Back to my winning ways! I wasn’t perfect, but I was able to go 2-1 last week picking my sure-win and upset correctly. There are some great matchups this week and too many to mention. Eagles/Skins, Colts/Texans, Chiefs/Raiders, and the Falcons/Seahawks all face off this week. They aren’t mentioned much in this article, but are definitely worth watching. Let’s look back, then forward.
Biggest Takeaway: New York, New York
Oh the early season woes of the New York teams. The Giants and Jets have each lost their last three games. The Giants came into the year with a positive outlook and were a popular NFC East champion pick with a repurchased defense. The Jets were a game away from the postseason last year and the offense was thrilled when they first heard Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back as the team’s starting QB in 2016. But through five weeks, both the Jets and Giants are in last place in their divisions. Technically the Jets are in third with a divisional win but they’re still 1-4 like the Dolphins, so they’re in the basement.
I thought the Jets would be a contender this year. They have talent but it just hasn’t come together. Matt Forte started strong but has dwindled the past few weeks, Fitzy has been an INT machine, and the defense can’t stop anyone. With Tom Brady back and the Pats at 4-1, there’s a zero percent chance the Jets can catch the Patriots this year. The Giants started 2-0 but everything started crumbling once the Skins beat the Giants in East Rutherford. Beckham has been a head case while the high tempo offense has been uncomfortable to watch. The NFC East was surprisingly very competitive early on this year. The Giants are in a better position to reboot the slow start but both teams have some serious work to do.
Best Week 4 Win: Dallas Cowboys
As painful as it is for me to say, the Cowboys were impressive in Week 5. The rookie duo comprised of Elliot and Prescott shined again in Jerry World. The Cowboys are now 4-1 rattling off four straight wins to leap into first place in the NFC East. Elliot ran for 134 yards, 2 TDs, and became the first Cowboys rookie to run for three consecutive 100+ yard games. But a lot of credit must be given to the best o-line in football.
Dak impressed me again and I’m not sure how the Cowboys can put Romo back in when he returns. The other half of Dallas’s offensive scores came from the QB. Prescott ran and threw for a TD on the team’s way to a 28-14 win against a Bengal team that started the season 8-0 last year. The Bengals have struggled at times this year, but they’re a tough team to beat. The Cowboy’s defense held Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and the rest of the Cincinnati offense to zero points until Dalton threw two fourth quarter TDs. Looks like the NFC East is more beast than least.
Worst Week 4 Loss: Carolina Panthers
How the mighty have fallen. Back to back divisional losses will put you back into this category. The Panthers were without starting QB Cam Newton, who honestly got concussed because he lackadaisically tried to walk his way into the end zone against the Falcons (instead of ducking the defender). Even without Newton, the Panthers should have won this game. Carolina turned the ball over four times; three of them were because of backup QB Derek Anderson. His first interception wasn’t his fault, the fumble was a bad turnover, but the late fourth quarter INT was awful. The Panthers had a first and goal from the two with the game tied in the fourth. Instead of running the ball against a tired Tampa defense, they go with a play action pass and Derek Anderson forces a throw that gets picked off by Brent Grimes in the end zone. To add insult to injury, the Bucs looked to be running out the clock and play for OT. After a few Ron Rivera timeouts and big first downs from the Bucs, they were able to drive into Panther territory with timeouts, and kick a game winning, redeeming field goal for Aguayo.
Week 5 Predictions
Can’t Miss Win: Steelers over Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are a terrible football team. Their only win this season was in overtime against the Browns, a game they really should’ve lost. Miami has one of the worst rush defenses and is in the bottom five for yards allowed per game. Bad news Miami, the Steelers will be the best offense you’ve faced thus far. Le’Veon Bell will have no problem running against this defense, Ben Roethlisberger will be able to tear apart this secondary, and Antonio Brown will get a few unsportsmanlike penalties after a few end zone thrusts to celebrate a touchdown. Miami has put a lot of money into this team. Tannehill has been paid handsomely but hasn’t worked out; maybe time to mull over other options. A shocker here, Arian Foster couldn’t stay healthy early on this year and looks to be running out of steam late in his career. Finally, on paper, the Dolphins defense has some big names pop out at you, but they haven’t showed up on the field and that won’t change this week. Steelers by 17.
Intriguing Matchup: Dallas at Green Bay
This is an NFC showdown. Many thought the Packers would be here, but how the Cowboys preseason went, I’m sure not many had them at 4-1. This will be the first true road test for the Dallas rookie backfield. I don’t think Washington and San Francisco are tough venues to play, but Lambeau, that’s a different story.
It’ll be interesting to see how Dak handles this environment. Dallas will need another strong performance from their defense and a big game from Ezekiel Elliot to win. If Elliot and the o-line can grind this one out between the trenches and keep Aaron Rogers on the bench, they will have a chance to steal this road game. Much to my delight, I don’t think this will happen. The Packers are too talented and experienced, while two Cowboys are still too young and unproven to win a game of this magnitude. A great game to watch to see how the Cowboys handle the crowd noise, but I have the Pack by 10.
Biggest Upset: Browns over Titans
“Cleveland is that – Cleveland is the… Cleveland is my, my city!” In light of the recent success Cleveland has had, I like the Browns to get their first win of the season. This is their best opportunity to win a game this season. They are still an early seven point underdog this week in Tennessee but come on Cleveland, let’s win one. The Cavaliers are defending NBA Champions, the Indians have made it to the ALCS, and now it’s time for the Browns to get a win.
The Titans have had their struggles this year. The Browns need to find a way to stop Demarco Murray and have second year QB Marcus Mariota beat them through the air. Before they faced Tom Brady, the Browns defense hadn’t let up 30+ points in a game. I know that’s not great but hey, it’s the Browns. Their offense has moved the ball better than year’s past, and Isaiah Crowell and Terrelle Pryor will need to be difference makers. If both Pryor and Crowell have big games, the Browns win. I believe in “Believeland” and the momentum of the city’s success will propel the NFL’s worst team to their first win. Browns by three.
Let’s enjoy looking forward and hope we were right when we take a look back. Enjoy week 6 everyone.
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