Hello Readers, Sports Fans, Supporters of Radio DePaul Sports and more. This is the Robinson Report. This weekly column will tackle everything from news events, opinionated columns, bold predictions, and even settling the debate of all-time greatness.
We’ll do the old fashioned NFL “Pick ‘Em” for this week’s report. Week 5 is very crucial to the NFL world, as teams are slowly starting to get into the groove of figuring out who they are as a team, the start of key divisional games are underway, bye weeks are starting up in their second week, and we have our first NFL London game of the new year.
We’ll take a look at the Sunday slate of NFL Games and the Monday Night Game between Cleveland and San Francisco:
Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-4):
If Arizona wants to finally get a tally in the win column, now is the week to do it. The Cardinals have been on the cusp of winning on the road against Baltimore and in the week one tie against Detroit. The Bengals have looked bad all season, and with no offensive line, no A.J. Green and now the absence of WR John Ross, Arizona can finally get out of the hole they dug themselves into, and give Kliff Kingsbury his first career win as a Head Coach in the NFL.
PICK: Arizona 27, Cincinnati 13
Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-2):
This matchup features two surprise NFL Teams through the quarter mark of the 2019 NFL season. Buffalo’s lone loss of the year came at home against New England, a game they could have won on the final possession. Sean McDermott is one of the most underrated head coaches in the league, and his work in Buffalo has been tremendous so far in his tenure. They boast one of the best defenses, but what has been their downfall is the offensive production. Josh Allen should be back this week to travel with the team to Nashville, but if he doesn’t, it’ll be a rough outing for Buffalo. Tennessee, on the other side of the ball, have looked much better than most people thought coming into 2019. Marcus Mariota has done enough to where the Titans have been competitive, but like in Buffalo, much of the Titans success has been on defense. If Allen plays, Buffalo can squeak out a W. If not, the Titans can move to 3-2 in a highly competitive AFC South.
PICK: Buffalo 20, Tennessee 17
Chicago Bears (3-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-2):
The last person I would want to be this week is Jon Gruden going up against a disgruntled Kahlil Mack. The former Raider was traded away from Oakland to Chicago after the Raiders refused to pay him, and Mack has thrived since arriving in Chicago at the beginning of last season. This is the first game in London, which brings back the age old question of why do we put up with London games every season? Regardless, Chase Daniel is now the Bears leader after Mitchell Trubisky went down with a shoulder injury last week against Minnesota. Is Chase better than Trubisky as the leader of the offense? That question won’t be answered against Oakland, partly because even the ghost of Josh Freeman could have a couple of solid drives against the Raiders secondary.
PICK: Chicago 27, Oakland 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) at New Orleans Saints (3-1):
We still don’t know what Tampa Bay team will show up each game. Will it be the rejuvenated Bucs that beat Carolina and Los Angeles on the road, led by an impressive Jameis Winston and Shaq Barrett on defense? Or is it the underperforming Bucs of Buccaneer past that lost at home to San Francisco and New York? they looked so inconsistent that it made Tampa actually miss the trio of Brad Johnson, Keenan McCardell and Michael Pittman. If Matt Gay makes his field goals they would be 3-1, and if they didn’t overlook San Francisco Week 1, this is a 4-0 ballclub. On the other side of things, Teddy Bridgewater (2019 is the new 2015) has done what New Orleans needed from him in the absence of Drew Brees: Enough. They beat two excellent teams in Dallas and New Orleans and while the Dallas game wasn’t pretty, the recipe for success down in the Big Easy is to control the game while your defense does most of the heavy lifting. That being said, I like what I see from this Arians-Jamies duo, and if last week was a sign of things to come, then Sean Payton and Co. could be on upset alert this week.
PICK: Tampa Bay 30, New Orleans 23
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) at New York Giants (2-2):
If I told you after Week 1 that come Week 5, the New York Giants would be sitting pretty and the Minnesota Vikings would be the ones with the turmoil, would you believe me? It seems that with each growing week of the football season, the Vikings have buyer’s remorse with Kirk Cousins, and Mike Zimmer’s seat is hotter than a Monday afternoon in July in Florida. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs appear to want out of the organization, and Minnesota looks far removed from an NFC Championship appearance two years ago. On the other hand, the legend of Danny Dimes continues to grow, but fair warning: It doesn’t take much to beat up on the Buccaneers and Redskins secondary. If he performs well for another week without Saquon Barkley against a much better Vikings defense, then I’ll believe in the hype. If Minnesota loses this week while Cousins struggles again, there may be a changing of the guard very soon.
PICK: Minnesota 28, New York 21
New York Jets (0-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-2):
Are Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles #back? I won’t answer that question this week due to the horrific opponent that is coming to visit them in the New York Jets. But, due to how much harder the Eagles’ schedule gets over the next month after the New York battle (If you can call it that), the wins against Green Bay last week and this week will help out tremendously. On the other sidelineNew York, I told you Adam Gase was not the right decision. Sure, Sam Darnold is still out with Mono and Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams are trying to keep this team relevant, but just because Gase coached Peyton Manning doesn’t mean the Jets should have overlooked his horrible tenure with the Miami Dolphins.
PICK: Philadelphia 35, New York 10
P.S.- Is Jalen Ramsey still around?
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3):
I have good news and bad news, Baltimore. The good news is that after your 2-0 start with Lamar Jackson as the MVP frontrunner only to fall flat the next two games, a game against Pittsburgh is what the doctor ordered. The bad news is, it’s against Pittsburgh, which means it’s a heated division rivalry on the road and it’ll be closer than you think. I want to think that the win against Cincinnati was a sign of life in Pittsburgh. But then I realized it was against Cincinnati, and I’m relatively confident that if Big Ben was out there instead of Mason Rudolph, the result may have stayed the same.
PICK: Baltimore 24, Pittsburgh 20
New England Patriots (4-0) at Washington Redskins (0-4):
Jay Gruden was coaching for his job last week against New York. Now, it’ll be his last hurrah at FedEx Field where his job is in the hands of Colt McCoy. I’ve seen this script too many times. This should be a 40-point blowout for the Patriots, and it probably will be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in an effort to not show much on film, they either win by 3 or lose by 10. However, the Patriots defense has been stellar all season, and hasn’t given up a passing TD all season long, and it should stay that way this week.
PICK: New England 35, Washington 3
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-2):
Stop the Gardner Minshew hype train. This week, they’ll have to travel to Carolina and another hostile environment in a team that looks rejuvenated since Kyle Allen took over for an injured Cam Newton. Leonard Fournette has been hot and cold all season, but can provide a solid performance against an average Carolina run defense. DJ Chark has had an early breakout campaign thus far, and the Jaguars have seen to forget all about their Jalen Ramsey issue. If they win to go to 3-2, do you think he’ll come back to the team? As for Riverboat Ron and Co., remember when they lost to Tampa on that rainy Thursday Night last month and everyone was calling for his head? Ha! Look at him now, on the cusp of 3 straight wins and back in business in the NFC South.
*To clarify, I was definitely among those who thought Ron Rivera was on the way out*
PICK: Carolina 23, Jacksonville 17
Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Houston Texans (2-2):
This isn’t what Julio Jones deserves. For such a generational talent, I would hope that his only shot at a Super Bowl ring isn’t the 28-3 collapse. But Dan Quinn may be on his way out, and for good reason. Ever since former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left for San Francisco, this offense and team have looked really bad. For so many great names on both sides of the ball, they have underperformed horribly. On the other hand, the Texans look way better than just a 2-2 record, but Deshaun Watson needs his line help. With how bad the Falcons secondary is, Watson should be able to pick apart the defense en route to a bounceback win after looking less than stellar against Carolina last week.
PICK: Houston 31, Atlanta 14
Denver Broncos (0-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2):
Vic Fangio shouldn’t get the blame for how bad the Broncos have been this season. With how they treated Vance Joseph, I would hope they don’t fire Fangio after just one season. Now Bradley Chubb is out for the season, and they are most likely going to fall to 0-5. If you’re looking for someone to blame, it’s all on John Elway. As the Broncos President, he’s only been successful because of Peyton Manning. His tenure since Manning’s retirement and the Super Bowl has been insanely bad, and his draft picks have not panned out. If moves were to be made at the end of the season, it should be to remove Elway from the front office. Rivers and Co. are getting Melvin Gordon back, and by moving into 3-2, they can challenge KC in their division.
PICK: Los Angeles 34, Denver 10
Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1):
In America’s Game of the Week, the Packers are traveling to Jerry World without Devante Adams, but because they have Aaron Rodgers and a better defense, they should keep themselves in this game. Historically, Aaron Rodgers has been a thorn in the Dallas Cowboys’ side, but this year may be a bit different. He doesn’t look like the Aaron Rodgers of years’ past, and without Adams, this will be a challenge. On the other side of the ball, how can the national media say the Cowboys got exposed because they had to play a real team? They lost by 2 points in one of, if not the hardest venue to play in at the Mercedes Benz Superdome against the New Orleans Saints and their tough defense. This will be a bounceback win for them, and I’m a believer in the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys, and at home, they can and will beat the Green Bay Packers.
PICK: Dallas 34, Green Bay 28
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0):
If anyone can knock off Kansas City this early into the season, it’s the Indianapolis Colts. Without Andrew Luck, they have looked solid, if not better, with Jacoby Brissett in the Frank Reich offense. Kansas City is still a juggernaut, but they are definitely beatable after their shootout in Detroit last week. The Chiefs will be without Tyreek Hill this week, despite participating in practice. The Colts are likely to get T.Y. Hilton back, so their offense will be back to normal with his presence. The Chiefs defense is still rough, but they can still pull it out at home in primetime, which will be the biggest stage Brissett has played thus far in his career.
PICK: Chiefs 30, Colts 21
Cleveland Browns (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-0):
As someone that has seen it before, I’ve never been one to call a Quarterback or team overrated just 3 weeks into the season. The narrative that Baker Mayfield is bad and the Browns are a horrible and overrated team is just laughable. It’s three weeks with a new offense and head coach, were they supposed to win each game by 40 points? It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish, and it’s a marathon, not a sprint. No matter what phrase you want to work with, they looked much better this past week against Lamar Jackson and Baltimore. Media narratives are horrible for a reason, and I get reminded each and every week why no one in the national media knows anything about long-term football. Just ask Trent Dilfer after the Chiefs blew out the Patriots in 2014. On the other side of things, for Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers, they beat the Bengals, Bucs and Steelers. This week at home will be a good indication of how good this football team can be with Jimmy G under center.
PICK: Cleveland 23, San Francisco 17