NFL Week 5 Picks: Teams That Will Earn Defining Victories This Weekend
Another edition of Thursday Night Football is in the books, and that means Week 5 is officially underway. With the matchups set, all that's left to do is make some picks.
Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington are all enjoying much-needed byes this week, but all five of the NFL's remaining unblemished squads will be in action this weekend. Adding to the intrigue, all five 4-0 clubs will be on the road on Sunday afternoon.
Therefore, there are sure to be a few surprises in Week 5.
Let's take a look at which teams I like to come through, highlighting three set to earn defining victories.
*Spread information according to Covers.com.
NFL Week 5 Picks
|Cleveland Browns (-3.5)||23-16||Buffalo Bills||40.5|
|Green Bay Packers (-7.5)||34-27||Detroit Lions||53.5|
|New Orleans Saints (Even)||21-17||Chicago Bears||48.5|
|New England Patriots (+1)||29-23||Cincinnati Bengals||45|
|Kansas City Chiefs (-1)||21-10||Tennessee Titans||38.5|
|Indianapolis Colts (+1)||18-15||Seattle Seahawks||43.5|
|St. Louis Rams (-11.5)||31-14||Jacksonville Jaguars||41.5|
|Baltimore Ravens (+2.5)||23-20||Miami Dolphins||43.5|
|New York Giants (-1)||31-28||Philadelphia Eagles||53|
|Arizona Cardinals (+1)||17-13||Carolina Panthers||41.5|
|Denver Broncos (-7.5)||41-21||Dallas Cowboys||56|
|San Francisco 49ers (-7)||27-17||Houston Texans||41.5|
|San Diego Chargers (-4)||30-20||Oakland Raiders||45|
|Atlanta Falcons (-10.5)||24-13||New York Jets||43|
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints were 0-4 at the one-quarter mark a year ago. In 2013, the Saints are the exact opposite, 4-0, and favored to beat the Bears in Chicago this weekend.
But despite how strong New Orleans has looked thus far, winning at Soldier Field is no easy task. The Bears are off to a 2-0 start there in 2013 and will be itching to get back on the right track following their first loss of the year in Detroit last weekend.
Still, watch for the Saints to come out on top and reach 5-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The reason: Chicago's defense isn't the same dominant force it once was. The Bears rank 23rd against the pass and 15th against the run in 2013 and are allowing more than 28 points per game. That's bad news with Drew Brees and the league's second-ranked passing attack coming to town.
It appears that the defending Super Bowl champions are determined to save their worst football for the road in 2013. After surrendering seven touchdowns to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver in Week 1, the Ravens turned the ball over five times in a three-point loss at Buffalo last weekend.
In Week 5, the Ravens will be on the road again in Miami to take on the Dolphins, who are coming off their first loss of the year.
This game is much more important for Baltimore, though, as the Ravens would fall to 2-3 with a loss. On top of that, Miami is coming off a short week having played on Monday night against New Orleans. With an additional day to prepare, look for the Ravens defense to be even sharper.
Keep in mind that Baltimore's defense only allowed 4.4 yards per play in Buffalo in Week 4. So, if Joe Flacco and the offense can take care of the ball the way they have at home, the Ravens should win this one in convincing fashion.
New York Giants
Believe it or not, the 0-4 New York Giants can actually get right back into the NFC East division race with a win over the reeling Philadelphia Eagles at home on Sunday.
A Week 5 win would mean the most for the...
A Giants win would send them and the Eagles to 1-4, one game behind division-leading Dallas, assuming the Cowboys lose to the juggernaut that is the Denver Broncos in Week 5. Meanwhile, Washington is 1-3 and on a bye week.
While there's no doubt that the Giants have looked lifeless in recent losses to the Chiefs and Panthers, the Eagles appeared every bit as overwhelmed against the Broncos in Week 4, allowing 52 points and getting blown out by more than four touchdowns.
Both teams' defenses have been horrible thus far and rank toward the bottom of the league in most categories. Plus, both have been better at giving the ball up than taking it away.
This matchup is a toss-up in my eyes, and given what's at stake, I like the home team to break through and get into the win column.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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