The fourth round of the NFL season is in the books and the 2016/17 campaign is more or less a quarter of the way through it already for most teams and Denver, Philadelphia and Minnesota are the only unbeaten teams. There were plenty of upsets in week 4 and the NFL is becoming more and more unpredictable as the weeks go by. Week 5 gets underway this Thursday, October 6th and there will be another exciting games on tap. Fans can expect more of the same intense action once again this weekend so let’s take a quick look at each matchup and see who’s likely to come out on top of them.
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Thursday, October 6th
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals head to the west coast this Thursday night to take on San Francisco after dropping a 17-13 home decision to the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. Arizona fell to 1-3 on the season and shares last place in the NFC West with San Francisco so this is a huge game for both teams. The 49ers are also 1-2 after losing 24-17 at home to Dallas last time out. Arizona has lost two in a row as their offence is struggling. To make things worse, quarterback Carson Palmer may miss the encounter with San Francisco due to a possible concussion. If he’s out, then backup Drew Stanton will start the game. Stanton passed for just 37 yards on Sunday when he took over by going four for 11. He was also picked off twice. Meanwhile, the 49ers lost to Dallas due to a combination of turnovers, injuries and penalties and blew a 14-point lead. San Francisco is 6-1 against Arizona in their last seven home meetings and 5-2 ATS.
Prediction: Arizona wins a close one by four points, 24-20
Sunday, October 9th
New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns
The big NFL story this week is the return of New England quarterback Tom Brady after sitting out his four-game suspension for Deflategate. The Patriots went 3-1 without him and sit first in the AFC East. However, they were upset 16-0 at home last week by the Buffalo Bills. Cleveland is now 0-4 on the year after losing 31-20 in Washington and sit in the basement of the AFC North. This leaves Cleveland as the only winless team in the league right now and things don’t get easier for head coach Hue Jackson with a visit by Beady and his teammates. The Browns obviously need to tighten up as they gave up six touchdown passes and 502 yards in the air over the past two weeks as quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill completed a combined 46 out of 66 passes. New England will be looking to bounce back after being held scoreless for the first time ever at Gillette Stadium last week.
Prediction: New England wins by 14 points, 35-21
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions
The Lions lost their third straight contest last week as they were edged 17-14 by the Bears in Chicago. Detroit’s highly-ranked offence struggled against the Bears’ injury-hit defence and could muster just a total of 263 yards of offence. Things will be tough once again this week as the Eagles are still undefeated at 3-0 after enjoying a bye last week. The Eagles top the NFC East while the Lions are 1-3 and share the NFC North cellar with the Bears. The Eagles are the best in the league when it comes to points against as they allow just an average of nine against per outing so far. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has his work cut out for him here and needs to rebound after going 23 for 36 in passing in Chicago for 213 yards. Stafford was picked off twice in that game and didn’t throw a touchdown pass.
Prediction: The Eagles win a close one by three points, 24-21
Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts
The Bears won their first game of the season last week with a close 17-14 home victory over Detroit. However, they still sit in the basement of the NFC with the Lions at 1-3 on the season. Quarterback Brian Hoyer had a good game for Chicago by going 28 for 36 in passing for 302 yards with two touchdown passes. Starting quarterback Jay Cutler missed the game with a thumb injury and is questionable for this weekend’s tilt. The Colts are at the bottom of the AFC South at 1-3 after losing 30-27 in London, England to Jacksonville last weekend. Chicago has beaten the Colts six of their last eight meetings.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins by seven points, 28-21
Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins dropped a 22-7 decision on the road to the Cincinnati Bengals last Thursday and now share the basement of the AFC East with the New York Jets at 3-1 on the year. Miami has played well recently against Tennessee and thumped them 38-10 last year. The Titans are also 1-3 this campaign in the NFC South along with the Colts and Jaguars while the Texans lead the division at 3-1. The Titans dropped a 27-20 decision in Houston last weekend and are the lowest-scoring team in the NFL with only 15.5 points scored per game on average.
Prediction: Miami wins by nine points, 26-17
Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens
The Washington Redskins have won two in a row after handing the Cleveland Browns a 31-20 loss last week at home. The win gives the Redskins a 2-2 record this campaign and they sit in a third-place tie in the NFC East with the New York Giants. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has helped turned the team around and led the way with three touchdown passes over Cleveland. Baltimore is 3-1 on the year and shares the AFC North lead with the Steelers. However, the lost their first game of the season last week when Oakland edged them 28-27 at home. Baltimore allowed 261 yards against to the Raiders and couldn’t control quarterback Derek Carr.
Prediction: Baltimore wins by 10 points, 35-25
Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings remained unbeaten on the season after dropping New York Giants 24-10 at home on Monday night. The Minnesota defence was in top form once again and scored 10 points on a pair of two forced turnovers. Minnesota has allowed just 50 points against in their four contests and lead the league with a plus-10 margin in turnovers. Their 4-0 record sees them sit atop the NFC North. The Houston Texans climbed to 3-1 on the season after downing the Tennessee Titans 27-20 at home last Sunday. Houston now leads the AFC South with their 3-1 mark even with J.J. Watt out with a long-term injury. The Texans allowed just 202 yards against in the air last week which was actually above their average as they are allowing a league-low 162.5 yards against per game on average.
Prediction: Minnesota remains unbeaten with an 11-point win, 25-14
New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers rebounded well from their 34-3 drubbing at the hands of the Eagles a couple of weeks ago as they drilled the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 at home last Sunday. The Steelers are now 3-1 on the year and share the lead in the AFC North with Baltimore. Le’Veon Bell returned to the Pittsburgh lineup after serving a suspension and chipped in with 23 touches for 178 yards. The New York Jets have lost two in a row after falling 27-17 at home to Seattle last week. They’re now 1-3 and tied with Miami for last place in the AFC East. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will need to be better as he was picked off three times last week while throwing just one touchdown pass. He’s thrown a league-high 10 interceptions so far this campaign.
Prediction: The Steelers win by 17 points, 42-25
Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos
The Falcons were on fire offensively last week with a 48-33 victory over Carolina at home. Receiver Julio Jones had a career game as he caught for a Falcons’ record 300 yards. In addition, quarterback Matt Ryan racked up 503 for a new team-record. The totals by Jones and Ryan were the most the Panthers have ever allowed in a single game. Denver has one of the best defences in the league though and are ranked fifth-best with just 16 points against on average per game this year. The reigning Super Bowl champs beat Tampa 27-7 on the road last week to remain unbeaten at 4-0. They’ve now started a season 4-0 for the third time in the past four campaigns. They lead the AFC West while the Falcons are 3-1 and lead the NFC South.
Prediction: Atlanta hands Denver their first loss by four points, 27-23
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys rolled to their third straight triumph last week with an exciting come-from-behind 24-17 win in San Francisco. It’s Dallas’ longest winning streak since 2014. They’re now 3-1on the year which is good for second place in the NFC East. With starting quarterback Tony Romo on the shelf, rookie Dak Prescott has been leading the way. He hasn’t thrown an interception as of yet this season and gained 245 yards last week by going 23 for 32 in passing with a pair of touchdown tosses. The Bengals beat the Miami Dolphins 22-7 at home last Thursday to halt their two-game losing skid. A.J. Green gained 173 yards on 10 receptions and scored a touchdown. The Cowboys’ secondary is 19th in the league by allowing an average 263.5 yards against per outing. The Bengals are 2-2 on the year and third in the AFC North.
Prediction: Dallas extend the winning streak to with a seven point win, 24-17
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams
Buffalo heads west this Sunday as they meet the Rams. The Bills upset New England on the road last week by shutting them out 16-0 for their second straight triumph. They’re now second in the AFC East at 2-2 on the season. The Los Angeles Rams top the NFC West Division at 3-1 after a thrilling comeback win 17-13 against the Arizona Cardinals on the road last Sunday. Brian Quick and Case Keenum combined for a pair of touchdown passes to help lead Los Angeles to their third straight victory. This is the first time since 2006 that the Rams franchise has started a campaign at 3-1. Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor passed for 246 yards with a touchdown last week and converted seven out of 15 third-down chances.
Prediction: The Bills get past Los Angeles by six points, 27-21
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
There’s a big AFC West showdown with the Chargers at Raiders on Sunday. The Raiders edged Baltimore 28-27 on the road last week and are second in the division at 3-1 on the year. Head coach Jack Del Rio has started at 3-1 for the first time since 2007 when he was with Jacksonville. Quarterback Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree combined for a trio of touchdown against the Ravens. San Diego sits at the bottom of the division at 1-3 and are allowing 289.5 yards against in the air per game, which ranks sixth-most in the NFL. San Diego was edged 35-34 by the New Orleans Saints last week after turning the ball over twice late in the game. They’ve blown three late leads so far this year.
Prediction: Oakland wins by 10 points, 31-21
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
Things aren’t getting any better for the New York Giants as they lost their second straight game last Monday 24-10 to Minnesota. Quarterback Eli Manning struggled by going 25 for 45 in passing for just 261 yards with no touchdown passes and one interception. His passer rating was 63.3. The Giants are tied for last in the AFC East at 2-2 on the season. Green Bay had a bye last week and are 2-1 for second place in the AFC North. The Packers’ secondary allows 307.3 yards against per game on average this year, which ranks the fourth most in the league. The Giants have played well against Green Bay lately by going 3-0 both straight up and ATS in their past three encounters.
Prediction: Green Bay wins by 20 points, 42-21
Monday, October 10th
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have now lost two in a row after losing 48-33 in Atlanta last weekend. They’re 1-3 on the year and third in the NFC South. Tampa dropped a 27-7 decision at home to Denver and are tied with the Panthers in the NFC South at 1-3. This will feature a good quarterback showdown between the Panthers’ Cam Newton and Tampa’s Jameis Winston if Newton is healthy enough to play. Winston has been a little erratic this year and has been picked off eight times in four games, which is the second-most in the league. Newton has been struggling for passing accuracy as he went 14 for 25 last week for just 165 yards along with a touchdown. His quarterback rating was an unimpressive 47.2.
Prediction: The Panthers win by 18 points, 38-20