Thursday, October 6, 2016

NFL Week 5

With a quarter of the NFL season already in the books, we have some intriguing story lines entering Week 5.

Tom Brady returns from his infamous suspension. Carolina and Arizona find themselves at 1-3 despite facing off in the NFC Championship game less than a year ago. Carson Wentz looks to continue his undefeated start as a rookie. The list goes on.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to cover every game in time for kickoff tonight, so I provided some general commentary on a handful of teams instead.
Arizona (-3.5) @ San Francisco - O/U 42.5

Need I say more?

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh (-7) - O/U 48

The NFL schedule makers didn't do the Jets any favors. After opening the season against a Cincinnati Bengals team with five straight playoff appearances, Gang Green traveled to Buffalo on a short week to face off with a division rival in Week 2. Add in a trip to Arrowhead before a home bout versus Seattle, and you can see why someone in the league office may have had it out for the Jets. As if it couldn't get any worse, New York currently finds themselves as seven-point underdogs against Pittsburgh with the Arizona Cardinals on deck. Despite Arizona's recent struggles, the Jets will almost certainly be getting points when they travel to Glendale assuming Carson Palmer plays. Todd Bowles and Co. will need a minor miracle to reach the playoffs.
Washington @ Baltimore (-4) - O/U 44

I don't have much to say about this game. Despite a 3-1 record, Baltimore has faced a cupcake schedule and may very well be a fraudulent team. I'm not sure what to make of them at this point.

Tennessee @ Miami (-3.5) - O/U 43
Pretty much Tennessee's season in a nutshell.
New England (-10.5) @ Cleveland - O/U 46.5

This matchup has widely been referred to as the "Tom Brady F-You" game, as the star quarterback returns from a controversial four-game suspension. As crazy as it sounds, I wouldn't be surprised if Cleveland kept this one close. Despite possessing an 0-4 record, the Browns have been competitive in the majority of their games. Considering Brady hasn't practiced with the team since his suspension, it's not inconceivable to think he comes out a bit rusty. Couple that with an unhealthy Gronk and this game could be closer than most expect.

Atlanta @ Denver (-5) - O/U 47

Through four games, the Falcons appear to have the best offense in the league. Julio Jones went absolutely HAM to the tune of 300 receiving yards last week as Atlanta put up 48 points on the defending NFC champs. Sporting a 3-1 record, the Falcons have a two-game cushion in their division and are clear-cut favorites to win the NFC South. With that said, we will find out how good Atlanta is over the next two weeks when they travel to Denver and Seattle. We cannot forget this is a dome team that thrives indoors. I'm interested to see how the offense performs on the road against two elite defenses.

It appears rookie Paxton Lynch is going to start for Denver. While he looked competent in his relief appearance against Tampa Bay, I'd expect a heavy dose of C.J. Anderson with the Broncos looking to play keep away.  

Tampa Bay @ Carolina

I'm just going to come out and say it - the Carolina Panthers are in trouble. Their once-vaunted defense has taken a major step back this year and the running game is pretty much nonexistent. On top of that, Cam Newton is currently in the concussion protocol and head coach Ron Rivera has "no idea" if he will play this week. According to numberFire, the Panthers have a 35% chance to make the playoffs despite going 15-1 in the regular season last year.

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