Week 5 picks against the spread

Week 5 NFL picks against the spread

The previous week of the 2019 NFL season finally gave us that familiar feeling of not knowing what we thought we knew from the three weeks prior. There were multiple major upsets with some strong favorites falling flat. There were some supposed bad teams that looked more than respectable.

To rebound with our picks against the spread in Week 5, there’s a greater challenge ahead with the NFL being made up of only a few dominant teams, a handful of awful teams and mostly mediocre 2-2 teams. Speaking of .500, that’s the mark we would love to surpass once again.

Without further ado, here is this week’s fearless forecast for 15 more games.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

Both teams are set to be without key offensive players, wide receiver Davante Adams for the Packers and left tackle Tyron Smith for the Cowboys. Based on that, Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott will have limitations in the downfield passing game against two good pass defenses. It will come down to which team can grind the game out with the rushing attack in the second half, and the big advantage goes to Ezekiel Elliott vs. the Green Bay run D in Big D.

Cowboys win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video

Jared Goff has been struggling with turnovers, while Russell Wilson is producing with high efficiency, only behind Patrick Mahomes. The Rams had a bad day of pass defense against the Buccaneers, but they will rebound a bit with their pressure up front. Wilson will still make his share of big pass plays, but in this one, Goff is going against the weaker overall secondary and pass rush. This will be another high-scoring affair with a field goal making the difference after the Rams swept the season series by seven total points last season.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Gardner Minshew and Kyle Allen both won their past two starts as young fill-in quarterbacks. Both defenses are finding their grooves with solid pass-rushing front sevens backed by active secondary playmaking. This comes down to which QB gets better support from the running game and can be elusive to extend pass plays. Jacksonville is much better against the run to set up the third-down pressure. In an all-purpose duel between Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette, the latter will get one more key explosive run.

Jaguars win 20-17.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Eagles get a mini-bye to match the Jets having Week 4 off. Sam Darnold doesn’t look ready for Gang Green, while Philly found its running game to buoy Carson Wentz last week and should be a lot healthier at wide receiver. The Jets’ secondary can’t handle Wentz spreading the ball around, and the Eagles’ offensive line, coming off a great game, will have an easy time against a limited pass rush. This will be a win that resembles what the Eagles got for most of their Super Bowl run in 2017.

Eagles win 38-14 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Something has to give between two winless teams, save for an unlikely second tie for the Cardinals. Kliff Kingsbury and Zac Taylor can be special offensive-minded head coaches in time, but they’re still learning about their teams. The Cardinals should like their chances to get David Johnson going against a team that can’t stop backs as runners or receivers. The Bengals will like exploiting the middle of the field and getting good deep-shot chances for speedy John Ross with no Patrick Peterson on the other side.

Bengals win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The seats have gotten pretty hot under Dan Quinn and Bill O’Brien, especially because their respective areas of coaching expertise, the Falcons’ defense and Texans’ offense, have been big letdowns so far. Matt Ryan is facing plenty of heat with a sputtering running game, and his team is spotting big leads while passing often behind a worrisome line. That’s a nice development for J.J. Watt. As for the Texans, they should take a page from the Titans’ book and use the run to open up the downfield pass for Deshaun Watson again. Watson also will take things into his own legs to spark the offense.

Texans win 26-17 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Ravens’ weak pass defense gets a break here on the road against their rivals, as the Steelers can do only limited damage through the air with Mason Rudolph and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Pittsburgh’s defense will be thrown off by Lamar Jackson’s running and quick intermediate passing. Baltimore will simply make big plays on both sides of the ball to make sure the rival hosts don’t entertain ideas of getting back in the AFC North race.

Ravens win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bills likely will need to start Matt Barkley with Josh Allen in the concussion protocol after that ugly hit against the Patriots. This is a brutal assignment for any QB, given how the Titans can stop the run, tee off and the cover the outside well around it. That means there will be no chance to set up the deep ball to John Brown, and Barkley’s limited arm strength will also be a hindrance. Although Marcus Mariota will have trouble building on his much-needed big game from Week 4, Mike Vrabel will have his team well positioned to win a battle of attrition.

Titans win 17-13 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Khalil Mack gets his revenge game in London against 2014 draft classmate Derek Carr. The Raiders’ defense played over its head last week, and the Bears don’t scare them much with Chase Daniel having limited weapons in the passing game. But in a battle of talented rookie feature backs, Oakland’s Josh Jacobs will have much less running room than that of Chicago’s David Montgomery. The Bears will make it rough on Carr with Mack on the attack, while Daniel’s experience will allow him to spread the ball well through key situations. Cheerio, Chicago.

Bears win 20-13 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Let’s hope the Vikings look at this game and realize they have great opportunities to get the downfield passing game going like normal, with big passes from Kirk Cousins to both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Giants have been better than expected against the run, but you can bet Dalvin Cook will be a handful. It’s also a good thing Mike Zimmer has a loaded veteran defense to make things tricky for Daniel Jones.

Vikings win 23-19 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Patriots have the NFL’s best QB stability with Tom Brady. The Redskins are about to play their third QB this season; inserting career backup Colt McCoy in the lineup is a desperate 0-4 ploy for embattled coach Jay Gruden. Whatever McCoy can do against a nasty Patriots defense, it won’t be nearly enough with zero help from the running game. Brady will pick apart an awful back seven in coverage all over the field.

Patriots win 33-13 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Buccaneers are hard to figure out. But it’s clear both their defense and Jameis Winston are looking much improved thanks to the coaching of Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians, who have schemes tailored to their talent. The Saints’ pass defense figures to be under siege here, as Arians, unlike Jason Garrett, is totally fine with major passing volume. The Bucs can contain Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas for a while, too, on the other side. This is a worse matchup or New Orleans than either Seattle or Dallas at the moment. At home, however, the Saints will get timely takeaways and their own special teams plays to sneak by again.

Saints win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chargers probably will deploy Melvin Gordon here to help Austin Ekeler against a shoddy Broncos run defense that just got stomped by the Jaguars. The Broncos have lost close games they shouldn’t have dropped, something the Chargers have tended to do, too. Denver will stay in the game by power running with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, but Philip Rivers will deliver more in the passing game than Joe Flacco can with much less resistance in that area.

Chargers win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Colts are 2-2, but they could easily be 4-0 or 0-4, as one or two plays have decided every game. They come in with injury concerns for both running back Marlon Mack and top wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. The Chiefs struggle to stop the run, and expect the Colts’ offensive line to rebound from a bad game, also giving Jacoby Brissett time to find favorable matchups. Indy will stay in the game with a blend of ball control and calculated deep shots. Patrick Mahomes will go back to throwing multiple TD passes, and Kansas City will win comfortably, but not quite big enough in a “Sunday Night Football” thriller.

Chiefs win 34-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Browns will do their best to go run-heavy and take pressure both off their weak offensive line and Baker Mayfield, but the 49ers’ stout front will make that game plan difficult, putting their edge-rushers in position to get after Mayfield on downs with long distances. Richard Sherman will battle Odell Beckham Jr. well, and Jarvis Landry might not be cleared to play. The 49ers had a bye week to figure out the best ways to pick apart the Browns’ defense with different looks from a healthier running game and tight end matchup nightmare George Kittle.

49ers win 27-20 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week:
Week 4 record straight up: 7-7
Week 4 record against the spread: 7-7
Season record straight up: 44-17
Season record against the spread: 35-26
Upsets of the Week: 4-0
Locks of the Week: 2-2

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