NFL Week 5 Picks: Predicting Games with Most Drastic Long-Term Impact

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 1, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants speaks with  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles after the Giants 42-7 win  at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Week 4 of the 2013 NFL regular season is behind us, and Week 5 will commence when the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns meet on Thursday Night Football. Following that battle of 2-2 teams, there will be a number of high-stakes games with long-term importance.

The question is, which games will have the most drastic long-term impact on the season?

 

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is thrown to the ground by Cliff Avril #92 the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 27-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Da
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 6

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Prediction: 35-30, Packers

The Detroit Lions defeated the Chicago Bears during Week 4 to earn the tiebreak lead in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers are 1-2 after working through their bye week and need a win over the Lions to remain in contention.

This is must-win territory for both teams.

The Packers have played extremely well in all three of their games, winning 38-20 against the Washington Redskins and losing 34-28 at the San Francisco 49ers and 34-30 at the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, the standings don't reward quality play.

With 384 rushing yards through three games, however, the Packers offense is as dangerous as it's ever been.

The Lions have some explosive balance of their own, with Matthew Stafford averaging 315.5 passing yards and Reggie Bush posting 144.3 yards of total offense per game. Defensively, the Lions have finally come to life with Nick Fairley leading the charge.

Unfortunately for Detroit, it hasn't won in Green Bay since 1991.

Aaron Rodgers will match Matthew Stafford at every turn and Jordy Nelson is just as much of a touchdown threat as Calvin Johnson. With Johnathan Franklin, Eddie Lacy and James Starks all running the football at a high level, it doesn't matter who lines up behind Rodgers.

Twenty-two years of failure isn't offset by a 3-1 start, and until Detroit is able to get over the hump, put your money on Green Bay—a team that's won 23 of its past 25 home games.

 

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Dec 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) is sacked by New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) in the first half during the game at Metlife Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Sunday, Oct. 6

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Prediction: 34-28, Giants

Somehow, some way, the 0-4 New York Giants are only two games out of the lead in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles, losers of three straight games after one half of brilliance led them to a Week 1 win, are only one game back.

No matter which team you may support, there's only one truth to acknowledge: the NFC East is the worst division in football.

We can jest, but the Week 4 game between the 1-3 Eagles and 0-4 Giants has extreme importance. With the division-leading 2-2 Dallas Cowboys set to take on the Denver Broncos, both teams have a golden opportunity.

The Eagles could potentially tie Dallas for first, while New York could move to within one win of the division lead. I cringed just writing that.

Eli Manning has been a turnover machine, but Michael Vick hasn't been able to be any more consistent. While both the Eagles and Giants have been putting together terrible defensive efforts, Philadelphia's run game has been absolutely sensational, and New York's has been dreadful.

With all of this being established, it's just too hard to believe the Giants will fall to 0-5 during a home game against a bitter rival.

 

Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers

August 18, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Joe Holland (51) sacks Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (13) during the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Sunday, Oct. 6

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Prediction: 24-20, 49ers

Entering Week 4, many expected to see the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers meet in a clash between two of the league's elite. Instead, the Texans and 49ers will battle to avoid dropping below .500.

Worst of all, both teams have been on the wrong end of blowouts.

The Texans enter this game after blowing a 20-13 fourth-quarter lead against the Seattle Seahawks. Matt Schaub threw a late pick-six, and the Seahawks ended up winning 23-20 in overtime to mark Houston's second consecutive loss after falling 30-9 to the Baltimore Ravens during Week 3.

It hasn't been much prettier for the Niners.

San Francisco took a 35-11 win over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football to move to 2-2. Prior to that game, however, the 49ers had lost consecutive blowouts to the Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.

The loser of this meeting between Houston and San Francisco will fall to 2-3 after five weeks of football.

The key here will be quarterback play, as Schaub has been dominant through three quarters but routinely collapsed in the fourth, and Colin Kaepernick has been downright inconsistent. Both players have displayed flashes of brilliance, but until they can do it on a weekly basis, the upside is limited.

Due to its home-field advantage, expect San Francisco to take an ugly one at Candlestick Park as Kaepernick outduels Schaub.