NFL Week 5: Overcoming The Odds – 3 games to watch

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Richard Graves

Presenter, Writer and Broadcaster

Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions (Lions -9)

There are only 2 winless teams left in the NFL and one of those is the Carolina Panthers. This weekend they travel to the 3-1 Detroit Lions.

Detroit comes into this off a big win in Green Bay – a game that wasn’t even close! They’ve already beaten the Super Bowl champion, Kansas City Chiefs. They had a win over the Falcons and sacked Dennis Ridder 7 times! Their offense is in the top 10 for total yards, passing yards, rushing and points scored. This team is feeling itself right now and expectations are rising.

Contrast that with Carolina who rank in the bottom 10 for all those categories. While defensively the’re giving up 25.5 points per game. They rank 27th in the NFL in stopping the run (not good when David Montgomery is coming off 3 rushing touchdown game!)

The Lions have won their last 2 games by 14 each at home to the Falcons and then on the road in Green Bay. 3 of Carolina’s losses have been by 14, 10 and 8 points.

PICK: Detroit Lions +9


Cincinnati Bengals @ Arizona Cardinals (Cardinals +3)

Two 1-3 teams meet in the desert but two teams feeling very differently about where they find themselves.

The Cincinnati Bengals were many people’s tips to go to the AFC Championship. Right now, just making the playoffs will be a big achievement. They’ve already lost to division rivals – the Browns and Ravens. Their star QB, Joe Burrow is carrying a calf injury and doesn’t look himself. While last week, the Tennessee Titans dominated them in a 27-3 loss.

Contrast that with the Cardinals – widely written off as being in a rebuilding season. They’ve showed a ton of fight through the first 4 weeks – they stunned the Cowboys in week 3 and even threatened to get back into the game against San Francisco last weekend before the Niners put them away. QB Josh Dobbs has been better than just efficient and frankly, this team could be heading into week 5 with a 3-1 record, given the way they played against the giants and Commanders.

So, now you’ve got a home game against the Bengals and you’re 3 point underdogs? I don’t buy it. Cincinnati haven’t shown us anything to suggest they’re about to get out of this funk. This vaunted offense ranks 31st in the league in points scored (49) – only the Giants are worse with 46! They’re giving up 23.5 per game…and they’re 3 points favourites on the road?! This season Arizona are 3-1 in covering the spread – give me the Cardinals!

PICK: Cardinals +3


Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers (Total points under 45.5)


A repeat of the NFC Divisional playoff game in January and it could be a preview of the NFC Championship game this season. No disrespect intended to the 4-0 Philadelphia Eagles, but I believe these are the best 2 teams in the NFC.

In fact, the San Francisco 49ers through 4 weeks are arguably the best team in the entire NFL right now! Just look at last week’s stats against the Cardinals – Chrisitan McCaffrey scored 4 touchdowns. Brock Purdy completed 21 of 22 passes for 283 yards and 2 TDs. Their offense ranks no. 2 overall and their defense is the 3rd best in points allowed – giving up 14.5 per game. As a team, they have a 4-0 record, they are playing lights out right now and that’s what makes this such a mouthwatering matchup.

Coming into town, their toughest opponents so far this season. The 3-1 Dallas Cowboys with the number 1 ranked scoring defense – allowing just 10.3 per game. They’ve only allowed a total of 13 points in the 3 games they’ve won!!

No team has a greater turnover differential this season than Dallas’ +9, but Brock Purdy hasn’t thrown a single interception. So, what gives?!

It’s the type of matchup than really doesn’t need any hype. Two storied franchises. The rivalry down the years – the Super Bowl successes – it’s the very fabric of the NFL. This will be a tight game. It’s likely to be a physical game. The 49ers may have a psychological advantage having knocked Dallas out of the playoffs in each of the last 2 years, but both of those games have been decided by just 1 score and in neither game did the two teams combine for more than 40 points.

PICK: Total points – under 45.5

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