2021 NFL Week 5 Tips & Preview

We’re officially one month into the NFL season as we look ahead to another huge Week 5 slate beginning on Friday.

The NFC West is hands down the most competitive division in football, and there is plenty up for grabs again when the Rams take on the Seahawks in Seattle.

Monday’s early window features an evenly matched game between the Saints and Washington, followed by the only remaining undefeated team in the league, the Cardinals, taking on the 49ers in the late slot.

Both primetime games hold plenty of weight with the Bills and Chiefs squaring off on Sunday Night Football, followed by a must-watch between the Colts and Ravens on Tuesday.

With each division starting to take shape, find out who we’re tipping in Week 5 here!

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Tip: Back the Rams to Cover the Line (-2.5 Points) & Over 54.5 Total Points @ $3.50

Thursday Night Football promises to be a real treat this week when the 3-1 Rams visit the 2-2 Seahawks in Seattle.

Sean McVay’s side suffered its first loss of the season last week in surprise blowout fashion to the Cardinals, while the Seahawks won an all-important game over San Francisco to remain in touch with the rest of the division.

Turnovers and an inability to stop the run cost the Rams against Arizona last week, but in a way, that loss could be seen as a positive.

Talk of the Super Bowl, and even an undefeated season was beginning to swirl in Los Angeles, but I think a loss to a key division rival might have been the reality check the Rams needed.

As far as this week goes, the Rams should have no trouble bouncing back against the worst defence in the NFL.

Seattle’s secondary has been awful through the first month of the season, which doesn’t bode well against Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp.

The Rams have won three of their last five games against the Seahawks and gone 11-5 after a loss since 2018, so I feel pretty good about LA here on the road.

New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons
Tip: Back the Falcons 1-13 @ $2.30

The first of two games in London kicks off this week between the Falcons and Jets.

Both teams board the plane at 1-3, and while this game doesn’t stand out on paper, it could turn out to be reasonably exciting based on what we saw last week.

The Jets picked up their first win of the season thanks to a much-improved effort from Zach Wilson against Tennessee, while the Falcons lost a game they really should have won at home to Washington.

Wilson should take plenty of improvement into this game after he threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns last week, but I think the lack of a running game is going to impact the Jets in this one.

It’s arguable, but Atlanta’s defence isn’t quite as bad as Tennessee’s, while the Jets are also going to have their hands full against Matt Ryan, who was very good last week throwing four touchdowns in the loss.

This is also a bit of a mental test for Wilson given the international travel, so I like an experienced hand like Ryan to take control in this one.

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Tip: Back the Vikings to Cover the Line (-9 Points) @ $1.90

The Vikings finally find themselves on the right side of the schedule following a tough opening month to start the season.

At 1-3, Minnesota desperately needs to win if they hope to keep in touch with the Packers in the NFC North, and based on everything we’ve seen from Detroit so far, Mike Zimmer’s side looks a good bet to do just that.

The Lions are off to an 0-4 start to the season, largely due to the defence giving up nearly 30 points a game and the offence struggling mightily to find the end zone.

Defending the run has been a big problem for both teams so far, but with Dalvin Cook expected back, you have to give the edge to the Vikings.

When you throw in the fact Minnesota has scored 30+ points in its last two games against Detroit, it becomes increasingly difficult to back against the heavy favourites at home.

New Orleans Saints @ Washington Football Team
Tip: Back the Saints to Cover the Line (-1 Point) @ $1.83

As you can tell by the market, this is one of the more intriguing games in the early window.

Just about everyone picked the Saints to win their home-opener last week against the Giants, only for the offence to come up short in their overtime loss.

Washington, meanwhile, was quite the opposite in their thrilling come-from-behind win over the Falcons, led by some last-minute heroics from Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin.

It’s tough to feel overly confident in either offence right now, but I think the defence really sets these two teams apart.

After a wonderful season last year, Washington’s secondary has so far allowed the fourth-most passing yards in the league, which is a real problem if the same Saints team we saw in Week 1 against the Packers shows up.

New Orleans, meanwhile, has allowed the fifth-fewest points in the league alongside eight turnovers – giving them a serious advantage against an inexperienced quarterback.

With a steady 3-1 record against the spread over the last 12 months on the back of a loss, I’m with the Saints.

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans
Tip: SGM: Back the Patriots to Win & Under 39.5 Total Points @ $2.48

The Patriots head to Houston as the heavy favourites this week following a very commendable performance against Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Losing on a last-second field goal is never fun, but there was a lot to like about the way Mac Jones went about his business by completing 31 of his passes for 275 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

The Patriots defence also had a lot to feel good about after they held one of last year’s highest-scoring offensive teams to just 17 points.

That alone is a very encouraging sign heading into this week’s game against the lowly Texans, a team that was just shut out by the Buffalo Bills 40-0.

Make no mistake, the Texans can score points when they want to, and nobody knows that better than the Patriots.

Houston has won its last two meetings over New England by exactly a touchdown, but considering there’s no Deshaun Watson to worry about here, you have to trust the Patriots’ much-improved defence to make this tough on Davis Mills.

Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tip: Back the Bucs to Cover the Line (-10 Points) @ $1.94

With last week’s media circus now behind him, Tom Brady will have his sights set on one of his favourite punching bags as the Bucs return home to Tampa Bay.

The GOAT has recorded 23 career wins over Miami – the third-most of any team he’s faced – and as the line suggests, he should have no trouble adding to that record based on what we’ve seen from the Dolphins of late.

Jacoby Brissett has done a stand-up job filling in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa under centre, but the defence hasn’t held up to its end of the bargain allowing close to 28 points a game.

If the Dolphins are looking for positives, it’s that the Bucs put up only 17 points against an average Patriots defence last week, but at the same time, that might just leave Tampa Bay with a point to prove.

These two sides haven’t met since 2017, but if Brady can shake off some of the accuracy issues he had last week in the rain at Foxborough, it’s hard to see Miami’s awful secondary putting up much of a fight.

Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Tip: Back the Bengals to Cover the Line (+3.5 Points) @ $1.90

Two of the NFL’s most exciting offences meet this week for a rare cross-conference game in Cincinnati.

The Bengals have an added rest advantage after beating the Jaguars two Friday’s ago, while the Packers come into this game on the back of another confidence boosting win over the Steelers in Week 4.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams weren’t quite as lethal as they usually are, but that didn’t stop No. 12 from finding his old favourite Randall Cobb not once, but twice.

Joe Burrow, on the other hand, continues to excite alongside rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, setting up a potentially mouth-watering matchup between two offences averaging 23 points a game.

The Over stands out as the safe bet here, but I think the Bengals are a realistic chance at winning, or keeping this close.

The Packers have some serious injury issues on defence, made only worse with star cornerback Jaire Alexander potentially facing season-ending surgery on his shoulder.

Green Bay’s secondary was questionable to begin with, so I expect some big plays for the Bengals receivers if the Packers have to roll with Kevin King and rookie Eric Stokes at cornerback.

The underdog is also 4-0 against the spread in the last four games between these two sides, so there’s plenty pointing towards a Bengals upset.

Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Tip: Back the Steelers to Win @ $1.87

The Steelers have been a hot topic of discussion over the last few weeks, but they still find themselves as the slight favourite heading into Monday’s game against Denver.

Last week’s loss to the Packers further highlighted Ben Roethlisberger’s regression, but this does look a winnable game for Pittsburgh against an injury-ravaged Broncos team.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater remains uncertain to play for the second week in a row, while wide receiver KJ Hamler and key defensive back Patrick Surtain also feature on the injury report.

Roethlisberger’s arm and his lack of mobility are huge areas of concern, so expect to see plenty of Najee Harris following a career-best performance against the Packers last week.

If Bridgewater plays, this game might become more about the Broncos defence against the Steelers offence, but if Drew Lock is under centre, I feel better about Pittsburgh winning narrowly at home.

Philadephia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers
Tip: Eagles Under 20.5 Total Points @ $1.85

The Panthers came back down to earth last week with a loss to the Cowboys, but this does look a nice bounce-back spot for them against an Eagles team in the midst of a three-game skid.

Jalen Hurts played his heart out last week in the loss to the Chiefs, but the Eagles defence ultimately cost them for the second week in a row by allowing over 40 points.

The Panthers haven’t put up those kinds of numbers in any of their wins so far, but with Philly basically forced to abandon the running game in the hope of keeping up on the scoreboard, this does shape as another long day for the Eagles.

Carolina’s defence has allowed only 16 points on average so far, while they’ve also been the second-toughest team to throw against in terms of yards allowed.

The secondary was exposed last week by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, but it’s tough to read too much into a road loss against a very underrated offence.

All in all, I think points are going to come at a premium here for the Eagles, while the fact Christian McCaffrey could potentially return for Carolina only complicates matters.

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Tip: Back the Titans to Cover the Line (-4.5 Points) @ $1.90

Certainly no shortage of storylines to talk about here.

The Jags have been in the news all week due to Urban Meyer’s off-field antics, and it really wouldn’t be surprising if Jacksonville has an interim coach in place before kick-off on Monday.

As for the Titans, well they just need to win.

Tennessee lost in overtime last week to the Jets, and given how embarrassing Mike Vrabel’s defence looks, this game is far from a given based on what we saw from Trevor Lawrence last week against the Bengals.

Of course, to win this game the Jags need to play four full quarters defensively – something that is yet to happen during this ongoing 19-game losing streak.

Jacksonville had its moments last week against Cincinnati, but ultimately gave up nearly 350 yards and two touchdowns to Joe Burrow.

This test doesn’t look any easier with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones lining up opposite, especially with plenty of distractions going on in the locker room.

Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers
Tip: Back the Chargers to Win @ $1.80

This game is hands down the highlight of the late window.

In what is shaping up to be a potential playoff preview, the Chargers will host the Browns as short-priced favourites with both teams hoping to improve to 4-1.

These two sides have had no trouble scoring points this year, while on the flip side, both defences have been playing out of their skin.

Three of the last five games between the Browns and Chargers have been decided by three points or fewer, and given how evenly matched this game feels, it wouldn’t be surprising if a field goal or a costly turnover decides it.

As far as betting goes, I’m with the Chargers outright for a few reasons.

Firstly, SoFi has proven a tough environment for visiting road teams this year, while I also think the Chargers are a little more battle-tested in terms of who they’ve played so far.

Los Angeles has faced a playoff-like schedule against Washington, Dallas, Kansas City, and Vegas, and not to take anything away from the Browns, but games against Houston, Chicago, and Minnesota aren’t really of the same caliber. 

I’m also wary of Baker Mayfield following a less-than-convincing performance last week.

The defence paved the way for a win over the Vikings, but if Baker fails to hit targets, the Browns are in for a long day against this well-oiled Chargers machine.

Chicago Bears @ Las Vegas Raiders
Tip: Back the Raiders to Cover the Line (-5.5 Points) @ $1.90

The Raiders will be looking to make life tough for rookie quarterback Justin Fields this week after suffering their first loss of the season to the Chargers last Tuesday.

Vegas’ defence gave up 380 yards and four touchdowns in the 14-point loss, but they should feel good about facing a Bears team that has averaged the third-fewest points in the league.

Fields looked much-improved and a lot more settled under center last week in the win over Detroit, but obviously, it’s tough to get too excited about a win over the worst team in the league.

To make life even tougher for the rookie, starting running back David Montgomery is now set to miss at least a month with a knee injury.

On the plus side, the Bears do have the pieces in place to limit the Raiders’ air-raid offence, but unless the pass rush has Derek Carr running for his life the whole game, it’s hard to see Chicago matching it on the scoreboard.

With the home crowd on their side and Josh Jacobs back healthy, the Raiders should bounce back here.

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
Tip: Back the Cardinals 1-13 @ $2.25

There’s still plenty of football left to be played, but this is shaping up to be a critical game for the 49ers in wild and dangerous NFC West.

San Francisco is in the midst of a two-game skid after falling to the Seahawks last week, but that comes as no surprise as Kyle Shanahan’s team continues to battle through injury.

Much like last year, Jimmy Garoppolo is back on the injury report with a calf injury, while the running back spot has been decimated to leave Trey Sermon as the likely starter this week.

None of that bodes particularly well against the undefeated Cardinals, a team that currently leads the league in points scored with an average of 35 a game.

It has to be said that the 49er defence has held the Cardinals to under 26 points in each of their last five meetings, but it just feels like this is a different Arizona team to the ones we’ve seen in the past.

Rookie Trey Lance showed last week that he’s capable of leading San Francisco on scoring drives, but the Cardinals’ defence presents a much tougher test than Seattle’s weak secondary.

All that said, -5.5 feels like a lot for a divisional game, so I feel better about taking Arizona 1-13.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Cover the Line (-7.5 Points) @ $2.02

The NFC East has been the laughingstock of the NFL for the last couple of years, but it appears the Cowboys might actually be for real this season following an impressive win over Carolina last week.

It’s still early, but Dak Prescott looks like a genuine MVP candidate in his return from injury, while the defence is playing well above expectations thanks to Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs.

Speaking of surprises, the Giants pulled one off themselves last week with a stunning overtime win over the Saints in the Superdome.

New York made the most of its limited possession, but really, the win came down to Daniel Jones making some clutch throws in a huge 400-yard, two touchdown performance.

The Giants will need all of that and more this week against the Cowboys, but it’s still hard to tip against Dallas given their 4-0 record against the spread in their last four home games.

The Cowboys have also won seven of their last 10 games over the Giants, and given the offence has had no trouble scoring points this year, it’s hard to see Joe Judge’s side keeping up for a full for quarters.

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs
Tip: Back the Bills to Cover the Line (+3 Points) @ $1.83

Primetime games have been an absolute treat so far this year, and that looks to be the case again this week when the Bills play the Chiefs in a rematch of the 2020 AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs got back to business last week with a double-digit win over the Eagles, while the Bills have scored 40 points or more in their last two wins over Washington and Houston.

Kansas City has held Buffalo’s number for the better part of the last six years, but I think Andy Reid’s side has its work out against a defence that has posted two shutouts this year.

You’d be foolish to think the Bills can keep the Chiefs off the scoreboard, but with Patrick Mahomes having thrown four interceptions already this year, it’s fair to say the Buffalo defence could be the difference in this one.

Of course, we said that ahead of last year’s AFC title game before Mahomes went off 325 yards and three touchdowns.

You could argue though that the Chiefs defence was much stronger last season, evident in the fact they’ve allowed 31 points to opponents already this year.

That really doesn’t bode well against a Bills team that currently ranks sixth in average yards, so I’m happy to take Sean McDermott’s side to cover.

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens
Tip: Colts Under 19.5 Total Points @ $1.85

The Ravens head into their third primetime game laying -7 at home to the Colts on Tuesday.

Despite all the injuries, Baltimore has done extremely well to keep its head above water with three consecutive wins over the Chiefs, Lions, and Broncos, while the Colts, on the other hand, are simply hoping to build on last week’s double-digit win over Miami.

The Ravens walked away with a comfortable 14-point win over the Colts when they met last year in a game that was largely dominated by the Baltimore defence.

John Harbaugh’s men forced a pair of turnovers and held the Colts to just two third down conversions on the day – a performance every similar to what we saw last week in the win over Denver.

Indy should sense the importance of this game with the division rival Titans struggling defensively, but I really think this Ravens team has hit its stride now after putting their Week 1 loss to the Raiders behind them.

With this also being an equally important game for Baltimore in terms of the AFC North, I’m willing to back the Ravens defence to do the talking here.