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Beating the Book: Chris Liss Handicaps Week 5

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

I went 7-7-1 last week, and that was about what should have happened. I went 2-2 on coin flips but only 1-3-1 on games I liked. That said, the Texans getting three was the right side almost all day, and Pittsburgh and Atlanta were inside the 10 in the closing seconds of their essentially pick'em games when they failed to send it to overtime. Only the Jets pick was truly off base.

This week was a tough slate, and I found myself picking more public teams than I usually would: the Pats, Saints, Falcons and Broncos, for example. Mercifully, the other big public team, the Steelers, are off in Week 5, so I can't pick them again.

I don't feel that strongly about anything on this slate, but if I had to pick, my best bets are the Ravens, Broncos and Texans, and by "best", I mean I didn't strongly consider the other side in those games.

The Lions-Packers, Bills-Browns, Jets-Falcons and Saints-Bears were coin flips. Like last week, I went back and forth on the Giants, but in the end faded them because I don't trust the offensive line or the coaching staff to make the necessary adjustments. It's not like this is the first time their backs have been to the wall.


Bills +4 at Browns

Because the Browns are becoming trendy - perhaps in part because of the apparently astute Trent Richardson trade - the contrarian in me wants to take the Bills. But my first instinct was the Browns so I'll stick with it.

Browns 19 - 13


Chiefs -3 at Titans

I realize the Titans are 3-1 in large part because they haven't turned the ball over yet, and they'll be without Jake Locker. But I'm not comfortable laying three on the road with the Chiefs against a league-average team. Back Tennessee.

Titans 20 - 19

Ravens +3 at Dolphins

The Dolphins are okay, but they have trouble in pass protection, and the Ravens are like a pestilence that's hard to shake. Plus, I'm now a huge fan of Terrell Suggs after this. I think this is a 50/50 game. Take the points.

Ravens 20 - 17

Jaguars +11.5 at Rams

The Jaguars are historically bad through four games - they're averaging half a yard per play less than the 2012 Cardinals, the league's worst in that category last year. But I wouldn't lay double-digits with the Rams against the Amherst College women's lacrosse team. Back Jacksonville.

Rams 24 - 16

Patriots +1.5 at Bengals

I keep fading the Pats, but the last two weeks it hasn't worked out. And it's only getting worse with key players getting healthy, and Tom Brady developing chemistry with his other receivers. I wanted to go ugly with the Bengals, but I think the Pats will handle them even on the road. Back New England.

Patriots 24 - 20

Seahawks -3 at Colts

I know the Seahawks are good, but the Texans gifted them a win last week with a terrible pick six and a cowardly refusal to go on 4th and 5 from the Seattle 43 with only 28 seconds left. While Indy might not be as talented as Houston, they're less likely to implode. Back the Colts.

Colts 21 - 20

Lions +7 at Packers

I've faded the Lions every week and am 1-3 ATS to show for it. I like the Packers typically at home, but this game should have a lot of offense and has backdoor cover written all over it. Take the points.

Packers 33 - 27

Saints pick'em at Bears

I hate taking slick, offense-heavy dome teams on the road, but it's still early enough in the year where weather shouldn't be a factor, the Saints defense is better than it was and the Bears' defense has slipped. Back New Orleans.

Saints 27 - 24

Eagles +2.5 at Giants

I want to take the Giants here against an Eagles defense that can't stop anyone, but like last week, I don't think I can lay the points until they show up. I hope I'm wrong, but back Philly.

Eagles 31 - 24


Panthers -2 at Cardinals

My first instinct was to take the Panthers, and I'll stick with it even though I typically view Arizona as a team with a pronounced home/road split, and the Panthers always botch the end game. Back Carolina.

Panthers 26 - 17

Broncos -7 at Cowboys

This is a bigger line than it seems - it implies the Broncos would be 13-point favorites in Denver. Still, I'm going to lay the points. The Cowboys defense isn't especially good, and I think Denver's a team to ride until they slow down, or until Vegas adjusts and sets absurd lines. One could argue that's happening here, but that's only valid if you have a higher opinion of the Cowboys than I do. Back the Broncos.

Broncos 37 - 24


Texans +6.5 at 49ers

I know the Niners crushed the Rams on Thursday, but I'm not sure what else they've done to earn nearly a touchdown favorite status over the Texans. Back Houston.

49ers 24 - 23

Chargers -4.5 at Raiders

Last week's Redskins line - a winless team laying three on the road - looked odd, but Washington did cover, and I think this year's version of the Chargers is better than the Redskins. Lay the points.

Chargers 27 - 20


Jets +9 at Falcons

I know the Jets looked terrible in Tennessee, but that was largely turnover-driven, and Atlanta's defense is pretty banged up. Of course, the Jets will need to throw the ball to someone other than Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland, and Atlanta's offense will move the ball. I want to take the points given the Jets strong defense, but I have a feeling Atlanta will roll at home. Back the Falcons.

Falcons 27 - 10

We went 7-7-1 last week to go 25-34-4 on the year. Last year we went 121-129-6 on the regular season. From 1999-2012 we've gone 1,810-1,641 (52.4%), not including ties.