Whether you were on top of the world and counting your stacks or trying to duck your bookie after Week 4, it’s time to put all of that in the past and prepare to bet the upcoming slate of NFL games in Week 5.
There’s plenty of action on tap if your looking to turn things around or continue your epic run, even though four teams are out of the picture with bye weeks.
Let’s take a look at the latest lines, check out my predictions for each matchup and take a closer look at a handful of contests you can’t afford to miss out on.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (-4) over Buffalo Bills
The Browns are rolling with Brian Hoyer under center and the weight of any expectations off their shoulders. The team will get a chance for three wins in a row early in the week with this matchup being a Thursday Night Football showdown.
Buffalo’s defense should put up a strong resistance, especially after a five-interception performance in Week 4 against Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.
However, the Bills are 0-1 on the road in 2013 and allowed Geno Smith of the New York Jets to torch them for 331 yards passing and two touchdowns. Buffalo will also be trying to contain a pair of legit emerging superstars in Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron, two of the most athletic players at their respective positions in the league.
That is much easier said than done, however, especially on short rest and travelling into a hostile environment. For that reason, it’s highly recommended that you back the chalk on Thursday and get Week 5 started off on the right foot.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (+2.5) over Carolina Panthers
The Cards haven’t been anything impressive this season and are coming off a sloppy, ugly win against the downtrodden Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the Cardinals are a much better group at home than on the road and should have no problem taking care of business against the Panthers on Sunday.
Quarterback Carson Palmer will be looking to rekindle his connection with star wideout Larry Fitzgerald, as the pair hooked up in Tampa for their first touchdown strike since the season opener.
That shouldn’t be difficult, especially not against a mediocre Carolina secondary that has yet to be exposed in 2013. As long as Palmer is protected, he should be able to air it out and put up big yards—much like the Bills’ EJ Manuel did in Week 2 against the Panthers.
Buffalo’s rookie signal-caller went 27-of-39 passing for 296 yards and a touchdown with just one interception and one sack to beat Carolina, 24-23.
It was much better than Eli Manning of the beleaguered New York Giants fared down in Charlotte. Manning was 12-of-23 passing for 119 yards with one interception and was sacked seven times, as the Panthers proved that they are strong at home, but are much weaker on the road.
Go with the Red Birds here and consider taking them on the money line. They should be able to not only cover the spread, but also have a great shot at winning outright in Week 5.
New England Patriots (PK) over CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Pats are looking like a great bet against the spread for the third straight week, this time as a pick ‘em over the Bengals.
New England is coming off another road victory against a quality Atlanta Falcons opponent and looks poised to move to 5-0 after its Week 5 matchup in Cincinnati.
Quarterback Tom Brady has jelled with his young receiving corps and continues to get a ton of support from his defense. Although star nose tackle Vince Wilfork is done for the season with a torn Achilles, there is no reason to doubt head coach Bill Belichick’s ability to replace the veteran’s production on the fly.
Credit the Browns for giving the hooded genius some more ammunition to incorporate into his game plan, as there’s no doubt Belichick watched them pick apart the Bengals secondary and create two crucial turnovers on the other side of the ball.
As long as the Patriots can continue driving up and down the field with a strong passing game and playing bend-but-don’t-break defense, there is no doubt they will walk out of Paul Brown Stadium as winners.