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Red Zone Return – Week 5

We’re back for Week 5 of the NFL season as single-score games define four of the five best bets in an exciting slate.

New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins

The New York Giants were absolutely diabolical in Week 4. It’s not all down to Daniel Jones. He was sacked ten times, so there is only so much he can do with that level of ‘protection.’

Still, his contract is looking really bad and the Giants’ offence looks even worse.

Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins are one of the better offences in the NFL. They managed only 20 points against the Bills last week, but that’s a week after scoring 70. The reality is they lay somewhere in the middle and 30 points is about the expectation for this one.

From what we’ve seen so far this season, the Giants don’t have 30 points in them here. They’ll be lucky to keep within two touchdowns if it gets out of hand early.

This is a recipe for disaster for the Giants.

While the Dolphins aren’t an elite defensive team, you don’t need to be against the Giants. Miami average 2.5 sacks per game which is roughly the NFL average. New York, on the other hand, just gave up 11 in Week 4…

Bounceback games are a factor to consider, too. The Giants are unlikely to be as bad as they were in Week 4. However, the Dolphins are on the bounce, too. They’re a serious Super Bowl LVIII contender at $13 and will be out to prove it, at home, against an opposition there to be made an example of right now.

Best Bet Miami Dolphins -11.5 - $1.87*

Houston Texans @ Atlanta Falcons

Only days after waxing lyrical about C.J. Stroud and the historically great and career-encouraging numbers he has thrown up across the first four games of his NFL career, this looks like a comedown spot for the rookie quarterback. At the end of the day, he wasn’t asked to do an awful lot against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. He finished up with 306 passing yards and two touchdowns but completed only 16 of his 30 pass attempts.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons are one of the better running teams. Bijan Robinson is tied for 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards which has the Falcons at 8th in rush EPA. That hasn’t translated into points with only 13 scored over the last two weeks, but this is a week it can all come together.

Against the 24th-ranked Texans rush defence that has allowed over 110 yards every game this season, the Falcons will look to ground and pound their way to victory. Slow the game down, soak up the clock, and limit the opportunities Stroud and the Texans have with the ball.

At home and in a matchup that suits them against a team that is riding high and probably due a slight regression, this is a good spot for the Falcons as slight favourites.

Best Bet Atlanta Falcons -1.5 - $1.90*

Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams

The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t clicked yet. Starting the NFL season as Super Bowl LVIII favourites, they’ve limped through the first month of football based on the expectations. Doing enough to win without being great, they needed overtime to beat the Washington Commanders in Week 4.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are expecting to see Cooper Kupp back out there for this one. The superstar wide receiver will be licking his lips at the prospect of playing an Eagles defence that is nursing a lot of injuries in the backfield. Add the fact that Matthew Staford is getting back to his best and they appeal as underdogs at home.

Puka Nacua has been excellent for the Rams in his first NFL season. He’s the first player in NFL history to have 500+ passing yards through his first four games. Kupp’s return is made easier by the number of targets Nacua can take from him in the opening few games. Likewise, Nacua should have a slightly easier job of it with the defence focused on Kupp’s longer routes into the backfield. There might be some teething problems but there is always the ol’ reliable Kupp/Stafford combination if necessary.

The game relies on Kupp returning but the signs are promising. If he does, the Rams should push the Eagles close at home.

Best Bet Los Angeles Rams +4.5 - $1.87*

New York Jets @ Denver Broncos

We’re fading a Wilson.

Zach Wilson played the best game of his life in Week 5. He OUTPLAYED Patrick Mahomes as the New York Jets pushed the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs closer than anybody expected.

Wilson became the first quarterback throughout Mahomes’ 127-game college and NFL career to have more completions, more touchdown passes, more passing yards and fewer interceptions than the Chiefs quarterback. It’s an outlier game if there has ever been one. Based on what we have seen across the vast majority of Wilson’s career, he won’t be able to back it up with anything close to the same in this one.

What we’ve seen: Last season he became the first player since the NFL merger to record the worst passer rating in two consecutive seasons. He has the third-worst in 2023 right now.

As for the Denver Broncos, their defence is tracking as one of the worst in NFL history right now. They’re on pace to shatter the current records for yards and points allowed, and that’s why it’s a good time to get behind them. The numbers from the 70 points given up against the Dolphins skew things. While they’re not good, the Broncos aren’t this bad defensively.

Russell Wilson isn’t as bad as his recent reputation suggests he is either. He’s just not had the opportunities to prove as much to start the season. Staring 0-4 in the face against the Chicago Bears last week, the Broncos rebounded to wipe away a 21-point defecit to win. Beating the Bears isn’t a big deal in the NFL right now, but it’s a start for the Broncos who should continue to rebound at home here.

Best Bet Denver Broncos -2.5 - $1.90*

Green Bay Packers @ Las Vegas Raiders

It’s not going to be this bad again for the Green Bay Packers…

They won’t put themselves 27-3 down at halftime in this one. They won’t go the first five possessions of the game without a first down. Challenged at halftime to make a game of it, the Packers responded with 17 second-half points and an improved performance. A performance we can expect to translate into this one as they really look to right their wrongs.

Jimmy Garoppolo is still in concussion protocols at the time of writing. However, with Week 4 off and an extra day to get sorted, the feeling is that Garoppolo will play. It’s difficult to see the Raiders keeping up in this one, though. Rookie quarterback or not, they fell short of expectations with the ball against an average LA Chargers defence.

Trends should only be given so much of a consideration, but the Packers covering the spread on their last four on the road (2-0 this season) is encouraging. Matt LaFleur is a wizard as an underdog, too.

Best Bet Green Bay Packers to win - $1.94*

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