Not so easy, is it? After a surprising run of weeks lacking upsets, Week 5 proved why survivor contests are tricky for even the most avid NFL aficionados. If you follow the league closely, you expect the unexpected, and Sunday provided just that. Not only did a couple of major upsets happen in the light slate of games, we also saw a couple of near-misses.
If you heeded this column’s advice last week, you advanced -- barely. The Cowboys needed a late field goal to tie the game and another field goal as time expired to beat the Giants, holding off the 9.5-point underdogs 34-31. No, it wasn’t pretty -- for a few reasons, unfortunately. But the Cowboys are not an appealing team on which to pin your survivor hopes, so using them and living to tell about it is an advantage going down the stretch.
Backers of the Super Bowl champions cannot say the same. The line flirted with getting as high as two touchdowns, but the Raiders pulled off the biggest upset of the season, holding Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs scoreless for most of the second half. Anyone in Las Vegas brave enough to back his hometown team strutted up to the window to cash a ticket that was + 500 on the moneyline, as the Raiders flew home with an impressive 40-32 stunner.
The other major upset was the Dolphins, getting about nine points for most of the week, not only upsetting the other Super Bowl participant but doing so in dominant fashion. A 43-17 clobbering of the NFC champs eliminated anyone who backed the 49ers and reminded us of how real the Super Bowl hangover is.
Those of you who felt safe trusting Russell Wilson with your selection — well, somehow, inexplicably, you won. One of the great mysteries of the young season is how the Vikings, who were seven-point underdogs, had fourth-and-inches from the Seahawks’ 5 with less than two minutes left and a five-point lead and walked off the field as losers. (Run a QB sneak!!)
After the madness of Week 5, let’s turn our attention to Week 6.
Games to consider: