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After losing seven of their final nine games last season, not much was expected of the Atlanta Falcons coming into the 2016 campaign. But here they are, entering Week 5 as one of the biggest surprises in the NFL. Not only are they atop the NFC South at 3-1, they’re also leading the league with 38 points per game. This week’s game against the Denver Broncos will be a challenge after facing four fairly weak defensive teams.

 

Game of the Week

Atlanta Falcons @ Denver Broncos

Favourite: Broncos -6

The Broncos' defense hasn't let their foot off the gas since winning the Super Bowl, helping the team improve to 4-0 after a 27-7 trouncing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. Denver's pass rush has been stellar once again, leading the league with 17 sacks. As for the offense, we’re still awaiting word on quarterback Trevor Siemian, who left last week with a shoulder injury. While rookie Paxton Lynch was an impressive replacement, the Broncos are hoping to have Siemian back under centre.

The Falcons are now 3-1 after a 48-33 romp over the Carolina Panthers in Week 4. Their 354 passing yards per game is the best in the NFL, so something has to give in this matchup. The Broncos are 3-2 SU and ATS in their last five games with Atlanta, who are 2-2 SU and ATS in Denver.

 

Game with the Biggest Spread

New England Patriots @ Cleveland Browns

Favourite: Patriots -11.5

The New England Patriots went 3-1 without quarterback Tom Brady, but a 16-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills last week means his return is much-needed.

That’s bad news for the Cleveland Browns, who lost 31-20 in Washington and are the last winless team in the NFL (0-4). If Cleveland has one thing going for them, it’s that they’re first in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Their best chance to keep this game close is by running the ball and keeping it out of Brady's hands.

The Patriots are 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS against the Browns since 2003, but only 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS in Cleveland since 1999.

 

Game with the Smallest Spread

Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys

Favourite: Bengals -1.5                                                       

The Dallas Cowboys are 3-1 after a 24-17 win in San Francisco, and for the most part, that’s because rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been playing like a vet. He has yet to throw an interception. Meanwhile, fellow rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing. Despite their impressive performances, Dallas is 19th against the pass, which doesn't bode well going into a matchup with wide receiver AJ Green, who lit up Miami for 173 yards and a touchdown last week.

The Cincinnati Bengals beat Miami 22-7 in that game, improving their record to 2-2 SU. Their passing game is third in the NFL with 1,164 yards so far. The Bengals are 2-3 SU and 3-2 ATS in their last five meetings with the Cowboys. At home, Dallas is 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in their last four with Cincinnati.

 

 

*Odds as of October 6, 2016