NFL Week 5: Overcoming the Odds – 3 Games to Watch

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Richard Graves

Presenter, Writer and Broadcaster

NFL Week 5: Overcoming the Odds - 3 Games to Watch

Cowboys/Giants Clash in Big D. The Browns are all Charged up in LA & the Saints Look to Bounce Back in Washington


New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (Giants +7)

Riding a 3 game winning streak, with a top 5 scoring offense and a defense which leads the NFL in turnover differential, the Dallas Cowboys are the in-vogue team right now BUT this is a divisional rivalry game and history tells us the form book goes out the window.
The New York Giants head into Dallas on the back of their first win of the season – an impressive overtime victory in New Orleans. Although they have a 1-3 record, that could very easily be 3-1. An offside call against the Washington Football Team cost them the game in week 2 when the initial game winning field goal attempt was missed. Then in week 3 they blew a 7 point, 4th quarter lead against the Atlanta Falcons to lose 17-14.
I feel the Giants are a better team than their record indicates. QB Daniel Jones is looking after the ball better (just 2 turnovers this season) and the second half of last weekend’s victory suggests they are figuring things out on their offense.
Make no mistake, Dallas are the real deal! They can calve teams up through the air or pound it on the ground. Their defense is much improved but much of this season’s success is down to getting turnovers. They give up plenty of big plays and can be scored against.
One other note – Just 4 of the last 18 meetings between these two franchises have been won by more than 7 points! Expect the Cowboys to win but it’ll be a one score game. Giants +7

Cleveland Browns @ LA Chargers (Browns +1)

The LA Chargers have won in Kansas City, last week they knocked off the Las Vegas Raiders and now find themselves in a 3-way tie for top spot on the AFC West – their only defeat this season coming against the Dallas Cowboys. Rightly, there’s a buzz about this franchise. In Justin Herbert, they appear to have found their long term quarterback. Rookie head coach Brandon Staley is bold and backs his players to make plays when it counts. There is a very different feel to the organisation this season!
That being said, the Cleveland Browns are a different proposition. For all the things the Chargers have done well this year, stopping the run isn’t one of them. They rank 29th in defending the run – giving up 139.5 yards a game.
What do the Browns excel at? Running the ball! In fact, no team through 4 weeks has run it better than Cleveland – they’ve rushed for 708 yards already this season!
What’s the best way to win on the road? Running the football, controlling the time of possession and keeping the opposing offense off the field. Align this with Cleveland’s 4th ranked scoring defense and although the Chargers are much improved, in my opinion the Browns as simply being a better team right now.
The line set by the odds makers suggest they feel this is a coin flip game. Expect Cleveland to get the job done in LA. Browns +1

New Orleans Saints @ Washington FT (Over 44.5 Total Points)

There was a time when you’d look at this game and automatically say, road win. That time has gone. The New Orleans Saints are adjusting to life after Drew Brees and discovering it’s tough! Their week 1 thrashing of Green Bay now looks increasingly like an out liar. Since then, they beat New England but lost to the Panthers and last week, in overtime, at home to the Giants. They’ve scored at least 21 points in 3 of their 4 games this season.
Washington were thought to have one of the best defenses in football heading into this season but the truth is, while their front four maybe impressive, their linebacking corps isn’t. It’s been a struggle. That spells danger if your opponent has someone by the name of Alvin Kamara in the backfield. Last weekend Cordarrelle Patterson terrorised the Washington defense, scoring 3 touchdowns. The fact Washington won the game was thanks to the playmaking ability of their own backfield threats – Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic along with QB Taylor Heinicke. It won’t have been lost on Washington that the Giants ultimately unlocked the Saints defense by utilising Saquon Barkley in the passing game as well.
The stats say New Orleans have a top 5 scoring defense – giving up an average of 17.3 points per game but when you consider in 2 of those games, they faced New England and an off-colour Green Bay Packers in week 1, I’m not buying it.
In fact, I’d anticipate a high scoring game on Sunday. Across the past 6 meetings between these two teams, they’ve not failed to score fewer than 53 total points in any of them. Take the over. +44.5 Total Points

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