With Week 4 of the 2017 NFL season almost complete, it's only natural to look ahead at what's to come in Week 5. The league is finally starting to take shape in terms of who are the contenders, pretenders and teams that should just give up and tank.
In Week 5, teams will either solidify their status as contenders or fall to the wayside in make-or-break matchups. For the Los Angeles Rams, a win over Seattle would surely cement themselves as a legit threat to the NFC West division, as crazy as that may sound.
Seattle is listed as 2.5-point favorites against Los Angeles, which is hardly a surprise after the Seahawks blew out the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night, 46-18.
But the Rams, along with a handful of other teams, have a unique opportunity this week to make a statement that will send shockwaves throughout the league.
Here's each matchup in Week 5 with updated odds for each fixture, plus my official predictions for each game.
Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.
Week 5 Spreads and Predictions
Thursday, Oct. 5 - New England Patriots (-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Patriots
Sunday, Oct. 8 – New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-1.5): Jets
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-3.5): Chargers
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5): Bills
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-2.5): Panthers
Sunday, Oct. 8 – San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (EVEN): Colts
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Tennessee Titans (-3) at Miami Dolphins: Titans
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6): Eagles
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-9): Steelers
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (No Line): Raiders
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Los Angeles Rams: Seahawks
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-2): Packers
Sunday, Oct. 8 – Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Houston Texans: Texans
Monday, Oct. 9 – Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) at Chicago Bears: Vikings
Matchups to Watch
Have the Texans Arrived?
Similarly to the Rams, the Houston Texans find themselves in an interesting position heading into Week 5. Fresh off a dominant performance over AFC South division rivals Tennessee Titans (57-14), it's not too soon to say that the Texans are the best team in that division.
While that is by no means a hot take, it's still true, With a strong defensive unit led by J.J. Watt and an offense that seems to be clicking on all cylinders with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson at the helm, it's hard to predict the ceiling on this team for the rest of the season.
Fortunately in the NFL, there are games every week, and with each week comes a new test.
For Houston, a test against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs will be the ultimate challenge at this point of the season. A win, even a solid showing against Kansas City, would do wonders for the Texans' reputation around the league. But if I was a gambling man, I wouldn't bet the house on it.
The Chiefs are one of the best teams in football for a reason. With Kareem Hunt looking like Jamaal Charles 2.0, Alex Smith looking downfield and a defense that doesn't quit, the Texans could easily find themselves on the wrong end of a blowout in Week 5.
Only 3.5 point favorites, the Chiefs should easily surpass that mark by at least a touchdown or two. Look for the Chiefs to continue to impress while the Texans go back to the drawing board.
Things Could Get Worse for the Giants
Do you know what's even worse than a 0-4 start to the season? A 0-5 start.
The New York Giants are winless through the first month of the season, which seemed unthinkable a couple of months ago. But now, it's time to press the panic button.
A lackluster offense with a vulnerable offensive line, the Giants haven't been able to sustain a rhythm on offense all season. And going into a Week 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, it's hard to imagine anything different.
To be fair, the Giants have lost two close games this season, each decided by less by three points or less. But even for arguments sake, the Giants would still be a disappointing 2-2 team given the talent they have at their disposal on offense.
The Chargers are 2-2 this season and, as usual, are suffering with self-inflicted wounds—mainly turnovers, penalties and injuries that have kept this team from realizing its full potential.
One player who seems to have gotten back to his old self for the Chargers, however, is wideout Keenan Allen, who had a monster game in Week 4, catching five passes for 138 yards.
While a win over the Chargers could pump the brakes on a total tank mission that would (and probably should) happen at 0-5, it's just hard to imagine the Giants being able to figure out all the problems they've been experiencing on the field from their offensive line, poor decision-making and discipline on both sides of the ball.
As 3.5-point favorites, there's no way the Giants can outscore the Chargers, and certainly not by more than a field goal. Go against the grain and pick Los Angeles. Picking the Giants to win at this moment in time is not in your favor.