With four weeks in the books the 2016 NFL season is already beginning to take shape. We have seen some power house teams emerge and others wither under the pressure. Week 5 begins with a good matchup on Thursday night between the Cardinals and the 49ers, and this week features some prime time matchups. Take a look at the power rankings going into this week to see which times might rise and which teams might fall. This week’s game of the week features the Cincinnati Bengals who are up against the Dallas Cowboys. I am anxious to get on with predictions, I am hopeful to keep this winning predictions record alive this week. Here are the picks for week 5 in the NFL.
*Teams on Bye: Jaguars, Chiefs, Saints, Seahawks
GAME OF THE WEEK
Bengals (2-2) vs. Cowboys (3-1)
A showdown in Dallas between two teams trying to show that they belong in the conversation with the league’s elite teams. The hot Bengals come to town with an offense firing on all cylinders led by Andy Dalton and AJ Green. The Cowboys will have a hard time shutting down Green in this game since he has been on fire lately, going off for over 170 yards last week and a score. The Bengals have a solid defense led by Burfict and will be looking to get Dallas out of this game quick. The Cowboys are led by a pair of Rookies who are truly shining this season. Elliott will be looking to get going on the ground again, but it is imperative that the Cowboys have a solid passing attack as well, because if they don’t, the Bengals will load the box and make it difficult for Elliott to run in this one. I predict a close game, but if Dez Bryant is able to suit up and play, the Cowboys win this one. Plus, I can’t go against my boys!
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME
Cardinals (1-3) vs. 49ers (1-3)
Both teams come limping into this game hoping to get things right before it’s too late. The Cardinals will be without Palmer for the first time this season as he was knocked out of last week’s game with a concussion. Stanton was not good in Palmer’s absence, so I give the nod to the 49ers in this game. Both teams have struggled, but for the sheer fact that the Cardinals do not have their franchise QB, I have to go with the 49ers pulling this one out.
Patriots (3-1) vs. Browns (0-4)
I don’t know who would pick this game in the Browns favor, but this is just too one sided to even question. The Patriots have their King returning this week in Tom Brady, and he WILL have a chip on his shoulder. Brady was dominant last year and my prediction is that he will be again this year. Watch out sports fans, this has all the makings of a over-by-halftime type of game.
Eagles (3-0) vs. Lions (1-3)
You might think I’m crazy here, but I actually have a hard time picking this game. On paper, this is one sided, but my gut is telling me that the Lions are going to win this game. I think it is hard for teams to be on fire and then have a bye week, especially a young team led by a rookie quarterback. But I still think this game will go in the favor of the Eagles in a close fought game in Detroit. This Eagles defense is just too good to get passed and I imagine that Stafford will have a tough time on Sunday. I wish it was going the other way but I don’t see it happening.
Bears (1-3) vs. Colts (1- 3)
A tough call between two bottom-dwelling teams in the Colts and Bears. The Bears impressed everyone with a win last week over the Lions. No one expected a win out of them in that game. What people don’t notice is that the Bears have some weapons on offense, a great WR in Jeffery, a streaking TE in Miller, and a good young RB in Howard, not to mention a journeyman experienced QB in Hoyer. The Bears can surprise some teams on the right day. I still have faith in Luck however and the magic he is able to produce on the field. The Colts cut some big defensive players this week in order to right the ship defensively so I see them bouncing back at home and winning this game behind their strong arm QB.
Titans (1-3) vs. Dolphins (1-3)
Two teams looking to get things going for real this 2016 season in the Tennessee Titans and the Dolphins. The Dolphins have the talent of a strong contender, but are playing like they don’t care. They have looked poorly coached, and poorly prepared in all of their games. This was a team that I was excited to watch this season and I am truly disappointed by what I have seen. The Titans are looking pretty good despite their record, having one of the best running games in the NFL right now with DeMarco Murray running like its 2014. I am rooting for this Titans team who totally rebuilt themselves this offseason, and I think this is a game they can win.
Redskins (2-2) vs. Ravens (3-1)
Another tough game to call this week between the Ravens and the Redskins. I apologize for my lack of respect for the record of the Ravens so far this season, but come on, they haven’t played anyone. This will be another tough matchup for them in the talented Redskins. Cousins is starting to play better and it looks like they will be able to take this one. Matt Jones looked great last week for the Skins and I think he will keep up that form as well this week. The Redskins have the better defense here and will win this close game.
Texans (3-1) vs. Vikings (4-0)
Talk all that you want about the Texans having a chance in this game, I am NOT a believer in that. This Vikings team is built to win NOW and will show that again this week in their matchup with the Texans. Bradford is playing like a playoff caliber QB and the defense just shut out one of the best WR groups in the league. The Vikings will win at home in a game that is not even close.
Jets (1-3) vs. Steelers (3-1)
Speaking of not even close. The Jets are bad, and I mean BAD. They have played horrible in the past few weeks losing in embarrassing fashion again and again. And guess what, it’s going to happen again. The Steelers showed that the loss to the Eagles was a one-time fluke and will prove that again this week in route to a huge win over this Jets team. LeVeon Bell seems to be the piece the Steelers were missing and will be a big time contributor as the season moves forward. Look for this underrated Steelers defense to get some turnovers from the Santa-Claus like Fitzpatrick who is gifting Interceptions as of late. The Steelers win big at home.
Falcons (3-1) vs. Broncos (4-0)
This was another qualifier for the game of the week, a game in which the top offense in the NFL takes on the top defense. The Falcons are always contenders in the early season posting big numbers so far, and this will be a big test to see if this group is for real. Julio Jones looked like he could not be stopped last week recording 300 yards and a touchdown. I still think that he will have a big game this week, but I am not sure that this Falcons team can withstand the defensive onslaught that is going to come crashing towards them this week. I think that the Falcons will show their true colors, and the Broncos will emerge victorious in this one.
Bills (2-2) vs. Rams (3-1)
Okay, I’m officially a believer. The Rams can play some football, and with a 3-1 start they are looking to be challenging for their division title. The Rams have not looked great on offense as they still have yet to make good use of Todd Gurley, but with a passing game that is starting to emerge, you might see some holes open up for him in the coming weeks. The Bills are riding a two game winning streak, and after beating the Patriots last week, they have to be high on confidence going forward. I do not think that confidence is enough in this one as the Rams defense is too good, and the Bills defense is not good enough to stop this Rams team. I think Gurley will have his first 100 yard game this week and the Rams will get a win at home.
Chargers (1-3) vs. Raiders (3-1)
A Classic AFC West matchup between the Raiders and the Chargers. The Chargers have been horrible this season at closing games and this week they face a tough game that may not matter towards the end. The Raiders have a great young offensive unit, let by a star quarterback and top receivers in Crabtree and Cooper. I believe that this Raiders team is too good to keep this one in reach for the Chargers and we will have a game in which this Raiders team wins by at least two touchdowns.
Giants (2-2) vs. Packers (3-1)
If this game were in New York, I would probably go with the Giants here, but I just do not think that they can bounce back from last week’s loss to come into Green Bay and get a win. Teams are starting to learn how to take OBJ out of games and you will see a lot of showmanship from corners around the league trying to get into his head. I see the Packers coming out strong in this game with Rodgers playing like the champion he is and they come away with a win in a close game at home.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME
Buccaneers (1-3) vs. Panthers (1-3)
This game between two NFC south teams looks to be a showdown in which the Panthers look to bounce back to winning form, and the Buccaneers trying to prove that they are not complete pretenders. Cam Newton has still not practiced this week while still being on concussion protocol. If he sits this game, I will go in favor of the Buccaneers, but if he does play, he is just too good not to count on in this one. Cam is a competitor and will lead his team to victory at home. The Panthers will start to build a comeback and try to make a charge at closing the gap in their division.