NFL Odds: Week 5 Underdogs To Watch In Potential Upsets

And should the Eagles be on upset alert in the desert?

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October 5

Week 5 in the NFL officially kicks off Thursday night in Denver in a game that many thought could have been an AFC Championship Game preview.

The Broncos welcome the Indianapolis Colts to Mile High for an equine collision. There’s a long way to go in the 2022 NFL season, but this Thursday night clash is a good reminder that these things don’t always play out the way we predict.

Denver obviously had sky-high hopes dating back to the spring. The pipe dream of landing Aaron Rodgers evolved into plucking Russell Wilson out of Seattle. The All-Pro quarterback in that offense, with those weapons? Super Bowl or bust, right? Not so fast. Coaching and injuries have been major issues, and some are left wondering whether Wilson might be washed.

But the plight of the 2-2 Broncos pales in comparison to the issues in Indy. The quarterback carousel landed on Matt Ryan, but the 2016 MVP hasn’t been able to channel his Atlanta days. Myriad injuries complicated the calculus, and now Frank Reich looks like a possible “first coach fired” candidate after a 1-2-1 start.

None of us know anything, but that won’t stop us from circling three betting underdogs who could pull upsets in Week 5, beginning with Thursday night.

(+3) Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Wilson is dealing with a shoulder injury, and while NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport speculated it’s just tendonitis, that’s less than ideal for a quarterback in a struggling offense. Denver also just lost lead running back Javonte Williams, which likely means more Melvin Gordon, which means more fumbles. And one of the biggest problems for Denver this season has been coaching. Can Nathaniel Hackett have his team ready to go on a short week with a massive divisional matchup with the Chargers looming in Week 6? The Colts have major issues of their own, including Jonathan Taylor’s ankle injury and Shaq Leonard’s concussion. But this feels like another 17-16 or 11-10 Broncos game that Indy could definitely win.

(+3) Detroit Lions at New England Patriots
At the end of the day, it is Dan Campbell and Jared Goff going into Foxboro and trying to solve Bill Belichick, but it’s kind of crazy that the Patriots are giving the full field goal while likely starting rookie Bailey Zappe for the first time. Zappe handled himself well in Green Bay, but nothing he did was overly impressive. There’s now about a game’s worth of film on him for Detroit to study, and he won’t be taking anyone by surprise. The Lions’ defense is objectively awful, but can the Patriots really expose it? Meanwhile, Detroit’s offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has Goff playing as well as he ever did in LA, even when he was making Pro Bowls. It seems unlikely the Lions go off for 35 again, but even getting to 27 might be too much for Matt Patricia’s offense to chase. Oh, that reminds us: The motivational factors are worth mentioning here. Campbell will have that team jacked and pumped to turn around its season, and there should be plenty of buy-in from the leftover Lions who suffered through Patricia’s messy Motown meltdown.

(+5.5) Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Finding a third was difficult, but we pledged to find three underdogs to circle, so Arizona it is. When you dig into some of the numbers, though, it’s not as crazy as it might seem. The Cardinals’ defense on the whole has been pretty bad this season. However, they’ve had some success against the run. Philly is far from a one-dimensional offense, but only two teams run the ball more often than the Eagles. Arizona’s run defense ranks third in the NFL by EPA and 11th by DVOA. They’re middle of the pack when it comes to generating a pass rush, and they have to blitz in order to get that done. Only the Giants blitz more often. However, Jalen Hurts hasn’t been very good against the blitz, with a 54.0 passer rating against the blitz — only Mac Jones, Kirk Cousins and Justin Fields have been worse. The Cardinals might — might — have the ingredients to make this close, especially if the Eagles get caught looking ahead to Dallas next week.

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Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images

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