NFL Predictions Week 5: Favored Teams That Will Cruise to Easy Victories
The 2013 NFL season is only a month old, but it is already shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. Perennial contenders like the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants still haven't won a game, while the Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated, so there is no telling what might happen from one week to the next.
With that said, some of the league's best and worst teams are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, so it may get easier to predict things moving forward. There are a few bigger lines this week that suggest the oddsmakers are starting to catch on as well, so bet with confidence.
Here are three fairly big favorites that will cruise to easy victories in Week 5.
*Lines courtesy of Vegas Insider
Green Bay Packers (-7 vs. DET)
With a record of 1-2, the Green Bay Packers haven't gotten off to an ideal start, but all signs point toward a turnaround in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions. While Detroit is back on track after a miserable 2012 campaign with a record of 3-1, there is still reason to be skeptical about whether or not it's truly the class of the NFC North. After all, the Lions haven't beaten the Packers in Wisconsin since 1991, according to NBC26 News in Green Bay.
What were you doing on December 15th 1991? That was the last time the Lions beat the Packers in Wisconsin. See... http://t.co/nLpJlBrV80— NBC26 News (@NBC26) September 30, 2013
Perhaps that stat doesn't have anything to do with this year's Lions team, but the Packers certainly aren't pushovers. Despite their 1-2 record, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played well, and his receiving corps of Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones is firing on all cylinders. In addition to that, rookie running back Eddie Lacy was a full participant in practice on Monday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, so Green Bay should be able to get things going on the ground as well.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy declared Eddie Lacy, coming off a concussion, a "full go" after Monday's practice.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 30, 2013
The main concern from the Packers' perspective is Detroit's passing game since Green Bay is allowing 311 yards per game through the air. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson form one of the best combinations in the league, so the Packers will have to be wary, but they'll rise to the occasion by winning a game they have to have in order to keep pace in the division.
Denver Broncos (-6 @ DAL)
While it would be accurate to call the Denver Broncos offense unstoppable, that almost doesn't do Peyton Manning and Co. justice. With 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions through four games, Manning is on pace for the greatest passing season in NFL history. It's unlikely that he'll be able to keep up this torrid pace for the entirety of the season, but it's hard to imagine the Dallas Cowboys slowing him down.
Dallas is allowing nearly 305 yards per game through the air, and it was peppered by Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers in Week 4. Rivers is certainly enjoying a resurgence; however, he is no Manning.
Defense has been an issue for the Cowboys over the past several years, and that is no different in 2013. The talent seems to be there, but Dallas can never put it all together. To put Denver's dominance into perspective, the Broncos would still comfortably lead the NFL in points per game even if the Cowboys shut them out in Week 5, according to ESPN's Trey Wingo.
Even if the Broncos are shut out Sunday in Dallas (not likely) they'd still be averaging just under 36 points per game through their 1st 5— trey wingo (@wingoz) October 2, 2013
As much as America's Team would love to keep Manning off of the scoreboard, that almost seems like an impossibility. With the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas running wild, the Cowboys will have to pick their poison. Tony Romo and Dallas' offense may be able to keep pace for a little while, but Manning is the ultimate closer, and he'll help Denver pull away late.
Atlanta Falcons (-9 vs. NYJ)
With a record of 1-3, the Atlanta Falcons are one of the NFL's biggest disappointments thus far. There is no shame in losing to the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, who boast a combined record of 11-1, but the Falcons need a win this week to get back on track.
Atlanta went to the NFC Championship Game last season; however, a loss on Monday night at home would put a playoff berth in serious jeopardy. Luckily, a New York Jets team that appears to be on the downturn is coming to town.
Which favored team is most likely to win in Week 5?
After rookie quarterback Geno Smith sliced and diced the Buffalo Bills' makeshift secondary in Week 3, expectations suddenly changed for the Jets. They were viewed as a potential last-place team heading into the season, but they found themselves with a 2-1 record.
The Jets were destroyed by the Tennessee Titans in Week 4, though, and they now resemble the team that most envisioned. They are ripe for the picking, and Atlanta can't let this opportunity slip away, especially on its home turf.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has played well for the Falcons, as have Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, but Roddy White's high-ankle sprain has certainly limited the offense. Atlanta still has enough offense to beat the Jets, and it simply comes down to whether or not its defense can thrive. The Falcons are sixth in the league against the run, and if Bilal Powell can't get things going on the ground, then the Jets don't stand a chance.
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