NFL Week 5: Predicting Who Will Win and Who Will Lose

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 05: Miami Dolphins fans show support for defensive lineman Jason Taylor prior to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 5, 2017 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 05: Miami Dolphins fans show support for defensive lineman Jason Taylor prior to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 5, 2017 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Week five of the NFL season is here and it’s time again to look at the games this weekend and predict who will win and who will lose when all is said and done.

Titans (3-1) at Bills (1-3)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

New Era Field, Orchard Park, New York

(TEN -3.5)

The Bills followed up a stunning upset in Minnesota with a flat showing in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers could pretty much do what he wanted and Josh Allen couldn’t do anything he wanted to. The Bills were blanked 22 to 0 and looked like what we thought they were prior to the Vikings win.

The Titans meanwhile beat the defending champions on a game-winning touchdown in overtime. With back-to-back wins against the Jaguars and Eagles, the Titans look like a legitimate threat in the AFC.

The game being in Buffalo gives the Bills an advantage and they shouldn’t be blown out by Titans team that rarely blows any one out. Yet, Josh Allen makes rookie mistakes down the stretch and the Titans get a third straight win.

Titans 24 Bills 16

Ravens (3-1) at Browns (1-2-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

(BAL -3.0)

The Browns brutally lost to the Raiders in overtime last week. It was game Cleveland probably should have won. Still, Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense looked really good scoring 42 points. This week they will get a much tougher draw against a good Ravens defense that held the Steelers to just 14 points.

It will be interesting to see how Baker fairs against an elite defense. The Ravens will undoubtedly be the best defense Mayfield will have faced thus far in his career. The Ravens have the ability to play good defense, run the ball well, play the short game with the occasional long ball, and grind out games.

The Browns are hungry for their second win and they’ve been close in every game this season. They have played well enough to be undefeated. The Ravens control the game for the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, with the Browns still in striking distance, Baker turns it on and get the Browns a key victory.

Browns 24 Ravens 23

Packers (2-1-1) at Lions (1-3)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

(GB -1.0)

With the exception of week one’s blowout loss, the Lions have been in every game they’ve played and could very well have 2 or 3 wins. The Packers look good but they don’t look dominant and look very beatable.

The Lions could certainly beat them at home. Matthew Stafford has looked much better since week one and the Lions offense has plenty of weapons offensively. Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay have given defenses fits and Kerryon Johnson is being a physical force in the ground attack. The Lions can and should be able to keep with up Rodgers and company on their home turf.

Matthew Stafford limits mistakes, Aaron Rodgers makes a few, and the Lions finally win a close one at home against their divisional rivals.

Lions 27 Packers 23

Jaguars (3-1) at Chiefs (4-0)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

(KC -3.0)

This a huge showdown between a top 3 offense and a top 3 defense, each unit has made a great case for best in the league. This game could prove to be vital in December when seeding needs to be determined. The winner of this game will have a tiebreaker over the other which could be huge if both are fighting for the number one seed.

Patrick Mahomes looks elite and has certainly lived up to the hype, exceed expectations through 4 games. It will certainly be interesting to see how fairs against a defense as good as Jacksonville’s. The game is in Kansas City, which will prove to be a big advantage for the Chiefs and will likely be the deciding factor late in the game.

The Jaguars defense remains strong for much of the first half, but Mahomes and the Chiefs explosive turns it on late and get the home win against a team they may see again late in the Playoffs.

Chiefs 24 Jaguars 20

Broncos (2-2) at Jets (1-3)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

(NYJ -1.0)

After fast starts, both of these teams come into this game with losing streaks. The Broncos started 2-0 and we’re flying high but have since dropped two straight. The Jets, meanwhile, looked legit after beating the Lions 48-17 on Monday Night Football in Detroit, but haven’t won a game since.

Case Keenum has looked good at QB in Denver but could not get the job done last week- failing in the clutch against the Chiefs. The Broncos have a fierce rushing attack led by rookies Philip Lindsey and Royce Freeman. The two ran all over Kansas City on Monday, combining for 136 yards.

The Jets rushing attack has not been nearly as good, as Isaiah Crowell has struggled to get anything going. Rookie Sam Darnold has an up and down rookie year, but recently he’s been trending downward. Despite many elements of the game being in Denver’s favor, the Jets are desperate for a win and will be fighting hard to get one against a Broncos team that has to travel across the country for this one. Denver will certainly put up a valiant fight, but Sam Darnold gets his first career home victory.

Jets 20 Broncos 19

Falcons (1-3) at Steelers (1-2-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(PIT -3.0)

Both teams are desperate for a win and will come into this game hungry. But which of these usual contenders will be hungrier for a victory? The 1-3 Falcons team that was playing in a Super Bowl just two years ago and had similar expectations this year, or a 1-2-1 Steelers team that always seems to start slow but bounce back later in the year and content for best in the AFC come January?

If this Falcons team, that has already suffered key injuries on defense, falls to 1-4 it would be detrimental to its playoffs hopes. But it feels like if the Steelers fall to 1-3-1, the NFL world will begin questioning whether or not Pittsburg will even make the playoffs this season, at which point the Steelers will win a string of 5 or 6 games and silence the critics. The Falcons should and likely will be the hungrier team in this one.

The Steelers have been bad at home this season, losing both games, and it won’t get any easier for a defense that has struggled all year. The Falcons bring in an explosive attack and an offense that will likely be getting it’s star running back, Devonta Freeman, back into the lineup. This will almost certainly be a shootout, one where Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and exciting rookie Calvin Ridley get the last laugh.

Falcons 38 Steelers 34

Giants (1-3) at Panthers (2-1)

Sunday 1:00 pm EST

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

(CAR -7.0)

The Panthers are well rested coming off a bye. The Giants are coming off a bad home loss to a tough, physical Saints team. The Panthers will not have to travel and haven’t had to in since week 2. The Giants will have to travel south to Carolina for this game. The Panthers have two weeks to prepare for this contest. The Giants have just a few days to prepare. It’s clear, The Panthers have the upper hand in this one.

While those variables are important, they are not nearly as important as on-field matchups and talent. The Panthers have the advantage in those as well. It’s hard to believe the Giants will be able to move the ball much against a really good Panthers defense. It’s also difficult to believe that the Giants defense will be able to keep up with Christian McCaffrey, specifically in the passing game, and Cam Newton, specifically using his legs. This game is about as easy to predict as Bills at Vikings. That, of course, went the exact opposite way of what everyone was expecting. While that could happen here, because anything could happen in the NFL, but I certainly do not expect it to.

Panthers 27 Giants 14

Dolphins (3-1) at Bengals (3-1)

Sunday at 1:00 pm EST

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

(CIN -6.5)

Despite both being 3-1, These two teams are currently headed in two very different directions. The Bengals are coming off a thrilling victory in Atlanta, scoring with just seconds remaining to knock off the Falcons on the road. The Dolphins, on the other hand, are coming off maybe their worst loss and worst performance in recent memory, which is saying something given the team has experience defeats such as 40 to 0 and 38 to 6.

A game that was dubbed “potentially franchise-altering” by yours truly, turned out to be a franchise-continuing game, as everything looked just as it did for the last 17 years. Yes, it is just one game. But all of the Dolphin’s problems that were hidden by wins and big plays the last three weeks, were on full display in Foxborough.

The Dolphins offense looked about as bad if not worse than it did in last year’s 40 to nothing defeat in Baltimore in Primetime. The run game didn’t work. The passing game didn’t work. The play calling was dull and there were no trick plays. The team got behind the chains and faced many 3rd and long situations. Then failed to get first downs on 3rd down. All around it was about as bad as anybody could have ever imagined.

The then-undefeated Dolphins looked a lot more like a winless team trying to avoid a 16-0 season. In maybe the biggest game in last 10 years, the Dolphins played maybe their worst game in the last 10 years.

The Bengals offense last week told a completely different story. Whereas nothing worked for Miami, everything worked for Cincinnati. The Bengals totaled over 400 yards of offense and put up 37 points, one more than what their defense gave up. All you need is one more. Contrarily, The Dolphins offense totaled just 172, putting up only 7 points, 31 less than what their defense surrendered. You need to better than score 31 fewer points than your opponents if you want to win games.

The argument could be made, however, that the Dolphins defense played better than the Bengals. The Dolphins defense gave fewer yards, just two more points, and forced two turnovers. Cincinnati failed to force a turnover. The Dolphins defense had absolutely zero help from its offense, or the referees for that matter, and was constantly put it in bad situations. While those are not excuses and the defense still fared quite poorly, they at least got a significantly less help from its offense than the Bengals defense did.

The Dolphins offense will still likely struggle, as they do not play as well on the road and are without two starting interior lineman for the remainder of the year with Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore. Think Geno Atkins up against Ted Larsen and Travis Swanson. Yikes.

This game could be very similar to the Dolphins-Bengals game 2016 when Miami’s offense looked horrendous and took a beating in Cincy, losing 22 to 7. In that game, Tannehill looked truly awful, and he had no help from the offensive line. The same should be expected here, in what should be an ugly loss on the road. A game where the Dolphins simply get flat out beat down physically.  As much as I hope I am wrong, my expectations are very low for this contest in Cincinnati.

Bengals 24 Dolphins 10

Raiders (1-3) at Chargers (2-2)

Sunday 4:05 pm EST

StubHub Center, Carson, California

(LAC -5.0)

The Raiders finally won their first game of the year and first under Jon Gruden since January of 2002. It’s clear that the blueprint to success for Oakland is to trail at halftime. In their first three games, they led halftime and lost all three. Last week, they trailed the Browns 17 to 14 at the break but won 45 to 42 in overtime. If the Raiders are trailing at halftime, it’s a good sign for Oakland’s chances of winning.

The Chargers looked good but not great against a Niners team that has their back-up C.J Beathard in at QB. The 49ers didn’t look particularly good with Jimmy Garoppolo in there the first three weeks, but their offense actually looked better without him in Los Angeles.

Despite being played in Los Angeles, this game will probably be closer a Raiders home game than a Chargers one as Los Angeles is full of Raiders fans. And for the Raiders fans who don’t live in LA, they shouldn’t have much trouble traveling 5 hours south to LA. In other words, the Chargers won’t have much of a home-field advantage this week on their home turf.

The Chargers have not been impressive on either side of the ball this year, but their defense in particular has been abysmal. So this game should see plenty of points scored. Gruden is finally starting to figure things out offensively and should be able to build off of last week’s 45-point performance.

Raiders 31 Chargers 27

Vikings (1-2-1) at Eagles (2-2)

Sunday 4:25 pm EST

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(PHI -3.0)

Both of these teams had Super Bowl aspirations coming into the year but have not played as such thus far this year. The Vikings expectedly lost in Los Angeles to a Rams team that is nothing short of elite but unexpectedly lost at home to a Bills team that is nothing short of abysmal.

The Vikings are better than their record shows, they have a really good offense and talented defense that hasn’t played up to the level it’s talent suggests. The Eagles, are also better than their record suggests. The Eagles’ first two weeks were not great, but Nick Foles was at QB. The team looked better with Wentz in during week 3, beating Indianapolis, then lost a heartbreaker in overtime in Tennessee. They are very close to being 3-1 and in a great spot.

As is in many other games, both teams are hungry and in need of a win. In a game that should feature plenty of scores, the home team Eagles have the advantage with the crowd on their side. The Vikings offense has actually been much better on the road than they have at home and shouldn’t have trouble scoring in this one. But this could be the game where we see Wentz finally return to or at least come close to last season’s form when he looked like a surefire MVP.

Eagles 34 Vikings 28

Cardinals (0-4) at 49ers (1-3)

Sunday 4:25 pm EST

Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

(SF -4.0)

Believe it or not, C.J. Beathard looked pretty good at QB last week in Los Angeles for the Niners. Some might even say that he looked better than Jimmy Garoppolo and statistically he’s been just as good. In three games, Garoppolo averaged 239 passing yards a game, Beathard had 298 last week. Garoppolo had 5 TDs in three starts, Beathard had 2 on Sunday. Beathard also had a better completion percentage (62.2%) than Garoppolo (59.6%). The one drawback with Beathard is interceptions- he threw two on Sunday, while Garoppolo averaged 1 a game.

It would not be surprising if Beathard out-yardage Garoppolo again, nor would it be a shock if had another multi-interception game against Patrick Peterson and company. Rookie Josh Rosen meanwhile, made his first career start against Seattle last week and looked good but not great. He didn’t turn the ball over but failed to surpass 200 yards. Rosen should be able to build off that performance against a defense that is likely worse than the one he faced last week.

Rosen should play well but is still and makes a rookie mistake late in the game to seal the deal for Arizona. This game should be laced with turnovers and sloppy play, as these two have combined for just one win 8 tries. The Cardinals fight hard for the ever elusive first win but will have to wait at least one more week before they see a 1 in the win column.

49ers 23 Cardinals 19

Rams (4-0) at Seahawks (2-2)

Sunday 4:25 pm EST

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington

(LAR 7.0)

The Rams have unquestionably been the best and most complete team in the league so far. Their offense looks unstoppable and their defense makes the big plays when it needs to. This is a team to be reckoned with. In Seattle, the Seahawks are a different team. They are a much better team, and the team feeds off the 12th man.

Last season, when the Rams traveled to CenturyLink, it was an absolute beat down. As the Rams obliterated the Hawks, 42-7. With the talent discrepancy in this game, a similar score is very possible, but you have to believe the Seahawks haven’t forgotten about last year’s contest and will be eager to redeem themselves.

The Seahawks should keep it close in the first half but that Rams offense is just way too explosive for the Seahawks defense. The Rams will run away with it in the 4th quarter and remain undefeated.

Rams 38 Seahawks 20

Cowboys (2-2) at Texans (1-3)

Sunday 8:20 pm EST

NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

(HOU -1.5)

The battle of Texas has seen brighter days for a couple of teams that had high hopes for an explosive offense but have yet to deliver on the season. Finally, Deshaun Watson looked like he did last season, putting up 375 yards against Indianapolis. He brought the Texans back and got the team its first win of the year, outlasting the Colts in overtime.

The Cowboys also got a victory on last-second field goal, downing the Lions by two in a thriller. The Cowboys offense finally showed some signs of life, after looking awful in the first three weeks. The defense has been good this season but if they struggle to contain Watson, they could be in for a long night.

Houston’s defense has been nothing to write home about, so if Dak Prescott limits turnovers, they can ground and pound with Ezekiel Elliot and dink and dunk in the passing game, they could stay in this game. But Watson continues taking strides and looks a lot like he did last year.

Texans 27 Cowboys 20

Redskins (2-1) at Saints (3-1)

Monday 8:15 pm EST

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

(NO -6.0)

The Saints offense looks absolutely prolific, just as it did last season, and they’ll be getting back running back Mark Ingram from suspension. Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees is just 201 yards away from passing Peyton Manning on the all-time passing yardage leaders, which would be an extraordinary feat. Monday night is destined to be a historic night.

The Redskins are coming off a bye and will be well rested, but it doesn’t make this game any easier. The Saints are riding high and look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and this game is being played at the Superdome in New Orleans it only makes things tougher for Washington.

The Redskins have a bad loss at home to Indianapolis, but a great win at home to Green Bay. It’s hard to make out what this Redskins team’s true identity is or who good they really are. Monday night should be a good indicator if they are for real or more of a bottom-feeder. I’ll say they’re somewhere in the middle. The Saints are above the middle and win comfortably in what should be Brees’ big night.

Saints 28 Redskins 17