NFL Week 5 Preview and Picks
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Thursday, October 7, 2021
We get Week 5 started tonight when the Rams take on the Seahawks, but this fantastic NFC West showdown isn’t even the game most people are looking forward to. The NFL picture will only become clearer with the conclusion of this week, but I’ll do my best to make my predictions first.
Record entering this week: 43-21
Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
This Twitter interaction almost perfectly encapsulates how difficult this game is to pick. On paper, the +2.5 underdog Seahawks (-105) shouldn’t be favoured, but the Rams (-2.5, -115) are coming off of a loss and are playing in Seattle. I’ll take the Rams in a tough fought game that likely comes down to a score in the final two minutes.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams
9:30 AM Eastern Time Slot (London Game)
New York Jets (1-3) vs Atlanta Falcons (1-3)
We have early morning football this week! Make sure any Falcons or Jets you have in your fantasy lineup are good to Saturday night, just in case. The Falcons (-3.0, -115)) have a more talented roster, but will that be enough? These Jets (+3.0, -105) are coming off of their first win of the year and could look to pick up a second on a neutral turf.
Pick: New York Jets
1:00 PM Eastern Time Slot
Detroit Lions (0-4) at Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
The Lions (+9.5, -110) are one of only two winless teams remaining. The Vikings (-9.5, -110) arguably look like the best 1-3 team in football. This feels like a solid opportunity for Detroit to get their first win of the year, what with divisional pride at stake, but I’ll take the Vikings. They have too much offensive fire power and should bully the Detroit defense.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints (2-2) at Washington Football Team (2-2)
There’s a case to be made that the Saints (-2.0, -110) should be the underdogs in this one, but there’s also a case that they should be 12.5-point favourites instead of 2.0. It all comes down to which Saints team shows up. Washington (+2.0, -110) has the playmakers to take advantage of any errant Jameis Winston throws and I think they do just that.
Pick: Washington Football Team
New England Patriots (1-3) at Houston Texans (1-3)
New England is currently a 9.0-point favourite (-105) and Houston (+9.0, -115) is coming off of a brutal loss. I’m not convinced they’ll cover, but I think New England bounces back a week after barely losing to Tom Brady and the Bucs.
Pick: New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins (1-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
This feels like the perfect trap game for the Buccaneers (-10.0, -110) as they host their state rivals. Tom Brady is coming off of an emotional win, the Dolphins (+10.0, -110) are beginning to have their talent and coaching questioned, and the Bucs are heavy favourites. I think Tampa still adds one to the W column, but I think it’s possible that Miami gets off to a hotter start.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Have two 3-1 teams ever felt more different, yet so similar? Stars at quarterback, solid offensive weapons, and a defense that will either keep them in games or cost them everything. The difference is that historically these franchises have achieved very different levels of success. The Packers are favoured by less than I was expecting (-3.0, -110), especially after Cincinnati (+3.0, -110) almost let Jacksonville run away with last week’s game. The Bengals and Joe Burrow will be fun to watch, but Aaron Rodgers’ Packers win.
Pick: Green Bay Packers
Denver Broncos (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
At one point last week the Broncos (+1.0, -110) were favoured over the Ravens and now they’re underdogs to the Steelers (-1.0, -110). Granted, Teddy Bridgewater may miss this week’s game forcing Drew Lock into quarterback duties, but the Steeler offense has looked like a shadow of its former self. Even with Lock at the helm, I think Denver wins.
Pick: Denver Broncos
Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-1)
Carolina (-3.5, -110) continues to add pieces, picking up Stephon Gilmore this week. They believe they have a real shot at making a run with their current roster, especially with Christian McCaffrey’s eventual return. The Eagles (+3.5, -110) have looked better than I expected, but I don’t think they pull off the underdog win this week.
Pick: Carolina Panthers
Tennessee Titans (2-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
There’s no way the Titans (-4.5, -110) lose to a team like the Jaguars (+4.5, -110), right? Right?! Well, that’s how I felt about last week’s matchup with the Jets and we know how that turned out. I do think the Titans win, but I am way less confident than I feel I should be.
Pick: Tennessee Titans
4:05 PM Eastern Time Slot
Cleveland Browns (3-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-1)
The Chargers (-2.0, -110) have the home field “advantage” this week and have a tough test in a powerful Browns (+2.0, -110) team. Cleveland looks significantly more vulnerable than they did at the end of last season, but they are still playing pretty well on the whole. I’ll take the hotter quarterback in a close one, so give me the Bolts.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers
Chicago Bears (2-2) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-1)
Oddsmakers expect the Raiders (-5.5, -110) to bounce back in a big way against the Bears (+5.5, -110) who have named Justin Fields their starter moving forward. The Vegas pass rush should have Fields a little uncomfortable, though I don’t know that it’ll be a repeat of his matchup with Cleveland a couple of weeks ago, which should lead the Raiders to a victory.
Pick: Las Vegas Raiders
4:25 PM Eastern Time Slot
San Francisco 49ers (2-2) at Arizona Cardinals (4-0)
Trey Lance might be making his first NFL start for the 49ers (+5.5, -110) if Jimmy Garoppolo’s calf is too banged up to allow him to suit up. I’m not sure which of these two passers would be a better matchup against the Cardinals (-5.5, -110) and I’m not sure it will change the outcome of this one. Cardinals stay perfect.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Dallas are heavy favourites (-7.0, -110) against their NFC East opponent Giants (+7.0, -110) for good reason. But I’m going to go out on a limb with this pick and opt for the Giants. They looked solid in their victory over New Orleans a week ago and have pulled upsets like this off before. I wish I had a statistic or analytical reason for making this pick, but this one is just a feeling.
Pick: New York Giants
Sunday Night Football
Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)
Buffalo enters as 2.5-point underdogs (-105) in their visit to Kansas City (-2.5, -115) which feels like an appropriate line. I’m picking the Bills, but I recognize the danger in picking against KC, especially at home. I just believe that the matchup of Buffalo’s offense vs the Chiefs defense is a greater advantage than what Kansas City’s offense is to the Bills defense. Once again, I recognize the danger in making this selection.
Pick: Buffalo Bills
Monday Night Football
Indianapolis Colts (1-3) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
There’s a small part of me that wants to opt for the Colts (+7.0, -115) here, but I don’t think I can put that one down as my official pick. Baltimore (-7.0, -105) will look to break the all-time record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games for a team this week and the Indianapolis defense is going to know this. Look for a lot of heavy boxes.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens
All odds and lines are subject to change.