NFL Week 5 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 5 Early Games

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Week 4: Rick: 6-9; Coin: 9-6
Cumulative: Rick: 30-32-1; Coin: 32-30-1

Thursday, October 3,/b>

8:20 pm Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1 1/2, 49 1/2) - Big time divisional tilt pits the Seahawks against the Rams, both 3-1. Seattle is coming off an easy, 27-10, win over the Cardinals, while the Rams had some serious defensive deficiencies in a 55-40 loss to Tampa Bay. They're probably happy to be on the road this week.

How big is this game? Huge. Conference title and playoff implications run amok here, and the record shows that the Rams won twice against the Seahawks last season, 33-31, in Seattle, 36-31, at home. It begs the question: will Seattle score 31 points again and lose? No, and no.

Coin Flip: Seattle

Prediction: Rams 31 Seahawks 26

Sunday, October 6

1:00 pm Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-3 1/2, 47 1/2) - OK, the hype on Arizona is fading fast, especially since they've lost three straight, and none of the games were really close. The Bengals got bruised by Pittsburgh Monday night, 27-3, and they're not looking particularly offensive-minded.

Cincy is 0-4, the Cards, 0-3. This is a game only a loser could love. Pass if you can; we'll take the roadies.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Cardinals 20 Bengals 18

1:00 pm Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (-5, 48 1/2) - A tough call, as neither team has exactly lived up to expectations. Houston is 2-2 in the AFC South, where each team has identical records. Atlanta is 1-3, and their offense has been a huge letdown, as witnessed most recently in their 24-10 home loss to the Titans.

Houston's defense, when it's right, is among the league's best, and a win here will help their cause as the choice in the AFC South. Atlanta hasn't shown any ability to take initiative on either side of the ball.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Texans 28 Falcons 14

1:00 pm Baltimore Ravens (-3 1/2, 44 1/2) at Pittsburgh Steelers - The Ravens started 2-0, but, after losses to Kansas City (33-28) and Cleveland (40-25), one has to figure the defense is banged up and not in sync. That could be a real issue as the Steelers seem to have accommodated Mason Rudolph with a manageable offense. Though Pittsburgh is 1-3, two of their losses have been close calls - losing 28-26 to Seattle and 24-20 at San Francisco. Last Monday's 27-3 win over Cincinnati portends better times ahead.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Prediction: Steelers 22 Ravens 18

1:00 pm Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans (-3, 38 1/2) - Tennessee is coming off a solid win at Atlanta and heads home to host the 3-1 Bills. Buffalo QB is still questionable, undergoing concussion protocal after a vicious hit in the New England game.

Whether Allen or Matt Barkley starts for Buffalo, they're going to win on defense, which has been spectacular, having allowed 17 or fewer points in each of its four games.

In what looks to be an even game, home field may hold enough of an edge to allow Tennessee a win.

Coin Flip: Tennessee

Prediction: Titans 16 Bills 10

1:00 pm Chicago Bears (-4 1/2, 40 1/2) at Oakland Raiders (London, UK) - Tally, ho. The Brits may actually get to see a decent game for a change, though they better have a preference for defense, the way the 3-1 Bears are going.

Oakland is 2-2, but they need to step up defensively if they plan on winning this one. That's a tall order, but the Raiders are improving and much depends on how the players adapt to the change in venue and time zone.

Coin Flip: Oakland

Prediction: Raiders 20 Bears 17

1:00 pm Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3 1/2, 41) - A real down South slugfest here as the Panthers seem to have regained some confidence after an 0-2 start and have momentum, beating both Arizona and Houston on the road. Last week's 16-10 win over the Texans showed how well the Panthers can play defense and that may take them a long way this season. If Kyle Allen continues to perform, they'll be tough here.

Jacksonville is also 2-2, led by Gardner Minshew, though last week's 26-24 win at Denver was less than expected, squeaking by a winless Denver team. Another road game could be a downside for Minshew's rise to NFL greatness. This could be a close call, possibly overtime.

Coin Flip: Jacksonville

Prediction: Panthers 20 Jaguars 16

1:00 pm Minnesota Vikings (-5 1/2, 44 1/2) at New York Giants - Really? Vikings coming off a loss to the Bears in which they showed ZERO offense, second straight road game, facing the Giants with the possible rookie of the year and they're giving points.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Prediction: Giants 27 Vikings 23

1:00 pm New England Patriots (-15 1/2, 43 1/2) at Washington Redskins - Yep, the Patriots are 4-0 after defeating the Bills in a defensive struggle, 16-10. New England's win came on the strength of tunrovers, however, a TD on a blocked punt was the nail in the coffin for Buffalo.

And, while the Redskins are off to an 0-4 start and have the worst defense in the league save Miami (118 points allowed to the Dolphins' 163), this is what's known as a trap game for the Patriots, being their second straight road game. It's possible that New England comes in flat and Washington finds a few ways to produce offense, enough to cover the massive spread.

Coin Flip: New England

Prediction: Patriots 27 Redskins 14

1:00 pm New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles (-13 1/2, 43 1/2) - The Jets had last week off, but still haven't won a game. If the bye helped at all, they'll surprise the Eagles with some trick plays and new wrinkles.

Philly hasn't been blowing anybody away. They're 2-2 and their biggest win was last week's 34-27 score at Green Bay, which was in doubt until the final seconds of play. The Jets won't overpower the Eagles, but they may make this game surprisingly interesting.

Coin Flip: Philadelphia

Prediction: Eagles 20 Jets 13

1:00 pm Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3, 47) - All of a sudden the Bucs don't look so bad, after ripping the Rams, 55-40, last week.

Give the Saints credit for winning two straight with Drew Brees on the mend. The defense has stepped up in support of Teddy Bridgewater, Brees' replacement.

Notably, the Bucs topped the Saints in New Orleans to open the 2018 campaign, 48-40, but the Saints won at Tampa in December, 28-14, right after a 13-10 win at Dallas.

Coin Flip: Tampa Bay

Prediction: Buccaneers 31 Saints 24

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