Plenty of surprises from week four but will they trickle into NFL week five? A number of team that made it to 4-0 look human including Seattle. Of the early games, which teams will set the tone?
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns: Ray Horton out to contain E.J. Manuel
Two of the bigger surprises of the 2013 NFL season. The Buffalo Bills are riding the rookie wave with E.J. Manuel while the Cleveland Browns have hung tough with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and Ray Horton on defense. This game will come down to which team does what they do best better. The Browns are at home though and Hoyer has looked really good.
Final score: BUF 21, CLE 24
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears: Drew Brees against the elements
Drew Brees hasn’t had to carry the day thanks to a remarkable job by Rob Ryan on the defense of the New Orleans Saints. They should be favorite entering this game but could run into some problems against the Chicago Bears. The weather is expected to be wet and cold. It’s on the notorious sloppy turf of Soldier Field and the Saints are coming off a short week. Chicago isn’t a pushover at 3-1 either. Mother nature and home field win the day here.
Final score: NO 23, CHI 27
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals: Tom Brady hunt begins
If ever a team eyed another upset at home it’s the Cincinnati Bengals. They need some of that magic after the letdown in Cleveland. The New England Patriots are a tough challenge with Tom Brady and that Bill Belichick defense. Still, the Bengals have a strong defensive front and a talent-laden offense with different ways to attack. It should be close and come down to the final minutes.
Final score: NE 24, CIN 28
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: Stop Reggie Bush or Aaron Rodgers
It’s impossible not to smell the confidence seeping out of every pore of the Detroit Lions players. In spite of their impressive victory over Chicago, they must temper the enthusiasm. The Green Bay Packers are coming out of the bye week with an extra week to prepare and Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Detroit must look to get Reggie Bush going because they have already proven unable to win a shootout at Lambeau Field.
Final score: DET 28, GB 31
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck playing smart
They made it to 4-0 but there have been moments where the Seattle Seahawks have looked very mortal. Russell Wilson has played well when it counts but he’s not getting protected well enough and Seattle can only survive on running the ball and strong defense for so long. They go in against a balanced Indianapolis Colts team coming off two blowout victories led by Andrew Luck and a vastly improved defense. The magic runs out for the ‘Hawks.
Final score: SEA 17, IND 26
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: Joe Flacco better protected
The Miami Dolphins have plummeted back to earth after their schooling in New Orleans. Now they must learn how to rebound quickly because the Baltimore Ravens are coming in ornery after their humiliating defeat against Buffalo. Joe Flacco will have added protection with the addition of Eugene Monroe. Hopefully the Dolphins can counter with a healthy Cameron Wake. Otherwise this will turn into a Ravens type of game.
Final score: BAL 21, MIA 14
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: Eli Manning must mirror Peyton
A matchup that always produces fireworks of some kind. The Philadelphia Eagles come in after their thorough whipping at the hands of Peyton Manning in hopes they can take their anger out on little brother Eli Manning. The New York Giants are searching for any answer they can find to get a win but neither side of the ball is playing well. Still, the Eagles always present a chance to get momentum going. Expect this one to become a shootout.
Final score: PHI 35, NYG 34
Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams: Blaine Gabbert offers no hope
This may be one of the last few chances the Jacksonville Jaguars will actually have to win a game for the entire 2013 NFL season. The St. Louis Rams are reeling from their loss to San Francisco and have injury problems on offense and inconsistency on defense. If Gus Bradley can somehow summon one good game out of Blaine Gabbert they might pull it off, but after trading Eugene Monroe that is more unlikely than ever.
Final score: JAC 10, STL 27
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans: Alex Smith the key factor
Two defensively driven teams coming off big wins against opponents from New York. The key difference between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans rests at quarterback. Jake Locker is out for a few weeks with a bad hip sprain while Alex Smith is healthy and taking good care of the football. Kansas City can also run the football with more regularity too. If Tennessee wants to win they must find a way to get Chris Johnson going for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Final score: K.C. 17, TEN 13