Thursday, October 6, 2016

NFL 2016-17 Week 5 Preview

(Thursday Night Football) Arizona at San Francisco - Both of these NFC West teams are sitting at 1-3, and are in a must win situation entering this game. However, the Cardinals were one of the teams that figured to rank among the elites, while the 49ers have lost an enormous amount of talent in a short time span, and have been struggling now for the last few seasons. We are still waiting for the Cardinals to show that they bear some resemblance to the team that went all the way to the NFC Championship Game last season, as they only played one solid game this season. However, that should change after this game, as the Cardinals, despite issues at quarterback, should have enough to right their ship, at least for this one game. My pick: Arizona

Chicago at Indianapolis - A tough game to call, because frankly, neither team is playing well. The Bears finally got their first win of the season against Detroit last weekend, while the Colts lost a disappointing game and now have to recover from their overseas trip. With home field advantage, however, the Colts should have a certain advantage and, also, is not Andrew Luck about due for a breakout game again? My pick: Indianapolis

Tennessee at Miami - The Dolphins got beat down in Cincy last week, and so they need a pick up. With the Titans coming to town, and the struggles that Tennessee seems to be having so far, particularly with the disappointing play of young quarterback Marcus Mariota, With home field advantage playing a role, the Dolphins should be able to take this game. My pick: Miami

NY Jets at Pittsburgh - The Jets still have enough talent to seriously believe that they can make a run to the playoffs. However, the abysmal 1-3 start has obviously hurt their chances. And having to travel to Pittsburgh will not make things any easier. The Steelers got blown out two weeks ago, but had a strong rebound with a blowout win over Kansas City last weekend. The Jets have to hope to pull off a huge stunner on the road, and that means that the defense has to play exceptionally well against Pittsburgh's dangerous offense. Unfortunately, it just does not seem likely. My pick: Pittsburgh

Houston at Minnesota - The Texans are 3-1, and riding high in the AFC South. However, they will need to play their best game yet this season if they hope to knock off Minnesota from the ranks of the remaining undefeated teams. The Texan's defense is tough, but the Vikings are tougher. They do not need to score a ton of points to get past Houston in this one. My pick: Minnesota

New England at Cleveland - Well, while things are getting better for the Patriots, as they get their starting quarterback back, things never seem to get any better for the Cleveland Browns, the only remaining winless team in the league. They enter this game at 0-4, and are facing a solid and explosive Patriots team determined to get back on the right course following their first home shutout loss since 1993. Getting a road win by the lake would be what they need and, frankly, it is difficult to see how the Browns can avoid that. My pick: New England

Washington at Baltimore - Washington's fortunes have risen in the last couple of weeks, while the Ravens were disappointed with the loss to Oakland last week. This one is a tough game to call, as either team can win. However, something just tells me that Washington will have just enough to escape with a victory here. My pick: Washington

Philadelphia at Detroit - The Eagles are soaring high, while the Lions suffered their most sobering defeat last weekend against the formerly winless Bears. The Lions do have home field advantage, although Philly is well rested after a week off. If the Eagles return in good form, as I imagine they will, they should be able to pull off a solid road win in the Motor City. My pick: Philadelphia

Atlanta at Denver - The Broncos defense looks, if anything, like they are better than they were last season, and that is saying something! The Falcons, in the meantime, look like they are serious again, particularly on offense. Yet, they have a history of collapsing at the most inopportune times, and going into the high altitude at Mile High Stadium to test out their offensive proficiency against this Broncos team is probably too tall of an order for Atlanta. My pick: Denver

Cincinnati at Dallas - Another tough game to call, and it would not be surprising no matter who wins. The Cowboys are riding high, playing with confidence after reeling off three straight wins. The Bengals got off to a rougher start, but finally started to resemble their normal playoff status team with a win over Miami last week. Home field advantage should play a role here, and that obviously would go to the 'Boys. It could go either way, but someone has to win (unless, of course, it is a tie). My pick: Dallas

Buffalo at Los Angeles - Yet another game that could go either way. The Bills just pulled off their biggest and most impressive road win in years by shutting out New England last weekend. Brady or no Brady, that is a huge accomplishment, and with two straight wins, they have to be riding high. The Rams are also riding high, with three straight wins themselves, but this will be a tougher test for them. The Bills defense is finally starting to look really strong again, and if they continue that in this game, it should prove to be the difference. My pick: Buffalo

San Diego at Oakland - The Chargers showed some early promise, but they cannot be feeling to great about themselves after yet another heartbreaking loss dropped them to 1-3. In the meantime, Oakland is looking great, and at 3-1, they are trying to stay within striking distance of Denver. The Raiders have a quarterback who seems to be a steady and stable presence, and that should help them to get past the Chargers in this game. My pick: Oakland

NY Giants at Green Bay - I hate to say it, but after a promising 2-0 start (and it should have been 3-0, as they should have found a way to beat Washington), the Giants are starting to resemble the same old team that they have been for a few years now (ever since their victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI). Everyone seems to feel that Odell Beckham is a whining prima dona, and that seems to include his own quarterback, Eli Manning. The Giants offense was supposed to have opened up to put more points on the scoreboard, but that is not what they have done this season. Unfortunately, going to Lambeau Field is not the tonic that the G-Men need right now. They likely do not have the capacity on defense to contain the Packers, and their offense likely cannot score much, either. Hard to see how New York goes into Green Bay and comes out with a win. My pick: Green Bay

Monday Night Football  Tampa Bay at Carolina - The Panthers are looking surprisingly weak so far. Perhaps they are still aching from their loss in the Super Bowl, or perhaps they had a kind of hangover from all of that success that they enjoyed last season, and the staggeringly high expectations that many had for them this season. Whatever the reason, they just have not played very well. Cam Newton, last year's MVP, has been getting roughed up, and Carolina has just not been able to overcome their problems so far, accounting for their surprising 1-3 start. However, they should have plenty enough in their tank to take care of Tampa Bay in this contest, and start the process of recovering. My pick: Carolina

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