NFL Week 5 Picks, Predictions: Bets for Giants vs Packers, Cowboys vs Rams, Chargers vs Browns, More
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers.
I’m calling Week 5 in the NFL “Overconfidence Week.”
Last week, we entered October in a state of widespread parity, with 28 of 32 teams on one or two wins and close lines all over the board. This week is the opposite, with 10 lines at five points or greater.
Suddenly, books think we’ve figured all these teams out. Smells dangerous.
Some of the favorites will coast, but some of the big underdogs will cover and even win. So how do we sort through all of the long lines and figure out which games are which?
We already made decisions on every game earlier this week, so check the full explanations there, but we’ve got two important updates in confidence.
First, we’re upgrading Bears +7.5 from Lean to Bet. We were waiting for that line to move off the key number, so now it’s time to bet Chicago in a nice division rivalry matchup and fade a jet-lagged team returning home from London.
Second, we’re downgrading Falcons +10 from Bet to Lean. That line also hit the number we wanted, but for a worrisome reason.
Cordarrelle Patterson’s absence didn’t bother me, but the Kyle Pitts injury does. Pitts hasn’t had great production, but the versatility he brings has been key to helping head coach Arthur Smith keep defenses on the back foot. It’s still a nice situational spot as an early long divisional dog, but with Pitts and Patterson out, Atlanta might just not have the artillery.
Let’s recap our other Bet, Lean, and Pass decisions now that the lines have shifted and get to our final four decisions.
- Dolphins -3 at Jets
- Seahawks +5.5 at Saints (and Seahawks TT over 19.5)
- Bears +7.5 at Vikings (and Bears TT over 17.5)
- Falcons +10 at Bucs
- Bills -14 vs Steelers (and Bet Bills 2H)
- Texans +7.5 at Jaguars (and under 43.5 together)
- Panthers +6.5 vs 49ers
- Chiefs -7 vs Raiders (and Chiefs TT over 29.5)
- Cardinals +5.5 vs Eagles
- Commanders +2.5 vs Titans
- Ravens -3 vs Bengals
- Ravens -5.5 at Giants
- Dolphins -1 vs Vikings
Note: Odds are the best available for each pick as of writing. Shop for the best real-time lines with our NFL odds page.
It’s back to London on Sunday morning, in which favorites in games not featuring the Jaguars remain undefeated at 10-0-1 SU all time and 7-4 ATS. This line rose mid-week with the unknown at QB for New York, but it’s dropped back down now that it looks like Daniel Jones (ankle) will play.
I think that’s a mistake. Jones may play, but will he be effective? He’s really only been good as a runner — not a passer — and it’s hard to imagine him running effectively on a bum ankle. Green Bay’s run defense is beatable so that leaves hope with Saquon Barkley, but Jones’s running ability has been just as important schematically, not to mention New York’s receiver room is a mess.
Expect a game similar to last week for the Packers, where running the ball and playing it safe against an inferior team should be enough. Green Bay went to overtime and failed to cover that one, but remember that included a rare pick-6 from Rodgers, plus a clear delay-of-game TD by New England.
I fully expect the Packers to keep the London morning unbeaten streak alive. The lower line makes this a fantastic teaser leg, and I lean toward a routine cover in the first ever London game between two teams with winning records.
The Pick: Packers -7.5 (Lean) and tease Green Bay | Previously: Wait for Giants QB news
We waited on the injury report for both offenses, and it’s not pretty.
Mac Jones (ankle) is doubtful and Brian Hoyer (concussion) is out, so that leaves rookie QB Bailey Zappe making his first ever start. Security-blanket WR Jakobi Meyers (knee) is questionable and both good tackles are playing through injury.
Detroit will be without starting RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder/ankle) and could be without Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle; questionable) again with a banged-up receiver room. The Lions have a bye week after this, so it may make sense to play it safe.
I loved Detroit here on last week’s Lookahead, but the injuries have moved the line against us. Detroit is missing its weapons, and the unknown of Zappe is an improvement for New England above the known bad of Hoyer.
But are we really making the unknown Zappe more than a field goal favorite in his first start ever? These are not the Patriots of old, and this roster is quite lackluster. The only real strength is a tough run game, but it’s a bottom-10 roster right now and that might be double what it needs to be. These aren’t the old Lions either. Ben Johnson’s offense can score — they’re averaging 35 points a game with at least 24 in all four, even with the injuries.
These are the bottom-two run defenses in the league by DVOA, against two of the top-four rushing attacks. Expect plenty of long drives with both offenses moving the chains and grinding it out. Detroit’s defense has been awful, but could get a boost by knowing Matt Patricia’s tendencies in a fun revenge spot.
I just can’t figure out why we’re giving New England 3.5 credit as more than a field goal favorite here. It feels like an overreaction after a predictable Pats underdog push, and Detroit clearly has the better roster. Don’t be surprised to see this close for a half, but the Lions rank No. 2 in second-half DVOA offensively while New England ranks 30th on defense.
Look to bet the Lions in a good live spot or just play the second half. I expect Detroit to win outright.
The Pick: Lions +3.5 (Lean) and bet Lions 2H or live | Previously: Wait for injury news on both offenses
The Rams just don’t look like themselves. The team has long eschewed depth and draft picks for a stars-and-scrubs roster, and it’s hard to argue with the Super Bowl rings, but it feels like chickens may be coming home to roost.
Their offensive line has been bad. They miss Andrew Whitworth, and the interior line has a slew of injuries. This line can’t block or produce any sort of run game, and it could have a nightmare against Micah Parsons and Dallas’ pass rush.
The offense also can’t stretch the field. There just aren’t many options other than force-feeding Cooper Kupp or asking Sean McVay to pull a trick from his sleeve.
The Rams offense has really played only one good half all season; it scored 19 points combined against the Bills and 49ers. L.A. ranks bottom five in EPA per play in passing and overall offense. The Rams just aren’t very good right now, and I recommended playing them to miss the playoffs at +184 in this week’s Futures Friday.
L.A.’s defense, however, has been better. The run D has been elite, and though the pass defense hasn’t been as good, you figure Jalen Ramsey should match up a lot with CeeDee Lamb. That could leave this Dallas attack pretty muted.
I lean the under in this game, even with the total falling all week. Neither offense is offering much right now, and Cooper Rush has to turn into a pumpkin at some point.
But in a game that could end up under 40 points, you have to feel pretty good about the better defense getting nearly a touchdown. It’s just a hefty ask for a struggling Rams team that hasn’t covered a line this high against anyone not named the Cardinals since the day after Christmas.
I like Dallas +5.5 with the under as a correlated play.
The Pick: Cowboys +5.5 (Lean) and play with the Under | Previously: Wait for the line to settle
I’m so tired of writing a Chargers update every Saturday. The injury report for this team just isn’t clean. Keenan Allen (hamstring) is out again. J.C. Jackson is playing but hasn’t been good. Rashawn Slater’s absence will be felt a lot more with Myles Garrett on the other side.
It’s tough to feel great about the Chargers here. Their run defense will struggle to get off the field in a big test against one of the league’s toughest rushing attacks, and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi continues to put L.A.’s offense in a hole on early downs. The Browns can’t defend the run either, but the Chargers haven’t been hurting teams there.
I like the script for Cleveland, especially with an early kickoff for a West Coast team flying east. This is quietly a really important game in the playoff race. I have these two teams as the seven- and eight-seed right now, so the winner gets pole position and a head-to-head tiebreaker for that final wildcard spot.
I lean Browns but will pass unless we get the +3.
The Pick: Browns +2.5 (Pass) | Previously: Wait for Chargers news and line move