NFL Week Five Questions: 25 Most Important Things To Consider

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2010

NFL Week Five Questions: 25 Most Important Things To Consider

0 of 25

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears gets chased by Osi Umenyiora #72 of the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    If Week 4 failed to delight you as a football fan, I suggest you go and watch another sport, as the past weekend has brought forward a barrage of new, and extremely interesting topics to talk about throughout the week.

    From the Green Bay Packers struggles against the Detroit Lions, to St. Louis' 2-2 record, this past weekend has tossed the NFL like a salad, and has more importantly managed to shake many things up for the future.

    So here we are heading towards Week 5, in a season that has flown by rather fast so far.  With only one undefeated team in the Kansas City Chiefs remaining, it could be said that God himself couldn't have dreamed up a wackier start to the 2010 season.

    But fortunately, this is what makes the NFL exciting, and these type of storylines always make up for a great time around the office water cooler.

    Now it's time to focus on Week 5, and to quote Will Smith "Let's kick it" with the Top 25 Most Important Things to Consider ahead of the weekend's play.

25. Is Matt Stafford’s Absence the Sole Reason for Detroit’s 0-4 Record?

1 of 25

    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass as Stephen Peterman #66 prepares to block Matt Toeaina #75 of the Chicago Bears during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    As disappointing as the Detroit Lions season has been in terms of their 0-4 record right now, Jim Schwartz's team has done a remarkable job at impressing everybody in the past four weeks.

    Aside from Jahvid Best's possible Rookie of the Year award nomination, Detroit's demeanor as a whole has changed immensely in comparison to last season, as the Lions managed to not only rally with the Green Bay Packers, but also expose Dom Capers defense for what it really is.

    However, for all of Detroit's stylish ways, no wins have been posted.  More importantly though, the old saying of "A quarterback is the mos vital part of a team's roster" has become even more true, considering that the Lions have struggled with the absence of Matt Stafford early on.

    So the question is simple, is Matt Stafford's injury to blame for Detroit's 0-4 record?

    It's a tough question to answer, but the most likely answer here is, no.  For the most part, replacement Shaun Hill has been decent in the starting role so far.  Given that he has thrown 7 total interceptions since taking over, he has also managed to maintain some form of chemistry with his offense, as his 991 yards on the season so far obviously state.

    When it's all said and done, Matt Stafford's injury has rattled this team a lot.  Not only were Detroit hoping for a surprising season, they have been ultimately plagued with injuries recently, especially since Jahvid Best finds himself with ongoing turf toe issues.

    To highlight the positives, a lot of promise stands with this team, but to blame the Lions 0-4 record on one player would be a little ludicrous.  That isn't to say that Matt Stafford isn't sorely missed though.

24. Arian Foster Once Again Explodes, Offensive Player of the Year Material?

2 of 25

    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Many things can stop a player in the regular season,. but it appears not even a wooden bench can stop Arian Foster from exploding on the playing field right now.

    In the Texans Week 3 clash with the Oakland Raiders, Houston running back Arian Foster was originally benched for the first quarter of play, in what was labeled as a "coaches decision" earlier in the week.  Normally, this type of move means that a player has acted out of line, although Houston really can't complain after Foster's solid efforts this season.

    In all reality, no one expected Arian Foster to explode against Oakland.  Starting running backs Steve Slaton and Derrick Ward were doing a decent job as replacements, and as much talent as Arian Foster has, it appeared that he may be in for a quiet day.

    Boy were we wrong.

    At the end of a the Texans 31-24 win over the Oakland Raiders, Arian Foster finished the game with 131 yards and 1 touchdown, impressive stats for a guy that missed the entire first quarter.

    However, now that Arian Foster has proven that he is one of the league's up and coming stars, debates over the Offensive Player of the Year Award begin to rise.

    As great as this thought is, Foster himself must realize that there is much competition ahead of him.  Yet at the same time, that isn't to say that this factor will discount him, as Chris Johnson was successful in capturing the trophy just last season.

    For Foster to take home the honors, he will need to sit atop the leading rushers come nomination time.  This is a tricky task, but it is one number 23 will have to maintain, if he is to outdo the Peyton Manning's and Adrian Peterson's of this league.

    At this rate though, Foster could be labeled as one of the favorites for the award, as his play has been consistent, and better yet, all that more meaningful the Texans playoff chances.

23. How Does Miami’s Loss to New England in Week Three Affect Their Playoff Chances?

3 of 25

    MIAMI - OCTOBER 04:  Running back Ronnie Brown #23 and Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins runs against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium on October 4, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Week 3 marked many milestones for player and teams alike this past weekend.  Unfortunately for the Miami Dolphins though, there home game against the New England Patriots wasn't all that joyful to begin with.

    Prior to the game, the Dolphins were labeled as potential favorites over New England.  Not only did Steve Spagnuolo's side have home field advantage, they also had the luxury of Brandon Marshall and Chad Henne, who lit the New York Jets defense alight just one week ago.

    Sadly for Dolphins fans though, the game didn't turn out to plan.  Miami fell to a dominant Patriots outfit 41-14, and now find themselves between a rock and a hard place in the AFC East division.

    Yet as difficult as this loss was to swallow, the sub headlines that have followed are also concerning.  With a blowout loss at hand, Miami now need to regroup during their scheduled bye week, especially after Chad Henne 3 interceptions on the day.

    This loss significantly affects the Dolphins in a number of ways.  It firstly lowers their confidence, but it also acts as a key loss to an AFC East rival, that now leaves the Patriots with the upper hand on Tunatown in the division.

    A bitter pill to swallow, yes, but something the Dolphins must fight back from if they have any plan to achieve their postseason goal this season.

22. Is Jimmy Clausen the Real Deal in Carolina?

4 of 25

    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 03:  Jimmy Clausen #2 celebrates with DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The Saints defea
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    As questionable a coach as Charlie Weis was during his time in Notre Dame, perhaps the big guy actually did Jimmy Clausen some favors during his years with the Fighting Irish, as the young rookie now looks incredibly solid under center in the Carolina Panthers starting role.

    In terms of happiness, Jimmy Clausen couldn't be anymore delighted.  With Matt Moore seemingly out of the way for now, Clausen has been gifted his opportunity to really take over the Panthers as a team, something that he took on board strongly against the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday.

    For those that watched the game, you may have had flashbacks to some kind of memorable tennis game between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  As far as shootouts go, this game had every bit of intensity, not that we didn't expect anything different from a good ole' NFC South clash of heads.

    From the Carolina Panthers point of view, this loss to the Saints could be labeled as devastating.  With that in mind though, it could also be labeled as encouraging, considering that Jimmy Clausen failed to throw an interception on the day, and went for 146 yards and 1 touchdown.

    Promising times lay ahead for the Panthers if they can just remain balanced.  Luckily DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith have hung around, and if Clausen can continue to impress, he should become the favored starter.

    Is he the real deal?

    It's only been three weeks, so no.  However, if there is any kind of path to follow, number 2 is definitely on the trail.

21. Are the San Diego Chargers Now Firmly On Their Way to the Postseason?

5 of 25

    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers looks to throw a pass against the Arizona Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California.   The Chargers won 41-10.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Image
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Once again history has repeated itself for the San Diego Chargers, following a poor start to the season, only to see Norv Turner's men come out on the other side looking very promising.

    In past years, the story has been the same.  San Diego have become accustom to being slow starters, and as frustrating as this is for supporters of the team, at least the Chargers have the moxie to rally the troops toward a postseason berth.

    So is this year going to be a replica of years past?

    By the way things are going, it surely looks that way.  The Chargers now successfully sit at 2-2 on the year, and although the Kansas City Chiefs still surprisingly lead the division, one loss could easily change that.

    It's hard to bet against history in this case.  Philip Rivers is having quite a remarkable year, and as disappointing as Ryan Matthews has been in his rookie season, San Diego have coped rather well on offense.

    And is a postseason berth on the horizon?

    To be perfectly honest, it does seem that way.  While the Chiefs are 3-0, the question of the team being a fluke still lingers.  On the other hand, Denver Broncos still linger at 2-2, but still have some problems in the run game to sort out.

    Therefore, this limits the Chargers competition once again.  Yes, the season is still very long and many things can happen, but with Philip Rivers continuing to develop, the Chargers are among the favorites in the AFC West.

20. Does Joseph Addai’s Knee Injury Affect the Colts at All?

6 of 25

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 03:  Running back Joseph Addai #29 of the Indianapolis Colts runs against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 3, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    When it comes to acceptance, most people have taken on board the fact that the Indianapolis Colts are never going to be a run oriented team anytime soon.

    Obviously, much of this has to do with Peyton Manning's brilliance in each and every game.  Although at the same time, running back Joseph Addai has strayed immensely from his 2006 form that saw the Colts win a Super Bowl, as he now looks "hot and cold" when running with the football.

    Up until this day, most fans have realized that the run game isn't vital to the Colts offense.  Even though analysts continue to force the idea of a good rushing game down our throats, Indianapolis have proven that a good quarterback is all that it takes to win some hardware.

    But unfortunately for Indianapolis, head coach Jim Caldwell now sees Joseph Addai struggling with a knee injury, something that the Colts didn't want to see this early on, despite Addai's lack of effort.

    In terms of how this affects the team as a whole, a lot must be realized from the possible absence of Addai. 

    Sure, number 29's run game was never anything too fantastic, but the Colts may also lose a reliable receiver, even though Indianapolis are stacked in the catching game.

    For all of Addai's criticism, he has managed to at least maintain the starting role.  He may not be utilized as much as other backs, but at times he can have the odd breakout game, that could help the Colts win over a team such as the Jaguars in the 4th quarter.

    It's an injury that won't cause the panic button to be hit, but it is one that could spell trouble for a team locked up in a tangle with the AFC South division.

19. Which Jacksonville Jaguars Team Will Show Up Against the Buffalo Bills?

7 of 25

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates the go ahead touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field on October 3, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars won 31-28.  (Photo by Marc
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    From the losers to the victors of Sunday afternoon's Week 3 fixture, we take a look at the Jacksonville Jagaurs, a team that sits at 2-2 following a reasonably up and down season so far this year.

    When the Jacksonville Jaguars kicked their 2010 campaign off against the Denver Broncos with a win, things looked up for this team.  But unfortunately, the Jaguars then went on to slip up against the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles, in rather unimpressive fashion.

    Before it was all over and out though, Jacksonville managed to stun the world against the Colts on Sunday, thanks to David Garrard's  brilliance, and Matt Scobee's unbelievable right boot.

    Yet with all of this happening at once, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been the epitome of an inconsistent team in the past four weeks.  At one point a big time win is had, and at the next a big time loss is endured for the entire team.

    In Week 5 the Jaguars take on the Buffalo Bills, an 0-4 team that has a number of issues to work out.  On paper, the Jaguars are clear favorites, but noone knows which team will show up against the Bills at this point in time.

    So far this is a question that we'll have to wait for an answer.  Not only is this an intriguing game to watch, if the Jaguars do beat the Bills, they'll actually be above .500, something that would be very impressive for a team that was labeled to be in turmoil during the offseason period.

18. Was Tennessee’s Loss to the Denver Broncos in Week Four Season-Changing?

8 of 25

    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 03:  Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos during the first half at LP Field on October 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    We've all heard of the Music City Miracle, but what unfolded in Tennessee this Sunday was more like the Music City Disappointment for Vince Young and the Titans.

    In a game that was close from the get go, the Denver Broncos managed to maintain explosiveness on offense, capturing a 26-20 victory over Tennessee, in a very demeaning fashion.

    As for the Titans though, a tough loss was felt for the team, one that significantly sets them back a peg in the AFC South division. 

    Firstly, the Titans have now lost their place among the top contenders in the South.  Although 2-2 is still quite solid, the Texans have been allowed to take the division lead, and now sit in first place over the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.

    What is perhaps the worst side to this story though is the fact that the Titans now sit tied with Indianapolis and Jacksonville, and could easily fall to the bottom of the division if Jeff Fisher's team isn't careful.

    Things don't get any easier for the Titans in Week 5, seeing as though the Dallas Cowboys play host to Tennessee in what looks to be a very important battle between two southern teams.  Not only is this a victory the Cowboys are hungry for, it is also a loss that the Titans cannot afford.

    Was Week 4's loss season changing?

    Maybe, we'll soon find out.  Still, slipping to .500 is never ideal in a division that is one of the toughest in football.  As mentioned, it is doable, but the Titans continue to make life hard for themselves in the NFL right now.

17. Can We Consider Joe Flacco Among the Top 10 Quarterbacks Just Yet?

9 of 25

    PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass behind LaMarr Woodley #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baltimore won the game 17-14. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty I
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Anyone that witnessed the Baltimore Ravens clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday would know of Joe Flacco's dominance.

    With 256 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception to his name, Joe Flacco managed to lead the Ravens to a last minute win over the Steelers, and better yet a drive that saw T.J Houshmandzadeh stun the Steeler crowd in one of the most unimaginable ways possible.

    Prior to the 2010 season, everyone spoke of the need for Joe Flacco to grasp the reigns in Baltimore.  So far number 5 has managed to do so, and even though he is still a fairly young quarterback, Joe Flacco now looks to be the part of a future star.

    So the question is simple, is Joe Flacco now among the Top 10 quarterbacks in the league?

    To answer truthfully, not just yet.  However, his skills have been well documented recently, and Flacco may be a Super Bowl win away from a true elite status.

    Still, a win over the Steelers and New York Jets is no easy task, and Joe Flacco has managed both so far this season.  Many people are particular about their Top 10 lists, but Joe Flacco is slowly but surely creeping in. 

    Give it another few great games, and Flacco may finally crack the rankings for the very first time.

16. How Does Andre Johnson’s Ankle Injury Affect the Houston Texans?

10 of 25

    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans attempts to shake the tackle of cornerback Terence Newman #41 of the Dallas Cowboys at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Image
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The NFL has successfully seen a barrage of ankle injuries lately.  But maybe one of the most concerning injuries we have seen in the past two weeks, is the absence of  Houston Texans star wide receiver Andre Johnson, who has missed a handful of practices as a result.

    In regards to the question, the answer is as plain as day.  Considering that Houston are aiming for a Super Bowl berth this season, losing their number one wide receiver fresh off of a win over the Oakland Raiders, certainly isn't ideal.

    By looking at Houston on paper, the team is definitely up to scratch in terms of statistics.  Currently the Texans rank 4th in points scored and 2nd in overall yards in the league.

    What is unfortunate about this stat though, is the fact that Andre Johnson is responsible for most of it.  Sure, Arian Foster has been a delight to watch, but Johnson has always been the number one man on offense.

    Hopefully Johnson is in action this week against the New York Giants, especially considering that the Giants defense has hit a hot patch in their play.

    If Johnson does play, expect to become aware straight away as to whether or not the ankle is 100%.  If not, Matt Schaub will suffer as a result, and a loss could be on the horizon for the Texans at home against New York.

15. Will Derek Anderson Remain On the Bench Against the New Orleans Saints?

11 of 25

    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to pass in the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 41-
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    For all of the hype surrounding Derek Anderson, finally his questionable passing ways have caught up with him in Arizona.

    On Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, head coach Ken Whisenhunt made the seemingly inevitable decision to bench  his starting man, and replace him with back up rookie quarterback Max Hall.

    Needless to say, the Cardinals went on to lose in unimpressive fashion.  The Chargers walked away with a 41-14 victory, and more importantly the loss has sent Arizona back to the drawing board, to determine whether or not Anderson is the preferred starter for this football team.

    I guess the main problem that Ken Whisenhunt is facing right now, is that he himself doubts Derek Anderson.  Although there are a handful of poor quarterbacks in the league, most head coaches take pride in placing faith in their starting man, no matter how poorly they may play.

    Unluckily for Derek Anderson, this isn't the case, and to make matters worse, the entire team is second guessing their decision, along with stating that they would welcome Kurt Warner back at the drop of a hat, if the scenario played out.

    As for Anderson's chances of playing in Week 5 against New Orleans, they are quite strong.  It is unlikely that the Cardinals will throw rookie Max Hall in the deep end against the NFC South powerhouse, and even though Derek Anderson may do no better, he at least some experience to his name.

    Derek Anderson is now walking the fine line, and rightfully so.  His play has been below average in the past four weeks, and perhaps no amount of coaching faith can change that.  Arizona have issues to work out still, but they would be wise to give Anderson a second chance, especially against the Saints.

14. Is LaDainian Tomlinson Back for Good in New York?

12 of 25

    ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 03:  LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets runs against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    They say that there are certain players that are simply good for football, and as far as playing exciting football goes, LaDainian Tomlinson is one of them.

    When Tomlinson originally signed with the New York Jets, not many people knew what to expect from the former Charger leading rusher.  Not only was LT in the later stages of his career, his run game had noticeably shifted back down into second gear, and wasn't quite as dominant as years past.

    But was has unfolded on the playing field in New York, has been far from just second rate from LaDainian Tomlinson, as it appears now that a new team was best for number 21, considering that his career is now back to reaching dizzying new heights.

    On the weekend against the Buffalo Bills, LaDainian Tomlinson had by far his biggest game in a Jets uniform.  After rushing for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns, LT had become one of the most talked about players over the week, for his dominance against a weaker opponent.

    When it comes to whether or not LT is back for good in New York, it really does appear that way.  Barring some unfortunate injury, Tomlinson has managed to gel with the Jets fast paced offense, something that was always on question from his signing in the offseason.

    It's great to have LaDainian Tomlinson back, and when he is rushing well, people simply respond.  Let's hope this dominance continues, even though the AFC East will be cringing at the site of his quick footed ways.

13. Will Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton Continue to Develop in Week Five?

13 of 25

    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 03:  Brandon Lloyd #84  of the Denver Broncos dives for extra yardage against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on October 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Denver won 26-20.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    It's almost funny to look at the leading quarterbacks this so far this season, and see Kyle Orton's name at the top of the list.  For the most part, Kyle Orton was expected to have another up and down season, that is until he found his best friend in Brandon Lloyd back in Week 3.

    For anyone that hasn't seen the brilliance of these two men in the past weeks, I suggest you watch some film, as the Denver Broncos passing game is just as strong without Brandon Marshall.

    So far this season, Brandon Lloyd has racked up 454 yards and 1 touchdown.  Sure these are impressive stats, but the bigger story to unfold from his duo with Kyle Orton, is how quickly the two's chemistry has unfolded in such a short space of time.

    But before we get too ahead of ourselves, what can we expect from this bubbly duo against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5?

    Realistically, it would be fair to say that we can't expect a whole lot.  Firstly,  Baltimore's defense has been in tip top shape lately, and with two big time wins in hand against the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, it isn't likely that Ray Lewis will let Brandon Lloyd run all over them.

    Still, stranger things have happened in the league, and as we all know, when underrated players are written off, they are at their most dangerous.

    This will be a big time game to watch this weekend, especially since the Broncos are on the road against a tough AFC powerhouse.  Chances are Denver will fall, but that isn't to say that Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton can't have another big day, like they have been doing in the past two weeks.

12. Has Donovan McNabb Finally Developed into a Consistent and Reliable Passer?

14 of 25

    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after throwing a first quater touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim Mc
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    It did most people's hearts good to see Donovan McNabb cheered in Philadelphia.  Going in, it did appear that perhaps Eagle faithfuls may give Donovan McNabb some flack, but fortunately they held off until Donovan McNabb's opening drive.

    Aside from fan reaction though, what Donovan McNabb has been able to achieve in Washington has been nothing short of dominant.  Here was a guy that was blatantly thrown away by the Eagles, only to side with an NFC East rival, and taunt Philadelphia over what they had just let slip out the window.

    Statistically speaking, Donovan McNabb hasn't been the best quarterback in the league, but he's brought the winning gene to Washington.  958 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the season, Donovan McNabb is likely to break the 1000+ yard mark this week against the Green Bay Packers.

    However, can we now say that Donovan McNabb is a reliable and consistent passer?

    I thought this day would never come, but it appears we can.  For you see, Donovan McNabb has gone to another team, and simply succeeded.  He hasn't endured any hiccups, and has managed to throw well timed passes to the likes of Chris Cooley, and get enough W's to hand the Redskins the top spot in the NFC East.

    If this type of play keeps up, don't be surprised if the Redskins upset the Packers this weekend.  More importantly, don't be surprised to see the Redskins reach the playoffs either, as Donovan McNabb seems to be able to switch it on when the going gets tough.

11. Can the NFC South Deadlock Be Broken in Week Five?

15 of 25

    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after tossing a touchdown reception against the San Francisco 49ers at Georgia Dome on October 3, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    One of the best rivalries in all of sports is the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints.  Although we have seen this game played once already this season, the NFC South continues to remain in a deadlock, as both teams sit at 3-1.

    In Week 5, the Atlanta Falcons take on the Cleveland Browns, a game that most would expect Atlanta to win, considering their hot start to the season.

    On the other hand, the New Orleans Saints take on the Arizona Cardinals, in an away game that should see Sean Payton's men post another win toward their season.

    Therefore, with all of this said, it isn't likely that we will see this deadlock broken anytime soon.  However, this may not be a bad thing, considering that the NFC South is always that much more exciting when locked up from start to finish.

    In upcoming weeks both teams will play tougher opponents.  In Week 6, the Falcons take on the Philadelphia Eagles while the New Orleans Saints take on the third placed Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Sooner or later this deadlock should be broken, but Week 5 is perhaps not the safest bet to make right now.

10. What Does a 2-2 Record Do for St. Louis Going Forward?

16 of 25

    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 3: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome on October 3, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Rams beat the Seahawks 20-3.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    I don't think anybody expected the St. Louis Rams to be sitting at an even 2-2 at this point in time, but here we are four weeks into the season, and Sam Bradford's young offense has already managed to win in convincing fashion.

    So far this season, St. Louis have successfully beaten the determined Washington Redskins and the up and down Seattle Seahawks.  What has been more impressive other than the wins though, is the pure factor that St. Louis have looked in touch as a team, and have been relying on Sam Bradford to make plays.

    As it stands right now, St. Louis are still a very mediocre side.  Sure, two wins have been great, but by looking at the Rams' stats, it's easy to say that they do have some issues to iron out in the coming weeks.

    Fortunately for St. Louis though Week 5  brings with it another bundle of hope.  The Rams are now set to take on the winless Detroit Lions, a team that has struggled, yet looks all that more promising and entertaining in each and every game.

    If St. Louis manages to pick Detroit off and move to 3-2, it will not only be a great storyline, it will be a real morale booster.  As many issues as there are to face, an above .500 record is favorable for this teams confidence heading into tougher games.

    We won't go ahead and speak to soon, after all the Lions nearly beat the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field.  However, we can go ahead and say that the past two weeks have been great for the Rams, and that the ball is rolling in the right direction.

9. Can The Cowboys Kick-Start Their Win Streak Against Tennessee?

17 of 25

    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys had the week off this past weekend, to sit back and think about where their season is heading right now. 

    As far as disappointments go, Dallas still have a lot to prove in the league, even though their 1-2 record may say a little differently.

    This upcoming week Dallas is set to host the Tennessee Titans, in an all out southern brawl that should delight fans from both parties.  More importantly however, is the fact that the Cowboys really need to kick start their season on the right foot, with a win over Vince Young and his high powered offense.

    It is probable that the Cowboys already know that the Titans will be no cakewalk.  Fresh off a loss to the Denver Broncos, Jeff Fisher won't be looking for another loss at the hands of an NFC East powerhouse, and is certainly ready to provide an upset to remember this week.

    On the other side of the ball, Dallas are also trying to convince their fans that they are who they thought they were, and give everybody some form of hope that the playoffs are still a very likely chance for the 2010 season.

    The important factor to keep in mind here is the fact that if the Cowboys lose, the panic button will be pushed.  1-3 is far from where the Cowboys should be, and if it is to happen, Dallas may have canceled out any chance of playoff football, given the way the NFC East division is unfolding.

    Cowboy fans, don't pull all your eggs in one basket.  Tennessee are still a very formidable opponent, and although they are towards the bottom of the AFC South, they could easily stroll into Texas Stadium and rattle a few heads.

    Maybe though one win is all it will take for the Cowboys to move forward, and a bye week should have them thinking straight.  For Tony Romo's sake, let's hope so.

8. Is the Giants Defense Primed for Another Sack Fest in Houston?

18 of 25

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03:  Osi Umenyiora #72 and Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants celebrates after a sack against the Chicago Bear at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty I
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    It's taken a mighty long time, but finally the New York Giants defense is showing signs of it's vintage ways of the past.

    Against the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, New York's defense was unstoppable.  Not only did they drag quarterback Jay Cutler down consecutively, they also managed to knock him out of the game for the entire second half due to a concussion.

    In terms of what is impressive about Big Blue's defense, is the fact that it is still young.  Minus Mathias Kiwanuka on Sunday Night, Osi Umienyora stepped up along with Justin Tuck, and managed to win the game for the Giants.

    But now, the game against the Bears is in the past, and the Houston Texans await New York in what is sure to be a very telling game.

    Firstly, the Giants must travel to Houston to take on a very hot offense led by Matt Schaub.  Secondly, the Giants do have a prime opportunity to prove to everyone that their defense is among the leagues best, especially if they knock off Houston in Reliant Stadium.

    Some reading this may say that the Giants have no chance.  Just keep in mind though that the Dallas Cowboys managed to rattle Gary Kubiak's team a week ago, and hold on for a win over a top AFC Team.

    Similar to Dallas, New York have every bit of talent on defense, and they are capable of racking up the sacks again.  Finally the Giants have shown their old ways, and Tom Coughlin would sure appreciate some consistency in the coming weeks.

7. Can the Kansas City Chiefs Waltz into Lucas Oil Stadium and Actually Win?

19 of 25

    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes the ball against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 31-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Fresh off a bye week, the Kansas City Chiefs must now fly to Indianapolis, to pay the Sheriff a visit and take on the Colts in what will be a very meaningful affair.

    So far this week, the Colts have endured quite a bit of questioning.  Not only was the Jacksonville Jaguars loss heartbreaking for Indianapolis, it also raised a few questions towards the Colts defense, as David Garrard and Mercedes Lewis managed to wreak havoc on the day.

    So can the Kansas City Chiefs duplicate the Jaguars' effort?

    By looking over the Chiefs' past three weeks, the obvious answer is yes.  Matt Cassel has passed for 494 yards and 4 touchdowns, and rookie wide receiver Tony Moeaki has managed to become a consistent target for the Chiefs passing game.

    With all of this in mind though, it isn't to say that Kansas City will stroll into Lucas Oil Stadium and win.  Obviously, the Colts have home field advantage, and as the Giants found out, this is a major setback to deal with.

    Other than that, the Colts don't take losing well, and once again as the Giants found out, Indianapolis is their most dangerous fresh off a loss the previous week.

    Perhaps this will be the game of the week to keep an eye on.  Kansas City are the only undefeated team in the league, and even if you wish to call it a fluke, they have looked great on offense.  Still, this is the Colts we're talking about, and they don't take losing very well at all.

6. Does Green Bay’s Lack of Run Game Cancel Out Their Super Bowl Chances?

20 of 25

    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 03: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers hands off to Brandon Jackson #32 against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on October 3, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 28-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    For all of the Packers' tell tale signs of a possible Super Bowl season, the past four weeks have acted as a minor let down for the teams fans, and the entire offense in general.

    When it comes to the Packers problems, there are still many outstanding issues to deal with.  The special teams has been poor, penalties continue to plague this team, and the lack of depth at the cornerback position is now being exposed by the weakest of teams in the league.

    But as for the biggest problem that has limited the Packer offense, the lack of a serious run game has begun to force a serious dent in their Super Bowl chances.

    To think back three weeks ago when Ryan Grant went down injured, it was obvious the Packers were in for a bit of trouble.  Back up running back Brandon Jackson looked suitable, but unfortunately he has been as useful as a toaster in the woods.

    Keeping the run theme going, John Kuhn has also struggled immensely, considering he only has 121 yards and 1 touchdown on the season.

    Like the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay are strictly a passing team.  That isn't to say though that they couldn't do with a good run game.  The obvious answer to this question is, yes, the Packers lack of a run game does hurt their Super Bowl chances, but it doesn't automatically cancel them out.

    There is plenty of time left in the year, and maybe Brandon Jackson will turn on shortly.  For now though, Aaron Rodgers needs to stay healthy, as he will act as the Packers number one reason for a postseason berth.

5. Is Randy Moss Heading Back to Minnesota In the Coming Days?

21 of 25

    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots runs to the line against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The news has only just broke that Randy Moss may be heading back to the Minnesota Vikings, one of Moss' more familiar teams throughout his career.

    If there has been a more surprising headline over the course of the season, this one definitely tops it.  Finally, it appeared that Randy Moss was for the most part happy in New England for the time being, only to turn around and be linked with a possible signing with the Minnesota Vikings.

    From Brad Childress' point of view, this would be music to his ears.  With Brett Favre struggling immensely along with the team in general, Randy Moss would be a welcome asset to a team that has lost Sidney Rice for an indefinite amount of time.

    More will come from this story as it unfolds, but to lay it out plain and simply, if this deal goes through, the Patriots ultimately lose a key wide receiver, and the Vikings gain a former player that still has enough gas in the tank to turn this team around and put them back in the hunt in the NFC North.

    Right now no contract talks have been brought up, and Randy Moss hasn't been allowed to speak with the Minnesota Vikings.  This is a headline to follow over the coming days, and who knows, Moss may be in Minnesota by this time next week.

4. Can Terrell Owens Continue His Dominant Streak vs. the Buccaneers?

22 of 25

    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03:  Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass in front of Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    The past weekend wasn't all that kind to Terrell Owens following a loss to the Cleveland Browns, but as for number 81's stats, they were by far among the leagues best and brightest.

    Finally, Terrell Owens recorded his first touchdown as a Bengal.  Funnily enough he didn't cap his celebration off with a wild dance, instead just by placing the ball over the goal line, followed by a few high fives from team mates.

    At the end of the day Terrell Owens finished the game with 222 yards and his single touchdown.  Not only were these great stats, they also managed to show everybody how lethal T.O still is in the catching game, even though the Browns defense is considerably weak.

    Speaking of weaker defenses, the Cincinnati Bengals now travel back home to Paul Brown Stadium, to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that has started the season reasonably well.

    Whether or not Terrell Owens has another big day will depend on Carson Palmer.  If the Bengals quarterback can avoid the likes of Ronde Barber, Terrell Owens should be able to post some decent yards against a young Buccaneer defense.

    This game is crucial for both sides, as a win will further increase confidence.  The same could also be said for Terrell Owens, seeing as though one touchdown may be enough to kick off his season on the right foot.

3. Will the San Francisco 49ers Fall to 0-5 Against the Eagles?

23 of 25

    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 03:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass upfield against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 3, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The San Francisco 49ers are in serious strife right now.  Head coach Mike Singletary is on a hot seat, and the team has slipped to the inevitable 0-4 position, that acts as a tough hole to climb out of.

    Unfortunately for the 49ers, they can't thank Roger Goodell for providing them with a great schedule.  Tough games have plagued San Francisco the past three weeks, and if it isn't New Orleans or Atlanta, it is the Philadelphia Eagles that await them in Week 5.

    On the positive side of things, the 49ers may not have to take on Michael Vick, who went down with an injury in Week 4 against the Washington Redskins.  On the negative side, the Eagles still have a ton of fire power to rely on.

    San Francisco will have the home field advantage at Candlestick Park, but as we saw against New Orleans, that may  not mean much.

    In terms of confidence, the 49ers are running very low.  0-4 is dismal for a team that was depicted as a playoff caliber unit, and now the dreaded 0-5 mark awaits for San Francisco in Week 5.

    If all things go right, Mike Singletary should be able to pick up this win, God knows he alone needs it.  However, the Eagles are fresh off a loss too, and will be looking for some redemption after a poor performance against the Redskins.

    A tough game awaits both sides, and even tougher consequences may await the 49ers if they fall to 0-5.

2. With Michael Vick Sidelined, Is Week Five Kevin Kolb’s Chance To Impress?

24 of 25

    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass against the Washington Redskins on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    As just mentioned, Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick hit the turf hard on Sunday, following a sandwich hit that left number 7 with some extensive rib injuries.

    Following on from that scary scenario, Kevin Kolb found himself back in the starting role, a position he hadn't seen since Week 1 of the regular season against the Green Bay Packers.

    The situation here is simple, Kevin Kolb has a chance to impress.  He hasn't looked all that great this season when he has had the chance to start, and chances are it will take him a little while to swing around that bend before he becomes an ideal starter.

    Luckily for Kolb though, he will get his chance in the starting role in Week 5 against San Francisco, a game the Eagles need to win to keep pace with the Redskins and Giants in the NFC East.

    Looking at Kolb on paper, his stats don't tell the story.  However, perhaps there is potential in this young man, as he did show a few glimpses of how good he can be against the Redskins defense this past weekend.

    A chance to impress awaits Kevin Kolb, but a chance to fail also does.  The Eagles have no other choice right now, so hopefully Kevin Kolb remains confident at Candlestick Park.

1. How Will a Concussion Affect Jay Cutler’s Performance Against the Panthers?

25 of 25

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03:  Aaron Ross #31 of the New York Giants sacks Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    The biggest storyline to unfold in Week 3 occurred on Sunday night, as Jay Cutler hit the turf hard and suffered a concussion at the hands of a relentless New York Giants defense.

    While it has still be undetermined as to whether or not Jay Cutler will play this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, it is safe to say that the Bears will take every precaution necessary with this type of head injury.

    Like most teams in the league, the Bears don't have the greatest back up quarterback in place right now.  Following on from Cutler's injury, replacement Todd Collins stepped into the starting role on Sunday night, only to be rattled just as hard by the Giant defense.

    Performance wise, if Cutler plays, he may not have the greatest game.  We've only recently begun to understand the extent of concussions, but it's fair to say that Cutler's head may not be screwed on straight if he suits up against Carolina.

    It's probable the Lovie Smith will take every measure to ensure the safety of his starting man, and if that means sitting him out, so be it.  For now though, we'll take it day by day, as this story continues to unfold for the Chicago Bears.