Week 5 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Yanotchko)
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Here are my Week 5 NFL picks against the spread:
Cleveland Browns -4 (over Buffalo Bills)
In what will be an interesting matchup on Thursday, one of these teams will give its fan base hope by going above .500 heading into Week 6, which doesn't happen often for these franchises. The Browns have been surging under Bryan Hoyer, must be that Tom Brady magic that rubbed off all those years he sat on the bench.
The Bills have done most of their attack on the ground, but both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller are hobbled with injuries. Also, the Bills will have the misfortune of playing the league's fourth-ranked rushing defense that only allows 79 yards per game and a 2.9 yards per carry average.
I like the matchup of Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, and Davone Bess going up against the 23rd-ranked Buffalo pass defense that surrenders 277 yards per game and eight touchdowns. With Joe Haden to take away Steve Johnson, and the hobbled Bills rushing attack going against that front seven on a short week, I will lay the 4 all day.
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Detroit Lions +7 (over Green Bay Packers)
The Packers had the early bye this year, and it may have come at just the right time as they have started slow out of the gate at 1-2. The Lions had an impressive win over Chicago last week, and while their record hasn't been spectacular at Lambeau, they always play the Pack close.
The Lions will be able to exploit the Green Bay secondary, as the Packers give up a second-to-league-worst 9.0 yards per pass, and eight touchdowns through three games. The Lions have also been pretty good against the number this year as well, as they have posted a 3-1 mark and the Packers have gone 1-2.
As I stated previously, the Lions always play the Packers tight, as their last six contests have had a gap of 31 points total, and that includes a 12-point loss on Thanksgiving in 2011. I think the Packers will start to right the ship here, but giving seven is just a little too much and I smell a garbage touchdown for the backdoor cover.
Give me seven in a divisional game here as the Lions are a competitive team.
Carolina Panthers -2.5 (over Arizona Cardinals)
At first look, it's hard to imagine this Ron Rivera-coached team laying any points on the road to anyone but Jacksonville. Then again, I took a deeper look at Arizona, and now I see what Vegas was thinking here.
The Cardinals struggled to move the ball last week against a Tampa Bay team that is very average, as they didn't score until the fourth quarter. Matter of fact, a rookie QB threw an interception to put Carson Palmer in the red zone to get the Cards first TD in seven quarters. The Cardinals have also scored only 17 points in their last two games, and it doesn't get easier going against the No. 12 pass defense that gives up 226 yards, only two TD's, and averages 3.3 sacks per game. Arizona will also struggle to run the ball against the seventh-ranked rush defense that gives up 93 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry.
I really like the Panthers off the bye week here, and I will lay the 2.5 on this one.
Five of our contributors make three weekly picks ATS every week and they will be posted here.