Week 5 NFL Picks

(Home team in CAPS)

49ERS (+3.5) over Cardinals

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4-0 was fun while it lasted. The Thursday Night Pick is now 4-1 and counting.

BROWNS (+10.5) over Patriots

When this line initially opened in April (prior to Tom Brady’s suspension), the Browns were getting seven points at home. This Sunday, they’re suddenly getting 10.5. So what’s happened since? For my money, all we’ve learned in that time is that Hue Jackson is one hell of a coach, and Cleveland should be 3-1 (2-2 at worst) rather than 0-4. Don’t let their “illustrious” history fool you: the Browns are much better than the 10.5 points show, especially at home.

LIONS (+3.5) over Eagles

The Lions are a shitty football team, but even they don’t warrant this kind of disrespect. Quite frankly, the wrong team is favored. Carson Wentz has averaged 3.39 air yards per attempt, 31st among quarterbacks. While that worked at home against the Steelers, who have notably struggled in covering running back/wide receiver screens this season, Philadelphia will be hard-pressed to find similar success on the road.

Bears (+4.5) over COLTS

The Colts are the first team in league history that, for whatever reason, have to play a game following a week spent in London. I’m sure this will go well. And by the way, the Bears still have their best players (Brian Hoyer and Jordan Howard) starting under center and in the backfield.

DOLPHINS (-3.5) over Titans

RAVENS (-4) over Washington

Whereas Cleveland should be .500 or better, Washington has lucked into a 2-2 start. It took a last-second interception to defeat the Giants on the road in Week 3, and two errant fumbles (one that technically wasn’t even lost) to beat the Browns in Week 4. No matter who receives the lion’s share of carries for Baltimore (Terrance West or Kenneth Dixon), they’re sure to prosper: Washington has allowed 4.9 YPA on the ground this season.

VIKINGS (-7) over Texans

Not that J.J. Watt had made an impact this season, but in Houston’s first test without him, it allowed DeMarco Murray to rush for 95 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, Brock Osweiler has yet to finish any week as a top-15 fantasy quarterback, coming in as the QB27 in two of his last three performances. The Vikings should dominate here.

STEELERS (-7) over Jets

New York’s secondary, which already had it’s fair share of issues, will likely be without Darrelle Revis this week. Sure, he’s been awful, but his presence is still a step up from asking Marcus Williams or rookie Juston Burris to cover the duo of Antonio Brown and Sammie Coates. Additionally, the Jets have allowed a league-high 13 passing plays of 25-yards or more. This won’t be pretty.

BRONCOS (-4.5) over Falcons

Bengals (-1) over COWBOYS

Dallas’ offensive line created holes with ease last week, but Cincinnati’s front-seven is slightly better than San Francisco’s. Excluding their matchup against the four-headed machination of Miami’s backfield, the Bengals limited Matt Forte, DeAngelo Williams, and C.J. Anderson to a combined 227 yards on 68 carries (3.3 yards per attempt) this year. They’ve also suffocated slot receivers this season, allowing two catches and 37 yards to Eric Decker in Week 1; limiting Eli Rogers to one catch (and nine yards) in Week 2; allowing a total of two receptions for 23 yards to Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer in Week 3; and, in their most daunting matchup to date, holding Jarvis Landry to 61 yards on 10 targets in Week 4. I have no clue how Dallas expects to move the ball if Ezekiel Elliott and Cole Beasley are rendered useless.

RAMS (-2) over Bills

Following their own personal Super Bowl against Bill Belichick and New England, the Bills now have to somehow “get up” to travel across country and face the Rams — not as exciting. Consecutive victories over the Cardinals and Patriots is impressive, but this is an absolutely horrific spot for Buffalo. Todd Gurley should have an exceptional afternoon (sorta rare nowadays) if Benny Cunningham is inactive: without the latter available to play his usual third-down role last week, Gurley tied his career-high in targets with five.

Chargers (+3.5) over RAIDERS

Giants (+7) over PACKERS

I absolutely love this game for fantasy purposes. The Packers, for instance, generally play faster (and better) at home. Meanwhile, the Giants have averaged 34.5 no-huddle plays this season, more than San Francisco (33.2) and Detroit (29.5). I expect a shootout that the Packers just barely manage to escape with a win.

This Week: 0-1

Last Week: 6-8

Season: 35-28-1, 55.5 percent

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