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NFL Week 5 Predictions & Picks Against the Spread

Posted by in NFL Picks on September 30th, 2008 | Comment »


I’m still thinking about what games I want to take. There are a few spreads that I like, but I still have to think about them and narrow it down. Stay tuned for my actual picks later (probably Sunday morning). I want to limit my picks to home teams since that was the trend last week (home teams were 9-4). Right now, my favorite two games are the Chargers -6.5 over the Dolphins and Bears -3.5 over Detroit (I actually like the teaser of Bears +3.5 and over 37.5 in that game, see below), but they’re two road teams. The Saints, Buccaneers, and Bills are also on my radar, but they’re also road teams.


DO NOT TAKE THE COLTS! I’m not saying the Texans are necessarily a lock, but I would be very concerned about the Colts run defense without Bob Sanders. If I’m a Steve Slaton fantasy owner, I’m loving this matchup because he could easily get about 20 points this game. The Texans always play hard against the Colts in Houston. The Texans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games. The last two times the Colts played the Texans in Houston, the Colts won last game 30-24 (Colts didn’t cover the 6.5 spread) and Texans upset the Colts in the game before that 27-24 as a 9-point underdog. I would say that this game has upset alert written all over it, but I never want to bet against Peyton Manning tearing it up though.

Prediction — Texans 27 – Colts 24

Pick Against the Spread: Texans +3 — Confidence 2/5
Pick Straight Up: Texans — Confidence 2/5


If you love defense, this is your game of the week. Despite the strong defenses, this one could see points. The Titans, to my surprise, put up 30 against the Vikings and allowed 17. Althought I give the Ravens defense the edge, the Titans offense is running well and their defense is right up there with the Ravens: they’re 1st in points allowed. I like the Titans in what should be a tight defensive battle.

Prediction — Titans 20 – Ravens 17

Pick Against the Spread: Titans -3 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Titans — Confidence 3/5


Without Ronnie Brown’s performance last week, the Chargers would easily be 10-point favorites. But could Ronnie Brown really repeat that type of performance now that the Chargers are able to prepare for him after they know what he’s capable of? I don’t think so. With the way the Chargers offense is playing, they should be able to make the Dolphins looks like the defense that played the Cardinals and Jets. The defense is playing with a little more fire than they had did to start the season, but I’m still not sold on them. The gameplan is simple: stop Ronnie Brown and cover Anthony Fasno well. The Chargers will have to force Pennington to win this one with his receivers and I don’t think he’ll be able to do it against that secondary led by Cromartie. I like the Chargers spread. Some people may think this has upset alert after what the Dolphins did to the Patriots, but I don’t think lightning will strike twice. The Chargers should clearly be able to dominate this game. Let’s just hope they play like the way they did against the Raiders in the 2nd half and not like they came out in the 1st half.

Prediction — Chargers 30 – Dolphins 17

Pick Against the Spread: Chargers -6.5 — Confidence 4/5
Pick Straight Up: Chargers — Confidence 5/5


The Panthers are looking very good. The Chiefs pulled off a huge upset last week, but it was due to 4 bogus turnovers and the Broncos couldn’t stop Larry Johnson. Don’t expect LJ to have that type of game against this Panthers defense and the Pathners offense has been very good, especially at home and now with Steve Smith back in the offense. I’m going to take the Panthers and they should win big, but I want to see if there are any better spreads out there before taking this game. The Chiefs could make this a 7-point game, so I’m not huge on the spread.

Prediction — Panthers 27 – Cheifs 17

Pick Against the Spread: Panthers -9.5 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Panthers — Confidence 5/5


After the Eagles sickening loss to the Bears and the Redskins surprising win over the Cowboys, I thought the Eagles would come out as mere 3-point favorites. Westbrook is still questionable with an ankle injury, but he should play. L.J. Smith will be back, which should get more production our out of TEs. The Eagles defense is playing lights out. The Eagles will need Asante Samuel to stick like glue to Santana Moss if they want to win this one. Portis should struggle against this run defense. The Eagles are great at getting pressure on the QB and that will be key in this matchup. Reggie Brown is improving for the Eagles and DeSean Jackson keeps producing for the Eagles offense. As an Eagles fan, I naturally like the Eagles in what is a critical game in a tight NFC East race. If Westbrook plays, I would be extremely confident with the Eagles, but he is questionable and he is the key to that offense.

UPDATE: Westbrook WILL play and is reported to be 100%. I am pretty confident with a healthy Westbrook in the lineup. He’s the Redskins killer.

Prediction — Eagles 24 – Redskins 17

Pick Against the Spread: Eagles -5.5 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Eagles — Confidence 4/5


If you didn’t get the memo, the Lions defense sucks. The Bears offense is running well. Kyle Orton is looking pretty good. Even though he throws a few off the mark, the majority of time he throws the ball on the mark, and he throws a great deep ball. He threw 3 TDs against the Eagles: I was shocked. Matt Forte will also be a fantasy stud this week. With the Bears tough defense, they should be able to get a ton of pressure on Kitna, get a few sacks, force him into making a few mistakes. The Bears defense will produce turnovers. If the Bears protect the ball, they should be able to dominate this game. I’m sold on the Bears. Detroit is 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games. Detroit did win both meetings last year though, but the Bears are a very different team from last year. I like the Bears to win big with their defense and with the Lions terrible defense, the Bears offense should be able to do enough damage. The over/under is 44.5 and the over is 8-1 in Detroit’s last 9 home games. That makes a 7-point teaser of Bears +3.5 and over 37.5 extremely appealing. Detroit is 2-1 and Chicago is 2-2 on the over this season. The Lions are giving up 37 PPG this season, so that makes that look even better, but the question is how many could the Lions possibly put up on the Bears? Also keep in mind, Jon Kitna and Brandon Lloyd are day-to-day. Keep an eye on the injury report, they will need to play for their respective teams to bring them offense.

WARNING/UPDATE: Bears WR Brandon Lloyd will be out, which hurts the Bears offensively, but I expect them to pound the rock with Matt Forte. WR Marty Booker is also questionable. The Bears 2 starting CBs Vasher and Tillman are listed as questionable. With the injuries at WR and in the secondary, I’m a little concerned how the Bears can do with these injuries. Assuming it’s just Lloyd that misses this game, I can still see them covering, but they’ll need their starting corners if they want to stop Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. Good news if you took the Bears: the Lions starting RG and RT are doubtful, so Kitna may be ambushed from the right side. Roy Williams also has a banged up knee, but is probable.

Prediction — Bears 30 – Lions 20

Pick Against the Spread: Bears -3.5 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Bears — Confidence 4/5


The Seahawks may get Deion Branch and Bobby Engrem back (check the injury report before the game to confirm), which should help that offense, but their defense is having issues. Also keep in mind, Plaxico Burress will be out. With him out of the game, I don’t like taking the Giants because he is the key to their offense. I just don’t see Toomer and Steve Smith having enough to put up a lot of points. I’ll pass on this one. I also have the Bengals nearly defeating the Giants in New York still fresh in my head and that was with Plaxico. I could see the Giants coming out with a 3-4 point victory, so I’ll say Giants W, but Seahawks cover. Julius Jones is also playing very well for the Seahawks.

Prediction — Giants 24 – Seahawks 20

Pick Against the Spread: Seahawks +7 — Confidence 2/5
Pick Straight Up: Giants — Confidence 4/5


I’ve made a pledge to not bet on Broncos anymore, but I also don’t like betting against them because when I do that, they also screw me. The defense has serious issues against both the pass and the run. Expect a healthy dose of Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn and I don’t see the Broncos stopping them. The Broncos also had problems protecting the ball and the Bucs defense is great at getting pressure on the QB and forcing turnovers. I’ll take the Buccaneers and the +3 is making it enticing. I’ll have to think about this one. I would love the Buccaneers if they were at home.

Prediction — Buccaneers 31 – Broncos 27

Pick Against the Spread: Buccaneers +3 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Buccaneers — Confidence 3/5


I almost put New England Patriots @ Frank Gore as the title because that’s the first thing that came to mind when I thought of this game. You saw what Ronnie Brown did to Patriots in week 3 and Frank Gore has been on a tear. A nice combination of running and passing to Gore will keep the Pats off balance. You also have to take into consideration mastermind Bill Bellechick on a bye week. You can’t help but think that Randy Moss and that offense will rebound, but Cassel is pretty awful. I like the 49ers, but I’m not ready to bet on them against the Pats just yet.

Prediction — 49ers 24 – Patriots 20

Pick Against the Spread: 49ers +3 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: 49ers — Confidence 3/5


Based on last week, the Cardinals have a lot of issues, but they’re a completely different team when they’re at home. I’ve been extremely impressed with the Bills this year though. It’s no accident that they’re 4-0. Anquan Bolden left the Jets game after a nasty hit to the head and is questionable this week. If he’s out, I would definitly go with the Bills because he’s an essential part of that offense. He already has 5 TDs and 366 yards this year. If Bolden is out, I would consider taking the Bills.

Prediction — Bills 24 – Cardinals 20

Pick Against the Spread: Bills +1 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Bills — Confidence 3/5


Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall should both be out of the Steelers. Jacksonville has won the last 4 meetings. The Pittsburgh offense hasn’t been performing that well, but they’ve faced very good defenses. The Jags offense hasn’t been much better, but they’re running game has taken off, but I don’t see them having the same success against the Steelers defense. This one is too close to call, but I would go with the Jags at home. If the Steelers have Willie Parkers back, I would say go with the points, but with the Steelers top 2 RBs out, I can’t see Big Ben beating the Jags himself.

Prediction — Jaguars 24 – Steelers 17

Pick Against the Spread: Jaguars -4 — Confidence 2/5
Pick Straight Up: Jaguars — Confidence 2/5


The Saints passing game is on fire and that should be working well against the Vikings, but I’m also concerned what Adrian Peterson could do against what is a very bad defense. The Saints did keep Frank Gore in check though last game. I’ll stick with the Saints at home.

WARNING/UPDATE: The Saints just lost their 1st-round draft pick DT Sedrick Ellis after he suffered an injury in practice and will miss 2-4 weeks. That means that the Saints have lost their 2 starting DTs. They lost DT Hollis Thomas earlier in the year. With their 2 starting DTs out, some banged up linebackers, and some banged up players in the secondary, Adrian Peterson may have a 150+ yard 2+ TD game brewing. Just take it into consideration.

Prediction — Saints 27 – Vikings 20

Pick Against the Spread: Saints -3 — Confidence 3/5
Pick Straight Up: Saints — Confidence 3/5


The latest word is that Carson Palmer will not play this Sunday and he is still listed as questionable. Assuming Palmer does not play, I don’t see how the Bengals could possibly get more than 10 points. Perhaps a lucky touchdown and another field goal to boot. They only managed 12 points at home against the Browns. The Cowboys are averaging 30 PPG. If Palmer is out, Cowboys should cover. I tend to try to stay away from high spreads in the NFL (think the Patriots 1-7 record ATS last year in their last 8 games), but without Palmer, the Bengals won’t have any offense, and the Bengals defense is pretty bad (allowing 330 YPG).

WARNING/UPDATE: Carson Palmer should start according to Marvin Lewis, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensan is still calling it questionable. Palmer will try to give it a go, but if his elbow is causing him problems come game time, he may sit this one out. I would be less optimistic about the Cowboys spread if Palmer starts. If Palmer is his normal self and plays the whole game, I can see the Bengals covering, but the elbow should still give him problems. With his terrible offense line and the Cowboys great at getting pressure on the QB, the Bengals shouldn’t explode offensively. I’ll stick with the Cowboys covering, but I’m just less optimistic with Palmer starting.

Prediction – Cowboys 31 – Bengals 10

Pick Against the Spread: Bengals +16.5 — Confidence 2/5
Pick Straight Up: Cowboys — Confidence 5/5


Aaron Rodgers starting has been called “shaky at best.” With him out of the lineup, I can’t see the Packers winning this one. Their backup is extremely bad. Assuming he’s out, I will pick the Falcons. Also keep it mind that CB Al Harris is out, S Atari Bigby is doubtful, S Aaron Rouse is doubtful, and LB A.J. Hawk is questionable. The injury bug has hit the Packers hard.

Last minute update: Aaron Rodger WILL start. This makes this one a little tougher to call. If Hawk is in there, I’ll be confident that Michael Turner will be contained. The injuries to the secondary remains a concern for the Packers. I would really avoid this game at all costs since you don’t know what you’re getting into with an injured Rodgers, but I’ll take them at home.

Prediction – Packers 20 – Falcons16

Pick Against the Spread: Packers -3.5 — Confidence 2/5
Pick Straight Up: Packers — Confidence 3/5

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