NFL Game Picks: Week 5
Danny Murray and Zac Kaye make their picks for every NFL game in Week 5:
Football is going by fast. The 2019 NFL season is already about a quarter of the way over. In that time span, we’ve seen our fair share of shocking upsets, dominating blowouts and fantastic individual performances. With 13 weeks of regular season football left to go, we should be in for plenty more. Let’s hop into the Week 5 edition of the NFL game picks to find out which teams will be coming out on top this weekend.
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
Two NFC West powerhouses duke it out on Thursday night. Seattle comes off an excellent all-around performance in Arizona, while Los Angeles enters off its first loss of the season in a high-scoring affair against Tampa Bay. Although Jared Goff did pass for 517 yards and helped the Rams put up 40, his performance left a lot to be desired in terms of consistency. Russell Wilson’s 240-yard, one-touchdown day isn’t as eye-popping, but Wilson was clearly the better-looking quarterback last Sunday. Goff may struggle again as the Rams enter the raucous Seattle atmosphere where Wilson and company thrive most. The Seahawks win at home.
Prediction: Seattle 32, LA Rams 26
Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Houston Texans (2-2)
If last year is any indication, the Falcons are in for a rough season. After beginning 2018 1-4, Atlanta finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. At 1-3 in 2019, the Falcons are on that track again due to a lackluster offensive performance. It doesn’t get any easier in Week 5 against a usually high-powered Houston offense, but there is some hope. After all, Deshaun Watson and the Texans were totally halted at home by Carolina last week. Both Houston and Atlanta have underperformed so far. This Week 5 matchup could be key for the direction that each team’s season heads in. All things considered, the edge goes to the home team.
Prediction: Houston 23, Atlanta 17
Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-2)
The result of this one could very well hinge on the health of Josh Allen. Allen took a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit against New England, which took him out of the game. Although Allen didn’t perform well against the Patriots defense (to be fair, no one has so far), backup Matt Barkley looked even worse, squandering every opportunity handed to him by Buffalo’s fantastic defense. Tennessee has been very up and down this year, but last week’s performance in Atlanta was about as good as it gets for the Titans. With two top-tier defenses taking the field on Sunday, expect a low-scoring affair that results in Tennessee’s third victory.
Prediction: Tennessee 16, Buffalo 13
Chicago Bears (3-1) vs. Oakland Raiders (2-2)
2019’s first London game pits the NFL’s top defensive team against one with an insanely difficult schedule. Technically marked as a home game for Oakland, Sunday’s match in London against the Bears is the third of five straight games for the Raiders away from Oakland Coliseum. The hefty travel is going to take its toll on the Raiders, especially against a Chicago defense that has yet to allow more than 15 points from an opponent in a single game. Even if Chase Daniel is under center in place of the injured Mitchell Trubisky, the dominant Chicago defense should stop Derek Carr and company enough for the Bears’ fourth straight win.
Prediction: Chicago 20, Oakland 10
Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-4)
Cincinnati has been going downhill every single week. It’s hard to believe that the same that gave the Seahawks all they could handle in Week 1 also scored just three points in Pittsburgh last week. Arizona hasn’t been very pretty either, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but at least Kyler Murray is slowly coming into his own as a starting NFL quarterback. With two bottom-10 defenses colliding on Sunday, there’s a good opportunity for Murray to truly shine, as well as for Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense to get back on track. Murray outduels Dalton in a high-scoring showdown to earn the rookie quarterback his first NFL victory.
Prediction: Arizona 36, Cincinnati 30
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) at New York Giants (2-2)
The Giants officially have hope. Even with Saquon Barkley on the sideline and Daniel Jones tossing a pair of picks, New York absolutely dismantled Washington on all fronts. Running back Wayne Gallman seems to be a serviceable replacement for Barkley, and the defense appears to be improving as the season progresses. Up next is a more difficult challenge against Minnesota, which features a top-10 defense. The silver lining here for New York is the Vikings offense, which has been wildly unpredictable through four games. Even if Dalvin Cook balls out, Kirk Cousins’s stagnant play could be Minnesota’s downfall. The home underdogs pull off the win.
Prediction: NY Giants 22, Minnesota 16
New England Patriots (4-0) at Washington Redskins (0-4)
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see that the road team is favored by 16 points considering who’s taking the field in this one. New England’s defense has been unstoppable, helping piece together a Patriots win in Buffalo last week despite Tom Brady’s below average day. Meanwhile, nothing is going right for Washington. The Redskins allowed 27 to New York last week, and rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins looked completely unprepared, tossing three interceptions in his first NFL game. Washington appears to be the second worst team in the NFL after Miami, which fell to New England 43-0 in Week 2. Sunday could very well produce a similar result.
Prediction: New England 38, Washington 7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) at New Orleans Saints (3-1)
Is New Orleans the NFC favorite again? Many thought that the Saints would collapse without Drew Brees on the field, but they’ve thrived two weeks into Brees’s absence, knocking off Seattle and Dallas in back-to-back games. Teddy Bridgewater has largely been a game manager in all of this, allowing his defense and surrounding offensive talent to do the heavy lifting. Tampa Bay’s offense came out of nowhere last week to knock off the Rams in a 55-point performance, and aside from a pick-six thrown in the fourth quarter, Jameis Winston played very well. This random Week 5 NFC South matchup is shaping up to be a good one.
Prediction: New Orleans 30, Tampa Bay 26
New York Jets (0-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)
This could be the easiest pick of the week. Yes, New York is going to be fresh coming off a bye, but Sam Darnold is still out indefinitely, and there’s just no talent anywhere on the rest of the offense, save for Le’Veon Bell. Philadelphia may have gotten banged up against Atlanta, but that didn’t seem to matter one bit, as the Eagles charged into Green Bay two weeks later and came away with a last-minute victory. As long as Carson Wentz and the offense functions like it’s supposed to, this should be a cakewalk for Philadelphia. And to cement this pick, here’s a fun stat: The Eagles are 10-0 all-time against the Jets. Philly all the way.
Prediction: Philadelphia 32, NY Jets 16
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
While the days of Ben Roethlisberger, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Troy Polamalu are gone, the Ravens and Steelers still make for one of the AFC’s finest rivalries, albeit without the same flair of a decade ago. This initially appeared to be an easy victory for Baltimore, but things have changed in the span of a week. Mason Rudolph and the Steelers looked excellent in their Monday night victory over the Bengals, while Lamar Jackson and company struggled mightily against the Browns at home. With a win here and a Cleveland loss on Monday night, the Steelers would propel themselves from 0-3 to leading the AFC North in a span of two weeks. That’s the kind of motivation they’ll use to win this game.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Baltimore 24
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-2)
Backup quarterbacks are taking over the NFL this season, and perhaps no two teams have felt it more than Jacksonville and Carolina. Gardner Minshew has taken the league by storm, and his latest magic act in his comeback win over Denver has people thinking he’s the real deal. Carolina is in a similar spot with Kyle Allen. Allen is 2-0 since taking over for the injured Cam Newton with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage of 71.7. So, which one of the young gunslingers will continue the early season lightning? The edge goes to Minshew and Jacksonville, which features a more complete offense and a better defense.
Prediction: Jacksonville 23, Carolina 15
Denver Broncos (0-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
Being a Broncos fan in 2019 has been a struggle. Week after week, the team has underperformed just a smidge too much, as all but one of Denver’s four losses have come by one-score margins, two of which ended on game-winning field goals. The rain only continues to pour, as it was confirmed Monday that Bradley Chubb will undergo season-ending ACL surgery. All signs are pointing to another loss in Week 5, this time in Los Angeles against a Chargers team that will be regaining its premier back Melvin Gordon. In all too familiar fashion, Denver miraculously keeps it close, but the Chargers seal the home victory in the final quarter.
Prediction: LA Chargers 22, Denver 19
Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Sunday’s premier game features longtime rivals in the Packers and Cowboys in what is likely to be another classic between these two franchises. Both teams earned their first taste of defeat last week: Green Bay on Thursday to Philadelphia and Dallas on Sunday night to New Orleans. But the Packers have the upper hand thanks to one man: Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has been notorious for terrorizing the Cowboys time after time. He might be doing it Sunday without his favorite target Davante Adams, but considering how well the Packers defense has been playing this year, Rodgers may not need to put up gaudy numbers to earn the W. Just being himself is enough.
Prediction: Green Bay 21, Dallas 17
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
Kansas City’s victory in Detroit last week revealed two key takeaways. One, Patrick Mahomes is mortal after all, as his touchdown streak came to an end. Two, he’s still the best quarterback in the league, as he commanded the game-winning drive despite constant pressure from Detroit’s defense. His next test is a Sunday night showdown against a solid Indianapolis team that seemed a bit lost at times in its Week 4 loss to Oakland. Jacoby Brissett and company should be able to rebound against a below-average Chiefs defense, but the key to these games is and always has been keeping up with Mahomes. That’s just so difficult to do. Kansas City stays perfect.
Prediction: Kansas City 40, Indianapolis 29
Cleveland Browns (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-0)
The Browns we saw in Week 4 are the Browns that many were hoping for coming into the new season. Baker Mayfield’s prior struggles seemed irrelevant, as he and Nick Chubb paved the way to a convincing 40-25 victory over division rival Baltimore. Just two weeks removed from a Sunday night game against LA, Cleveland is back in the spotlight on Monday night to take on the undefeated 49ers. San Francisco is going to be well-rested coming out of the bye week, but sometimes that can hurt a team’s momentum. Cleveland appears to be getting hot at just the right time. It’ll be a close one, but the Browns pull off the road victory to keep the AFC North lead.
Prediction: Cleveland 31, San Francisco 27
Byes: Detroit Lions (2-1-1), Miami Dolphins (0-4)
DJ Bauer is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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