Schwartz’s Trench Report: Is It Finally Time to Fade the Chiefs? More Week 5 NFL Bets
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs line of scrimmage
- Former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz offers his best Week 5 bets based on the battles up front.
- The Giants are tasked with stopping the league's best running quarterback. Can they do it?
- And is it time to fade the Chiefs? Here are two picks against the spread for Sunday.
Now that we have a full four weeks of NFL results, including data and film, my weekly trench reports should take on some new life.
We’ll kick off the Week 5 edition with the Giants’ matchup at the Panthers, then look at whether it’s finally time to fade the red-hot Chiefs when the Jaguars visit Arrowhead on Sunday.
>> All odds as of 12 p.m. ET on Thursday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
- Spread: Panthers -6.5
- Over/Under: 43.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
There’s an individual matchup in this game that the Panthers should exploit for major yards and points. It’s the zone read.
We know it’s a staple of the Panthers offense with Cam Newton. Using the advanced filters at Sports Info Solutions, we can see that Newton has run the ball on a designed run or a zone read for 98 yards on 17 carries, good for 5.76 yards a pop. If we filter it even further, we see that Newton has kept the ball strictly on a zone read for 50 yards on six carries, good for 8.33 yards per carry.
Here’s an example of how Cam made some magic with his legs against the Cowboys in Week 1:
The Giants run defense has been less than ideal, clocking in at 29th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. One area the Giants have been especially bad is against the zone read. On eight attempts, mostly against the Cowboys and Saints, the Giants have allowed 112 yards and 14 yards per carry.
And it’s not that Dallas or New Orleans made outstanding runs to earn those yards. It’s that the Giants aren’t even defending it.
The Giants look unprepared in the following clip from Week 2, like they’re surprised that Dak Prescott can make this happen.
There’s no one accounting for him.
Fast forward to this past weekend, when the Saints put in Taysom Hill to run these quarterback-designed plays. The backup does an outstanding job of riding the running back and pulling the ball exactly when the defender commits to the back.
The Giants didn’t defend this terribly; give Hill credit for making this happen.
Now this week we get a Giants defense that can’t stop the quarterback when he runs the ball against a team whose quarterback is the best at designed runs.
I’ll take a Panthers team off a bye — with right guard Trai Turner returning — against a Giants team that’s lifeless without its offense functioning at a high level.
Oh, and one last tidbit: Since the end of 2015, the Giants haven’t scored more than 30 points in a single game, which is just remarkable. They are even worse on the road, only averaging 16.8 points per game over that span.
Give me the Panthers and the points.
The Bet: Panthers -6.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -3
- Over/Under: 49
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
I’m a Chiefs fan. Their offense is amazing and so much fun to watch. Unfortunately, their defense isn’t playing up to the same level, which will be an issue when the Jaguars come to Arrowhead.
The Jaguars can run the football even without Leonard Fournette in the lineup. They’re averaging 4.37 adjusted line yards according to FO, which is good for 11th in the league, awhile the Chiefs’ 5.34 mark is the worst in the NFL.
Jacksonville is third in sack rate while Kanas City doesn’t get to the passer. So we have a Jaguars team getting three points that will run the ball well and keep Blake Bortles upright against a Chiefs defense that can’t stop anyone.
The Jaguars’ ability to run the ball and chew some clock up should keep the ball out of the explosive hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.
On the flip side, we have the Chiefs offense going up against the excellent Jaguars defense. When your defense struggles, there’s pressure to be perfect on offense. And if the Jaguars force some punts, the Chiefs will run out of chances to score.
I love the Jaguars here.
The Bet: Jaguars +3