NFL Week 5 Picks: Are Eagles, Chiefs Both On Upset Alert?

And is more trouble brewing in Tampa Bay?

by

October 6

The NFL season rolls into Week 5 and into the first full week of October. In a lot of ways, it feels like we’re finally into the regular season.

You might be saying to yourself, “What? Four weeks of football have been played.” Technically, that is correct. But from what we’ve seen so far this season, it’s worth wondering whether the NFL’s new preseason — and the attitude teams have toward it — is kind of messing with the first month of the season.

The preseason is down to three games, of course, with starters playing sparingly, if at all. In hindsight, it should probably come as no surprise that no team, except for maybe Buffalo or Philadelphia, has looked truly dominant so far.

Those low-scoring games are likely the result of teams across the league working through growing pains on the fly, too. Last week, we finally started to see some offenses come alive, and it might mean the cream will continue to rise to the top across the league.

NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle worked through that theory this week on “The Spread,” NESN’s football picks podcast. They also made their top bets for the week while getting into a host of other must-hear topics. Make sure to go download and listen to the Week 5 episode if you haven’t already.

As always, they’re back with their weekly against-the-spread picks in this very space. But first, here’s how they fared last week.

Here are their Week 5 picks, with consensus betting lines from the NESNBets live odds page.

THURSDAY, OCT. 6

Indianapolis Colts at (-3.5) Denver Broncos, 8:15 p.m. ET
Mike: Colts. The Broncos’ first three games of the season averaged a total of 26.3 points and were decided by a combined nine points. Last week’s 32-23 loss to the Raiders might be the outlier, and I expect another low-scoring, tight affair against a similarly uninspiring Colts team.
Ricky: Broncos. Russell Wilson usually responds well to losses and thrives in primetime. I don’t love the hook on this spread — sure feels like a field-goal game — but I dislike the Colts’ offense even more, especially with Jonathan Taylor sidelined.

SUNDAY, OCT. 9

New York Giants vs. (-8) Green Bay Packers, 9:30 a.m. (in London)
Mike: Packers. The Giants look like they’re starting a hobbled Daniel Jones, who has absolutely no one to throw to. The Packers’ defense should be able to sell out against the run, knowing the secondary can handle being left on islands with the Giants’ receiving corps. Meanwhile, no team blitzes more than New York, and Aaron Rodgers has a 111.1 passer rating and 83.3% adjusted completion percentage when defenses bring the extra man.
Ricky: Packers. What’s worse than starting Daniel Jones at quarterback? Starting a compromised Daniel Jones at quarterback. Yet that’s the reality facing the Giants in London, where it’s hard to imagine New York generating much offense if Jones can’t use his legs to his advantage.

Pittsburgh Steelers at (-14) Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bills. Hate this game, hate this line. But this is Buffalo’s second home game of the season, and in the first one, the Bills beat last year’s No. 1 seed, Tennessee, by 34. Kenny Pickett making his first career start seemingly should be just as bad, I think.
Ricky: Bills. The Steelers haven’t been 14-point underdogs since 1969. And Pittsburgh has performed well as a ‘dog in recent years, likely a testament to Mike Tomlin the motivator. But you’d be hard pressed to find a more difficult set of circumstances for your first career NFL start than a road matchup in Orchard Park against a Josh Allen-led offense and a stout defense. Sorry, Kenny Pickett.

(-3) Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Mike: Browns. It’s a bad schedule spot for the Chargers, who were in Houston last week and go back out to Cleveland for an early kick here. The top-ranked Browns rushing attack should be able to run at will on LA, which is 31st in yards allowed per rush and 28th in rushing EPA allowed.
Ricky: Browns. Don’t let last week’s 10-point win in Houston throw you off the scent. The Chargers still have injury issues, most notably in the trenches, where the Browns are positioned to excel en route to an upset.

Houston Texans at (-7) Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jaguars. Perfect bounce-back spot for a Jaguars team that played the sloppiest game you could imagine last week, with Trevor Lawrence losing four (!) fumbles and his receivers dropping a handful of passes. The Jaguars have a backfield that can further expose a brutal Houston run defense that has looked bad despite the Texans playing the NFL’s easiest schedule so far.
Ricky: Jaguars. I really want to pick the Texans, with last week proving the Jags still are figuring out the whole winning thing. But I just can’t.

Chicago Bears at (-7) Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bears. The Vikings might be the team I’m completely unable to get a read on all season. All logic points to them routing the Bears here, but like I said, I can’t get a read, so I’ll just fade myself and take the Bears with the points.
Ricky: Bears. Not having their bye week after traveling to London could hurt the Vikings, especially since they’re terrible versus the run (29th in rush success rate against) and running the football is one thing the Bears aren’t terrible at. Chicago needs to grind, grind, grind in this spot.

Detroit Lions at (-3) New England Patriots, 1 p.m.
Mike: Lions. The Detroit defense is bordering on historically bad, so that is an issue. But the Patriots’ offensive woes have overshadowed their own defensive deficiencies. Even if Detroit can put up 27 — it’s averaging 35 per game — can a Bailey Zappe-led Patriots team (assuming Mac Jones can’t gut it out) get to that number?
Ricky: Patriots. I’ve been critical of the Patriots on nearly every episode of “The Spread” this season, yet even I can’t fathom the Lions’ offense keeping up its crazy pace this weekend in Foxboro.

Seattle Seahawks at (-5.5) New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Mike: Saints. Both teams are in weird spots with New Orleans coming back from London, and the Seahawks traveling two weeks in a row (Detroit last week). The good vibes with the Seahawks’ offense can’t last forever, and the Saints could be the ones to start Seattle’s regression.
Ricky: Seahawks. Not sold on Seattle. And I fully expect the Seahawks’ offense to crash back down to earth after destroying the Lions’ porous defense last week. But the Saints haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire. I love the under (45.5) in this game, and as such, I’ll take the points and pray.

(-3) Miami Dolphins at New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets. Teddy Bridgewater’s wild cover record aside, I don’t think the Dolphins’ offense will run as smoothly with him under center, especially if Sauce Gardner can do anything to slow down Tyreek Hill. The Jets’ offense also showed immediate improvement last week with Zach Wilson back, and injury issues in Miami’s secondary could be a problem with New York’s weapons.
Ricky: Dolphins. This line dropped from Miami -6, thanks to Tua Tagovailoa’s injury and New York’s comeback win in Pittsburgh. Understandable, but properly an overcorrection, since the dropoff from Tagovailoa to Bridgewater isn’t that drastic and the Jets’ win over the Steelers wasn’t that impressive, all things considered.

Atlanta Falcons at (-8.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bucs. Truly don’t care about the Tom Brady divorce thing. The Brady shoulder thing, though? Feels significant. However, we have no reason to believe he won’t play, and a compromised Brady is still better than Marcus Mariota. Atlanta is 4-0 against the spread, and the Bucs were just embarrassed on national TV. Feels like the perfect time to get in on Tampa Bay.
Ricky: Bucs. I would hate to be Marcus Mariota this week after the Bucs surrendered 41 points last week.

(-2.5) Tennessee Titans at Washington Commanders, 1 p.m.
Mike: Titans. Feels like someone is trying to trick me into taking the Commanders. I will not be tricked into taking the Commanders.
Ricky: Commanders. I’ll take the cheese.

(-6.5) San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. It’s a potential letdown spot for a San Francisco team that doesn’t typically string together dominant performances, but that defense is legit, and the Panthers’ offense is a joke. Matt Rhule better have the real estate broker on speed dial if he doesn’t already.
Ricky: 49ers. San Francisco’s defense ranks first in EPA/play and yards per drive. Carolina’s offense ranks dead-last in both categories.

(-5.5) Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Cardinals. The Eagles want to run the ball, as evidenced by the NFL’s third-highest run rate. Stopping the run is about the only thing the Cardinals do well defensively, though they do love to blitz, and Jalen Hurts has struggled in that regard, too (54.0 passer rating vs. the blitz). This also might be a trap game for Philly, who gets the Cowboys in Week 6.
Ricky: Cardinals. Comeback win versus Jacksonville last week. Sunday night game against Dallas next week. The Eagles are going to experience a hiccup at some point, and this feels like a dangerous spot. Don’t overlook the absence of kicker Jake Elliott (ankle injury), either.

Dallas Cowboys at (-5.5) Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Cowboys. Should be a de facto home game, which will only complicate protection issues for the Rams. The Cowboys have been historically good at rushing the passer so far, which might mean another frustrating game for Matthew Stafford.
Ricky: Cowboys. Too many points when you consider the Rams’ shortcomings. Also, Dallas is 9-1 ATS on the road and 13-2 ATS in conference games since the start of last season. The ‘Boys don’t need to win. They just need to cover.

Cincinnati Bengals at (-3) Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Bengals. Baltimore clearly has problems putting away games, in large part because the secondary is a mangled mess. That late-game trend should continue against a Bengals offense with the skill players and quarterback capable of attacking said mess.
Ricky: Bengals. The Ravens’ offense can be explosive. The problem? It’s also volatile and lacks the traditional ground game often necessary to close out games. For that reason, the back door is always open. And Cincinnati has more than enough outside firepower to keep pace, especially when you consider Baltimore’s defensive concerns.

MONDAY, OCT. 10

Las Vegas Raiders at (-7) Kansas City Chiefs, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Raiders. Vegas has the look and feel of a team that will go 6-11, and everyone will think in their mind that they just missed the playoffs. A minus-4 point differential through four games while also going 1-3 will do that. The Raiders once again keep this game close but ultimately lose.
Ricky: Raiders. Mini letdown spot for the Chiefs, who are coming off a Sunday night road win in Tampa Bay and host Buffalo next week? The Raiders have moved the football fairly well before sputtering in the red zone. Fortunately for them, Kansas City ranks 30th in red-zone defense. Las Vegas also should be able to pressure Patrick Mahomes, without necessarily sending extra bodies, and run the ball more effectively than the Bucs did last week.

NESN 360 in-article asset
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images

Picked For You