We are at the point of the NFL season where the games really begin to mean something. All games count the same, of course, but now we have a better idea of which teams are going to be playing for a playoff spot and which teams are going to be choosing towards the top in next year's draft.
It's only Week 5, but it's not too early to consider a win a pivotal win if it's in the right circumstances. In Week 5, the following three teams will get pivotal wins.
The Lions couldn't have gotten off to a much better start this season. They are sitting at 4-0 and their offense has looked elite in those wins.
They won a tough game against the Cowboys this past week and they have another test this coming week with the Chicago Bears. It's still hard to believe it's true, but the Lions are the better team. If they are going to be a real contender in the NFC, this is a game they need to win.
Expect a ton of points scored. The Bears' offense came alive behind Matt Forte and the Lions' offense has been playing so well that they will score points against anyone, including a good Bears defense.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have a big game this coming week against the New York Jets. Before the season, you figured this might be a game between two contenders for the AFC title. Now, it looks like only one of them is.
The Jets have had their struggles this season. Their offense hasn't progressed any from where they were last season. Until they can get more consistent production from the offense, they will struggle to get wins.
This game this weekend will set the tone for the AFC East race. If the Jets find a way to win, they still have a shot to challenge the Patriots. If the Patriots win, though, they will take a commanding lead in the division race.
It's hard to believe that the Steelers need a big win this early in the season, but it's where we are. The Steelers haven't looked quite right this season and they are coming off an ugly 17-10 loss against the Texans.
This coming week, they are taking on the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been a surprise this season and they will certainly be eager to get a win against a high-profile team like Pittsburgh.
The Titans could use the win to legitimize themselves as playoff contenders, but it will be the Steelers that get this much-needed win. I still think they will be among the AFC title contenders when it's all said and done and their rebound will begin this week.