NFL Surprises Provide Intriguing Matchups for Week 5

by Vegas Writer

We've hit the quarter pole of the NFL season, per se, with everyone outside of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos four games into their campaign.

The Colts (2-2-1) beat the Broncos (2-3) 12-9 on Thursday in arguably the most boring and unimpressive game of the season.

And everyone had the lone undefeated team the Philadelphia Eagles (4-0), right?

The vaunted AFC West, we all knew it would be a combined 8-8 through four weeks, right along with the NFC West, correct?

How about the New York Giants? We all knew they'd be 3-1, easy.

The surprises have been plentiful, for sure, and a bigger picture is being painted with some crucial matchups in store for Week 5.

As mentioned, the week officially started in Denver, blah. A better matchup kicks off Sunday in London, where the Giants face the Green Bay Packers, who are also 3-1. The Packers and Giants’ combined winning percentage of .750 (6-2) is the highest by two teams entering an international game in Week 4 or later all-time.

Amazingly, we're talking about a Giants team (19.0) that is scoring more per game, albeit by fractions, than the Packers (18.8). Green Bay has the edge on defense, allowing 17.3 points per contest, while the Giants give up half a point more, at 17.8.

But it's the Red Zone percentage I'm most intrigued by, as the Giants rank No. 2 after allowing just five touchdowns to opponents who made 14 trips inside the 20-yard line (35.7%).

The Packers are laying -8 to the Giants, who have covered seven of their last 10 October-played games.

The Las Vegas Raiders earned their first win of the season and can move out of the AFC West cellar with a win in Kansas City on Monday night. Easy, yeah? They'll need to slow reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week Patrick Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 32 games with at least 300 passing yards since taking over as the Chiefs' full-time starter in 2018. Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns in Kansas City’s win last week.

Kansas City is -7 against the Raiders, who have failed to cover five of their last six in Kansas City.

There's no arguing everyone knew the Buffalo Bills (3-1) would be in first place in the AFC East, although there may be some dispute with those who saw them being 4-0. This week they host the downtrodden Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3), as the Kenny Pickett era begins in Steeltown.

Pickett may be ready in coach Mike Tomlin's eyes, but he'll have a tall task in matching the talents of Buffalo QB Josh Allen, who ranks second in the NFL with 12 combined passing and rushing touchdowns (10 passing, two rushing) this season and has 146 combined passing and rushing touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2018, fourth-most among all players over that span.

The Bills are -14 at home against Pittsburgh, which has covered in Week 5 the last four seasons.

In a huge road game in the NFC, the Eagles put their undefeated mark on the line in Glendale, where they'll visit the Arizona Cardinals (2-2).

The Cards are 2-2 and Kyler Murray has shown better play the past few weeks. He just recorded his 10th career game with at least two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown, the second-most such games by a quarterback since he entered the NFL in 2019. Since the 2020 season, Murray leads all quarterbacks with 18 rushing touchdowns, while Philly quarterback Jalen Hurts is tied for second with 17.

The Eagles, who have covered seven of their last 10 in Week 5, are -5 in Arizona.

Also from the NFC, there's a showdown in Inglewood brewing, as the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (2-2) host the Dallas Cowboys (3-1).

The Cowboys, who have allowed the fourth-fewest yards (537) to wide receivers, have their hands full against L.A.'s Cooper Kupp, who leads the NFL with 42 receptions this season. Kupp, who registered a career-high 14 receptions in Week 4, has recorded at least 10 receptions in three of his first four games this season and has 11 career games with 10-or-more receptions since entering the NFL in 2017.

The Rams are laying -5 to Dallas on Sunday, and it's the home team that boasts a 7-2 ATS streak the last nine meetings.

I'm on a 7-3 run in the NFL, including my NFC East Game of the Year on the Cowboys last Sunday, and my Thursday Night AFC Total of the Year on the Colts-Broncos under.

I'll have my fourth straight NFL Total Winner going Sunday and another Division Game of the Year.

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

© 2022 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.