The San Francisco 49ers are the only betting favorite among NFC West teams with games in Week 5.
I'm picking them to beat Tampa Bay for the following reasons:
The 49ers are at home;
The Bucs are traveling across the country on a short week, with a big game against New Orleans looming at home in Week 6;
The 49ers play tough defense;
The 49ers have generally avoided turnovers, and the Bucs, while also limiting giveaways, have not picked off many passes (two).
Nothing is assured in the NFL, of course. Double-digit leads are disappearing regularly from week to week. The 49ers came back from 23-3 down to win. The Seattle Seahawks came back from 27-7 down to lose 30-28. The Arizona Cardinals lost a 27-17 lead in the final minutes. Even the St. Louis Rams rallied from a 17-0 deficit before falling 17-10. All in Week 4.
I've gone 12-2 in predicting winners for games involving NFC West teams, missing on the Rams against Baltimore and the 49ers against Philadelphia. A look at predictions for Week 5:
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET. The Giants have shown an ability to win when playing from behind. They are 3-1 despite playing three of their first four on the road. They're at home and there's no sense overthinking this one. My best guess: Giants 27, Seahawks 14.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET. The Cardinals have lost by a combined four points in their two road games. I think they'll break through in this one. It's a big game for Kevin Kolb heading into the bye. My best guess: Cardinals 23, Vikings 20.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET. Sitting at 3-1 has to feel good for the 49ers, but their next two opponents, Tampa Bay and Detroit, are a combined 7-1. Losing this game before traveling to Detroit could send the 49ers from 3-1 to 3-3 quickly. My best guess: 49ers 24, Bucs 17.
OK, then, where am I wrong?