Week 5 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
Good first starts for the rookie quarterbacks on Sunday. For both the Vikings and Jaguars' franchises, there looks to be some promise. For Patriots and Saints fans, the end is not near. Both of their respective divisions are winnable. Good luck to your team for this week.
Bye: Dolphins, Raiders
Vikings @ Packers: This game will be determined by if the Vikings defensive line can control the line of scrimmage. They only recorded one sack against a makeshift offensive line in Atlanta last week and that would be troubling if the same thing happens for this game. Coach Zimmer, in his days as a DC with the Bengals, faced the Packers twice and beat them. The fact that Green Bay hasn't rushed for 100 yards yet in a game should be in Minnesota's favor. On one hand, Aaron Rodgers is coming off his best game of the season. On the other, this is a better defensive team than Rodgers was up against last week. This Thursday night game will be closer than the ones we have seen so far.
Pick: Vikings (by 4 points)
Bears @ Panthers: After what happened last week, I think Cutler will come out strong. Carolina still won't have that run game in place with Mike Tolbert, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams still out with injuries. Carolina allowed 327 yards through the air last week. Steve Smith pretty much took the bulk of those yards. Well, they are going up against the three amigos in Chicago.
Browns @ Titans: After a great season opener by Tennessee, they lost three games since, allowed 100 total points in those three games while only scoring 34 points. The two losses Cleveland sustained were winnable (lost by 5 total points). Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer is looking more confident over Titans' Jake Locker who is dealing with a wrist injury and his status is yet to be determined for this game.
Rams @ Eagles: The Rams defense, which thought to be its strength heading into the season, hasn't been that impressive. Their offense has been doing the heavy lifting the last two games. They're not the most feared offense, but they can do something against Philadelphia. After all, they will have to against LaSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Jeremy Maclin, and Zach Ertz after a poor offensive showing last week.
Falcons @ Giants: I don't know what we saw the last two games in the Giants. But all I can say is, this is good (and odd). They also have seemed to find a bit of Bradshaw-Jacobs in their two running backs Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. Maybe I got a little carried away, but they will put up some ground numbers against this Falcons team that allowed 213 rushing yards to a couple of running backs last week. Matt Ryan didn't play too bad last week, but he will have to do more with hardly an offensive line to protect him against the Giants defense.
Buccaneers @ Saints: Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon gave a spark to this offense last week. Will it continue at the ever-loud Superdome? Probably. The injury to Mike Evans will have a play in how he does. It is obvious that both defenses are bad. They are in the top three in pass ratings allowed to opposing quarterbacks. So really, we are looking at lots of yards to be given up by both teams. With New Orleans headed for a bye week after this game, they cannot lose any ground with a loss here at home.
Texans @ Cowboys: This is what I think Dallas will do as far as running the ball; they won't run at J.J. Watt. As far as the passing game, probably will have Watt double-teamed or hit him with a chip block. Dallas' offensive line has been great giving Murray rushing lanes and Romo the extra time in the pocket. Holding the Saints to 17 points, the Cowboys defense won't have any problems against a Houston offense that is, statistically, below New Orleans.
Bills @ Lions: Just as Buffalo was starting to rise from the ashes, they lose two games in a row and made a quarterback change. Detroit, meanwhile, is sitting atop of the NFC North, have the fifth best defense in total passing yards allowed and are fifth in the league in sacks earned (10). Buffalo has a better run defense than the Lions so it will be key that Detroit get something going in the running game to help Stafford. It's a new era in Detroit and they have a chance to have a great start to the season since 2011 when they went to the playoffs.
Ravens @ Colts: Probably one of the better games we'll see this week. The Ravens won three in a row with a narrow win at Cleveland while Indianapolis, who gave up 30.5 points in the first two games, have gotten better defensively allowing 17 points the past two games. They've also been on fire offensively ranking first in the league in passing yards per game. Baltimore's run defense is good, which will cause Andrew Luck to chuck the ball a bunch; and that will not be a bad thing.
Steelers @ Jaguars: Pittsburgh is a weird team to figure out with the unexpected win two weeks ago and that awful loss against Tampa last week. For Jacksonville, the first three games they allowed 480 total yards rushing while only allowing 42 yards on the ground last week. Bizarre. Well, luckily, the Steelers have the Bell and Blount duo that should keep the Jaguars defense (tied for second with 12 sacks) off of Big Ben. They will make up for last week.
Cardinals @ Broncos: Both teams are coming off a bye week so this should be a fun game. Hopefully Denver was able use the extra time off to fix their run game which is last in the league in terms of yards rushing. Their running defense hasn't been great either, so hopefully Arizona will commit to the run often to avoid a shoot out (like Dallas did against the Saints). Both teams have offensive weapons, but I feel that Denver's receivers will be too much for the Cardinals to force any defensive stops. It will be a close game, however.
Chiefs @ 49ers: Good for San Francisco's defense to hang on and make a stop last week as well as sticking with their run game. Good for Kansas City's defense limiting the Patriots' offense and forcing bad decisions, who we thought they wouldn't make that much of an impact because of key injuries. Now, with all the praise given around, we'll see how the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis due against a pretty good 'Niners run defense. They held the Eagles to 22 rushing yards last week. I think the defense will be fine. How the offense does for San Francisco will determine the outcome. They have the capability in extending the play. Expect another close game at Levi's stadium.
Jets @ Chargers: After their one point loss against Arizona to start the season, the Chargers have been outscoring teams by 13.3 points. Meanwhile, the Jets have been outscored by 7.3 points since their victory against Oakland to start their season. Despite the losing, New York was able to keep the games close (looking at it optimistically). Defense has been playing well; it is just the offense that needs to take that extra step to close out games. This will be another close game, only San Diego wins it because the Jets have to fly west and the offensive play calling will continue to hamper their success.
Bengals @ Patriots: For whatever reason, the Bengals allowed 149 rushing yards in their game against Tennessee two weeks ago. It was probably a good thing to have their bye week when they had it or else it might have gotten worse. Additionally, the extra week off will help A.J. Green and Marvin Jones as they had to deal with their ailments. As we saw Monday night, the Patriots offensive line can't get any worse. Tom Brady will feel the same amount of pressure against a stingy Cincinnati defense as he did a few nights ago.
Seahawks @ Redskins: A night game in the East Coast won't have any effect on Seattle. Neither will Washington's defense. The Redskins are giving up a little over 237 yards through the air and they have been back-and-forth in defending the run. Whether Washington has a chance to win this game (or keep it close) will also depend on Cousins' play along with turnovers the team gives up. It will be a good game early and then it will start to get out of control for Washington. The interesting match-up to watch in this game is Richard Sherman against any of the Redskins receivers (DeSean Jackson?).