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Week 5 NFL game picks: Surging Cowboys upset Rams; Ravens top Bengals on Sunday night

Gregg Rosenthal went 10-6 straight up on his Week 4 picks, bringing his season total to 34-29-1. How will he fare in Week 5? His picks are below.

The lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook are current as of 9 a.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 6 unless otherwise noted below.


  • WHERE: Highmark Stadium (Orchard Park, N.Y.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Steelers: +600 | Bills: -900
  • SPREAD: Steelers +14 | O/U: 46.5

The biggest point spread of the season scares me. Kenny Pickett showed plenty in the preseason and his unlucky half against the Jets makes me believe he’ll use Pittsburgh's wideouts better than Mitchell Trubisky did. The best way to destroy the Steelers’ defense is to run all over it, but that’s not the Bills’ game, so this one could stay relatively too close for comfort for a minute. 

  • WHERE: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Chargers: -135 | Browns: +115
  • SPREAD: Browns +2.5 | O/U: 47.5

Rookie Jamaree Salyer was a revelation for the Chargers in his first start at left tackle. Whether that continues another week probably depends on if Myles Garrett suits up for the Browns. Cleveland’s defense has quietly been a mess most of this season, appearing poorly coached, confused and often easy to run over. The Chargers, meanwhile, could desperately use J.C. Jackson to improve and Keenan Allen to recover from injury. A weird, frustrating end for one of these teams feels inevitable, so I guess I'll take the underdog Browns.

  • WHERE: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Texans: +250 | Jaguars: -320
  • SPREAD: Texans +7 | O/U: 43.5

Houston went 4-0 against Jacksonville in the previous two seasons ... and 4-25 against everyone else. While I don’t think that history means much here, the Jaguars haven't won enough games to trust as blowout winners. Even with advantages on both lines, any-sized win over the Texans would be sweet.

  • WHERE: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Bears: +260 | Vikings: -335
  • SPREAD: Vikings -7 | O/U: 44

There’s a lot of blame being tossed around Chicago when it comes to Justin Fields, but sometimes he has to take the layups. His insanely high time to throw and tendency to turn any pressure into a sack is more on him. The Bears can find ways to win with defense and running, but they are starting each week at such a disadvantage until Fields makes quicker decisions.

  • WHERE: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Lions: +135 | Patriots: -160
  • SPREAD: Lions +3 | O/U: 46.5

UPDATE: With D'Andre Swift, D.J. Chark and Charles Harris all ruled out with injuries, I'm now leaning toward the Patriots in a game in which neither squad deserves to be 1-4. (Previous prediction: Lions 27, Patriots 24. Odds for this game are up to date as of 10:35 a.m. ET on Sunday.)

Bill Belichick could have stolen the game in Green Bay if the Patriots stuck with the running game late, a mistake they are unlikely to make against a soft, undisciplined Lions defense. If Bailey Zappe starts, I don’t like the Pats’ chances. If Mac Jones or Brian Hoyer make a surprise return, they would be my pick. Also, Detroit's skill-position injuries make this tough to pick early in the week, so check back for a potential update. 

  • WHERE: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Seahawks: +185 | Saints: -225
  • SPREAD: Seahawks +5.5 | O/U: 46

The Seahawks’ defense is just what the Saints’ offense needs to see. If New Orleans can’t look cohesive against a Seattle group still struggling to understand basic assignments, then it’s probably not going to happen. Geno Smith has shown incredible accuracy down the field and Rashaad Penny is doing his best Derrick Henry impression, so it won’t be easy for the Saints. Nothing is these days.

  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Dolphins: -180 | Jets: +152
  • SPREAD: Dolphins -3.5 | O/U: 46

Zach Wilson played great in the second half last week, which is a big step forward. He might need a complete game this week against a Dolphins defense that will test his ability to set protections with a variety of blitzes. I’m looking forward to seeing how New York's excellent cornerback duo of Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed handles Miami's explosive wideouts, and whether there’s much of a drop-off from Tua Tagovailoa to Teddy Bridgewater. A truly compelling Dolphins-Jets game. It’s been a while! 

  • WHERE: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Falcons: +320 | Buccaneers: -420
  • SPREAD: Buccaneers -9 | O/U: 48

The Falcons have been a get-right game for Tom Brady in Tampa, but he might've quietly gotten right a week ago despite the loss to the Chiefs. The return of Chris Godwin had Brady throwing more confidently to the middle of the field. Dean Pees’ blitz packages are too easy for Brady to dissect and the Falcons don’t like to play from behind. Even with Tampa's run defense far off its usual pace, the Bucs roll. Look for Brady to top 30 against Atlanta for the fifth straight time.

  • WHERE: FedExField (Landover, Md.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Titans: -135 | Commanders: +115
  • SPREAD: Titans -2.5 | O/U: 42.5

Every week, the Titans’ offense looks a little closer, Derrick Henry looks a little faster and Ryan Tannehill, well, he always looks the same. That’s a compliment. Flip the quarterbacks in this matchup and I might flip the score. Tannehill navigates pressure well, while Carson Wentz runs into it. The 2022 Commanders only had a chance to be relevant if Ron Rivera’s defense made strides, but the unit remains disorganized. 

  • WHERE: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: 49ers: -285 | Panthers: +228
  • SPREAD: 49ers -6.5 | O/U: 39

No defense in football gives up fewer yards per drive than San Francisco's stout group. Only one offense in football gains fewer yards per drive than Carolina's lackluster attack. Sometimes this picks game doesn’t need to be that complicated, especially when the 49ers’ defensive linemen are seemingly all 6-foot-4 and ready to knock down Baker Mayfield’s throws before he even thinks about throwing them. 

  • WHERE: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Eagles: -235 | Cardinals: +192
  • SPREAD: Eagles -5 | O/U: 49

Did the Cardinals find some answers defensively last week or did they just play the Panthers? My guess is the latter. It’s crazy that these two organizations were in similar spots late last season, teams at the back end of the playoffs, waiting to see if their young coaches had systems in place that would take hold. It feels weird to keep waiting for Kliff Kingsbury despite his contract extension

  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Cowboys: +196 | Rams: -240
  • SPREAD: Cowboys +5.5 | O/U: 42.5

Either team could win this game, but it’s wild to still see the Rams as comfortable favorites. Their offensive line is weeks away from stability, while the Cowboys’ defense is deeper and better-coached than any unit this side of San Francisco. The Rams can only win these days by out-coaching the competition because the talent and explosion just isn’t there offensively. 

The Bengals’ defense is great at preventing big plays, while the Ravens’ offense is great at making them. The Ravens’ defense, meanwhile, has given up plenty of big plays, while the Bengals are among the league’s least explosive offenses despite the presence of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins


I’m still waiting for the breakout Derek Carr game. That’s what it will take to keep up with Patrick Mahomes. It’s not likely to happen against a Chiefs defense that has quietly improved since last year, just like the offense. 


Green Bay Packers
ML: -385 · 3-1
New York Giants
ML: +300 · 3-1

The bad news for the Giants is that their quarterbacks are hurt, their receivers are hurt and they weren’t that good throwing the ball even when healthy. The good news is that the Packers’ run defense is once again overrated (28th in DVOA) and the G-Men lead the league in rushing. Daniel Jones’ mobility is a key part of that, so watch his practice reports. While the try-hard Giants defense has won with blitzes, that’s a hard way to roll for four quarters against Aaron Rodgers.

Both struggling veteran quarterbacks had their best games of the season in losing Week 4 efforts. The difference is that Russell Wilson has better receivers, a better defense, a more cohesive offensive line and doesn’t lead the league in fumbles by three. The Colts were struggling to run the ball with Jonathan Taylor, so there's not much hope for them with him out of the lineup

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