We went 1-2 with our Week 4 NFL upset calls while winning with only the Redskins +120 over Tampa Bay, but we had a tough loss with the Miami Dolphins +235 as they dominated the game statistically. At least they covered for a 2-1 ATS week. Let’s try and squeeze out at least two outright upsets in Week 5.
UPSET #1: Washington Redskins (+3) +140 over Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons are 4-0, but we have concerns about their undersized defense, and they would have lost to the Panthers last week if Carolina did not fail to convert on a third-and-one with less than two minutes left and Atlanta out of timeouts. The Panthers found something while piling up 404 total yards in the Georgia Dome, and Atlanta now finds itself as a road favorite vs. a Redskins’ team ranked fourth in the NFL in scoring at 30.7 points per game and third in total offense, averaging a whopping 423.0 total yards.
Robert Griffin III is giving the best season by an NFL rookie quarterback, since…since…well, since Cam Newton last year, but the difference is that Griffin has had very good support from the running game, with fellow rookie Alfred Morris ranking fifth in the NFL with his 376 rushing yards while averaging a good 4.6 yards per carry. The aforementioned Atlanta defense is ranked just 29th against the run allowing 146.2 yards per game on a lofty 5.2 yards per carry, so look for big games from both Morris and Griffin.
UPSET #2: Tennessee Titans (+5½) +210 over Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings have been a pleasant surprise at 3-1, especially while beating the 49ers and the Lions the last two weeks, but Minnesota may have ventured into overvalued status here. After all, there was a Chris Johnson sighting in Houston last week with him rushing for 141 yards on 25 carries for Tennessee after being MIA the first three weeks. Ironically, he finally busted loose vs. a great Houston rushing defense!
If that performance was not a mirage, this may be a throw-back game for the Titans as they can control the game with Johnson on the ground, which would set up some effective passing by the veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 17 of his 25 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Texans after relieving the injured Jake Locker, who could be out a while with a dislocated left (non-throwing) shoulder.
UPSET #3: Miami Dolphins (+3½) +165 over Cincinnati Bengals – We see this as a matchup between an underrated team and an overrated team. Miami outgained undefeated Arizona by 183 yards last week while dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a phenomenal day, passing for 431 yards as the Dolphins’ offensive line did a great job vs. what had been a great Arizona front seven, while on defense Miami allowed a mere 28 rushing yards on 15 carries and sacked Kevin Kolb eight times!
Conversely, Cincinnati is 3-1, but beating Cleveland, Washington with an injury-depleted defense and Jacksonville is not saying much. The Bengals will not be able to run a lick against the Miami run defense, so they will need a big game from Andy Dalton just to win this game, never mind cover.