Spread picks and scores for every Week 5 game

Mike Renner makes score predictions for every game of Week 5 of the NFL season.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Spread picks and scores for every Week 5 game

As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 5 games, as well as highlighting the key matchups. I’ll give you my picks and how confident I am in each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

Basically, if I give my prediction a positive grade, I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way. For the season, I’m 18-7 on positively-graded picks against the spread, and 18-19-1 on all others.


Bears at Chiefs (-9)

I said last week that the Bears are not as bad as their first three games may have suggested, and I stand by that after a last-second win against the Raiders at home. That’s why it’s odd to me that the Chiefs, a team with the same record as the Bears, are favored so heavily. The Chiefs downfall this year has actually been their defense, and not so much their offense. Their secondary has the fourth-worst coverage grade in the league, and with Jay Cutler healthy, I like Chicago’s chances of at least keeping it close.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Bears 21

Confidence Grade: +0.5


Seahawks at Bengals (-3)

Andy Dalton is playing easily the best football of his career, but just how long will that last? Through four games, he’s faced our 31st, 23rd, 13th and 28th-ranked defenses in pass coverage. The Seahawks are currently ranked 10th, but have a pass coverage grade of +7.7 since the return of Kam Chancellor. They’ll be a huge test for the Bengals offense, and one I don’t see them passing just yet.

Prediction: Seahawks 21, Bengals 18

Confidence Grade: 0


Redskins at Falcons (-8)

Julio Jones is by far our highest-graded receiver this season, facing the Redskins secondary in a terrifying matchup. The only starter in Washington’s secondary with a positive grade is rookie slot corner Kyshoen Jarrett. That’s not going to get it done against our sixth-highest graded quarterback, Matt Ryan. The Redskins love to pound the ball on the ground, but they’ve been ineffective recently with center Kory Lichtensteiger (-25.0) grading out as the worst center in the league.

Prediction: Falcons 34, Redskins 24

Confidence Grade: +0.5


Jaguars at Buccaneers (-3)

The Jaguars have too much young talent to keep throwing away games like they have been. It’s a shame they lost right guard Brandon Linder (-1.2) for the season, because they have a very favorable matchup against the Buccaneers’ 32nd-graded run unit. I ultimately think that tips the scales in favor of the Jaguars, but Jameis Winston has been the ultimate wildcard this year.

He brazenly lost them games in weeks one and four with his decision making, but played outstanding in their Week 2 win in New Orleans, and did enough to win in Week 3 in Houston. I would never bet this game for exactly that reason, but if good Jameis comes to play, I could easily see Tampa Bay coming away with the win.

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Buccaneers 17

Confidence Grade: -1


Saints at Eagles (-4.5)

Drew Brees should be fully healthy again, and after his performance against the Cowboys, I’m surprised the line is this high. That being said, both the Saints and the Eagles have shown major deficiencies that scare me. The big ones are the Saints’ defense against the pass, where they have the lowest grade in the league.

If Sam Bradford (-2.9) can’t get it on track this week, it’ll never happen. The other is the Eagles abysmal rushing attack. DeMarco Murray is averaging -0.4 yards before contact, while Ryan Mathews hasn’t had much more room at +0.6. I’m not sure which will have the bigger impact in the game, so I’ll side with the more proven quarterback.

Prediction: Saints 23, Eagles 21

Confidence Grade: -1.5


Browns at Ravens (-7)

If Steve Smith and Crockett Gillmore aren’t able to go in this one, Joe Flacco may very well be throwing to the worst assembly of weapons in the NFL. The Browns secondary has woefully underperformed this year, and is ranked 25th overall, but it won’t take much to shut down this Ravens’ passing attack. The only issue is the Browns’ hit-and-miss offense. It took a +4.3 grade from Josh McCown just for them to put up 27 points on a poor Chargers defense. I’m not sure I’d expect that from him again, and I don’t see this being a high-scoring affair.

Prediction: Ravens 17, Browns 13

Confidence Grade: -0.5


Rams at Packers (-9)

Aaron Rodgers’ grade in his last 16 home games is a cool +51.6, and you’d have to go back to Week 13 of 2010 to find the last time he posted a negative passing grade at home. That’s how dominant he’s been. It also means the hard count will be in full effect, which Rams’ defensive ends Robert Quinn (+5.6) and Chris Long (+3.1) have historically struggled with.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is set to make his return, which is a huge boost over Don Barclay, our second lowest-graded tackle. For the Rams, Todd Gurley should be a huge boost to their running game, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to overcome our 16th-ranked run blocking line just yet.

Prediction: Packers 27, Rams 17

Confidence Grade: 0


Bills (-3) at Titans

Rex Ryan’s defenses have confused even the most experienced quarterbacks, and he’ll throw the kitchen sink at Marcus Mariota Sunday. Mariota (-1.0) has impressed through three games, but when it went badly in Cleveland, it went really badly. I like a lot of what the Titans have done, and they have a top-five run blocking unit, but so far no one has gotten it done against the Bills front four. The longest carry they’ve given up so far is 14 yards. That means it’ll be on the arm and legs of Mariota, and that’s a lot to ask from the rookie.

Prediction: Bills 27, Titans 17

Confidence Grade: +1.5


Cardinals (-3) at Lions

The Lions’ offense is a mess. They have one of the best collections of playmakers in the league, but have been unable to scheme around our 32nd-ranked offensive line and Matthew Stafford’s (-14.0) brutal decision making. Stafford is currently the lowest-graded quarterback in our system, and he faces our second-highest graded coverage unit. Not to mention, the Cardinals have our highest-graded quarterback in Carson Palmer (+15.1), who has been playing out of his mind. Everything seems to be pointing in the Cardinals direction on this one.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Lions 17

Confidence Grade: +1.5


Patriots (-10) at Cowboys

The Cowboys defense has been a tad exposed this season against any team not named the Philadelphia Eagles. Now they are facing the league’s highest-scoring offense with our fourth-highest graded quarterback at the helm. Oh, and Bill Belichick had two weeks to prepare for the matchup.

The Cowboys are in the bottom half of the league in both run defense and pass coverage, while the Patriots are in the top 10 in pass, run, pass block, and run block grades. The silver lining for the Cowboys is that they have a pretty favorable matchup against the Patriots’ defensive line. The problem is, with Brandon Weeden at the helm, I don’t expect New England to give much credence to the threat of passing.

Prediction: Patriots 34, Cowboys 21

Confidence Grade: 0


Broncos (-5) at Raiders

If there was ever a time for Peyton Manning to get back on track, it’s against the weak secondary of the Raiders. Oakland employs our 31st-graded coverage unit, and I’m not sure Jack Del Rio’s insider knowledge of Manning can save them in this one. It’s not so much Manning, though, that I believe decides this game.

Once again, I expect the Broncos utterly ridiculous defensive line to be the deciding factor. The Raiders may have our second-best pass blocking unit to date, but they haven’t faced a trio anywhere close to Von Miller (+19.6), DeMarcus Ware (+10.1), and Malik Jackson (+6.2). Derek Carr’s (+2.7) average time to attempt of 2.37 seconds is the ninth-fastest in the league, but the Broncos have slowed down a lot of quarterbacks with Aqib Talib (+1.6), Chris Harris (+3.4), and their number one-ranked coverage unit.

Prediction: Broncos 27, Raiders 17

Confidence Grade: +0.5


49ers at Giants (-7)

It’s getting close to rock bottom for Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense. He now has a -13.1 grade over his last two games, and has an atrocious 56.1 accuracy percentage in that time span. The Giants, on the other hand are a hard team to pin down. They have our 30th-ranked coverage unit, and have given up more yards than anyone else in the NFL, yet they just handled the Bills and Redskins in back-to-back weeks. For as bad as the 49ers have looked on offense, they put together the best defensive effort of anyone so far against the Packers. I can see this game going a number of different ways.

Prediction: Giants 20, 49ers 17

Confidence Grade: -1


Steelers at Chargers (-3)

There are two reasons I just can’t pick the Chargers: their offensive and defensive lines. I’ve mentioned it almost every week about them, but any team with a halfway decent running game is just going to cram it down San Diego’s throat. Le’Veon Bell (+5.7) is already running at midseason form, and that doesn’t bode well for the Chargers.

If any combination of left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Orlando Franklin, and center Chris Watt are out again this week, it will mean tough sledding for running back Melvin Gordon and increased heat on Philip Rivers. Even with Ben Roethlisberger out, I still think the Steelers have too many matchup advantages in this one.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Chargers 23

Confidence Grade: -1


Season Record: 41-22 (36-26-1 ATS)


| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The Cardinals spotting the Lions only 3 points seems like an early Christmas present. Mike Renner has the Redbirds coasting to a 2 TD win and I think he may have been too conservative there.
    I’m guessing at least half the attendees at the game between the Jaguars and Bucs will be Florida inmates on a day pass. Everyone else in Florida is too depressed to watch another exercise in futility.

    • Backinmd

      Your right .. Even the Dolphins are kinda disappointing …Think their offense is still on vacation..And Bucs new QB (know he’s a rookie) has been discouraging ..He makes too many bonehead plays ..

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  • Sam Doohan

    I don’t know if I’d want to bet anything on PIT vs SD but I do tend to agree with your analysis. I think the Steelers win but by how much, that’s a whole lot harder to call. Could be 1 point, could be 14. Even a marginally better passing game from PIT and I think it’s a lot more comfortable but you never want to put money on how good (or not) Mike Vick turns out to be.

  • Backinmd

    What’s with the Florida NFL teams this year ? Seems as though none of them can get out of each other’s way …Know Winston wasn’t going to be the next Andrew Luck when he came out of Fla. State but the guy seems like he’s in the twilight zone every third or fourth play ..By the way ,the only NFL QB I’ve ever seen that was as dominate,great his rookie year was Dan Marino ..

    • crosseyedlemon

      Not the best time to be a Florida football fan but at least the Tampa Bay Lightning should be able to make another run at the Stanley Cup.

  • herewegobrowniesherewego

    “I said last week that the Bears are not as bad as their first three
    games may have suggested, and I stand by that after a last-second win
    against the Raiders at home. That’s why it’s odd to me that the Chiefs, a
    team with the same record as the Bears, are favored so heavily.”

    That’s because they are also not as bad as their record, and Arrowhead is one of the best home fields.

    I too think the spread is a bit large even if the Chiefs will win (reminds me of when the Colts were favored by ~4 @ Cleveland last year and money was still pouring in Indy’s way.)

  • paulies spamhole

    A bunch of coin flips would do just as well.