Week 5 NFL Predictions

Earl Thomas leads the Seattle defense into Washington to take on the 1-3 Redskins

It’s that time of the week again where American Football Focus attempts to predict the correct results in the weekends slate of NFL games. Our record currently sits at 38-23, and we’ll look to build on that positive record in week five of the current season. Without further ado, here are our picks for the fourteen remaining games this weekend.

Chicago @ Carolina
The Bears travel to Carolina for a must-win game for both sides. Both are 2-2 in the early going and both squads contain key players who have been hobbled through injury, limiting their effectiveness. Cam Newton hasn’t been himself this year and has battled through a rib injury, while Chicago wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery have both been restricted in recent weeks. Neither defense has been good in 2014, but I think the Bears offense is more explosive than the Panthers so I’m going for a road win here. Bears 27, Panthers 20

Houston @ Dallas
Both of these teams own surprising 3-1 record through four weeks, with the Texans benefiting from strong defensive play while Dallas have enjoyed the best four game stretch of running back DeMarco Murray’s career. In this lone star state battle the real difference could be the quarterbacks, and Tony Romo gives the Cowboys a significant edge. Home win. Texans 17, Cowboys 28

Buffalo @ Detroit
Has the Bills bubble finally burst after their fast start to the season? Their loss against Houston last week was disappointing to say the least and led to the removal of E.J Manuel as the team’s starting quarterback. Detroit meanwhile have enjoyed a 3-1 start to the season and they’re looking like the class of the NFC North, although Calvin Johnson’s ankle remains a concern. Nonetheless the Lions should have no problem handling the Bills at home, especially with Johnson likely to be in better shape then he was last week. Bills 14, Lions 27

Baltimore @ Indianapolis
These two great rivals square off at Lucas Oil Stadium in a tasty encounter, with the Raves sneaking under the radar somewhat so far this year with a 3-1 record. Andrew Luck has been lights out for the Colts but the rest of his team needs some work, particularly the defense, which could get shredded by Joe Flacco and the resurgent Steve Smith Snr. It promises to be a shootout on the Indianapolis turf, with Luck again being left too much to do by his teammates. Ravens 34, Colts 31

Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville
After a last minute collapse against Tampa Bay last week the Steelers find themselves in must win territory against the Jaguars in Florida, but they should be able to overcome a Jacksonville side that has regressed in recent weeks, even from their mediocre beginnings. Ben Roethlisberger will look to hook up with Antonio Brown again this evening, after the duo combined for two touchdowns in week four. Steelers 28, Jaguars 20

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
Can the Buccaneers cause an upset for the second consecutive week? Probably not, but they have a chance against a Saints side who were obliterated in Dallas in week four. Drew Brees knows this is a game New Orleans can’t afford to lose, but with the already struggling Saints D missing Jarius Byrd Mike Glennon will fancy his chances of putting points on the board for the Bucs. Home win, but it’ll be tighter than most people think. Buccaneers 24, Saints 28

Atlanta @ New York Giants
Atlanta suffered a brutal loss in Minnesota last week which dropped their record to 2-2, while New York destroyed Washington to return to .500 with Eli Manning and the offense showing much improvement over the first few weeks of the season. The Giants defense has been better than expected and has been opportunistic, with their four interceptions of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins a case in point. Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing attack will test their ability, but at home the Giants could get the win that propels them into the NFC East title race. Falcons 26, Giants 27

St. Louis @  Philadelphia
The Eagles were stopped entirely on offense in San Francisco last week but they should find some respite in the Rams porous defense, which despite it’s much touted pass rush has failed to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2014. The St. Louis offense has been equally poor and although the Eagles defense hasn’t been playing great football this season they should be able to contain Austin Davis and the Rams impotent passing game. Rams 17, Eagles 34

Cleveland @ Tennessee
Brian Hoyer leads the Browns into the deep south in search of second win of the season following their bye week, and he should be able to do the job against a Titans team which has been disappointing this season. Tennessee were blown out by the Colts last week and while Cleveland aren’t as explosive on offense their defense is much better than Indy’s, which should be enough to send Ken Wisenhunt’s men to their fourth defeat of the year. Browns 20, Titans 13

Arizona @ Denver
The Cardinals head to Denver to take on the Broncos in what could be the game of the week, with the stout Arizona defense coming up against the high octane, Peyton Manning led Broncos offense. Without Carson Palmer the Cardinals may struggle to keep pace with Manning however, and the Broncos are notoriously strong at Mile High Stadium. Expect a close game, but a win for the home team as the Cardinals lose their perfect record. Cardinals 16, Broncos 24

New York Jets @ San Diego
The Jets will face a battle to save their season and avoid falling to 1-4 when they play the Chargers in San Diego, with Rex Ryan battling to save his job after a poor start to the campaign. Geno Smith hasn’t played well at quarterback and if he starts off cold this evening the calls for Mike Vick will grow louder from the Jets faithful. Phillip Rivers has been spectacular in the first quarter of the season and if he can continue his hot start the Chargers should have enough to overcome the Jets and their vulnerable secondary. Jets 19, Chargers 27

Kansas City @ San Francisco
The Chiefs shocked everyone with their demolition of New England on Monday night, but they’ll face an uphill battle if they’re to beat the 49ers in their own back yard. Colin Kaepernick showed signs of improvement against Philadelphia last week but it was the defense which really stood out, and they’ll fancy their chances of keeping Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City offense quiet. It could be a low scoring affair on the west coast as Alex Smith returns to face his former employers; unfortunately for Smith I don’t think it’ll be a happy reunion. Chiefs 16, 49ers 20

Cincinnati @ New England
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Bengals might be the best team in the AFC. Their defense is stifling and their offense is dangerous thanks to the Andy Dalton and A.J Green partnership. New England looked weak on MNF and their offense just doesn’t have the firepower it once did, which could mean Tom Brady is in for another long night against the Cincy D. Don’t rule the Pats out, but I just think the Bengals are too strong for Bill Belichick’s charges. Bengals 27, Patriots 24

Seattle @ Washington
Kirk Cousins, meet the Seattle Seahawks defense. After a humiliating defeat versus the Giants things don’t get any easier for the Redskins, and they’re likely to see their record fall to 1-4 as they face the best team in the league. Even though Seattle aren’t as strong on the road as they are at home they should win fairly comfortably here, with Russell Wilson able to take advantage of a banged up Washington secondary. Seahawks 30, Redskins 10

What do you think will happen in week five? Leave a comment or tweet @fredjstanley
 

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