NFL Late-Game Predictions for Week 5
As the 2011 NFL season continues, here are some predictions for the Sunday's late games.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, the Denver Broncos will battle the San Diego Chargers at Mile High Stadium, the New York Jets and the New England Patriots will duke it out in Foxborough and the Green Bay Packers will go to Atlanta and attempt to stay unbeaten against the Falcons.
Here is a brief analysis and prediction for each of these intriguing matchups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come into this game with a 3-1 record, their only loss being dealt by the hands of the undefeated Detroit Lions in Week 1.
The Bucs are led by Josh Freeman at quarterback, who has completed 97 of his 145 attempts for 969 yards and three touchdowns, though he has also thrown four interceptions.
LeGarrette Blount leads the rushing attack with 294 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries, and seems to get better as the game goes along.
The San Francisco 49ers have a strong defense led by linebacker Patrick Willis, who will try and clamp down Blount on the ground.
The 49ers are led by Alex Smith at quarterback, who is having a surprisingly good season with a rating of 97.7, and Frank Gore at running back, who has started the season somehwat slowly with a 3.7 yards-per-carry average, though he does have 275 yards and two touchdowns.
The Buccaneers also boast a strong defense, and these two 3-1 teams should be in for a defensive slugfest.
I'll give the edge to the home team.
49ers 20, Buccaneers 17
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
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The San Diego Chargers will travel to Denver with a 3-1 record, while the Broncos are sitting at a disappointing 1-3.
The Chargers have the clear edge in this game. Quarterback Phillip Rivers and receiver Vincent Jackson have hooked up for 374 yards and three touchdowns on 20 receptions, and running back Ryan Mathews has added 288 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Jackson will draw coverage from stud cornerback Champ Bailey, and rookie linebacker Von Miller will look to wreak havoc in San Diego's backfield, but the Chargers offense should be able to move the ball efficiently against an otherwise-unimpressive Broncos defense.
Denver's offense is led by quarterback Kyle Orton, who has struggled more than his 945 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions indicate. Veteran back Willis McGahee will look to add to his 259 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but the strong San Diego defense will try and stifle him.
The bottom line is, San Diego is a better, more talented team all around than Denver is. The Chargers should leave Mile High victorious amid more cries for Tim Tebow from Denver fans.
Chargers 34, Broncos 13
New York Jets at New England Patriots
One of the biggest games of the week, the 2-2 New York Jets travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on the 3-1 New England Patriots.
The Jets have struggled lately, dropping their last game to the Baltimore Ravens and their nasty defense.
New York is led by young quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has thrown for 1,005 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions with a 75.9 rating. A usually strong offensive line has struggled as well, especially with All Pro caliber center Nick Mangold out with an injury.
Though Mangold should return this week, Albert Haynesworth and the Patriots defensive line have a chance to do a lot of damage.
New England's secondary has been butchered this year, however, so Sanchez and receivers Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress could have very good performances.
The Patriots are led by legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who has been piling up video game-like numbers. He leads the league with 1,553 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. His rating is an incredible 111.3, which would be significantly higher if he hadn't thrown four uncharacteristic interceptions in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
The Jets defense is led by star cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive mastermind Rex Ryan, but this squad has also struggled a little bit this year and could really get humbled by New England's prolific attack.
I like New England send the Jets home with a sub-.500 record.
Patriots 31, Jets 24
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
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The Green Bay Packers will storm into Atlanta with a perfect 4-0 record, but the underachieving 2-2 Falcons will look to get back on track with a big home win.
The Falcons' best chance to win this game rides on the arm of quarterback Matt Ryan, who plays much better at home than on the road. Green Bay's defense is stout, but injuries and aging have caused the Packers secondary to become suspect.
Ryan has thrown for 1,135 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions thus far, and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones have proven to be quality targets for the young signal-caller. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson continues to play at a high level even at his age, but a younger Roddy White has a chance to get the best of him at times on Sunday.
Even if Woodson completely takes White out of the picture, that leaves Jones to take on Green Bay's backup safeties deep. And if Atlanta can establish some kind of running game with Michael Turner, they could be in business on offense.
Green Bay's offense should be able to keep pace, however. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having an unbelievable season, completing 73 percent of his passes for 1,325 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions thus far, which has earned him an incredible 124.6 rating.
Rodgers isn't alone, however. With Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and Donald Driver at his disposal, the Pack is averaging 429 yards per game through the air, good for fifth in the NFL.
Throw in James Starks and Ryan Grant at running back, and you have one of the best offenses in the league.
I like Green Bay to extend its unbeaten streak in a shootout.
Packers 38, Falcons 35