Last Minute Odds, Picks Against the Spread for NFL Week 5
Could Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season be any better?
Elsewhere, star rookie Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins host Matt Ryan and the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. If nothing else, this matchup will tell us quite a bit about what to expect from the NFC playoff picture next month.
With a great slate of other contests to prepare for, here are spread picks from pro football's fifth week.
Note: All spreads are courtesy of FootballLocks.com
Dolphins-Bengals, Packers-Colts, Ravens-Chiefs
Miami at Cincinnati (-3)
This is quite the intriguing matchup, because the Bengals' defense has been suspect against the pass in 2012.
In turn, that has affected Cincinnati's ability to shut down the ground game as well. Miami has explosive balance offensively and its defense is capable of limiting Cincy's rushing attack.
Regardless of who wins, this game will be a nail-biter.
Take the Dolphins and the points
Green Bay (-7) at Indianapolis
The Colts are playing better than given credit for. In addition, the Packers remain vulnerable on defense despite improving on their 2011 effectiveness. Courtesy of Andrew Luck, Indy possesses the ability to match pace with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay.
Neither offense is consistent at running the ball, so the quarterbacks will be the difference. In this case, MVP over No. 1 pick.
Take the Packers against the spread
Baltimore (-6.5) at Kansas City
Kansas City still must improve defensively if it wants to shutdown the Baltimore Ravens. That said, the Ravens are uncharacteristically weak against the pass thus far in 2012, ranking No. 29 in pass defense through four games.
The Chiefs can't throw the ball consistently well, though, so anticipate a lot from Jamaal Charles early on. It'll be close around halftime, but the Ravens possess too much overall talent and pull away late.
Take the Ravens against the spread
Falcons-Redskins, Browns-Giants, Eagles-Steelers
Atlanta (-3) at Washington
The Falcons and Redskins both present solid ground game and efficient passing attacks to move the rock. Washington, however, is more vulnerable at defending the pass and Atlanta's defense has proven to be quite opportunistic.
Whoever gets more quarterback pressure gains a significant competitive advantage and a big part of that results from pre-snap reads. Therefore, it's either Matt Ryan or Robert Griffin III.
Take the Falcons against the spread
Cleveland at NY Giants (-8)
The Cleveland Browns will give the New York Giants a stronger game than expected. The Browns play tough teams quite well, as we saw against Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Baltimore, and the Giants are coming off a disappointing loss.
Still, Big Blue fields a more reliable offense to move the chains and New York's defense takes strides at improving against the pass.
Take the Giants against the spread
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (-3.5)
Perhaps the most intriguing Week 5 matchup is the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles are feeling confident and Pittsburgh is desperate for a win after the 1-2 start. Here, it comes down to how well LeSean McCoy produces on the ground and if Pittsburgh can force turnovers.
The more carries given to McCoy favors Philly and the Eagles pass rush will get to Ben Roethlisberger, as well.
Take the Eagles and the points
Seahawks-Panthers, Bears-Jaguars, Titans-Vikings
Seattle at Carolina (-3)
After the Monday night win over Green Bay, the Seahawks pulled a 180-degree turn in losing the subsequent week to St. Louis. The Panthers, on the flip side, have been as equally inconsistent on both sides of the ball as well.
Presenting two mobile quarterbacks and one established pass-rusher each, the stronger ground game gets this win. In short: Marshawn Lynch versus DeAngelo Williams.
Take the Seahawks and the points
Chicago (-5.5) at Jacksonville
Don't underestimate the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yes the Jags are 1-3, but the losses have come to Minnesota, Houston and Cincinnati, all of which combine for a 10-2 record. As for the Bears, Chicago's defense was ridiculously opportunistic against Dallas and is capable of blanking Jacksonville.
Still, the Jags have a sound rushing attack and if Blaine Gabbert is given time to work off play-action he will play well. Plus, we have yet to see Jay Cutler really shred a defense in 2012.
Take the Jaguars and the points
Tennessee at Minnesota (-5.5)
This game has potential to be the blowout of Week 5. Minnesota is balanced offensively and the defense is impressive against the run and at applying quarterback pressure. Although Chris Johnson was solid against Houston last week, Minnesota's front seven will lock on him and force Tennessee to throw.
Considering that the Titans have yet to prove the ability to stop anyone on defense, Adrian Peterson and Co. control the tempo throughout.
Take the Vikings against the spread
Broncos-Patriots, Bills-49ers, Chargers-Saints, Texans-Jets
Denver at New England (-6.5)
It's going to be one exciting contest between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Both offenses can explode against either defense and these quarterbacks read defenses emphatically well. So, it will come down to which front seven gets more constant pressure and stops the run.
Neither offense is run-oriented, therefore, the offensive lines have more emphasis to pass protect. Denver, though, has faced a tougher schedule through four games and will win if turnovers are minimized.
Take the Broncos and the points
Buffalo at San Francisco (-10)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is turnover-prone and the San Francisco 49ers field one stellar defense. Buffalo's best hope is to slam well on the ground, but the 'Niners are even better at controlling the line of scrimmage as well.
All Alex Smith and Co. will have to do is move the chains, because the Bills' defense has been suspect week to week.
Take the 49ers against the spread
San Diego at New Orleans (-3.5)
This game has the feel of a blowout for San Diego. However, New Orleans is desperate for a win. The Chargers were exploited by Matt Ryan two weeks ago and Drew Brees is certainly capable of dicing up the Bolts.
So, expect San Diego to run-heavy and keep Brees off the field. In turn, NOLA will stack the box and force a shootout. That's what the Saints need to keep it close and New Orleans gets the win.
Take the Saints against the spread
Houston (-8) at NY Jets
In this AFC Monday night matchup we have arguably the NFL's two most polar opposite units: The Jets offense against the Texans defense immensely favors Houston.
And when the Texans are on offense, their balanced approach will consistently move against Gang Green to win the time of possession. It won't be out of reach until the second half, but Houston quickly gains control of the tempo and never lets go.
Take the Texans against the spread
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