The first quarter of the NFL season has been filled with plenty of excitement.
Offenses have been dominant and penalties are down, making for entertaining football.
Week #5 has a lot of teams travelling cross-country and there could be some lopsided contests.
Let’s take a look at three matchups that could highlight Week 5 action (odds are takes from SPREADS.CA).
Home Underdog of the Week
Cleveland Browns (+2.5) vs Indianapolis Colts [O/U 48]
Cleveland (3-1) has been a surprising story on offense, while Indianapolis (3-1) relies on a superb defense. Baker Mayfield seems to have settled in and the Browns’ running game leads the NFL in total yards (818), touchdowns (8), and YPC (5.9). Even with the injury to Nick Chubb,the Browns have been able to get great production from Kareem Hunt. Cleveland doesn’t wow anyone in the passing game, but they put up a lot of points. After an embarrassing 38-6 loss against
Baltimore to open the season, the Browns have scored 35, 34, and 49 points in three straight wins.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis defense has been stout in all phases and will be put to the test against a balanced Cleveland attack. The Colts have given up the fewest passing yards so far while holding teams to under 3.6 YPC on the ground. Where the Colts can have an issue is with scoring, and if they get into a shootout it may not end well. I have the Browns clicking on offense while their underrated defense holds Indianapolis in check.
Prediction: Browns win and cover the spread 27 – 20
Underdog of the Week
Carolina Panthers (+3) at Atlanta Falcons [O/U 54.5]
The Atlanta Falcons (0-4) have not given up fewer than 30 points in any game this season while the Carolina Panthers (2-2) have righted the ship after the injury to Christian McCaffrey behind the steady hand of Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
Atlanta can’t stop anyone while Carolina’s strength on defense is against the pass. If Carolina can get ahead, they can pound the agreeable Falcons’ defense into submission. I expect a high-scoring game inside the controlled climate of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Prediction: Panthers win and game goes over the total, 34 – 28
Lock of the Week
Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) vs New York Giants [O/U 53.5]
The Cowboys (1-3) defense cannot stop the run (31 st , 172.5 YPG) but the Giants’ (0-4) offense (31 st , 76.5 YPG) is the perfect remedy for that. Mix that with the top-rated Dallas offense and this one could get ugly. The Giants have a solid
defense which has been overshadowed by an atrocious offense which has yet to eclipse 16 points in any game this year. The Giants have scored just 18 total points in their last two games, while Dallas dropped 24 points in the 4th quarter in a furious comeback attempt last week against Cleveland.
Prediction: Cowboys win and cover 38-21
-- by Tyler Robinson