NFL Week 5 takeaways: Top teams and coaching fallout
Game of inches. Game of kickers.
Before we get into the adjustments from this past week, here are my ratings, which include the average expectation of the quality of a team and the range it might play up or down to on any given Sunday.
Who's the best team in the NFL?
It's still the Buccaneers, who get a small bump back up to 79/100. The Dolphins receive a major downgrade, as their defense looks horrendous. If you rely on turnovers as the core component of your defense and you don't get them, you're in big trouble.
The Bills submit their application for the league's best team and effectively switch places with Kansas City. The Chiefs need to fall to the level of the Ravens, Chargers, and Browns, as they've lost to the first two and weren't the better team against Cleveland.
What else do we need to see from the Chargers to show us that they aren't worthy of being in this tier? Brandon Staley knows what kind of game he's in, and makes +EV decisions in the appropriate situations.
The Seahawks suffer the worst injury loss of the week. I'm not sure how good they were going to be with Russell Wilson, and he's arguably the most valuable player to his team, so how much do we downgrade Seattle with Geno Smith? I'll start with a move from 62 down to 50, and that might not be enough.
Kyle Shanahan continues to infuriate 49ers fans and backers. The Niners had 338 yards to Arizona's 304, but high-leverage plays were decided by Trey Lance throws from the pocket and a Kyle Juszczyk quarterback sneak - none of which took advantage of Lance's mobility, the sole reason to get excited about the rookie quarterback. Now Lance ends up on the already busy injury list for San Francisco, but Jimmy Garoppolo seems like he may be ready after the bye week. Perhaps controversially, I'm slightly downgrading the Cardinals off the win due to the yardage and concern about Kyler Murray's shoulder.
Week 5 was a reminder that bad teams can't get it done in two straight weeks. They're bad because they're inconsistent. Robert Saleh didn't have the Jets ready in the first half in London, while the Falcons were prepared to give that game away. Beware of getting too excited about a bad organization, especially if it's nudged out of its routine.
While the Packers' game with the Bengals was wild, Green Bay's quality of play wasn't any different than usual. When a game lined at GB -3 pushes the number and it's a fair result, it's hard to want to make any changes.
We tried to slip in a bet for you last week, telling you that a wager on the Texans was almost obligatory. Houston covered easily in a game that was essentially Sports Betting 101 after everything the Patriots gave the previous Sunday night. If you couldn't see that flat performance coming, then you might need to go back to NFL handicapping school. The Texans played to the top of their range while the Pats played to the low end of theirs, and that overlap produced a close game.
We know the Cowboys can reach a higher gear, but a tie game that Daniel Jones exited with an injury followed by a second-half blowout doesn't convince us they've found it just yet. Meanwhile, like the Seahawks and other teams that have lost their quarterback, how far do the Giants fall if Mike Glennon gets a start?
The big move
The Las Vegas Raiders are why we keep ratings and force ourselves not to overreact early. This is the group we expected to see before the season, with the same offensive and defensive capability as we've come to know in the Jon Gruden era, and that's why you've been able to fade them for three weeks in a row with relative ease. Now Gruden's out, and we can't drop the Raiders fast enough.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.