252 yards and a score against the Steelers. He also became the first Jets QB to ever catch a touchdown. They say MILF does a body good, right? I wonder if Gisele saw that grab? I don’t know, Zach catches a pass, and Mrs. Brady hires a divorce lawyer. If only Zach and his receivers had such timing.
It may be Breece Hall’s time too. He gets more carries every week and just scored his first touchdown. The Dolphins come into MetLife Stadium on 10 days’ rest. Tua Tagovailoa will get a lot of rest after a horrific injury against the Bengals. Miami hasn’t lost to the Jets since 2019 and was undefeated before the Tua injury. At home, the Jets are 0-2 against the spread. On the road, the Dolphins have covered just once, unless you count their handling of concussion protocols.
Fantasy Wife says: Go Dolphins. The Jets can’t possibly be .500 this far into a season.
Bears @ Vikings (-7)
Minnesota is 3-1 after defeating New Orleans in London last week. Only the Vikings could score points on 7 of 11 drives and still need an opponent’s missed field goal to win the game. Even without a touchdown, Justin Jefferson was spectacular. He had 10 catches for 147 yards including a 41-yard grab.
The Bears were less spectacular in New York. They had three fumbles and allowed 5 sacks. Justin Fields hasn’t thrown a touchdown since the opener but some guy in a Darnell Mooney jersey had 94 yards receiving. Khalil Herbert was just OK against the Giants, but the Bears will need Week 3 Khalil to have any chance of winning. It’s a 4,007-mile trip from London to Minneapolis or roughly 7,051,849 more yards than the Bears have passed. Maybe the Vikings will be tired.
Fantasy Wife says: Vikings. I want the Bears to win so bad, but they’re Bears.
Titans @ Commanders (+2)
The Titans have won 2 straight games, scoring exactly 24 points in both. That’s hard to do. The Commanders have scored 10 or fewer points in two straight games. That seems to be getting easier for Commanders. At least they had more points than sacks allowed. By Washington standards, that’s progress. Can a team be considered bipartisan if their offense and defense both stink?
With the exception of a Week 2 spanking from the Bills, Titan games have been close this year. Derrick Henry has a touchdown in each of his last three games. Only 5 teams have fewer passing yards than the Titans, but only one team has Derrick Henry. He’s top 5 in attempts. And while he’s not the Derrick Henry of old, he’s not quite an old Derrick Henry yet. With no guaranteed money left on his contract, Tennessee should ride him until the wheels fall off.
Fantasy Wife says: Titans. Carson Wentz. Enough said.
Seahawks @ Saints (-5.5)
Who Dat gonna suit up for the Saints this week? Hopefully more than last week. Without their top receiver, running back, left guard, and quarterback, the Saints should be commended for going the distance with Minnesota in London. It’s a shame the game had to end with Ye Olde Double Doink. The Saints are favored but I think they’re in trouble. They’ve lost their last three games and have given up 319 penalty yards; most of them last week. The Saints beat the Seahawks last year but failed to cover the spread.
Seattle can’t cover anybody these days allowing 16 plays of 25 yards or more, most in the NFL. My thoughts are with Rashaad Penny. If he can come close to the numbers he had last week, Seattle might cash in.
Fantasy Wife says: Seahawks. I believe in Pete Carroll more than anyone in the bayou.
Week 5 game picks – Sunday 4:05 PM EST
49ers @ Panthers (+6.5)
Get it together Christian McCaffrey. You ran great in Weeks 2 and 3 but did absolutely nothing as a receiver. Last week you did nothing on the ground but exploded for 81 yards and a score. Do you think we can put it all together this week against the Niners? You have so much potential. Try to focus on what’s important, my fantasy team. Also, your team is terrible against the spread and you have one win.
The Niners have one more win, an exponentially better coach, and a more talented roster. They beat the Rams easily but they’ve struggled on the road this year. The Niners scored only 10 points in each of their road games and failed to cover in both. A cross-country flight in a short week won’t help, but McCaffrey won’t get any help either. He never does.
Fantasy Wife says: I think the Panthers really want to lose, take the Niners.
Week 5 game picks – Sunday 4:25 PM EST
Eagles @ Cardinals (+5)
I don’t like it. As the only remaining undefeated team, the Philadelphia Eagles are getting too much love. I’ve mentioned this before; Philadelphia runs on negativity. We can’t have nice things. That’s why our Super Bowl had to be in freezing Minnesota (It was awful). Philly’s offense hasn’t been awful. They lead the league in yards and rushing touchdowns. I shouldn’t have passed on Sanders in my fantasy draft.
Arizona passes, a lot. They trail only the Jets in pass attempts, but so far it hasn’t translated into lots of points or touchdowns. They say Kyler Murray likes tight window throws. Maybe they should open the window? They could also open the playbook to include more Eno Benjamin. Eno kicked for an injured Matt Prater last week, had two returns of over 40 yards, and averaged 7.2 yards per carry on the ground. James Conner has 1 TD and is due to be injured any minute. The Cards can’t cover home spreads so they might as well cover their butts and give Eno more snaps.
Fantasy Wife says: Fly Eagles Fly.
Cowboys @ Rams (-4.5)
Please don’t tell anyone I said this, but the Dallas Cowboys are a good team. Let’s face it, unless your backup QB’s name is Tom Brady or Justin Herbert, it takes a well-balanced team to win when the starter goes down. While the offense has been average, the defense has been excellent. Only the Bills and Niners give up fewer points. The Cowboys have won 3 straight games and are 3-1 against the spread. Cee Dee hasn’t gone nuts yet, but his numbers have gone up every week and he’s scored in his last two games.
On the other hand, Rams’ numbers don’t lie. At 46.2%, L.A. ranks near the bottom in red zone efficiency. They’ve allowed 16 sacks, the second most in the league. Bobby Wagner’s third sack was on an animal rights activist. Great hit, but it didn’t count. Matt Stafford seems unable to hit any receiver not wearing numbers 10 or 89 and both running backs seem averse to the “workhorse” label. Add it up and you get a .500 team. How is this possible? Their coach is so handsome. I’m confused.
Fantasy Wife says: Cowboys. I really want to see Jerry Jones’s reaction after another Cooper Rush win.
Week 5 game picks – Sunday 8:20 PM EST
Bengals @ Ravens (-3)
I’ve often described Lamar Jackson’s performance as “money” but if their defense doesn’t get it together, I’m going to need some change. They’ve given up the third most yards and only the Chiefs have allowed more completions. Lamar is coming off his worst game of the season, as is Rashod Bateman. Perhaps J.K. Dobbins can be the Robin to Jackson’s Batman. He ran wild last week. J.K. He only had 41 yards but did find the end zone in his second start.
The Bengals beat the Ravens badly last year, twice. It used to be the other way around. Ja’Marr Chase used to lead the team in touchdowns, but now he’s tied with Boyd and Higgins with two. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Their road record isn’t so bad either. They’re 2-2 against the spread, 1-1 on the road, and scoring is similar on the road and at home. I have a gut feeling my wife will pick the Ravens.
Fantasy Wife says: I have a gut feeling about the Bengals.
Week 5 game picks – Monday 8:15 PM EST
Raiders @ Chiefs
Forget football, can we talk about Andy Reid’s new insurance commercial? It’s glorious. Forget about Jake; someone get this man some khakis and someone get me a homeowners policy. Forget the Manningcast; let’s put Andy in a big comfy chair with a bowl of nachos and watch him fight to stay awake during Thursday Night Football. Forget about Rihanna; I need a Big Red halftime performance in the same Super Bowl he’s winning. And I’m getting that “You’re not helping” look from my wife right now. Fine.
The Chiefs are 3-1. The Raiders are 1-3. The Chiefs are 2-2 against the spread but 1-1 at home. The Raiders are 1-3 against the spread and 0-2 on the road. The Chiefs beat the Raiders by 39 points last year and have won 4 of their last 5 meetings. Kristen, your thoughts?
Fantasy Wife says: Chiefs, Josh McDaniels just isn’t head coach material.
Thank you to my wife and to everyone that reads this column. Anniversary wishes are always welcome @fantasybruce.