We're just about at the quarter point of the 2021 NFL season, and there are several teams desperate for a win entering Week 5.
One team badly in need of a victory is the New England Patriots, who came up just short of upsetting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4 but lost 19-17. The defeat dropped the Patriots to 1-3 for the first time since 2001.
Luckily for the Patriots, their next opponent is the struggling Houston Texans. After winning their season opener, the Texans have lost three consecutive games. Houston was outscored 64-9 over its last two games, including a 40-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills last week.
The Patriots have historically fared quite well against the Texans. New England is 10-3 (including the playoffs) all time versus Houston. Oddsmakers have made the Patriots 9-point favorites going into the weekend. It'll probably be the Patriots' largest spread as a favorite this season.
There are plenty of other intriguing games on the Week 5 schedule.
One of them is an NFC West battle with the Seattle Seahawks hosting the Los Angeles Rams on "Thursday Night Football". The Seahawks are 2-2 and can't afford to fall too far behind the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals and 3-1 Rams. The Rams are coming off a blowout loss to the Cardinals last weekend, so L.A. should be fired up for this matchup in Seattle.
The best game of the week is a rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game featuring the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills are 3-1 and again look like a formidable challenger to the Chiefs' reign atop the AFC. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are 2-2 thanks to a defense that's allowed the second-most points (31.3) in the league. A Bills win at Arrowhead Stadium on "Sunday Night Football" would send a statement to the rest of the conference.
Here are the opening spreads for the Week 5 games (matchups without lines will be updated when that info is available) -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
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Thursday, Oct. 7
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, Oct. 10
New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5)
Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1)
New Orleans Saints (-2) at Washington Football Team
Tennessee Titans (-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-7.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals
New England Patriots (-9) at Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5)
Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders (-5.5)
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
Monday, Oct. 11
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-7)