We’re back, baby.
The NFL season, generally speaking, is through the first quarter, and things didn’t exactly start the way Team NESN planned in the Westgate SuperContest.
However, a 3-2 showing in Week 3 has NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle feeling good about things as they move forward in the premier football prediction contest as part of Team OddsShark.
For the first time all year, we don’t actually mind looking at the OddsShark standings (although maybe doing so with one eye closed), as we look to build on our first winning week.
Here are the Week 5 picks.
Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) vs. Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
A letdown from the Vikings seems inevitable at some point, but it’s hard to see it happening this week. Minnesota leads the league in turnover margin (plus-10), while only five teams have a worst margin than Houston’s minus-3. And we’re really not about to take Brock Osweiler on the road against arguably the NFL’s best home team.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) vs. New York Jets, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Ben Roethlisberger’s worst start of the season, by far, came against Philadelphia two weeks ago. The Eagles recorded four sacks and pressured him eight times. The Jets’ pass rush has been nonexistent the last couple of weeks, and if Big Ben gets time to operate and expose what’s been a miserable Jets secondary, this one could get ugly real fast.
Chicago Bears (+4.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
There are a few angles to like here, starting with the fact that the Colts are in a rare situation where they’re playing one week after playing in London; teams usually get a bye week after a London game. The Colts’ issues have been well documented (they can’t protect the quarterback and can’t stop anyone on defense), but Vegas apparently hasn’t caught up, as Indy is 4-7 against the spread in its last 11 games as favorites.
Los Angeles Rams (-2) vs. Buffalo Bills, Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
L.A. Coliseum, Los Angeles
The over/under for this game actually dipped below 40, which is insane, so it’s hard to feel good about taking a team laying the points when such a low-scoring game is expected. That being said, it’s hard to go on the road and win two weeks in a row, especially when you’re the Bills. We’re expecting a letdown.
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The Cowboys’ ability to run the ball with Ezekiel Elliott has been a key to success, but they haven’t faced a defense like Cincinnati’s yet. The Bengals are allowing just 3.8 yards per rush this season. Offensively, there’s a chance for some big plays against a Cowboys team that’s allowed 16 passing plays of 20 yards or more, which might signal big things for A.J. Green. And if this comes down to a late kick, well, Dallas has issues there, too.
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images