Nostrathomas Predicts: HOF Quarterbacks Face Off in Week 6

Nostrathomas was looking and feeling good after the early games last Sunday. The victory cigar was prepped and good drink was waiting to be had, then the late afternoon games kicked off.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers got pantsed at home. That night, the Seattle Seahawks let Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison run over them until there was only one minute left in the game. One minute later and the Seahawks were walking off the field with a one-point victory but they didn’t cover.

For the season, Nostrathomas is now 22-25 against the spread and 30-15 straight-up but all of that is in the past now. The NFL keeps chugging into the next week. They don’t slow down so a forecaster can get his “owies” kissed. With that said, the crystal beer mugs are filled and ready to be peered through with the results recorded below.

Game of the Week

Green Bay Packers -1 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 PM ET; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL)

This is only the fourth time in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers’ careers that these two future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks have faced each other. Brady’s Patriot teams currently hold a 2-1 record over Rodgers.

This game opened with Tampa Bay favored by three but with 89 percent  of public money coming in on the Packers,  Green Bay has been bet to a one point favorite. It appears that the public is reading a lot into the Buccaneers losing a thrilling 20-19 game to the Chicago Bears in Week 5.

This shapes up to be an epic NFL battle. Aaron Rodgers is having a special season through five weeks. He is second in the NFL with a 128.4 passer rating and first in net yards per attempt (passing yards – sack yards divided by attempts plus sacks). The Packers are also first in the NFL in points per play and points per drive.

Green Bay is strong rushing the football but that plays directly into Tampa Bay’s strength. The Buccaneers defense is first in the NFL with a 2.7 rushing yards per attempt allowed. Their line should also give Rodgers the toughest time in the pocket that he’s had in 2020.

Who comes out on top? The Buccaneers should be able to move the ball on offense but Green Bay will be better in capitalizing on any of Tampa Bay’s mistakes. Also, while Tampa Bay is coming off of a 10 day rest after playing a Thursday night game, The Packers are coming off of a bye week. Finally, Green Bay is 4-0 against the spread and straight-up this season and 5-1 in their last six games.

Take Green Bay to win a slugfest over the Buccaneers.

Green Bay Packers 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28

Best Bets

Chicago Bears +1.5 vs Carolina Panthers (1 PM ET; Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC)

Carolina has won three straight games and their offense is improving each week with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. For the Bears, their offense has struggled but their defense has been rising to the occasion.

Chicago is second in the NFL on defense in passer rating allowed, points per drive allowed, and third down percentage.

The Panthers also have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Last week against Atlanta, Carolina allowed Todd Gurley to rush for 121 yards on 14 carries. Gurley hadn’t rushed for over 100 yards in his last 21 games before Week 5 of 2020.

The Panthers are close to unseating the New Orleans Saints as the dominant team in the NFC North but they need another draft to shore up their seriously deficient defensive line. The Bears have the defense to keep Carolina’s offense under control and the running game to come out on top on Sunday.

Chicago Bears 24 Carolina Panthers 20

Atlanta Falcons vs Minnesota Vikings -4 (1 PM ET; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)

It’s a lot to expect people to bet a team with a 1-4 record that’s laying four points. What should make it an easier bet to put down is that the Vikings are at home and Atlanta is currently just ahead of the New York Giants and New York Jets for worst team in the NFL.

The Falcons are moving on from the Dan Quinn era this week. Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris has taken the reins as interim coach for the remainder of the season.

Normally, a coaching change would cause Nostrathomas to rethink betting against a team, especially when recommending the game as a best bet. This situation is a bit different though. The Atlanta players didn’t quit on Dan Quinn. The effort was still being made. The problem with the Falcons is, the two coaches in charge of the offense, Dirk Koetter, and defense are still calling the shots.

The Vikings have been playing, and losing, close games against tough teams all season. Atlanta is not a tough team.

Minnesota Vikings 26 Atlanta Falcons 17

Los Angeles Rams -3 vs San Francisco 49ers (Sunday Night Football, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)

One loss to a sub-.500 team at home is an upset. Two straight losses to sub-.500 teams at home means you have a problem. Losing two straight games to sub-.500 teams at home and then host one of the best teams in the NFL in a nationally televised game? That means you better have your problems solved or you’re going to get your butt kicked.

One problem for the 49ers have is the injuries that they’ve had to overcome this season. A more serious problem has been the doubts that are beginning to crop up about quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

He was supposed to be healthy last week after recovering from an ankle injury. As it turned out, Garoppolo played a game that looked more like Nick Mullens than the “Jimmy G” that led San Francisco to the Super Bowl last season.

Garoppolo is going to start but he might want to think twice about that. Last week the Rams made Alex Smith’s return to the field more of an endurance test than celebration. The 49ers need to get more than three points to keep this game from being a big play on the Rams.

Los Angeles Rams 27 San Francisco 49ers 16

Best of the Rest

Baltimore Ravens -9.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles (1PM ET; Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA)

The Eagles gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a tough game last week but couldn’t keep Chase Claypool out of the end zone. Baltimore took a bad loss at home in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs but have won and dominated the last two, granted against inferior opponents.

It’s a large spread but Baltimore is also the top team in the Football from A to Z Power Rankings this week. Also, while the Eagles have struggled through the early part of the season, they’ve been keeping games close.

The NFC East is 0-8 against the spread at home so far in 2020. Another interesting trend to watch is that teams playing on Sunday before a Thursday night game are 2-5-1 against the spread and 1-7 straight-up. Also, consider that the Kanas City at Buffalo game was originally scheduled on Thursday night and both had their first losses of the season handed to them in Week 5. That puts those numbers at 2-7-1 against the spread and 1-9 straight-up.

For this game, follow the strange trend that has emerged this season while also following the statistically superior team even though they are on the road.

Baltimore Ravens 33 Philadelphia Eagles 22

Cincinnati Bengals vs Indianapolis Colts -7.5 (1 PM ET; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IND)

Cincinnati has only won one game this season but they had played everybody close and it looked like Bengals fans could finally see light at the end of the tunnel for their team. At least, that was before that light turned into a freight train that the Baltimore Ravens embodied last Sunday.

Now they get to travel to Indianapolis to play a Colts team that had their heads handed to them by Cleveland in Week 5.

Indianapolis has the superior defense and is still a better team than this growing Bengals Bunch. The rule here is never take the road dog unless you think they can win. Nostrathomas does not think for a minute that Cincinnati can win this game. Take the Colts and lay the points.

Indianapolis Colts 26 Cincinnati Bengals 16

Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 (1 PM ET; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA)

When was the last time we had a Browns at Steelers game that really mattered? Both teams appeared in the Football from A to Z’s top 10 this week.

Statistically, the Steelers are the better team in this game but not by as much as you would think. Cleveland can score but the Steelers are strong against the pass. The Browns are second in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt but Pittsburgh is second on defense in that stat.

The Steelers can generate pass rush and have a better pass defense than Cleveland. Ben Roethlisberger is also still a better quarterback than Baker Mayfield. Also, the home team has covered the last four games in this series.

Take Pittsburgh in what should be an entertaining game.

Pittsburgh Steelers 29 Cleveland Browns 23

Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans -3.5 (1PM ET; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN)

The Texans broke through into the win column last week under interim coach Romeo Crennel but that was against Jacksonville. They’re taking the field against the NFC North leaders this week.

Sharps are betting the Texans heavy this week but this is one game where Nostrathomas can’t ride with them. Tennessee is too dominant in too many different categories. This game is a field goal spread plus the kicker. Lay that with the Titans to win, even with them on a short week.

Tennessee Titans 30 Houston Texans 23

New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins -9.5 (4:05 PM ET; Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL)

The Miami Dolphins won big in San Francisco last week and they’re having fun riding the right arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick through five games. Still, adding the Dolphins to your parlay while giving 9.5 points to anyone is crazy right now. A 2-3 team, no matter how hot that team is, should be giving more than one score’s worth of points.

With that said, the New York Jets haven’t finished a game within one score of any of their five opponents this season.

Nostrathomas is going to say take the Dolphins and give the points if you really don’t have any other games you’re confident in right now.

Miami Dolphins 30 New York Jets 13

Kansas City Chiefs -4.5 vs Buffalo Bills (Monday Night, 5 PM ET; Bills Stadium, Buffalo, NY)

Both of these teams fell back to Earth after dashing out to 4-0 starts and will be looking to get better in this Monday night matinee.

At this point in the season it’s better to bet on Kansas City and give the points. We’re still evaluating where the Bills are in their development. The Chiefs are the Champs.

Kansas City Chiefs 32 Buffalo Bills 24

Arizona Cardinals -1 vs Dallas Cowboys (Monday Night Football; AT&T Stadiums, Dallas, TX)

How will the Cowboys play this week with Andy Dalton at quarterback to replace Zak Prescott? It’s not like Dallas was on fire before though. Their two victories came against the Washington Football Team and New York Giants.

The Cardinals needed an afternoon at MetLife Relaxation Spa against the Jets to get better after a two game losing streak. Arizona is the better team in this game and should be travelling back home as a winner Monday night.

Arizona Cardinals 25 Dallas Cowboys 20

Games of the Weak

Detroit Lions vs Jacksonville Jaguars +3 (1 PM ET; TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL)

This game is tough to get a read on. Both teams are similar statistically. In other words, bad! Take the home team if you must.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Detroit Lions 16

Washington Football Team +3 vs New York Giants (1 PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

Nostrathomas is only making a pick on this game because he picks every game on each week’s schedule. The Football team can play defense. That’s the only reason they get the nod here.

Washington Football Team 19 New York Giants 17

In Quarantine

Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots “NO LINE” (1 PM ET; Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)

As of this writing, this game is still scheduled to be played but it’s difficult for Nostrathomas to see how. An hour ago, New England placed three more players on the reserve/Covid-19 list. Because of that, there won’t be a prediction made on this game.

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