NFL Week 5 picks against the spread: Will Aaron Rodgers beat the Lions?
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Week 4 is in the books and Week 5 is here, so For The Win’s Charles Curtis and Steven Ruiz return to make their NFL picks. All odds courtesy USA TODAY Sports
Week 4 RECAP
Steven: If Phil Dawson make a field goal in the fourth quarter, I’d be leading this thing. I’ll settle for my third straight winning week.
Charles: We all knew this was going to happen after Steven’s hot start. Ugh.
Colts at Patriots (-10)
I was ready to pick Andrew Luck getting all those points, but then I saw the Colts injury report this week. With two of Luck’s favorite targets out and a few key defensive plays listed as questionable, I just don’t see how Indy will keep up with what looks like a revitalized Pats team.
Luck may throw another 62 pass attempts in this one as the Pats pile up the points with a big Sony Michel game and Julian Edelman’s return from suspension. Sadly, with T.Y. Hilton missing, not much may come of those attempts.
Ravens at Browns (+3)
The Ravens are team capable of winning the Super Bowl. And they looked like that before getting one of the better corners in the league, Jimmy Smith, back from suspension. Baltimore’s defense will confound rookie Baker Mayfield, which will be enough to overcome what could be a shaky game for Joe Flacco.
The Browns are going to win a handful more of their games this year. This is not one of them, however. Baltimore’s defense is arguably the best in the NFL and Flacco has some talent around him. Ravens cover and then some.
Titans at Bills (+3.5)
Is Vegas watching the same Bills team I’m watching? Have they seen this offense? Have they seen the Titans defense this season? Tennessee by at least 10.
The “Ummmmm WHAT?” spread of the week!
Giants at Panthers (-7.5)
Eli Manning is washed, and the Panthers offense looks like it’s ready to take off. Carolina gets Curtis Samuel back this week. He might be the team’s most skilled receiver.
I tried for about five minutes to find a reason for the Giants to cover, but Manning’s performance last week proves he can’t take advantage of having Odell Beckham Jr. to throw to.
Falcons at Steelers (-3)
With how these two teams score (and give up points) a three-point line might as well be a pick ’em. I am not at comfortable picking the Steelers but they’re due for a good performance on defense, and Roethlisberger always bounces back at home.
I don’t know about these shaky Steelers. In a shootout, I’ll take the Falcons to steal one on the road.
Dolphins at Bengals (-7)
The Bengals look like a playoff team, but that’s a big spread. I’m not going to bite. The Dolphins will lose but they’ll keep this one close. Their defense is good enough to slow down Cincy’s weapons.
I never believed the 3-0 Dolphins were for real before that loss to the Patriots. That said, these are similar teams — good, not great on both sides of the ball. Translation: That spread is too large. Take the points.
Jaguars at Chiefs (-3)
I try to avoid backing Blake Bortles on the road, but this is the kind of defense he typically plays well against. And if any team is going to slow down the Chiefs offense, it’s the Jaguars, who can match Kansas City’s talent all over the field.
Patrick Mahomes was super impressive last week, but in the win over the Broncos, we saw what happens when he faces a tough defense. And the Jags have a top-3 NFL defense. So I’ll take Jacksonville to cover.
Broncos at Jets (PICK)
I don’t have confidence in either team, but the Broncos are a different team on the road and they’re coming off a short week. The Jets defense will make some plays and keep things simple for Sam Darnold.
A pick ’em! I love that feisty Jets D, but I foresee a big Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman combo game that delivers a last-second win for the road team.
Packers at Lions (PICK)
I think the Lions are better than their record indicates, but Aaron Rodgers seems to be getting healthier and the Packer defense has gotten better every week. This will be a good test for Green Bay’s young secondary. I think they’ll hold their own against Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay.
I don’t know, Rodgers hasn’t been at 100 percent and may not be all season. If this was at Lambeau, I’d switch the pick, but I’ll back the home team and that group of receivers.
Rams at Seahawks (+7.5)
This is how good the Rams are: They are playing against a decent Seahawks team in Seattle and when I saw that line, which is one the biggest in Week 5, I thought to myself, Wow, I thought it would be higher. I think it should be higher. The Rams are going to score at will without Earl Thomas quarterbacking the Seahawks defense, and do we really think Seattle will be able to block Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh?
I hesitated for all of a second — the Seahawks are at home! That usually helps! But alas, nope. Crowd noise won’t stop the Super Bowl favorites. The Rams are going to steamroll again.
Raiders at Chargers (-5)
Have the Chargers done anything this season to prove we should trust them to cover a five-point spread? Don’t forget: This will basically be a home game for the Raiders, who have more fans in Los Angeles than the Chargers do.
I’ve gone back and forth here enough that I need to take the points. The Chargers are 1-3 against the spread this season, and despite my feelings about Jon Gruden’s defense, Oakland keeps games close.
Vikings at Eagles (-3)
Mike Zimmer had a week-and-a-half to figure out the Vikings’ defensive problems, which shouldn’t have been too hard given the talent they have in Minnesota. I’m expecting a bounce-back performance in what might be an early must-win game for a preseason Super Bowl favorite.
Sorry, nope. I’d expect a bounce-back if they weren’t on the road against the defending champs who have their starting quarterback and wideout back.
Cardinals at 49ers (-4.5)
The Cardinals have been pretty bad this season, but they look like a different team with Josh Rosen behind center. The 49ers defense hasn’t lived up to expectations so I’m expecting another strong performance for the rookie. I can’t the same for C.J. Beathard.
Beathard proved last week the Niners offense will survive without Jimmy G. But it’s Matt Breida who’s going to carry San Francisco to a home win and cover.
Cowboys at Texans (-3)
The Cowboys need to run to have success on offense, and I just don’t know how you run against this front now that both J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are back healthy and playing at a high level.
The Texans defense will take care of a one-dimensional Dallas offense.
Redskins at Saints (-7)
Vegas is undervaluing the Redskins here. Their defense is good enough to at least slow down Drew Brees and company, and New Orleans’ defense needs to string together a couple of solid performances before I’m ready to buy in.
Washington boasts the third-best total defense, third-best passing D and they’re No. 7 in stopping the run. Coming off a bye, I say they cover on the road.