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N.F.L. Week 5 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

Giants at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Line: Cowboys -7 | Total: 52

The Cowboys (3-1) can further distance themselves from the rest of the N.F.C. East with a win over the Giants (1-3). The historically bad defense from 2020 has transformed under the first-year Dallas coordinator Dan Quinn, with its dismal passing defense saved by cornerback Trevon Diggs’s league-leading five interceptions, and the unit ranked sixth in rushing yards allowed per game (81).

Saquon Barkley, though, is the best runner the Dallas defense will have seen, and he returned to form in an overtime win against the Saints in Week 4, when he accounted for 126 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. More impressively, the Giants won without two of their top receivers, Sterling Shephard and Darius Slayton, who are still questionable with hamstring injuries.

Three of the last five matchups between these two divisional rivals have been decided by one score. Momentum is a real thing, and even though Dallas is the better team, the Giants could make it competitive. Pick: Giants +7

Jets at Atlanta Falcons (sort of), 9:30 a.m., NFL Network

Line: Falcons -3.5 | Total: 44

The N.F.L. returns to London for the first time since the start of the pandemic with a matchup most Americans will sleep through or miss for a church service.

This early meeting between two 1-3 teams is more important for draft positioning than anything else. Last week, the Jets narrowly won their first game against a handicapped Titans team in overtime, fueled by the defense’s seven sacks. The unit could have another solid outing if it generates pressure on Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ pass-first attack. Zach Wilson, the Jets’ rookie quarterback, still leads the league in interceptions (8), but he took a major developmental step in last week’s win. If he continues to take care of the ball, connects on a deep throw or two, and the defense plays well again, the Jets could start a streak. Pick: Jets +3.5

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Vikings -8 | Total: 49.5

This should be a bounce-back game for the Vikings (1-3), coming off another one-score loss to a playoff-caliber opponent. The Lions (0-4) have been competitive in each game, but have committed so many turnovers at key moments that they now seem inevitable. Kirk Cousins was battered in a loss to the Browns last week, when he was sacked twice and hit 10 times. But the Lions do not have Myles Garrett, and you can guess with confidence that Jared Goff will fumble or throw an interception giving the Vikings an extra possession. Pick: Vikings -8