The roller-coaster start to the 2017 NFL season continued on Sunday with a number of surprising upsets. Road dogs barked big time as the Buffalo Bills (at Atlanta), Carolina Panthers (at New England) and Los Angeles Rams (at Dallas) all went on the road and won outright. What’s in store for Week 5? Let’s take a closer look at the big games.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New York Giants
Odds: New York -3.5
The Chargers and Giants were among the trendy preseason picks to win their respective divisions, so it’s safe to say that their combined 0-8 record through the first four weeks of the season is a surprise. The Chargers nearly beat the Philadelphia Eagles at home but fell short. Meanwhile, the Giants let another one slip away in a 25-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These teams have combined for five losses by three points or less this season.
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Odds: Philadelphia -6.5
After a relatively quiet game, Larry Fitzgerald was the hero in last week’s 18-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers, scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime. It was a heck of a grab and another reminder that the Cardinals need to do a better job of getting him the football earlier in games. Arizona will need to do exactly that in order to keep up with an Eagles offense that has shown an ability to score points in bunches. Carson Wentz threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Los Angeles while running back LeGarrette Blount rumbled for a season-high 136 rushing yards.
Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions
Odds: Detroit -3
One week after they were beat up by the Saints at home, Cam Newton and the Panthers offense came alive with a 33-30 win at New England. Carolina is 3-1 despite an inconsistent start to the year. They will face a tough test this week against a Detroit team that is 3-1 after a 14-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions could very well be 4-0 right now if it wasn’t for a late touchdown called back in a loss to the Falcons two weeks ago. Both teams are looking to improve to 4-1 and move into a comfortable position near the top of the NFC standings this week.
Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams
Odds: Los Angeles -2.5
It took some time for the Seahawks offense to get going but once they did, they exploded for 46 points in a lopsided win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. Now comes a difficult test against the surprising Rams, who improved to 3-1 with a 35-30 win over Dallas last week. The LA offense has been rejuvenated under head coach Sean McVay but will face its toughest test yet against the Legion of Boom. Perhaps the biggest matchup of all is the Seahawks offense matching up against an improved Rams defense. Russell Wilson and company have struggled to move the football this season and they will need to find a way to run the ball against a tough Rams defense. They only have two rushing touchdowns on the season while the team’s running backs have combined for just 86.4 rushing yards per game so far.
Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
Odds: Dallas -2
The Cowboys let one slip away at home against the Rams last week to fall to 2-2. They blew an 11-point lead at home and completely disappeared in the second half. Now they will host a Packers team that should be well rested after winning its Thursday Night Football matchup with the Chicago Bears last week.
The Green Bay defense is a little banged up, so Dak Prescott and company will need to take advantage. Aaron Rodgers has been in complete control over the past couple of weeks and he should have no problem putting up points against a Dallas defense that gave up 35 points to Los Angeles last week. The Cowboys have the weapons to keep this game close at home but they’ve been hit-or-miss offensively. That needs to change in this spot.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans
Odds: Chiefs -1.5
The Houston Texans will get a stern test next week when the Kansas City Chiefs visit. The Texans have seemed to turn a corner with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson under center. After a rough start in his debut against Jacksonville, Watson has really shined. He has 584 yards passing and six touchdowns along with another 65 rushing yards and one more touchdown in the last couple of weeks. The Texans can really assert themselves in the AFC with a statement win in this spot.