2016 NFL Week 5 Bettor’s Guide
Last week was marginally better, although we missed out on some calls against the spread. There were a couple of last-minute, backdoor covers and blown straight up calls due to teams like San Diego, but overall, it was a recovery from the disaster that was Week 3.
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Santa Clara, California
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: SF +3.5
Over/Under: Under 43
This is bad. Two backup QBs (although Gabbert is technically the starter for the 49ers, even if it is by default) on a short week. Turnovers galore. Advantage defenses. San Francisco will miss NaVorro Bowman, however.
San Francisco 16
Houston Texans vs. Minnesota Vikings
U.S. Bank Stadium
My Call: HOU +6.5
Over/Under: Over 40
Minnesota’s defense is good, but it is not on par with Denver and Seattle. It’s 3rd (de facto) behind those two, but there are plays to be made if the offensive playcaller actually exploits its offensive talent — something the past two teams the Vikings faced sternly refused to attempt, despite opportunities available on film — but Brock Osweiler is not taking good care of the football, even with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller on the outside and Lamar Miller available out of the backfield in addition to his rushing duties. Given how the Texans failed to even show up in New England two weeks ago, we’re not bullish on taking them straight up, but they should cover.
Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida
My Call: TEN +3.5
Over/Under: Under 43
This is when the Titans finally get over the hump, right? They’ve kept games close. The Dolphins are an utter mess and the head coach admitted that he does not even know what he’s doing with his personnel; which showed last Thursday in Cincinnati.
New England Patriots vs. Cleveland Browns
My Call: CLE +10.5
Over/Under: Over 46.5
The Browns have been in every game except Week 1. They will be in this one, even with Tom Brady returning. They’ve also beaten the Patriots with marginal talent before.
Not happening this week, though.
New England 31
New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
My Call: PIT -7
Over/Under: Over 48.5
When the schedules are made, they are based upon how each team finishes the previous season in its division, with respect to the other teams in the league. The first place schedule — i.e. the team that finished first in the division the previous season — isn’t usually the most punitive slate the following season. It’s the second-place schedule that often does in the team that finished second the year before. And that is what you are seeing with the Jets. Those second place teams seem to always be the ones who make jumps or return to what was previous success. The Jets are facing that every week thus far this year (excluding their division game against Buffalo in Week 2). Ryan Fitzpatrick has not held up well against anyone but Buffalo. The Steelers aren’t playing around right now.
NY Jets 19
Washington Redskins vs. Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
My Call: BAL -3.5
Over/Under: Under 45
The past two games (both wins) the Redskins have faced a team that was unwilling to exploit Washington’s deficiencies in the secondary, and another that was largely incapable — outside of one receiver that owned Josh Norman in the process, for three quarters — but the Ravens have a stable of weapons and have no problems utilizing the talent (although Joe Flacco is not throwing his famous deep ball with nearly as much frequency as previous years thus far). With both its starting safeties out for season, expect the Redskins to struggle against the Ravens’ passing attack.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions
My Call: PHI -3
Over/Under: Over 46
We cannot trust the Lions right now until further notice as relates to covering.
Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium
My Call: CHI +4.5
Over/Under: Over 48
The Bears will get a lead, while Andrew Luck plays poorly and turns over the football. But wait, the bottom will fall out for the Bears, and Luck will have one of his stat-padding comeback games and win in the final moment.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
My Call: ATL +5.5
Over/Under: Under 47
If this game were in Atlanta, we’d be more confident in taking Atlanta and the points. The Falcons will make plays (regardless of whether or not Tevin Coleman plays), but we feel as though they won’t be able to make the one or two that they will need to make in order to pull off this relative upset.
Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles, California
My Call: BUF +2
Over/Under: Under 39
First to 10 wins?
Los Angeles 9
San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
My Call: OAK -3.5
Over/Under: Over 49.5
Shoot out, and, if the Bolts ever have a lead in this game, they’ll blow it. Hopefully, no ACLs are involved.
San Diego 31
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys
AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK
My Call: CIN -1
Over/Under: Under 45.5
Beware of the officials when considering this one, but more than that, Dak Prescott’s out here sounding like Oklahoma’s backup QB when speaking about the Bengals defense. Tut-Tut!
New York Football Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay, Wisconsin
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: NYG +7.5
Over/Under: Under 48
Are the Giants ever going to “break out” like the head coach says? Given that he is the chief reason why the offense has not? We have taken the Giants on the strength of their offensive potential — which has yet to be realized in any game thus far in 2016 — and they have let us down in all four games, despite two wins and two covers. Green Bay has defensive issues against the pass. If the Giants do not exploit that weakness this week, they will not be taken (with the points) until they demonstrate that ability. The defensive potential — which is good to great — is neutered due to self-imposed offensive futility.
Green Bay does what they do. Most teams know, no more so than Ben McAdoo. Yes, teams change verbiage and add a wrinkle here and there, but generally, the concepts are the same. Much of what Green Bay does is run here and there to keep teams honest and much of the passing attack is timing-based, with Aaron Rodgers improvising if the play breaks down. Teams learned that if they press the Packers’ receivers and get near Rodgers’ feet, they will force Green Bay to be heavily reliant upon Rodgers’ improvisation. Even as a QB of his stature, that is not a recipe for consistency. If the Giants are able to get some of their defensive backs in time for this game, they will be well-stocked to defend what the Packers do.
We are not proponents of “Team X has Team Y’s number” and citing game scores from 1997, when none of the players on either team was playing. Match ups are what drive football. The Giants generally match up well with Green Bay, although they are coming off a short week while Green Bay had an extra week to prepare.
NY Giants 24
Green Bay 23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: Pick ’em (TB)
Over/Under: No Line
There is no line due to the uncertainty of Cam Newton’s availability for this game. He does have an extra day to pass through the concussion protocol. At this rate, it appears that Newton will not play.
Honestly, it does not matter if he does or not, because the Panthers are brutal on both sides of the football; particularly in their secondary. They haven’t mounted much of a pass rush this season, either; outside of a couple of small windows.
Tampa Bay 27
BYE: Jacksonville (1-3), Kansas City (2-2), New Orleans (1-3), Seattle (3-1).