Heading into Week 5 of the NFL regular season the playoff picture is beginning to take shape in some areas.
With that said, heading into this week, we are seeing our first set of must-win games for teams around the league. Struggling early on is a recipe for disaster in this league as we see with the panic meter being plugged in around the country in different cities where their team's have struggled out of the gates.
What follows is a list of the four teams heading into their Week 5 clashes who are most desperate for a win.
Looking at the Bleacher Report Power Rankings by Matt Miller, you can see the Jets are slotted in at the 16th spot, but the way they have looked the last two weeks, they may deserve to be even lower than that.
It is odd to see a team led by Rex Ryan struggle so mightily at stopping the run. They are currently ranked 27th in the league and getting pushed around up front. The good news for them is they head up to Foxboro this week to square off against the “The Hoodie” and Tom Brady.
This is only good news because it is a team the Jets have had success against recently, and it may get the defense fired up to perform to the level we are used to seeing them since they will be firmly back in an underdog role.
But that’s not the only facet of the game where the Jets are struggling.
Rex Ryan is hoping that taking on the Patriot’s defense is just what the doctor ordered for his struggling offense. On Sunday night in Baltimore the Jets offense was pathetic, and that is putting it nicely. Their offensive line issues are debilitating to both their run and passing games.
With the Buffalo Bills emerging as being the real deal thus far in the season, a slow start may not be an option for the Jets to make the playoffs like they have the past two years.
Maybe Joe Namath was right after all and this team was beginning to like themselves just a bit too much. A reality check may be just what they needed.
The Cardinals may be in first place in the “games almost won” column, but unfortunately for them that column does not count for much. The Cardinals, who were picked as preseason favorites by many experts to win the NFC West, have now lost three straight games since their opening weekend win over Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Where the struggles all start for the Cardinals is on defense. More specifically, against the pass. They are currently ranked 26th in the league through the air and it looks at times like wide receivers my cousins pop-warner football team could beat their corners on a deep route.
Remember, they were the team that gave up the 400 passing yards to Cam Newton in his first start. At this pace, when they play an actual high powered offense things may get ugly.
That’s the bad news. The good news is the Cardinals are still playing in the NFC west. So they still have a chance.
They head up to Minnesota in week five to take on the winless Vikings in what may be just what the Cardinals need. The Vikings cannot throw the ball at all, and they also let you throw it all over them. Maybe this is the week Kevin Kolb can get his mojo back.
The Red Birds need a win this week because following their bye in week six they have two tough games against the Steelers and the Ravens. If they hope to have any chance at all of achieving their preseason goals of making the playoffs, it all rides on winning this Sunday.
The problem with the Bears through the first four games of the season is that the only aspect of the game they are good at is Devon Hester returning kicks.
Don’t let Matt Forte’s monster game last week fool you, through the first three games of the year he accounted for just 119 yards on the ground. This is still a work in progress on the offensive end, especially running the ball.
The Bears are in a tough spot this season, because both of the undefeated teams left in the league so far are in their division. They also happen to play one of them next week when they head to Detroit on Monday Night Football.
If the Bears are to have any hope of repeating what they pulled off last year and make it to the playoffs, they must pull this game out.
If they don’t, well then it looks like they’ll be left on the outside looking in at 2-3 and 0-2 in the division.
The Dream Team’s struggles have been well documented so far this season and things don’t get any easier as they head up to Buffalo to play the suddenly formidable Bills in week 5.
The problems with the Eagles are easy to identify, but are going to be tough to fix. Their defense is getting gashed on the ground. Through the first quarter of the year they are ranked 30th in the league against the run giving up 139 yards per outing. It’s nearly impossible to win games with a run defense like that.
Before the season started I don’t think too many people expected this game to be a must win game for the Eagles, but it is just that because only nine teams in league history have started the season 1-4 and gone onto make the playoffs. Those aren’t odds playing in Andy Reid’s favor if they end up losing.
Puling off a win in week five would put the Eagles in a manageable 2-3 record with five division games yet to play, making the playoffs a much more realistic possibility.
The dream team has had four games to gel, the offense needs to be able to produce at the end of games but there is no hope for this team if something can not be figured out with their defense moving forward.