NFL

NFL Picks Week 5: Predicting Games Between Division Rivals

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 2, 2013

The 2013 NFL regular season is in full swing, as postseason contenders are making their presence known and some preseason favorites remain in an underwhelming position. With Week 5 set to commence on Thursday, Oct. 3, some teams will begin to prove their legitimacy.

The question is, how will the high-stakes meetings between division rivals transpire?

 

Detroit Lions (3-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-2)

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 09: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers leaps between Don Carey #32 (L) and Ricardo Silva #39 of the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 27-20. (Photo by
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 6

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Prediction: 35-30, Packers

The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers will meet in a Week 5 game that will go a long way towards determining the direction of the NFC North. Detroit, 3-1, currently owns a 1.5-game lead over the Packers in the division.

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

Say what you will about the Packers inconsistencies over the past two seasons, but they're 21-1 in Green Bay since losing at Lambeau Field on Oct. 17, 2010. In its lone home game in 2013, the Packers decimated the Washington Redskins 38-20.

Detroit has a legitimate opportunity to end the 22-year drought, as the offense is as balanced as its ever been. Reggie Bush is running the ball at an elite level and Stafford has experienced success, with or without big games from Calvin Johnson.

But in spite of Detroit's explosive offense and improved defense, you should wish Matthew Stafford the best of luck against Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

If only this game weren't being played at Lambeau Field.

The Lions aren't the only team that has struggled to win in Green Bay, but they are the organization that the Packers have defeated at home in each of the past 22 seasons. Moreover, with the Packers sitting at 1-2, expect the sense of urgency to be as high as ever.

The Lions do have a chance, but the Packers don't lose at home.

 

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at New York Giants (0-4)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 6

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Prediction: 34-28, Giants

The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants enter this game in similar positions, as the season for both has gone woefully wrong.

But the NFC East title is within reach for both franchises. The 1-3 Eagles are one game back and the 0-4 Giants just two, which proves just how poor the division is.

The Eagles may be the better team on paper, but the Giants are desperate for a win and will get one at home.

The Eagles have the superior record, but Philadelphia appears to lack the necessary depth on both sides of the ball to run Chip Kelly's high-speed offense. Eagle defensive players appear to be constantly winded, and the offense has faltered during late-game situations, perhaps due to fatigue.

LeSean McCoy is playing sensational football, and Michael Vick is performing better than he's being given credit for, but until Philadelphia sculpts its roster better, Kelly will need to make drastic changes throughout the season.

The Giants have been terrible in every sense of the word, struggling to do much of anything right on either side of the ball. Eli Manning is putting up big numbers, but no statistic has been more important than his league-worst nine interceptions through four games.

Neither team has looked good, but New York is winless with a rival coming to play at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants need a win, and it's past due for Manning to put on a memorable late-game performance. With the Eagles defense performing as poorly as that of the Giants, it will come down to which offense can come up with the fourth-quarter production. Given that Manning is still one of the most clutch players in the league, look for the Giants to pull one out late.

It'll be an ugly game from a defensive perspective, but a win is a win for a Giants team that could move to within one game of the division lead should the Dallas Cowboys lose to the undefeated Denver Broncos.

 

San Diego Chargers (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (1-3)

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers catches a seventeen yard pass over Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter of the season opener at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 10, 2012 in Oakl
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Date: Sunday, Oct. 6

Time: 11:35 p.m. ET

TV: NFL Network

Prediction: 31-20, Chargers

The San Diego Chargers have been the most entertaining team in the NFL, going 2-2 with three of those games each being decided by three points. The 1-3 Oakland Raiders have promise at quarterback with Terrelle Pryor but were forced to use Matt Flynn in a Week 4 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Now, the two AFC West rivals will meet in hopes of improving their position in a deep division.

San Diego opened up the season with three quarters of dominance against the Houston Texans. But the Chargers collapsed in the fourth and allowed the game to slip away. During Week 4, the Chargers achieved revenge against Texas football by defeating the Dallas Cowboys, 30-21.

The Dallas game was yet another magnificent performance by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who is turning a low-profile receiving corps into one of the most productive units in football.

The Raiders are 1-3, but with Pryor under center, Oakland has been a very competitive football team. According to Pryor's official Twitter account, he plans to be in action against the Chargers after sitting out the Washington game due to a concussion. This means we're in store for another high-octane battle.

Unfortunately, Pryor's return won't be enough for the Raiders.

This will be a close game, but Rivers and the Chargers have kept every game close and managed two victories against explosive offenses. With Rivers under center, San Diego has enough to compete with anyone and will emerge victorious against the Raiders.

It's never easy between these two in-state division rivals, but San Diego will continue to build its resume as a postseason contender with this win.

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