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Week 5 NFL game picks: Chiefs top Bills; Cardinals stay perfect with win over 49ers

Gregg Rosenthal went 10-6 straight up and 9-7 against the spread on his Week 4 NFL picks, bringing his season totals to 38-26 and 34-29, respectively. How will he fare in Week 5? His picks are below.

The lines below provided by Caesars are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 7 unless otherwise noted below.


Atlanta Falcons
ML: -170 · 1-3
New York Jets
ML: +145 · 1-3
  • WHERE: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London)
  • WHEN: 9:30 a.m. ET | NFL Network
  • SPREAD: Falcons -3 O/U: 46

It's easy to see the impact of Robert Saleh's defensive coaching when players like John Franklin-Meyers, Foley Fatukasi and rookie cornerback Michael Carter II are all playing like above-average starters. Arthur Smith's offensive impact was tougher to see early in his tenure in Atlanta, but Matt Ryan is coming off his best game by far in the system. Zach Wilson is the more likely quarterback to make a killer mistake on Sunday, and the Jets have struggled giving up plays in the screen game. It's time for Cordarelle Patterson to become an international superstar.

Minnesota Vikings
ML: -420 · 1-3
Detroit Lions
ML: +320 · 0-4
  • WHERE: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Vikings -9.5 O/U: 49

It's one thing to have less talent than the rest of the league. It's another thing to have that little talent and then become one of the most injury-plagued teams in football, as Detroit has. Minnesota's kryptonite appears to be an effective pass rush, but that's not a concern in this game. Jared Goff will be in position for a whole lot of yards trying to play catch-up.

New Orleans Saints
ML: -135 · 2-2
Washington Football Team
ML: +115 · 2-2
  • WHERE: FedExField (Landover, Md.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Saints -2 | O/U: 44

The old Sean Payton would have looked at this matchup and licked his chops. The Washington defense has struggled to communicate on the back end, leading to weekly confusion and coverage busts. The Saints have the scheme to expose them if Payton trusts Jameis Winston to throw the ball more than 25 times. It's time. (It's also past time for some of Taylor Heinicke's risky throws to get picked off, especially going against a talented secondary.)

New England Patriots
ML: -430 · 1-3
Houston Texans
ML: +330 · 1-3
  • WHERE: NRG Stadium (Houston)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Patriots -9 | O/U: 39.5

The cohesion and communication required by the Patriots' secondary to employ last week's game plan against Tom Brady bodes well for the rest of the season. New England can shapeshift with the best defenses and shouldn't have much trouble scrambling Davis Mills. The Texans have played 10 quarters with the rookie third-rounder at quarterback, scoring 16 total points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ML: -475 · 3-1
Miami Dolphins
ML: +360 · 1-3
  • WHERE: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Dolphins +10 O/U: 48

In each of the Buccaneers' games this season, Tampa's opponents have been given a lot of credit for keeping it close -- or, in the Rams' case, winning outright. Maybe the 2021 Bucs just aren't that good yet? Miami has all sorts of problems, but Brian Flores' coverages and cornerbacks are uniquely suited to put a tarp over Tom Brady's passing attack like the Patriots did a week ago. Tampa's injury-plagued secondary will be happy to give up short passes, Jacoby Brissett's specialty. In short, 10 points feels like too much to give the defending champs at this stage of the season.

Green Bay Packers
ML: -160 · 3-1
Cincinnati Bengals
ML: +140 · 3-1
  • WHERE: Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Packers -3 O/U: 50.5

If I said before the season that one of these teams would enter Week 5 as a top-five defense in DVOA and top-10 squad overall, you probably wouldn't have guessed it'd be Cincinnati. Football is surprising! The Bengals' underrated front -- led by Larry Ogunjobi, Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson -- should get more help this week on the back end with Jessie Bates and Chidobe Awuzie returning to practice. If the Packers can move the ball consistently on this group, they are all the way back.

Denver Broncos
ML: -110 · 3-1
Pittsburgh Steelers
ML: -110 · 1-3
  • WHERE: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Pick O/U: 39.5

There's a lot we don't know about this game in terms of player availability. What we do know is that Denver's defense has been superior to Pittsburgh's vaunted group this season and is better built to stop the passing game. I reserve the right to change this pick if Teddy Bridgewater is unavailable, but the Broncos have more ways to win because of their two-pronged running game and raft of defensive backs ready to feast on a Ben Roethlisberger mistake.

Carolina Panthers
ML: -160 · 3-1
Philadelphia Eagles
ML: +140 · 1-3
  • WHERE: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Panthers -3  O/U: 45

A return to the field by Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata and right tackle Lane Johnson would go a long way toward pulling an upset. If the bookends are back, Philadelphia could try to mash Carolina up front like the Cowboys' offensive line did last Sunday. A lot of the Panthers' creative blitz packages are rendered useless if a team is able to run straight at them. Then again, this is a passing league. Carolina coach Matt Rhule is better than Nick Sirianni at scheming players open for his young quarterback, and Sam Darnold is holding up just well enough behind an offensive line that has played a little worse each week.

UPDATE: The Eagles announced Friday that Johnson (personal matter) won't play Sunday against the Panthers.

Tennessee Titans
ML: -200 · 2-2
Jacksonville Jaguars
ML: +170 · 0-4
  • WHERE: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Titans -4.5 O/U: 48.5

It's hard to predict a score here without knowing the status of A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. The Titans' offensive system is predicated on their big-bodied wideouts winning on the outside. In last week's loss to the Jets, Ryan Tannehill was stuck holding the ball, waiting for someone to come open. Luckily for Tennessee, Jacksonville's defense is one of the few groups more toothless than its own. It's a bad sign when players like Myles JackJosh Allen and Shaq Griffin look worse in this system than they did under previous coaches.

UPDATE: Titans coach Mike Vrabel announced on Friday that Jones is out for Sunday's game and he expects Brown to play.

Los Angeles Chargers
ML: -130 · 3-1
Cleveland Browns
ML: +110 · 3-1
  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Chargers -2  O/U: 47

Both defenses in this game look more confident by the week, flying around the field. And while the Chargers' running game can't compare with Cleveland's, Los Angeles' 168 ground yards against Las Vegas showed the Bolts can be balanced. I love the variety Brandon Staley shows each week, making his team difficult to prepare for. It feels strange that the Chargers and Browns have two of the best-coached teams with the brightest futures, but here we are.

Las Vegas Raiders
ML: -240 · 3-1
Chicago Bears
ML: +200 · 2-2
  • WHERE: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
  • SPREAD: Bears +5.5 O/U: 44

Justin Fields may have to throw more with David Montgomery hurt, but that's not all bad. The Raiders' secondary is injured and vulnerable, even if I love how they compete. Jon Gruden appears to be slowly realizing that his team can't run like he expected to, and the offensive line isn't protecting well enough. It's on Derek Carr to carry Vegas again to a crazy, last-minute victory.

Arizona Cardinals
ML: -240 · 4-0
San Francisco 49ers
ML: +200 · 2-2
  • WHERE: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: 49ers +5.5 O/U: 50

This is a tough game to pick because Trey Lance is such an unknown -- and we don't even know for sure that Lance is starting. This much I know: The Cardinals' run defense is the biggest weakness of the team. Lance is the best runner on the 49ers, and Kyle Shanahan, at his best, calls some of the toughest run schemes to defend. It's time to break out the good stuff, Kyle, because a loss here puts the 49ers three games back in the NFL's best division. I can't quite pick against Kyler Murray playing at this level, but the Cardinals are set up for a letdown game and the Niners have the goods to keep it closer than expected.

UPDATE: Shanahan announced on Friday that Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) won't play Sunday against the Cardinals and Lance will start at quarterback.

Dallas Cowboys
ML: -330 · 3-1
New York Giants
ML: +260 · 1-3
  • WHERE: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • SPREAD: Giants +7  O/U: 52

The Giants went from being the best 0-3 team in football to being the best 1-3 team. Their stout defensive line could give the stouter Cowboys running game a test. Meanwhile, the emergence of Kadarius Toney last week, along with a return to form from Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley, make New York's offense more dangerous. Daniel Jones is playing the best ball of his career. While that's not enough to beat the 'Boys on the road, a nail-biter should not be a surprise.

Kansas City Chiefs
ML: -145 · 2-2
Buffalo Bills
ML: +125 · 3-1
  • WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
  • SPREAD: Chiefs -2.5 O/U: 56.5

The Bills were one of the first teams to slow down the Chiefs offense' last regular season, albeit unsuccessfully. Kansas City now embraces long drives if defenses are determined to give up short throws, and the team's young offensive line is getting better by the week. The Ravens finally slayed their Chiefs demons earlier this season on Sunday night, and the Bills have unquestionably looked like a more complete team this year. But when push comes to shove, I believe Josh Allen is the quarterback more likely to make a game-changing turnover in a game where possessions are so valuable. Buffalo's QB ranks third-worst in football when it comes to turnover-worthy plays, according to Pro Football Focus, ahead of just Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence.


Baltimore Ravens
ML: -330 · 3-1
Indianapolis Colts
ML: +260 · 1-3
  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
  • SPREAD: Ravens -7  O/U: 45.5

I'm so impressed by Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's ability to dial up creative pressures, no matter who he has playing cornerback. Indianapolis' offensive line is now a vulnerability worth attacking, and Baltimore's big uglies up front are well-suited to stop Jonathan Taylor on the ground.


Los Angeles Rams
ML: -135 · 3-1
Seattle Seahawks
ML: +115 · 2-2

This is not a nod to Sean McVay's excellent record after losses or 6-3 record against Pete Carroll, including a playoff win in January. This is a nod to Los Angeles' offense being the most trustworthy unit in this game. In a matchup where I don't know what to expect from either defense, the Rams are built to expose the mismatches in the Seahawks' secondary in a way the 49ers could not in Week 4. It's not just how good your receivers are; it's how many you have. 

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