Let’s begin by reviewing how accurate Vinnie has been against the spread, four weeks in:
On to Week 5!
Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-1): Cincinnati boasts the league’s best defense through four games, and there isn’t any one area opposing offenses have been able to consistently exploit. Defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap are making quarterbacks uncomfortable, Rey Maualuga is having a breakout year, and cornerbacks Leon Hall and Nate Clements are holding receivers in check. Ryan Fitzpatrick managed less than 200 passing yards and threw zero touchdown passes against the Bengals, last week. Jacksonville generally relies on help from its defense and receiver Mike Thomas in order to win games; as good as Maurice Jones-Drew is, a one-man team he isn’t. Not much help for MJD in Week 5, though, as the Bengals will break their extensive streak of traveling to Jacksonville only to lose. Rookie Andy Dalton has been very efficient in Cincinnati’s road games and besides, Jacksonville has been terrible against the spread this season.
Gimme the Bengals plus the points.
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons (+5.5): This one should be much more fun to watch, Sunday night, than the above game. The Falcons are looking for vengeance following Green Bay’s decisive victory against ’em in the playoffs, and tend to play much better at home. Going strictly by the numbers, Michael Turner has his work cut out for him; Green Bay boasts the #2 run defense in the league right now. If you watched last week’s game, however, you probably noticed how well Willis McGahee played versus against this defense. Let’s face it, Green Bay jumps out to such leads in the first half of games that most opponents wind up all but abandoning the run. The reverse is true of the Packers pass defense, which looks actually pretty bad on paper but will be able to hold its own against Matt Ryan. Atlanta’s pass blocking leaves plenty to be desired, for one thing. But if you glean only one piece of Vinnie’s advice, here, it ought to be that Aaron Rodgers and the many weapons at his disposal match up extremely well against a below average Falcons pass defense. Did you happen to notice how well Tarvaris Jackson distributed the ball to his Seahawks teammates a week ago?
Gimme the Packers minus the points.
Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants (-10): Impressive that the Giants defense stacks up decently well to that of a lot of NFL defenses which haven’t lost nearly the starters to injury they have, isn’t it? New York moves ahead of Washington in the NFC East this weekend, hosting a Seahawks team which will travel a long way for this early Sunday game only to get destroyed. These teams met in Seattle last November, a 41-7 Giants victory. The Giants also won the last time the Seahawks came to face them in New York (2008), to the tune of 44-6. Very similar script in this one, Eli Manning and Ahmad Bradshaw rising to the occasion in particular.
Gimme the Giants minus the points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Francisco 49ers (-3): This has the makings of a low-scoring slobberknocker that showcases each team’s defense, the predominant reason the Bucs and Niners have leaped out to 3-1 records. For San Francisco, Alex Smith and Frank Gore got back on track in Week 4 – against the struggling Philly defense. Don’t expect LeGarrette Blount to compile any earth-shattering rushing numbers against a very good 49ers front seven. In a close game such as this, when the team getting points features the better quarterback, you go in that direction nearly every time. Josh Freeman led his team to a 21-0 win in San Francisco last season and while this 49ers team has a lot more going for it, Vinnie likes the Buccaneers on the road again here.
Gimme the Buccaneers plus the points.