5 Lessons Learned – NFL Week 5

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It was points aplenty across the NFL this weekend as offences lit up the scoreboard all over the league… except for the Titans-Bills game.

Heading into Sunday Night Football, just six teams failed to score 20 points and Atlanta’s 32 points in a losing effort would have been enough to win just about every other game this weekend, unfortunately they ran into the Texans buzz saw.

Before we get into the actual takeaways from the weekend, we first have to question what scheduling genius decided to front load Monday’s games and have pretty much every contest done before we’d reached our second coffee?

Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the numbers are telling us from Week 5 in the NFL.

1 – Seattle’s Primetime Show

It’s amazing what happens when the NFL puts two good teams in the Thursday Night Football slot.

Sure it wasn’t a perfect game, there were a few moments where you wondered how both those sides made the playoffs but that was definitely outweighed by the highlights from the game.

At this point in his career, Russel Wilson is a good enough passer that as long as his receivers have two working hands, two working legs and a functioning brain, he will get them the ball.

What is useful for him though is the support he gets on the ground from a guy like Chris Carson.

It is that sort of offensive balance that should get the Seahawks rolling in most games, especially at home where they have always been a tough team to beat.

Unfortunately the run of good teams on Thursday comes to an end with the Giants facing New England.

It could be a rough week for Daniel Jones as the Patriots have made pretty much every quarterback they’ve faced look bad.

2 – Who Has The Nose for the End Zone?

A good way to fill out a same game multi is to take a look at the Anytime Touchdown Scorer markets.

Of course with six options to catch and/or run the ball into the end zone available on any given play, it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly who to back.

For some teams, it really is a case of “whoever we want to score will score” like with Brandon Bolden catching a touchdown pass for the Patriots yesterday ahead of more regular running backs Sony Michel and James White.

What you do want to look for instead, are players that don’t leave the field a whole lot and have earned the coaches trust in the most important area of the field to be called on week in, week out.

One of the most popular options is Christian McCaffery from the Panthers, he rarely leaves the field and can break a play open every time he touches the ball.

He’s scored in four of five games this season and has found the end zone in his last three games.

Another strong option at least at the moment is Aaron Jones from the Packers with a league leading eight touchdowns on the season including four against the Cowboys.

When you score in four straight games, it goes a long way to getting noticed by the coaches.

3 – Kicker Impact

Ever since Bill Belichick’s proposal to move the extra point snap back to the 15 yard line, we’ve seen a lot of kickers struggle with that change.

What used to be an automatic seven point play is now a lot more competitive and something that really has to come into consideration when betting the line.

Funnily enough, Belichick’s kicker since then, Stephen Gostkowski has been one of the strongest examples of kickers struggling with this once automatic play.

Now with him on injured reserve, the Patriots are trotting out Mike Nugent who was available in large part because of his struggles with the extra points.

With most kickers outside of Justin Tucker in Baltimore putting their extra points through at around 80-90% if you want to back a team to win by a touchdown, the safe option might be to back them at -5.5 instead of -6.5.

4 – It was on the Cards?

It was coming, the baby faced duo of the NFL finally got their first win after a couple of close calls early on this season.

Sure it was “only against the Bengals” and they “kind of suck” but that might just be the boost Arizona needed to get some sort of roll going.

Up next is a game against the reeling Falcons who might just be in “back against no matter what” territory after giving up 53 to Houston.

Can they make it two in a row this week?
There are worse teams to take a punt on here.

5 – Washington Bounce Back?

Timing is everything and for the Washington Redskins, it seemed like the right time to fire coach Jay Gruden.

In the interests of full disclosure, the initial draft of this takeaway basically was just going to say back against Washington until they fire Gruden, but now it’s taking a look at what to expect with Bill Callahan temporarily in charge.

It’s still a roster that has been decimated by injury and it’s hard to see them going on some sort of miracle Super Bowl run, but in the short term, it means that you can’t just automatically back against them.

Not that you would have felt great about backing for or against the Fish Tank Job in Miami this weekend either.

You could do a lot worse than backing Washington this week on the theory that these players have had a fire lit under them now the coach can’t be blamed for their shortcomings.

Of course after Miami it doesn’t get any easier for them so even if they do win that game, you might just want to back them at the line instead of outright, if you’re expecting a response.

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.