Week 5’s slate of NFL action has some meaningful matchups as the landscape of the league continues to take place.
The action kicks off on Thursday Night, with the 3-1 Los Angeles Rams looking to rebound from their first loss of the season with a win over the NFC West rivals, the 2-2 Seattle Seahawks. For Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, it’s a chance to get back over .500 after a 1-2 start while taking their divisional foe down in the process.
Sunday’s games start bright and early with a 9:30 AM ET/6:30 AM PT kickoff for an international game between the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets in London. Key matchups throughout the rest of the day include the 3-1 Green Bay Packers and 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals squaring off in an inter-conference bout, the 1-3 New York Giants attempting to claw their way back in to the NFC East race against the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys, the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals looking to extend their undefeated start against the 2-2 San Francisco 49ers, and 3-1 Los Angeles Chargers and 3-1 Cleveland Browns squaring off for essentially first place in the AFC.
Sunday night brings a highly anticipated rematch of the 2021 AFC Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, while Monday night features two AFC playoff teams from a year ago, the Baltimore Ravens and Indianopolis Colts.
This could be the best slate of games of the 2021-22 NFL season to date, so be sure to read on for my full picks. As always, to debate or discuss these picks, join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
Week 1: 6-10
Week 2: 12-4
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-4
Overall: 41-23 (64%)
Much like the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, and Baltimore Ravens, I’ve shaken off a negative Week 1 start with three weeks of success. I notched 11+ wins for the third straight week, improving my season record to 41-23. Two of this week’s incorrect picks are hardly my fault, as no one saw the New York Giants and Jets beating the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans. Detroit over Chicago was a missed pick for a narrow upset, and the Rams-Cardinals was a toss-up that I got wrong.
- Saints over Giants
- Titans over Jets
- Lions over Bears
- Rams over Cardinals
See Also: 2021-22 NFL Season Predictions
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
- Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
The first few Thursday night games have been largely inconsequential, but Week 5 starts off with a bang when NFC West rivals clash on Thursday Night Football. The Los Angeles Rams downed the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs last year, and will look to beat them again in order to keep up with the Cardinals for the NFC West lead. Seattle is coming off a bounceback win over the 49ers following two straight losses, while the Rams just suffered their first loss of the season.
Throw in the tough environment of Seattle, and this should be a good game, even if the Rams are better on paper. Los Angeles looked far from perfect in last week’s 37-20 loss to the Cardinals. But even with 37 points allowed, I still trust the Rams defense more on the season. Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford trading blows would be fun, but I think the Rams defense will prevent that from happening in a snap-back performance after last week.
Rams win 33-23, Rams win ATS
Atlanta Falcons (1-3) vs. New York Jets (1-3) in London
Line: Atlanta Falcons (-3.0)
Bright and early (9:30 AM) for East Coast-dwellers, and even earlier for any fans on the West Coast (6:30 AM,) the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons will square off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London to continue the NFL’s International Series. Zach Wilson is coming off his best game as a pro, while the Jets defense did an admirable job containing the Titans offense at MetLife Stadium. The Falcons have played good games in back-to-back weeks against the Giants and Washington Football Team, splitting them 1-1.
If the Jets play like they did last week, they should be able to beat Atlanta, but it’s just too early to expect any kind of consistency from New York. Veteran Matt Ryan leads the Falcons to a win across the pond.
Falcons win 23-17, Falcons win ATS
Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-3.0)
This is one of just three matchups in Week 5 featuring two teams that combine for six or more wins, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be among the best games of the week. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the team’s defense, have been off to a pleasant 3-1 start, but the Green Bay Packers represent a steep incline in quality of competition. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have rolled to three straight wins, and should be able to keep it going in Cincinnati.
Packers win 30-20, Packers win ATS
Detroit Lions (0-4) at Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
Line: Minnesota Vikings (-9.0)
The Minnesota Vikings have actually outscored their opponents this season by two points, despite a 1-3 record, thanks to a 30-17 win over the Seahawks and three one-score losses. Against a Detroit Lions defense that has allowed 29.8 points per game through four weeks, the fourth-highest mark in the league, Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and the Vikings offense should be able to have themselves a day at home.
Vikings win 37-20, Vikings win ATS
Denver Broncos (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.0)
If this game took pace in Week 1, I would have picked the Pittsburgh Steelers without missing a beat. But even with a humbling 23-7 loss to the Ravens last week, the Denver Broncos have looked better than the Steelers through four weeks. Pittsburgh has lost three straight games, giving up 24+ points in each loss while never scoring more than 17 points. While Denver’s offense isn’t the league’s most electric, the Broncos defense should be able to hold Ben Roethlisberger to 17 points or less once again.
Broncos win 23-17, Broncos win ATS
Miami Dolphins (1-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.0)
The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will meet for their once-every-four-years Battle of Florida. For the first and most likely last time, the matchup will include Tom Brady. While the Buccaneers looked human in a narrow 19-17 win over the Patriots, Tampa Bay should easily snap back with a more routine win over Jacoby Brissett and the Dolphins.
Buccaneers win 30-16, Buccaneers win ATS
New Orleans Saints (2-2) at Washington Football Team (2-2)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-2.0)
The New Orleans Saints have had some up-and-down play so far, alternating wins and losses through four weeks. Most recently, the Saints were outlasted at home, in overtime, by Daniel Jones and the New York Giants. The loss was close and while New Orleans probably should’ve beaten New York, it wasn’t as bad as a loss as Week 2 to the Panthers. Washington Football Team has beaten the Giants, so by the transitive postulate, Washington might be better than the Saints. I don’t see it that way though, even with quarterback Taylor Heincke playing some surprisingly good football.
Saints win 27-20, Saints win ATS
Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-1)
Line: Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a “fun” loss, if there is such a thing, after falling 42-30 to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Eagles couldn’t force a single punt in that game, as Mahomes had his way with the Eagles defense. Luckily for Philadelphia, the Carolina Panthers defense isn’t quite as prolific. The bad news is, Carolina’s defense is better than Kansas City’s and won’t allow the Eagles to put up 30 points again. Philadelphia’s defense has given up 41.5 points per game over the past two weeks to Dallas and Kansas City. Sam Darnold and the Panthers rebound from their first loss of the season, a 36-28 loss at the hands of the Cowboys last week.
Panthers win 31-20, Panthers win ATS
Tennessee Titans (2-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-4.5)
Being outplayed both offensively and defensively in an overtime loss to the Jets was not a good look for the Tennessee Titans. Luckily, they get an even worse opponent next: the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville showed some signs of improvement in last Thursday night’s loss to the Bengals, but with the Urban Meyer circus over the past week, the Jaguars have too many distractions and not enough talent to overcome Derrick Henry and the Titans.
Titans win 27-17, Titans win ATS
New England Patriots (1-3) at Houston Texans (1-3)
Line: New England Patriots (-9.0)
The New England Patriots may have lost 19-17 to the Buccaneers in Tom Brady’s return game, but it was the best performance of Mac Jones’ young NFL career. New England should have no trouble rolling to their second win of the season against Davis Mills and a helpless Houston Texans team.
Patriots win 28-13, Patriots win ATS
Chicago Bears (2-2) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-1)
Line: Las Vegas Raiders (-5.5)
After a 3-0 start, the Las Vegas Raiders were grounded with a 28-14 loss to the Chargers last Monday night. Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears are coming off a victory, but only against the Lions. A week before that, Chicago was embarrassed 26-6 by the Browns. Expect something inbetween those results for Justin Fields and the Bears in Week 5 against a Raiders team that has already downed the Steelers, Ravens, and Dolphins. This one could be close, but Las Vegas should be able to get back on track against the Bears and their rookie quarterback who is still learning.
Raiders win 24-20, Bears win ATS
Cleveland Browns (3-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-1)
Line: Los Angeles Chargers (-2.0)
This is one of the most important games of the week, with two 3-1 AFC playoff contenders clashing in Los Angeles. The Chargers have a claim as one of the best teams in the NFL with wins over Las Vegas and Kansas City already under their belt. The Browns have only fell to the Chiefs so far, and even that loss came in last-minute fashion. Cleveland’s defense has been absolutely lockdown for the past two weeks, allowing a total of 13 points against the Bears and Vikings.
Offensively, however, Baker Mayfield and the Browns struggled in a 14-7 win over Minnesota. Mayfield has apparently been playing through a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, which could explain why some of his passes were off-target last week. This gives me a cop out from a more nuanced pick in this matchup: with Mayfield hurting, I think Justin Herbert and the Chargers hold down the fort at home.
Chargers win 23-17, Chargers win ATS
New York Giants (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-7.0)
After an 0-3 start, Daniel Jones and the New York Giants pulled off an overtime upset in New Orleans for their first win of the season. With back-to-back losses on last-second field goals before that, the Giants have been playing close football games for three weeks now. But the Dallas Cowboys are probably a bigger test for New York than the Saints were. Even if Jones, Saquon Barkley, and the Giants offense stays hot, New York’s defense may have problems containing one of the NFL’s top passers in Dak Prescott.
Cowboys win 34-23, Cowboys win ATS
San Francisco 49ers (2-2) at Arizona Cardinals (4-0)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)
After handling the Rams 37-20, the Arizona Cardinals improved to 4-0 as the league’s last undefeated team. While the San Francisco 49ers aren’t as strong as the Rams on paper, Arizona’s NFC West rival can’t be overlooked in Week 5. Jimmy Garroppolo and the 49ers are coming off a 27-20 loss to the Seahawks, and are hungry for a divisional win to stay relevant in the NFC West race. I see no reason to pick against Kyler Murray and the high-flying Cardinals, but I also wouldn’t be totally shocked if San Francisco stole a one-score win in Arizona.
Cardinals win 33-27, 49ers win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Sak Sports Blog Game of the Week: Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
In a rematch of the 2021 AFC Championship, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills clash with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday Night Football. In years past, the Chiefs would probably be 4-0 at this point, but Kansas City has come out to a shaky 2-2 start so far. The offense played a nearly perfect game in last week’s 42-30 win over the Eagles, but defensively, Kansas City has major issues. The Chiefs and Bills are averaging an identical 33.5 points per game through four weeks. But Buffalo has allowed an NFL-low 11.0 points per game, while Kansas City has allowed 31.3 points per game, the second-highest mark in the league.
Buffalo’s defense may not be able to hold Mahomes to 11 points on Sunday night, but they will be able to get a few stops. The same might not be able to be said about the Chiefs defense, who didn’t force a single Eagles punt last week. Kansas City could slide to 2-3 on Sunday night, especially if Allen and the Bills offense have a productive evening against the Chiefs poor defense.
Bills win 38-31, Bills win ATS
Monday Night Football
Indianapolis Colts (1-3) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-7.0)
Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts are fresh off their first win of the season, and are honestly better than their 1-3 record suggests. But Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are hard to bet against when they’re not playing the likes of the Chiefs or Bills. Baltimore has won three straight, even overcoming a game they probably should have lost in Detroit with Justin Tucker’s miraculous 67-yard field goal. Last week’s 23-7 win over the Broncos was Baltimore’s biggest win of the season, and while this game might be slightly closer, the Ravens should still improve to 4-1.
Ravens win 27-20, PUSH ATS
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Header Photo: Harry Scull Jr/Buffalo News