NFL Week Five Previews and Predictions

NFL Week Five Previews and Predictions

As we reach October’s holiday weekend, the NFL has seen all but one team fall to defeat, and just two teams remain winless after just four weeks of action. Week five will provide chances for some NFL teams to rise up and keep their 2021 season going, while others will likely continue to sink to the bottom of their division as their hopes for any more meaningful games fades into the autumn sunset. Here now are my previews and predictions for all the week five action around the NFL.

LA Rams (3-1) at Seattle (2-2):  The round-robin that the NFC West started last weekend continues Thursday night with this divisional matchup. The Rams lost to the last unbeaten team in the league, Arizona, on their home field Sunday, and now travel north to take on a sluggish Seahawks squad.  Seattle’s W-L record is well reflected in their point differential, with is only +3 so far this season; and each team has allowed a health amount of points this year, with the Seahawks 99 just one point better than the Rams so far.  Oddsmakers and bettors are down on Seattle this year, with the former setting the line at Rams -1 and the latter taking it up to 2.5 points by Monday night.  I don’t really like what I am seeing from Seattle this year while the Rams have given new life to Matthew Stafford this season, which is why I am taking LA to win and cover the 2.5 points Thursday.

NY Jets (1-3) vs. Atlanta (1-3):  This is not exactly a marquee matchup and I have a feeling that fans on the west coast of the United States won’t be setting their alarm clocks to ring early Sunday morning to watch this London rumble.  The “hotter” team are the Jets, who come off their first win of the season last week over Tennessee, while the only win the Falcons have managed was a last-second victory at the Giants.  Bettors are laying down their money using the “what have you done for me lately” strategy since those with tickets have taken this line down from Atlanta -4.0 to 3.5 points.  Those same betters didn’t see Matt Ryan play well enough to win last week as the veteran QB watched his defense surrender more yardage than the Falcons’ QB could overcome.  Atlanta is ready to go two-for-two over New York area teams, and despite needing to fly to London, they will do just that this week.  Taking the Falcons -3.5 to win and cover in this worth missing game.

Denver (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-3):  It is the traveling Broncos who are in first place after four weeks and not the last place Steelers as these two teams matchup.  Despite facing their first good team and losing, Denver is still having a better season so far than their host, who, after an opening week win have dropped three straight and looked bad in the process.  With how good the AFC North is, a loss here would put the Steelers’ entire season on life support, while if the Broncos wish to continue to make noise in the AFC West, a win here will help them keep pace.  If you told anyone that this was one-point away from being a pick’em game, then they would have said that Aaron Rodgers was traded to Denver and not their current quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.  Since I am still not buying the Broncos and believe Pittsburgh knows how bad a lost would be here, I am taking the Steelers to show some Terrible Towel pride and win this game by a field goal.

Detroit (1-3) at Minnesota (1-3):  This NFC North contest is for a chance to avoid the basement, at least for the hosting Vikings, a chance to move into a second-place tie with Chicago.  Sadly, for Lions fans, this contest is exactly what Minnesota needed to get their season turned back around at a time when they can use a win, even the cheap kind against another bad team.  Despite laying 7.5 points to Detroit, bettors are taking Minnesota by about a 3-to-2 clip early in the week with Kirk Cousins expected to outplay Jared Goff.  I agree and I, also, take the Vikings in this “get right” game, because without a win here, Minnesota’s will likely start making changes soon.

Green Bay (3-1) at Cincinnati (3-1):  This unexpected interconference battle of 3-1 teams is a pleasant surprise for fans in Wisconsin as well as parts of Ohio.  This game also pairs two squads who are in their groove, with the hosting Bengals looking to win their third straight while the Packers are looking for their fourth in a row after a Week One loss.  What makes this game even more fun is that the computers and the humans differ on what each believes the outcome will be as the hard drives see a Cincinnati win while the breathing machines see a Green Bay victory.  As home field advantage becomes more and more the trends later in the season, this will prove to be an interesting test for a Packers team playing in an unfamiliar building.  After Aaron Rodgers’ 37 second comeback win last week, however, it is hard to bet against Green Bay, even when they are facing a trip to “The Jungle.”  Giving up 3.0 points and betting the Packers to win by ten.

Miami (1-3) at Tampa Bay (3-1):  In this battle of south and central Florida, both the traveling Dolphins and returning home Buccaneers are coming off lackluster performances. Miami, however, appears to have lost their way so far this season, and not only because Tua Tagovailoa is out of the lineup. The Buccaneers played sloppy during Tom Brady’s return to New England Sunday night, but still managed a late victory in the rain, with this their first home game in three weeks. Tampa Bay is laying 10-points in this game, yet bettors are still on the Buccaneers at a 4-to-1 pace with most predicting a blowout win. Nothing to like about Miami in this matchup, and barring a letdown after an emotional game, look for Tampa to go 4-1 to start the 2021 season.

New England (1-3) at Houston (1-3):  People would have been hard pressed to predict the Patriots would sport the same losing record as the Texans have heading into this Week Five game.  Since, while traveling from New England, the Pats do appear to have a future QB in Mac Jones, Houston is still sitting their healthy QB Deshawn Watson for his off the field issue.  The Texans were trounced by another AFC East team, Buffalo, 40-0 last week and are a 9.0-point home underdog this week with about one-in-four bettors grabbing the points at the betting window.  This will be a good week for fans of Mac Jones since the rookie out of Alabama will look good against a team that knows the last three quarters of their season will go as badly as the first one did.  Taking New England to win and cover and the road and give their rookie QB his second career win.

New Orleans (2-2) at Washington (2-2):  These two teams are as average as their .500 records say they are and are as closely matched in this game as the betting line (New Orleans -2.0) indicates.  Those two factors, at least on paper, predict a close game, and perhaps an entertaining one as well.  This would be a game most pro bettors would pass on, but since we are all here for fun (right?), I will take Washington at home with the 2-points since I still don’t know what to make of the Saints and taking them on the road is still a risky bet for me.  I know New Orleans has played their best in odd-numbered weeks so far this season, but that trend will be broken this week when Washington sends them home with a loss.

Philadelphia (1-3) at Carolina (3-1):  Are the Eagles taking to the road on the ropes as their famous fictional hero Rocky? Well, they are staring down 1-4 in the face in this game against a Panthers team which has defeated the teams they should beat so far in 2021 … and with Carolina a 3.5-point home favorite, the numbers say the Panthers should have the edge.  The computers, according to many, are seeing a big win by the Panthers over a Philly team who has yielded 40+ points in each of their last two games.  That will make for some impressive numbers for Sam Darnold and the Panthers’ offense and their fourth win of the season as Carolina should win going away.

Tennessee (2-2) at Jacksonville (0-4):  The Titans had an early season letdown game last week in losing to the Jets after knocking off their AFC North foes from Indianapolis.  Luckily for them they are playing another divisional game against the Jaguars this week, albeit on the road.  Jacksonville is normally good for one or two solid possessions on both offense and defense; but as they start the long rebuilding process, still don’t have enough talent to maintain a 60-minute attack against teams with the talent that the Titans will bring to this contest.  While only a modest 4.0-favorite, clearly Tennessee is the better team, and since they should be playing angry and motivated, the Titans are the clear play here.  Laying the 4.0 and take the road team to win/cover.

Chicago (2-2) at Las Vegas (3-1):  The Raiders defense was roughed up in LA Monday night against the Chargers, but there’s nothing like facing a rookie quarterback to help a group of bruised egos.  That’s exactly what Jon Gruden and the Silver and Black will have this Sunday at home when Justin Fields and the Bears come to The Strip.  Despite being the last AFC team to lose this year, the Raiders are still a 5.5-point favorite, and I expect that number to rise by gametime.  Can’t like Chicago in this game other than if Las Vegas plays careless, as they are apt to do often, and the Bears can play from ahead and take the air out of the football.  The Raiders are the better team and should win, but we know how Gruden can sometimes let his genius get in the way of keeping things simple and just winning, baby.  Las Vegas -5.5 to win and cover here.

Cleveland (3-1) at LA Chargers (3-1):  This is my favorite game on the schedule this week and may prove to be just as important as the Sunday night contest will in the AFC Playoff picture.  The Browns come into this game a slight (1.5-point) underdog, showing that both oddsmakers and bettors are showing the Dawg Pound some respect this year, and rightly so.  Los Angeles did well in their game against the Raiders Monday night and will likely use many of the same tactics against Cleveland; but with the Browns playing smarter and more under control, may not find the same level of success.  This should be a close game, making the small point spread meaningless … and my fear is a letdown game for a Chargers team that had been pushing hard every week this season and are now facing a team they may not be familiar with.  That’s why, in a small upset, I am taking the Browns to win outright, and maybe, somewhere down the road earn a playoff tiebreaker.

NY Giants (1-3) at Dallas (3-1):  This NFC East mismatch sees Big Blue going to Big D to take a Cowboys team who is clearly the class of the division so far this season.  Dak Prescott has looked impressive coming back from injury and Dallas is one Tom Brady game-winning drive from being 4-0 instead of 3-1 at this point in the year.  Bettors are not scared off by laying the 7.0-points on Dallas in this game since New York doesn’t bring much to the table other than a QB in Daniel Jones who is a one-man band for the Giants.  Dallas, on the other hand, as found ways to put their players in positions to do what they do best, and that has resulted in victories, another one of which they will earn in Jerry’s World on Sunday.  Taking the Cowboys to win/cover in this easy pick.

San Francisco (2-2) at Arizona (4-0):  For all those people who thought the Cardinals would be the last remaining undefeated team, it is time to take your bows … and since there is no one out there who believed that we can take a look at this NFC West showdown.  The traveling 49ers were forced into playing Trey Lance last week after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a knee injury, something that is going to weaken this San Francisco offense more than Kyle Shanahan would care to admit.  That’s because either Jimmy G won’t be 100% or won’t be in the starting lineup, something that bettors understand is bad even if the computers don’t.  Arizona is a 5.5-point favorite and sees 80% of the money on this game going in their favorite, but the spreadsheets say that will be in a dogfight in this game against the 49ers, something I don’t see happening this week at all.  Taking the Cardinals to win, cover and stay undefeated in the NFC West and reign supreme at 5-0.

Buffalo (3-1) at Kansas City (2-2):  The Bills head to the Midwest in this primetime rematch up last season’s AFC Championship game on a roll.  They have won three straight and are coming off two shutout wins during their hot steak.  Kansas City is finding it more difficult to play razzle dazzle football this season than they have over the last two years, and their record is showing it.  The KC defense has also been lacking this year even when the team wins, such as last week by they allowed 30 points in Philly to the Eagles; that’s why seeing them as just a 2.5-point favorite should be concerning to their fans and encouraging to the Bills Mafia.  Buffalo is playing better, KC still has a target on their back and the Bills should and will play the revenge card this week.  All those factors make Buffalo a live underdog in this game to not just cover but win outright.  Taking the 2.5-point and the Bills to keep in close and maybe take down KC on their home field.

Indianapolis (1-3) at Baltimore (3-1):  Ah, yes, another game that sees that Baltimore, I am Indianapolis Colts visit their old hometown and take on the Browns, I am Ravens.  This is when you will see everyone in Baltimore cry about how the Colts left town on their Mayflower moving trucks in the middle of a snowy night and NO ONE mention how Baltimore stole the original Browns from Cleveland to make themselves feel better.  As for the game itself, why are we seeing the Ravens play a primetime game three times in the first five weeks of the season?  Are people still that entertained with Lamar Jackson that all the networks need to have him on their broadcast as often as possible; or was ESPN just unable to get the Browns/Chargers and Bills/KC game?  The Ravens are a solid 7.5-point favorite here, and the lackluster Baltimore offense might be able to do enough against the Colts to justify that line … if not, they will do what they often do, rely on their defense to make things easier for their offense, and win the game that way.  Taking the transplanted Browns, I mean Ravens to win/cover against the Baltimore, I mean Indy Colts. 

 

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