Week 5 NFL Picks: Last-Minute Predictions for Each Game
Week 5 of the NFL season may have started with a snoozer (Rams-Cardinals) and could end with one too (Jets-Texans), but the meat in the middle of this schedule sandwich has more than enough to sink your teeth into.
Like a lot of points? Check out Saints-Chargers.
Like two young, exciting quarterbacks? Falcons-Redskins is for you.
There's even a feel-good game, where anyone outside the state of Wisconsin can root on the Colts. Indianapolis will be without coach Chuck Pagano, who was diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia this week and will not be in attendance Sunday for the Colts-Packers matchup.
We're ready for Week 5. Here are our last-minute picks for every game remaining on the schedule.
Miami Dolphins (1-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Andy Dalton's last three games (890 yards, 70.8 completion percentage, eight touchdowns) make him one of the hotter quarterbacks in football. The Bengals have won all three games with Dalton's arm and a pressure defense. Ryan Tannehill and the young Dolphins aren't up to the task on the road.
Bengals 27, Dolphins 16
Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
The Colts will have a heavy-hearted sideline Sunday after losing head coach Chuck Pagano. But the Packers present some serious matchup problems for Indianapolis, especially in the secondary, where starting cornerback Vontae Davis won't play. Aaron Rodgers should keep the Green Bay offense on track for a second straight week.
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
The Chiefs have to get another big day from Jamaal Charles for this game to stay close. Baltimore is simply better at almost every position group, and Kansas City can't stop shooting itself in the foot. If you don't for any other reason, pick Baltimore because Joe Flacco is head-and-shoulders above Matt Cassel at the quarterback position.
Ravens 27, Chiefs 13
Atlanta Falcons (4-0) at Washington Redskins (2-2)
A road game against an explosive, athletic quarterback is a recipe for an upset for the 4-0 Falcons. Normally. This Falcons team has a different feel than those of years past, with Matt Ryan having that never-say-never look in his eye and a turnover-happy defense (NFL-best plus-10 turnover differential). It won't be easy, but Atlanta gets to 5-0.
Falcons 31, Redskins 27
Cleveland Browns (0-4) at New York Giants (2-2)
Trent Richardson did himself no favors by talking about running on this Giants defense, as if that front seven wasn't already going to be focusing on keeping him contained. If Richardson doesn't go over 100 yards, the Browns will have no shot offensively. Brandon Weeden better have eyes in the back of his head too.
Giants 23, Browns 10
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
Keeping Michael Vick upright is going to be a challenge for the Eagles offensive line. Philadelphia will likely have to keep extra blockers in to help protect Vick, which may limit what the Eagles can do. The Steelers have had two weeks to get ready for this game, and they need it considerably more. In a close one, Pittsburgh wins this Pennsylvania rivalry.
Steelers 28, Eagles 24
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (1-3)
The Seahawks are a different football team away from Seattle. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson hasn't played as well, and the defense doesn't cause game-changing turnovers. As a result, Seattle is 0-2 on the road. The Panthers should have had a win in Atlanta last week. At the very least, it's something for Cam Newton to build on.
Panthers 24, Seahawks 16
Chicago Bears (3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
How the Jaguars plan on moving the ball against the Bears defense is a mystery to me. Chicago will focus its energy on taking Maurice Jones-Drew out of the equation, forcing Blaine Gabbert to take chances against an opportunistic secondary to move the football. A couple of early turnovers let the Bears cruise to 4-1.
Bears 30, Jaguars 14
Tennessee Titans (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1)
Trap game for Minnesota? The Titans are switching quarterbacks, but Matt Hasselbeck is plenty capable of leading this offense on the road. If Chris Johnson can stack another success on his 141 yards in Week 4, the Titans could have a chance. This team is due for a breakout win.
Titans 20, Vikings 17
Denver Broncos (2-2) at New England Patriots (2-2)
There was a time when Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady was the best rivalry in football. We'll get another healthy taste Sunday, when two offenses who hit their stride in Week 4 square off in New England. Brady is playing at home, and Manning is still getting comfortable within his own offense, so we'll give the Patriots a slight edge here.
Patriots 31, Broncos 27
Buffalo Bills (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1)
The Bills are a tough team to get figured out. There was a moment or two in Week 4 where it looked like Buffalo could take an early hold of the AFC East, but everything came crashing down in the second half as the Patriots scored a franchise-record 45 points in the half. Now Buffalo has to go on the road to a team that just shut out the Jets, 34-0. 49ers should roll.
49ers 27, Bills 10
San Diego Chargers (3-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-4)
Breaking Johnny Unitas' record for a touchdown pass in consecutive games will be nothing more than an afterthought to Drew Brees as long as the Saints get their first win. Still, that New Orleans defense is in big trouble. Brees will have to outduel Philip Rivers, the man who took his job in San Diego. He has to get it done this week.
Saints 41, Chargers 34
Houston Texans (4-0) at New York Jets (2-2)
The Meadowlands crowd could turn on these Jets if things go south Monday night. You'd almost be crazy not to think Tim Tebow's offensive package won't be expanded in some way, especially against the Texans' suffocating defense. That doesn't mean the Jets will keep this close. Houston is too balanced on both sides of the football.
Texans 28, Jets 12
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