NFL Game Picks: Week 5
Though the 2018 NFL season has been pretty hectic thus far, week four was a rather standard week in terms of upsets, as most of the favorites came away with victories. But there’s still plenty of football of play and plenty of surprises to be had. Let’s look at what week five has in store.
Indianapolis Colts (1-3) @ New England Patriots (2-2):
Week five doesn’t look to start off in the most intriguing fashion, as Thursday’s game looks like a complete mismatch. The Colts have to travel to Foxborough just days after a disappointing overtime home loss to Houston, while the Patriots get to enjoy the return of Julian Edelman and a fresh starting roster after last week’s home stomping of Miami. It’s tough to see Indianapolis pulling off the upset.
The pick: New England 34, Indianapolis 17.
Atlanta Falcons (1-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1):
Needless to say, this season hasn’t started in the fashion that either of these teams was hoping. Atlanta’s offense has looked elite, but the defense is seriously missing Keanu Neal and Deion Jones. Pittsburgh’s offense has lost an edge without Le’Veon Bell, and the defense has been stale. As both teams seem to be in incredibly tough division races, neither wants to fall too far behind. The game could decide the direction of these teams’ seasons.
The pick: Atlanta 36, Pittsburgh 26.
Tennessee Titans (3-1) @ Buffalo Bills (1-3):
Once again, the Titans prove to be an enigma. Back-to-back victories over Jacksonville and Philadelphia make for an impressive feat, yet Tennessee still seems unconvincing thus far. If the Titans are for real, they should make easy work of the struggling Bills, who were held scoreless last week in Green Bay.
The pick: Tennessee 26, Buffalo 10.
Miami Dolphins (3-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-1):
Not many people predicted these teams to both start the season 3-1, but here we are. It’s too early to tell whether either team is a true AFC contender, but both have shown some flashes of brilliance. But between the two, Cincinnati has looked like the better team. Add in the fact that Sunday’s game is in Cincinnati, and it looks like another Bengals victory.
The pick: Cincinnati 34, Miami 23.
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-2-1):
Watch out for the Ravens. Both sides of the ball have been soaring in Baltimore, as the offense has put up at least 20 points every week, and the defense has yet to allow a touchdown in the second half of any game. Baker Mayfield and the Browns have looked impressive recently too, but at the moment, Baltimore is the better team.
The pick: Baltimore 35, Cleveland 22.
Denver Broncos (2-2) @ New York Jets (1-3):
When will the magic we saw in week one return to New York? It could this week. The Jets are back home after two difficult weeks on the road to take on a struggling Denver team that hasn’t had a passing touchdown since week one. This could be the opportunity the Jets are looking for. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb certainly won’t make it easy though.
The pick: NY Jets 29, Denver 18.
Green Bay Packers (2-1-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-3):
So far, 2018 has been bizarre for both of these teams. Sometimes, the Packers looks like Super Bowl contenders, and other times, they look like they’re headed for an early offseason. Detroit has looked dominant against the Patriots and looked terrible against the Jets. It’s a dual case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and they’ll be clashing on Sunday afternoon. We’ll just have wait to find out which Packers and which Lions show up.
The pick: Detroit 22, Green Bay 17.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4-0):
Here’s week five’s battle of the heavyweights. Jacksonville is coming off a blowout victory over the Jets, while the Chiefs have found a way to win all four of their games thus far, thanks in no small part to Patrick Mahomes. But the Jacksonville defense will be the biggest test of Mahomes’ young career. Let’s see how he handles the likes of Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey.
The pick: Jacksonville 30, Kansas City 27.
New York Giants (1-3) @ Carolina Panthers (2-1):
2018 hasn’t been kind to Big Blue despite the fact that Eli Manning has been playing his best football since 2015. Defensive issues have especially been plaguing the Giants as they’ve let up 20 points in every game this year. Carolina, meanwhile, is coming into this game fresh off a bye. The Giants could pull off the road upset, but a Panthers victory is looking far more likely.
The pick: Carolina 28, NY Giants 14.
Oakland Raiders (1-3) @ Los Angeles Chargers (2-2):
The Raiders are incredibly fortunate to avoid an 0-4 start to the season, but it doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Los Angeles this weekend. The Los Angeles offense has yet to put up less than 20, and the defense should see a boost this week with the return of Corey Liuget. Although the Bolts will be favored, don’t count out the Raiders. This could have potential as one of the week’s better games.
The pick: LA Chargers 37, Oakland 32.
Los Angeles Rams (4-0) @ Seattle Seahawks (2-2):
The Rams seem to have always had the Seahawks’ number, and there’s no reason to believe the result will be any different this Sunday. Sure, the game is in Seattle, but Jared Goff and the Los Angeles offense ripped apart a strong Minnesota defense last week. Imagine what havoc they could wreak against an Earl Thomas-less Seahawks team. Russell Wilson will keep this game competitive, but the Rams should be coming out of Seattle with a win.
The pick: LA Rams 39, Seattle 27.
Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (2-2):
It’s a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game, but neither team has looked as impressive as it did last year. This would be a great opportunity for both squads to get back on the right track. Definitely expect this one to be a lot closer than last year’s blowout, but also expect the Eagles to come out on top once again. Dating back to mid-December of 2016, Philadelphia has only lost one game at Lincoln Financial Field.
The pick: Philadelphia 32, Minnesota 25.
Arizona Cardinals (0-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-3):
This one’s pretty likely to be ignored, but it certainly could shape up to be a better game than what many imagine. After all, both Josh Rosen and C.J. Beathard looked solid in week four. The Cardinals certainly seem like they’re finally trending up, and the 49ers may still be all right without Jimmy Garoppolo. Week five may help to clear some smoke.
The pick: San Francisco 19, Arizona 14.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) @ Houston Texans (1-3):
It’s been a hard-luck season for the Texans, who, despite having one of the best-looking rosters in the NFL, sit at a mere 1-3 a quarter way through 2018. Dallas has fared slightly better, though they certainly haven’t turned any heads thus far. Perhaps this will be the week where Houston finally puts all the pieces together and lives up to the offseason hype.
The pick: Houston 28, Dallas 20.
Washington Redskins (2-1) @ New Orleans Saints (3-1):
This could be one of week five’s better games, but all eyes will be on Drew Brees. The veteran quarterback is just a mere 201 yards shy of breaking the all-time record for most passing yards in a career. There’s a reason this game was chosen to be played on primetime Monday night. Brees would love to break the record Monday, but he’d probably like a home victory even more. With Mark Ingram back in the lineup, there’s no reason to believe the Saints can’t grab the win.
The pick: New Orleans 38, Washington 31.
Byes: Chicago Bears (3-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.