NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 5

by Sean Murphy

After a week that was highlighted by Tom Brady's return to Foxborough, Week 5 kicks off with an NFC West showdown between the Rams and Seahawks on Thursday night.

Here's our weekly look around the league at two teams whose stock is on the rise, and two that are on the way down in this edition of NFL Stock Rising and Falling.

Stock rising

Cleveland Browns


It hasn't been pretty, but the Browns are off to a solid 3-1 start to the season after a surprisingly low-scoring 14-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota last Sunday. Now comes Cleveland's toughest test since Week 1 against Kansas City as it stays on the road for a matchup against the red hot Chargers in Los Angeles. With a depleted receiving corps, the Browns would be well-suited to once again lean on their ground attack against a Los Angeles defense that has been soft against the run, allowing right around five yards per rush this season. If it wasn't clear heading into the season, it is now; the Browns have an elite defense. How they hold up against an improving Chargers offense remains to be seen. Note that Los Angeles is just 1-8 ATS after outgaining its previous opponent by 100 or more total yards over the last three seasons, as is the case here.

Arizona Cardinals

Riding high off an upset win over the previously undefeated Rams, the Cardinals will return home in a favored role against the 49ers this Sunday. Everything is working for the Cardinals offense right now with QB Kyler Murray looking like an MVP candidate four weeks into the season. Against a banged-up 49ers secondary we can anticipate the Cards leaning heavily on their aerial attack again this week. Defensively, Arizona has forced a whopping nine turnovers through four games. Interestingly, the Cardinals are a miserable 13-26 ATS the last 39 times they've played at home following two or more straight wins, a situation they find themselves in this week.

Stock falling

Denver Broncos

Despite their impressive 3-1 start to the season, I'm worried about the Broncos. They roared out of the gates with three straight wins but those came against the likes of the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. Last week, Denver received a wake-up call in the form of a blowout home loss against the Ravens. Now it heads back on the road to face what is sure to be a desperate Steelers squad that did show a bit of push-back in last week's loss in Green Bay. Few teams have been bitten as hard by the injury bug as the Broncos this season, on both sides of the football. Denver is a long-term loser after winning two of its last three games, posting a long-term 59-86 ATS record in that spot.

Miami Dolphins

It's difficult to envision the Dolphins turning things around with a punchless offense that will have to wait at least another week to get QB Tua Tagovailoa back on the field. The good news is, the Fins schedule will ease up beginning next week when they travel to face the lowly Jaguars. After that comes another winnable game at home against the Falcons. Before that though, they'll go up against Brady and the Bucs in Tampa this Sunday. On a positive note, Miami has generally gotten better as the season has gone on in recent years, posting a flawless 8-0 ATS record in Weeks 5 through 9 over the last two seasons, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 6.0 points. If it's going to hang with Tampa on Sunday it will need to come up with a big bounce-back performance defensively after allowing Colts QB Carson Wentz to throw for 228 yards and two touchdowns last week. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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