NFL Picks Week 5: Breaking Down Predictions for Entire Weekend
The 2013 NFL regular season has gotten off to a wacky start with storylines we never expected a month ago. But the stage has only been set for what will be a thrilling rest of the year.
Whether it's highly touted star players being traded, traditional powerhouses struggling or shocking 4-0 teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, the first quarter of the season hasn't disappointed from an entertainment standpoint.
All of the hype will result in Week 5 being the best weekend yet, with Super Bowl contenders lining up across from each other all across the nation.
Let's take a look at Week 5's projections and the most intriguing games of the slate.
|Bills at Browns||Thurs, Oct 3, 8:25 p.m.||NFL||CLE 27, BUF 23|
|Saints at Bears||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||FOX||NO 38, CHI 34|
|Patriots at Bengals||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||CBS||NE 31, CIN 20|
|Lions at Packers||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||FOX||GB 40, DET 34|
|Chiefs at Titans||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||CBS||KC 20, TEN 13|
|Seahawks at Colts||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||FOX||IND 20, SEA 17|
|Jaguars at Rams||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||CBS||STL 37, JAC 14|
|Ravens at Dolphins||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||CBS||BAL 20, MIA 10|
|Eagles at Giants||Sun, Oct 6, 1 p.m.||FOX||PHI 34, NYG 24|
|Panthers at Cardinals||Sun, Oct 6, 4:05 p.m.||FOX||ARI 24, CAR 20|
|Broncos at Cowboys||Sun, Oct 6, 4:25 p.m.||CBS||DEN 31, DAL 24|
|Texans at 49ers||Sun, Oct 6, 8:30 p.m.||NBC||HOU 28, SF 23|
|Chargers at Raiders||Sun, Oct 6, 11:35 p.m.||NFL||SD 28, OAK 27|
|Jets at Falcons||Mon, Oct 7, 8:30 p.m.||ESPN||ATL 30, NYJ 23|
Schedule info courtesy of ESPN.com
Week 5 Notable Matchups
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts
The 4-0 Seahawks aren't quite as high and mighty as they seemed prior to Week 4, but they gutted out a late comeback against a pesky Texans squad last week to improve their argument as the NFL's best team.
Their tough early schedule gives them a road trip to face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, who have somewhat quietly won their last two games by a combined 50 points after the 24-20 letdown to Miami in Week 2.
Dominating on the ground is a new look for Andrew Luck's Colts, who are fourth in the league in rushing with veteran Ahmad Bradshaw (186 YDS, 2 TD in three games) and newly acquired star Trent Richardson. Luck looks even more like a soon-to-be elite quarterback with a 64.1 completion percentage.
Seattle's young star gunslinger, Russell Wilson, struggled against Houston (12-23, 123 YDS, INT) before his defense bailed him out. But he still proved to be clutch, leading his team to a game-winning field goal in overtime.
The Colts are winning at a slow pace—30th in the league with 41 total drives—and that means their ability to move the chains against a ruthless Seahawks D will likely be the key to the game.
The Seahawks are still a top-two team in the league, but they weren't the best team last Sunday against Houston. Indy's QB won't throw an untimely pick-six, either.
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
Peyton Manning is on a historical tear to start out 2013, and nobody should be surprised by that at this point.
The Broncos' 4-0 record has never really been in doubt since a 17-14 halftime deficit in Week 1 against Baltimore. Since then, Denver has outscored its opponents 164-74.
How many games will the Broncos win this season?
Head coach John Fox's defense hasn't let Elvis Dumervil's departure or the absence of Von Miller hurt, either. It's atop the league in run defense, and the only knock on its resume is letting up some 316 passing yards per game—something that will improve when Champ Bailey returns from injury.
The Dallas Cowboys return home after a tough road loss to San Diego, and no favors are being given to them as they face the league's most dominant team through four weeks. And given Philip Rivers' big day against the Cowboys D (401 YDS, 3 TD, INT), last week bodes well for Peyton's chances of continuing his shredding ways.
The Cowboys will keep things close at home with an inspired defense, but it won't be the difference between winning and losing. It'll be the difference between getting clobbered and respectfully losing.
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans
One month ago, not many folks would've predicted this matchup to be between a 4-0 team and a 3-1 team.
The Chiefs have been one of the biggest stories of the NFL, as new head coach Andy Reid and game-managing quarterback Alex Smith ride an undefeated record into a Week 5 road trip to Tennessee.
It won't be last year's 6-10 Titans, though. A once-porous defense now ranks seventh in the league after four weeks, and the once-enormously unpopular Jake Locker turned into one of the league's budding young stars before a hip injury that will sideline him for a month, per USA Today's Jim Wyatt.
Will the Chiefs remain unbeaten vs. the Titans?
One of the biggest factors will be the turnover battle. Tennessee has used timely turnovers to its advantage and enjoyed a 4-0 advantage in that department against the Jets last week. Cornerback Alterraun Verner is turning into a Pro Bowl candidate with four picks in as many games—tied atop the league.
Kansas City has been incredibly careful with the ball with a plus-nine takeaway ratio (best in NFL), so a huge strength for the Titans in recent weeks is likely to be quelled significantly.
With backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Titans offense won't come close to matching its early-season efficiency at the start, and the Chiefs will gut out a big road win to stay undefeated.
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