NFL Picks Week 5: Home Teams Sure to Defend Turf on Sunday
Not counting a dome like the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans or a sound-amplifying stadium like CenturyLink Field in Seattle, home-field advantage is not the major advantage it's advertised as in the NFL.
After all, the NFL is full to the brim with the best professionals the world has to offer, and players can adapt through proper preparation for most road games and put up a competitive fight.
Week 5 has plenty of intriguing matchups in terms of home teams facing big tasks without having to leave their comfort zone. Three teams in particular are locks to use the home-field advantage the right way en route to victory.
St. Louis Exploits Jacksonville
The St. Louis Rams desperately needed this matchup at home.
After losing three straight, including two on the road, St. Louis gets another chance to play in front of the home crowd against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has been laughably bad through four games.
Which team wins?
Jacksonville is worst in the NFL when it comes to defending the run and is darn close in all offensive categories thanks to quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, both of whom have less than 500 yards passing and one combined touchdown.
St. Louis has not exactly been amazing on defense, as the unit allows 133 rushing yards per game, but James Laurinaitis and Co. will have little issue shutting down the Jaguars offense.
Expect a big win for St. Louis as it climbs back up to 2-3.
Prediction: Rams 17, Jaguars 10
Miami Upsets Baltimore
In perhaps the most underrated matchup of the week, the Miami Dolphins welcome the Baltimore Ravens to town as both teams look to bounce back from disappointing losses.
Miami was embarrassed on Monday Night Football by New Orleans, while Baltimore saw quarterback Joe Flacco get intercepted five times en route to a defeat at the hands of Buffalo.
Which team wins?
This matchup plays well into the hands of the Dolphins, a team that touts the No. 6 overall defense. Flacco and Co. only tally 320 yards of offense per game, good for the No. 27 spot.
Star running back Ray Rice has been the brunt of the issues for Baltimore, averaging just three yards per carry on his way to just 89 yards this year. With Rice struggling, defenses have been able to key in on the passing attack sorely missing Anquan Boldin (San Francisco) and Dennis Pitta (injury).
Miami and corner Brent Grimes will be able to do much of the same.
Prediction: Dolphins 20, Ravens 17
Green Bay Outguns Detroit
As ESPN and NFL Network's Rich Eisen point out, the Detroit Lions don't like traveling to Lambeau Field very much:
The Lions have lost 21 straight road games against the Packers, the longest road losing streak by one team vs another in NFL history— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 4, 2013
The Lions last win in Lambeau Field predates Favre's tenure with Packers: Week 16, 1991 when Erik Kramer outdueled Mike Tomczak— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) October 4, 2013
Which team wins?
Obvious historic implications aside, the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have had two weeks to sit around and think about their stunning loss to Cincinnati that dropped the team to 1-2, thanks to horrific turnovers.
Detroit has cruised to a 3-1 record thanks to Matthew Stafford and the No. 5 passing attack, but now the unit is tasked with outdueling Rodgers, who leads the No. 3 aerial attack.
Rodgers has been unstoppable to this point, completing 66 percent of his passes en route to 1,057 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. With weapons such as Randall Cobb, Green Bay will have no issues spreading out a Detroit defense that allows 268 yards per game.
Prediction: Packers 30, Lions 20
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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