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NFL Week 5 Preview with Game Odds and Analysis

The 2013 NFL season is just over a month underway and we have seen quite a few exciting headlines in such a short period of time. Luckily, the excitement doesn’t stop and this weekend has its own fair share of great matchups.

Sunday morning kickoff will start with a matchup between the Ravens and Dolphins. The Ravens are one of the most confusing teams this season, while the Dolphins are one of the most surprising. After getting completely embarrassed on a Thursday night season opener to Denver, the Ravens were completely written off. That was until they won the next two games and were looking like a team that’s defense could carry them in a pretty week AFC North division. Then last week then lost to Buffalo with a porous overall effort, recreating the confusion that people have for this squad. Luckily for them, the Ravens are still atop the AFC North, even with a 2-2 record. Nonetheless, they’ll be looking for a win over the Dolphins to bolster their record. Speaking of the Dolphins, their bandwagon was getting a bit full before last Monday’s game against the Saints. Starting the season at 3-0, people began to think that this could be a great year for the team from South Beach. However after a loss on Monday to the Saints, some may have already jumped ship with their support of the Fins. Our thoughts are that this is actually a good team and simply were outmatched by a outstanding New Orleans team. We don’t expect Tannehill to have his second bad game in a row and therefore the Ravens D could be in trouble. This game will establish whether or not Baltimore can win against good teams, or if the Dolphins can establish themselves as a legit threat.

Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins

One of the more exciting games of the weekend could be between the Saints and the Bears. The aforementioned Saints are coming off another huge win on Monday, making them 4-0 on the season. Aside from Peyton Manning, Drew Brees is having himself an outstanding year and the entire Saints squad seems to be clicking. The Bears, on the other hand, are coming off a loss to Detroit and are looking to reaffirm to people that they deserve to be considered an elite squad. Last week we mentioned that the biggest factor of the Bears and Lions game could be the home field advantage. Now the advantage shifts to Chicago and the Bears could use this leverage over the Saints. This game is going to be a ruckus one and we are excited to see who walks away victorious. Either both teams will be tied at 4-1 and the Bears will have a victory over the Saints to boast about, or the Saints will be 5-0 and looking like a heck of a team to mess with for the remainder of the season.

New Orleans Saints
Chicago Bears

On paper the Bengals and Patriots matchup may not seem quite interesting. Simply put, the Patriots are undefeated while the Bengals are finding ways to shoot themselves in the foot with an opportunity that that they have to win an otherwise weak AFC North. However the game is in Cincinnati and the Bengals are coming off an embarrassing loss to Cleveland. And while the Patriots are riding high after a big win over Atlanta last Sunday night, don’t be fooled by the shortcomings they have. No matter how well Tom Brady is playing off that he is doing just fine with his receiving core of unknown players, we’re willing to bet that he’d feel much more comfortable with the guys he’s had in previous years. Nonetheless, Tom Brady is Tom Brady and he has a way of rallying guys in a locker room. And with a 5-0 record at stake, I’m sure the entire Patriots locker room will be hyped up and ready to win one on the road against the Bengals. A win for the Bengals, however, would put them back in the conversation for winning the AFC North and getting them back on track.

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Just four games into this preview of games and we are really realizing the amount of quality games that are on this weekend. The next one to keep an eye on is going to be the matchup between the 3-1 Lions and the 1-2 Packers. For the second straight year after winning the Super Bowl, the Packers are having a rough start to their season. Even their win against Washington doesn’t speak highly, considering the issues that the Redskins have had this season. What’s even more concerning is the Packers loss to the Bengals, who we already mentioned lost to the lowly Browns. The Lions on the other hand are looking super hot this year. At 3-1, they could just as easily be among the unbeaten teams in the NFL if it wasn’t for a heartbreaker in Arizona. Last weekends 40-32 win over Chicago was probably the most impressive of the year and legitimized their record. The X factor for this game could be the fact that the Packers had a bye week last week and have now had two weeks to prepare for the Lions. The game is also being played at Lambeau, and we’ve always advocated for the importance of home field advantage in tough games like this. This game should be a battle between two contenders and we’re excited to see who delivers the knockout blow.

Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers

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When the Seahawks visit the Colts this weekend, it too will be an interesting matchup that will draw the attention of NFL fans around the country. The Seahawks are still undefeated, but it should be mentioned that they showed weakness last week against Houston and were even dropped to the number two spot in many power-rankings on the Internet this week. It won’t be any easier for them this week as they play visitor to the Colts who have had their own success as of late. Behind the arm of Andrew Luck, this Colts team is nothing to laugh at and is quietly making a name for themselves as a dark horse team in the league. Their only loss was to Miami, who has proven to be a valuable team in their own right. However their huge win over San Francisco still is on everyone’s memory and proves just how difficult this Colts team can be. Could this be the week that the Seahawks see their first defeat of the season? Could this be a game that Andrew Luck proves that he’s not just good, but elite? Could the Colts skyrocket into the favorites of NFL teams with a win over one of the only remaining undefeated? Many questions will be answered as the final buzzer sounds on Sunday in Indy.

Seattle Seahawks
Indianapolis Colts

For every good weekend, there has to be a game that takes the brunt of being considered bad. Sorry Jags and Rams, its your weekend. Neither team is good. Neither team has shown much life. Neither team has drawn any interest from outside of their own markets (and in honestly the interest in St. Louis and Jacksonville is weak in its own right). The only thing to consider this weekend is whether or not it’ll be a chance for the Jags to finally get a ‘W’ in the win column. They likely wont, as even the Rams should be able to beat them. But we’ve seem St. Louis flounder before so anything could happen. As for the Rams, they need this win to save the embarrassment of losing to what is most likely considered the worst team in the league.

Jacksonville Jaguars
St. Louis Rams

Okay, now that we got the Rams and Jags out of the way, lets get back to the good games. The Chiefs and Titans game on Sunday will produce a bunch of interest for quite a few reasons. Not only are both teams having great years, with the Chiefs at 4-0 and the Titans at 3-1, but this will also be the first game that the Titans will have to start someone other than Jake Locker. Ryan Fitzpatrick has seen his share of starts in the NFL and he even led the Bills to a 6-0 record in recent years. But because he hasn’t seen starters minutes so far this season, it’s to be seen whether or not he is in the shape that’ll be necessary to keep up with the high-flying Chiefs. As for those Chiefs, they’ll look to keep handling business as usual. Alex Smith is coming off a 3-touchdown game against the Giants and will look to take the Chiefs to 5-0 for the first time in a decade. A lot of people are counting the Titans out of this one because of the loss of Locker and the record of the Chiefs, but we expect it to be a great game that could be one of the top matchups of the weekend.

Kansas City Chiefs
Tennessee Titans

Yesterday we mentioned that the major bust-game of the weekend was the matchup between the Jaguars and Rams. We hate to start today’s second part of week 5 matchups with another less-than-exciting game, but we figure it’s best to simply get it out of the way early. If you haven’t already guessed, we’re referring to the Eagles and Giants matchup in New York. The only thing that makes this game somewhat interesting is the fact that the NFC division rivals always put up a great game and, unlike the Jags or Rams, the Eagles and Giants do have pieces that make for legit squads, even if their records don’t show that. There is no way that Eli Manning could potentially be 0-5 after this game, right? Then again, it’s almost inconceivable that Michael Vick and Chip Kelly could be 1-4 after the first game blowout that they had. Furthermore, the Giants defense is horrible, so the Eagles should be able to rack up a load of points. However the Eagles play to their competition so the Giants should stay in it until the fourth, and you know how Eli gets in the fourth. As you can see, we’re going back and forth with what should happen in this game and we have no idea what to expect. I suppose we’ll just have to keep our eyes on it and see what happens as this could be a big game for the NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants

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The Panthers and Cardinals game may not be one that people make sure they tune into, but the game itself may be an interesting one to consider. Both teams are quite confusing in their own right, much like the Ravens, Browns, or a handful of other squads. The Cardinals lost their opening week game to the Rams, which is now proving to be more embarrassing as the Rams show they aren’t a great team, before beating Detroit, which is proving to be perplexing due to the Lions wins as of late. Then they lost an understandable game to the Saints, before winning a game they were picked to win against the Bucs. As for the Panthers, they are coming off a bye week, which was on the toes of a 38-0 rout of the New York Giants. That was the first win of the season for the Panthers, who played tough against Seattle and lost a heartbreaker to Buffalo. The fact of the matter is that Carolina may not be as bad as their record suggests. They have allowed the least amount of passing yards of any team all season and their defense has only given up 30-points all season. The next four weeks for the Panthers include the Cardinals, Vikings, Rams and Bucs, so we could legitimately be looking at a 5-2 team that started the season 0-2, after seven weeks of play. But in order for them to keep the streak alive, they’ll need to beat the Cardinals on the road. If Carolina is going to show that they have the pieces in place to keep up with the Saints, and ahead of the Flacons, in the NFC South, they will need a win on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers
Arizona Cardinals

Right about now, any game that Peyton Manning plays in is going to draw the attention of the entire nation. Add the fact that it’s against the Cowboys and we’re looking at a highly anticipated event in Arlington on Sunday. The Cowboys have not been good against the pass this year, and things won’t get any easier as a red-hot Manning comes to town. Manning has thrown for 1470-yards and 16-touchdowns in just four games. We mentioned last week a few hypothetical numbers he could reach if he kept on the pace that he’s been on, but with each passing week it’s looking like those numbers may not be so illogical. What’s even better for the Broncos is the help they’ve gotten from Knowshon Moreno. Sure, the receiving core that Manning has is great, but Moreno’s resurgence this season has been a much-appreciated addition to the overall game of the Broncos. As for the Cowboys, they haven’t been great against the AFC West this year, losing to both the Chiefs and the Chargers before the Broncos come to town. And the only wins the Cowboys can claim for their own have come against the lowly Rams and equally disappointing Giants. Manning and company will look to put on a show against the Cowboys, while Dallas will look to surprise the entire league by trying to shut down the perennial attack of Denver.

Denver Broncos
Dallas Cowboys

An AFC showdown will happen on Sunday as the Chargers visit the Raiders. The Chargers could be among the best 2-2 teams in the league. And even more unfortunate for them, they are in the toughest division in football with the Chiefs and Broncos ahead of them. Phillip Rivers has been almost as good as Manning and Alex Smith, adding to the perennial talent that this division has. That is, except in Oakland, where they are hoping that Terrell Pryor will be ready to come back from a concussion to play in this weekend’s game. San Diego has won when they were supposed to win this year, beating both Philly and Dallas. However when they played tougher teams like Houston and Tennessee, they ended up walking away on the losing end. They need to win this weekend to not only prove that they are a legit team, but also to keep up with the Chiefs and Broncos. With a win of their own, the Raiders would tie themselves up with the Chargers, and both teams would have a lot of ground to make on the top teams in the AFC West.

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Sunday’s prime time game will include the Texans and the 49ers. Despite their 2-2 records, this game should certainly be of interest to watch and deserves to be the Sunday game of the week. The 49ers have stumbled a bit, but looked to get back on track when they beat up on the Rams last week. The Texans on the other started out white hot but have dropped the last two of their own. We’ll have to keep an eye on how last week’s loss to Seattle in overtime will affect the Texans. Will it motivate them to not let the 49ers stick around the way the Seahawks did? Or will it demoralize their spirits and leave the team coming out flat? The 49ers are hoping that it’ll be the latter. And with home field advantage on a Sunday night, they will be looking to make a statement that they are still the top team in the NFC, despite a few early season jitters.

Houston Texans
San Francisco 49ers

The Jets and Falcons will get all the attention on Monday night. Believe it or not, the Jets are 2-2 headed into this game, while the Falcons are a surprising 1-3. Last year it seemed as if the Falcons were a team that the ball always happened to bounce the right way for. But this year the same luck doesn’t seem to be happening for them, as they have been on the short end of some heartbreaking losses so far this season. Matt Ryan hasn’t lost three straight games in a row since his tenure began in Atlanta, so he will hope that this isn’t the case on Monday night. As for Geno Smith, he’ll be making his Monday Night Football debut, ready to show the world why he is the starting quarterback of the Jets. The jury is still out on the Jets, as they are another one of those 2-2 teams that have had some lucky wins that could’ve easily been loses and their season would look completely different. Nonetheless, Monday night should be a fun one to watch and see how both teams handle the pressure of the big lights.

New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons

The Vikings, Steelers, Bucs and Redskins will all get bye weeks this weekend, as they prepare for their matchups next week. For a handful of teams with zero or one wins, this break is much appreciated for all of the teams off from action this weekend.

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