Hey everyone, I’m back for week 5 of the NFL season. We went 8-7 ATS last week which was a little worse than I had liked. I fell into the trap of backing teams with bad red zone numbers which proved to be costly for teams like the Eagles and Lions and a couple of bubbles got burst (Panthers and Raiders). I like my picks this week more than last week and I hope I can get near to 11-4 again this week. Without further ado, here are my week 5 NFL picks.
*Home teams are denoted on the left side of the vs in a matchup
Seattle Seahawks vs LA Rams Pick
Spread: Rams -2.5
I like the Seahawks here. The Rams remind me a lot of the Buccaneers from last season during the regular season where the offense was there, but the defense won’t start playing to its full potential until the playoff season. You saw that last week when Kyler Murray tore up the Rams D and with Wilson getting Brandon Snell back to boost the O-line, he should have the time to pick apart the Rams and their questionable pass D. As a bonus, the Rams give up a lot of yards per carry in the running game so they should also be able to run the ball well. That being said, I’m expecting it to be a shootout as the Rams have a much better offense than the 49ers and the Seahawks D is still woeful despite playing a bit better last week, look for Darrell Henderson to have a breakout game for the season and for Stafford to hit Kupp for at least 1 TD given he didn’t do a lot last week.
I like the number here for Seattle, you get the better QB who is guaranteed to perform in the clutch and you get home advantage on a Thursday night game. I’ll take Seattle outright.
Seahawks 35-31 Rams
Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets
Spread: Falcons -3
The NFL tries to market its product outside of the US with a London game and what better way to do that than to send 2 of the worst teams in the NFL there. Admittedly they probably thought both teams would be more exciting when making the schedule but it definitely hasn’t turned out that way. Anyway, I’m on the Falcons here, they’ve been better the last few weeks and last week was just one of their traditional chokes they like to have at home, they have played better on the road so far this season and they’re less injured than the Jets. The Jets secondary is heavily injured and that might stop their superiority on the D-line having the effect it should have in this game. I like Ridley and Pitts to finally put up some numbers and though Wilson figures to have a decent day, I like the Falcons D to make a couple of plays when it matters and maybe force a turnover.
Atlanta has the more experienced QB and Ryan has previously played in London which should help, I like them to win by a TD here.
Falcons 27-20 Jets
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos
Spread: Steelers -1
First of all I’m writing this preview with the assumption Drew Lock is starting this weekend, if he isn’t then I’ll update the pick for this game and I definitely wouldn’t bet this game until there is confirmation on who starts. But if Drew Lock does start, I’m on the Steelers. This will likely be a defensive slugfest decided by which team turns the ball over the least, Drew Lock is capable of some great throws but also loves a turnover and that will likely be costly here in a game that is very likely to be low scoring. The Steelers having home advantage helps for me here as well and I’d have expected to see them nearer the -3 area since their defense is playing pretty well. They should’ve covered last week against the Packers but the offense was embarrassing, they can still make the odd play though and I’m hoping getting to 17 points will be enough to win here since I don’t expect either team to run well and the passing game could be brutal as well here.
Najee Harris is the X factor player here and I like him to rip off a couple of big plays and get the Steelers to win this one.
Update: Teddy Bridgewater is likely to start but Courtland Sutton looks to be injured, I don’t see the Broncos doing much on offense still so will stick with the Steelers.
Steelers 17-14 Broncos
Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions
Spread: Vikings -7.5
I like the Vikings a lot here. Detroit are a team that look absolutely cursed at the moment and while I do expect them to win a couple of games, I’d expect those wins to be at home more than on the road. The Vikings were always going to struggle last week against the D-line of the Browns but with the Lions boasting no more than a mediocre pass rush, Cousins can get back to slinging it to his guys and showing off the great form he has been in this season. To add insult to injury, Dalvin Cook has a great matchup here and the Vikings should be able to have their way with the Lions on offense. The Lions should be able to create a decent amount of offense but it will likely be hampered by their O-line injuries including Frank Ragnow which is a huge miss for them given that Center is one of the most important positions in the game and they’ll also be hampered by poor red zone play. Look for a few drives to stall out there and for points to be left on the field.
I like the Vikings to have a big day on offense here and comfortably cover the spread.
Vikings 31-20 Lions
Cincinnati Bengals vs Green Bay Packers
Spread: Packers -3
I love the Bengals in this spot. Most casual fans will see this spread and instinctively back the Packers since all they’ll see is Aaron Rodgers vs Joe Burrow/a team that has sucked for the past few years, but that would be disrespecting the Bengals. The Packers have key injuries in the secondary with star corner Jaire Alexander out and on their O-line with a couple of guys out there. The Bengals D-line is the best part of their defense so will be able to pressure Rodgers and with no Alexander, Burrow should have an easy time finding his guys in a strong receiving corps. I like the Bengals to get the outright win here since they’ll see this as a chance to make a real statement for the season and start to entertain thoughts about pushing for the playoffs.
The Packers will definitely have a couple of good drives, but they can be kept down to 24 points or so and with their defense being a problem, they might give up too many points here to win.
Bengals 27-24 Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Miami Dolphins
Spread: Buccaneers -9
I like the Buccaneers here. They obviously have the secondary injuries but they should be able to dominate enough on offense here for that to be irrelevant. The Dolphins were blown away by the Colts on the ground and the Bucs should be able to run the ball effectively here and give Brady plenty of opportunities to take play action shots and rack up some easy scores. Jacoby Brissett has a ceiling of around 24 points a game and I’m not sure he gets to that number on the road, even against the injury ravaged secondary that Tampa has, another interesting stat is the Dolphins are the 3rd most sacked team in the league so maybe the Bucs can generate pressure to help the secondary out.
I like Tampa here, Brady is a far superior quarterback, they’re at home and this is a better matchup for them than the Patriots were.
Buccaneers 35-21 Dolphins
Houston Texans vs New England Patriots
Spread: Patriots -9
I’m on the Patriots here. It’s usually a huge mistake to back a road favourite at this big a number when they aren’t an elite team but I don’t see how Houston get more than 7 points here. David Mills is woeful, they’re tanking intentionally and Bill Belichick is a master defensive coach. This should be another multi interception game for Mills and the Patriots should be able to do enough on the ground here to get to 20 points or so which would get the cover in my eyes.
I like Damien Harris to get a couple of scores here and be the MVP of a boring game.
Patriots 20-7 Texans
Washington Football Team vs New Orleans Saints
Spread: Saints -2
This pick is again dependent on the injury report but I like the Saints if they get an offensive lineman back this week. The Washington defense has been one of the biggest disappointments of the season and it suddenly looks like Washington will have to win shootouts to get their wins this season, this is unlikely against the Saints since they’re well coached and have played well on defense on the road this season. I like them to force a couple of turnovers and make enough plays on offense to get the win here in what should be a fun game.
Look for Jameis Winston to have a big day if protected well and for the Saints D to keep Washington under 25 points.
Saints 27-21 Washington
Carolina Panthers vs Philadelphia Eagles
Spread: Panthers -3.5
Both teams were really disappointing for me last week. The Eagles kept blowing drives in opposition territory and the Panthers D got badly exposed by the Cowboys. I’m going to give one more chance to the Eagles to cover the spread though just because I like the number while it’s over 3. This should be an evenly matched contest with Jalen Hurts doing enough to keep the Eagles in it and the Panthers likely chugging along on offense without being fully explosive like the Chiefs were last week. Surely the Eagles will actually bother to run the ball as well this time given the Cowboys ran the ball well on the Panthers last week, otherwise they’ll be caught out for being 1 dimensional.
The sharp money seems to be on the Eagles at the moment and since I’m siding with them to cover, I may as well take them to win outright as well as a minor upset.
Eagles 26-23 Panthers
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans
Spread: Titans -4
Like the Steelers game, this may get updated once injury news becomes official later in the week. For the time being, I’m taking my chances with one of Jones or Brown being back and taking the Titans here. The Jaguars D is horrible against the pass and one elite receiver returning will be enough to take advantage of the clear mismatch. Derrick Henry has killed the Jags as well in recent years so will likely have a big day here. Another factor in this game is the Jags head coach Urban Meyer may have lost the dressing room, he was caught having a good night out shall we say (google it) and that will be a major media distraction for his team this week. If it doesn’t turn out that way I actually like Trevor Lawrence a lot in this matchup against a bad Titans secondary and do expect the Jags to put up some points while not doing enough to win.
The Titans are a better team still than the Jags and are much better coached, that should be enough to get them over the line in this game.
Update: The injury news looks solid for Tennessee, I’m now more comfortable with this pick than I was before
Titans 30-24 Jaguars
Las Vegas Raiders vs Chicago Bears
Spread: Raiders -5.5
Yet again, this is a little injury dependent but right now I love the Bears in this spot. The Raiders have 3 injuries at cornerback and the Bears have good enough receivers to expose that, Justin Fields looks good when given time to throw and can scramble enough to make plays even when his porous blocking unit lets him down. They should be ok running the ball as well with Damien Williams being a solid backup for the injured Montgomery. On the other side of the ball the Bears pass rush figures to do well here, Derrick Carr got majorly exposed by his O-line against the Chargers and may find himself under pressure again in this matchup. He’ll make the odd play here and there but I’m hoping the Raiders can be kept to around 21 points here.
I like the Bears D and running game to keep the contest close enough to get a Bears cover and I actually like them to win the game outright with the Raiders being an overrated team.
Update: Khalil Mack and Akeem Hicks are out for the Bears, this will kill their ability to get to the QB, I’m switching to the Raiders to win but still having the Bears cover.
Raiders 28-24 Bears
Los Angeles Chargers vs Cleveland Browns
Spread: Chargers -1.5
I like the Browns to win this game. Baker Mayfield is having an awful run of form but I don’t think that will matter here. The Browns should dominate in the trenches on both sides of the ball and I like Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to both have monster days here. The Chargers can’t defend the run and this may be a similar story on defense to what happened against the Cowboys a couple of weeks ago. The Chargers should have some joy on offense though, they have dynamic receivers and an elite quarterback so while I don’t expect them to enjoy the same level of success they’ve had the last few weeks against a quality defense, they should still be able to hit around the 25 points mark.
I just like the Browns as the better team here, Mayfield should recover at some point and OBJ will keep getting fitter with more game time, they can do enough on offense to get the win.
Update: The injury report for the Browns is absolutely horrible and I’m switching my pick to the Chargers here. The Browns have 12 players at questionable or worse and I can’t see them being at full strength here which they would need to be to win this one.
Chargers 28-21 Browns
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Cowboys -7
I tend to think of what my spread would be for each game before looking at the number and go from there on a betting front. Unfortunately the number in my head was Cowboys -7 for this one so I won’t be betting this game. I was originally expecting to see Cowboys -9 maybe and then bet the Giants since they’re an underrated team but I do like the Cowboys to win the game. I’ve always thought they were overrated but their offense looks elite this season and the defense is a solid enough unit without being spectacular. That should be enough to keep the Giants offense from blowing up in a similar way to last week and the Cowboys can control this game on the ground with Elliott and Pollard currently having standout seasons.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Giants went ahead early, but look for Dallas to take control of the game in the 2nd and 3rd quarter and get an easy enough win.
Cowboys 27-20 Giants
Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers
Spread: Cardinals -5.5
I like the Cardinals to win, but only by a field goal. I liked what I saw last week from Trey Lance and I can see him being successful again in this game, he feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the extremely average play of Jimmy G and could cement himself as the starter soon enough. Both teams will have some success on offense here with the Cardinals being a full on juggernaut on that side of the ball and the 49ers likely to take advantage of a couple of D-line injuries for the Cardinals. The 49ers can establish a solid run game and keep Arizona off the field with it.
The 49ers can control time of possession and keep this one close, but I like Kyler Murray to pull off a late drive for a game winning field goal and keep the Cardinals undefeated.
Update: Arizona’s secondary has been decimated for this game, I still have a hunch that they win but I’m adding some more points to my scoreline.
Cardinals 30-27 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills
Spread: Chiefs -2.5
It’s tough to like the Chiefs in this one based on what we’ve seen so far. I’m not thrilled about taking on Mahomes with less than a field goal but I like Buffalo to win outright. Both offenses are playing at an extremely high level and Buffalo have more playmakers on D and a better pass rush than Kansas do. The Bills have also been very comfortable in their wins this season while Kansas have played a lot of back and forth games so I like the Bills to be a little fresher in this one and get out to an early lead which they can hold onto in what should be a fairly high scoring game.
The big difference between these teams for me is the defenses, the Chiefs D has struggled in every game and with Josh Allen playing at a high level, the Bills can get to 34 points and I can see them keeping Kansas to around 28-30 points in a statement win. Another plus for the Bills is that the Chiefs are giving up over 5 yards a carry on the ground and their ground game is pretty solid so maybe they can dominate time of possession.
Bills 34-28 Chiefs
Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Ravens -7
This game is a little injury report dependent with potentially key O-line injuries for both sides, but for the time being I like the Ravens. Last week was a statement win against a good Broncos team and I like Lamar Jackson to have another big day here with the form he’s in. The Colts D will need to get to Jackson to stop him here but he’s too mobile to get sacked a lot and can hit his guys downfield for big chunk plays. The Colts also only boast an average run D despite playing some pretty poor RBs minus Derrick Henry so I’d expect the Ravens ground game to do damage in this game. The Colts on offense should be able to run the ball a bit and they can exploit the Ravens linebackers to move down the field. I’d just be concerned about them being able to finish drives and too many potential touchdowns may turn into field goals for them to stay in this one.
I like the Ravens to dominate this game and cover the spread with a double digit point win.
Update: I’m definitely not betting this game before gametime, the Colts have more players that are definitely out but the Ravens have a lot of DNPs to deal with on their injury report.
Ravens 28-16 Colts