LOS ANGELES, October 7, 2015 — With the 2015 NFL season at the quarter-mark, this seems to be the year where offense is leading the charge. The stereotype is that offense is entertainment but defense wins championships. One year ago nobody was 4-0. The 1972 Miami Dolphins popped champagne corks earlier than ever. This year there are several 4-0 teams, and most of them are winning because of offense. The usual suspects Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are doing what they do. Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan are playing at an elite level. Peyton Manning is the exception. His unbeaten team has benefitted from a vastly improved defense. Cam Newton has flourished and received solid help on the defensive side of the ball.
Teams that are struggling are facing more problems on offense than defense. This includes the Indianapolis Colts and the winless Detroit Lions, where Andrew Luck and Matthew Stafford are both struggling. As the season progresses, the defenses will catch up.
With that, here is the NFL 2015 Week 5 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, October 8, 2015, 8:30 p.m.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (Pick ‘em) — The Texans are winless, but the Colts at 2-2 are nothing special. Andrew Luck may be more injured than the Colts are letting on. This is the week the Texans finally get out their frustrations. Texans win.
Sunday, October 11
Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) — West Coast Offense dink and dunk game manager Alex Smith is not going to cover the spread because he will not be allowed to throw past the first down marker unless the Chiefs are losing late. Chiefs win, but fail to cover.
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) — The unbeaten Bengals really are that good. The offense is rolling. Now that Kam Chancellor is back, so is the Legion of Boom defense. If the Bengals want to earn respect, this is the type of game they need to win. Give them a chance at home. Bengals cover.
Washington at Atlanta Falcons (-7.5) — The unbeaten Falcons really are that good. The offense is rolling. Washington is awful, managing to win last week against an even more futile opponent. Atlanta won at home last week by 27 points after leading by 42. That could happen here. Falcons cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) — These teams are both awful, but the Jaguars fought hard last week. With everything else equal, trust the home field. Buccaneers cover.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-5) — The Saints finally got a win last week in dramatic fashion while the Eagles collapsed in equally dramatic fashion. The Eagles are awful, and a loss here could end their season. Give the Eagles one last chance against a wounded Saints team. Eagles win, but fail to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) — Both of these teams have suffered agonizing losses this year. The Browns are not as awful as in past years and the spread is too high for a Ravens team not as good as in past years. Ravens win, but fail to cover.
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (-9) — The Packers are normally carried by Aaron Rodgers and a high octane offense, but last week they win with stifling defense. The Rams manage to keep games close, and they shocked Arizona last week in Arizona. Packers win, but fail to cover.
Buffalo Bills (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans — Rex Ryan’s Bills beat up badly coached teams and get beat up badly by well-coached teams. Marcus Mariota is for real, but he will face crazy blitzes from all over this week. Go with Mad Scientist Rex and his defense. Bills cover.
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at Detroit Lions — Detroit is winless because their offense is listless. While Arizona suffered a shocking home loss last week, they have enough weapons to bounce back. Cardinals cover
New England Patriots (-9) at Dallas Cowboys — The Patriots are unbeaten because their offense may be as good as the 2007 team. Tom Brady is like Achilles, a man possessed and ready to destroy everything in his path. The Cowboys lack the firepower to compete with their stars injured. Patriots win, but fail to cover.
Denver Broncos (-5) at Oakland Raiders — Denver is a complete team. The Raiders are improved but gave the game away last week at previously winless Chicago. Denver just has too much on both sides of the ball for Oakland to handle. Broncos cover.
San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants (-7) — 25 years ago these teams played in one of the Greatest Monday Night Football Games ever and in one of the most brutal, old-school head-knocking NFC Title Game of all time. Now the Giants are just an average team while the 49ers are the bottom of the barrel. These Giants never put games away easily. Giants win, but fail to cover.
Monday, October 12, 8:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers (-3) — The Chargers barely survived at home last week, and the offense, despite scoring 30 points last week, is not as impressive as it seemed before the season began. With Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers would out-physical San Diego for a win. With him out injured, the swagger is lacking. Chargers cover.