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NFL Week 5 Best Bets: Back to basics -- picking against Jaguars

I should have just stuck with the first three games I picked last week. Had I done that, the Colts, Patriots and Seahawks would have put me at 3-0 for the week. But no, I had to get greedy and pick five games and ended up 3-2 and now I am 5-6 on the season.

Not good.

On the bright side, overall I am 18-13 the past two weeks, which is much improved over my brutal start to the season. And this week I am going to back to basics, with three games here and hoping my climb out of the prognosticating cellar continues.

Rams (-11) vs. Jaguars: I am going to stay on this Jags' train until I fall off. No spread is too big it seems and lately opponents are covering with ease. The Rams are a struggling outfit, too, but if they don't manage to turn Blaine Gabbert over three times or more I would be shocked. The Jags just traded their starting left tackle, the Rams have legit edge rushers, they are ticked off after getting crushed at home by the 49ers and have had nine days to sit and stew about it. This should be the week they finally aren't chasing a game from the first quarter on. With the Jags being so one-dimensional (I suppose I could say they are no-dimensional on offense really) and having to go on the road in a dome against an angry defense, I just smell another lopsided defeat.

Saints (+1½) at Bears: I know the Saints don't travel well and all of that stuff. The same thing was said about Seattle last week and I liked them in that spot, too. I don't buy Chicago. If the Bears aren't feasting on turnovers they don't win. Not sure you can win that way every week. Charles Tillman's ailments scare me, and while the Bears have gotten a lot of breaks and made things happen at home thus far, I believe Sean Payton will use the collective doubt about his team outside of their dome to their advantage. Darren Sproles is back in a groove and Jimmy Graham really can't be stopped. The Saints know Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod well from his days in New Orleans and I suspect Payton knows a way or two to attack him.

Panthers (-2½) at Cardinals: Carolina comes in off a bye, even more time to come to grips with the fact that putting the game in Cam Newton's hands (or, feet, actually, with him creating in the run game) is the Panthers' best bet. Carolina has been running the ball better than it has in years. And the Panthers have absolute game changers on defense. Arizona's offensive line was already beyond suspect ... and then the Cardinals traded their left tackle. Carolina can blow up the pocket from the interior and on the edges. Carson Palmer doesn't move so well anymore and Bruce Arians loves seven-step drops. It's a long travel week for the Cardinals coming off that game in Tampa. The Panthers nearly beat Seattle in Week 1 and I believe they are still undervalued. Arizona struggles to score on poor defenses and this defense is anything but.

One other thought: I don't love this game from a picking standpoint, but I have been hot on Sunday nights thus far, and I am going with the 49ers in the regularly scheduled Sunday night contest. In the late-addition to the late-night Sunday lineup, I'll take the Chargers to cover over the Raiders.

Another thought: If you are into this kind of stuff and you haven't taken notice of what Jamey Eisenberg is going in the expert picks section of this website, you really should. Dude absolutely owned the first three weeks and even after going 7-8 last week he is still 38-25 on the year.

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