Although Week 4 of the NFL season featured some compelling matchups—from an intra-division battle between the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, which the Rams won in a shocker, to a bad-blood rematch between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers—Week 5 appears to be more straightforward.
Seven of the upcoming Week 5 matchups feature point spreads of a touchdown or more, following in the theme of the week, which appears to be top dogs versus underdogs.
There are a few games that promise some intrigue, and as we know well, anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL, but on paper, Week 5 seems like a good one for those in survivor pools and betting against the spread.
Let's make picks and review odds for all Week 5 games, as well as preview some must-see matchups.
|NFL Week 5 Matchups, Odds and Picks|
|Thursday, Oct. 8||Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||Colts||N/A|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Seattle Seahawks||Cincinnnati Bengals||Bengals||CIN -1|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Chicago Bears||Kansas City Chiefs||Chiefs||KC -10|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Washington Redskins||Atlanta Falcons||Falcons||ATL -9|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Jacksonville Jaguars||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Bucs||TB -3|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||New Orleans Saints||Philadelphia Eagles||Saints||PHI -4|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Cleveland Browns||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens||BAL -7|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||St. Louis Rams||Green Bay Packers||Packers||GB -9.5|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Buffalo Bills||Tennessee Titans||Bills||BUF -3|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Arizona Cardinals||Detroit Lions||Cardinals||ARI -3|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||New England Patriots||Dallas Cowboys||Patriots||NE -7.5|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||Denver Broncos||Oakland Raiders||Broncos||DEN -6|
|Sunday, Oct. 11||San Francisco 49ers||New York Giants||Giants||NYG -7|
|Monday, Oct. 12||Pittsburgh Steelers||San Diego Chargers||Chargers||N/A|
|Michelle Bruton's Picks; Odds via OddsShark|
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
In one of this week's few divisional matchups, the Indianapolis Colts potentially prepare to travel to Houston and take on the Texans without quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck, who sat out Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, may miss a second game on Thursday as he deals with a shoulder injury.
"It's no better than 50/50 that he will play at Houston," Peter King of the MMQB said on NBC's Football Night in America broadcast on Sunday.
The Colts got their second win of the season without Luck on Sunday, but it wasn't easy. The Jaguars, who are 1-3 on the season, took Indianapolis into overtime to earn its win. And Jacksonville, which ranked 20th in total defense heading into Week 4, held Indy to 16 points.
The Texans may have a better go of that in Week 5. Though they're only 1-3 on the season, the Texans were 12th in the league in total defense heading into Week 4, allowing an average of 332.7 total yards per game.
Houston's scoring defense will take a hit in the rankings after allowing the Atlanta Falcons to score 48 points in Week 4, however.
The Colts hold a tenuous lead atop the AFC South, standing at 2-2 on the season. If they can beat Houston, with or without Luck, they can strengthen their hold.
Prediction: Colts 28, Texans 21
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers
Who are the real St. Louis Rams? Four weeks into the season, it's safe to say that we don't yet know.
For every shocking, dominant performance the Rams put up against opponents such as the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis has a head-scratching loss to teams like the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers (without Ben Roethlisberger).
Even if the Rams sort out their consistency issues and become an NFC playoff contender this season on the strength of their defense and their burgeoning run game behind rookie Todd Gurley, however, it's hard to imagine them walking into Lambeau Field on Sunday and beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at home.
Rodgers has been otherworldly at home, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 48-0 since his last interception thrown at Lambeau, which was in Week 13 of the 2012 season.
The Rams defense prides itself on having an elite group of pass-rushers who should be able to keep Rodgers on his toes, but those pressures don't always translate into takeaways, and in fact Rodgers rarely gives up the ball at home.
If the Rams truly want to put the squeeze on the Packers offense, they will look to force fumbles and blanket Rodgers' top weapons in Randall Cobb and James Jones. St. Louis came into Week 4 ranked 12th in points allowed per game, at 22.3.
St. Louis can also attempt to exploit Green Bay's run defense with Gurley, but after limiting Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles and Carlos Hyde to fewer than 50 yards each in Weeks 2-4, that could prove difficult.
Prediction: Packers 24, Rams 14
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals
In the lowest point spread of the week and what is sure to be one of the best matchups on the slate, the Seattle Seahawks will try to upset the undefeated Bengals in Cincinnati.
The Bengals are one of a handful of 4-0 teams in the league heading into Week 5, due in large part to the excellent play of quarterback Andy Dalton. In their 36-21 drubbing of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Dalton completed 70.8 percent of his passes and threw for 321 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
That puts Dalton's touchdown-to-interception ratio for the season at 9-1. His offensive line has also been doing a terrific job protecting him and giving him a clean pocket; Dalton has taken just two sacks this season. Even the Chiefs and pass-rusher Justin Houston weren't able to bring him down.
Dalton will look to continue those trends against the Seahawks, and it might not be challenging. Heading into Week 4, Seattle was 21st in the league in sacks, with only six.
Before their Monday night matchup, Seattle's defense has somewhat surprisingly also not managed to get any interceptions on the season, one of just two teams not to (the other is Washington).
With Seattle's defense not looking much like the unit we've come to expect, Dalton and the Bengals could have a huge night against it.
The Bengals are also looking like one of the league's most complete teams. In addition to ranking fourth in the league in total offense heading into Week 4, they also have the 12th-ranked defense and are allowing an average of 18.7 yards per game.
Russell Wilson has a had a slow start to the season, with four touchdowns and two interceptions ahead of the Week 4 Monday night game. He's also taken 12 sacks, a bleak spot for an offensive line that hasn't been great in either pass- or run-blocking this season.
The Bengals defense will be all over that.
Prediction: Bengals 31, Seahawks 24
NFL Odds via OddsShark and current as of Oct. 4