We still have one game remaining to be played in Week 5 (if you can call Monday night's impending massacre of the New York Jets at the hands of the Houston Texans a "game"), but many football fans are already turning their attention to Week 6's slate.
Some of those fans are the sort that occasionally like to wager a dollar or two on their favorite sport (where legal, of course), so to help those fans win a little cabbage and help casual bettors win their office pool here's a look at a trio of underdogs that will be winning plays this week.
Home team in CAPS. Lines courtesy of footballlocks.com.
Indianapolis Colts (+3) over NEW YORK JETS
Frankly, of all the Week 6 lines, this is the one I find most out of whack, and the one that's most likely to swing in the underdog's favor as the week moves along, so if you want a piece of this action you'd better act now.
Talk about two teams headed in opposite directions.
On one hand, we have the Indianapolis Colts, a 2-2 team one long pass away from being 3-1 that's fresh off their biggest win of the season in downing the Green Bay Packers.
The win was an emotional one for the Colts, and as wide receiver Reggie Wayne told ESPN, the win was due in large part to the philosophy instilled by rookie head coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia at an Indianapolis hospital.
"Chuck's instilled a lot in us," Wayne said Sunday. "His whole motto since day one, the first meeting has been team, team, team, team. Nothing else. So we've wanted to do it every week as a team. That's all we practice, that's all we preach."
On the other hand, we have a reeling Jets team that will most likely be rolling into this game off two straight losses, has lost both their best defensive and arguably their best offensive player to season-ending injuries and who could be making a switch at quarterback.
Explain to me why the Jets are favored?
Denver Broncos (+3) over SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
This one's a much trickier call, as it involves two division rivals who are fairly evenly matched and each coming off of tough road losses in Week 5.
The Broncos in particular struggled defensively in their 31-21 loss to the New England Patriots, allowing the Patriots to set a franchise record for first downs and frustrating head coach John Fox with their inability to get New England off the field on third down, according to AP.
“Really, at the end of the day, our third down’s been a little bit of a bugaboo throughout this portion of the season,” Fox said. “What’s most disheartening about that is they weren’t all third-and-1s.”
That would seem to set the stage for a San Diego victory at home, but the Broncos are in a bit of desperation mode after dropping three of their last four and we're way overdue on a meltdown from Chargers head coach Norv Turner, so I'm going against the grain and taking the road underdog here.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (+3.5) over New England Patriots
Given the impressive fashion in which the New England Patriots dispatched the Denver Broncos on Sunday it may seem strange that I'm picking against them, especially given how the Seattle Seahawks struggled before finally defeating the Carolina Panthers 16-12.
However, this pick isn't so much about who's playing in the game as where it's being played.
The Seahawks are a much different football team when playing within the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field, where they enjoy quite possibly the best home-field advantage in the NFL, as evidenced by their 53-29 record there since the stadium opened in 2002.
In addition, according to OfficePicks.com, the Seahawks are 8-6 against the spread as home underdogs since 2005.
Combine those facts, mix in a helping of the power-running of Marshawn Lynch and Seattle's big, physical cornerbacks and, while the Seahawks may not win this game outright, they'll keep it close.
In this case, close is good enough.