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Top 4 Week 5 Games: QBs Baker, Burrow and Stroud in the Spotlight!

Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow and CJ Stroud are in the online sports betting bull’s eye as we highlight four attractive Week 5 NFL matchups! Head on over to the BetUS sportsbook to make your wager on these four games and every other Week 5 matchup on the docket! Let’s hop into it with some NFL expert betting analysis and predictions on each matchup!

 

Top 4 Week 5 Games: QBs Baker, Burrow and Stroud in the Spotlight!
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers| Mike Ehrmann / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Top 4 Games in NFL Week 5

 

1. Cousins, Falcons Host Mayfield, Bucs In NFC South Clash

On the surface, this Week 5 NFC South matchup looks like a meeting of two relatively evenly matched teams with two almost equally talented starting quarterbacks. However, it’s not and I’ll explain why in just a moment.

Tampa Bay is coming off an encouraging 9-8 season that saw the franchise claim its third consecutive NFC South title in 2023. Polarizing quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Bucs to a stunning 32-9 home upset over Philadelphia in their Wild Dard opener before falling in the Divisional Round against Detroit.

Mayfield, the top pick in the 2018 draft, played every game for Tampa Bay and acquitted himself well by completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 4,004 yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Now, after two straight playoff appearances and a big playoff win last season, head coach Todd Bowles is looking for his team to make more strides in 2024.

Conversely, I can’t figure out why Kirk Cousins was such a hot commodity this past offseason. Cousins is 36 and coming off a torn Achilles that generally robs players of their mobility, especially older ones. Cousins is an experienced veteran, but his career regular-season playoff record is just 1-3, and to me, that reeks of mediocrity.

I like Atlanta’s new head coach, Raheem Morris, but he’s taking over a team that was only 7-10 a year ago and is undergoing massive changes on both sides of the ball. Not only that, but Morris is just 21-38 in his career so it’s not like we’re talking about Don Shula.

Atlanta opened as a 3-point home favorite, but I don’t think the Falcons should be. These NFC South rivals have split their two regular-season meetings in the last two years. A year ago, the road team won both games. Atlanta is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings, but for this Week 5 meeting, I like Mayfield and the Bucs to take care of business on a Thursday night in Atlanta.

Tampa Bay won three of its final four road games last season and the Bucs are a robust 8-2 ATS over their last 10 away games. Bowles has built an elite defense in Tampa Bay and Mayfield is better than Cousins at this point in their respective careers. Tampa Bay covers the spread by winning outright.

 

2. Back Burrow to Outplay Jackson!

Baltimore went a stellar 14-3 a year ago as quarterback Lamar Jackson won his second league MVP award. Unfortunately, the Ravens flamed out in the second half of their AFC Championship Game loss against Kansas City to come up short of the Super Bowl – again. The free agent addition of running back Derrick Henry will help Baltimore when they need tough yards late in games and that should help balance Baltimore’s too “Lamar-centric” offense.

For me, though, it all comes down to whether Jackson can outplay elite quarterbacks like Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes in the postseason. When a big play needs to be made, can Jackson come through when it matters most? So far, the answer has been mostly no. Jackson is just 2-4 in six career playoff starts and certainly hasn’t convinced me he can beat the best in the business in big games.

Cincinnati went 9-8 last season but saw quarterback Joe Burrow fail to make it through a full season for the second time in his career. When he’s healthy, Burrow is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Yet, the top pick in the 2020 draft has been as brittle as fine china. Burrow played 10 games in 2023 before suffering a torn ligament in his right throwing wrist against – you guessed it – Baltimore!

Burrow also tore three ligaments in his knee as a rookie in 2020 and had a dislocated pinkie finger a year later. In 2022, a calf strain slowed him significantly. Simply put, the Bengals play elite football with their franchise cornerstone on the field but are mediocre at best without him.

Baltimore was 2-0 ATS last season against Cincinnati and 6-4 ATS over the last 10 regular-season meetings. The Ravens swept the regular-season series a year ago, but I think this Week 5 matchup is a classic revenge game the Bengals want to win. Cincinnati is 15-5 SU and 12-6-2 ATS in its last 20 home games. I believe we’ll see the best version of Joe Burrow in this Week 5 affair. Cincinnati makes that statement by covering the chalk in a thriller.

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3. Stroud, Texans to Tame Allen, Bills

Buffalo has gone 63-30 with Josh Allen as their franchise cornerstone. The Bills have finished with double-digit wins and accompanying postseason appearances in five consecutive seasons. Yet, Allen is only 5-5 in 10 career playoff games and the Bills just don’t seem to have it in them to get past Kansas City.

Buffalo’s wide receiver room is in flux with the team parting ways with Pro Bowler Stephon Diggs and solid No. 2 Gabe Davis. Right now, I think Buffalo’s Super Bowl window is closing a lot faster than anyone expected.

Houston is looking to build on its stunning 10-7 run in Year 1 of their franchise reset. The Texans won the AFC South in 2023 despite having a first-time head coach in DeMeco Ryans and a rookie starting quarterback in CJ Stroud.

More impressively, Stroud and the Texans destroyed the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs before they were demolished by the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round.

Now, Houston has Diggs on their sideline and added veteran edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Denico Autry to bolster its defense. The future is bright in Houston, seeing as how the Texans have arguably the best young quarterback in the league.

I love the way Houston is building their team under Ryans and I expect the Texans to build on their eye-opening 2023 campaign. Buffalo just looks like a team ready to take a slight step backward to me. Houston has won five of the last seven meetings in this series. The under is 6-1 over the stretch. I’m going with CJ Stroud to outplay Josh Allen. Bet on the Texans to get a statement-making home win in this one.

 

4. Lawrence, Desperate Jags to Handle Visiting Colts

The Colts went 9-8 under first-time head coach Shane Steichen last season despite losing rookie starting quarterback Anthony Richardson after only four starts. Veteran backup Gardner Minshew was great in relief and Indianapolis added Joe Flacco as insurance in the offseason.

The hope in Indy is that Richardson will take a step forward after his mostly encouraging performance last season and I see no reason why he won’t. Still, I’m not convinced the Colts improved their defense enough to challenge for anything of consequence in 2024.

In Jacksonville, the Jags went a disappointing 9-8 to finish second to Houston in the AFC South. More disturbing is the fact that starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence failed to take a step forward in his third season.

The top pick in the 2021 draft had fewer touchdown passes and more interceptions than he had in 2022 and never looked like the top-tier quarterback he was expected to be when he entered the league. Jacksonville added veteran cornerback Ronald Darby and defensive tackle Arik Armstead, but I’m not impressed with the Jags’ offseason and I don’t think their ceiling is very high in 2024.

Still, Jacksonville swept the regular-season series last season and has gone a near-perfect 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. I’m going with Lawrence and the Jaguars to extend their SU and ATS dominance in this AFC South rivalry.

 

 

Questions of the Day

Who won the AFC South title in 2023?


The Houston Texans won the division with a 10-7 record, finishing a game ahead of Jacksonville and Indianapolis.

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