Thursday, October 7, 2021

NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 5

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

L.A. Rams @ Seattle (+2½)

The Rams lost 37-20 to Kyler Murray and the visiting Cardinals, and L.A.'s unbeaten record came crashing down.

"The Cardinals came to SoFi Stadium," Sean McVay said, "and said, 'I'll see your Chunky Soup, and raise you a can of whoop ass. And we folded.

"We just couldn't stop Murray. He's a multi-dimensional player — he can beat you with his arm, his legs, and his mind. What's most amazing, though, is Kyler's doing all this with Kliff Kingsbury as his coach. If Kliff chose not to fly home from a game with his team, they wouldn't even notice."

Russell Wilson passed for 2 scores and rushed for another as the Seahawks snapped a two-game skid with a 28-21 win over the 49ers at Levi's Stadium.

"We certainly didn't want to go 1-3 to start the season," Pete Carroll said. "There's nothing good about being 1-3. Actually, there is one good thing — you can't vacate wins if you don't have them.

"Russell's performance was vintage Russell Wilson. Anything I do is considered vintage, because I'm 70-years-old. I may be 70, but I'm still hip. And speaking of 'hips,' Urban Meyer almost got fired because a pair of hips were crotch-cradling him in an Ohio bar. Take it from me, if Urban loses his job over that, it would be a 'hip replacement.'"

Seahawks win, 30-28.

NY Jets @ Atlanta (-3½)

Rookie Zach Wilson passed for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Jets nabbed their first win of the year with a 27-24 overtime win over the Titans.

"This is something Zach will remember for a long time," Robert Saleh said. "Probably because this is going to be his signature win for quite a while."

Despite 4 passing touchdowns from Matt Ryan, the Falcons lost 34-30 at home to Washington to fall to 1-3.

"We're excited about the trip to London," Arthur Smith said. "It should be interesting to see Matt throw the ball 'across the pond.' I'm not even sure Matt can throw a ball across a pond."

Jets win, 24-22.

Green Bay @ Cincinnati (+3½)

The Bengals overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to the Jaguars on Thursday night and rode a dominant second half to win 24-21. Joe Burrow passed for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to tight end C.J. Uzomah.

"That may be the best game of C.J.'s career," Burrow said. "I'm pretty sure he celebrated in true Urban Meyer fashion, and I'm pretty sure Zac Taylor wasn't too thrilled about C.J. grinding on him like that.

"We're 3-1, and we're very proud of that record. So our mindset is clear and our goal is set — we're not going to tank.

"As for the Packers, we're treating this like a playoff game. So Marvin Lewis is not even allowed in the stadium."

The Packers whipped the Steelers 27-17 at Lambeau Field, led by 2 TD passes from Aaron Rodgers, both to Randall Cobb.

"That was a rematch of Super Bowl XLV," Rodgers said. "It sure seems like that was way more than just over 10 years ago, especially when you look at my face, or Ben Roethlisberger's right arm."

Packers win, 27-24.

Detroit @ Minnesota (-7½)

The Browns held the Vikings to under 300 yards of offense and 1 touchdown in a 14-7 Cleveland win, dropping the Vikes to 1-3.

"If you're asking me to say anything good about our offense against Cleveland," Mike Zimmer said, "I choose to 'punt.'"

The Lions are 0-4 after losing 24-14 to the Bears in Chicago. Jared Goff was sacked 4 times and fumbled twice, and the Bears racked up 188 yards on the ground.

"What is the definition of 'glaring weakness?' Dan Campbell said. "Me staring at Jared Goff.

"But I'm not discouraged. We've been competitive. If we get a few bounces here and there, and a few calls go our way, and lightning strikes twice, and the officials don't go blind for two seconds, we could easily be 1-3."

Minnesota wins, 31-20.

Denver @ Pittsburgh (-1½)

The Steelers lost 27-17 to the Packers at Lambeau Field. Ben Roethlisberger connected with Diontae Johnson for a 45-yard TD on Pittsburgh's opening drive, but the offense struggled the rest of the way as the Steelers lost their third straight.

"Aside from that TD pass," Mike Tomlin said, "we had no other explosive plays. Apparently, the only defense being stretched is our own.

"Many are saying Ben should call it a career. It's certainly not the first time someone's said 'Time's Up' to Ben, but probably the first time someone other than a female has.

"Don't get me wrong, Ben will be an NFL Hall of Famer. And the sooner he's inducted, the better."

The visiting Ravens handed the Broncos their first defeat, a 24-7 thrashing at Mile High Field. Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out of the game with a concussion late in the first half, and Denver went scoreless in the second half.

"I'm not too happy with the Ravens trying to go for the record of consecutive 100-yard rushing games," Vic Fangio said. "I'm even less happy that they succeeded.

"But we have to forget about that and turn our focus to the Steelers, especially T.J. Watt. He's a monster. I could be wrong, but I bet he spends more time behind the line of scrimmage than Ben Roethlisberger's passes."

Pittsburgh forces three turnovers, and the Steelers win, 22-15.

Miami @ Tampa Bay (-10½)

The Buccaneers earned a hard-fought 19-17 win over the Patriots in Tom Brady's return to Foxborough. Tom Brady was 22-of-43 for 269 yards and no touchdowns.

"I was feeling a lot of emotions during that game," Brady said. "The fact that I spent 20 seasons in New England really got to me. It made me feel my age; the Patriots defense made me look it.

"I was really impressed by Mac Jones. He has command of that offense, has great mechanics, and his 'quick release' reminds many of me, or when Cam Newton was unceremoniously cut in August."

The Dolphins lost 27-17 at Hard Rock Stadium to the visiting Colts. Miami managed just 35 yards on the ground.

"We looked terrible," Brian Flores said, "and we must play much better if we're going to be a factor in the AFC East. I still think we can be competitive, with the Jets, for third place in the division.

"People forget we won 10 games last season and just missed the playoffs. You would too if you saw us play this season. It's already Week 4, and still the highlight of our season is a sky-diving cat being caught in an American flag."

Buccaneers win, 32-17.

New Orleans @ Washington (+1½)

The Giants upset the Saints 27-21 in overtime at the Caesars Superdome, as the Saints defense gave up nearly 500 yards of total offense. New Orleans fell to 2-2, third in the NFC South.

"That's a huge number of yards," Sean Payton said. "In essence, the Giants offense put a 'bounty' on our entire defense.

"We were finally able to play in the Superdome. Keep in mind, it's now called the Caesars Superdome. That means Caesars pays to put their name on the stadium. And I'm all for paying someone for a job well done."

Taylor Heinecke passed for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns as Washington outgunned Matt Ryan and Atlanta, 34-30.

"Taylor knows how to keep plays alive," Ron Rivera said. "He grew up watching Brett Favre extend plays and make highlight reel throws. I'm perfectly okay with him emulating Favre, as long as he keeps his schlong off camera. Now, if Taylor did send a 'D-pic,' it would have to be called a 'DiC-pic.'"

The Saints get their defensive issues fixed, and Taysom Hill tosses aTD pass to Jameis Winston, and New Orleans wins, 24-16.

Philadelphia @ Carolina (-3½)

The Eagles couldn't handle Patrick Mahomes, who passed for 5 TDs, as the visiting Chiefs beat Philly, 42-30.

"That's what you call a 'defensive struggle,'" Nick Sirianni said, "because both defenses struggled."

The Cowboys handed the Panthers their first loss of the season with a convincing 36-28 win at AT&T Stadium. Sam Darnold passed for 2 TDs and ran for 2 more, but Carolina was no match for Dallas' potent and balanced offense.

"Obviously," Matt Rhule said, "Dallas exposed our defense. But help is on the way. We acquired cornerback Stephon Gilmore from New England for a 2023 6th-round pick. In the NFC South, we call that kind of deal a 'Jameis,' because it was a steal."

Panthers win, 27-20.

Tennessee @ Jacksonville (+3½)

The Jaguars squandered a 14-0 halftime lead at Cincinnati on their way to a 24-21 loss to the Bengals on Thursday night.

"Being 0-4 is something completely foreign to me," Urban Meyer said. "So, apparently, is the NFL game.

"Is the pressure of coaching in the NFL getting to me. It may be. I'm only four games in, and already the grind is affecting me. But I can manage it, especially when you counteract that grind with the 'bump,' thereby forming the 'bump and grind,' which I was seen enjoying from a young lady who was not my wife. In Columbus, we've got a name for ladies like that, and that name is 'recruiter.'"

The Titans lost 27-24 in overtime to the lowly Jets, who sacked Ryan Tannehill 7 times.

"Ryan's been sacked more than any quarterback in the league," Mike Vrabel said. "When this season's over, and Ryan offers his offensive linemen a gift, it's going to be a summons to appear in court for criminal negligence.

"As far as Urban Meyer is concerned, I don't buy his apology. Urban claims to be a man of faith. Maybe that woman was a good Christian, and just maybe that woman's name was Faith, and all she was doing was pushing her 'Faith' on Urban."

Derrick Henry rushes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, and celebrates his first touchdown by twerking on the goal post, and the Titans crush the distracted Jags, 31-17.

New England @ Houston (+9½)

The Patriots lost 19-17 in Tom Brady's return to New England on Sunday night. Mac Jones, buoyed by a strong defensive effort by the Pats defense, passed for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"I was honored to be a part of that game," Jones said. "Tom Brady will always be an inspiration to me. If someone that goofy and pasty who runs a five-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine can win seven Super Bowls, then I can at the very least lead a team to a winning record."

The Texans lost their third straight, suffering a 40-0 drubbing at the hands of the Bills at New Era Field. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills had a miserable game, with 4 interceptions.

"Circumstances forced us to play Davis before he was even remotely prepared to," David Culley said. "So, I put him into a situation he was totally uncomfortable with. That seems to be the Houston Texans way lately. Shout out to Deshaun Watson, the NFL leader in 'touch football.'"

Patriots win, 26-10.

Chicago @ Las Vegas (-5½)

The Bears built a 21-0 lead against the visiting Lions and held on for a 24-14 win. Justin Fields earned his first win as a starter for the Bears.

"Justin played well," Matt Nagy said. "And he's gonna be our starter for the rest of the season. Why it took me this long to make that decision, I don't know. That's the kind of stupid thinking people have come to expect from me. I may be the first coach to be placed in concussion protocol. They call me the 'quarterback whisperer' because I'm unable to make a definitive and forceful decision in regards to quarterback.

"I've popularized a statistic called 'wins below replacement.' That stat tells you how many fewer wins I would have than my replacement when I'm inevitably fired."

The Raiders couldn't overcome a 14-0 halftime deficit and fell 28-14 to the Chargers at SoFi Stadium on Monday night. The Chargers defense limited big plays and sacked Derek Carr 4 times.

"It was cool to see all those Raiders fans come out and represent us," Derek Carr said. "Hopefully, they'll have an equal number of lawyers come out and represent them."

Raiders win, 27-17.

Cleveland @ L.A. Chargers (-½)

The Browns outlasted the Vikings 14-7 at U.S. Bank Stadium, powered by a defense that gave up an early Vikings touchdown but nothing the rest of the way.

"Our defense is making things difficult for opposing quarterbacks," Kevin Stefanski said. "Baker Mayfield is making things easy for opposing defenses."

Justin Herbert passed for 3 touchdowns and the Chargers raced to an early lead and held on to beat the Raiders 28-14 at SoFi Stadium.

"The boos from all the Raiders fans in SoFi Stadium drowned out the cheers from our own fans," Herbert said. "As home-field advantages go, ours is far and away the worst."

Browns win, 26-24.

NY Giants @ Dallas (-7½)

Dak Prescott passed for 4 touchdowns, and Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 143 yards and a score as the Cowboys beat the visiting Panthers 36-28. Dallas is 3-1 and atop the NFC East.

"This team has it all," Dak Prescott said. "A great offense that may be the NFL's best, a great defense that may be the NFL's best, and a head coach.

"But let's be serious. Mike is a pretty good coach. Now, say what you will about his time management skills and penchant for a good rub down, but he's never late for a massage."

The Giants shocked the Saints 27-21 in overtime in New Orleans, led by Daniel Jones,who passed for 402 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Daniel was in full 'Danny Dimes' mode," Joe Judge said. "Oftentimes, he's in 'Danny Dimestore' mode. If Daniel can be consistently good on a game-by-game basis, they might start calling him 'Danny Four Quarters.'"

In honor of the Texas State Fair currently happening in Dallas, former Giants and Cowboys coaching legend Bill Parcells sets up a kissing booth outside AT&T Stadium, where, for just a dollar, anyone can "taste the Tuna."

Cowboys win, 30-20.

San Francisco @ Arizona (-5½)

The Cardinals walloped the Rams in Los Angeles in a surprisingly easy 37-20 win. Kyler Murray passed for 2 scores, and James Conner rushed for 2 TD's.

"Kyler is unstoppable," Kliff Kingsbury said. "I like nothing more than to sit back, put on my headphones, pretend I'm communicating with the booth upstairs, make few decisions, and watch Kyler do his thing. I like to call it 'coaching.'

"We've got to avoid a let down after our huge win over the Rams. The key to victory is slowing down that Cardinal offense. And that means getting pressure on Murray and generating sacks and negative plays. As the great Urban Meyer once said recently, 'You gotta back that 'AZ' up.'"

Seattle knocked off the 49ers 28-21 at Levi's Stadium as San Fran fell to 2-2 and 0-2 at home. A calf injury forced Jimmy Garappolo to miss the second half.

"If Jimmy's able to play," Kyle Shanahan said, "he'll get the start, even though fate is staring me in the face and telling me to start Trey Lance. But since when have I listened to fate, much less anyone?"

Cardinals win, 30-22.

Buffalo @ Kansas City (-2½)

The Chiefs snapped a two-game skid with a 42-30 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia. Patrick Mahomes passed for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns.

"It appears that we're gonna have to employ our 'prevent defense' often this season," Mahomes said. "That means our offense scores so many points, it prevents our defense from being responsible for the loss."

The Bills cruised to a 40-0 win over the hapless Texans. Buffalo's defense forced 5 turnovers, and Josh Allen passed for 2 touchdowns.

"Obviously," Allen said, "Texas' 'Stand Your Ground' law doesn't apply to the Texans.

"We expect the Chiefs to give us a more competitive game than the Texans did. Offensively, the Texans don't even compare to the Chiefs. Defensively, the Texans don't even compare to the Chiefs. Because the Texans are better."

Chiefs win, 31-28.

Indianapolis @ Baltimore (-6½)

The Colts took down the Dolphins 27-17 in Miami to log their first win of the year. Carson Wentz passed for 2 touchdowns and Jonathan Taylor rushed for 103 yards and a score.

"Carson Wentz is getting healthier by the day," Frank Reich said. "You have to be tough as nails to play with two sprained ankles. You also have to be pretty unathletic to have two sprained ankles.

"We may be 1-3, but we feel like we're firmly in the hunt in the AFC South. It may be the most balanced division in football. Of course, 'balanced' in this case means being 1-3, and being both one game out of first and one game out of last."

The Ravens easily handled the Broncos in Denver, winning 23-7 to improve to 3-1.

"Vic Fangio is endlessly complaining about something," John Harbaugh said, "and it sounds like a 'broken record.'

Ravens win, 30-21.

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