NFL Week 5 Game-by-Game Predictions


Sep 27, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 is in the books, and the NFL picture is getting clearer and clearer. The good teams are separating themselves from the bad, and the bad teams are getting closer and closer to the first overall pick of the draft. If you missed our weekly Power Rankings, check them out right here. With so many intriguing matchups, let’s get right into our Week 5 game-by-game predictions.

Don’t agree with me? Let me know on Twitter @HoweNFL.

Last Week’s Record: 9-6

Season Record: 41-22

Teams with byes: Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets

Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at Houston Texans (1-3)

Thursday 10/8 at 8:25PM EST

Houston’s quarterback situation is a mess. Bill O’Brien should consider switching between Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer on a drive-to-drive basis just to make it more exciting for Texans fans. Even if Arian Foster is able to gash through the Colts’ sickly defense, Indianapolis should be able to take care of Houston.

10. 20. 46. Final. 10

Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-2)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

This game is probably the most important game of the season so far for either of these two teams. Going 3-2 could give the Bills confidence in that they are now a serious Wild Card contender, and on the other hand, starting 2015 with a 2-2 record could be just as big for the Titans. This game comes down to the defenses, and I trust Buffalo’s D more than Tennessee’s. Marcus Mariota will be running for his life all game long.

17. 35. 20. 16. Final

St. Louis Rams (2-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-0)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

St. Louis’ defense is the league’s best on paper. However, in Lambeau, things will be difficult for the Rams. Aaron Rodgers is a machine at home, and there’s not much more to be said. Green Bay’s defense looks competent as well, which is always a positive. Green Bay shouldn’t have much trouble winning this one.

51. Final. 31. 49. 17

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

Ah, a classic Florida matchup. These matches are never pretty, and they’re extremely hard to predict. I have the Jags winning on Sunday simply because Blake Bortles is the superior quarterback as of now. Tampa Bay could win this one, and I’ll be eating crow next week if it does.

Final. 20. 48. 27. 52

Cleveland Browns (1-3) at Baltimore Ravens (1-3)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

Neither one of these teams is particularly exciting, but the Ravens–despite a severe lack of weapons in the passing game–have the better offense. Travis Benjamin is one of the NFL’s most exciting up-and-coming receivers, which is exciting for Cleveland fans, but Justin Forsett should be able to carve through Cleveland’s porous run defense with ease. Baltimore should win this one.

Final. 13. 53. 17. 26

New Orleans Saints (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

This matchup between New Orleans and Philly is one of the most difficult to predict of the week, but I’m going with the Eagles here. Philadelphia is desperate for a win and has home-field advantage; the Saints defense is actually bad enough that DeMarco Murray may actually have success running the ball and the Saints offense incompletely devoid of playmakers. The Eagles take this one.

54. 10. 15. Final. 13

Chicago Bears (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

Kansas City is 1-3, but this team is much better than its record indicates. The combined record of the three teams who beat the Chiefs: 12-0. Kansas City handled Houston in Week 1, and it should finally get back on track with a win over Jay Cutler and the Bears on Sunday.

57. Final. 20. 124. 16

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-0)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

Another difficult game to pick here, but I’m going with Cincinnati. The Bengals are one of the NFL’s best home teams, Cincinnati’s D-line is tenacious and Seattle’s offensive line is a tire fire. On the other side, the Andy Dalton is playing like he’s a top-10 quarterback and the Bengals’ offense has so many weapons that it can’t even utilize all of them on a weekly basis. Seattle is a great team, but I have Cincinnati winning this one.

27. 56. 19. 36. Final

Washington Redskins (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-0)

Sunday 10/11 at 1:00PM EST

The Atlanta Falcons are 4-0; the fact that this team is undefeated surprises me on a weekly basis. I’m not surprised, considering the talent level of the team; I’m surprised because Dan Quinn has singlehandedly righted the ship in Atlanta. The Dirty Birds should be able to take care of the Skins at home and extend their winning streak to five games. Hopefully Julio Jones can awe us again on Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals (3-1) at Detroit Lions (0-4)

Sunday 10/11 at 4:05PM EST

Arizona lost last week, but this team is one of the league’s best. Detroit will be desperate not to go 0-5 this week, but Arizona is a superior team on both offense and defense. Tyrann Mathieu is the NFL’s best slot corner, Patrick Peterson is playing like an All-Pro and the Carson PalmerLarry Fitzgerald connection has helped Arizona become one of the NFL’s top offensive teams. A Lions win would be an insane surprise this week.

13. 50. 27. 32. Final

New England Patriots (3-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Sunday 10/11 at 4:25PM EST

Tom Brady should carve up the Cowboys’ defense, which has been embarrassingly exposed in the past two weeks. Rob Gronkowski is a complete matchup nightmare, and the Cowboys will struggle covering the massive tight end. New England’s offense is too much for any defense, and the Cowboys won’t be able to keep up if this game becomes a shootout.

47. Final. 16. 123. 34

Denver Broncos (4-0) at Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Sunday 10/11 at 4:25PM EST

Oakland could surprise here, but Denver’s defense is so nasty that I can’t pick against it. Three of the team’s four linebackers are potential Pro Bowlers, all four of the Broncos’ defensive backs have legitimate Pro Bowl aspirations and the wide receiving tandem of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders is still one of the NFL’s best, despite Peyton Manning’s regression. The Broncos should win here.

20. 28. 23. 45. Final

San Francisco 49ers (1-3) at New York Giants (2-2)

Sunday 10/11 at 8:30PM EST

I’m not very high on the New York Giants, but they’re set up to win this game and possibly contend in the NFC East. San Francisco has struggled in every game since its Week 1 win over the Vikings on Monday Night Football. Colin Kaepernick has been a nightmare for the 49ers, and until he can become a more consistent player, I’m going to have a hard time predicting any San Francisco wins.

17. 31. 13. 42. Final

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at San Diego Chargers (2-2)

Monday 10/12 at 8:30PM EST

Here’s another game that seems almost impossible to predict. Philip Rivers ended up playing behind only two starting linemen by the end of the Chargers’ Week 4 game against the Browns, and two of his three top receivers left the game with injuries. Good news for Rivers, however; Antonio Gates finally returns to action this week. Bold prediction of the week: Antonio Gates catches his 100th career touchdown in his return to Qualcomm Stadium, propelling the Chargers to a fourth-quarter victory.

24. 13. 20. 55. Final

Next: NFL Power Rankings and Awards: Week 4