Nostrathomas Predicts: Week 5 of the 2015 NFL Season!

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 09, 2015

Sometimes you gets the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. Nostrathomas had solid results straight-up last week, 9-6, but got roughed up a bit against the spread, 5-8-1, his first sub-.500 week against the spread this season. Still, a documented 44-19 straight-up and 36-25-1 against the spread in 2015 is a record that Nostrathomas will put up against any pigskin pickers in the business.

As always these predictions are for entertainment purposes only. Never bet more than you can afford to lose and never lose more than you’re able to win.

Byes – Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings

Thursday Night

(This analysis and pick was submitted at 3:30 Eastern Time Thursday afternoon but Football Nation failed to publish it. That article is deleted and the pick is being included here for the record).

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans -5

(This game picked up a point spread just before this article was submitted when it was announced That Andrew Luck would be "Out" for tonight. That Matt Hasselbacknews slightly changed this from Colts win and cover to Texans covering the spread. The remainder of this prediction is unedited).

The Colts have taken over first place in the AFC South by squeezing out wins against Tennessee and Jacksonville the last two weeks. Houston has plummeted to the bottom of the division after getting crushed by the Falcons in Atlanta last week.

If you look at Houston’s offensive stats you could be fooled into believing they had a good game and were let down by their defense. The Texans finished with 428 Total Yards against 378 for Atlanta, but look closer and it’s easy to see that most of that offense came in the fourth quarter, in garbage time after the Falcons took their foot off the gas with a 42-0 lead.

Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett was 12 of 27 for 150-yards and an interception for a 46.8 Passer Rating and he’s been named the starter for Thursday night. Making his job more difficult, Mallett will be without wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington, both ruled out on the injury report.

Luck hasn’t been much better for the Colts this season, he’s right behind Mallett at No. 32 in Passer Rating but he’s also played the position at an elite level for most of his young career.

Indianapolis has a five game winning streak against the Texans and a 15 game winning streak against the AFC South. The Colts are also riding a 10 game Thursday night winning streak going back to 2004 while Houston has lost four of their last five.

With their injuries at receiver and a suspect quarterback the Texans will need to rely on Arian Foster and Alfred Blue to carry the ball early and often against Indianapolis. The Colts’ running game may be limited, Frank Gore has a foot injury but will play. Even so Luck, or Matt Hasselback, will still have a full complement of receivers they can rely on.

The prediction here is the Colts win their third consecutive intra-division game but neither of these two injury-riddled teams will run away from each other.

Indianapolis Colts 20 Houston Texans 16

Matt Hasselbeck played a solid game, passing for two touchdowns and Frank Gore rushed for 98-yards and one touchdown. Brian Hoyer replaced Ryan Mallett and threw for 312-yards and two touchdowns to almost lead the Texans all the way back. A bad interception with two minutes to go secured the 27-20 win for the Colts.

For the week Nortrathomas is 1-0 Straight-up and 0-1 Against the Spread

Sunday – Early Games

Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons -8

The Redskins are tied for first in the NFC East with the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, all with 2-2 records. The Falcons will be trying to stay undefeated for 2015 and keep pace with the Carolina Panthers atop the NFC South.

On offense, Washington’s line does a good job of protecting quarterback Kirk Cousins, 5 sacks, tied for fourth fewest in the league, and they’re also one of the best in the league at opening up running lanes, 4.4-Yards per Carry. Whether or not Kirk Cousins is going to show up to play is another matter.

He threw two interceptions in each of the team’s losses, against Miami and the New York Giants. In the Redskins’ two victories he’s stayed turnover free. Against Atlanta he’s not likely to be so fortunate. The Falcons aren’t strong in rushing the quarterback but are in the top 10 in the NFL in interceptions.

Atlanta is also second in the NFL in scoring. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have been tearing up opponents through the air while Davonta Freeman racks up touchdowns on the ground, three in each of the past two weeks.

Washington is on a five game road losing streak and has lost 14 of their last 15 games away from home. Atlanta has won 9 of their last 10 against the NFC East and finishes their sweep of that division with a big win on Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons 32 Washington Redskins 20

Seattle Seahawks @ Cincinnati Bengals -2.5

Take Seattle out of the Seahawks, especially against AFC competition and they become ordinary. They’ve lost 14 of their last 16 games on the road against AFC teams and face one of the hottest teams, and quarterbacks, in the conference this week.

Seattle played their opening two games on the road, against the Rams and Packers, and lost both. Back home they struggled to beat the Bears, who were without Jay Cutler in Week 3 and should have lost last week against the Lions if not for a blown officiating call.

On offense, Russell Wilson has been sacked 18 times already, second most in the league. If pass pressure continues at that pace Wilson could reach DavidAndy Dalton Carr territory for most times sacked in a season.

The Seahawks are still a tough defense to score on, No. 3 in the league in Points Allowed, but there are flaws if you look close enough. They have five takeaways this season, all fumble recoveries, no interceptions. Their defense is also near the bottom of the league in sacks.

Considering those problems on defense the Seahawks have picked the wrong week to face one of the current top five quarterbacks in the NFL. Andy Dalton is No. 1 in the league with a 9.97 Real Passing Yards per Attempt average. He’s also second in Real Quarterback Rating and Passer Rating.

The problem with picking against the Seahawks is they’ve been to the Super Bowl two straight years and you never know when the breakout is coming and they play at that level for the rest of the season. Until they do though, you have to take the team, and quarterback that’s doing it now.

Cincinnati Bengals 30 Seattle Seahawks 21

St. Louis Rams @ Green Bay Packers -9

The Packers are No. 1 in the Quality Stats Power Rankings and Aaron Rodgers continues to be one of the top quarterbacks of the NFL. The Rams have played hard in beating two tough division opponents but looked anemic against Washington and Pittsburgh.

On offense, the Rams get the job done with a tough offensive line. They’ve only allowed six sacks of Nick Foles this season and St. Louis is second in the NFL in Rushing Yards per Attempt with a 4.6 average which is an advantage against Green Bay. The Packers give up 4.8-yards per attempt.

The question is, can Todd Gurley do enough damage against Green Bay to counter what Rodgers will do to the Rams? The answer, not enough to stay within the spread, especially in Green Bay.

Green Bay Packers 30 St. Louis Rams 17

Buffalo Bills -3 @ Tennessee Titans

It seems every time it appears the Bills are going to rise up and be the team they have the potential to be they come up with a flat and pull off the road. The Titans are coming off their bye week after two disappointing losses to the Browns and Colts.

Marcus Mariota continues to light-up NFL competition and he’s going to be a challenge for Buffalo’s defense after they were picked apart by Eli Manning last week. One area the Bills can exploit though is Tennessee’s pocket protection. Mariota has been sacked 12 times through three games.

The Bills will be without running backs LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Karlos Williams (concussion) this Sunday which will put more pressure on quarterback Tyrod Taylor to produce. Buffalo’s defensive line will be coming hard for Mariota on Sunday to advance that sack total.

The road favorites cover but this should be an entertaining game.

Buffalo Bills 27 Tennessee Titans 23

Chicago Bears @ Kansas City Chiefs -9

The Bears came back to get their first win of 2015, a tight 22-20 game at home last Sunday against the Raiders while the Chiefs were crushed by the Bengals 36-21.

The Chiefs have lost to three undefeated teams this season, Denver, Green Bay and Cincinnati but the Bears have lost to Green Bay, Arizona and Seattle, no slouches either.

Chicago is heading into one of the loudest stadiums in the league with a patchwork offensive line that already has penalty problems. Another issue for the Bears is Jay Cutler’s hamstring. He came back early to lead the Bears over Oakland but is again listed as Questionable for Sunday. Even though he’s sure to play, his mobility, a big part of his game, will be limited. The Bears may also be missing linebacker Pernell McPhee, also listed as questionable, who has emerged as one of the leaders of Chicago’s new 3-4 defense.

Alex Smith passed for 386-yards last week against the Bengals but couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. Seven field goals by Cairo Santos accounted for all of Kansas City’s points.

The Bears are a bit too beaten up to expect to win on Sunday but making a1-3 team a nine point favorite is ridiculous.

Kansas City Chiefs 24 Chicago Bears 20

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles -4.5

Even though Drew Brees skills may be declining a little bit he’s still going to be the far superior quarterback on the field this Sunday. Brees is also comingDrew Brees off a game that earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Neither team runs the ball well, although at least New Orleans recognizes the concept of a running game.

A couple of interesting stats stand out with this game. For all the talk of their high-powered offense the Eagles only score on 23.1 percent of their drives, No. 29 in the league, the Saints are No. 12 at 37.2. Philadelphia also has a higher ratio of turnovers to drives than New Orleans.

The Eagles only have six sacks on the season and will have to bring more pressure than that to slow down Brees.

Both teams are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win this week. The Eagles lost a tough one last week and will lose a tough one this week. The road dog wins outright.

New Orleans Saints 22 Philadelphia Eagles 19

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3

Here is something that a pigskin predictor rarely gets to say, Blake Bortles will be the better quarterback on the field in his game this Sunday. In Week 4 the Jaguars nearly pulled an upset over the Luck-less Colts in Week 4 before losing in overtime 13-10.

The Buccaneers are tied for second in the league with 10 turnovers and surprise stat of the week, Tampa Bay has not won a home game since Lovie Smith took over as head coach. That trend continues.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens -7

Was it the late-blooming Josh McCown and the suddenly high-powered Cleveland offense that nearly pulled off the upset last week or is San Diego’s offense worse than everyone thought? Nostrathomas is betting on the latter. Still, McCown does have a 98.4 Passer Rating this season, miles ahead of where Joe Flacco is.

Both teams are 1-3 and will be attempting to leave the other in the AFC North Division’s dust this Sunday. Baltimore has won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two but the difference in 2015 I, they’re nearly as bad as Cleveland is.

Justin Forsett broke out with a big game against the Steelers last week, 27 carries for 150-yards, and he’ll need to be just as, if not more, productive this week since wide receiver Steve Smith will be out with a back injury. Considering that the Browns are one of the worst teams in the NFL at stopping the run that shouldn’t be a big problem.

Baltimore has dominated this series in the win column but considering where they are as a team this season, covering seven points is a bit much to ask.

Baltimore Ravens 23 Cleveland Browns 20

Sunday – Late Games

Arizona Cardinals -2.5 @ Detroit Lions

Yes, the Lions should have been given the ball on the one-yard line with a chance to beat the Seahawks last Sunday. That’s not going to help them this week.

Detroit’s defense did exactly what it needed to do last week in Seattle. They punched the Seahawks’ offense in the mouth early and often. They sacked Russell Wilson six times and forced Seattle into three turnovers. It was their offense that failed to take advantage.

Matthew Stafford has been terrible this season. It’s true that his completion percentage is up but no quarterback can make a living with a 5.82-Real Passing Yards per Attempt average. Calvin Johnson caught seven passes last week. Megatron would turn seven catches into over 100-yards and at least one touchdown. Johnson converted them into 56-yards.

The good news for the Lions is they should be getting linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah back on the field this week. The bad news is their offense will be trying to get well against the sixth toughest defense to score on in the NFL.

Arizona’s offense is even better. They’ve scored the most points in the league and will be getting starting running back Andre Ellington back from a knee injury Sunday.

The question about whether head coach Jim Caldwell has clamped down too hard on Stafford’s long game will have to wait for another time and article. The prediction here is that the Cardinals will clamp down on the Lions team and cover on the road.

Arizona Cardinals 29 Detroit Lions 17

New England Patriots -10 @ Dallas Cowboys

The Belichick/Brady Screw Goodell and the NFL tour returns to the field this Sunday to the home that Jerry Jones built. New England has played three Gronkowskiteams, blown them all out (if you ignore garbage time stats) and backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has yet to take a regular season snap.

Brandon Weeden has been competent to very good in relief of Tony Romo and the Cowboys have yet to win a game with him as the starting quarterback.

A big issue for Dallas is dealing with the comments made by returning defensive end Greg Hardy this week (if you haven’t read or heard about his “jokes” about guns, Tom Brady’s wife and other topics, Google them).

This game could get as ugly as Hardy and his diarrhetic mouth early. Take the Patriots and give the 10,

New England Patriots 44 Dallas Cowboys 24

Denver Broncos -5 @ Oakland Raiders

The Broncos and their “let’s carry rag-arm Manning to one more postseason” tour rolls into Oakland this weekend.

Derek Carr is showing signs that he’s the quarterback the Raiders have been searching for since Rich Gannon wore silver and black and he’s developing a rapport with rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper but he’ll be facing a defense this weekend that lives to snack on young quarterbacks.

The Raiders are a young, talented team that will continue to improve as the season goes on but they’re not ready yet to hang tough with a veteran team that knows what it has to do to win.

Denver Broncos 24 Oakland Raiders 17

Sunday Night

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants -7

Over the past few seasons the 49ers have not been a west coast team that falls apart the minute the cross into the Eastern Time zone. That is the positive for Jim Tomsula’s team going into Sunday Night’s yawn-fest. The negative is that football fans nationwide will be stuck watching his team attempt not to soil themselves for a fourth straight week.

Colin Kaepernick has lost all confidence in himself as a quarterback, and he’s still the best man on the team to play the position. Seriously, there can’t be anyone on the left coast calling for Blaine Gabbert to be given a chance, can there?

This game is as close to a gimme as the Giants are going to get this season so they better not be resting on their laurels after beating a pretty good Antonio BrownBuffalo team last Sunday. They also better not be looking ahead to their road contest against the Eagles next Monday night either.

Take the Giants and give the seven, the 49ers need every point they can get.

New York Giants 26 San Francisco 49ers 10

Monday Night

Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers -3

First, a moment of silence for Josh Scobee…thank you. When this game kicks off the Steelers will have been off for 11 days, giving them nearly the equivalent of a bye week to bring quarterback Mike Vick better up to speed on Todd Haley’s offense. Will it be enough? It’ll have to be since the Bengals aren’t waiting around this year for the rest of the division to catch up.

Vick completed 19 passes in 26 attempts but for only 124 yards but he’s facing a defense that allowed career journeyman Josh McCown to throw for 356-yards and two touchdowns last week.

The Chargers have won both their home games this season but had to struggle against the Lions and Browns to do it. They are also chasing an undefeated division leader and can’t risk falling further behind and becoming an also-ran by the halfway point of the season.

Both teams are getting favorite receivers back from four game substance abuse policy suspensions, tight end Antonio Gates for the Chargers and wide receiver Martavis Bryant for the Steelers. For Philip Rivers, it’s who he won’t have that could make this a long night for him.

San Diego receivers Malcom Floyd (concussion) and Jacoby Jones (ankle) are both Questionable and Steve Johnson is doubtful due to a hamstring injury. On the offensive line, King Dunlap (concussion) and Orlando Franklin (ankle) are also Questionable on the injury report. All are unlikely to play Monday night.

Pittsburgh’s defense has spent the past three weeks proving that they really do know how to play after the Patriots rolled them in Week 1. Their fourth in the league in sacks and should be salivating at the chance to take advantage of San Diego’s banged-up line.

Rivers is the better quarterback by far in this game but the team around him is still suspect. Vick may not be the electrifying presence that he was in his early career but he did have the Steelers in position to win against the Ravens.

Look for the road dogs to win outright and sink San Diego further behind the Broncos in the AFC West.  

Pittsburgh Steelers 26 San Diego Chargers 19


Contact Nostrathomas…er, Tom Pollin @tjpollin on Twitter if you have comments about this article or other football topics. I follow back and always enjoy discussions about the Bears and NFL with fans. Also visit and like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FootballAtoZ.com.

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