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Be cautious if you're getting on that Bears bandwagon
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Be cautious if you're getting on that Bears bandwagon

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You've got to hand it to the Bears: That was pretty impressive last week.

I figured they'd be in the game late. I picked them to cover the spread as underdogs. I didn't expect to see what effectively was a blowout. Had the Packers not finally found a way to beat the Bengals, the Bears and Green Bay would be tied for the NFC North lead going into this week.

The Packers don't exactly have a killer pass defense, and the Bears might be down to their third-string running back – which could have Justin Fields throwing more than the Bears might normally plan on. So believe it or not, I think the Bears can keep it close again this week — just maybe not close enough for a suspiciously low spread, given the teams' recent history. But asking them to beat the Packers with Aaron Rodgers, who is 20-4 against them? I mean ...

The Colts, though, should get back in the win column after their absolute debacle against the Ravens on Monday night — in which they blew a 19-point lead and let Baltimore go on a 28-3 run to close the game and win in overtime. But because of things like that, and the Texans nearly beating the Patriots, 10 points sure seems like a lot to ask of Indy, even at home.

Perhaps the best game on the schedule has a great footnote to it. The Cardinals are the league's lone remaining unbeaten team, and they travel to Cleveland. It will be a showdown between a pair of QBs from Oklahoma who each were drafted No. 1 in back-to-back years. The Browns' Baker Mayfield was the top pick in 2018, and the Cards' Kyler Murray went No. 1 a year later. This has the makings of a fun one. I think the Cardinals are the real deal, and if they can keep the Browns' running game in check, they can pull off a mild road upset.

I like some other outright upsets this week, too: I think the Jags finally will snap their 20-game skid and beat the Dolphins. I like the Panthers over the Vikings, Chargers over the Ravens, Raiders over the Broncos, and the aforementioned Cards over the Browns.

Miami (1-4) vs. Jacksonville (0-5) (in London)

Time/TV: 8:30 a.m. Sunday, NFL Network

Line: Dolphins -3 (47)

Best prop bet: James Robinson (JAC) over 74.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Jaguars 28, Dolphins 23

Green Bay (4-1) at BEARS (3-2)

Time/TV: Noon Sunday

Line: Packers -5.5 (44)

Best prop bet: Justin Fields (CHI) over 197.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Packers 26, Bears 20

Houston (1-4) at COLTS (1-4)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Colts -10 (43)

Best prop bet: Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) over 60.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Colts 26, Texans 20

Minnesota (2-3) at Carolina (3-2)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Vikings -2.5 (45.5)

Best prop bet: Panthers -3.5 alternate point spread (+200)

MattE’s pick: Panthers 24, Vikings 20

Cincinnati (3-2) at Detroit (0-5)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Bengals -3.5 (46.5)

Best prop bet: Ja'Marr Chase (CIN) over 74.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Bengals 27, Lions 23

Kansas City (2-3) at Washington (2-3)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Chiefs -6.5 (54.5)

Best prop bet: Patrick Mahomes (KC) over 311.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Chiefs 34, Washington 17

L.A. Chargers (4-1) at Baltimore (4-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Ravens -2.5 (51)

Best prop bet: Austin Ekeler (LAC) over 57.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Chargers 28, Ravens 24

L.A. Rams (4-1) at N.Y. Giants (0-5)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Rams -10 (48.5)

Best prop bet: Matthew Stafford (LAR) over 2.5 TD passes

MattE’s pick: Rams 31, Giants 17

Arizona (5-0) at Cleveland (3-2)

Time: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

Line: Browns -3 (49)

Best prop bet: Cardinals-Browns over 57 alternate total (+200)

MattE’s pick: Cardinals 31, Browns 27

Las Vegas (3-2) at Denver (3-2)

Time: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Broncos -4 (43.5)

Best prop bet: Derek Carr (LV) over 267.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Raiders 26, Broncos 23

Dallas (4-1) at New England (2-3)

Time: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Cowboys -3.5 (50.5)

Best prop bet: Amari Cooper over 5.5 receptions

MattE’s pick: Cowboys 27, Patriots 23

Seattle (2-3) at Pittsburgh (2-3)

Time/TV: 7:20 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Line: Steelers -5.5 (42.5)

Best prop bet: Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) over 1.5 passing TDs

MattE’s pick: Steelers 27, Seahawks 17

Buffalo (4-1) at Tennessee (3-2)

Time/TV: 7:15 p.m. Monday, ABC/ESPN

Line: Bills -5.5 (53)

Best prop bet: Bills -9.5 alternate point spread (+145)

MattE’s pick: Bills 34, Titans 24

Week 5 results: 13-3 straight up, 11-5 against the spread.

Season: 50-30 (.625) straight up, 43-37 (.538) against the spread.

Listed odds are from if available and may have changed by time of publication.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times since 2003. He also writes about the Oscars, food and travel for the paper and is an editor in USA Today's Sports Media Group.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times since 2003. He also writes about the Oscars, food and travel for the paper and is an editor in USA Today's Sports Media Group.


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