NFL Week 5 Wrapup and Monday Preview
To be sure, there are a slew of NFL teams out there wondering what's exactly wrong some five weeks into the current campaign ... the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) might be right at the top of a list that includes the likes of the winless New York Giants, the 2-3 Oakland Raiders and the stunningly-bad Arizona Cardinals.
But there's no in-depth introspection going on with the here-and-now Kansas City Chiefs - those fellas are "for real" with snazzy 5-0 SU (straight-up) and 5-0 ATS (against the spread) records following in the wake of last night's 42-34 win against the 2-point underdog Houston Texans.
Let's see: The Chiefs rode the hot-hot-hot arm of QB Alex Smith - is he the league's MVP at this stage of the season? - to the tune of 324 yards and three TDs and lest we forget yet another special teams TD (paging the explosive and exciting Tyreek Hill!) plus just enough defense although some late stats will hurt the KC average though we know better.
The good news for Kansas City is that the "short week" following last Monday's 29-20 win against Washington - still the craziest pointspread cover in 2017 - didn't seem to faze Andy Reid's guys who were aided-and-abetted by key early-game injuries to Houston defenders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus while the "bad news" is that the Chiefs' upcoming sked includes the following: Home to angry Pittsburgh, at Oakland (QB Derek Carr should be back for this one), home to Denver and then at Dallas ... so anyone hoping the Chiefs will be 9-0 SU after these quartet of games is likely fooling himself/herself but you never know.
In other key NFL Week 5 News & Notes ...
The aforementioned NY Giants will be heading to Denver for Sunday Night action but - of course - the 0-5 Jints will be without WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (fractured ankle) and more than likely without fellow wide-outs Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall (left ankle injuries to both) and there's a growing feeling in the tri-state area that it will be the Giants - and not the once-upon-a-time "tanking" New York Jets - that will be looking to draft a "franchise quarterback" come the next NFL Draft. If the Eli Manning Era is coming to a fast end, the Giants might be in the mood to speed up his retirement and cast their lot with UCLA's Josh Rosen or USC's Sam Darnold. Funny how the worm turns, even inside the hallways of MetLife Stadium ...
When you are thinking potential NFC Super Bowl teams, you better include the Carolina Panthers in the proverbial conversation. In Sunday's hang-on-to-dear-life 27-24 win at 1-point fav Detroit, not only did QB Cam Newton (355 yards passing with 3 TDs and 0 INTs) play like his old self - no post-game talk about shoulder woes, right? - the Panthers' defense battered and bloodied opposite QB Matthew Stafford and seems to us this unit is getting better every week. Do you now wonder aloud if the Panthers have replaced 2016 NFL loser Atlanta as the best team in the NFC South? Us too! ...
On Monday Night Football, it's ...
MINNESOTA (2-2) at CHICAGO (1-3) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Everyone's going absolutely ga-ga regarding the "Mitchell Trubisky Era" that basically begins tonight in Chitown but the game plan here for the home underdog Bears figures to rely mostly on RBs Jordan Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen - can Chicago swipe this NFC North game by having these dudes rush the ball 35 times between 'em and then have rookie Trubisky throw just enough to keep the Vikings "honest"? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, Minnesota is going here without injured/out-for-the-year RB Dalvin Cook (knee) and there's questions as to whether or not QB Case Keenum can make a splash if/when he's forced to step in again for oft-injured QB Sam Bradford. Take note: The Vikes are challenging a Chicago defense that ranks a better-than-you-thought 8th-raanked unit and gotta believe the Bears will shadow WR Stefon Diggs (391 receiving yards and 4 TDs).
The Minnesota Vikings (2-2) Are At The Chicago Bears (1-3) For This Week’s Monday Night Contest And It Is A Game That Meets All The Requirements For 40-Unit Parlay
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT
We've decided to call it "Shakeup Saturday", if you will:
Losses by #3 Oklahoma and #7 Michigan - both of which occurred in their own backyards - not only tossed much of the top 10 into disarray but you do have to wonder now if both the Boomer Sooners - now ranked #12 - and the mighty Wolverines (now at #17) even have a shot to climb back into the college football playoff chase ... we say they're cooked like a forgotten burger at your local fast food joint.
The funny thing is Oklahoma - a 38-31 loser as a 30.5-point betting to an Iowa State playing without their #1 quarterback -- had the Cyclones "plant a flag" into the field in Norman (sound familiar, Sooners?) following the shocking win while Michigan boss-man Jim Harbaugh was his cranky self just minutes after his club's 14-10 loss to 10.5-point pup Michigan State and he didn't have enough class to praise Sparty even though the visitors held Big Blue to only 102 rushing yards on 39 carries.
Harbaugh is a bad winner, an even worse loser. Maybe we'll see his overrated team at a pre-New Year's Day bowl because odds are his guys won't get into the playoff mix unless it wins the Big 10 and the likes of Alabama, Clemson and/or Washington drop at least one game.