NFL Week 5 Upset Alerts

10/4/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

The two underdogs (Giants and Dolphins) that I said had a chance of pulling off the upset last week hung in there early in their games, but ended up getting smoked in the second half. In my defense, I did say that neither game would result in an upset.

This week, the average spread is 4.7 points. Here are the games with spreads higher than that:

Jacksonville Jaguars @ St. Louis Rams (-11.5)
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (-7)
Denver Broncos (-7.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers (-6)
New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons (-10)

So who's got a chance of pulling off the big upset?

Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) points during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY SportsDetroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (-7): Interestingly enough, the 3-1 team is a touchdown underdog to the 1-2 team. I understand that Aaron Rodgers is, well, Aaron Rodgers, but the oddsmakers seem to have no faith in the first place Lions. Matthew Stafford is back to playing like the sensational quarterback we saw blossom in 2011, while Reggie Bush is healthy and as electrifying as anyone in the league right now. The receiving core is a question mark outside of Calvin Johnson, but Stafford is making it work by spreading the ball around a lot. The offensive line has also held up way better than expected, as Stafford has only been sacked three times.

The Lions' defense is also an improved unit. They are giving up a solid 6.2 yards per pass attempt, and have stymied opposing quarterbacks to the tune of a 4:8 touchdown to interception ratio - they'll need to force some turnovers on Rodgers to have a chance in this one. The run defense, however, is a huge weakness. The Lions' wide-9 defensive scheme aids the edge rushers, but makes it easier for opponents to create gaps for running backs. With Eddie Lacy returning to action this week, that could be bad news for the Lions.

Even so, I'm going to go ahead and take the Lions in this one. My biggest reservation is that the game is in Green Bay, but the Packers are allowing 8.2 yards per pass attempt - worst in the league. The Packers just allowed Andy Dalton to post a 105.5 passer rating on them, so I'm feeling a very big day from Stafford. If the Lions can force a couple turnovers, I think the Packers will have a hard time keeping up.
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