Welcome to the 2015 NFL Predictions for Week 5. Let’s hope the kickers have sorted out their issues and that we’re in store for a cleaner round of games come Sunday and Monday night.
The haves are separating themselves from the have-nots. Patterns are being drawn. The good teams are getting set to run away, the middle-of-the-road outfits are searching for any kind of answer and the bad groups are slip sliding away. The season is in full gear and it feels great. So with that, let’s get into this week’s round of our picks As always, lines are courtesy of Bovada LV and the home teams are in ALL CAPS.
ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: Fantasy Football: Top 10 Sleepers For Week 5
BUCS (-3) over Jaguars: It’s difficult to fully explain how much you should avoid picking this hideous game between two Florida teams with massive kicker issues. But since we have no choice over here, we’ll take the home team. The Jags should have upset the Colts in Indy last week before falling victim to their own cursed kicker. But the Bucs got rid of theirs and James Winston has to play at least a mediocre game at home some day doesn’t he?
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Saints (+5) over EAGLES: The Saints somehow coming up with a win against the Cowboys last week despite several attempts to crap it away had to have been cathartic for Sean Payton, Drew Brees and company. And while they won’t make it two in a row on the road and outdoors this week, picking the Eagles minus this many points against anyone ever at this point in time is a bad idea.
Bears (+9) over CHIEFS: The Chiefs may have finally found a team against whom they can actually get the ball into the end zone in the Bears provided Andy Reid doesn’t find a way to ruin everything. Being back at home will help Kansas City immensely and while the Bears showed some guts in holding on against the Raiders (they had to hold on against the Raiders!!! At home!!!!!), all that will get them in this one is a cover.
Bills (-3) over TITANS: Assuming the Bills can manage to get called for fewer than double-digit personal foul or unsportsmanlike penalties — which is no small task given how proud Rex Ryan is of them for being completely out of control — they should win this game. That defense, porous as it looked against the Giants, should be able to confuse Marcus Mariota enough to make plenty of mistakes.
Seahawks (+3) over BENGALS: This pick is all about trust. Do you trust a team like the Bengals, who are 4-0 and being discussed as though they’ve finally figured it all out and may win their first playoff game in 26 years? Or do you trust the Seahawks, two-time NFC champs, even in their current banged-up, somewhat lost state? Remember, the Bengals will be 5-0 with a win and have a relatively clear path to the AFC North title. So? Who do you trust?
Browns (+7) over RAVENS: Pity the Browns (again). If it weren’t for the Lions stealing their thunder, last week’s loss to the Chargers would have been the most painful to watch of the week. For a team like Cleveland though, it was just another link in the chain. Now they have to travel to Baltimore to face a Ravens team that probably has a bit of confidence thanks to their gift from the Steelers that saved them from an 0-4 start. Seeing as how Joe Flacco has no one to throw the ball to, that confidence may not be enough to beat most teams. But most teams aren’t the Browns, who will keep it close before suffering another defeat.
FALCONS (-8) over Washington: Still not 100 percent sold on the Falcons despite their complete and utter beatdown of the Texans last week (the Texans are really, really, really bad). But that win went a long way toward making a lot more believers in Atlanta, which has been reborn under former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive architect Kyle Shanahan. You can bet Shanahan is licking his chops for this game and Washington, which pulled off a very nice comeback win last week, won’t be able to keep up on the road.
Patriots (-10) over COWBOYS: Obviously, those who won’t be playing for Dallas factor into both this spread and this pick. The Patriots are liable to come out rusty after their early bye but the fact remains that the Cowboys don’t have nearly enough on offense to truly challenge the Pats’ secondary and even with Rolando McClain and Greg Hardy back on defense, won’t be able to keep up with Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, the newly-extended Dion Lewis and of course, Gronk. This game won’t be the complete blowout a lot of folks are predicting. But the Patriots will win comfortably.
PACKERS (-9) over Rams: These are the kinds of games the Rams get up for, as evidenced by their win last week over Arizona and in Week 1 over Seattle. But going in to Lambeau and beating this Packers team as presently constituted will be too much of a challenge for St. Louis to pull the upset. As great as Tom Brady has been for the Patriots, Aaron Rodgers has been just a little bit better especially considering he doesn’t have Jordy Nelson at his disposal. The Rams will get after Rodgers but his combination of elusiveness and accuracy will carry Green Bay to another win.
Cardinals (-3) over LIONS: If you didn’t believe the Lions are destined for a 3-13 season before that disaster in Seattle on Monday night, you must be convinced by now. How about Jim Caldwell just shrugging and being all Jeb!-esque in the aftermath (hey, stuff happens)? What a leader. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were humbled a bit by the Rams’ ferocious defense but are still as close to the Packers for best NFC team honors as anyone. The only thing that will keep this game close is if the Lions come out fired up and full of pride. Don’t hold your breath.
Broncos (-5) over RAIDERS: It’s just mid-October or so which means DeMarcus Ware hasn’t yet turned into a rotten pumpkin. And as long as he’s going as is, he and Von Miller will continue to be the most devastating pass rushing combo in the league. The Denver defense picked a great time to become super duper and while it says here that this group will not keep up the pace for the entirety of the season, going up against the upstart Raiders and young, not-quite-ready QB Derek Carr will result in another terrific showing.
49ers (+7) over GIANTS: The 49ers are a putrid outfit and each week not only reinforces that sentiment, it renders their Week 1 win over the Vikings as even more of a fluke. Meanwhile, the Giants, who should be 4-0, feel like the best bet to win the NFC East barring any catastrophes. This spread is a little too uncomfortable — the Giants are the far superior team but for whatever reason, it feels just a little too soon to give away this many points just yet.
CHARGERS (-3) over Steelers: Maybe the extra downtime after their brutal, Thursday night loss to the Ravens was enough time for Pittsburgh to discover how easy it is to not continually give away a win. Or maybe not — this has not been a banner year thus far for the Steelers’ coaching staff even before Ben Roethlisberger got hurt. The bloom is off Mike Tomlin’s rose in a big way. The Chargers are nowhere near anything special but playing at home against a team with the kind of issues currently facing the Steelers should equal a Monday night win.
Last Week: 10-4
Season to date: 34-25
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