Mike Carlson looks at all the Week Five fixtures in the NFL with bets for three including Tennessee consigning the Jags to a fifth straight defeat...
"Both New York teams got a win last Sunday, both in OT, and Daniel Jones may have played his career-best game against the Saints. But Dallas did well against Carolina, and ought to do the same here."
Sunday, 14:30 - Spurs game is tough to solve
New York Jets (1-3) "at" Atlanta (1-3) at White Hart Lane
It's great to welcome the NFL back to London, although the match-up could be more attractive. Basically you've got a team wheeling out a rookie who's still learning on the job vs one who's QB has seen it all and, while not declined as much as, say, Ben Rothliesberger, still finds himself constantly building leads and being unable to rescue the team as they throw them away. Both teams arrived on Thursday, which makes it hard to guess which will show up jetlagged (or both, or neither) which is one of the things that makes London games hard to evaluate.
Sunday, 18:00 - Titans the week's best bet
Philadelphia (1-3) at Carolina (3-1)
The signing of Stephon Gilmore won't have an immediate good effect on the Panthers' D, but CJ Henderson might help more this week. More importantly, check to see if Christian McCaffrey is active: without him the Panthers are far easier to defend, in part because they aren't constructed for Chuba Hubbard's kind of run game as their sole weapon. I loved McCaffrey blaming his hamstring injury in week 3 on what I have always called The Abomination That Is Thursday Night Football.
Miami (1-3) at Tampa (3-1)
I don't really think it matters whether Brissett or Tua is the QB, although Tua does provide the deep threat and the Tampa secondary is vulnerable to that. The only question is whether the Bucs, held to 17 by the Pats, can cover 9.5 and go over 48.5
New Orleans (2-2) at Washington Team Football (WTF) (2-2)
Before the season started everybody had NO as a division winner and many had WTF ahead of Dallas. Right now Ron Rivera's D is not playing as advertised and the NO offense is pretty much as advertised, but reliant on Taysom Hill for big plays.
Tennessee (2-2) at Jacksonville (0-4)
I think the idea of the coach of an 0-4 team coming off a tough loss in a relatively promising performance not travelling back with his team is inexcusable - the fact that video exists of his playing grab-ass in a bar the next night probably destroys whatever respect Urban Meyer's team had for him. My guess is he's gone after the London game next week, unless the Titans respond to their loss last week and play better. In that case, they'll cover.
Best Bet: Tennessee (-4.5) @ 1.910/11
Detroit (0-4) at Minnesota (1-3)
The Lions looked slower on D than they did last year, which is saying something. Vikes could cover 7.5 easily but may not get help in crossing the over of 49.5, but Kirk Cousins may be at his best here.
Denver (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-3)
Interesting that the Steelers are -1 favourites, given that the only play Ben can run effectively is the Statue of Liberty, because he's less mobile than the statue, and the core of the Broncos' D is based on pass rush. I would wait on this one and take Denver if Teddy Bridgewater clears concussion protocol, but avoid if Drew Lock is at QB, because the Steelers' strength is also pass rush.
Green Bay (3-1) at Cincinnati (3-1)
The Bengals are for real, as Joe Burrow showed Urban Meyer, the coach who let him go in free agency from Ohio State to LSU. And they are getting three points at home. But are you really going to bet against Aaron Rodgers in this situation? In fact, Rodgers to score a TD at 8/1 is a great outside bet, and I like Randall Cobb at 5/2 as well.
Outside Bet: Packers (to win and under 49.5) @ 3.412/5
New England (1-3) at Houston (1-3)
This one's almost as ugly as the matchup of 1-3 teams in London. The Pats should be 2-2, could easily be 3-1, but as Bill Parcells said, "you are what your record says you are". I think they win, but Houston covering +8.5 at 9/10 ought to be likely. Except Davis Mills.
Sunday 21:05 - Game of the week in LA
Chicago (2-2) at Las Vegas (3-1)
On Monday Andy Dalton was the starter. Wednesday it was Justin Fields. Matt Nagy has trouble making up his mind, and lots of trouble changing it during games, so his game plan needs to be built for Fields' strength: mobility, and not on requiring a lot of quick drop accuracy.
Cleveland (3-1) at LA Chargers (3-1)
One of the games of the week, the question being whether the Browns can control Herbert with pass rush and by controlling the clock: they are arguably the best running team in the league, Baltimore included. Chargers coach Brandon Staley was very good this week explaining why you needed to be able to run the ball, not to set up play action passes but because football is a physical game, and you need to establish physicality. As well as control the clock, which keeps playmaking offenses off the field. Baker Mayfield has a torn labrum in his left shoulder; it may explain why he's been less efficient in the past couple of weeks, although it's not his throwing arm, and certainly why he isn't playing both ways at safety.
Sunday 21:25 - Dallas good for another win
New York Giants (1-3) at Dallas (3-1)
Both New York teams got a win last Sunday, both in OT, and Daniel Jones may have played his career-best game against the Saints. But Dallas did well against Carolina, and ought to do the same here.
Value Bet: Dallas (-7) @ 1.910/11
San Francisco (2-2) at Arizona (4-0)
Get on board the Cardinal hype-train! Though as I pointed out, it's Arizona's D that is getting them where they are: Vance Joseph is using the versatility of guys like Chandler Jones, Budda Baker and especially Isaiah Simmons to confuse offenses, and suddenly Byron Murphy and Jalen Thompson are looking like Pro Bowlers in the secondary. You'd like to try pounding the ball against them, but the Niners are, as usual, injury-ridden. I'd check to see if Jimmy G (who didn't practice Thursday) or Trey Lance starts at QB: Lance can make some plays but will have more problems against that multiple D. George Kittle also didn't practice Thursday and starting RB Elijah Mitchell and key DT Javon Kinlaw were both limited.
Sunday Night (01:25 Monday) - Allen may punish Chiefs' D
Buffalo (3-1) at Kansas City (2-2)
The Bills are a solid team, and play a great containing D, but in the first four weeks they've faced Ben the Ent (losing on the punt block),Tua/Brissett, Taylor Heinecke and Davis Mills. Patrick Mahomes is a different question. But Josh Allen may be able to Mahomes the Chiefs' D, which is struggling, especially when Mahomes himself makes sloppy plays. The Chiefs signed Josh Gordon, he of the six-pack of suspensions, but unless he's going to play linebacker, I'm not sure he's the second wideout they need.
Monday Night (01:15 Tuesday) - Ravens may struggle to cover
Indianapolis (1-3) at Baltimore (3-1)
The Colts are fast on D, which may pose a problem for the Ravens' run game, but not as much as the problem the Ravens D ought to pose for Carson Wentz. The line here is 7, which might be a tough cover, and the over/under has been bet down to 45.5, which means my original thought has been followed by many. I'm not sure that's low enough yet for me to go over, but it's close.
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