Happy days! We are into bye week season so this article will not take as long to write each week! Hang on, there are only 2 teams on a bye? Looks like we best get cracking then, here is what week 5 has on offer…….
We will be giving away a t-shirt of your teams choice to the competition winner at season end along with a weekly prize to any entrant who manages to predict the outcome of all games correctly in any given week. If we get over 100 entrants, we will give away a jersey instead of a t-shirt as the overall prize, so get involved and sign up your mates.
Thursday Night Football
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Chicago Bears
Its funny how the schedule works itself out. Last week’s TNF saw 2 teams without a win square off, whereas this week we get 2 clubs at 3-1. Nick Foles will be looking for more chemistry as he leads the Bears into battle with the GOAT in Chicago. It could actually come down to which quarterback and receivers do display the most chemistry this week. Both signal callers relocated to their respective homes during the strange off season and for different reasons could well struggle in this one.
For Foles its simply about getting reps after sitting behind Mitch Trubisky for the opening weeks of the campaign. The offence did not look impressive against the Colts. Outside of Allen Robinson, who the Bears should pay immediately, no other receiver topped 33 yards. As a team on 17 carries the ground game yielded 31 yards. Thankfully the defence is playing well and Roquan Smith is a tackle machine. It feels the Bears have made their Nick Foles bed and will be lying in it now regardless but if they are to take advantage of a good start to the season, the offence needs to wake up and fast.
As for TB12 it may well be a case of having to conduct pre game interviews with players to introduce himself to them this week. The injury report is beyond horrific, with the short week not helping the Bucs. At the time of writing the situation is as follows. Wide receivers Godwin, Evans, Miller and Watson all did not practice. Running backs Fournette and McCoy did not practice. Tight end Howard placed on IR and Gronk limited in practice. If Brady can connect with anyone on Thursday night it may well go down as one of his best ever performances given that laundry list of potential absentees.
Sunday Early Games
Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans
Hopefully this game gets the go ahead following the COVID outbreak the Titans had to deal with last week. Watching how they come out of the gate will be fascinating after having the facility shut down for so long. The Titans has won 3 close games before that and the formula is set, run Derrick Henry, ask Tannehill to be smart with the football and play good defence. The Bills continue to impress and Josh Allen’s improvement in year 3 is nothing short of remarkable. He is beating teams from the pocket now and going through his progressions. In Diggs, Brown and rookie Gabriel Davis he has a nice trifecta of weapons with a sprinkling of Devin Singletary for good measure. 2 undefeated teams squaring off in what could easily be a playoff preview.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
The Texans with Romeo Crennel in temporary charge begin life after Bill O’Brien with a divisional game at home against the Jags. The Jags themselves haven’t won since week 1 and that is mainly because their defence isn’t playing complimentary football to support its promising young offence. DJ Chark and Gardner Minshew continue to look like solid building blocks on top of UDFA James Robinson. There are obviously issues in Houston as highlighted by the coaching change. With that said, the schedule has been rough and this represents a good opportunity to get their first victory of the campaign.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
The Bengals have been knocking on the door of a win for a few weeks now, pushing the Browns close, tying with the Eagles before getting the W last week. It was all about Joe Mixon last week as he exploded after a quiet first few weeks. He can very quickly become Joe Burrow’s best friend as the best weapon on that offence. A return to formula for the Ravens as they got out to an early lead over Washington and never looked back. Lamar Jackson’s longest career run for a touchdown was a thing of beauty and for all of his improvements as a passer, the Ravens are a tougher team to beat when teams are trying to tackle Lamar as opposed to defending his passes.
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
Still winless, the Falcons head to Carolina with Dan Quinn’s seat surely reaching melting point. I still scratch my head at exactly how they have reached this point despite having so many weapons, particularly offensively. They were a little banged up at receiver against the Packers on Monday so check the injury report throughout the week. Carolina have won back to back games despite missing Christian McCaffery. Teddy Bridgewater continues to play well and Robby Anderson has found a new lease of life. A 3rd win in a row would push the Panthers above .500 and surely would be another nail too many in the Dan Quinn coffin.
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets
The Cardinals may have been bumped down to Earth in week 3, but they were well and truly smashed back down to Earth losing to the Panthers in week 4. Kyler for MVP talk has cooled to well below freezing and in a very tough NFC West they need to bounce back quickly. Luckily for them they draw the Jets this week. Just when you thought the Jets couldn’t get any worse it also looks as though they will not be playing Sam Darnold this week due to his shoulder injury. After giving up 37 to Brett Rypien and a banged up Broncos expect the Cardinals to rediscover their groove.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Another team coming in off an unexpected bye this week is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They of course remain undefeated, powered predominantly by a dominant defence which completely took over the game in the 2nd half of their last outing against Houston. The AFC North has 3 teams tied at 3 wins so the Steelers will want to make sure they take care of business against a Philly side buoyed by their first win of the season. Carson Wentz showed some improvement, the defence played well and all of a sudden going for a tie the previous week against Cincy seems an astute move. If Philly can get some wide receivers back then maybe they can start to click.
LA Rams @ Washington Football Team
The Rams were pedestrian at best against the Giants and only just about clung on for a victory. They will look to improve against Washington who come in on the back of 3 straight losses. Darrel Henderson disappeared last week for LA but it will likely by the aerial route in which they look to beat Washington. For them the aerial route is under scrutiny as reports are surfacing the Dwayne Haskins needs to play better or a QB change is imminent. I feel for the young QB but I can’t pretend that seeing Alex Smith play football again wouldn’t be amazing.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs – Preview coming Friday (SKY Game)
Sunday Late Games
Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are potentially welcoming back their number 1 signal caller in Jimmy Garoppolo whilst the mumblings of Tua time in South Florida are getting stronger. 2 more interceptions for Ryan Fitz patrick last week have people calling for the rookie to be given his shot. The fins will role with Fitzmagic again this week however. The injury hit 49ers welcomed back Deebo Samuel and George Kittle last week. Kittle had a monster game and didn’t look like he had missed a beat, but expect to see more from Samuel as he gets back up to speed.
New York Giants@ Dallas Cowboys
More yards for Dak Prescott once again didn’t lead to a victory for the Cowboys against the Browns last week. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper had great games but the offence as we know isn’t the issue in Dallas. 307 yards squandered on the ground isn’t going to be a formula that wins games so they have big holes to fill, literally. Thankfully in the Giants they face one of the poorest NFL offences. Daniel Jones doesn’t appear to be progressing and it could be a race to the bottom with the Jets to see who can land Trevor Lawrence.
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
Lets hope this game does indeed go ahead after Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 last week and then Stephon Gilmore returned a positive test the day after playing Kansas City. If the game does go ahead then it will be a tough assignment for Brett Rypien after the Patriots put on a good defensive display against the Chiefs. I can only assume that Cam Newton will have to sit this one out as well so its an uninspiring QB choice between Bryan Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham for the Pats. Maybe it will be better for all concerned if this actually was postponed and a few of the injured stars could be back in time for the rearrangement.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns – Preview coming Friday (SKY Game)
Sunday and Monday Night Football – preview coming Friday
Byes – Packers and Lions
Every week, we will be playing alongside you in our pick ’em league. All of our staff are in the pick ’em league but here, we will share the picks of our regular podcast crew. Our selections for the week are as follows: