The NFL’s Week 5 is here, which means byes begin and you have to really start managing those fantasy teams. We also kind of know who’s who in the league by now, so let’s dive into our Week 5 bold predictions.
Rams held to 10 points or fewer versus Seahawks
Jared Goff has been a revelation this season, but we can expect the Legion of Boom to challenge the second-year quarterback in a big way come Sunday. Goff’s deep ball has been critical to his success in 2017. He’s averaging an NFL-best 9.16 yards a throw. Seattle’s defense however, turned a corner – albeit against the lowly Colts – and its defensive line won’t afford Goff the type of time he needs to make the vertical throws. Expect this to be an ugly slugfest.
2. Cam Newton is still bad at football
A rough week for Newton all-around. Even after he totaled four touchdowns in Carolina’s surprising road win over the Patriots last week, I still don’t trust his throwing shoulder. Nor do I trust his decision making against a Lions defense playing its best football in the Jim Caldwell era. The Panthers had four touchdowns through their first three games, only to score four in a five possession span versus the Pats. But now they get a Detroit defense which ranks first in the NFL with 11 takeaways, including seven picks (also first).
3. Mitchell Trubisky lights it up
I have been adamant about the rookie starting over Mike Glennon, and his first task comes against a sound Vikings defense tied for eighth in points allowed. Regardless of how ready Trubisky actually is, his athleticism and rocket arm will stand out right away. He commands the pocket – he looks and feels like an NFL quarterback, unlike Glennon. Sure Trubisky will make mistakes Sunday, but he will also make plenty of plays – especially on the run and with a supremely accurate arm – turning in a quality first pro start.
4. 49ers versus Colts is … FUN!
It may look like the Toilet Bowl, but suddenly Indy and San Francisco becomes an intriguing game. I’m most interested to see 23-year-old Jacoby Brissett make another start. He’s been much better than I thought, even showing promise in Sunday night’s 46-18 loss to Seattle. Brissett – averaging 7.3 yards per attempt – appears to have all the tools, and now it’s simply a matter of game reps. The 49ers have yet to win a game, but they’re fun to watch. Running back Carlos Hyde has emerged as a top flight weapon, telling me: “I’ve always wanted to play in an offense that allows me to play different positions to get the ball in my hands.” Hyde should put on a show versus a Colts defense ranking dead last in points allowed.
5. Bucs upset the visiting Pats
Big upset picks have been kind to this column, and this feels like a pretty good spot for Tampa. New England is surrendering nearly 32 points per game and is shockingly 30th in big plays allowed. Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson – don’t sleep on O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate either – should exploit the severe lack of speed on this defense, especially when the Pats wear down in the Florida heat during a short week. Oh, and Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler – the two highly touted Patriot corners – have been unspeakably awful. Now, they’re working on limited rest against one of the most lethal aerial attacks in the league. Get ready for some end zone celebrations Thursday night.
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