Week 5 Picks — Late Games

Posted: 10/09/2016 by levcohen in Football

Atlanta Falcons (3-1, 3-1) at Denver Broncos (4-0, 4-0):
Spread: Broncos favored by 4
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Picking against the Falcons hasn’t been smart so far this season. That will change here, as Atlanta is finally facing a defense that will slow them down. Their first four games came against the rest of the NFC South and the Raiders, and they had no trouble moving the ball or scoring points against any of those four teams. This’ll be different. The Broncos have the best pass rush in the NFL, and Matt Ryan doesn’t normally perform well under duress. They also have an excellent secondary and ability to stop the run, so it’ll definitely be tough sledding for Atlanta. That’s not to say that they’ll get totally shut out, because they do have the offensive weapons to cause some trouble for even Denver. But they’ll be slowed down enough for the Broncos to take advantage on the other side of the ball, where they have a clear advantage even with Paxton Lynch starting at quarterback. Broncos win 26-14.
Broncos cover
Under

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, 1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1, 3-1):
Spread: Bengals favored by 2
Over/under: 45.5
My prediction: Ok, Dak Prescott is pretty good. He doesn’t make mistakes, and he’s competent enough to consistently put together solid drives. But Prescott isn’t the type of quarterback who can put a team on his back, at least not yet. Dallas took advantage of a plum schedule in the first month of the season, picking up wins over Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco. I bet they’ll have a tougher time against the Bengals, who are going to be locked in a tough wild card battle all season. Bengals win 27-20.
Bengals cover
Over

Buffalo Bills (2-2, 2-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-1, 3-1):*
Spread: Bills favored by 2.5
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: I don’t like either of these teams very much, and I don’t think either team has much of an edge. That makes the fact that the Bills are road favorites a bit puzzling, especially considering the fact that they had to fly across the country after a huge, emotional win over the Patriots. This is the prototypical letdown game against a team without much of an offense. One thing that worries me is the fact that the Rams will be without three defensive linemen, including stud pass rusher Robert Quinn. That could make things a bit easier for Tyrod Taylor. But the Rams have managed to score enough points to win games so far this year, and I’m betting that they can do it again today. Rams win 19-16.
Rams cover
Under

San Diego Chargers (1-3, 2-2) at Oakland Raiders (3-1, 3-1):*
Spread: Raiders favored by 3.5
Over/under: 51
My prediction: The Chargers have exhibited an uncanny ability to get and then blow leads. After they lost a number of close games last year, they should be 4-0 right now but have blown three fourth quarter leads, including two two-score ones. It can’t happen again, can it? Oakland’s off to a solid start, and I loved them before the season, but I’m less than convinced that they are consistent enough to pick up another win in a close game. Chargers win 31-27.
Chargers cover
Over

New York Giants (2-2, 1-3) at Green Bay Packers (2-1, 2-1):
Spread: Packers favored by 7
Over/under: 48.5
My prediction: The Giants are seemingly always good in games like this. They’ve been counted out, going into Lambeau field against the rested Packers as touchdown underdogs. Of course, they were road dogs in Minnesota last week, too, and they didn’t really show up for that game. But the offense will have a lot more success against Green Bay’s porous pass defense than it did against Minnesota’s shutdown one. I still think the Packers have enough to win the game, but I expect it to be fairly close. Packers win 28-24.
Giants cover
Over

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3, 1-3) at Carolina Panthers (1-3, 1-3):
Spread: Panthers favored by 5.5
Over/under: 46
My prediction: This is Cam Newton-less Carolina, as Newton will miss the game after he suffered a concussion last week. The Panthers should be good enough to beat the shoddy Bucs’ defense even without Newton, as Tampa has been shredded by struggling offenses like Arizona’s and Los Angeles’s. I don’t think Derek Anderson is a bad backup, either. Panthers win 28-20.
Panthers cover
Over

Upset picks:
Chargers over Raiders
Rams over Bills

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