NFL Week 5 Picks: Home Teams Who Won't Cover the Spread

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots calls an audible during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Playing at home is supposed to give you an advantage, especially in the NFL where the fans are rowdy and the drinks are flowing well before the game gets underway.

Opposing offenses struggle to hear the quarterback's cadence as hostile crowds raise the decibels to ear-splitting levels, leading to all sorts of miscues and issues as they try to move the ball downfield.

Many of this week's spreads favor the home team, but putting your money on these teams to cover will wind up a losing proposition.

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New York Giants (-9) vs. Cleveland Browns

Eli Manning and the Giants might have one of the most prolific passing attacks in the league, averaging 321.5 yards per game through the air, second best in the NFL behind the Detroit Lions. Conversely, the Browns have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, allowing 286 yards per game through the air, 26th in the NFL.

But this game screams trap game, especially with the San Francisco 49ers next on the schedule for the defending Super Bowl champions in what could be a preview of the NFC Championship game.

We need only look back to last year's Giants to see how they've performed in these games: inexplicable losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins and three-point victories against the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

You simply can't trust the Giants to roll over the Browns in this one. They'll win, but it's going to be closer than a two-possession game.


Tennessee Titans (-5.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Titans' pass defense is a mess, allowing 285 yards a game to opposing quarterbacks, 25th in the NFL. Only the Washington Redskins have allowed more than the 10 passing touchdowns that the Titans have.

But this is a defense than held Arian Foster to under 100 yards rushing last week and could do the same against Adrian Peterson.

Matt Hasselbeck will be under center for the Titans, and while he's no longer a Pro Bowl quarterback in the NFL, he's a seasoned veteran who should have success throwing against a Vikings' secondary that might be missing two key pieces: starting corner Antoine Winfield and starting strong safety Mistral Raymond, who are both questionable.


New England Patriots (-6.5) vs. Denver Broncos

While the Patriots improved their defense through the draft, they still have issues defending the pass, ranking 25th allowing 281.6 yards a game through the air, a number that places them 25th in the NFL.

They've allowed nine touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks—the same amount as the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders—and only the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins have allowed more.

Sure, the unit has six interceptions, fourth most in the league, but four of those came last week at the expense of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills.

It's the 13th episode of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning—perhaps the series finale—and while the Patriots will be a motivated bunch, Manning's neck continues to improve—as does his timing with receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

New England may emerge victorious, but it will be due to the leg of Stephen Gostkowski, as the game will be decided by a field goal or less.