A rundown of the Week 5 schedule with staff picks and analysis from handicapper Vegas Vic.
EAGLES (-6) Cardinals (O/U: 45), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Last year, with David Johnson running wild, the Cardinals were sixth in points scored. This year, without Johnson (out with a broken wrist), they are 22nd.
Cardinals vs. spread: 0-4
Eagles vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Can you see the drool at each corner of Jim Schwartz’s mouth? Look close. His defense gets to run wild against Carson Palmer, who is about as mobile as a pinball machine. And now, Palmer comes to the Linc without maybe the premier weapon in the NFL, RB David Johnson. When you lose an All-Pro that gobbled up 1,239 yards on the ground and caught 80 passes for 879 yards, it’s no wonder that Arizona has scored 16, 17 and 18 in its last three games. By the way — or as the kids say, BTW — 12 of the 18 points that the Cardinals scored against the 49ers last week came via field goals. Here’s a delicious prop if you can find it: Over/under on how many FGs will be made. Play over 4.5 and you will double your money. ‘Zona is 0-4 against the spread so far, and has covered only two of the last eight on the road. The Birds have not had an easy, breezy win yet. Gonna happen Sunday, like 31-17 for the good guys.
GIANTS (-3) Chargers (O/U: 44.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: These teams have combined to lose 14 straight. Five of their eight combined losses this year have been by a field goal or less.
Chargers vs. spread: 0-3-1
Giants vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: This is the 0-4 bowl, and if anyone is watching, we got a slight lean to the Big Blue at home.
BENGALS (-3) Bills (O/U: 39), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: The under has come out in three of the four games for both the Bills and the Bengals.
Bills vs. spread: 3-0-1
Bengals vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Totally get that this Buffalo team is on the rise, and still love LeSean “Shady” McCoy, but check out the rebirth of Cincy QB Andy Dalton. In his first two games, Dalton was horrible, completing 53% of his passes with no TDs and four picks. They fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and moved Bill Lazor into the top spot. In the last two games, Dalton has exploded, completing 80% of his passes for six TDs and no interceptions. What a difference a Lazor makes.
Bill Lazor is a god
— Who Dey Wisconsin (@BengalsFan_513) October 1, 2017
BROWNS (-1) Jets (O/U: 39.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Bilal Powell’s 75-yard touchdown run last week was the second-longest in Jets history. Bruce Harper had a 78-yard score in 1983. Ever see that Jets fan “Fireman Ed?” He wears Harper’s jersey No. 42.
Jets vs. spread: 2-2
Browns vs. spread: 1-3
Vegas Vic’s take: Stunned that the Brownies are favored, and this time, we go in the other direction. Green New Yorkers.
STEELERS (-8) Jaguars (O/U: 43.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hits: Would never have guessed that the Jaguars lead the all-time series, 12-11 … All four of Pittsburgh’s games this season have been under, but the Jags last three each went over.
Jaguars vs. spread: 2-2
Steelers vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Jacksonville has two wins and everybody is going nuts. Hold on just a second. The Jaguars beat a Houston team that was more concerned with helping hurricane victims than winning a game. Then they smoked Baltimore in London. Big whoop. Pittsburgh is already 3-1 and the offense is just starting to hum now that Le’Veon Bell is, well, Le’Veon Bell. He rumbled for 144 yards last week, and since the Jags rank last in the league in rushing yards allowed, we buy Steel.
DOLPHINS (-1) Titans (O/U: NL), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: The Dolphins have scored a total of six points in their last two games. And, just so we’re clear, they weren’t exactly playing the ’85 Bears. They scored a touchdown on the final play of the game against the Jets in Week 2 and were shutout in London last week by the Saints. The Saints!
Titans vs. spread: 2-2
Dolphins vs. spread: 1-2
Vegas Vic’s take: This line could see as much as a four-point swing. If Marcus Mariota plays, Tennessee becomes a 2.5-point favorite. Stay away if you can.
|Paul Domowitch||Titans (Best Bet)|
COLTS (-1.5) 49ers (O/U: 44.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Indy is retiring Peyton Manning’s jersey on Sunday. “I went to the Peyton Manning camp when I was in college,” said current Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett. “I enjoyed watching him (while I was) growing up and I still do.”
49ers vs. spread: 3-1
Colts vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Such ugly games this week. Light lean to San Francisco, but probably will not open the wallet.
LIONS (-2) Panthers (O/U: 43.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: This is the only game in Week 5 where both teams have winning records. Each team is 3-1.
Panthers vs. spread: 2-1-1
Lions vs. spread: 3-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Sure, Cam Newton looked fabulous last week, but can he do it two weeks in a row? Nah. Why? Because the Lions are tied for the league lead in takeaways with 11, and have won eight of the last 11 at home.
RAMS (-1) Seahawks (O/U: 46.5), 4:05 p.m.
Quick hits: Eight of the last 10 meetings have been under … The Rams managed only four field goals in their two games against Seattle last season. They won 9-3 in L.A. and lost 24-3 in Seattle.
Seahawks vs. spread: 1-3
Rams vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Jared Goff’s right wing and this L.A. defense will keep surprising people this season.
|Jeff McLane||Seahawks (Best Bet)|
RAIDERS (-2) Ravens (O/U: 39.5), 4:05 p.m.
Quick hit: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown at least one interception in 10 consecutive games, easily a career high.
Ravens vs. spread: 2-2
Raiders vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying: “Again?” Double V is doubling down on the crazy. After using an 0-3 team (Cincy) as a best bet last week, now stepping to the counter with a back-up QB. Whaaaat? EJ Manuel is in for stud QB Derek Carr, and that is quite a drop-off for sure. But he wasn’t terrible last week against Denver, hitting on 11 of 17 for 106 yards before throwing a game-ending interception. So, please, once again, asking for you to cut me some slack. Why? Oh yeah, my best bet record. For those on the gravy train last season, you know we posted a 12-3-1 record. Add in 3-0-1 so far this season, and 15-3-2 is the reason that I’m asking for your trust. And if you’re wondering why Baltimore QB Joe Flacco has been able to muster only 16 points, in the last two games, his security blanket, Pro Bowl G, Marshal Yanda, is out for the year. Nada Yanda is the final cherry on this Best Bet sundae.
|Zach Berman||Ravens (Best Bet)|
|Vegas Vic||Raiders (Best Bet)|
COWBOYS (-2) Packers (O/U: 52.5), 4:25 p.m.
Quick hit: Still hard to fathom that the kickers kicked three field goals of more than 50 yards in the final 93 seconds of last season’s heart-stopping playoff game.
Packers vs. spread: 2-2
Cowboys vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Always start to shake when picking against my guy, Mr. Discount Double Check, Aaron Rodgers. But in this spot, revenge is the trump card. Scroll back to the NFC Divisional round in January, when Green Bay rolled into Dallas, and beat the Cowboys, 34-31, on a Mason Crosby 51-yard FG at the buzzer. The ‘Boys have won eight of the last 10 at home, and Green Bay is dealing with some injuries to its running backs. Add revenge to the equation, and it’s payback time.
Chiefs (-1.5) TEXANS (O/U: 46.5), 8:30 p.m.
Quick hit: Houston is 1-11 against the spread all-time in Week 5. Their only win was when they were getting five against Dallas in 2014. The Cowboys won, 20-17. Three times the Texans had a bye in Week 5.
Chiefs vs. spread: 4-0
Texans vs. spread: 3-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Usually shy away from a team that has either won big or lost big, but gotta rock Houston in this spot. The Texans have won nine of the last 12 at home, and their D looks like a touch of pure nasty.
|Ed Barkowitz||Chiefs (Best Bet)|
|Marcus Hayes||Chiefs (Best Bet)|
Vikings (pick) BEARS (O/U: NL), 8:30 p.m.
Quick hit: Case Keenum vs. Mitchell Trubisky was probably not what the ESPN people had in mind when this game was scheduled for primetime.
Vikings vs. spread: 2-2
Bears vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: This is another line that could also swing big. With Sam Bradford under center, Minesota moves to a four-point favorite. Not worth the trouble.
|Les Bowen||Vikings (Best Bet)|
Patriots (-5.5) BUCCANEERS (55)
Patriots 19, Buccaneers 14: The line dropped a little after Rob Gronkowski was deactivated, but we’re beholden to the 5.5 that we used when picking it. Four of our guys are cursing that 5-and-a-hook nearly as much as Tampa Bay fans are lighting up Nick Folk for missing three field goals (yardages: 56, 49, 31).
Entering Week 5