According to most reports Andrew Luck will get the start on Thursday Night when the Colts face the struggling Texans. Ryan Mallett will get the start meanwhile for Houston, but likely will have a short leash as neither he nor Brian Hoyer have played well so far. What is most surprising is how much their defense has struggled, allowing 48 points to Atlanta on Sunday. The Colts with a win can get to 3-2 with a semi-bye to get healthy a loss and things can get hairy as Coach Chuck Pagano is on the hot seat. Look for Luck to show his shoulder is healthy as he again slice and dices the Texans.
In starting 4-0 the Falcons have run rough shot over the NFC East, beating the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. Now they can complete a sweep against the last place Redskins. The Falcons have gotten outstanding play from just about everyone on offense, with Davonta Freeman and Julio Jones leading the way. The Redskins don’t have the defense to stop the Falcons nor do they have the offense capable of keeping the game close, this one smells like a blowout.
Last week was a special week for both teams as the Ravens got their first win with a late Field Goal and one in overtime, benefiting from two misses by Josh Scobee, while the Browns lost in the most Cleveland Brown way possible getting an off-sides on a missed Field Goal giving the Chargers a second chance at a win. The Ravens had some hard luck in their first three losses and are not as bad as their record suggests. Look for Baltimore to get the win.
If the Bengals are in fact for real at 4-0 this would be a good week to show it. The Seahawks come in 2-2 but have yet to impress, already they have suffered two losses on the road and were lucky to win Monday Night as the officials missed a call on the game saving touchback. The Bengals have been impressive all season and with the game at home don’t have to worry about Seattle’s 12th man. The Bengals right now are the better team and if they are to be believed as an elite team they need to beat another elite team, which the Seahawks still are after two straight Super Bowl appearances.
The Rams may be the hardest team to pick in the NFL as one never knows what team will show up. Some weeks they look like a contender, such as beating the Seahawks in the opener and shutting down the Cardinals on the road last week. Some weeks they look like pretenders as they did in Week 2 against the Redskins. The Packers meanwhile, are strong and steady, winning their first four games and looking every bit the team to beat in the NFC. The Rams can get some pressure on the quarterback, but Aaron Rodgers has been able to side step big defense before at home, look for the Packers to continue to roll.
Both teams enter this game with records of 1-3, but not all bad starts are equal. The Bears were fortunate to get their one win, beating the Raiders at home last week in an ugly meeting of two once great franchises in ruins. The Chiefs meanwhile have played a tough schedule, losing to the unbeaten Broncos, unbeaten Packers and unbeaten Bengals, with two of those three losses on the road. Returning home the Chiefs get healthy with Jamaal Charles running wild and winning big.
If the Eagles don’t start winning, things are going to get very ugly in the City of Brotherly Love. At 1-3 the Eagles have played poorly at every stage of the game, with DeMarco Murray being a tremendous busts, with a grand total of 47 yards rushing in the first four weeks of the season. Quarterback Sam Bradford has also struggled, leading fans to vent their frustrations at Coach Chip Kelly. The Saints also 1-3 come in off an overtime win against the injury riddled Cowboys. Drew Brees may have tossed the winning pass, but hardly looks like the elite quarterback he used to be. The Eagles need this one desperately and get it.
There has not been much sunshine for the NFL’s three Florida teams. The Dolphins who are a five point underdog despite having a bye week are the league’s biggest early season letdown at 1-3 with their coach already being dismissed. The Buccaneers have a rookie quarterback learning how to win at the NFL level, while the Jaguars just can’t figure out how to win. Both the Jaguars and Buccaneers come into this game at 1-3 and have had their moments in the last few weeks. This week it will be Tampa with the win as Jameis Winston gets his first home win.
The Bills come into Week 5 hobbling at 2-2, with several key players dealing with injuries including LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins who missed last week’s game at home against the Giants. The Titans come in after an early bye week, and have lost their last two games after winning the opener. There will still be growing pains for Titans rookie Marcus Mariota, and those pains will be exasperated by a strong aggressive defense like the Bills have.
If it was not for bad luck, the Lions would have no luck at all. At 0-4 the Lions have been in most games, and should have won Monday Night in Seattle if not for a blown call on Calvin Johnson’s fumble at the goal line with under two minutes left. The Cardinals come in off their first loss and will look to get back on track. The Lions lack the strong running game needed to beat the Cardinals and rely on a vertical passing game which will play into the hands of the Cardinals all-pro secondary. It will be close but the Lions will be just a few points short again.
It was one of the most iconic images in television history a helicopter flying over the city of Dallas with the iconic theme of the show with the same name. The flight went over the Cowboys iconic stadium with the hole in the roof, helping the Cowboys establish the America’s Team moniker. If they were to update it for this season they will play the theme from MASH as the Cowboys have been ravaged by injuries. The Patriots who want to claim the title America’s Team, love injured teams to embarrass them. Don’t be shocked if Matt Cassel takes over for Brandon Weeden at some point.
The Raiders after two straight wins came back to earth with a dud performance in Chicago last week, spoiling the first time they were listed as favorites on the road in three years. The Broncos are not blowing anyone away but have been steady at 4-0. Defense has suddenly become the Broncos main weapon, and with their defense locking down the Raiders young offense look for them to continue to gallop a long doing just enough to win each game and stay perfect at 5-0.
Has anyone fallen harder and faster than 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick? Poised for superstardom just two years ago, Kaepernick is now likely heading for a benching as he has been flat out awful in 2015. The last two weeks combined Kaepernick has passed for 227 yards with five interceptions. On Sunday Night against the Giants things don’t look to get much better. The Giants have shaken off blowing ten point leads in the first two games and won the last two. They should be 4-0 and they know it. At home in primetime I look for Odell Beckham Jr. to continue to shine as the Giants win by a touchdown.
Last Thursday Night the Steelers showed just how important Ben Roethlisberger is as they lost at home to the Ravens in overtime in a game they clearly should have won. On the road against a Chargers team looking to break over .500 they find a tall order ahead of them on Monday Night. Phillip Rivers has yet to really get going this year, but the return of Antonio Gates from a four game suspension should be just what the doctor ordered. Look for the Chargers to win this one rather easily.