After a lethargic and underwhelming performance against the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots look to get back on track at Cleveland on Sunday. In case you have just awoken from a coma, Tom Brady will be starting his first game of the season after Roger Goodell’s Article 46 triumph. Vegas expects the Patriots to win this game with ease, listing the Pats as a rare double-digit road favorite.
Unfortunately most out of town Patriot fans will have to head to their favorite local tavern to see this game, unless they forked over an ungodly sum of money for the Sunday Ticket. Outside of Ohio and New England the Pats-Browns game will only be broadcast in Buffalo, Reno, St. Louis – and for some odd reason, Utah.
Primary network distribution will be for the Jets at Steelers on CBS early, Bengals at Cowboys on CBS late, and Falcons at Broncos on Fox late. Giants at Green Bay is the Sunday night game, and Tampa Bay at Carolina wraps up Week Five on Monday. Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans and Seattle are off with a bye this week.
On the bright side Pats fans will not be subjected to listening to Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts this weekend. Greg Gumbel will announce the play-by-play from Cleveland, with Trent Green fulfilling the analyst commentary. For more on what is being televised in your neck of the woods, please check out Patriot fan JP Kirby’s NFL Maps.
NFL Week 5 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread
★★★★ 3-1 Houston Texans at 4-0 Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Vikings -6½ (opened at -6) . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . MIN -275, HOU +225
Broadcast in Atlanta, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
After four weeks Minnesota has an incredible +10 turnover differential. To put that in perspective the Patriots rank sixth in this category – at plus-3. The Vikings have succeeded in stopping the run (3.6 yards per carry), putting pressure on the opposing quarterback (58.2% completion rate, 67.7 passer rating) while protecting the football (only one turnover).
Prediction: Vikings 27, Texans 13
Vikings -6½ (two units) . . . . . under 40½ (one unit) . . . . . Vikings -275
Final Score: Vikings 31, Texans 13 ✓
Vikings -6½ ✓✓ . . . . under 40½ ✓ . . . . Vikings -275
★ 1-3 Tennessee Titans at 1-3 Miami Dolphins
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker
Dolphins -3½ (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 42½ . . . . MIA -175, TEN +155
Broadcast in Florida and Tennessee.
Miami has not been able to generate any offense other than in the second half of the New England game, after falling behind 31-3. The Dolphins can’t run the ball, which puts too much pressure on Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee’s defense may be just what the Fins need: Tennessee has allowed 300+ yards in thirteen straight games. Something has got to give here but it is tough to say which it will be.
Prediction: Titans 20, Dolphins 17
Titans +3½ (two units) . . . . . under 42½ . . . . . Titans +155
Final Score: Titans 30, Dolphins 17 ✓
Titans +3½ ✓✓ . . . . under 42½ x . . . . Titans +155 ✓
New England Patriots Game of the Week
★★★★★ 3-1 New England Patriots at 0-4 Cleveland Browns
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Patriots -10½ (opened at -10½) . . . . over/under 47 . . . . NWE -500, CLE +400
Broadcast in New England, Ohio, Utah, Reno and St. Louis.
The Patriots game plan to take away an opponent’s best offensive threat. Last week the defense failed to accomplish that task as LeSean McCoy produced 108 yards from scrimmage on 25 touches. This week the Patriot D faces Isiah Crowell, who leads the NFL with 6.5 yards per carry and 98.5 rushing yards per game. Other than Crowell and triple threat Terrelle Pryor, the Browns don’t have much though. Rookie Cody Kessler makes his third NFL start, but without receivers Josh Gordon (rehab) and Corey Coleman (broken hand), he doesn’t have much to work with.
While Patriot fans would love to see a scorched earth return for Tom Brady, his timing may be a bit off. I wouldn’t be surprised if TB12 is so amped up that a few bails sail high of his target. New England is allowing an AFC-best 15.3 points per game; expect Matt Patricia’s unit to lead the team to victory. After last week’s loss the Patriots will not take the Browns for granted. This is an extremely rare instance where I will take a double-digit road favorite.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Browns 17
Patriots -10½ . . . . . over 47 . . . . . Patriots -500
Final Score: Patriots 33, Browns 13 ✓
Patriots -10½ ✓ . . . . over 47 x . . . . Patriots -500 ✓
More Early NFL Week 5 Games
★★★★★ 1-3 New York Jets at 3-1 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Steelers -7½ (opened at -6) . . . . over/under 48 . . . . PIT -350, NYJ +285
Broadcast in most markets.
The Jet defense is stout up front, allowing just 3.1 yards per carry. If they can somehow contain RB Le’Veon Bell then they might have a chance for the upset. For that to happen though their secondary needs to stop blowing coverage assignments. On the other side of the ball Ryan Fitzpatrick has been putrid, throwing nine interceptions in the last two games. The Jets are in desperation mode, but other than their front seven they are simply overmatched here.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Jets 20
Jets +7½ . . . . . under 48 . . . . . Steelers -350
Final Score: Steelers 31, Jets 13 ✓
Jets +7½ x . . . . under 48 ✓ . . . . Steelers -350 ✓
★★★ 2-2 Washington Redskins at 3-1 Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
Ravens -3½ (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 45 . . . . BAL -185, WAS +165
Broadcast in DC, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Cincinnati.
Washington’s defense is in disarray, allowing a 31st ranked 6.3 yards per play. The Skins are atrocious on third down, allowing opponents to convert on 57.5% of those opportunities – over ten percentage points worse than any other team in the NFL.
Prediction: Ravens 30, Skins 17
Ravens -3½ (two units) . . . . . over 45 . . . . . Ravens -185
Final Score: Skins 16, Ravens 10 x
Ravens -3½ xx . . . . over 45 x . . . . Ravens -185 x
★★★ 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles at 1-3 Detroit Lions
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis
Eagles -3½ (opened as a PK) . . . . over/under 46 . . . . PHI -170, DET +150
Broadcast in Arkansas, California, Minnesota (except Minneapolis), Montana, New York (except New York City), Pennsylvania (except Pittsburgh), Texas (except Houston), Fort Myers, Memphis, Orlando and St. Louis.
Detroit will once again be without DE Ziggy Ansah and LB DeAndre Levy, which makes them a far less effective defense. TE Eric Ebron is also out, RB Ameer Abdullah is on Injured Reserve and RB Dwayne Washington is doubtful for the Lions as well. The Eagles have run the ball well enough to not put too much pressure on Carson Wentz. Most importantly Philly has yet to turn the ball over this season.
Prediction: Eagles 24, Lions 17
Eagles -3½ (one unit) . . . . . under 46 . . . . . Eagles -170
Final Score: Lions 24, Eagles 23 x
Eagles -3½ x . . . . under 46 ✓ . . . . Eagles -170 x
★★ 1-3 Chicago Bears at 1-3 Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, October 9 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Colts -4½ (opened at -5) . . . . over/under 48 . . . . IND -220, CHI +190
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri (except St. Louis), South Dakota and Wisconsin (except Green Bay).
Why is Fox sending their number one broadcast team to this game, rather than Atlanta-Denver? Perhaps they know that Joe Buck is just going to mail it in, as he is more interested in baseball. Fox is loathe to promote an AFC team, as that is perceived to be their competition. Perhaps the executives in Los Angeles decided that it would be more palatable for Buck and Aikman to call a game with a mediocre AFC club. Fox will typically avoid making the Patriots, Steelers or Broncos a primary national telecast whenever possible.
The Bears are rebuilding, but the Colts are just as bad. Maybe Indy is overrated based on star power, but they are not a good team at all.
Prediction: Bears 23, Colts 20
Bears +4½ (two units) . . . . . under 48 . . . . . Bears +190
Final Score: Colts 29, Bears 23 x
Bears +4½ xx . . . . under 48 x . . . . Bears +190 x
Late NFL Week 5 Games
★★★★★ 3-1 Atlanta Falcons at 4-0 Denver Broncos
Sunday, October 9 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, John Lynch
Broncos -5½ (opened at -6½) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . DEN -215, ATL +185
Broadcast in New England, Houston, New York City, Pittsburgh, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida (except Fort Myers and Orlando), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee (except Memphis), Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Atlanta has the best offense in the NFL, ranking first in scoring (38.0 ppg), yardage (479 ypg), passing (354 ypg, 10.5 ypa, 126.3 rating) and DVOA (29.7%). However, the Falcon defense neither generates a decent pass rush nor stops the run. Denver once again has a formidable defense but their offense is still very mediocre. With running backs Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman Atlanta has a balanced offense that can keep the Denver defense from simply teeing off on Matt Ryan.
Prediction: Falcons 27, Broncos 24
Falcons +5½ (two units) . . . . . over 46½ . . . . . Falcons +185
Final Score: Falcons 23, Broncos 16 ✓
Falcons +5½ ✓✓ . . . . over 46½ x . . . . Falcons +185 ✓
★★ 2-2 Buffalo Bills at 3-1 Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, October 9 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Bills -1 (opened w/Rams -3) . . . . over/under 39 . . . . BUF -115, LAR -110
Broadcast in southern California (except San Diego) and New York (except NYC).
The line has dropped significantly, and even now is split evenly between Buffalo favored by one, the Rams by one or a pick’em depending on where you shop. Buffalo has no legitimate downfield threat; the Bills are one of only four teams to average fewer than 200 yards passing per game. The Ram defense is stout, more than capable of stopping the run as well as pressuring Tyrod Taylor. The problem for the Rams of course is their offense. Case Keenum is not a threat in Jeff Fisher’s conservative offense, which allows opponents to sell out to stop running back Todd Gurley. Between the three time zone trip and last week being Rex Ryan’s super bowl, expect Buffalo to regress to their norm here.
Prediction: Rams 17, Bills 13
Rams +1 (one unit) . . . . . under 39 (two units) . . . . . Rams -110
Final Score: Bills 30, Rams 19 x
Rams +1 x . . . . under 39 xx . . . . Rams -110 x
★★★★ 1-3 San Diego Chargers at 3-1 Oakland Raiders
Sunday, October 9 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Raiders -3½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 51½ . . . . OAK -185, SDC +165
Broadcast in southern Arizona, southern California (except San Diego), Hawaii, Kansas, western Missouri, Nebraska, New York (except NYC), Oregon, eastern Washington and Reno.
Unlike college football, there is not a large difference in talent level between the all but the very best and very worst NFL teams. ‘On any given Sunday’ is apropos for these two clubs. Oakland could easily be 1-3, but finished strong to defeat New Orleans, Tennessee and Baltimore. The Chargers on the other hand seem to find novel ways to lose on a weekly basis; they could have very well beaten the Chiefs, Colts and Saints. San Diego is due to come out on top in one of those winnable games. Oakland cannot keep winning while allowing an NFL worst 6.8 yards per play.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Raiders 24
Chargers +3½ (one unit) . . . . . under 51½ . . . . . Chargers +165
Final Score: Raiders 34, Chargers 31 x
Chargers +3½ ✓ . . . . under 51½ x . . . . Chargers +165 x
★★★ 2-2 Cincinnati Bengals at 3-1 Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, October 9 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Bengals -2 (opened at -1) . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . CIN -130, DAL +110
Broadcast in all markets with the exceptions of southern Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, western Missouri, Nebraska, New York (airs in NYC), Oregon, eastern Washington and Reno.
Oh joy, yet another near-nationwide broadcast of the Cowboys
Unless Cincy is looking ahead to next week’s game – a very real possibility for a Marvin Lewis-coached team – the Bengals should easily win this game.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Cowboys 17
Bengals -2 (two units) . . . . . under 45½ . . . . . Bengals -130
Final Score: Cowboys 28, Bengals 14 x
Bengals -2 xx . . . . under 45½ ✓ . . . . Bengals -130 x
★★★ 2-2 New York Giants at 2-1 Green Bay Packers
Sunday, October 9 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Packers -7½ (opened at -6½) . . . . over/under 48 . . . . GNB -310, NYG +260
Broadcast in all markets.
An already mediocre Giant secondary has been dissolved with injuries. That is a recipe for Aaron Rodgers to break out of early season sluggishness. A new lethal drinking game: everyone does a shot each time the camera cuts to Odell Beckham on the sideline, as the armchair psychoanalysts attempt to decipher his body language and facial expressions.
Prediction: Packers 27, Giants 24
Giants +7½ . . . . . over 48 . . . . . Giants +260
Final Score: Packers 23, Giants 16 ✓
Giants +7½ ✓ . . . . over 48 x . . . . Giants +260 x
★★ 1-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1-3 Carolina Panthers
Monday, October 10 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Panthers -4 (opened at -6) . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . CAR -200, TAM +175
Broadcast in all markets.
Cam Newton is out, though that should not make a huge difference against the Bucs. Carolina’s defense has not been able to generate a pass rush, permitting opponents to complete an alarming 78% of their passes over the last game and a half. Perhaps facing the Bucs will reverse that trend. Jameis Winston has thrown eight picks, second worst to only Ryan Fitzpatrick. Derek Anderson has already beaten Tampa Bay twice as a backup filling in for Newton.
Prediction: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 20
Panthers -4 . . . . . over 44½ . . . . . Panthers -200
Final Score: Buccaneers 17, Panthers 14 x
Panthers -4 x . . . . over 44½ x . . . . Panthers -200 x
★★ 1-3 Arizona Cardinals at 1-3 San Francisco 49ers
Thursday October 6 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
As expected, Arizona was able to break out of their slump against the hapless Niners.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Niners 20
Cardinals -3½ (one unit). . . . over 42 . . . . Arizona -170
Final Score: Cardinals 33, Niners 21 ✓
Cardinals -3½ ✓ …. over 42 ✓ …. Cardinals -170 ✓
edit to add: With the announcement that Miami has placed seven starters on today’s inactive list with injuries I am going to place two units on the Titans, and also use them in a parlay and teaser.
3-Team Parlay (one unit): x
Titans +3½ at Dolphins ✓
Vikings -6½ vs Texans ✓
Bears +4½ at Colts x
3-Team 6-Point Teaser (two units): ✓✓
Titans +9½ at Dolphins ✓
Falcons +11½ at Broncos ✓
Bears +10½ at Colts ✓
Tale of the Tape
Last week was a very nice bounce back after an unprofitable week three. Although the overall won-loss record is nothing to write home about, the primary focus is on the games that I am confident with and invested in. The Vikings over the Giants and Cardinals-Rams under were two big winners, playing integral parts in the teaser and parlay as well.
Week 4 Results:
6-9 Straight Up
10-5 Against the Spread
2-unit plays: 4-1, +580
1-unit plays: 3-1, +190
3-Game Parlay: 1u, 1-0, +600
3-Game Teaser: 3u, 1-0, +540
18 units invested
9-2, +1910 on $1980 risk
Year to Date Results:
32-31 Straight Up
35-27-1 Against the Spread
3-unit plays: 2-5-1, -1080
2-unit plays: 13-3, +1940
1-unit plays: 13-6, +640
Parlays: 1-1, +490
Teasers: 1-1, +430
30-16-1, +2420 on original $2310 risk.
104.8% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
27.2% ROI on $8910 (81 units) of total weekly investments.
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