NFL: Week 5 Predictions

For what it’s worth, I was 8-7 last week (not great I know).  So here’s what I see happening in week 5.

Four more teams, who are a combined 2-14, are on their bye this week: Vikings, Steelers, Buccaneers and the Redskins

Thursday Night Football

  • Buffalo @ Cleveland: Two teams coming off wins, and while the Browns have home-field, I think the run game for the Bills tips the scales. BUFFALO WINS

1PM Sunday Games:

  • Philadelphia @ New York Giants: Two teams that have 1 combined win.  If the Giants o-line can give Eli Manning any kind of time I think they win.  NFC East games are always fun, and usually closely contested, no matter the records going in.  The biggest test for New York will be stopping LeSean McCoy, the leagues leading rusher. I keep taking them, but this is probably the last time if they lose again. NEW YORK WINS
  • New England @ Cincinnati: I might regret this, but I say the Bengals bounce back in a big way at home, and hand the Pats their first loss of the year. CINCY WINS
  • Detroit @ Green Bay:  This is an intriguing match-up.  The Lions made a very good Chicago defense look bad, while the Packers are coming off their bye, which came on the heels of a bad loss to Cincy.  I have the Pack winning this division, so give me the home team. GREEN BAY WINS
  • Seattle @ Indianapolis: This is going to be a fun one.  The Colts are very good late in games, and the Hawks are coming off a huge comeback win over Houston.  It will be a close one.  If this were in Seattle, I’d probably choose different. INDY WINS
  • Baltimore @ Miami: Both teams are coming off losses.  The Ravens haven’t gotten what they expected in the run game, and the Dolphins were just outmatched by a high-powered Saints team.  MIAMI WINS
  • New Orleans @ Chicago:  Drew Brees is playing better than everyone not named Peyton Manning.  The Bears defense was picked apart last week.  NEW ORLEANS WINS
  • Kansas City @ Tennessee: Two teams that are a combined 7-1 coming into this one.  The Chiefs are clicking on all cylinders, and the Titans are hurting at QB.  I have to give the edge to the undefeated squad. KANSAS CITY WINS
  • Jacksonville @ St. Louis:  This could be as good a chance for the Jags to finally win a game as there has been all year.  Except it won’t be.  ST LOUIS WINS

4/4:25PM Sunday Games:

  • Carolina @ Arizona:  The Panthers are coming off their bye week, and are looking to get their 2nd win of the year.  The Cardinals look to continue to put last year behind them, and get a big home win.  I think the Panthers takes this one by one score. CAROLINA WINS
  • Denver @ Dallas: The Cowboys have flaws.  The Broncos have Peyton Manning.  This might finally be a close game for Denver, but I see them staying perfect. DENVER WINS

Sunday Night Football:

  • Houston @ San Francisco: The Texans blew a 20-3 lead in week 4, while the 49ers made easy work of the Rams.  When on, both teams have stout defenses and very good running games.  I’m going with the “upset” and taking the road team. HOUSTON WINS

11:35PM Sunday Game (Rescheduled because of the ALDS)

  • San Diego @ Oakland:  The Chargers are coming off a big win over Dallas, while the Raiders are sputtering. But San Diego has been up good one game, unable to finish the next.  If the Raiders run game can get back on track, I wouldn’t be surprised if they won. That being said, give me the Chargers in this one. SAN DIEGO WINS

Monday Night Football:

  • New York Jets @ Atlanta: The Falcons need this one.  Both are coming off loses in week 5, but I’m giving the Georgia Dome the edge.  ATLANTA WINS

That’s it.  See you all after Monday Night!

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NFL: Week 4 Thoughts

The quarter pole of the season is here, and there are still 4 winless teams and 5 perfect teams.

Green Bay and Carolina were both on bye weeks, and enter week 5 at 1-2.

Let’s start with the have-nots (0-4)

  • Jaguars: Not surprised by this.  The Colts are a better team, and Jacksonville just doesn’t have any weapons outside of MJD to get them going on offense.  And Jones-Drew only carried for 23 yards.  They held a rare lead in this one, 3-0 after 1.  That’s where the positives ended.
  • Giants: I actually thought this was the type of game that would wake New York up.  I was wrong.  The offense continued to look lost, penalties killed their actual good drives and the defense wore down once again in the 2nd half.  Now they head into division play with a high-powered Eagles offense.
  • Steelers: A trip to London couldn’t help, so another perennial playoff team that finds themselves in the cellar.  It’s their first 0-4 start since 1968.  Ben Roethlisberger had a good day throwing the ball, but 2 turnovers in a 7-point loss was the difference.
  • Buccaneers: They led 10-0 in the first half, but allowed the Cardinals to score 13 unanswered in the 4th quarter to leave Tampa winless.  Rookie QB Mike Glennon couldn’t do any better than the benched Josh Freeman did.

Now for the big time haves (4-0)

  • Chiefs: They made easy work of the Giants, despite a bad 1st half from Alex Smith.  Jamaal Charles had a big day, and the defense was great again.
  • Saints: They made it look easy against another undefeated team in the dolphins.  They took their first possession and marched easily down the field for a TD, and a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. This after starting last year 0-4 last season.  Drew Brees had his 10th game of over 400 passing yards, good for 2nd all-time behind Dan Marino’s 13.
  • Seahawks: It looked like Seattle would take their loss, until their defense shutdown Houston, allowing Russell Wilson to lead his team to 20 unanswered 2nd half points to take the 23-20 win in overtime.  It’s the first 4-0 start in Seahawks history.
  • Broncos: Peyton Manning is a machine, starting off the season throwing for 16 touchdowns, and no interceptions.  It was close early against Philly, but then the offense put up 31 in the 2nd half to complete another laugher, 52-20.
  • Patriots: This team continues to find ways to win.  Win number 4 was costly, losing Pro-Bowler Vince Wilfork to a torn Achilles.

More teams feeling pretty good about themselves (3-1)

  • Colts: They won 37-3, but it wasn’t their best performance, getting off to a slow start in the first half.  Trent Richardson scored his 2nd touchdown since coming over to Indianapolis, and combined for 125 yards on the ground with Donald Brown.  Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener had good days on the receiving end of Andrew Luck.  The wide-out and tight-end combined for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 receptions.
  • Dolphins: They couldn’t keep pace with New England, losing big to Miami.  Ryan Tannehill was picked off 3 times.  The Saints offense was just too much for a good Miami defense.
  • Lions: I said I thought Detroit could hand Chicago their first loss, but I never thought it would be to the tune of a 40 spot.  I thought it would be close late, with the home-field advantage tipping the scales for the Lions, but the usually stout Bears defense looked anything but.  The game wasn’t as close as the 8-point win suggests.
  • Titans: Up 24-6, QB Jake Locker was carted off the field with a hip injury in the 3rd quarter.  He left having thrown a career high 3 TDs.  Cornerback Alterraun Verner had a big day, picking off 2 Geno Smith passes, as well as recovering a fumble.
  • Bears: 3-1 in the NFC North is a good place to be, but after a poor showing against Detroit, Chicago needs a big bounce back in week 5.  The defense couldn’t stop Matt Stafford, and Jay Cutler was turnover prone.

.500 records at this point- good or bad? (2-2)

  • Bengals:  The Browns have a good defense, but you have to score more than 6 points against a 1 win team.  Giovani Bernard and BenJarvis Green-Ellis combined for just 50 yards on the ground.  Andy Dalton threw a pick on a drive that could’ve given them the lead.  He also fumbled twice, losing one.
  • Cardinals: They were lucky to play a bad bucs team, who let them come back from an early 10-point deficit.   Cornerback Patrick Peterson was the star, with two interceptions.  Larry Fitzgerald with his 80th TD reception.
  • 49ers: San Fran bounced back in a big way on Thursday Night Football, easily taking down St Louis 35-11. Frank Gore picked up his 1st 100-yard rushing game of the season (finished with 153 and a TD) and the defense picked up 5 sacks and two turnovers.
  • Jets: They didn’t look good at home against the now 3-1 Titans, but 2-2 under a rookie QB is nothing to scoff at.  Smith was picked off twice, and fumbled twice.
  • Bills: EJ Manuel didn’t look good, throwing 2 interceptions and a lost fumble but he was helped out by his defense and a big day on the ground.  Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller combined for 164 yards and a TD on 39 carries.
  • Chargers: A Richard Marshall fumble recovery in the endzone with 2:42 to go in regulation helped seal the win for San Diego.  The defense is woke up in the 2nd half, pitching a zero, allowing for the comeback victory.
  • Cowboys: They’re still in first place in the East, but that’s not saying much for the leagues worst division through week 4.  Dez Bryant had a huge 1st half for Dallas, but the wide-out and the rest of the offense were shut out in the 2nd half.
  • Browns; Don’t look now but Cleveland is on a win streak.  Brian Hoyer looked good in his 2nd start in the place of the injured Brandon Weedon, and Jordan Cameron is emerging as a top tight-end in the NFL.  And the defense was huge, limiting the Cincy to just 269 total yards.
  • Ravens: Baltimore couldn’t complete a 2nd half comeback, thanks in large part to 5 Joe Flacco turnovers.  It was another bad day on the ground, with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combining for just 24 yards on 9 carries.  Torrey Smith had a big day, 166 yards and a TD.

And finally the 1 win teams (1-3)

  • Vikings:  They’re the happiest of this group, picking up their first win of the year.  Sure it was against the winless Steelers, but Adrian Peterson got going again, and Matt Cassel looked good in place of the injured Christian Ponder.
  • Falcons: A team I thought needed to make a serious Superbowl run looks bad early.  They are having trouble closing out games.  And with a much improved Saints team in the South, Atlanta needs to right the ship quick.
  • Redskins:  The only NFC East team to win on Sunday, the skins found away to rally back from a 14-0 1st quarter deficit to the Raiders.  A big defensive TD helped Washington get their first win of the year.  RG3 was held under 300 yards passing for the first time of the year, but it didn’t matter.
  • Eagles: They found a way to stay close to Denver in the 1st half, but then the Broncos turned it on in the 2nd.  They had a good day on the ground, and Michael Vick had an okay day throwing the ball, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
  • Rams: St Louis got absolutely nothing on the ground, forcing Sam Bradford to throw the ball 41 times.  The Rams QB threw 1 touchdown, but also threw an interception and lost a fumble in the blowout loss to

Early Notes and Stats:

  • The NFC East has the worst combined record at 4-12, while the AFC West boasts 2 4-0 teams and an 11-5 record.
  • Peyton Manning leads the league with 16 TDs, giving Denver the leagues best total offense.
  • The Eagles rushing attack is getting them nearly 200 yards a game on the ground.
  • Atlanta’s Julio Jones leads the league with 481 receiving yards.
  • Houston’s 3rd year Linebacker Justin Houston has 7.5 sacks, tops in the NFL.
  • Buffalo’s Kiko Alonso, New England’s Aquib Talib and Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner lead with 4 interceptions apiece.
  • 3 playoff teams from a year ago are 4-0.

Another fun week in the NFL, with week 5 kicking off Thursday Night in a battle of 2-2 teams, as the Buffalo Bills head to Cleveland to take on the Browns.