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#405245 - 10/03/18 10:06 PM NFL Week 5
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Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will see a familiar face re-enter the huddle as trusted wideout Julian Edelman returns from a four-game suspension for Thursday's game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. Edelman, who was banned for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy, rolled up a career-best 1,106 receiving yards in 2016 before a preseason knee injury caused him to miss the 2017 campaign.

"I know he was itching to go and he wants to get down there and show everyone that he's ready to go," said Brady, who struggled to find chemistry with his wide receivers in the first three contests before former Colt Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson each reeled in a touchdown reception in a 38-7 romp over Miami on Sunday. A three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, Brady ranks outside the top 20 in completion percentage (64.4 percent; 21st among QBs), passing yards per game (230; 24th) and yards per attempt (6.8; tied for 27th). Colts quarterback Andrew Luck rebounded from a pair of subpar performances to complete 40 of 62 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's 37-34 overtime setback to Houston. Luck, however, owns an 0-5 career mark versus New England and has completed just 48 percent of his pass attempts and thrown nine interceptions in three games at Foxborough, Mass.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Patriots -10. O/U: 51.5

ABOUT THE COLTS (1-3): Luck likely is to be without star wideout T.Y. Hilton (chest, hamstring) on Thursday and will look to distribute the ball to a wide receiver corps considering of Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal. The former top overall pick has found a convenient outlet in running back Nyhiem Hines (team-leading 22 catches), who led the club with nine receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns last week. Eric Ebron has made the most of fellow tight end Jack Doyle's absence due to injury by reeling in a team-leading three touchdown receptions in his last four games. Indianapolis has gotten next-to-nil from its 29th-ranked ground game, however, with Jordan Wilkins leading the club with just 136 rushing yards.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (2-2): While Edelman is guaranteed to be in the huddle, Rob Gronkowski isn't a slam dunk to be by his side as the mammoth tight end deals with an ankle injury. The 29-year-old Gronkowski, who reportedly was absent from Tuesday's walk-through, leads the Patriots with 233 receiving yards in four games and his 17 catches are second on the team to versatile running back James White. Speaking of running backs, Sony Michel answered a pair of lackluster performances with a stellar one on Sunday, as he rushed 25 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. Michel became the second Patriots running back to eclipse 100 yards rushing in a game since 2016 -- joining Dion Lewis, who did it twice in 2017.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Indianapolis K Adam Vinatieri, a former Patriots legend, is nursing a sore groin and did not practice on Tuesday.

2. New England CB Stephon Gilmore shares the team lead with four passes defensed, although he doesn't have one in ether of his last two games.

3. Colts rookie LB Darius Leonard has an NFL-best 54 tackles while LB Kyle Van Noy leads the Patriots with just 20.

PREDICTION: Patriots 34, Colts 14
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#405417 - 10/05/18 01:54 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have already matched their victory total from the past two seasons combined and will try to turn the tables on an old nemesis when they host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in an AFC North matchup. Rookie Baker Mayfield will make his second career start as Cleveland seeks to end a five-game slide against the Ravens.

Baltimore has won 18 of the past 20 meetings in the series, but Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale wants his team to know these are not the same old Browns, comparing the No. 1 overall draft pick to two of the NFL's all-time greats. "I already told the defense this -- I think Baker Mayfield is this generation's Brett Favre or John Elway, if you will," Martindale said. "Obviously, he's playing well because they scored 42 points last week against Oakland, and they're (in) the top five of scoring offense." Cleveland offensive coordinator Todd Haley sought to quell the hype surrounding Mayfield, knowing the Browns face a daunting challenge against a Baltimore defense that has surrendered 14 points or fewer in each of its three wins. "I'm excited about a lot of things he's doing, but like I said, this week will be a real test," Haley said of Mayfield. "We'll know a lot more come Sunday evening."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -3. O/U: 45.5

ABOUT THE RAVENS (3-1): Joe Flacco continued his strong start to the season by throwing for two touchdowns and 363 yards in last week's 26-14 win at Pittsburgh, pushing his season total to 1,252 yards. While Baltimore's overhauled wide receiving corps of John Brown, Willie Snead and Michael Crabtree has combined for 33 receptions and five touchdowns, the passing attack could get a further boost with rookie tight end Hayden Hurst expected to make his NFL debut. Starting running back Alex Collins missed practice Thursday, although the team termed his absence as precautionary. The Ravens rank second overall in total defense, allowing 275.8 yards per game.

ABOUT THE BROWNS (1-2-1): Mayfield has provided an undeniable spark to Cleveland's offense, putting up 63 points in six-plus quarters, but he also showed the downside of a rookie quarterback by committing four turnovers in his first start. Another rookie, Nick Chubb, scored on touchdown runs of 63 and 41 yards at Oakland and is line for more playing time in the backfield behind Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 82 yards last week and scored his fifth touchdown. Starting wideouts Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway each practiced on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out Wednesday and are expected to play. Cleveland's defense ranks 24th against the pass (278.3 yards).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Flacco has 11 touchdowns passes and five interceptions in his last six games versus Cleveland.

2. Browns DE Myles Garrett has 4.0 sacks, three tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in his last three division games.

3. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith will make his season debut after serving a four-game suspension.

PREDICTION: Ravens 23, Browns 20
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#405418 - 10/05/18 01:55 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Two teams trying to shake up the status quo in the AFC tangle Sunday, when the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Chiefs are the only remaining unbeaten team in the AFC, while the Jaguars already have an impressive win over New England to their credit and could further solidify themselves as a Super Bowl contender with a victory at Arrowhead Stadium.


The Chiefs have emerged as one of the league's most exciting teams thanks to second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown 14 touchdown passes without an interception to begin his first season as a starter and led a fourth-quarter comeback in Monday night's 27-23 victory at Denver. "Right now, he is playing better than any quarterback has ever played. He is an MVP quarterback," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone told reporters. "The question is what he can't do. I don't know. I don't think words can really put in perspective how great he is playing. That is really all there is to it." While Kansas City is built around an explosive offense, Jacksonville possesses the NFL's top defense and has allowed a league-low 657 passing yards in four games. "They have a great scheme. They do a lot of things really well," Mahomes told reporters. "They do a lot of the same stuff, but they do it at a very high, pristine (level). They have a ton of talent over there. We have to utilize our offense and our weapons and try to do what we can to attack them."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -3. O/U: 49


ABOUT THE JAGUARS (3-1): Jacksonville's defense is nasty, holding opponents to 259.3 total yards and 14 points per game - both league-best marks. The pass defense has been especially stingy, with outspoken cornerback Jalen Ramsey anchoring a secondary that hasn't allowed more than 220 yards through the air this season. Blake Bortles has developed into a capable quarterback, but the Jaguars have to take better care of the ball - they have committed seven turnovers in four games - to graduate to Super Bowl favorite status.

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (4-0): Mahomes has stolen the spotlight, but he's surrounded by talent on the NFL's top-ranked offense. Kareem Hunt quietly has put together another strong start to the season while speedster Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce are producing big numbers in the passing game. The Chiefs rank last in the league in total defense and 25th in scoring defense, but they've improved each week on that side of the ball and are close to getting back safety Eric Berry from an Achilles injury.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (hamstring) will not play Sunday.

2. Mahomes is the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards without an interception in three consecutive games.

3. Jacksonville has been penalized 35 times for 354 yards, second-most in the NFL.


PREDICTION: Chiefs 27, Jaguars 24
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#405419 - 10/05/18 01:56 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills

The Tennessee Titans play nothing but close games, and they're getting pretty good at coming out on the winning side. The Titans will try to avoid a letdown after knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions in overtime last week when they visit the inconsistent Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Tennessee dropped the opener 27-20 at Miami but picked up three-point wins over Houston, Jacksonville and Philadelphia in the next three, with quarterback Marcus Mariota putting together one of the best games of his young career in the 26-23 overtime triumph over the Eagles, and the team is trying to keep that momentum going. "When you have a group of veterans like this team has, we should be fine," linebacker Brian Orakpo told reporters. "We are going to carry ourselves as professionals, get ready for the Bills - it's a new challenge, so erase the Philly game. We don't want to worry about the "trap game" and all that other noise that comes with it." The Bills are trying to erase the negative momentum after getting shut out at Green Bay last week, when they looked like a different team from the one that earned a 27-6 victory at Minnesota the previous week. "(The) offense wasn't good enough at all," Buffalo coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "Bottom line. Not good enough. Running game, passing game, hits on the quarterback."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -5. O/U: 39

ABOUT THE TITANS (3-1): Mariota was named the AFC's offensive player of the week after passing for 344 yards and two TDs and adding a rushing score against the Eagles. Mariota, who has been dealing with an elbow injury since the opener, is trying to be smart about when he leaves the pocket on a rushing attempt. "I just play within myself," Mariota told reporters. "I think when you start to think about it, it becomes unnatural and you tend to not play like yourself. I just play [censored]. I've just kind of trusted what I've done my entire career. Being able to move around in the pocket, or attack and get some yards down the field, it's also being smart and getting down. But, those things to me are very [censored]."

ABOUT THE BILLS (1-3): Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy is having a tough time on and off the field, with news breaking on Wednesday that he is the subject of a lawsuit claiming domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend, in addition to his struggles running the ball. McCoy battled nagging rib and hand injuries through the first four weeks while totaling 85 yards on 21 carries and getting him more involved in the offense is a priority. "The coaches know," McCoy told reporters. "They know when to get the ball to every player. We're just trying to figure it out. It's hard to get the ball a lot. I mean, it's hard considering that the defense comes in to play Buffalo offense, the main guy you want to stop is McCoy."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Titans S Kenny Vaccaro (elbow) was ruled out for Sunday and could miss "a few weeks," according to coach Mike Vrabel.

2. Buffalo QB Josh Allen has been sacked an NFL-high 18 times and is completing 53.4 percent of his passes - 33rd in the league.

3. Tennessee WR Corey Davis recorded career highs of nine catches and 161 yards while hauling in his first TD last week.

PREDICTION: Titans 17, Bills 13
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#405420 - 10/05/18 01:56 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers are rested, relatively healthy and feature some potentially impactful new faces as they prepare to host the New York Giants on Sunday. After defeating Cincinnati 31-21 in Week 3, the Panthers enjoyed a bye week before beginning a stretch in which they play three straight NFC East teams.

The Panthers' organization made some news during the off week by signing safety Eric Reid, who was the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem and has a grievance filed with the league. "He's a great player. We have great players in this locker room, and we've accepted him with open arms," quarterback Cam Newton told reporters of Reid, a one-time Pro Bowler with 10 interceptions in 70 career games. "For him to be on our team is a great thing." The Giants have been unable to get their offense going and are coming off a 33-18 home loss to New Orleans last week. They've lost their last two games against the Panthers in 2013 and 2015, giving up 38 points both times.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -7. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE GIANTS (1-3): New York enters the week ranked 29th in scoring (18.3 points per game) and star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has gone without a touchdown while averaging a career-low 10.7 yards per catch. "It's not all about just throwing it deep every play; that's not the answer to our solution," quarterback Eli Manning told reporters. "I know that's what everybody wants to do. It's an easy thing to say, 'Yeah, we'll throw it deep and all of our problems will be fixed.' It's still about finding completions and when you do throw it down the field, completing it." Rookie running back Saquon Barkley has been a spark with 260 rushing yards, 193 receiving yards and four total TDs.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (2-1): Newton has five passing TDs and two more on the ground over the last two games and he's completing 67.4 percent of his passes, well over his career mark of 58.7. He and running back Christian McCaffrey have combined for 407 yards on the ground for the NFL's top rushing attack (166 yards per game). Tight end Greg Olsen (foot) will miss his third straight game but has increased activity in practice with the goal of returning in Week 6 at Washington, and wide receiver Curtis Samuels (chest) is expected to make his season debut Sunday.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Carolina has won seven straight home games.

2. Giants LB Olivier Vernon (ankle) is expected to make his season debut.

3. New York has committed the fewest penalties (18) in the league. Carolina is tied for second on that list with 19.

PREDICTION: Panthers 28, Giants 20
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#405421 - 10/05/18 01:57 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets

The New York Jets put up 48 points in a Week 1 win but totaled 41 points in dropping their last three contests as rookie quarterback Sam Darnold goes through some growing pains. Darnold and the Jets will try to find some consistency on offense and get back into the win column when they host the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Darnold completed 50 percent of his passes and averaged a season-low 4.91 yards per attempt in a 31-12 loss at Jacksonville last week but believes he is close to turning the corner. "Obviously, it's not the outcome we wanted, but I'm feeling more and more confident as a quarterback in the NFL," Darnold told reporters. "It was very assuring to watch the game film and see how much I've grown, but also all the stuff that I need to work on." The Broncos have plenty to work on as well after squandering a lead at home to the rival Kansas City Chiefs on Monday - their second consecutive loss after two wins to open the season - but they are not discouraged. "This team's just better - period -from a year ago," Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told reporters. "We're mentally tough. Every game's been a dogfight. We've been right there. Just a couple plays, a couple little minor details, things that we can fix, and we're going to be all right."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Even. O/U: 42.5.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (2-2): Denver is second in the league in rushing at an average of 148.3 yards but struggled to run the ball late on Monday, when it needed to run down the play clock. The Broncos managed just six yards on the ground in the fourth quarter after totaling 153 in the first three periods. "I thought we had great plans, but the bottom line in these tough games, we have to be our best as coaches," head coach Vance Joseph told reporters. "You can call a great game for three and a half quarters, but for half a quarter, when the game is on the line, we've got to be our best. That's my job to help our players pull these games out, because our players are playing hard."

ABOUT THE JETS (1-3): Darnold and the offense are getting most of the questions, but the defense is looking for improvement as well after allowing the Jaguars 503 yards of total offense. New York is tied for third in the NFL with 10 forced turnovers but believes it can be better and is [censored] weekly players-only meetings for the defense. "I think that's something that is very subtle but it's key and it's something that we need to do, just to understand what the other guys are thinking on the defense to where we can be on the same page and to where we're clicking on all cylinders," safety Jamal Adams said during a radio appearance on WFAN. "So, every Friday, starting this Friday, there will be a meeting just to get on the same page, man, so we can go out there and fly around and win ballgames."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Broncos RT Jared Veldheer (knee) and P Marquette King (thigh) are questionable.

2. Jets RB Isaiah Crowell was held to zero yards on four carries last week after rushing for a pair of scores in Week 3.

3. Denver shut out New York 23-0 at home last December - its third straight win in the series.

PREDICTION: Broncos 24, Jets 17
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#405422 - 10/05/18 01:57 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Atlanta Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


A pair of teams that entered the season with high hopes find themselves in desperate need of a victory when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. It's a matchup of two of the NFL's most prolific passing games - and two of the league's softest pass defenses.


The Steelers seemingly have been plagued by something different each week - six turnovers in a season-opening tie at Cleveland, a suspect secondary in a Week 2 loss to Kansas City and a punchless offense in last week's 26-14 setback against Baltimore. "It's been a number of things, and that's what we are searching for. We are searching for a winning level of consistency across all areas," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "That's what is required to win in this league on a consistent basis." Each of Atlanta's four games has been decided by seven points or fewer, and the three losses have come by a total of 13. The Falcons have allowed the tying or winning score in the final three minutes of regulation in each of their defeats.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Steelers -3. O/U: 58


ABOUT THE FALCONS (1-3): Atlanta's ground game should get a boost from the return of running back Devonta Freeman, who has been sidelined since the first half of the season opener with a knee injury. The offense isn't the side of the ball where the Falcons need help, though, as Matt Ryan has passed for 1,316 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions while taking advantage of a dynamic receiving corps led by Julio Jones. The defense has been decimated by injuries, with three starters on injured reserve, and faces another tough test against Pittsburgh's passing attack.

ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-2-1): Ben Roethlisberger leads the league with 1,414 passing yards, but the bad news for the Steelers is it's due in large part to the defense's shortcomings. Pittsburgh has found itself playing catch-up too often, and the offense also has leaned on the pass a bit more with star running back Le'Veon Bell holding out for a new contract. The defense has been torched for an average of 451 total yards over the last three games.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Jones will be playing in his 100th career game and already has more receiving yards (9,556) and 100-yard performances (41) than any NFL player has recorded through 100 contests.

2. Pittsburgh WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has topped 100 receiving yards in four of his last five games dating to last season.

3. Falcons WR Calvin Ridley has six touchdown receptions - the most in NFL history for a rookie in his first four games.


PREDICTION: Steelers 30, Falcons 28
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#405423 - 10/05/18 01:58 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy insist they are on the same page as the Green Bay Packers visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday in a matchup of NFC North rivals. Rodgers took some not-so-subtle shots at McCarthy's offensive game plan following last weekend's 22-0 victory over Buffalo.

Rodgers questioned the play-calling and the use of playmakers after a contest in which Green Bay outgained Buffalo 423-145. "It starts with good communication and being honest with each other, and then hugging it out afterwards," Rodgers told reporters regarding his frank assessment of the offense. "There's frustration in this business, and that's what Mike always says, conflict is good. You've got to keep the conversation going, we have to find ways to be more efficient on offense." The Lions are allowing an average of 28.5 points, with a stellar 26-10 victory over New England representing their lone stingy defensive effort. Stopping the run was the problem in last weekend's 26-24 loss to Dallas as Ezekiel Elliott gained 152 of his team's 183 rushing yards.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -1. O/U: 51

ABOUT THE PACKERS (2-1-1): Rodgers has passed for 1,130 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception, but he may be missing his top three receivers against the Lions as Davante Adams (calf), Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) are battling injuries. "It's about those guys taking advantage of their opportunity," McCarthy told reporters of rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J'Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown. "They're getting better. You're seeing it in practice. ... It's not about learning the plays of the game plan, but it's also about progressing with the opportunity to compete." The defense is allowing 20.8 points per game and cornerback Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions.

ABOUT THE LIONS (1-3): Detroit is averaging 23.5 points behind Matthew Stafford (1,202 yards, eight touchdowns, five interceptions) while coach Matt Patricia is declining to give more work to impressive rookie running back Kerryon Johnson (216 yards, 5.7 average). "I think we have a lot of really good running backs, and I think we try to use them appropriately," Patricia told reporters. "I think Kerryon played a significant amount of the game. He played 20 snaps (of 53 plays), that's a good amount." Linebacker Devon Kennard is leading the defensive charge with four sacks while defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) could return after a three-game absence.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Lions won both meetings last season by a cumulative 65-28 score, with Rodgers missing both contests.

2. Detroit CB Quandre Diggs is wearing a cast on the left hand he injured against Dallas but is hopeful of being cleared to play.

3. Green Bay LB Kyler Fackrell recorded a career-best three sacks against Buffalo.

PREDICTION: Packers 30, Lions 24
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#405424 - 10/05/18 01:59 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals haven't been shy about putting points on the scoreboard en route to winning three of their first four games, while the Miami Dolphins failed to generate any semblance of an offense in their last outing to fall for the first time in four contests. The Bengals and Dolphins bid to improve to 4-1 at the other's expense on Sunday when the teams meet at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cincinnati has erupted for an NFL fourth-best 126 points under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who held the same position with Miami before joining the Bengals as a quarterbacks coach in 2016. Andy Dalton, who has thrown for an NFL second-best 11 touchdowns, connected on a last-second 13-yard scoring strike to A.J. Green in a thrilling 37-36 victory over Atlanta last Sunday. There was nothing thrilling about Miami's last outing, as the Dolphins followed up single-digit wins in their first three games with a 38-7 clunker versus New England. "We didn't sugarcoat a whole bunch," coach Adam Gase said about the team's film review. "Nothing went right. Nothing we did was good. It just was not a good game."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bengals -5.5. O/U: 48.5

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (3-1): Quarterback Ryan Tannehill fell on top of the proverbial grenade by telling reporters that "as the leader of this offense, we go as I go, so I've got to be better." The 30-year-old was right as he fell to 10-2 in his last 12 starts after throwing for just 100 passing yards with an interception and a fumble versus the Patriots. An injury-riddled interior of the offensive line is a sore spot, as top free-agent guard Josh Sitton, center Daniel Kilgore and reserve Jake Brendel are all on injured reserve already. Former New York Jets center Wesley Johnson was signed following a tryout this week while Ted Larsen has struggled in a bid to replace Sitton over the last few weeks.

ABOUT THE BENGALS (3-1): While Green has an NFL second-best five touchdown receptions, fellow wideout Tyler Boyd leads the team in catches (26), targets (36) and receiving yards (349) after grabbing a career-high 11 balls versus the Falcons. "The guy's a football player, he's a playmaker, he's smart, he has great abilities physically, which is obviously showing up and what showed up Sunday," Lazor said. Cincinnati hopes to see the return of Joe Mixon in the backfield, as the second-year running back has been practicing 2 1/2 weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery. Fellow running back Gio Bernard has flourished in the last two games, rolling up 130 rushing yards and three touchdowns to go along with nine catches for 52 yards.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Miami RB Frank Gore, who caught Tannehill's lone touchdown pass last week, gashed Cincinnati for 101 scrimmage yards (82 rushing, 19 receiving) in last year's encounter with Indianapolis.

2. Bengals DT Geno Atkins has recorded a sack in each of his last three games and has 3.5 in his past three meetings with the Dolphins.

3. Miami LB Kiko Alonso has recorded 12 or more tackles in three straight games.

PREDICTION: Bengals 28, Dolphins 17
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#405425 - 10/05/18 01:59 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Two quarterbacks with penchants for airing out the ball square off Sunday as the Los Angeles Chargers host the Oakland Raiders in a matchup between AFC West rivals. San Diego's Philip Rivers ranks among the top signal-callers in the NFL in several categories this season while Oakland's Derek Carr is one of the league leaders in passing yards through four games.

Rivers enters Week 5 ranked sixth in the NFL with a 110.8 passer rating and is tied for second with 11 touchdown tosses for the Chargers, who evened their record with a 29-27 home triumph over San Francisco last week. The 36-year-old threw for 250 yards - and three scores - in the victory to increase his career total to 51,504, moving him past John Elway for eighth place on the all-time list. Carr is fourth in the league this year with 1,373 passing yards after registering 437 and four TDs on 35-of-58 passing in Oakland's 45-42 overtime triumph over visiting Cleveland last Sunday. It was the first victory of the second coaching stint with the Raiders for Jon Gruden, who guided the team to a 7-3 record against the Chargers during his first tenure.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -5. O/U: 52.5

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-3): Marshawn Lynch rushed for 130 yards in last week's win, his highest total since joining the Raiders for the 2017 season following a one-year retirement. The 32-year-old native of Oakland, who was limited in practice on Thursday due to a reported shoulder injury - although the team lists him as having an abdominal issue - ran for 101 yards twice last year, including at Los Angeles in the season finale. Safety Reggie Nelson made his 37th career interception last week, which is tops among active players, while Jared Cook leads all NFL tight ends with 370 receiving yards after gaining 110 on eight catches against the Browns.

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (2-2): Los Angeles possesses a pair of dual threats in the backfield as running backs Melvin Gordon (475) and Austin Ekeler (351) are the only teammates in the league at their position this season that have each recorded at least 350 yards from scrimmage. Gordon, who ran for 104 yards against San Francisco and gained another 55 on seven receptions, has scored five touchdowns (three rushing) in his last three games. Antonio Gates made his first TD catch of the year last week to raise his career total to 115, which is the most by a tight end in NFL history.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Raiders placed veteran T Donald Penn (groin) on injured reserve and signed OL Ian Silberman.

2. Los Angeles changed punters this week, coaxing Donnie Jones out of retirement to replace Drew Kaser, who was waived.

3. Oakland WR/PR Dwayne Harris was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after recording 98 yards on five punt returns versus Cleveland, including a 49-yarder that was the team's longest since 2010.

PREDICTION: Chargers 37, Raiders 31
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#405426 - 10/05/18 02:00 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Arizona Cardinals have a solid chance to register their first victory of the season when they visit the injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Arizona, which has lost its last two games by a total of five points after being outscored 58-6 in its first two contests, has won six consecutive meetings with San Francisco.

Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen made his first career start in last week's 20-17 setback against Seattle and completed 15-of-27 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinals fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1986 while in St Louis. The 49ers hope to keep Arizona winless but will have to do so with an offense that has been ravaged by injuries. Wide receiver Dante Pettis and tackle Joe Staley suffered knee injuries in last week's 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and have not practiced this week while center Weston Richburg and tackle Mike McGlinchey have been limited participants, also due to knee ailments. C.J. Beathard threw for a career-high 298 yards and two touchdowns with a pair of interceptions in his first start since Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending knee injury.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: 49ers -4. O/U: 40

ABOUT THE CARDINALS (0-4): The Sam Bradford experiment could be over as the veteran quarterback was inactive against the Seahawks after starting each of Arizona's first three games this season. The 30-year-old, who is with his fourth team since being drafted first overall by the then-St. Louis Rams in 2010, has completed 50-of-80 passes for 400 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions this year. Running back David Johnson had his most productive game of the campaign last week as he rushed for 71 yards and a TD while gaining another 41 on three receptions.

ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-3): With San Francisco's offensive line losing members to injuries, Matt Breida gained only 39 yards on nine carries in the loss to the Chargers. The 23-year-old, who ranks third in the NFL with 313 rushing yards, has been limited in practice this week due to a shoulder injury. The 49ers could be without another wide receiver on Sunday as Marquise Goodwin, who is battling hamstring and quadriceps injuries that caused him to miss a portion of last week's contest, was a limited participant in Thursday's practice after sitting out the previous day.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Johnson has scored seven touchdowns (one receiving) in his last six road games against NFC West rivals.

2. San Francisco's George Kittle leads all NFL tight ends with 218 yards after catches this season.

3. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring/back), who was limited in Thursday's practice, has recorded 2,169 yards and 17 touchdowns against San Francisco - his highest totals versus any opponent.

PREDICTION: 49ers 24, Cardinals 20
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#405427 - 10/05/18 02:00 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings meet at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game with two different quarterbacks under center. After watching Nick Foles and Case Keenum lead their respective teams into January's high-stakes match, Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins will get the call this time around as the clubs look to regain their winning form.

Philadelphia fell for the first time this season with Wentz at the helm, although the 25-year-old showed no signs of the ACL and LCL tears he sustained in December by throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 26-23 overtime setback to Tennessee. "We're 2-2 right now. We'd love to be 4-0, but this is just where we're at," Wentz said. "We're a month in still trying to figure out 100 percent who we are. But at the same time, we know the guys we have and we know what we're capable of doing." Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer isn't taking a gloom-and-doom approach after seeing his team extend its winless skid to three games following last Thursday's 38-31 setback to the high-octane Los Angeles Rams. "This isn't a time for 'woe is me,'" Zimmer said. "If people remember, we were 2-2 this time last year. We finished 13-3. We were 5-0 the year before and we finished 8-8. We were 2-2 the year before that and we finished 11-5, so all the predictors, this isn't a good time to predict."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -3. O/U: 46

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (1-2-1): Cousins passed for 422 yards with three touchdowns versus the Rams and has tossed 12 scoring strikes against three interceptions in four career meetings at Philadelphia. The 30-year-old Cousins will look to exploit the Eagles' 19th-ranked pass defense with the capable duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who have combined for 67 receptions and five touchdowns this season. Thielen, who had eight catches for 135 yards and a score versus the Rams, joined Isaac Bruce and Randy Moss as the lone wideouts since 1970 to reach triple digits in yards in each of the team's first four games. Diggs reeled in 11 receptions for 123 yards against Los Angeles and had eight catches for 70 yards in the 38-7 setback versus Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game.

ABOUT THE EAGLES (2-2): Alshon Jeffery made a triumphant return from an extended absence following shoulder surgery to make eight catches for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Titans last week. "It was great to have Alshon back out there. A guy that can make contested catches, can make plays for you, can give the offense a spark," Wentz said of Jeffery, who eviscerated the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game in January with a pair of scoring receptions. Tight end Zach Ertz recorded his second double-digit reception performance in three games with 10 catches for a season-high 112 yards versus Tennessee. Despite those gaudy numbers, the Eagles rank 26th in points per game (20.5), third in penalty yards (343) and saw their offensive line surrender four sacks to the Titans last week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Minnesota's offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was Philadelphia's quarterbacks coach last season.

2. Wentz has won each of his past nine home starts for the Eagles, who are 17-3 at Lincoln Financial Field (playoffs included) with coach Doug Pederson on the sideline.

3. RB Dalvin Cook did not practice on Thursday for the Vikings, whose league's worst rushing attack (63.0 yards per game) faces Philadelphia's top-ranked unit (63.8).

PREDICTION: Vikings 24, Eagles 23
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#405428 - 10/05/18 02:01 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Los Angeles Rams are owners of a 4-0 start for the first time since 2001 as they venture to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The Rams are off to the franchise's best start since opening with six straight wins while being located in St. Louis in 2001, a season that ended with a loss in the Super Bowl to New England.

Quarterback Jared Goff laughs when people ask if he is surprised to be 4-0 - "No. Were we planning to be bad?" - but also feels the team has the proper perspective of the success. "I think a lot of people on this team being part of that team two years ago understand how easy it is to be on the other side of it, and you don't ever want to go back there," Goff told reporters in reference to a 4-12 campaign. "You understand the work that needs to be put in to stay where you're at, and I think we all understand that." While the Rams are one of two unbeaten teams in the NFL, with Kansas City being the other, the Seahawks are trying not to lose their tag as the kings of the NFC West as the 42-7 defeat they suffered against Los Angeles in December still is at the forefront of their minds. "They beat us. That was 2017. This is 2018," Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner told reporters. "You're not going to do it again. That's kind of my mindset. And I'm not hurt like I was last year, so that's going to be different."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Seahawks -7. O/U: 50.5

ABOUT THE RAMS (4-0): Goff is off to a terrific start with 1,406 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions while helping the Rams average 35 points (second in the NFL) and a league-best 468.5 yards per game. Standout running back Todd Gurley (338 yards, four touchdowns) torched the Seahawks for a career-best four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) and 180 total yards (152 rushing, 28 receiving) in the previous meeting. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald registered three sacks and a forced fumble in the last meeting and remains the star attraction for a defense that ranks fifth in the NFL in scoring defense (16.8).

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (2-2): Russell Wilson has passed for 888 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions this season but averaged just 170 yards in last season's two meetings with the Rams. Mike Davis pumped some life into the running game with a career-best 101 yards and two touchdowns in last weekend's 20-17 triumph over Arizona, but Chris Carson (team-high 177 yards) could miss his second straight contest with a hip injury. Defensive end Frank Clark and defensive tackle Jarran Reed share the team lead with three sacks apiece.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rams WR Cooper Kupp established career highs of nine receptions, 162 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 38-31 victory over Minnesota.

2. Los Angeles ILB Marc Barron (Achilles) could play for the first time since being injured in December.

3. Seattle OLB K.J. Wright (knee) will miss his fifth straight game, S Earl Thomas (leg) and TE Will Dissly (knee) were placed on injured reserve and OLB Mychal Kendricks was suspended indefinitely by the NFL due to his guilty plea on insider trading charges.

PREDICTION: Rams 33, Seahawks 23
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#405429 - 10/05/18 02:01 PM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans Preview

In a state where football is king, the two NFL tenants will be squaring off for only the fifth time when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Houston Texans on Sunday night. Both teams are coming off much-needed -- and dramatic -- wins, as Houston beat Indianapolis in overtime for its first victory while Dallas topped Detroit on a last-second field goal.

"I think it's fun and interesting for everybody," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of the intrastate matchup. "Obviously football is so big in the state of Texas and these are the two teams that are playing pro football here in the state. We've got great respect for their organization, for their coaches and their players. That's really what we're focused on." Dallas has won the past three against the Texans, although the teams last met four years ago, but the Cowboys have dropped both games away from home this season. Houston halted a nine-game losing streak dating to last season by outlasting the Colts 37-34 and coach Bill O'Brien said his team must carry over the momentum to this week. "It's a long season. We have to do a good job of not riding the wave," O'Brien said. "We've got to do a good job of continuing to build and get better because it's a very long season. Nothing has been determined yet."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Texans -3.5. O/U: 45.5

ABOUT THE COWBOYS (2-2): Dallas returned to the formula that produced a 13-3 record in 2016 by featuring a heavy dose of running back Ezekiel Elliott, who piled up a career-best 240 yards from scrimmage last week. Elliott took over the league rushing lead by carrying 25 times for 152 yards and adding 88 yards and a touchdown on four receptions, including a 34-yard pass to set up the winning field goal. Dak Prescott threw for a season-high 255 yards and two TDs, connecting with leading receiver Cole Beasley four times. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence matched his career high with 3.0 sacks against the Lions, giving him an NFL-leading total of 5.5.

ABOUT THE TEXANS (1-3): Deshaun Watson struggled in the season opener at New England, but he registered his third straight 300-yard game last week, throwing for 375 yards and two touchdowns while adding 41 yards rushing and another score. However, Watson also absorbed seven sacks and has been taken down 17 times through the first four games. DeAndre Hopkins had another monster game with 10 catches for 169 yards and a score while Keke Coutee had 11 receptions for 109 yards in his NFL debut. Houston revved up its pass rush, getting two sacks apiece from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Hopkins has 11 touchdown catches in his past nine home games.

2. Elliott tied Jim Brown as the second-fastest player to rush for 3,000 yards, needing 29 games to hit the milestone.

3. Texans RB Lamar Miller (chest) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

PREDICTION: Texans 24, Cowboys 23
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#405790 - 10/08/18 01:56 AM Re: NFL Week 5 [Re: FREAK]
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Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees has a chance to attain two major career milestones when the New Orleans Saints go for their fourth consecutive victory against the visiting Washington Redskins on Monday night. The nationally televised matchup provides a perfect backdrop for Brees, who can become the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards with 201 versus the Redskins.

"Drew Brees is a great quarterback, a Hall of Famer in my eyes," Redskins linebacker Mason Foster said. "He's going to break that record sooner or later anyways. Everybody knows that. Our big thing is to limit big plays and win the game." Brees can surpass both Peyton Manning and Brett Favre to claim the record and also has a chance to join that duo and New England's Tom Brady with 500 touchdown passes if he throws for four on Monday night. Another subplot involves the return of Redskins running back Adrian Peterson to New Orleans, where he played four games last season before he was traded to Arizona. Washington will be fresh coming off a bye but the team has had nightmarish experiences on Monday night, dropping five in a row and 13 of 15.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Saints -6.5. O/U: 52.5

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (2-1): Washington bounced back from a woeful performance in a 21-9 loss to Indianapolis in Week 2 with a 31-17 victory over Green Bay prior to the bye. Peterson sparked the win by rushing for 120 yards and a pair of scores while Alex Smith added two touchdown passes. The Redskins have shown no semblance of a vertical passing game -- running back Chris Thompson is the leading receiver with 20 receptions and tight end Jordan Reed is next with 14. Washington ranks second in points allowed (14.7) and third in both total yards (278.0) and passing yards (187.3).

ABOUT THE SAINTS (3-1): Mark Ingram returns from a four-game suspension but New Orleans' biggest problem may be how to integrate him into the backfield without cutting into Alvin Kamara's efficiency. Kamara rushed for a season-high 134 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 33-18 win at the New York Giants and also has been superb in the passing game with 35 catches and a pair of 100-yard games. Brees threw for a season-low 217 yards last week but has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions on the season. The Saints are vulnerable though the air, surrendering an average of 311 yards.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Saints WR Michael Thomas, who has an NFL-best 42 catches, has at least 10 receptions and a TD in his last two at home.

2. Smith has 23 TD passes against only four interceptions in his last 10 road games.

3. Brees has thrown for 3,461 yards with 34 touchdowns and five interceptions in his last 10 Monday night home games.

PREDICTION: Saints 30, Redskins 20
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