Greetings and salutations football fans and welcome back to our best picks for the upcoming week. To bring you up to speed, I had another solid performance in Week 4. A big shout to the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, and Green Bay Packers for winning their games handidly. As a result, I had a 3-0 mark for the third consecutive week. And on the heels of another 3-0 week, my overall record on the season is 10-1.
While I’ve been blessed with being on a hot streak over the past few weeks, the objective is to remain humble. With that said, here’s a look at my best picks for Week 5, with my “lock” pick being last.
Third-Best NFL Pick: Indianapolis Colts (-1.5) at Cleveland Browns
I’m taking a chance here for a couple of reasons. First, this is the smallest point spread for a favorite team that I’ve picked this season. Secondly, the Cleveland Browns are home underdogs despite the fact they’ve won three straight games, with their offense averaging 39.3 points per outing in those victories.
However, there are a few noteworthy stats to consider about the Indianapolis Colts in this matchup. For instance, since giving up 21 points in the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, they have allowed just 29 points over the last three games. Secondly, the Colts lead the NFL in total yards allowed at 236.3 per contest. And they are allowing just 14 points per game, which is also the top mark in the NFL.
Another notable stat is that the Colts kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, has outscored the team’s opponents in their three wins. That’s an impressive feat, to say the least. Although I’m going to pick the Colts to win, it wouldn’t be a total shock if the Browns came out on top in this one.
James’ pick: Colts -1.5
Second-Best Pick: Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
I would be lying if I said that this game was on my original best picks list for Week 5. Once again, though, there are a few interesting trends that got my attention about this matchup between the Saints and the Chargers.
Yes, even though the Saints beat the Detroit Lions 35-29 last week, they have dropped two of their previous three games and are 2-2 on the season. On the flip side of the equation, the Saints have gotten off to slow starts over the years.
For example, per this stat from CBS Sports’ John Breech, the Saints are just 8-12 in the last 20 games during the month of September. Conversely, they are a remarkable 18-2 in 20 October games during that same stretch. If you want a larger sample size, the Saints are just 25-26 in September since 2006.
Meanwhile, New Orleans improved to 39-13 in September since 2006. Simply put, the Saints get off to slow starts before they go on a tear towards the halfway point of the season. Given that historical trend, I’m going to pick the Saints to continue their hot October streak, but not sure if they will cover the spread.
James’ pick: Saints will win in a close one, so take the Chargers
Top Best Pick: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-13.5)
For the second straight week, the Baltimore Ravens are favorited by nearly two touchdowns. Although Bengals’ rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has played well through the first quarter of his inaugural season, he’s going to have his hands full against a defense that has recorded nine sacks. Not only that, but aside from their lone loss against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, the Ravens’ average margin of victory in their three wins is 21.7 points and their defense has played well in those wins.
Let’s also remember that the Bengals are giving up 158.5 rushing yards per contest, with is the sixth-worst mark in the league. Coincidentally, this is an area in which the Ravens excel in, as evidenced by their 160.8 rushing yards per outing – the third-highest average in the NFL.
James’ pick: Baltimore to win but won’t cover the spread.