¼ of the NFL season is already complete, and I’m not sure I’ve learned anything about this season except that the Detroit Lions are still the Detroit Lions! I went 7-6 on my week 4 straight picks and 6-7 on the spread going into MNF. Yeah… with so much parity and games where the Panthers, Jaguars, and Lions are challenging the Colts, Saints and Packers, you’re best bet is taking points on spread games.
Visit my website HERE throughout the week for plenty of weekly NFL prediction links from 8 other Associated Content writers. I keep their records throughout each week so you know who’s been streaky and who to follow each week. Stats are from NFL.com
UPDATE 10-7-10: Everything has been updated. I’ve also made updates to KC @ IND, GB @ WAS, and NO @ ARZ. Good luck!
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (P)
After stunning the Indianapolis Colts 31-28 and with the Buffalo Bills possibly being the NFL’s worst team, it might seem awkward as to how the Bills are favored. The biggest problem for the Bills is their rushing defense. The Jaguars rely on Maurice Jones-Drew, and the Bills are 32nd in run defense. The Bills have allowed 34, 38, and 38 points in their past three games and have scored under 15 in three of four. The Bills OL could have some difficulty handling the Jaguars 4-man rush.
This is a long road trip and the Jaguars looked bad in their last cross country road trip to San Diego. The Jaguars scream mediocre, and this is the type of game I’d expect them to drop. With the season of parity, Buffalo should win earlier than later. With a pick’em spread, I’m also thinking Vegas is expecting the Bills to win this one and others will bite solely on the Jaguars beating Indianapolis.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Buffalo Bills (P)
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-7.0)
The Baltimore Ravens could be the NFL’s best team after upsetting Pittsburgh on the road. The Ravens have a strong running game to compliment their defense. Joe Flacco looked impressive against a Steelers defense that he had struggled against.
Kyle Orton has thrown for nearly 300+ yards in all four games this season. They have the fourth ranked offense while owning the league’s highest rated offense, averaging nearly 400 yards per game. However, the Ravens have only surrendered 119 passing yards per game against Mark Sanchez, Seneca Wallace, Carson Palmer, and Charlie Batch.
This will be two consecutive weeks that the Broncos have had to travel, and it’s a cross country trip. The Ravens don’t score many points, and I believe the Broncos offense has enough gumption to keep it close because of that. The Broncos stable of receivers should have some success against the Ravens secondary.
7 is too many points, especially this season. Ravens should win, but it’ll probably be close.
Against the Spread: – Denver Broncos (+7.0)
Straight: – Baltimore Ravens
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-7.5)
The Indianapolis Colts are one of the NFL’s best home teams. After being upset by Jacksonville, one would think that the Colts will be upset.
Don’t count out the Chiefs: Romeo Crennel has a successful track record against Peyton Manning from his New England days. Charlie Weis and Crennel have had two weeks to prepare for this game, a big advantage for such an experienced coaching regime. The Chiefs are averaging over 160 yards rushing (3rd) while the Colts are surrendering 149.5 (29th).
Every time I talk myself into a Colts upset, Peyton Manning answers. If the Chiefs have any credibility whatsoever, this will be a competitive game. The biggest issue they have is their 25th ranked passing defense. Not good considering they’ve played Seneca Wallace and Alex Smith; what happens against Manning in Lucas?
This game will be close. The big difference will be Cassell. Can Cassell avoid turnovers and complete the simple things to extend drives with an offense that will be eating clock to keep Manning off the field? I don’t think he’ll do quite enough. Feel good about the Chiefs with points, but don’t get too confident in the Colts because they can lose this game.
UPDATE: Colts safety Bullitt is lost for the season. This makes both Colts safeties (Bob Sanders and Bullitt) out for this game. Not good for a struggling defense who is already 29th in rushing. If it weren’t for my fear of picking against Peyton Manning, I’d likely take Kansas City. Proceed with caution.
Against the Spread: – Kansas City Chiefs (+7.5)
Straight: – Indianapolis Colts
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Green Bay Packers (-2.5) at Washington Redskins
The Green Bay Packers have played miserable the past two weeks. They nearly lost to a team that’s 3-41 since 2007 who they hadn’t lost a home game to since 1991. The Packers are relying on an emergency fullback for their running game and the defense hasn’t improved much against heavy passing attacks.
The Redskins headline the schizophrenia that has plagued the NFL this season. What are the Redskins? They could be 3-1 had they not blew a 27-10 lead against Houston. They win games they shouldn’t (Dallas, Philadelphia) and lose games they shouldn’t (St. Louis). One week, the defense looks stout. The next week, they’re horrendous. This has been the story of the NFC East this season.
I’m going Green Bay only because they’re my team. However, Washington has been the better football team and I’m not too confident in the Packers ability to win road games. Their offense should have enough to get past the Redskins and create some turnovers against an offensive line that struggled to protect McNabb last week. Another thing to consider: The Packers are one of the NFL’s youngest teams while the Redskins are one of the oldest. Can that make a difference?
UPDATE: The Green Bay Packers have lost Morgan Burnett and likely Nick Barnett for the season. They could also lose Brandon Chillar. Along with a knee injury to Nick Collins and Al Harris and Atari Bigby are still on PUP, and the Packers defense is decimated with injuries. Chris Cooley and Fred Davis are tight ends who can light up the Packers defense. With so many injuries, Green Bay may not be better than Washington.
Against the Spread: – Washington Redskins (+2.5)
Straight: – Green Bay Packers
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions (-3)
The St. Louis Rams won this game 17-10 last season for their only victory. With Sam Bradford, an improved defense, and more wins after 4 games this season than all of last year, the Rams seem like a solid pick.
The Rams offensive line is mismatched against what could be the NFL’s best defensive line. The Lions have the athletes to exploit the Rams progressing defense with players like Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson. For all the suggestions that the Lions are a better football team, I think they need to win this game for that to have any merit.
Lions should win their 4th game in 42 games. I think you’d have to be prophetic to actually give three points when you’re taking the Lions to win, however.
Against the Spread: St. Louis Rams (+3)
Straight: – Detroit Lions
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5)
The Buccaneers have had two weeks to prepare and think about their 38-13 defeat. The Bengals won’t blowout anyone with that offense. The Bengals have a secondary that should make things difficult for a young QB like Josh Freeman.
This will be one of those 17-14ish type of games. I’d normally take the Bengals here, but I’ve always weighed the two-weeks to prepare advantage heavily when making NFL picks. That could be even truer with such parity throughout the NFL this season. The Buccaneers with 6.5 points is too intriguing to pass up. To a lesser extent, I like them for the upset.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5)
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Cleveland Browns
The Atlanta Falcons are the better team, but don’t sleep on the Browns: They’ve lost three games by a combined 13 points before upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The Browns have a solid defense and the Falcons are better as a dome team. The Falcons barely escaped Atlanta with a victory against the 49ers, and the Browns have played much better than the 49ers.
Browns can win this game, so take the points. With their next five games being the Falcons, Steelers, Saints, Patriots, and Jets, this is their best opportunity to win for awhile. It is difficult to imagine this team as 1-8 with how they’ve competed so far…
Straight & Against the Spread: Cleveland Browns (+3)
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: New Orleans Saints (-6.5) at Arizona Cardinals
In a season of parity, the Arizona Cardinals seem like they should be the league’s 0-4 team after embarrassing showings against the Falcons and Chargers where they were outscored 82-17. The Cardinals are bad on both sides of the ball and don’t really have a strength. They should have lost their lone home game to Oakland…losing a home game to Oakland might be worse than 30+ point blowouts on the road.
Of course, the New Orleans Saints have always had problems playing against the spread. Remember last year how they almost lost to the Rams? The Saints are perceived as a team who blows everyone away with their offense, but that isn’t exactly true. I remember before the playoffs last season that the Saints were considered the luckiest team on turf. Without Reggie Bush, they’re even less explosive.
However, I’m still going giving the points with the Saints here. The Saints have too many offensive weapons for the Cardinals while the Cardinals don’t have the running game that can shorten a game or inflect damage upon the Saints poor defensive trenches. The Cardinals might be 2-2, but they’re a field goal away from 1-3, and they probably lose to the Rams had it not been Bradford’s first game.
UPDATE: The Cardinals are expected to start rookie QB Hall for this game. Take the 6 1/2.
Straight & Against the Spread: New Orleans Saints (-6.5)
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboy (-6.5)
A defensive team giving up 6 ½ points to the Cowboys offense sounds bizarre. The Titans have a defensive line that can create problems against the Cowboys offensive front.
The Cowboys have had two weeks preparation, however. The Cowboys should get past the Titans based on talent. With two weeks of preparation and confidence from their Texans victory, the Cowboys can cover this spread. Of course, this is Dallas we’re talking about. Instead of preparing for the game, they might have been celebrating their 1-2 start with $55,000 meals… yeah, I’ll probably regret taking Dallas here.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Diego Chargers (-5.5) at Oakland Raiders
It’s the NFL’s best offense (Chargers, 451 yards per game) competing against the league’s #3 passing defense (Oakland, surrendering 144 yards per game). The Raiders were able to hold Matt Schuab to under 200 yards offense.
This is a divisional rivalry game, which favors the underdog. Its favors them even more when the underdog is hosting. They’re built to slow down the Chargers passing attack, but they could have difficulty against the Chargers 10th ranked ground game. The Chargers have also played poorly on the road this season with losses to the Seahawks and Chiefs.
If this were any other team outside Oakland, I’d take the Raiders. In this case, I like the Chargers in a 3-7 point victory. Go with the Raiders and points, but don’t be too confident in winning straight up.
Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders (+6.0)
Straight: San Diego Chargers
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Minnesota Vikings at New York Jets (-4.0)
It’s the return of Brett Favre against the New York Jets. The Minnesota Vikings have had two weeks to prepare and rest from their injuries.
The Minnesota Vikings have the NFL’s #4 defense. Somehow, they’ve managed the 7th ranked passing defense with their secondary injuries. Their rushing defense is always stout with the Williams tandem. The Jets rely on their running game, but they’ll probably need more from Sanchez in this game because the Vikings don’t give up rushing yards.
This game could go either way. The Vikings and 4 ½ points is a good deal. I’ll go with the Jets straight up for this deciding factor: Packers!
Against the Spread: – Minnesota Vikings (+4.0)
Straight: – New York Jets
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Chicago Bears (-3) at Carolina Panthers
The status of Jay Cutler is uncertain. Carolina is 2nd worst in the NFL in sacks with four through four games. They don’t have the DL to exploit the Bears OL. The Bears also have an opportunistic defense that should create problems for Jimmy Clausen. If Clausen gets sacked, don’t be surprised if the Bears make plays by stripping the ball from him. This is also Pepper’s first game against the Panthers, so don’t expect him to take any plays off.
If Cutler plays, the Bears have enough offensive firepower to steal a 3-6 point victory in Carolina. However, if Cutler doesn’t start, the Bears offense is going to have great difficulty scoring against anyone. Also, Carolina can become more conservative with the running game, limiting Clausen’s potential for rookie mistakes that the Bears defense could capitalize on.
Against the Spread: -Chicago Bears (-3… if Cutler starts). Carolina Panthers (+3… if Cutler doesn’t start)
Straight: Chicago Bears
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: New York Giants at Houston Texans (-3)
The Texans #2 passing offense goes up against the Giants #2 passing defense. Schuab was held to under 200 yards against the Raiders #3 passing defense last week, but Arian Foster could have a strong game against the Giants #22 rushing defense.
The Houston Texans have surrendered 24, 27, 27, and 24 points in four games, including against NFC East Redskins and Cowboys. The Texans could have problems playing a high scoring game with the Giants because of their passing defense and good pass rush. They’re an OT away from being 0-2 against NFC East teams, so proceed with caution if you take the Texans.
Straight & Against the Spread: – New York Giants (+3)
Week 5 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers (-3)
The San Francisco 49ers could implode with another loss. Eagles (+3) seems like a line that wants to lure people into taking the Eagles. This is going to be a very difficult game for Philadelphia, especially if Kevin Kolb starts like expected. They’ll be traveling across country and playing against the 49ers on prime-time. The 49ers must win this game. They have been competitive in games against the Falcons and Saints, so I’d expect a strong showing here.
The San Francisco 49ers can win this game, but Alex Smith will have problems against the Eagles fierce pass rush. I believe the 49ers steal their first win in the season of parity, but I’m not confident enough in giving the Eagles points on top of it.
Against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Straight: San Francisco 49ers
Interested in my totals predictions and top-10 power rankings? Want some predictions from other writers? Check out at my website HERE throughout the week.
Cooper’s Picks. http://www.cooperspick.com/odds.asp?league=NFL October 4, 2010.
NFL Team Stats, October 4, 2010.