NFL Week 5 Picks: Teams that Need to be on Upset Alert
There have been upsets abounding in the first four weeks of the NFL season, and there are certainly a few teams that need to be on upset alert in Week 5. If these teams don't execute their game plans well, then they could suffer surprising losses this week.
Week 5 features games with teams that are pretty evenly matched. A game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns could go either way, as could Sunday night's game featuring the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
There are a few games that will likely result in blowouts as well. The Atlanta Falcons should be able to handle the New York Jets with ease on Monday night, and the Kansas City Chiefs will be on their way to 5-0 after handling Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tennessee Titans.
But, there are a few games on the schedule that wouldn't be a surprise if the team with the worse record came out on top. It's these games that will be monitored closely, and it's these games that feature teams on upset alert.
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears
The New Orleans Saints are 4-0 and the Chicago Bears are 3-1, but many are already choosing the Saints as the NFC opponent for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. That makes any team playing them the immediate underdog.
The Bears have a legitimate shot at handing the Saints their first loss in Week 5, though, and Jay Cutler and Co. should not be counted out of this one. The defense will have a tough time limiting Drew Brees and his deep collection of receivers, but they can win if their offense minimizes mistakes.
Cutler has put together a decent season, having amassed 1,000 yards in the air already. His eight touchdowns put him on pace for a career-high, but the fact that he's already thrown six interceptions is worrisome. If he turns the ball over against the Saints, then Brees will certainly capitalize and put points on the board.
That will be no easy task. The Saints rank sixth in the NFL in total defense, and they've already recorded seven interceptions. The secondary has a nose for the ball and will look to make plays on errant passes.
By limiting mistakes, the Bears can win. This could easily end up being the game of the week.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Philip Rivers has been great through four games for the San Diego Chargers, and the team's 2-2 record isn't reflective of his level of play. He's led two fourth-quarter comebacks and is on pace for nearly 4,800 passing yards.
That being said, the Chargers need to be prepared for the 1-3 Oakland Raiders in Week 5. Oakland could very well pull this one out if they can somehow limit Rivers' production.
JL Herrera of CBS Sacramento reports that the Raiders are hoping that Terrelle Pryor, Marcel Reece and Darren McFadden will be healthy enough to go against San Diego. If they are healthy, then the Raiders have a great chance of winning. Without them, winning is almost impossible.
The Chargers have allowed 120.5 rushing yards per game, and that fits into Oakland's game-plan if Pryor and McFadden are healthy. Both are high-end rushers when healthy, and both will look to burn San Diego's defense if given the chance.
Pryor has proven himself to be a decent playmaker in three games this season, passing for 264 yards and rushing for 198 yards. He's also accounted for two touchdowns (both passing), but he has given the Raiders a dynamic option on offense that they didn't have before.
If Oakland is healthy, expect them to run all over the Chargers. With a 200-yard performance from Pryor, McFadden and even Reece, Oakland will pick up its second win of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Could the New York Giants really start the season 0-5? A loss to the Philadelphia Eagles would do that, but a win is a possibility against a team that is still getting acclimated to Chip Kelly's no-rest offense.
The Eagles haven't been a force in the NFC East, either, as their 1-3 record puts them just a game ahead of the Giants for last in the division. New York's shortcomings have been highlighted for much of the season, and it's clear that their defense is not what it used to be. Kelly will look to exploit this defense on the ground, but limiting the running game will be the Giants' key to beating the Eagles.
LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick have combined to run for nearly 200 yards per game, and the Giants have allowed 122.5 yards on the ground per game. The units represent polar opposites in terms of success, and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will need to work up a game plan to stop the Eagles on the ground.
Forcing Vick to be a pocket quarterback will lead to more opportunities for a struggling secondary to make plays and defend passes. The Giants don't need to rack up a ton of turnovers to win, but they do need to limit the amount of times DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper are given the opportunity to break off runs after the catch.
The Giants are underdogs in this one because of their winless record, but the two teams really aren't that different in terms of talent. Philly's talent has performed only slightly better than New York's, though, and that's why the Giants are in this position.
If they can execute on defense, then they could very well pick up their first win of the season.
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