I had been 3-0 on my largest totals in Weeks 3 & 4 but I "slipped" to 2-1 last week hitting on 'over' in Saints-Eagles and 'under' in Redskins-Falcons but missing 'over' in Steelers-Chargers.
NY Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (49.5 On NFL Odds)
Full disclosure: the two highest spreads this week were in Patriots-Colts (54.5) and Chargers-Packers (50.5), but I touched on those two games in my top spreads story of the week, recommending taking Green Bay and the points but taking underdog Indy and the 10. So this Monday night game between the NFC East rival Giants and Eagles is now No. 1 on the total list. New York has won three straight to take the lead in the division. The Giants are averaging 28.7 points in that winning streak and still have scored fewer than 24 just once this season. They could easily be 5-0 if not for blown fourth-quarter leads the first two weeks. Eli Manning threw for a season-high 441 yards last week in a come-from-behind win over the 49ers. The Giants are No. 7 in the NFL in scoring. But the big question here is whether superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. plays. He hurt his hamstring against the Niners and is questionable. That would obviously affect New York's offense in a big way considering the team remains without No. 2 receiver Victor Cruz. The Eagles were expected to have one of the NFL's most explosive offenses but rank only 14th in scoring at 23.5 ppg. But Philly comes off easily its best game of the season, a 39-17 home rout of New Orleans in which Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews all had their best games of the year. Maybe Chip Kelly has fixed things? Or maybe the Saints are just lousy on defense. It will be a bit chilly in Philly on Monday night (40 degrees) but shouldn't be much of a factor.
NFL Free Pick: Wish I knew if Beckham was playing. But go 'OVER.' Both defenses have struggled. The 'OVER' is 5-2 in the Giants' past seven. It is 7-3 in the Eagles' past 10 at home.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (44.5 In NFL Betting)
The big question here is whether Ben Roethlisberger returns early from his sprained MCL. Big Ben was at practice this week but just in 7-on-7 drills. Maybe it's best he wait another week to heal up. Roethlisberger is 2-4 in his first game back after injuries in his career, averaging 191 passing yards per game with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Just about every report you read says that Michael Vick will get the start again. It's a short week for the Steelers, but they are still probably riding high off their last-second win in San Diego on Monday. If before this season you predicted Arizona to lead the NFL in scoring, good for you because I sure didn't. But there the Cardinals are atop the scoring list at 38.0 ppg. The Cards also lead the NFL by far with a point differential of +100. Bovada has a Week 6 special on NFL picks asking if Arizona will lead the league in point differential this season: yes is +200 and no -300. Obviously that depends on Carson Palmer staying healthy. This game likely will mean a bit extra for Arizona coach Bruce Arians as he spent eight years in Pittsburgh, mostly as an offensive coordinator, before being jettisoned after the 2011 season. Weather looks nice in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
NFL Free Pick: 'OVER.' It has hit in six straight Cardinals games. It is 8-2-1 in the Steelers' past 11 vs. teams with a winning record.
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers (44 On NFL Picks)
Shocking how far these teams have fallen since 2012, when the Ravens beat the 49ers in an exciting Super Bowl in New Orleans. Now Baltimore comes off blowing a home game to Cleveland and is just 1-4. Many had the Ravens winning the AFC this season. Now you hear rumors that John Harbaugh might be a candidate for the USC opening. The Ravens are fine on offense, averaging 24.6 ppg, but the defense is allowing 27.4 ppg. It appears that top Baltimore receiver Steve Smith will return after missing last week due to injury. Of course the 49ers (also 1-4) lost Jim Harbaugh to the University of Michigan after last season. San Francisco is last in the NFL in scoring at 15.0 points per game, second-to-last in passing yards per game (178.2) and 29th in total yards per game (307.2). Quarterback Colin Kaepernick seems to regress more each week. He is 32nd in the NFL in rating and has thrown for only 989 yards and four touchdowns with five picks. Maybe he's not a franchise quarterback after all. Defensively, the 49ers have allowed 300-yard passers in three of the past four games. They are giving up 298.8 passing yards per game, the third highest total in the NFL. No weather issues for this game.
NFL Free Pick: 'UNDER.' It has hit in five of Baltimore's past seven after a loss. It is 8-1 in the 49ers' past nine overall.