Week 5 Preview

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots -10 O/U: 51.5

The Patriots came back home last week and got back on the right track with a big win against the AFC east leading Dolphins. They look to continue that momentum here against an old rival in the Colts. The Colts are coming off their overtime loss to the Texans where coach Frank Reich decided to forego the tie and try to play for the win but ended up losing. The Patriots offense will welcome the much needed return of Julian Edelman this week. He has a huge role in the offense that was greatly missed in their two losses. Coaching is always much more important on Thursday night games as the teams have less time to prepare. This gives a huge advantage to the Patriots. The spread is high but if anyone can cover 10 points its the Patriots.

 

Green Bay Packers -1.5 @ Detroit Lions O/U: 51

I’ve been on Detroit every week and despite their 1-3 record they are 3-1 against the spread. The Packers are 2-1-1 and 2-2 against the spread. The Lions are coming off their last second field goal loss to the Cowboys and are playing their first NFC north opponent this week. This game will be a real tough test for their defense. They have not been very good against the run or pass and gave up a number of big plays to a Dallas offense that is not known for making big plays. The Lions have had issues with penalties this season too. Not just getting a lot of penalties but getting them at big moments and nullifying big plays. In the Lions lone win they made running the ball a priority. They may have success running the ball again this week against a Packers defense ranked 29th in stopping the run. The Packers defense has done well getting after the quarterback when playing on an artificial surface as they are this weekend. This matchup is very intriguing and will most likely have some say as to who will win the NFC north.

 

NY Giants @ Carolina Panthers -7 O/U: 44.5

For as good as the Giants looked against the Texans, they did not look good last week against the Saints. They opened the game with a TD and then could not get much going after that. Going into this matchup Giants fans or backers were hopeful Eli Manning and Odell Beckham would be able to take advantage of a struggling Saints secondary. They were not and Beckham has yet to score a TD this year. The Panthers are 2-1 and coming off a bye. They have looked great so far at home in their two wins and will look to continue that this week. Both of these teams will be looking to take advantage of the other team’s struggling rush defense. The Giants defense may finally get Olivier Vernon back who has been sorely missed. Even with him in the lineup this will be a struggle for the Giants. I expect Carolina to roll here.

 

Denver Broncos @ NY Jets -1 O/U: 42.5

The Broncos are 2-2 but 0-3-1 against the spread and have looked less and less impressive as the weeks go by. You can say the same for the Jets as well after their big season opening win. This is a game I circled in pre-season as a Jets win. I still think that stands. The Jets looked terrible last week, but it was against the Jaguars elite defense. This week they play a Broncos defense who is nowhere near as good as the Jaguars especially on the road. Even last night at home the Broncos defense couldn’t hold on to a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter and ended up losing the game and blowing the cover for anyone who had Broncos +3.5. The other two games for the Jets were in tough spots with both coming on short weeks. A silver lining after last week is that they did not turn the ball over to the Jaguars defense and their defense forced 3 turnovers. Case Keenum is not good and the bookmakers are finally catching on a little bit. The Broncos take on the Rams next week in a game they will probably be double digit underdogs after losing to the Jets. This may be my lock of the week.

 

Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers -3 O/U: 57.5

The bookmakers don’t seem to know what to think of either of these teams as they have both been disappointing thus far. Although not a surprise to me as I predicted both the Steelers and the Falcons to struggle this year. Both of their defenses have been terrible evidenced by the total at 57.5. The Falcons offense has put their team in position to win the last two games and the defense could not hold up surrendering late touchdowns in each game. The Steelers offense has not scored in the second half of each of their last two games. Although it was not a big deal in week 3 when they built up a 30-10 lead at halftime. They went into halftime tied with the Ravens and were shutout for the second straight week. The Ravens have a much better defense than the Falcons but the Falcons offense is also much better than the Ravens. This will be a battle for both of these teams trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.

 

Baltimore Ravens -3 @ Cleveland Browns O/U: 47.5

Despite 4 turnovers and 10 dropped passes last week the Browns were still able to put up 42 points in a game they should have won in Oakland. This weeks game will be a tougher test for rookie QB Baker Mayfield as he faces a much better defense with the Ravens coming to Cleveland. To me this line looks like a bit of an overreaction to a small sample size of Browns success. The Browns scored TDs on a 63 and 41 yard run last week. Counting on those type of plays is not sustainable and will be difficult to repeat against a much better defense.  In my opinion the Ravens should be at least 5 to 6 point favorites here. If the Browns have 4 turnovers again, you’re looking at a blowout. This one could get ugly.

 

Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 O/U: 49.5

After starting 3-0 the Dolphins fell back down to Earth last week in their loss to the Patriots. They travel to Cincinnati as heavy underdogs for the second week in a row. The Bengals are coming off a last second win in Atlanta. The Bengals are 3-1 straight up and against the spread and have hit the over in each of their four games. The Dolphins offense has really struggled through four games and has had less total plays than their opponent every week. They have connected on some big plays and used some trickery in their win against the Raiders but overall they have been very inconsistent. Despite giving up 38 points to the Patriots, the Dolphins defense is not that bad. The Patriots out-snapped the Dolphins by 30 plays and had 12+ minutes more time of possession. The Dolphins have also been flagged 28 times through 4 games with 26 of them coming in three games.  This week is the Bengals second home game of the year and the first time they have been favored. Their offense has been great thus far. I don’t think it’s too far fetched to think the Dolphins can win this game. Their offense will have to get their running game going and keep the defense off the field and limit their mistakes. I can also see a scenario where the Bengals blow the Dolphins out if the Dolphins can’t move the ball early.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars @ KC Chiefs -3 O/U: 49

This is probably the most interesting game of the week as the Jaguars elite defense attempts to slow down the Chiefs offense. We saw this past Monday that the Chiefs are vulnerable and can get behind quickly because of their terrible defense. This plays into the Jaguars game plan as they are a team that tries to run the ball and keep their defense off the field. So far we have seen the dominant Chiefs offense take advantage of 4 mediocre defenses. The Broncos were able to take advantage of KCs terrible defense and take a 10 point lead into the fourth quarter but couldn’t hang on for the win. After seeing that game and the flaws in the Chiefs I do not think they are a great team. The public is very high on them as they are any exciting team. The home field advantage for KC is really big and that factors into this line as well. I don’t think KC can win this game. They have not seen a dominant defense yet like the Jaguars. I like the Jaguars here. This is a good spot for them.

 

Tennessee Titans -3.5 @ Buffalo Bills O/U: 39

The jolt of energy the Bills looked to have against Minnesota seemed to be gone last week in Green Bay. The Bills struggled and looked more like the team we saw in the first two weeks. The Titans are coming off a huge overtime win against the Eagles to bring them to 3-1 straight up and against the spread. This is only the second game where they are favorites, with the first being a loss week 1 in Miami. It’s a weird game. On one hand the Titans have looked great in their 3 wins but Marcus Mariota is still injured and the severity of the injury is unknown. The Titans have said in the media they are a team that can run the ball well and play great defense. They have done that well in their 3 victories and won each by 3 points. This game looks like it could be an ugly slow game as well. I will probably stay off of this game.

 

LA Rams -7 @ Seattle Seahawks O/U: 51

The Rams have started this season on fire. They travel to Century Link Field play their division rival Seattle Seahawks in a game they won 42-7 last year. The Seahawks will also be without Earl Thomas who was an integral part of their secondary. Seattle is riding a two game in streak but neither of those teams were as talented as the Rams. Throughout the years we have seen the Rams be competitive and even beat the Seahawks on a few occasions despite the Seahawks being a much more talented team. Now that the Rams are in the driver’s seat for the NFC west I see them beating down the Seahawks again. I have no idea how the Seahawks will stop the Rams offense. Their defense has graded well so far but has faced the 4th easiest schedule of opponent offenses. That all changes this week when they take on the Rams number one offense. Without Earl Thomas on that defense anymore there is just no way I can see the Seahawks can keep this one close.

 

Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles -3 O/U: 45

Both of these teams are coming off a loss in the rematch of last year’s NFC championship. Although the Vikings look different this year, I expect the result to be very much the same. Last year the Vikings had a much better defense and offensive line than they have shown so far this year. They are currently 16th in the league in passing offense and last in rushing defense. They ended last year ranked 3rd and 19th in those categories. Their defense which was the strength of their team is now ranked 25th. This line is also due to the public perception that the Vikings are still a good team after going to the NFC championship last year when they’re not. I bet Vikings under 10 wins in the preseason and I think this game will get me one step closer. The Eagles struggled last week against the Titans on the road and lost in overtime. Their offense faces a much easier task this week with the Vikings defense. The Eagles have played much better at home and I think this game will be no exception. The Vikings are going to have a hard time stopping the Eagles offense and pass rush. I think the Eagles win big here.

 

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers -4.5 O/U: 41

For the first time in history an NFL team starting CJ Beathard is favored. I was very high on the Cardinals in preseason. So far they have not looked good but have shown improvement the past two weeks. Their offense so far ranks second to last but they have faced the toughest schedule of opposing defenses so far. The 49ers defense on the other hand has not looked great but has also faced the toughest schedule of opposing offenses so far. This matchup will be intriguing to see which of these two units is more futile. On the other side the Cardinals defense is ranked 11th after having the 4th hardest schedule. They will face off with a 49ers offense ranked only 28th that has seen the easiest schedule of opposing defenses. The 49ers started last week with a pick to the house and then a TD on their second drive and still lost. I think they will need another defensive or special teams TD this week to get a win here. This is a trap.

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans -3 O/U: 45

The Texans got their first win last week in a game that could have just as easily ended in a tie. Their offense and defense has not lived up to their lofty expectations at all. Currently ranked 18th in overall defensive efficiency, 29th against the pass 2nd against the run. Luckily for the Texans defense they play a Dallas offense that primarily runs the ball. The Cowboys have played like two entirely different teams on the road and at home. Through their two home games Dak Prescott has been sacked only 3 times (all 3 in one game) and hit 7 times. In their two away games Dak has been sacked 11 times and hit 20 times. Both of these teams are so mediocre and uninspiring. I see them both having issues moving the ball early. I like the first half under but I will probably stay away. This game looks ugly.

 

Washington @ New Orleans Saints -6.5 O/U: 52.5

Coming off a bye week, Washington travels to New Orleans to play the Saints. The Saints offense has looked unstoppable and Washington has been pretty forgettable through their three weeks. This is a game that is tough to handicap. I am not sure we have seen enough of Washington’s offense to make a fair judgement on them. They have just been an inconsistent team all year long. I’m curious to see how Washington’s offense does on an artificial surface. This is a game I will probable stay away from.

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