Isn’t it amazing?

I was prepared to write about how quickly the first quarter of the season has gone, already. How a new year of football brought a new year of opportunities. How everything started balancing out. How the ‘rebound’ is unfolding. How the ball, once again, is bouncing our way.

And then the ball literally bounced the other way.

Week 4 was one insane fluke away from yielding our fourth consecutive winning week to start the year. Four 9-win weeks-in-a-row. Instead, another series of impossible events unfolded. And we lost. But, we didn’t.

We don’t always lose when our picks lose. Yes, the numbers don’t look quite as good and the feeling isn’t as fuzzy, but it happens. Sometimes the ball really does bounce the other way.

This is something I have stated for years, through good-and-bad. And, it is much easier to open a Week 5 picks column with it seeing as the heart-breaking loss really didn’t do much damage. Was it annoying? Of course. Was it mind-boggling? Yes. But, was it crippling? Not a chance.

By the time Tuesday morning rolled around, we could already start to look ahead to the smaller slate of games in Week 5. “Small” should not only refer to the amount of teams in play compared to recent weeks, but the sizes of many of the spreads. In addition, these spreads have moved quite a bit over the past few days, as Week 4 left a handful of teams ravaged with injuries.

Thankfully, not a single game was missing a spread by the time this column was written, which means the numbers were released without definitive knowledge of what to expect. At least, what most should expect.

We are here to read between the lines.

Below are predictions for each game against the spread. Spreads have been taken from various websites and are subject to change. The spread in parenthesis denotes the selected team. An asterisk denotes a confidence pick.

*Confidence Picks – 2017 Season: 14-11 (Last Week: 3-3)

(2016 Season: 53-67-3) (2015 Season: 69-45-2) (2014 Season: 61-46-2) (3-Year Total: 183-158-7)

All Picks Against Spread – 2017 Season: 35-27-1 (Last Week: 8-8)

(2016 Season: 123-136-8) (2015 Season: 143-117-7) (2014 Season: 149-114-4) (3-Year Total: 415-367-19)

New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s becoming ‘a thing,’ isn’t it? “The New England Patriots can’t stop anyone on defense.” “This defense can’t win a Super Bowl.” “Time to panic.”

Maybe those quotes aren’t being muttered, exactly, but it is starting to creep into people’s minds. The Patriots are being questioned. They thrive when giving answers.

I did the same research after Opening Night as I did following Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. It was as simple as updating the numbers. Just take the insane 9-1 record after a home loss since the start of 2007 and add another win – New England beat the Saints by 16 points after a loss in Foxborough in Week 1. There you have it. The Patriots have lost twelve regular season games at home since the start of ’07 and, in the previous eleven, have rebounded for a win ten times.

Poor Tampa Bay. Or, is it?

We never overlook an opponent. Especially an underdog at home on national television. So, let’s explore what the Buccaneers have to offer.

Please register or login to read the rest of the article.