[SpreadSHREDDER Week 5 ATS: 2-1]
[Overall Record ATS: 10-5 (67%)]
The bye week is among the few significant advantages in the parity-driven league of the NFL, especially when it comes to underdogs. In a league where "what have you done for me lately?" is one of an onslaught of cliches, teams getting blown out before a bye week can be diamonds in the rough to the savvy-enough bettor.
Therefore this week's SpreadSHREDDER menu will prominently feature two weeks of preparation with a side of intense motivation. Please order accordingly.
New England has scored over 30 points in three consecutive games, an anomaly even in today's funhouse quarterback era of the NFL.
The Patriots will be playing their third road game in four weeks at noisy CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks are always a value bet as a home underdog by virtue of their unique homefield advantage alone. The indicators of the Patriots coming out flat couldn't be any clearer.
Seahawks beat the Patriots soundly, and at this point it should be anything but an upset.
Prediction: Seattle, 20-14
The Raiders have had two weeks to let a bad taste in their mouths simmer after an embarrassing loss to the Denver Broncos, and they should be better prepared to withstand Atlanta's offensive juggernaut.
The extra time to prepare also means more time for star running back Darren McFadden to learn the Raiders' new zone blocking scheme, which should cause problems for Atlanta's bottom-10 NFL rush defense while keeping Matt Ryan off the field.
Prediction: Oakland, 31-30
The last time we saw the Cowboys they were getting their doors blown off at home on Monday Night Football to a chorus of local and national panic.
Tony Romo was especially panned for putting up one of, if not the worst statistical game of his career, certainly one of the most terrible performances by a quarterback this season as he threw a whopping five interceptions when it was all said and done.
Such nationalized pressure should create diamonds for a Dallas team that runs the ball 40 percent of the time—well above the league average—against an aging Ravens defense that has been helpless against the run while playing without stud linebacker Terrell Suggs.
With two weeks of what should have been intense preparation, expect a focused Cowboys team, desperate to keep pace in the NFC playoff picture, to grab an early must-win in Baltimore.
Prediction: Dallas, 23-17
[Lines from Sportsbook.com via VegasInsider.com and FiveDimes.com]