NFL Week 5 picks: Dolphins-Jets, all the rest. Hit 5 outright upsets past two weeks. Here are 2 more

David Santiago/



DOLPHINS (3-1) at JETS (2-2)

Line: MIA by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: 24-18.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

The great start to Tua Tagovailoa’s Year 3 is derailed indefinitely by his concussion, so Miami native Teddy Bridgewater steps in, and up. Miami was favored by six but line cut in half when Tagovailoa was declared out. Still, Dolfans should stay calm. Bridgewater is a starter-caliber talent who has made 63 career starts, and a Pro Bowl. He’s pretty good. And he has never before had Tyreek Hil and Jaylen Waddle to throw to. T-Bridge (a nickname I just made up) is reliably better right now than NYJ’s Zach Wilson, who is back from injury but looked mighty shaky in his season debut last week. Wilson, though, may catch a break Sunday because injured Fins CB Byron Jones is not yet ready to return and star CB Xavien Hward (groin) is questionable. Miami’s defense is still better, but the Planes’ D can be sneaky good and did have four picks against Pitt last week. Bottom line: Dolphins are better all round, have owned Jets of late, on a 8-1 series run, and have added rest after playing last Thursday. As for the QB situation? Trust Teddy until he gives you reason not to.


BENGALS (2-2) at RAVENS (2-2)

Line: BAL by 3.

Cote’s pick: BAL, 27-23.

TV: 8:20 p.m., NBC.

Another GOTW committee meeting roiling with debate as Cowboys-Rams and even Eagles-Cards had their proponents. But how to go wrong with Joe Burrow at Lamar Jackson on a Sunday night? (You can’t.) Baltimore has lost five consecutive home games, and Cincy is on an 0-9 skid on Sunday night. Somebody’s aberrant trend is gonna end. Worth monitoring: Bengals WR Tee Higgins and Baltimore RB J.K. Dobbins both are iffy to play. Cincy has won past two meetings and rolled up 41 points in each, and Crows’ defense has been beat up the past few games — remember Tua’s six TDs? — so the onus is squarely on the home team’s D here. I think it will rise and deliver. Gals have the rest edge after playing last Thursday, but Ravens should be able to hound Burrow and his shaky offensive line.


CHARGERS (2-2) at BROWNS (2-2)

Line: LAC by 2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: CLE, 26-24. Upset!

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

“AAAWWWK!” croons the Upset Bird. “Cleveland Braaawwwk!” Justin Herbert vs. Jacoby Brissett by itself seems quite the mismatch, but much else has us leaning to the home team. Liking Cleveland’s defense a bit more, and that Nick Chubb-led ground game is the real deal — enough to limit reliance on Brissett and to also limit Herbert’s time on the field. Plus, Keenan Allen (hamstring) continues very iffy, so Herbert may once again be missing his favorite target. “Fact: Jacoby’s offense has scored more points than Justin’s through four games,” notes U-Bird with a wink. “Jacoby Brissaawwk!”


Colts (1-2-1) at Broncos (2-2) Thursday night: We had Denver (-3 1/2) winning and covering, 23-17. Find that full separate prediction capsule here.

Packers (3-1, -8) over Giants (3-1), 27-17, in London: Breakfast at Tottenham as King Sport is back for its second of four London games with a 9:30 a.m. ET start. Brits get two tradition-rich, “name” clubs, plus Aaron Rodgers. NYG’s QB state is precarious with Daniel Jones playing on a tender ankle and No. 2 Tyrod Taylor in concussion protocol. Biggies’ best shot is big dose of Saquon Barkley to play keep-away from Rodgers.

@Bills (3-1, -14) over Steelers (1-3), 34-13: A huge point spread for the NFL, but justified. Rookie Kenny Pickett making his first pro start in a tough venue against a great defense is all you need to know. Pitt has won 11 of past 13 vs. Buffs, but times — and QBs — have changed. Steelers are now 0-7 without T.J. Watt and won’t have an answer for Josh Allen. Bills face letdown on heel of big comeback win at Baltimore but still see a comfy coast.

@Vikings (3-1, -7 1/2) over Bears (2-2), 24-16: Minny is off to its best start since 2016 and should keep it going at home vs. a division rival that can’t get out of ts own way on offense behind a struggling Justin Fields. Chitown‘s D keeps it in games, but Dalvin Cook faces a Bears run defense gouged badly by the Giants last week.

@Patriots (1-3, -3) over Lions (1-3), 24-20: A bit surprised this game wasn’t off the board, with Pats QB Mac Jones (ankle) iffy to return, backup Brian Hoyer in concussion protocol and and rookie Bailey Zappe on call for his maiden NFL start. Relying on Bill Belichick, home field and defense for this call. Motown’s dangerous offense has WR injuries and will likely be missing RB D’Andre Swift. And oh my but Detroit’s defense stinks! Taking Packers to overtime last week shows New England has fight left.

@Saints (1-3, -5 1/2) over Seahawks (2-2), 24-23: Tough call that had us wavering. Geno Smith is hot, but Seattle’s defense is on the edge of awful. N’Awlins a surprisingly big favorite despite 11 giveaways and a minus-7 net on turnovers. Banged-up Jameis Winston (back, ankle) might yield to Andy Dalton again, but that’s pretty much a wash. Shaky nod to Saints, but the bet line seems fatter than me leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet.

@Buccaneers (2-2, -9) over Falcons (2-2), 31-17: Tampa Bay has lost two straight, albeit to Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Should be bit easier for Tom Brady to outscore Marcus Mariota — especially with Falcons top weapon Cordarrelle Patterson out and TE Kyle Pitts iffy to play. Brady is 4-0 vs. ATL as a Buc and his defense should dominate here.

@Commanders (1-3, +1 1/2) over Titans (2-2), 23-20. Upset!: Another difficult call, with two erratic teams and road fave Tennessee facing a letdown after last week’s big division upset at Indy. Two subpar defenses, but I’m saddling up the home dogs on an admittedly marginal-confidence hunch.

@Jaguars (2-2, -7) over Texans (0-3-1), 21-17: Time for Jax and Trevor Lawrence to get back some of their “it team” shine after falling in Philly last week. Houston is NFL’s last winless team but not so putrid it can be taken lightly by a Jags squad with much proving still to do. Lawrence lost four fumbles (!) last week because his O-line was so awful, and Texans D is sixth in league in sacks.

49ers (2-2, -6 1/2) over @Panthers (1-3), 19-16: Not quite enough for an official Upset Alert, but San Fran is on a short week and facing a letdown after that big division win over Rams on Monday night. Carolina on a 1-10 skid dating to last season, and Baker Mayfield finds ways to lose, but still hunching Cats stay inside the bet line in a points-shy game.

@Rams (2-2, -5 1/2) over Cowboys, 27-23: The Upset Bird was circling this one. L.A. off a short week after playing Monday night, and badly, getting spanked by Niners. Matthew Stafford‘s offensive line is a holy mess. The AT&T spokesman has been sacked 16 times already. And Dallas is 3-0 under Cooper Riush and has won its past five road games. Having said that, Rush is due a stumble and Rams will find some champion mojo at home. Like Boys with the points, though.

Eagles (4-0, -5 1/2) @Cardinals (2-2), 30-20: Bird Bowl features Eagles as The Last Unbeaten. Are the Dolphins’ 1972 Perfectos poised and ready to toast? Is the champagne chillin’ in the coolerator? Might an upset happen? Yes. Kyler Murray is capable of going off, and Philadelphia could have a distracted eye on its next opponent, rival Dallas. But would I bet on that upset? No. Philly has great balance, with and without the ball and tops the NFL with a plus-8 turnover differential. Eagles have won eight straight as the favorite, and Zona has dropped seven home games in a row by a combined 77 points. Sorry, Perfectos. Maybe next week?

@Chiefs (3-1, -7) over Raiders (1-3), 34-23: Monday night stage gets a division rivalry and what could be a shootout. Kansas City has dominated the Raiders of late — winning three in a row by a combined 124-54, and 13 of the past 15 — but the timing might be right for Vegas. Chiefs just beat Tom Brady and Bucs and have Josh Allen and Buffalo next, so this could be a look-ahead/sandwich game situation for K.C. Raiders will need that and more.

[Note: Betting lines are courtesy Caesars Sportsbook as of Thursday afternoon.]


Like a dog coming in out of the rain, we are shaking off our slow start. In Week 4 we had a solid 10-6 mark overall (our second straight double-digit wins) and a season-best 9-6-1 ledger against the spread, with the Bills’ three-point victory the tying push. We bull’s-eyed a nice outright upset with Titans winning at Colts, and also had Seahawks with the points at Detroit. Nailed the Dolphins-Cincy pick, too; always especially like to hit the Miami game just right. Sledding has been tough because NFL parity is raging like never before. Through four weeks 23 games have been decided by three points or fewer and 31 by six or fewer — both the most ever at this juncture. But we think we have our mojo back and can slay that parity. Now let’s keep it rollin’! [Note: Find our Thursday night Colts-Broncos pick in a separate prediction capsule here.]

Week 4: 10-6, .625 overall; 9-6-1, .600 vs. spread.

Season: 34-29-1, .540 overall; 30-33-1, .477 vs. spread.

Final 2021: 172-99-1, .635 overall; 140-130-2, .519 vs. spread.

Final 2020: 166-89-1, .651 overall; 130-120-6, .520 vs. spread.