Mike Ivcic’s Week 5 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 5 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>


By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer


Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Dolphins by 3
So the Dolphins finally looked mortal last week in New Orleans, and now come home to play the biggest Jekyll and Hyde team in the league. The Ravens looked average at best for the first two weeks, looked like a Super Bowl contender as they dismantled Houston, then turned the ball over five times in their loss to Buffalo. The question for this game is really which Baltimore team will show up. Miami is a good, not great, team that will beat the Ravens from weeks 1, 2, and 4 but won’t beat the Ravens team from week 3. Initially I was thinking Baltimore here, but since it’s in Miami, I’ll play it safe and take the Dolphins.
Pick: Miami 24, Baltimore 20

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 7
This line is much too high for my liking. Yes, the Packers are coming off a bye, but the Lions offense is really clicking and the Packers haven’t been as sharp as I expected them to be so far this season. I think Green Bay will ultimately win this game – and I could easily see a push here – but I don’t see this getting beyond a one possession game.
Pick: Green Bay 31, Detroit 27

Jacksonville Jaguars @ St. Louis Rams
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Rams by 11.5
I can’t believe I’m about to do this, because the Jags haven’t covered a spread this year, but just chalk this pick up to thinking that the Rams just aren’t good enough to be double digit favorites over anyone. After getting smoked by Dallas in the first half last week, I’m questioning whether this team is really headed in the right direction.
Pick: St. Louis 21, Jacksonville 13

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, CBS

New England Patriots @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bengals by 2
This could easily wind up being the game of the week. The Bengals looked like world beaters in rallying to beat Green Bay two weeks ago, then gave it all back in their loss to the Browns. If the flip-flop continues, they are quite capable of handing the Patriots their first loss of the year. I actually thought the Falcons were going to do that, but Brady and Belichick just keep winning game after game – a trend I think continues here.
Pick: New England 34, Cincinnati 31

New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears
Sun, 1pm, FOX

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Giants by 2.5
There is absolutely nothing that I’ve seen from the Giants over the first four weeks of the season to indicate that the Giants should be favored in this game – and yet, with a win here they would likely be one game out of first place in the NFC East, assuming Denver beats Dallas. That also means that an Eagles victory would put them into a tie with the Cowboys in that same scenario, and that seems infinitely more plausible. The Eagles defense may be atrocious, but so, too, is New York’s, and Philadelphia offense should be able to take advantage of that. I still trust Eli Manning significantly more than Michael Vick, so if this does become a close game I can almost guarantee the Giants will win and I’ll regret this pick, but I think the Eagles get an early lead here and hang on for win number two in the Chip Kelly era.
Pick: Philadelphia 30, New York 23

Seattle Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts
Sun, 1pm, FOX


Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Panthers by 2
Give Arizona credit – their run defense is very, very good, and as a result this team is 2-2 having played just one home game thus far. While the playoffs are still highly unlikely, it’s clear that the Cardinals are getting better and heading in a positive direction. I also don’t particularly like this Carolina team, even if a win here would get them back to .500, so I think Arizona takes this one at home.
Pick: Arizona 20, Carolina 17

Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys
Sun, 4:25pm, CBS

Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49’ers
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: 49’ers by 6.5
At this point, I just don’t think it’s safe to trust the Texans, especially on the road. They haven’t been able to put together a full 60 minutes of solid football all season, and should feel quite fortunate to actually be 2-2, considering they needed a major rally to beat San Diego in week one and overtime to knock off Tennessee in week two. Meanwhile the Niners had the chance to get healthy against the Rams and then the chance to get healthy with 10 days off, so this should be a game San Francisco should dominate. If they don’t, it will likely indicate that they may not be as legitimate of a contender as we thought, rather than anything having to do with Houston making marked improvements.
Pick: San Francisco 28, Houston 17

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 11:35pm, NFLN
Line: Chargers by 4.5
The whole country will now get to watch this game thanks to the Oakland A’s postseason baseball schedule, though I don’t think it will help the Raiders in any way. The Chargers offense has finally looked like the offense everyone always expected them to be, especially with the re-emergence of Antonio Gates last week. He’s a matchup nightmare, and I just don’t know that Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland offense will be able to match Philip Rivers touchdown for touchdown. I think a seven-point win here is a very fair pick.
Pick: San Diego 27, Oakland 20

New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN

Straight-Up: 40-24
Against Spread: 31-31-2


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