2016 NFL Predictions Week Five
One fourth of the season has been completed leaving only three teams undefeated (Broncos, Eagles, and Vikings). Last year, heading into week five, six teams (Broncos, Packers, Bengals, Falcons, Panthers and Patriots) were undefeated. At the end of 2015, the wheels fell off on Atlanta (finishing 8-8) and Carolina ended up with the best record in the league (15-1). Let's look ahead to week 5 and see if teams like Detroit, New England and Baltimore can bounce back after surprising losses.
Bye: Jaguars, Chiefs, Saints, Seahawks
Cardinals @ 49ers: With a short week ahead, there is no chance we see Carson Palmer suiting up for Arizona. With Drew Stanton subbing in, I expect the game plan to be conservative with a big focus on the run game. It is a tough blow for San Francisco losing their defensive leader, NaVorro Bowman, for the season.
Patriots @ Browns: First, let us welcome the return of Tom Brady. It has been a while since we saw him in a meaningful game. New England would look to bounce back after a divisional loss last week so this is a pretty important game. It is a shame we didn't get to see the return of Josh Gordon for the Browns. Hopefully he can turn it around but it is likely we probably won't see him this season, let alone in an orange uniform.
Eagles @ Lions: Dating back to 1999 (Andy Reid's first year as Head Coach), the Eagles have lost two games following a bye week. Eagles coach Doug Pederson spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator for Kansas City under Reid and together they went 2-1 in games after a bye. After a disappointing performance last week, Detroit continues to fall short in games. The Lions defense, allowing the 8th most total yards in the league, won't have an answer for Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense.
Bears @ Colts: Defensive starters for Indianapolis Antonio Cromartie and Sio Moore got the ax after Sunday's loss across the Atlantic Ocean. If the season keeps on nose diving for the Colts, you will see more names on the way out. Look for Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard to have a good game for Chicago against the Colts defense.
Titans @ Dolphins: Miami was probably looking to experience the same Tennessee Volunteer magic with the uniforms they wore Thursday night. It was a disappointment. If you want to find a bright spot, the defense was able to hold limit the Bengals to a touchdown. The offense and Ryan Tannehill just need to hold up their end. It will be a tight game but Miami finds a way to slow down the Titans run game (4th in the league with 127 yards/game).
Redskins @ Ravens: Steve Smith, Sr. vs Josh Norman. This is made to be on Pay-Per-View. After letting one slip away at the end, the Ravens need to work on getting to the quarterback. Possibly they will need to take a rain check for now, as they face some receivers in Washington who can go deep. No to mention what sort of plan they have to defend Tight End Jordan Reed.
Texans @ Vikings: Minnesota did an excellent job defensively limiting Odell Bekcham, Jr. to 3 receptions and 23 yards. Taking away the emotion aspect, it will take some more effort defending Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins as he is not as easily provoked. The speedster for Houson Will Fuller could be the x-factor for this game due to his ability returning punts as we saw the rookie take one to the house last week. Much like we saw Monday Night, look for both offenses to run the ball and use quick passes to neutralize the pass rush.
Jets @ Steelers: One week they get the teeth knocked out of them, the next week it is their turn to be the bully. Already Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 10 interceptions in the first four games of the season. He threw 15 throughout 2015. The Steelers will look to take advantage of those unwise decisions.
Falcons @ Broncos: The Broncos have the defense to prevent Julio Jones and the other Falcons receivers from having a big game. Denver leads the league in the most sacks with 17. The Falcons have 4 sacks which is tied for the fewest in the league. It will be close game as I think the Atlanta defense can make some plays to force Denver to punt.
Bengals @ Cowboys: Lost with the Dez Bryants, Antonio Browns and Julio Jones' of the world, you forget that A.J. Green is in the league. After the 10-173-1 game on Thursday night, he currently leads the league in receptions (32) and is ranked third in receiving yards (468). The Bengals defense got a boost with the return of Vontaze Burfict last week, which they will need to try to contain Dallas' run game and Dak Prescott.
Bills @ Rams: An intriguing game on the defensive side of the ball. Buffalo allowed a season low 187 total yards with a turnover in their victory last week and they will be visiting the Rams who forced five turnovers in last week's win. For both teams, the key will be how effective they can run the ball. Without Sammy Watkins, the Rams will look to focus on LeSean McCoy in the backfield.
Chargers @ Raiders: Credit to Oakland for stealing a game. Now they look to face division rival San Diego. Your quarterbacks in this game, Derek Carr and Philip Rivers, have two interceptions between them. The opposing defenses they will face are in the top-5 in passing yards allowed so the difference will come down to forcing a turnover.
Giants @ Packers: Fresh off a bye week, the Packers offense will look to continue to roll while the defense will look to get a jolt having Clay Matthews and Sam Shields back. Will OBJ have a positive impact on Sunday Night or will he continue to let the defenders get in his head?
Buccaneers @ Panthers: You could make an argument for these teams that they weren't expecting to see themselves at 1-3. Yet here they are. Jameis Winston hasn't showed much improvement from last season and Carolina is probably regretting letting Josh Norman walk. The Panthers need to dig themselves out of the hole.
2016 Record: 37-26
Last Week: 9-6