We are one quarter of the way through the NFL season and things are finally beginning to take shape:
The Green Bay Packers are still really good.
The Minnesota Vikings aren’t.
Peyton Manning may be the most valuable player of all-time.
And Chris Johnson may not be as good as he thinks he is.
This information comes in handy when it’s time to pick each week’s winners against the spread. But a (slightly) more in-depth breakdown of each and every game for week five’s upcoming games should be even more helpful.
The Andrew Luck Bowl commences in Indy Sunday between two teams boasting a total of one victory. Neither team is very talented. The quarterback and coach seem to be at odds in KC. But Curtis Painter has at least given the Colts some signs of life. The Colts will finally notch a victory and cover the spread.
The Andrew Luck Bowl II takes place inside the Metrodome. The Vikings are actually painful to watch this season. Don't be surprised if we have a Christian Ponder sighting under centre this week. It's time Minnesota finds out if they have their quarterback of the future. The Vikings may be tough at home, but I'll take Larry Fitzgerald and the points.
The Texans are talented but the Raiders are underrated. Don't forget, this will be Houston's first game without their all-everything receiver, Andre Johnson. Houston's run defence in average, and Darren McFadden's rushing ability is anything but. Houston should win at home, but it will be close enough to take the points.
Cam Newton is progressing well in his rookie campaign, but we don't foresee him hanging around with Drew Brees and the Saints offence. Expect a high scoring affair. But also expect an opportune New Orleans defence taking advantage of Newton's mistakes, en route to a double-digit victory.
The Bengals are coming off a big win against Buffalo and surprisingly boast the NFL's top defence in yards allowed. That spells trouble for Blaine Gabbert, making just his second career start. We expect the Bengals to win outright, so take the points.
The upset special of the week features the surprising Titans taking down the Steelers. Matt Hasslebeck has discovered the fountain of youth in Tennessee and is the fourth highest rated quarterback in the league. The Steelers are extremely banged up. James Harrison is out. Ben Roethlisberger's in a boot. Take the points.
The Seahawks have no chance of winning this game. Let's make that clear. But the Giants always seem to struggle in games they're expected to dominate. Call it a hunch, call it a lack of faith in Eli Manning…but take the points.
We're not sold on the 49ers. But we are sold on Josh Freeman's ability to orchestrate game-winning touchdown drives. We'd take almost any team against an NFC West opponent. The Bucs should not only cover, they should win.
The Jets are getting a lot of points. This is one of the few defenses Mark Sanchez and company should actually score on. Tom Brady may struggle early, but he'll eventually pick this suddenly vulnerable Jets defence apart -- just not by a double-digit margin.
Betting on the Chargers is always a risky proposition. You never know what team you're going to get. But you know what you're getting with the Broncos -- disappointment. While they're busy figuring out the quarterback situation, take Phillip Rivers and an explosive offence.
This was a toss-up. The Packers are clearly more talented. The Falcons have been disappointing but are tough at home. Normally, we'd recommend taking the points. But we're sticking with Aaron Rodgers and the champs until someone knocks them off their pedestal.
This will be the Lions first Monday Night Football game in 10 years. Ford Field will be rocking. That defensive line, which will feature rookie Nick Fairley for the first time, will be frothing at the mouth to face a porous Bears offensive line. Jay Cutler's in for long night. And we haven't even mentioned Megatron. The Lions' undefeated season continues.
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