As we progress further into the NFL season, the games gain more and more meaning. Will a specific team stay healthy? Can a hot quarterback continue dominating the NFL? Will a defensive line hold up against a tough running back? As we enter Week 5 in the NFL, the standings are starting to take form and each game means a little something extra. Let's go around the room of our BBS staff and see who they've got this week.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (OFF)
Pete: Until we know the true status of Andrew Luck, the line will be virtually impossible to call. With Hasselbeck as the QB last week, the Colts were able to squeak out a win against the lowly Jaguars. If Andrew Luck is able to go, I think that the Colts will win this game by a small margin. However, if he is unable to play or is limited in any way, I think a desperate Texans team takes this game.
Niko: No Luck, not happening. Even if Luck plays, I think Houston (at home) will give Indy everything they can handle. The Texans should be able to provide pressure off the edge with Watt and Clowney especially considering the Colts' sieve O-line. I'll go with Billy O and co. and take Houston.
Jacob: Not even a question in my mind. Andrew Luck has been ruled out for Thursday's game, forcing the Colts to start Hasselbeck for a second straight week. The Colts have struggled mightily WITH Luck under center, so I expect an easy Texans win without him.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Pete: I would rather watch paint dry than watch these two terrible teams play. The Buccaneers are legitimately one of the worst teams I have ever seen. After the Jaguars received a thrashing from the New England Patriots, they got their heart ripped out by the Indianapolis Colts. I have to think that they should be able to take this game against the Bucs with relative ease.
Niko: When "mic'd up", Bill Belicheck told Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley, "I can see where you guys are headed." Not sure he would bless Lovie Smith with the same kind words. I'll roll with the Jags.
Jacob: With both of these teams being among the worst in the league, I'm not sure why anyone would watch, or bet on this game. With the Jaguars looking like there is an actual plan in place for the future, and the Bucs being a complete mess, I'll take the Jags at +3.
Buffalo Bills (-3) at Tennessee Titans
Pete: Truthfully, I don't even know how the line for this game is only a field goal. I think that everyone is jumping on the Marcus Mariota train a little bit early. Yes, he looks like a great pick, but he is still a rookie. The Buffalo Bills could use someone like Mariota at QB, but I think that their oppressive defense will be just a little bit too much for the rookie quarterback.
Niko: Still seemingly concerned about the Patriots, the Bills are at a crossroads after a loss to the Giants at home last weekend. With Cincinnati next on the schedule, they have to clean up against Tennessee. I'll give them that much credit. Buffalo covers here.
Jacob: I'm not too high on the Bills, mostly because Rex Ryan can't seem to get his mind off of New England, but this spread is absurd. The Bills need this win to get back on track, and with the talent they have, I think the Bills easily win by more than a field goal.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Pete: Another cupcake game for the Baltimore Ravens. It looks like the Ravens will rattle off a couple more wins after starting the season 0-3. I don't think that they are much of a threat, nor do I think that they will get a playoff spot, but they have to win against the Browns, who are arguably the worst team in the league right now.
Niko: Welcome to the 2015 season, Justin Forsett. Thankfully for my fantasy team, the Baltimore running back finally decided to show up last week in a must win against Pitt. He'll have to do it again, as Baltimore's vertical attack is in serious trouble with an ailing Steve Smith. I think the Ravens will win, but not by much more than a field goal in an extremely ugly game. I may regret this, but I'll take the points here and go with the hapless Cleveland Browns.
Jacob: I REALLY don't like this year's Ravens team. With no deep threats for a quarterback limited to deep throws, a terrible defense, and a running back crumbling under expectations, this team has the potential to be among the worst in the league. I'm not high on the Browns, but I'll take the points and go with Cleveland.
Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons (-8)
Pete: The Redskins are kind of a mess right now. I like Kirk Cousins, but, as you all know, I LOVE Colt McCoy. Give that man a chance, and maybe they would win a game like this. Unfortunately, the Falcons should roll the 'Skins.
Niko: Not a bad start for Matty Ice and the Falcons this year, huh? I do believe they will come down to earth eventually, but I just don't think the 'Skins have enough. Atlanta covers.
Jacob: The Redskins look much improved from a year ago, but they are still a huge mess. The Falcons have the look of a legit contender this year, and I think Atlanta easily wins by a pair of touchdowns.
Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
Pete: Speaking of terrible teams, whats going on, Chicago? We have talked about a lot of terrible teams this season, but the Bears might trump them all. Even though Kansas City is struggling right now, they should decimate Chicago.
Niko: After going "all in" on Oakland last weekend, I really don't know what to think about Chicago. I know I can't stand Kansas City and their uber-conservative offense. I think the Chiefs end up winning in a game that probably shouldn't be televised, but I'll take Chicago with the points. The way they are playing now, KC can't cover against anyone.
Jacob: Kansas City is currently in a bit of a spiral, but the Bears are just absolutely awful. The Chief defense give Cutler an incredibly hard time, and the Chiefs cover.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
Pete: I think that this will be one of, if not the, best game(s) of the week. Both teams are hungry to get things going, but neither have really lived up to expectations this year. Philly has started to get it going, but I think that they will still struggle in this game. In an upset, I think Drew Brees throws the ball all over the field and rips apart this Eagles defense.
Niko: Hopefully both teams, specifically offenses, perform well because this game has the potential to be a shoot out (keep it in your pants, Greg Hardy). With the fans becoming restless in Philadelphia, I'll go with the home team to (re)cover and regain the backing of the city.
Jacob: This is definitely not a game to bet on. Both teams have drastically underperformed, so we really have no idea what we are going to see on Sunday. With Drew Brees a little banged up, I will reluctantly pick the Eagles to cover.
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
Pete: Most of the time, this would be a cake walk. However, after last week and seeing Todd Gurley run all over the field, it will be a game worth watching. The Green Bay defense has struggled up until this point of the season, but the Packers should still easily win this game. However, I don't think they will cover the 9.5 point spread.
Niko: Like Pete mentioned, Todd Gurley really changes things for the Rams. He was a BEAST in the win against 'Zona last weekend. With this added dynamic, I do like St. Louis and think they will threaten the Cards/Seahawks in the division, but just can't bring myself to go against Rodgers at home. Green Bay pulls away late and covers the 9 and a half.
Jacob: I like what the Rams are building in St. Louis, but come on, we're talking about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Throw in the fact that the Rams have to play AT Green Bay, and this becomes an easy pick for me. Packers cover.
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals (-1)
Pete: Could be the best game of the week. The Bengals are a fantastic September/October team and have shown that through the season up until this point. With so much scrutiny going on in Seattle at this point, it looks like the perfect time to take down the Seahawks. The game is nearly a push, and rightfully so. With the Bengals playing at home and confidence at an all time high, I think Seattle will suffer yet another loss this season.
Niko: One of these weeks, Cincy will fall apart. The Pats had the honor of pillaging their hopes last season; will the Seahawks do the same? Negative. At least I don't think so. Not after flushing my Monday evening down the toilet watching Seattle's horrific offensive performance against Detroit in a game they should have lost. Marvin Lewis and the "big" "bad" Bengals look good for another week and take down the Legion.
Jacob: If this game was in Seattle, I'd have no problem picking the Seahawks. But it's not. The Bengals, much to my surprise, have looked excellent through four weeks of play. The Seahawks have gotten almost zero production from the offense, and the defense has shown signs of weakness each week. The Bengals will collapse eventually, but not this week. Give me Cincinnati.
Arizona Cardinals (-3) at Detroit Lions
Pete: I want to like the Lions, I really do. I have thought for a long time that the tandem of Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson could be one of the best in football, but that just hasn't been the case up until this point. Stafford refuses to throw the ball down the field and it has cost this team, as they are now 0-4 (should be 1-3). Arizona easily.
Niko: I'm interested to see if the Cardinals win big, would Jim Caldwell get "Philbined?" Headline: "Upon hearing news of his firing, Jim Caldwell changed his facial expression!" Boy, do I thank God every day for Bill Belicheck...I'll go out on a limb and say Detroit saves their season and buys their "fearless leader" another week to right the ship.
Jacob: This line is a joke. You could make the case that the Lions' season ended Monday night in Seattle while the Cardinals are a real Super Bowl contender. Yes, the game is in Detroit, but there's absolutely no way the Lions keep this one within three.
New England Patriots (-7.5) at Dallas Cowboys
Pete: lol. Pats.
Niko: Going to save my extended thoughts here for the Roundtable coming later this weekend. Spoiler alert: I'm taking the Pats.
Denver Broncos (-5.5) at Oakland Raiders
Pete: Sneaky great game. Oakland has been playing good as of late, led by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. The Broncos should win this game, led by their great defense, but I wouldn't be surprised if Oakland shocks everyone and wins this game late.
Niko: My heart tells me Oakland, but my brain tells me Denver. You know what they say about gambling, right? Roll with the heart! Rising stars Khalil Mack and aforementioned Amari Cooper make the difference in the upset.
Jacob: This one ends up being one of the games of the week. The young, feisty Raiders will give the Broncos all they can handle, but come up short. I will take the points though, as I'll take a risk and say the Broncos only win by three.
San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants (-7)
Pete: The 49ers played Green Bay pretty well at home last week, but that should not be taken at face value. San Francisco is an absolute mess right now and need some major changes. Fast. Although the Giants are not necessarily the class of the NFC right now, they should win this game easily.
Niko: See above. G-men cover.
Jacob: Nothing more to add. Giants cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers (-3.5)
Pete: This is just my personal opinion, but I think that the Steelers are in full free-fall. With Michael Vick vomiting all over the field and a nonexistent special teams unit, I would not be surprised if the Steelers don't win a single game until Big Ben comes back. San Diego wins big.
Niko: Is it 2004? Are we playing Madden? No? Sorry, but Mike Vick just doesn't do it for me. San Diego by a touchdown or more.
Jacob: No way Mike Vick goes on the road and wins on a Monday night. Frankly I find this line laughable. Rivers and the Chargers win this one easily and cover in the process.
*All lines are as of Wednesday, October 7 @ 12 p.m