Laces Out NFL Blog

Look between the lines: Handicapping NFL’s Week 5 slate

Laces Out

Tom-Brady-_20131003180715525_0_0.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="400" /> Once again the great Tom Brady is reminding us why he is a top-five quarterback of all-time. After methodically taking apart the Falcons last Sunday night and improving his record to 17-7 against the spread since 2003, he finds himself in that spot again against the Jekyll and Hyde act known as the Bengals. After looking competitive at Chicago in a loss and finding a way to beat the Packers and Steelers at home, many (including me) believed the Bengals were ready to take the next step and be that team that competes for a division title and a home playoff game. Although last week’s game against Cleveland was only one loss, it told a very detailed and disturbing story of Andy Dalton and his inability to take the next step in becoming an elite NFL quarterback. We all know Dalton has average arm strength at best. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and head coach Marvin Lewis seem to have made peace with that, but he stares down receivers and forces balls into impossible coverage that generate the turnovers and negative plays that continue to haunt this team. Look for cornerback Aqib Talib to try and add to his league-leading four interceptions as he and an opportunistic Pats secondary look to give Brady the ball in favorable field position and allow him to work his magic as he continues to make the most of his limited talent. Once again Brady and Belichick will beat a team that on paper is "more talented" than the Pats, but just as they always do, New England will find a way to emerge victorious and continue to defy the so-called experts while improving to 5-0. Detroit Lions/ Green Bay Packers over 53.5 In a reversal of fortune, it's the Lions who are 3-1 going into this game and the Packers who find themselves 1-2 and needing a home win to avoid a discouraging 1-3 start to the season. Both teams come into this contest averaging over 30 points per game, so look for both offenses to be in rare form as Rodgers and Stafford duel for a crucial division victory. With the addition of Reggie Bush, it looks as if the Lions truly have the perfect back to complement Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Bush provides a dual-threat matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Without the veteran presence of Nate Burleson, look for Ryan Broyles and Brandon Pettigrew to step up and contribute in the passing game while Bush and Bell handle the ground game. For the Packers it looks as if Eddie Lacy and James Franklin will be cleared to play Sunday and that should bring some stability to the running game and allow Rodgers to have the time to distribute the ball effectively to Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson and company. Unless Mother Nature herself decides to play a factor and force changes to the game plan and offensive tempo, these two offenses should have no problem scoring points at a rapid rate and easily push the game total over 53.5.

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