NFL Game Picks: Week 5
Host Austin Groft and analysts Eric Fenstermaker, Ethan Cook and Sam Kirk previewed the most important games in Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) vs. Chicago Bears (3-1)
To kick off this week’s NFL action, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers come into the Windy City to face Nick Foles and the Chicago Bears. While Foles beat Brady to win Super Bowl LII, that was with a talented and gritty Philadelphia Eagles team that was fighting against all odds.
However, this Bears squad is much different than the Eagles team Foles won the Super Bowl with. The Bears have mightily struggled on offense this year, even with Foles coming in to take over the reins after Mitchell Trubisky struggled to consistently score.
Coming off an incredible comeback win against the Chargers, Tom Brady knows exactly what he’s doing and is going to carve this Chicago defense up.
Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Bears 18
Carolina Panthers (2-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-4)
Despite losing star running back Christian McCaffrey for multiple weeks, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has kept the Panthers competitive and even got a convincing win against a reeling Arizona Cardinals team.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are still searching for their first win after losing to the Green Bay Packers, thanks to their historically bad defense. On the offensive side of the ball, the Falcons are in the upper echelon of talent, but their poor defense has blown multiple leads and chances to win games.
In spite of McCaffrey’s injury, the Falcons will still find a way to lose yet another game and expect head coach Dan Quinn to be on the hot seat going forward.
Prediction: Panthers 30, Falcons 25
Buffalo Bills (4-0) vs. Tennessee Titans (3-0)
With quarterback Josh Allen solidifying his status as an elite quarterback, the Bills have ridden Allen’s incredible play to an undefeated record, yet still may be underrated. Now, Buffalo faces an incredibly tough task in the Titans, who did not play last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the team.
Now, the Bills’ defense comes into Nashville to face a well-rested Titans team that will pound the rock with running back Derrick Henry in order to limit opportunities of potential turnovers. However, Tennessee has not practiced in a few weeks and the Bills are coming in red-hot, so Buffalo takes this one.
Prediction: Bills 35, Titans 21
Las Vegas Raiders (2-2) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
Although the Raiders got off to great 2-0 start to the season, head coach Jon Gruden and his squad have stumbled lately, losing their last two, as they face the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs. In their last game, the Chiefs handled the New England Patriots, who were without quarterback Cam Newton due to his diagnosis of COVID-19.
Patrick Mahomes and the electrifying Chiefs are riding a tidal wave of momentum, and the Raiders offense has been too inconsistent this season.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Raiders 20
Arizona Cardinals (2-2) vs. New York Jets (0-4)
After starting the season hot, the Cardinals have lost their last two games, mainly due to quarterback Kyler Murray’s turnovers. But Arizona has a chance to bounce back against an incompetent Jets team.
Jets head coach Adam Gase has somehow made Sam Darnold worse over Darnold’s first three years in New York. With Darnold’s health in question due to a shoulder injury, Cardinals win this matchup easily.
Prediction: Cardinals 30, Jets 15
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
In this matchup, the Eagles are coming off their first win of the season against the 49ers, while the Steelers’ last game was cancelled due to the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak. Now, the Steelers face a marathon the rest of the season with thirteen games still slated.
Despite Pittsburgh’s massive talent advantage, the Eagles have taken the first step to getting their season back on track and will continue that trend this Sunday.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Steelers 19
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) vs. Washington Football Team (1-3)
Turning to another NFC East team, Washington comes back home to face a streaking Rams team who handled the New York Giants last week, winning 17-9. Rams quarterback Jared Goff struggled against the Giants, but still finished the game with 200 passing yards and a touchdown.
As a result of the Rams’ lagging offense, the defense picked up the slack with five sacks and an interception. Against a struggling Washington offense, the defense, headlined by tackle Aaron Donald, will feast again this week.
Prediction: Rams 35, Washington 20
Cincinnati Bengals (1-2-1) vs. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Two generational quarterbacks collide in this matchup as Joe Burrow leads his Bengals team against the dazzling Lamar Jackson and his Ravens squad. Both teams are coming off wins, but the Ravens looked locked in as they seek to avenge their disappointing loss to the Titans in the playoffs last year.
Joe Burrow will still sling the ball over the field, but the Ravens are simply too talented at each position.
Prediction: Ravens 38, Bengals 23
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) vs. Houston Texans (0-4)
Coming into this matchup, the horrendous Jaguars defense looks to somehow contain Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who will be adjusting to new interim head coach Romeo Crennel’s play calling.
As a result of his recent hiring, Crennel will likely keep a simple game plan for Watson, who will create some magic and get the win.
Prediction: Texans 28, Jaguars 25
Miami Dolphins (1-3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
While the football world expected hyped rookie Tua Tagovailoa to get the start this week, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores will keep veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick on the field. On the other side, the 49ers continue to deal with injuries after adding defensive starters Ziggy Ansah and K’Waun Williams to the IR list.
With the 49ers’ extensive list of injuries, the Dolphins grab this one.
Prediction: Dolphins 28, 49ers 20
Indianapolis Colts (3-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (3-1)
In one of the more compelling games this week, the Colts look to solidify their status as a contender for the AFC title against the Cleveland Browns, who are also streaking after a dominant win over the Cowboys.
Last week, the Colts struggled to get points up on the board and Cleveland’s defense got incredible pressure against one of the best offensive lines in the league. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett will generate pressure and lead the Browns to a win.
Prediction: Browns 24, Colts 21
New York Giants (0-4) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-3)
In a clash of horrendous NFC teams, the Giants look to somehow notch their first win of the season. But against an explosive Cowboys offense, the Giants’ defense will be overwhelmed.
Even though the Cowboys’ defense is as equally terrible, the Giants’ offense is so much worse and this game will come down to putting points on the board.
Prediction: Cowboys 35, Giants 10
Denver Broncos (1-3) vs. New England Patriots (2-2)
Both the Broncos and Patriots have missed their quarterbacks in recent weeks with Drew Lock suffering a shoulder injury and Cam Newton testing positive for COVID-19 this past week. However, brighter days on the horizon for both teams.
Lock is listed as questionable and Newton could play if he tests negative twice, so this could be a good game. Although Lock’s potential return could be a huge boost, the Patriots still have Bill Belichick, regardless of Cam Newton’s status.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Broncos 13
Minnesota Vikings (1-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-0)
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is absolutely lighting up the NFL with MVP-caliber play and the Vikings’ suspect defense sets up an opportunity for Wilson to explode for over 350 yards.
Minnesota’s secondary is too poor and inexperienced to handle Wilson and his explosive wide receiver corps.
Prediction: Seahawks 45, Vikings 28
Los Angeles Chargers (1-3) vs. New Orleans Saints (2-2)
This faceoff between the Chargers and Saints will come down to the health of Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas is listed as questionable going into the game, but if Drew Brees gets his favorite target back for the first time since Week 1, the Saints offense will be more explosive than ever.
On the flip side, rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has proven himself as a potential franchise star, but it is likely that Tyrod Taylor takes over if he can come back this week from a rib injury. Although Taylor’s return will be a huge change, it won’t be enough to get a win.
Prediction: Saints 38, Chargers 29
Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ethan is a play-by-play announcer for CommRadio who is aspiring to be a college football analyst for either a major sports network or a college radio station.
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism
Matthew “Matt” McLaughlin is a freshman from Abington, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and analyst in all three departments for CommRadio. He’s been featured as an analyst on live shows such as Daylate Tailgate, State College Saturdays and Hail Mary.
Senior / Broadcast Journalist
Eric Fenstermaker is a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is also minoring in business and sports studies and pursuing a certificate in sports journalism.
Eric is involved in After the Whistle and Penn State Sports Night (PSSN). For COMM Radio, Eric contributes to a variety of different podcasts and co-hosts the Hail Mary radio show, which is dedicated to analyzing NFL games.
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Sam Kirk is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is also featured weekly in the CommRadio news department on Thursday newcasts. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles, interviewing players and contributing to their YouTube channel.