NFL capsules for Week 5


Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks


Week 5 kicks off with an intriguing NFC West battle as the Los Angeles Rams (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) are coming off their first loss with Matthew Stafford. They visit the Seattle Seahawks (2-2 SU and ATS) for “Thursday Night Football,” and the Rams are 1.5-point favorites on the road. Despite winning, the Seahawks were not ultra-impressive in their victory over the 49ers. The Seahawks were outgained by 223 yards and held to just over 4 yards per play, compiling only 234 yards. The Rams were handed their first loss in convincing fashion, allowing 216 rushing yards to the Cardinals and losing 37-20 even with a meaningless touchdown in the final minute to narrow the deficit. Both teams are looking to keep pace with the 4-0 Cardinals in the NFC West. The total is 53.5. These teams played three times last year, with each winning at home in the regular season and the Rams winning in Seattle on wild-card weekend.


New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons


For the first time since 2019, London games return to the slate as the New York Jets (1-3 SU and ATS) are the road team against the Atlanta Falcons (1-3 SU and ATS). The Jets come in off their first victory and first cover as they upset the Titans 27-24 in overtime. But the Jets still rank 30th in the league in yards per play. While the Jets have struggled on offense, they have played respectably on defense and held the Titans to 4.5 yards per play. They face a Falcons team that is near the bottom of the league on both sides of the ball at 26th and 27th, respectively, in yards per play and yards allowed per play. The lookahead line was Falcons laying 4.5 but is now at 3.5, with a total of 42.5.


Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The Miami Dolphins (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) won’t have to travel far for this intrastate matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS). The Dolphins have been inept on offense and will still be without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is expected to return after the Week 6 bye. At 4 yards per play on offense, the Dolphins are dead last in the NFL. They put up just 203 yards in last week’s loss to the Colts, with most of those yards coming in a lopsided fourth quarter. The final score was 27-17, but both Dolphins touchdowns came late after they trailed by 17 points. The Buccaneers will be off an emotional win over the Patriots in which they allowed -1 rushing yard but suffered a few injuries to an already banged-up secondary that included Richard Sherman starting just four days after signing. The Bucs are favored by 10, with the total at 49.5. Dolphins wide receiver Will Fuller has been ruled out with a broken finger.


Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers


The Philadelphia Eagles (1-3 SU and ATS) will look to bounce back against the Carolina Panthers (3-1 SU and ATS) after getting gashed by the Chiefs, allowing 42 points on 471 yards (200 rushing yards) and 7.5 yards per play. The Eagles allowed the Chiefs to convert an eye-popping 9 of 10 third downs. The Panthers had been outstanding on defense but had similar issues getting stops against Dallas’ high-powered offense. The Panthers still are allowing less than 5 yards per play but gave up 433 yards on 7.7 yards per play against the Cowboys. The final score was 36-28 but was perhaps misleading as the Panthers scored two touchdowns late after falling behind 36-14 in the fourth quarter. The Panthers are favored by 4, and the total is 46.5. Christian McCaffrey missed last week’s game but did make the trip to Dallas, perhaps a positive sign that his return is imminent. 


New Orleans Saints at Washington Football Team


Both games Washington (2-2 SU and ATS) has won have been decided in the final seconds, coming from behind late to beat the Falcons last week and gaining over 400 yards of offense on 6.6 yards per play. The New Orleans Saints (2-2 SU and ATS) blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead, eventually falling to the Giants 27-21 in overtime. The Saints allowed 485 yards of offense to the previously winless Giants, including a game-winning 75-yard drive in overtime. The Saints are bottom-5 in the league in points per play on offense and head to Washington having played just one game in New Orleans this season, making this essentially their fourth road game. The Saints were favored by 1.5 on the lookahead line and that’s where this line remains, with the total at 43.5. Washington has notable injuries as tight tight end Logan Thomas is week-to-week and Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff is likely out.  


Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars


The Tennessee Titans (2-2 SU and ATS) are looking to rebound as they were upset by the previously winless Jets last week and will have some key injuries to monitor. Star wideouts Julio Jones and A.J. Brown missed last week’s game, and their status is in doubt. Injury concerns and blowing a 9-0 lead to the Jets have affected the market, as the lookahead line was over a touchdown but reopened at 3.5. The Titans rank near the bottom of the league in opponent yards per play at 6.1. The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS) showed signs of competence for the first time under Urban Meyer, covering for the first time despite blowing a 14-0 halftime lead in a loss to the Bengals. The Jaguars are 30th in the league and allow an average of 6.4 yards per play. The total opened at 52, but with uncertainty for Titans’ key skill players, it has dropped to 48.


Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders


The Chicago Bears (2-2 SU and ATS) go on the road to take on the Las Vegas Raiders (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS). The Bears will be looking to jump-start an offense that is 31st in the league at 4.1 yards per play, though they moved the ball effectively in beating the Lions, averaging 6.5 yards per play as Justin Fields secured his first career victory. It is uncertain who will play quarterback for the Bears, but coach Matt Nagy said Monday that Andy Dalton would start if he’s healthy. The Raiders will be on a short week of preparation, coming off their first loss as the Chargers stymied them Monday night and held them to 213 yards of offense on 3.8 yards per play. The lookahead line was Raiders by 6.5, but their lackluster performance coupled with the Bears’ victory has this line down to 5. The total is 45.5.


Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers


The Cleveland Browns (3-1 SU and ATS) and Los Angeles Chargers (3-1 SU and ATS) square off in a battle of 3-1 teams that will give the winner an early inside track to the postseason. The Chargers will be working on a short week after an impressive Monday night victory. The Chargers have faced the high-powered offenses of the Chiefs, Cowboys and Raiders yet are still in the top half of the league in yards per play allowed at 5.5. The Browns are second, allowing 4.5 per play. The Browns’ defense gave up a touchdown on the first drive against the Vikings but pitched a shutout from then on, as the Browns won 14-7. The books see this one dead even as it is now a pick-’em. The total is 49.5.


Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings


In an NFC North matchup between two struggling teams, the Detroit Lions (0-4 SU, 2-2 ATS) are looking for their first win under Dan Campbell. They lost to the Bears last week, surrendering 188 yards rushing, and twice had first-and-goal but came away with zero points after a fumble and an unsuccessful fourth-down attempt. The Minnesota Vikings (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) fell to the Browns 14-7, scoring only on their first drive. Both teams are in the bottom 5 defensively, allowing over 6 yards per play. Dalvin Cook played after missing the previous week, but he was in and out of the game and got attention from trainers on the sideline. The Vikings are favored by 8.5 and will likely be a popular survivor/teaser choice. The total is 49.5.


Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers


The Denver Broncos (3-1 SU and ATS) had a rough weekend as the step up in competition resulted in a one-sided defeat at the hands of the Ravens. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater exited early and is questionable this week as he is in concussion protocol. The Broncos are still top 5 in the league, allowing just over 12 points per game, but their first three games came against the Jets, Giants and Jaguars. That Week 1 win in Buffalo by the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3 SU and ATS) seems a distant memory as they have been beaten soundly in each game since. The Steelers are struggling offensively and are 26th in the league at just under 5 yards per play. The Broncos were small 2-point chalk on the lookahead line, but a poor performance coupled with uncertainty as to who will play quarterback has shifted the Steelers into the role of 1.5-point favorites. The low total opens at 40.5.


Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals


The Green Bay Packers (3-1 SU and ATS) visit the upstart Cincinnati Bengals (3-1 SU and ATS) with both teams off to promising 3-1 starts. The Packers have shaken off the opening-day stinker against the Saints, winning and covering all three games since. That opening dud has tainted some of their numbers offensively, as they are still only 22nd in the league in yards per play while being eighth in yards per play allowed. The Bengals erased a 14-point halftime deficit and kicked a field goal to beat the Jaguars on the final play Thursday night. Their defense has been one of the more surprising units in the league, allowing just under 5 yards per play, and they will have a few extra days of rest. Bengals running back Joe Mixon looks unlikely to play as he nurses an ankle injury. The Packers are favored by 3.5, and the total is 49.5.


New England Patriots at Houston Texans 


The New England Patriots (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) lost a heartbreaker to Tampa Bay on the big stage Sunday night as Nick Folk’s 56-yard kick hit the upright in the final minute, though the Patriots did cover as home dogs. It’s not often that a 1-3 team will be viewed as an appealing survivor option/teaser leg on the road, but this may be an exception. The Houston Texans (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) were playing spirited ball with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback but have been uncompetitive since Davis Mills has filled in due to Taylor’s injury in Week 2. The Texans lost to the Bills 40-0, accumulating just over 100 yards, and amazingly were held to just 4 yards in the first half. The Patriots opened as 7-point favorites on the lookahead line, but the pitiful showing by the Texans has the line all the way up to 9.5, with 39.5 as one of the lower totals we will see all season. 


New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys


The New York Giants (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) avoided an 0-4 start by rallying from a late 21-10 deficit to defeat the Saints on the road in overtime. The Giants were impressive on offense, averaging over 8 yards per play and gaining 485 yards despite missing two starting wide receivers. The Dallas Cowboys (3–1 SU, 4-0 ATS) were just as impressive, averaging 7.7 yards per play against a Panthers team that had been dominant through three weeks. The Cowboys led 36-14 in the fourth quarter, but two late touchdowns by the Panthers made it a misleading 36-28 final. The Cowboys continue to reward bettors: They are the only team perfect against the spread. The Cowboys are favored by 8, and the total is 51.5 as both teams are top-10 in yards per play on offense. Wide receiver ailments for both teams will be something to watch, as the Giants’ Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard and the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper have been nursing injuries.


San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals


The San Francisco 49ers (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS) will be looking to avoid falling below .500 after a 2-0 start. They outgained the Seahawks by over 200 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per play while holding Seattle to 4.3 ypp, but a brutal 14 percent third-down conversion rate did not help as the 49ers lost the game and perhaps lost their quarterback for a few weeks as Jimmy Garoppolo strained his calf. The Arizona Cardinals (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) were favored by 2 points on the lookahead line. But a thorough and decisive victory over the Rams coupled with uncertainty regarding Garoppolo has ballooned this line to 6.5. The Cardinals ran for 216 yards and led 37-13 before the Rams got into the end zone in the final minutes. The total opened at 52 and is down to 50. 


Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs


For the second week in a row, “Sunday Night Football” delivers quite an intriguing matchup. The Buffalo Bills (3-1 SU and ATS) lost to the Steelers in Week 1 but have since won three straight blowouts, the latest a 40-0 destruction of the hapless Texans. This AFC championship game rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS) is one of the higher totals we’ll see all year at 57, with the Chiefs pegged as slight 2.5-point favorites, down from the lookahead number of 3.5. The Chiefs beat the Eagles 42-30 and covered for just the second time in the last 14 games but allowed 461 yards and are dead last defensively in allowing 6.9 yards per play. The Bills are at the other end of the spectrum, allowing a league-best 4 yards per play.  The Chiefs beat the Bills in Buffalo last year 26-17 and then again in the AFC title game 38-24. 


Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens


The Indianapolis Colts (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) perhaps saved their season in Miami last week, beating the Dolphins to avoid an 0-4 start. The Colts suffocated the Dolphins, allowing just 203 yards of offense, but still rank in the bottom half offensively and defensively in yards per play. The Baltimore Ravens (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) lost a heartbreaker in Week 1 but have won three in a row and open as 7.5-point favorites at home on “Monday Night Football.” They too are coming off a dominating defensive performance, holding the Broncos to 254 yards and seven points. The Colts not only won last week but also caught a break as the division-leading Titans fell to the Jets. The total is 47.5.


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