Do you remember this guy? Minnesota Vikings fans do, I'm sure. But just in case you can't quite put a name to the hair-do, it's WR Randy Moss. He's back where his NFL career started and will finally be able to once again let his hair down and do what he does: catch touchdowns.
Moss' Vikings play on Monday Night Football this week against the Jets, and I'm guessing he has a little bit of revenge on his mind. However, there are other games to pick before we get into all of that.
If you read my article last week, then you know I went 3-2 with Week 4's picks. That's respectable, but I hope to improve this week. So, without further ado, let's get to this week's edition of my top five picks against the spread.
The Jaguars travel to Buffalo this week to take on the Buffalo Bills. I said it last week, and I'm going to say it again this week: the Bills are quite possibly the worst team in the NFL. Any NFL team that isn't favored against the lowly Bills should be insulted and as a result bring their "A" game.
I'm sure the Jaguars will do exactly that. Maurice Jones-Drew is capable of having a monster game this Sunday. The Bills defense is accustom to being abused by their opponents week in and week out. Even David Garrard should be able to get into the action and look like a Pro Bowler this week.
The Jaguars have a terrible pass defense. The Bills have a terrible passing game. That's a push, but the Jags run defense is respectable enough to not get embarrassed by a Bills rushing attack that lacks a spark and a number one back.
The Bills defense, on the other hand, is dead last against the rush. This fares well for MJD. He'll have a field day. Also, the Bills have given up more points (125 in four games) than any team in the NFL and boast the league's worst point differential (-16 per game.)
The Bills won't lose every game this year, but they aren't going to get their first win this week.
Jaguars 24, Bills 20
The St. Louis Rams are one of the NFL's biggest surprise stories so far this season. Rookie QB Sam Bradford has the Rams looking like a real team again and sharing the division lead at 2-2 with the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. On top of that, RB Steven Jackson is no longer seeing eight defenders in the box on every play.
Now they travel to Detroit to do battle with the the 0-4 Detroit Lions. The Lions defense is very bad against both the pass (26th ranked) and the run (25th ranked.) They've also given up 106 points in four games (28th ranked.) The Lions are still without starting QB Matthew Stafford, and they have a rookie RB in Jahvid Best who has looked a bit shaky as of late.
They have lost three of their four games by a total of 10 points, but in their week three game against the Minnesota Vikings they lost by 14. They have a potent offense, but they literally have no answer for Bradford or Jackson. Both of these guys are sure to have big games in Week 5. As long as the Rams defense can capitalize on Detoit's offensive mistakes (there will certainly be a few) the Rams will walk away with a winning record for the first time since 2006.
The Rams defense has been the definition of "bend but don't break" this season. They've given up 1,388 yards (23rd ranked) but have only given up 52 points (fourrth ranked.) I really like the Rams to make the "we have arrived" statement in this game.
Rams 31, Lions 27
The Green Bay Packers have been playing some of the best football in the league this year, minus the 18 penalties they racked up against the Bears in Week 3. They won't have that problem again this week. The Redskins have looked awfully dysfunctional thus far in 2010.
The Skins won last week in QB Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia, but they also knocked Michael Vick out of the game in the first half of the contest. Backup QB Kevin Kolb just couldn't seem to get the ball downfield on many of his throws. McNabb also went 1-9 passing in the second half of the contest. Philly lost the game more than the Redskins won it.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers lives on getting the ball downfield, so the Redskins defense will have their work cut out for them. The Packers have put up 106 points in four games (fifth ranked) and have only given up 73 points (13th ranked.) They are one of the most complete teams in the NFL. They have only one real weakness right now, and it's their running game.
This shouldn't be that big of a deal though. The Redskins have given up 1,220 yards through the air (31st ranked), and that plays to the Packers biggest strength. I look for Aaron Rodgers to have over 300 yards and three TDs in this game, making it impossible for the Redskins anemic offense to keep up with the scoring.
The Skins are also without starting RB Clinton Portis. I just don't see any way that the Redskins can keep this game from getting away from them in the second half.
Packers 34, Redskins 20
In what was the game of the week until Randy Moss was traded to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday morning, the Chiefs go into Indianapolis as the last unbeaten team in the NFL at 3-0 to take on the 2-2 Colts.
Many people are picking the Chiefs to be brought back to reality in this game by losing big to the Colts. Don't be so quick to buy into the hype though. The Colts will have their work cut out for them if they want to get to 3-2 this week.
There are two key factors that actually bode very well for the Chiefs. One is the Chiefs incredible running game and the Colts inability to stop anyone from running all over them. The Chiefs had a bye in week four, so their stat totals are a little misleading.
However, the Chiefs have rushed for 160.1 yards per game (first ranked) with their two-back system of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. Jones is the starter and spends much of his time softening up opposing defenses for the more explosive Charles to bust big runs later in games.
The Colts have no answer for these two backs. They've given up a woeful 598 yards on the ground (29th ranked) in only four games. Now they have two Pro Bowl caliber backs to try to contain. Fresh legs on the field at all times for the Chiefs offense should result in the Colts giving up around 200 yards on the ground.
The second factor is the Chiefs' young and impressive defense coached by the Peyton Manning kryptonite known as Romeo Crennell. Manning faced Crennell's defense five times from 2001-2004. In those contests Manning averaged roughly four picks to every three TDs. He completed only 57.5 percent of his passes and put up a pedestrian QB rating of 68.4: and that was when he had a running game behind him.
Not only can the Colts not stop the run, but they can't run the ball themselves very well. Their rushing offense mirrors their rushing defense (29th ranked.) I'm not saying the Chiefs should be the favorite—though I do like them to win—,but 7.5 points is too big a number for the Colts to cover in this kind of matchup.
Chiefs 24, Colts 20
Revis won't be there to check Moss
Randy Moss has returned home to Minnesota in a trade between the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings this week. In this week's marquee matchup, last year conference championship runner-ups face off on Monday Night Football. Even after acquiring Moss, the Vikings are still underdogs against the Jets on Monday night; but I'm not sure they should be.
Last season the Vikings were one of the league's best teams. They've struggled this year, mostly due to their lack of a deep threat after losing number one receiver Sydney Rice to injury. Now they have quite possibly the best deep threat in the NFL in WR Randy Moss.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has had a great start to his 2010 campaign. He's averaging 130.7 yards per game and has rushed for three TDs already. That was before the team's Week 4 bye when they still had no downfield threat. The Jets now have to worry about getting burnt on every play by Moss, which will open up opportunities for Vikings TE Visante Shainco over the middle and bigger holes for Peterson to run through.
The Vikings defense has given up only 12.7 points per game (second ranked), and DE Jared Allen is yet to get it really going. I'm sure this unit is licking their chops at the thought of sacking Jets second year QB Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez has looked good in his last two games, but he has faced two of the league's worst pass rushing teams. The Vikings will be able to stifle the Jets run game and focus their energy on getting to Sanchez.
Moss has had a spotty past against the Rex Ryan-era Jets, but this is his second Monday night game in two weeks. In the first, he failed to catch a pass and was only targeted twice. Look for him to get a lot more looks this week. "The old gunslinger," Brett Favre, has been wanting to team up with Moss since his days in Green Bay. He now has the target that he's always wanted.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is not going to play in the matchup, leaving a big hole in the secondary. The Vikings are back, and Monday night is their first chance to show it.
Vikings 24, Jets 13
There you have it. This week it's all about the road teams. It's risky to take so many road teams, I know. But for the reasons that I gave earlier in this article, this is the way I see it going down. It's like I said—I was 3-2 last week taking favorites during the week of the underdog.
In no way am I promoting gambling, but whatever you decide to do this week, you'll have some great matchups to keep a close eye on. Good luck to all the teams that I have on this list. Being that none of you are at home, you could probably use a little of lady luck latching onto your fortunes.