Week 5 NFL Predictions: Picking Winners in Each of Sunday's Late Games
Week 5's afternoon contests are quite fascinating.
However, there are other interesting games, including the Chicago Bears against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which features two stud running backs in Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew. Also, will the New Orleans Saints get off the schneid at home against the San Diego Chargers?
After all, Drew Brees and Co. still present an explosive attack to outscore the Bolts in the Superdome. To that end, let's check out what to expect from Sunday's late games.
Seahawks at Panthers
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The Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers game is going to be one underrated chess match.
On one hand, we have a potentially explosive Panthers offense against a technically sound Seattle defense.
Flip the possession and it's a vulnerable Cats' defense facing a balanced Seahawks offense. Here, the competitive edge will come down to each team's standout pass-rusher: Chris Clemons of Seattle versus Charles Johnson of Carolina.
Both quarterbacks are mobile enough to make plays outside the pocket, so whichever rusher applies more constant pressure will give his team a significant edge. Therefore, to negate the presence of each rusher is utilizing the ground game.
In short, Seattle has a stronger control of the line of scrimmage with Marshawn Lynch slamming between the tackles.
Seahawks 23, Panthers 14
Bears at Jaguars
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This game will be much closer than at first glance.
For one, the Jacksonville Jaguars are capable of getting success on the ground against the Chicago Bears.
Maurice Jones-Drew's presence alone will force Chicago to honor the line of scrimmage and in turn, that will allow Blaine Gabbert opportunities off play-action. When the Bears have the rock Jacksonville will definitely need to key in on Matt Forte and Michael Bush, because Chicago presents a nice passing game.
Fortunately, the Jaguars can have success in man coverage with guys like Rashean Mathis to give the pass rush additional time. Unfortunately, Jacksonville still lacks a pass rush with just two sacks entering Week 5.
Include Devin Hester's special teams ability and Chicago gets another important road win before its bye.
Bears 24, Jaguars 19
Titans at Vikings
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The Minnesota Vikings could pull off the biggest blowout of Week 5.
Hosting the 1-3 Tennessee Titans, Minnesota is coming off a game where it scored twice on special teams and limited the explosive Detroit Lions to just 341 total yards.
Unsurprisingly, the Titans have a lot of work to do for consistent ball movement. Minnesota is well-versed against the run and Jared Allen and Co. can get impressive quarterback pressure as well. Nonetheless, Chris Johnson proved he can be effective after rushing for 141 yards against the Houston Texans last week.
So, expect a heavy dosage of Johnson to set up the play-action. The Vikings are somewhat suspect against the pass; however, they possess much confidence after Week 4. Offensively, the Vikings will hit with Adrian Peterson and keep the balanced approach.
Tennessee's defense has yet to slow anyone down and this game will get out of hand quickly.
Vikings 31, Titans 13
Broncos at Patriots
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At last we come to Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady.
And for as important as each of their production will be in Week 5, it's the defenses that must step up.
The Broncos are better at applying pressure with guys like Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Plus, Brady's protection has been suspect at times since the Pats have allowed eight sacks (four coming against the Arizona Cardinals).
Additionally, Denver has reliable playmakers in the secondary with Tracy Porter and Champ Bailey. New England, though, has studs of its own with rookie Chandler Jones and Vince Wilfork. Bill Belichick's front seven is great at stuffing the run and defensive backs Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington possess excellent field awareness.
Therefore, anticipate a lot of quick-developing plays from each offense and the receivers needing to get yards after the catch. It's going to be a drama filled contest throughout, however, Denver's more consistent pass rush and physical secondary will minimize Brady's attack.
Broncos 21, Patriots 16
Bills at 49ers
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Last week the San Francisco 49ers compiled 245 rushing yards against the New York Jets.
This week you can expect a similar performance, as the Buffalo Bills rank No. 28 against the run and allow an average of 137 rushing yards per game.
Also, the Bills are vulnerable against the pass so the 49ers will see success when setting up play-action. And because the 'Niners will be consistently moving the chains, Buffalo's offense faces an even tougher challenge against San Francisco's defense.
For starters, Jim Harbaugh's defense is already among the best around. However, the Bills getting their opportunities limited from the 49ers offense controlling the clock will significantly enhance the difficulty.
San Francisco is extremely dominant against the run and at applying constant quarterback pressure. So, if Buffalo lacks big plays this game will be over by halftime.
49ers 34, Bills 10
Chargers at Saints
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This is a trap game for the San Diego Chargers.
Sitting at 3-1, the Bolts only loss came at home to the Atlanta Falcons but all wins have come versus teams with a losing record.
New Orleans on the other hand, is desperate for win and have lost all four games by a combined 20 points. Still fielding an explosive attack, Drew Brees is capable of dicing up San Diego's susceptible pass defense which ranks No. 18.
The Bolts also don't have their typical explosive offense and average only 311.8 total yards per game. Although New Orleans presents one of the league's worst defenses, the Saints are use to shootouts.
In a game featuring two standout quarterbacks, San Diego's best bet is to win the line of scrimmage with running backs Ryan Mathews and Jackie Battle. Therefore, anticipate Brees to drop back even more to get the Bolts on their heels and make this a high-scoring affair.
Not to mention, but the Saints have the 20-year, 0-4 omen of the 1992 San Diego Chargers playing a historic role on Sunday night.
Saints 28, Chargers 24
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