NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 5

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Indianapolis @ New England (-10)

New England hammered the Dolphins, 38-7, serving notice that the Patriots are indeed the team to beat in the AFC East. Tom Brady passed for 3 touchdowns, and Josh Gordon had his first receptions as a Patriot, with 2 grabs for 32 yards.

"That was basically a must-win game for us," Brady said. "At 1-2, it was time to panic. And what you saw from us on both sides of the ball was our 'panic attack.'

"Josh could be the key to our season. And I think he needs us as much as we need him. He's the 'ying' to our 'yang.' Now, if you say that to Josh, he might hear 'Yuengling.' But when you've overcome what Josh has overcome, you deserve a special nickname. And Josh's is 'Flask' Gordon."

The Colts lost at home to the Texans, 37-34 in overtime after a bold fourth down call by Frank Reich backfired, allowing the Texans to kick the winning field goal. Andrew Luck passed for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"It looks like we'll be calling our coach 'Fourth Reich,'" Luck said.

"I did indeed have a big passing day, but it took me 62 passes to get there. You heard right. 62. Explain to me again why Vance McDonald's stiff arm is so exceptional. I have one every game and no one makes that big a deal of it.

"Adam Vinatieri became the NFL's new career field goals leader. Adam's been kicking in the league for 23 years. He says his secret to his success is confidence, and believing you are by far the best at what you do. In Patriots-speak, that's called 'having a properly-inflated ego.'"

Are the Patriots back? They are, and so is the odd sense of humor of Bill Belichick, who, in a dig at Frank Reich, accessorizes his sleeveless hoodie with a tie.

Patriots win, 33-21.

Tennessee @ Buffalo (+3)

The Packers defense overwhelmed the Bills 22-0 at Lambeau Field, sacking Josh Allen 7 times and forcing 3 Allen turnovers.

"The Packers apparently wanted Josh not to forget that he was a rookie," Doug McDermott said. "So, they took it upon themselves to haze him. The result? Josh was 'hazed and confused,' and his hopes of success in Green Bay went down like a led zeppelin."

The Titans erased a 17-3 second-half deficit and stunned the visiting Eagles 26-23 in overtime. Marcus Mariota's 10-yard TD pass on fourth down to Corey Davis with five seconds left gave Tennessee the win.

"What a gutsy call by Mike Vrabel," Mariota said. "When a coach decides to go for it and it works, players love it. On the other hand, when a coach decides to go for it and it fails, players pretend to love it.

"But I would make my call 10 out of 10 times, but only if I knew it would turn out the way it did."

Titans win, 17-10.

Miami @ Cincinnati (-6)

The Dolphins were blasted 38-7 to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense were held to just 172 yards of total offense.

"That was a long trip back from Foxboro," Adam Gase said. "And an even longer trip back down to earth. But maybe our heads were getting too big, so a blowout win was just what the doctor ordered. And the doctor also prescribed a dose of reality.

"Our undefeated season has come to an end. So the members of the 1972 Dolphins can not only rest easy, they can rest in peace."

Andy Dalton's 13-yard scoring pass to A.J. Green with 7 seconds left gave the Bengals a 37-36 win over the Falcons in Atlanta.

"Andy is off to a great start," Marvin Lewis said. "And so is our season. We're 3-1, tied with the Ravens for first in the AFC North. Our goal is to win the division and earn a first-round bye, which, coupled with my playoff record, means we'd be making a second-round 'bye.'"

Cincinnati wins, 27-24.

Baltimore @ Cleveland (+3)

In Baker Mayfield's first start as a Brown, Cleveland lost 45-42 in overtime to the Raiders in Oakland. Mayfield passed for 2 touchdowns, but also had 4 turnovers.

"I've got to be better at protecting the ball," Mayfield said. "What they say about the NFL is true: the speed of the game is much faster than the college game. I made the mistake of underestimating the speed of NFL players, just like I underestimated the speed of police in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

"Johnny Manziel wrote a me a letter in a segment on ESPN. I was impressed. Johnny completed 6-of-11 ... sentences.

"Despite the loss, optimism is high in Cleveland. We're 1-2-1, so we have won a game, and Josh Gordon is no longer in Cleveland. Those are two reasons why refrigerators are no longer locked here."

The Ravens jumped on the Steelers early and came away with a 26-14 road victory at Heinz Field. The Baltimore defense imposed its will on the Steelers offense, holding them to only 19 yards rushing.

"We knew it would be a hard-fought game," John Harbaugh said. "Steelers/Ravens games are always physical. After those games, press conferences are held in blue tents.

"Easily moving the ball on the Steelers defense is the new fad, because everybody's doing it. What's happened to the Steelers defense? That used to be a hallmark of the franchise. I'm sure somewhere, James Harrison is squatting 900 pounds. What does that have to do with the Pittsburgh defense? They're playing like a 900 pound 'squat.'"

Ravens win, 24-16.

Green Bay @ Detroit (+1½)

The Packers bounced back from Week 3's loss to the Redskins with a convincing 22-0 victory over the visiting Bills. While the offensive performance was lackluster, the defense dominated, with 7 sacks and 3 turnovers.

"One-half of one of those sacks belonged to Clay Matthews," Mike McCarthy said. "We checked with the league office, and they've approved Clay's half-sack, with the condition he doesn't commit another roughing the passer violation for the remainder of the year.

"Clay's started a campaign to raise awareness for defender affected by the new roughing rules. It's called 'Enough!-ing the Passer.' Please donate."

The Lions lost 26-24 at Dallas, falling on the final play of the game, a Brett Maher field goal as time expired. The Lions dropped to 1-3, last in the NFC North.

"We're disappointed," Matt Patricia said, "but not discouraged. Bill Belichick taught me never to give up ... the names of lowly assistants who help you surreptitiously gather information on opponents.

"We desperately need a win. To do so, we'll need to make sure Aaron Rodgers doesn't get comfortable in the pocket. Rodgers can be frustrated, usually by the play-calling of Mike McCarthy. McCarthy has a huge, laminated play sheet, and 90% of those plays are guaranteed to gain 4 yards or less. Our major concern is making sure they don't call the one play on that sheet that we're vulnerable to — the 'Hail Mary.'"

Detroit wins, 25-23.

Jacksonville @ Kansas City (-3)

The Jaguars overwhelmed the visiting Jets 31-12, led by Blake Bortles, who passed for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"We were heavily favored over the Jets," Doug Marrone said. "In other words, they had an 'outside shot' of beating us. And speaking of 'outside shot,' I'm not a big proponent of the three-pointer. That's why I 'go for two.' That's a way better explanation than the one I gave for attempting a two-point conversion with a 19-point lead with 25 seconds left in the game.

"We like to think our defense is one of the NFL's most intimidating. And the Chiefs offense appears to be one of, if not the most intimidating. Just look at those playmakers. And their clever head coach makes them look even scarier. Andy Reid looks like the Kool-Aid Man with a play sheet."

The Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, scored 14 points in the final 6:27 to upend the upset-minded Broncos, 27-23, in Denver.

"This team can score quickly," Andy Reid said. "And Mahomes has been the boost the offense needed, and he's the hottest player in the league. We call him the 'Hot Chief Injection.'

"But how about Patrick's left-handed pass to Tyreek Hill with Von Miller breathing down his neck? It wasn't pretty, and reminded me of Raider great Kenny Stabler intentionally fumbling forward back in 1978. Some called any Stabler pass a 'wounded duck.' Kenny always preferred 'Wild Turkey.'

"Anyway, we're 4-0 and 2 games up in the AFC West. So we're 'Wholly Rollin.''

"Our defense needs work. And our defensive coordinator Bob Sutton may 'need work' soon himself, unless he gets the defense headed in the right direction. But I shouldn't complain. Our defense does just enough to get the ball back to our offense. A 'three-and-out' for our defense means the opposing offense needed only three plays to score."

Jags win, 24-20.

Denver @ N.Y. Jets (-2½)

The Jets lost their third straight game, a 31-12 defeat in Jacksonville. New York struggled to move the ball against the aggressive Jags defense.

"There was just nothing open downfield," Todd Bowles said, "except Jalen Ramsey's mouth. He's always talking. With Leonard Fournette out with injury, Jalen is practically fully responsible for our 'running' game.

"I'm about sick of talking about wiping your butt with the football. But now that we're on the subject, I have some advice for would-be football butt wipers — laces out!"

The Broncos squandered a 10-point fourth quarter lead in an eventual 27-23 loss to the visiting Chiefs.

"If Case Keenum connects with DeMaryius Thomas," Vance Joseph said, "we win the game. Case needs to earn the money we're paying him. Basically, we're paying Case $36 million over two years for one throw he made as a Viking. If he doesn't pick it up, his tenure here will be short. In other words, it will be a 'brief Case' full of money."

Jets win,, 23-17.

Atlanta @ Pittsburgh (-3)

The Steelers were dominated in the second half by the visiting Ravens, who turned an 14-14 game at the half into a decisive 26-14 win. After the game, Ben Roethlisberger took the blame for the loss.

"It's all about accountability," Roethlisberger said. "And I know all about accountability — t's a quality of a successful financial advisor.

"We just got news that Le'Veon Bell will rejoin the team in Week 7. We're not exactly sure who called who's bluff, but Le'Veon's 'one of a kind' beats whatever cards James Connor is holding any day. Le'Veon hasn't participated in a team activity all season. That's called 'chronic absence,' but in Le'Veon's case, that certainly doesn't mean there's an 'absence of chronic.'

"While Le'Veon was sitting, we were entertaining trade offers for Le'Veon. They're 'entertaining' because, apparently, other teams are laughing at our offers."

The Bengals outgunned the Falcons 37-36, handing Atlanta its second consecutive home defeat. Matt Ryan passed for 419 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the Falcons couldn't make a stop when they needed to.

"It certainly wasn't a defensive battle," Dan Quinn said, "unless you consider defending your defensive coordinator to his detractors a 'defensive battle.' But let's face it, our defensive unit is playing what's known as the 'Chick-fil-A defense,' because it doesn't show up on Sunday's."

The Steelers defense steps up, forcing 2 turnovers, and Ben Roethlisberger passes for 4 touchdowns.

Pittsburgh wins, 34-28.

N.Y. Giants @ Carolina (-7)

The Panthers return from their bye week looking to build on a strong 2-1 start to the season.

"We signed Eric Reid," Ron Rivera said. "He is well known for kneeling with Colin Kaepernick. Now, we realize it may be an unpopular signing, but to those who may be upset about it, keep in mind, this is the same team that had Greg Hardy on its roster.

"But never fear, '#I'm With Kap' can easily be changed to read '#I'm With Cam.' Or even '#Cam With Kap,' which would make a great # for pics of Cam Newton wearing his dumb hats."

The Giants lost to the Saints, 33-18, and the G-Men are now 1-3. The New Orleans defense limited Odell Beckham, Jr. to 7 catches and only 60 yards.

"Odell hasn't scored a touchdown all season," Eli Manning said. "So you can definitely count his touchdowns on one hand.

"Despite our struggles, we're only 1 ½ games out of first in the NFC East. So, we're right in the thick of things. Sadly, though, our offensive line is in the 'thin' of things."

Carolina wins, 27-17.

Oakland @ L.A. Chargers (-5½)

The Raiders won for the first time, holding off the visiting Browns, 45-42, in an overtime thriller in Oakland. Derek Carr passed for 437 yards and 4 touchdowns, and the Oakland defense forced 4 Baker Mayfield turnovers.

"It's official," Jon Gruden said, "I've got my first win this season. The reason I have my first win? It's 'officials.'"

The Chargers improved to 2-2 with a narrow 29-27 win over the 49ers. Philip Rivers passed for 3 touchdowns, and the Chargers defense struggled to slow the 49ers passing game.

"We're 2-2," Rivers said. "In other words, on pace to go 8-8. Basically, the chances of us winning are '50-50,' which could also be the score of a tie game in which our offense plays its best and our defense does, as well.

"We know that Raiders fans travel well. I expect the StubHub Center to be half-full of Oakland fans. That means there will only be Raiders fans there, because the StubHub Center is never more than half-full."

Chargers win, 31-29.

Minnesota @ Philadelphia (-3)

The Vikings lost a 38-31 shootout to the Rams on Thursday night and fell to 1-2-1 on the year. Kirk Cousins passed for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"I'm not sure what's going on with our defense," Mike Zimmer said. "Yes, they wear purple, but they're certainly not eating people. Whatever it is they are eating is getting rammed down their throats.

"We're happy to have Dan Bailey as our kicker. He didn't miss a kick against the Rams. Of course, he's one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. In other words, Dan is a 'can't miss' kicker. That's much better than what we've had before, which are 'better-not-miss' kickers."

The Eagles were stunned in overtime by the Titans, who converted a fourth down touchdown with time dwindling in overtime for a 26-23 win. Philly fell to 2-2 on the year.

"We're flabbergasted," Doug Pederson. "With respect to Earl Thomas' middle finger gesture to the Seattle sideline, I'd like to salute the Titans sideline with a gesture of my own — the 'shocker.'"

Eagles win, 29-18.

Arizona @ San Francisco (-4)

The Cardinals fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1986 with a tough 20-17 home loss to the Seahawks. Sebastian Janikowski's 52-yarder as time expired was the game-winner.

"Janikowski can still kick the ball out of the stadium," Steve Wilks said. "Now, to kick a ball out of the stadium, the stadium can't have a roof. Technically, you can kick the ball out of a stadium with a retractable roof, which Sebastian would call a 'roofie.'

"But enough about a has-been kicker; let's talk about our quarterback, Josh Rosen. We're hoping Josh's career follows a similar path to that of Kurt Warner, and Josh can lead this team to the Super Bowl. There's another QB named Josh, Josh Allen of Buffalo, who looks to be on pace to follow a similar Warner path — to be a grocery bagger."

Cards win, 28-20.

L.A. Rams @ Seattle (+7)

Jared Goff passed for 465 yards and 5 touchdowns as the Rams outscored the visiting Vikings, 38-31.

"I don't think anyone expected a shootout," Goff said. "Especially with Aqib Talib not on the field. Talib is out for several weeks with a high ankle sprain. Doctors have told him to 'ice it,' with strict instructions to use ice, and not bullets.

"Injuries have left our defense depleted. But I'm confident Wade Phillips can make adjustment and get things right. Wade's been around so long in this league, he remembers a time when you could actually tackle a quarterback."

The Seahawks beat the Cardinal, 20-17. The win was costly, as Earl Thomas was lost for the season with a broken leg.

"Earl gave our sideline the middle finger as he was carted off the field," Pete Carroll said. "I don't think Earl meant much by that. Honestly, I think he was just indicating the number of years left on his contract."

Rams win, 31-21.

Dallas @ Houston (-3½)

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 152 yards and had a long TD reception as the Cowboys edged the visiting Lions, 26-24.

"Almost as importantly," Jerry Jones said, "Dak Prescott passed for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns. Just when people thought Dak was struggling. So, while Ezekiel is saying, 'Feed me,' Dak is saying, 'Eat me.'"

The Texans won for the first time, knocking off the Colts 37-24 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Deshaun Watson passed for 375 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"The outcome hinged on a failed fourth-down conversion by the Colts," Bill O'Brien said. "So, I'd like to thank Frank Reich for saving my job, albeit just temporarily."

Houston wins, 26-23.

Washington @ New Orleans (-6½)

The Redskins return from a bye week to face the high-scoring Saints offense on Monday night. Jay Gruden knows the 'Skins will have to run the ball successfully to limit the time the Saints offense is on the field.

"That's why it's important for Adrian Peterson to be at his best," Jay Gruden said. "A lot of people forget that Adrian was a Saint for five games last year. In other words, that was one of his many 'short runs' in a Saints uniform."

The Saints beat the Giants 33-18 at MetLife Stadium and are now 3-1 in the NFC South, ½-game ahead of the 2-1 Panthers. Alvin Kamara ran wild on the New York defense, piling up 134 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"I'm 201 yards from passing Peyton Manning on the all-time passing yardage list," Drew Brees said. "I'll be honored when it happens. Anytime you find yourself above a Manning in the record books, it's quite an accomplishment, as long as it's Peyton Manning."

Saints win, 31-27.

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