01 October 2013

2013 NFL Predictions: Week 5

Tell me you saw this coming but the Thursday night showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Brian Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns could actually be a pivotal game in a messy AFC. Both clubs are 2-2 and a win would put them in solid shape as we move into the heart of the 2013 NFL campaign. Here are my predictions.

Last Week: 7-8
Locks: 3-1
2013: 37-24

Thursday, October 3rd
Buffalo Bills (2-2) vs. Cleveland Browns (2-2) - NFL Network, 8:30
As I said in the open, this has turned into a very intriguing matchup. Buffalo got a big win at Baltimore and E.J. Manuel has (generally) looked very good and has given the Bills some flash on offense. Meanwhile for Cleveland, Brian Hoyer has come out of nowhere and has been very good as he has led the Browns to two straight victories. I do think the Browns have a slight edge because their defense has been solid while Buffalo has been living on the edge.
Browns 17 Bills 14

Sunday, October 6th
New Orleans Saints (4-0) vs. Chicago Bears (3-1) - Fox, 1:00
As I expected, the Saints have come out firing in 2013 with the return of Sean Payton. Drew Brees has been tearing it up through the air and the defense has adjusted very well to the 3-4 defense. Meanwhile, the Bears have looked very good themselves, although they were out of it early against Detroit and ran out of time trying to make a game of it down the stretch. I like Chicago to bounce back and give the Saints a nice punch in the mouth.
Bears 33 Saints 28

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) vs. New York Giants (0-4) - Fox, 1:00
There is no question that the Giants have been a complete and utter disaster in 2013, having been blown out three out of four weeks and looking utterly lost. And the Eagles have been a mess as well and their secondary has been a complete trainwreck while the offense has taken a couple steps back from that fast start in Washington. So in this awful showdown, who will come out on top? I truly think the Giants have given up already and Tom Coughlin has lost all control as his retirement is coming much sooner than expected. Give me Philadelphia.
Eagles 30 Giants 24

Seattle Seahawks (4-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (3-1) - Fox, 1:00
The Colts have defeated their last two opponents by a combined score 64-10. Now of course the second win came over the Jaguars but the first win did come over the 49ers. The team has played impressively and has been tough on both sides of the football. Now the Seahawks are playing good football as well but they did get lucky that Matt Schaub forgot how to play football down the stretch as the Texans choked hard to blow it. I like Indy to pull off a mild upset.
Colts 26 Seahawks 24

Detroit Lions (3-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (1-2) - Fox, 1:00
I am not sure how many folks thought that the Packers would be facing a must-win situation in week five but with how good the Bears and the Lions looked, Green Bay would find themselves in a hole early. And it will not be easy as the Lions have been very good in 2013 and are a play here and a play there from being 4-0. But the Packers are club that can find a way when they need to and Detroit has been inconsistent on defense so Green Bay has a chance to put up some yardage.
Packers 35 Lions 31

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) vs. St. Louis Rams (1-3) - CBS, 1:00
I had relatively high hopes for the Rams this year so thus I have been disappointed with how the team has looked. The defensive struggles have really disappointed me in particularly as they giving up an average of over 30 points per game. So there really is not much reason why I should have confidence in this club. And yet, they are playing the Jaguars, who look historically bad. St. Louis is my Lock of the Week.
Rams 20 Jaguars 6

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) vs. Tennessee Titans (3-1) - CBS, 1:00
I think it is safe to say that both of these teams are playing better football than folks suggested, even as a number of folks thought that both were prime bounce-back candidates. However, it is going to be very tough for the Titans as they will be without Jake Locker, who was injured by a classic Jets cheap shot late hit by Muhammed Wilkerson. Do you really feel confident in Ryan Fitzpatrick against a very tough Kansas City defense?
Chiefs 21 Titans 10

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) vs. Miami Dolphins (3-1) - CBS, 1:00
Miami started the season really well but boy did they run into a wall or what Monday night in New Orleans? They had no answer for Drew Brees and co. and thus they fell by three touchdowns. I think that this week will go much better for them, and I think they will pull out a win against the defending champions. Miami's defense has still been solid in 2013 even when considering the Saints loss and Joe Flacco has quite inconsistent this year.
Dolphins 17 Ravens 14

New England Patriots (4-0) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) - CBS, 1:00
It simply does not matter who Tom Brady is throwing to, the Patriots have been able to get it done as their flawless record shows. They made it interesting in Atlanta on Sunday as they allowed the Falcons to have a chance when they should have been done for but a win is a win, right? And you would think they can move right to 5-0 as the Bengals have seemingly been all over the place. But I am feeling an upset as I am still high on this Bengals squad, and their tough defense will get some stops.
Bengals 27 Patriots 24

Carolina Panthers (1-2) vs. Arizona Cardinals (2-2) - Fox, 4:05
Do the Panthers have the top defensive front seven in the NFL? With how they looked in their first three games, they are certainly in the conversation as their defensive line has been significantly improved and their linebackers are led by the excellent Luke Kuechly. That front seven is going to be key against the Cardinals who are still struggling to protect the passer. Plus, Cam Newton can push the action against this Arizona defense.
Panthers 29 Cardinals 24

Denver Broncos (4-0) vs. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) - CBS, 4:25
It truly is incredibly how good the Broncos' passing game has been in 2013, there is a reason why some have been making comparisons to the Patriots of 2007. Peyton Manning has been immaculate (16 touchdowns, 0 interceptions) and the receiving corps has been very strong as Demaryious Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker. Therefore, it is a good sign that Dallas has struggled against the pass in 2013. At least Dallas will make it a little competitive.
Broncos 42 Cowboys 31

Houston Texans (2-2) vs. San Francisco 49ers (2-2) - NBC, 8:25
San Francisco needed a big win a whole lot after two blow outs at the hands of the Seahawks and the Colts respectively and they kicked the crap out of the Rams on Thursday night. They ran the football very well and were tremendous on defense as has been their norm. The Texans are coming off a demoralizing loss after blowing it badly to Seattle and there are a lot of questions about whether Matt Schaub has it to lead a club deep. Those questions will continue going forward at least for the short term.
49ers 24 Texans 14

San Diego Chargers (2-2) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-3) - NFL Network, 11:30
This game was moved to this time due to the Athletics playing a home playoff game the night before in the same building (we love multipurpose stadiums!) and thus will be one of the few NFL games to air in primetime in the West Coast. We should see Terrelle Pryor back on the field for Oakland and he has helped to make the Raiders competitive this year but I think that in a potential shootout with Philip Rivers, I don't think he has the horses to make it happen.
Chargers 38 Raiders 30

Monday, October 7th
New York Jets (2-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (1-3) - ESPN, 8:30
So the Jets have themselves a turnover machine at quarterback that is all but immune to criticism from his own fanbase, sound familiar? There is no question that Geno Smith has been very inconsistent (he's on pace for 48 turnovers and has managed to top the butt fumble while escaping anywhere near the scorn Mark Sanchez would receive) and his struggles on the road are a cause for concern, particularly in a tough place to play like the Georgia Dome. Atlanta needs a bounce-back win big time, and they drew the right opponent.
Falcons 31 Jets 13

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