NFL Week 5 Predictions: Latest Odds and Picks Against the Spread
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Week four is in the books, and a new slate of games awaits.
Three NFL teams, Arizona, Houston and Atlanta, remain unbeaten, while only Cleveland and New Orleans are winless. The early point spreads are out, and there are certainly a couple that spell out "easy money."
Let's take a look at the week five NFL schedule, and I'll make my picks against the spread.
SAN FRANCISCO (-9.5) vs. Buffalo
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Pick: Buffalo (+9.5)
Power meets Power in this matchup. Sunday's game features one of the league's best running games in the Bills, and perhaps football's best run defense in the 49ers.
Expect a heavy dose of Vernon Davis from San Francisco in this one, but 9.5 points is just too high for a team like Buffalo that is capable of putting up points. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson should help the Bills control the clock to a point, making a 9.5-point spread appealing for Bills fans.
NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) vs. Denver
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Pick: New England (-6.5)
The Broncos and the Patriots figure to be Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, but both have stumbled out of the gates as they sit at 2-2. This should be a great game to watch, and the Broncos will certainly be looking for revenge following their blowout loss in Foxborough during last year's playoffs.
However, while Tom Brady is always good, he's great on his home field. Denver looked terrific last week against the Raiders, but it's tough to pick against the Patriots at home regardless of the point spread.
Chicago (-6) vs. JACKSONVILLE
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Pick: Chicago (-6)
After embarrassing the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night, the Chicago Bears are an extremely confident football team. Jay Cutler has bounced back nicely from an atrocious week two performance in Green Bay, and the defense looks stout once again.
Although the Jacksonville Jaguars boast a solid defense of their own, they likely won't pose much of a threat to the Bears. To me, this is one of the easier picks of the week. Take Chicago.
NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) vs. San Diego
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Pick: San Diego (+3.5)
The Saints (0-4) will try to avoid falling to 0-5 as they host Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers in New Orleans this week. The Chargers, typically a slow starting team, have gotten off to a hot start in 2012.
San Diego leads the AFC West at 3-1, while New Orleans is at the bottom of the NFC South. This should be a highly competitive game, but I think the Saints will ultimately come out on top. However, it's hard to swallow the points with a 0-4 team, so I'm taking the Chargers against the spread.
PITTSBURGH (-3.5) vs. Philadelphia
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Pick: Pittsburgh (-3.5)
The Philadelphia Eagles have won three out of four games this year, but they've allowed 17 more points (83) than they've scored (66) on the season. And now, the 1-2 Steelers will host the Eagles at Heinz Field fresh off their bye week.
This is one of the most attractive games on the schedule this weekend, but I just can't see the Steelers falling to 1-3 on the season. And also, can the Eagles keep winning close game after close game? Eventually, the ball is going to stop bouncing their way. I'll take the Steelers.
CINCINNATI (-3.5) vs. Miami
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Pick: Miami (+3.5)
Last week, the Miami Dolphins surprised the undefeated Arizona Cardinals by taking the game to overtime. Ryan Tannehill was terrific leading the Cardinals up and down the field, but ultimately, the Dolphins fell just short on their bid for an upset.
This week, Miami will visit the 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals. Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline has played out of his mind the last couple weeks, finally giving Miami a legit go-to receiver. I think the Dolphins will surprise people this week by winning in Cincinnati.
MINNESOTA (-5.5) vs. Tennessee
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Pick: Tennessee (+5.5)
When they travel to Minnesota this weekend, the Tennessee Titans will be without starting quarterback Jake Locker. Veteran backup Matt Hasselbeck will try to turn things around for the 1-3 Titans against the Minnesota Vikings, who lead the NFC North at 3-1.
Through the first three games, Titans running back Chris Johnson had just 45 rushing yards. But against one of the NFL's best defenses last week, the Houston Texans, Johnson exploded for 141 yards. If that's a sign of things to come, the Minnesota Vikings better be on upset alert. I still don't think the Vikings are as good as their record indicates, so I'll take the Titans with the points.
NY GIANTS (-7.5) vs. Cleveland
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Pick: NY Giants (-7.5)
The defending Super Bowl champions sit at 2-2, one game back from the Eagles atop the NFC East. But despite their .500 record, the Giants lead the NFC East with a +27 point differential.
The winless Cleveland Browns don't appear to have much of a shot in this one. Cleveland's defense has been solid through four weeks, but the Browns' offense doesn't have enough firepower to keep pace with the Giants. I'll swallow the points and take the G-Men, confidently.
Green Bay (-6.5) vs. INDIANAPOLIS
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Pick: Green Bay (-6.5)
After a thrilling game last week against New Orleans, the Packers seem to have turned the page on a disappointing asterisk-deserving loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Now headed to Indianapolis, Aaron Rodgers will look to build on a terrific performance last week.
The Colts will be playing with heavy hearts after the recent news regarding their head coach Chuck Pagano, and simply won't be able to get past the more talented Packers. This is the easiest bet of the Sunday slate. I'll take the Packers by—at least—a touchdown.
CAROLINA (-3) vs. Seattle
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Pick: Carolina (-3)
The Seahawks boast the second-best scoring defense in the NFL through four weeks, so they'll surely provide a big test for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The 1-3 Panthers are starving for a win, coming off a close loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw three interceptions against the Rams last week, raining on the team's parade after their win (?) over the Packers the previous week. I think Newton will bounce back this week and lead the Panthers to a victory.
Atlanta (-3) vs. WASHINGTON
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Pick: Atlanta (-3)
The undefeated Falcons will take their high-flying act to Washington this week to play the Redskins. Atlanta's perfect record was almost broken last week against the Carolina Panthers, but quarterback Matt Ryan continued his stellar season by driving the Falcons down the field and setting up kicker Matt Bryant for the game-winning field goal.
Washington has given up the sixth-most points in the NFL this season, and that's not a good thing considering Atlanta has scored the third-most points. Falcons win this one handily.
Baltimore (-5) vs. KANSAS CITY
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Pick: Baltimore (-5)
The Ravens have been one of the most impressive and complete teams in the league through four weeks, and on Sunday night, they'll be on primetime television against the Chiefs. Kansas City has allowed 136 points this season, which ranks 31st in the NFL.
This is a "start 'em" week for everyone on the Ravens offense, and it's a potential stat stuffer for Ray Rice. The Ravens will not only cover the spread, they'll win this one convincingly.
Houston (-7.5) vs. NY JETS
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Pick: Houston (-7.5)
Last week, the Jets lost cornerback Darrelle Revis for the season. This week, they lost wide receiver Santonio Holmes for the year. And the icing on the cake? The 4-0 Houston Texans and their dominant defense are coming to town to bully around Mark Sanchez and the Jets.
This one could get ugly real fast. The only thing that could keep fans glued to their television sets in the second half is Tim Tebow. And against the stout Texans defense, that could be entertaining. Texans win in a blowout.