Monday, July 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Week 5 preview capsules

Texans at Vikings, 1

Line/OU: Vikings by 7; 40

The Vikings might without their injured stars on offense — QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson — but they're very healthy on defense. Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman in the team's secondary make the Vikings tough to beat. In their undefeated start, they have limited opposing QBs to a 67.7 passer rating and have six INTs, compared with three passing TDs allowed. With a front seven that has generated 15 sacks, which trails Denver's 17 for the NFL lead, Minnesota has allowed only 50 points, lowest among teams that have yet to have a bye. Houston's secondary has been just as capable of shutting down opposing offenses, and Stefon Diggs, the Vikings' emerging WR, is doubtful because of a groin injury.

Patriots at Browns, 1

Line/OU: 10; 46½

The Patriots should benefit as DE Rob Ninkovich returns from a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy. Their defense has held opponents to 15.2 points a game, but it has been a bumpy road, with the Patriots ranked 19th in the NFL with an average of 365.8 total yards allowed a game. A major part of the problem has been a lack of a pass rush. The Patriots will also have an offensive player back from suspension: Tom Brady will be the team's third starting QB of the season.

Eagles at Lions, 1

Line/OU: Eagles by 4; 46

There is plenty of drama in Detroit, where WR Golden Tate's numbers have fallen off a cliff. The emergence of Marvin Jones has been part of the problem, but even last week, as Jones played through a hamstring injury, it was as if Tate barely existed, posting one catch for 1 yard. After consecutive 90-plus reception seasons as Detroit's No. 2 WR behind Calvin Johnson, Tate has to find some way to get himself back into the swing of things, or the Lions offense will be awfully predictable.

Redskins at Ravens, 1

Line/OU: Ravens by 4; 45

Baltimore's defense is probably not as good as the numbers so far have shown, but the team got a big boost when LBs Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs returned from injury. Shutting down Washington's passing attack would do a lot to convince people that the Ravens are not just a mirage.

Jets at Steelers, 1

Line/OU: Steelers by 7½; 48

There was some talk that Pittsburgh's offense was struggling after the Steelers were pummeled 34-3 by Philadelphia in Week 3. In Week 4, Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns against Kansas City and Le'Veon Bell came back from suspension playing as if he had never left, rushing for 144 yards on 18 carries. No one is talking about Pittsburgh struggling anymore. New York's 13 turnovers are the most in the NFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick's 10 interceptions lead the league. Steelers have won six straight at Heinz Field, scoring 30 or more five times.

Bears at Colts, 1

Line/OU: Colts by 4½; 48

"I think there's a human tendency to change, change, change," Colts QB Andrew Luck said after last week's loss to the Jaguars. "We know you can't afford to do that in the NFL. There's no cutting everything and throwing it out. It's double down on fundamentals, technique and execution." It's true, you can't cut everything, but the Colts did cut defensive starters Antonio Cromartie and Sio Moore after the loss. The good news for Indy? The Bears are in even more disarray.

Titans at Dolphins, 1

Line/OU: Dolphins by 3½; 43½

This game was not moved or relocated because of Hurricane Matthew, but even if it had been, would anyone have noticed? The Dolphins are the Titans' second straight opponent that had 10 days to prepare. Tennessee is tied for last in NFL with 62 points. Dolphins rank last in third-down conversions at 27 percent.

Falcons at Broncos, 4

Line/OU: Broncos by 5; 46½

Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch gets his first start. He came on in relief last week of Trevor Siemian, who hurt his nonthrowing (left) shoulder in a win over the Bucs. Lynch played well against Tampa Bay, going 14-of-24 for 170 yards. Atlanta's Matt Ryan (503) and Julio Jones (300) are the first QB-WR duo in history with 500-yard passing and 300-yard receiving performances in the same game in a win over Carolina last week.

Bengals at Cowboys, 4:25

Line/OU: Bengals by 1½; 45

The return of standout TE Tyler Eifert is huge for the Bengals: He is their best red zone target and opens up the offense everywhere on the field because of the mismatches his size and speed create. Cincy will need all the help it can get because Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott are proving that talent is greater than experience, provided the talent is big enough. DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas' sacks leader last year, is activated after a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Bills at Rams, 4:25

Line/OU: Pick 'em; 38½

Are the Rams good? They have three wins in four tries, which certainly seems good. And standout DL Aaron Donald is an absolute force of nature, which makes them no fun to play against. But despite the team's stellar record, it has seemingly survived rather than thrived. The Bills are coming off convincing wins against Arizona and New England, and the defense seems to have figured things out in a big way. The offense just has to keep QB Tyrod Taylor on his feet, which is no small task with Donald in pursuit.

Chargers at Raiders, 4:25

Line/OU: Raiders by 3½; 51

A game that was going to be heavy on offense and light on defense became more so when it was announced that San Diego CB Jason Verrett is out for the rest of the season with a partial tear of his ACL. The Chargers secondary is also likely to be without Brandon Flowers, who missed Week 4 because of a concussion. They will have little chance of stopping WRs Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, although the Raiders might lose some ground in the running game because of the absence of Latavius Murray (toe).

Giants at Packers, 8:30

Line/OU: Packers by 7; 47½

Green Bay's offense finally seemed to find its comfort level in the first half of its Week 3 win over Detroit. Then the team had a week off to rest and watch film of what went right. That could be very bad news for the Giants defense, which has not managed to intercept a pass this season. The Giants are one win from joining the Bears and Packers as the only NFL franchises to reach 700. Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul and Packers LB Julius Peppers are two of five edge rushers in the NFL to return two interceptions for TDs since 2012.

Times wires

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