LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2014 — Dennis Allen has been fired, Tony Sparano is beginning his 12 week internship, and the pursuit of Jon Gruden is in full bloom. The Raiders have the week off to decide if they want to be football players or if Mark Davis should fire everyone and start over. For those who love football but are not members of the Raider Nation, here is the NFL 2014 Week 5 Preview and Bettor’s Guide. Point spreads are provided by FootballLocks.com and all time zones are Eastern.
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-9) — Teddy Bridgewater looked very impressive last week at home, but Aaron Rodgers reminded the league that he is still among the best, especially at home. Green Bay has too much firepower. Packers cover
Sunday, October 5, 1:00 p.m.
Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers (-2.5) — The Bears failed to take the next step last week while Carolina got torched by their former receiver Steve Smith. Jay Cutler facing the Carolina defense makes for a fun chess match, with the home crowd provided enough of an edge to force Cutler into a mistake when it matters most. Panthers cover
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (-1) — If the Browns are ever going to get to the next level, this is the game to do it. Bryan Hoyer is playing well and the Tennessee quarterback situation is a mess. Taking the Browns on the road is never easy, but let’s give these Cardiac Kids a chance. Upset special, Browns win outright
St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles (-7) — When a bad team trying really hard goes on the road and faces a very good team angry after a loss, the results are ugly. This has blowout written all over it. Eagles cover
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-4) — The Falcons are not the same team on the road as they are at home. The Giants were supposed to be awful, but Tom Coughlin is the best motivator in the NFL today. The spread is high given how prolific Matt Ryan, but Eli Manning will do enough to get the win. Giants win but fail to cover
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-10.5) — Mike Glennon is a real quarterback who engineered a heroic win last week. The Saints are a shocking 1-3, but this is the game where Sean Payton and Drew Brees either right the ship or see the season wash away. At home, expect the former. Saints cover
Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) — The Cowboys and Texans were supposed to be awful, yet are both sitting at 3-1. The Dallas offense is playing well and their defense is not nearly as dreadful as advertised. At home, that should be enough. Cowboys cover
Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions (-7) — E.J. Manuel has been benched in favor of Kyle Orton, an underrated winner who gets the job done. Yet at home in the dome, Matthew Stafford should be able to fire at will to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Lions cover
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) — The Ravens are sitting at 3-1, but this is the game that will show if they really are back to where they were a couple years ago. More likely, reality will set in as Andrew Luck throws early, often and successfully. Colts cover
Pittsburgh Steelers (6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars — Pittsburgh had one of the most stunning late collapses in team history last week at home. Blake Bortles starts his very first home game. The Steelers are the better team, but Bortles should do enough to keep it close. The spread is high for a team who melted at home. Steelers win but fail to cover
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos (-7) — Drew Stanton has filled in well for Carson Palmer, and Larry Fitzgerald is as good as it gets. Yet going on the road to face an angry Broncos team coming off an overtime loss is too much to ask. Peyton Manning’s offense has not reached last year’s stratospheric heights, but they are still capable of moving at will. Broncos cover
Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers (-6) — The Chiefs blasted Tom Brady and New England while the 49ers beat up previously undefeated Philadelphia. Rumors have the 49ers on the verge of a mutiny, but at home they should be able to clamp down on their former signal caller Alex Smith. 49ers cover
New York Jets at San Diego Chargers (-6.5) — The Jets have not quit on Rex Ryan, but Geno Smith is making too many mistakes. This could all but end the Rex Ryan era since Philip Rivers is having a career year. The spread is high, and the Jets do fight to the end. Chargers win but fail to cover
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) at New England Patriots — Yes, the Bengals are undefeated. Yes, Tom Brady had the worst game of his career last week. Brady and the Bellichick Patriots are like vampires. Until a stake is driven through their heart, they are not dead. This could be the game where a new landscape finally merges. More likely, order gets restored and rumors of the Patriots demise are greatly exaggerated. Being underdogs at home should provide all the motivation they need. Upset special, Patriots in outright
Monday, October 6, 8:30 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks (-7) at Washington — Washington did lose by 31 points at home, but they have had a couple good games as well. Seattle blew a big lead before defeating Denver in overtime at home. If Kirk Cousins has a good game, Washington could even win this game. Either way, the spread is too high, and Seattle lost their last road game. Seahawks win but fail to cover