NFL Week 5 Picks: 4 Road Teams That Will Pull Big Upsets
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Week 5 of the NFL offers 13 games over the weekend. The home team is favored in eight of them, but four of those teams are already on upset alert.
If the five favored road teams win and the following upsets hit, there will be nine teams flying home in a good mood.
The following lines were taken from Bovada.
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Spread: Steelers -3½
Money Line: +160/-180
There is little question as to why the Pittsburgh Steelers are favored in this game. They are playing at home off a bye week and will have Rashard Mendenhall for the first time in 2012.
They also feature their traditionally brutal Steel Curtain that held the New York Jets to just 10 points in Week 2. Granted, the San Francisco 49ers shut the Jets out last weekend and made them look bad in the process.
Sandwiching Pittsburgh's lone win in 2012 was a pair of games that saw them surrender over 30 points.
The defense is struggling.
My preseason pick for the team to have the biggest net loss in wins in 2012 was the Steelers. Losing Pennsylvania bragging rights is just one step along their way. Pittsburgh needs some youth and more help in the trenches.
Don't bother with the spread in this game; take the Eagles straight up.
Seattle at Carolina
Spread: Panthers -3
Money Line: Seattle -120/Carolina Even
This game simply isn't fair. For proof, look no further than the underdog posting a negative number on the money line.
To be fair, the Seahawks are not the same team on the road as they are at home. They struggled to move the ball through the air in Arizona and St. Louis.
Then again, they didn't have much offense in their win over the Green Bay Packers, either.
A lot of fans and bettors look at the Seahawks as a 1-3 team, given the controversial Monday night win, but that is a dangerous approach to take with this club. What many fail to consider is that several bad calls helped the Packers on two scoring drives earlier in the game.
Seattle's defense is elite against the run and the pass, which will pose issues for Cam Newton. His rejuvenation in 2012 will be short lived, as the Seahawks will play physical around the line of scrimmage.
They'll also be physical in the secondary, making life difficult on Newton's receivers.
Carolina has issues on the other side of the ball, too. They are one of the worst teams in the NFL against the rush and that is where Seattle thrives.
Marshawn Lynch enters the week as the league's top rusher and Robert Turbin looked good in expanded duty last week. Seattle should be able to control the pace of the game and wear Carolina down.
Denver at New England
Spread: Patriots -7
Money Line: +235/-275
How is this game not in prime time? It's Brady vs. Peyton!
The Bronco's offense is gaining momentum as the team gels with their new quarterback. The defense, on the other hand, has been inconsistent. They should be able to limit New England's ground game but will have to pressure Tom Brady if they are going to keep the league's top scoring offense in check.
The deciding factor in this game will be Peyton Manning.
So far, he has the Broncos in the top 10 for offense, including 278 yards per game through the air.
New England is in the bottom 10 for pass defense, surrendering 282 yards per game. That figure will go down when they visit Seattle next week, but Manning should be able to produce in this game.
Bill Belichick has a history of having fun with the injury report and has a dozen players listed as questionable in this contest, including his two star tight ends. If half of these players can't go, it will make life double-tough on the Patriots.
This is a great game to take the over and the Broncos with the points. It figures to be high scoring and is a game the Broncos can win.
Tennessee at Minnesota
Spread: Vikings -6
Money Line: +210/-250
One of my four original upset specials for Week 5 has already hit, with the St. Louis Rams defeating the Arizona Cardinals. This led to the addition of this game.
To be clear, I actually believe that the Vikings are going to win this game. But Matt Hasselbeck will be coming off the bench and could give their offense a spark on the road.
Bettors wanting to take a shot on a straight-up upset can do worse.
The problem for the Titans in this game is their defense. They struggle against the run and are even worse against the pass, ranking towards the bottom of the league in both categories.
Adrian Peterson should have a big game and the surging Christian Ponder will make fantasy owners consider adding him to their team.
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