NFL Week 5 Preview — Can the Patriots Prolong the Cowboys’ Misery?
The NFL heads into its fifth week of the 2015 season with six unbeaten teams and just one looking for its first win (sorry, Lions fans). Here’s what to watch for this week:
Sunday, October 11
We’ll Find Out if the Bengals Are for Real
Seattle at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati; 1 p.m.(ET) on FOX
While the Panthers and Falcons are the most surprising NFL teams this season, the Bengals have been perhaps the most impressive. Led by quarterback Andy Dalton’s nearly flawless play, Cincinnati (4–0) has displayed a dynamic, productive and balanced offensive attack that is tops in the NFL. On defense, the Bengals are getting after the quarterback and keeping teams from beating them downfield.
Enter the Seahawks (2–2), who figure to test Cincinnati more than any other opponent has thus far in 2015. Between the vaunted Legion of Boom secondary and the scrambling of Russell Wilson, we’ll have a better sense of how good the Bengals really are after Week 5. The only caveat: Seattle comes to the Queen City on a short week after edging Detroit on Monday.
Chip Kelly Is Running Out of Time in Philly
New Orleans at Philadelphia | Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia; 1 p.m.(ET) on Fox
First, it was the sports radio hosts; then it was the fans. Now Chip Kelly’s own players are critiquing the Eagles head coach. Kelly won’t take the blame; he’s simply redesigning his visionary offensive strategy to attack NFL defenses. However, if Philadelphia (1–3) continues to struggle, the clock on Chip’s tenure in Philly will start ticking very loudly.
The also-disappointing Saints face the Eagles this week, but New Orleans (1–3) should be invigorated by a healthy Drew Brees and their overtime win over Dallas. The Saints defense looked much improved last Sunday night, which might not be a good thing for struggling Sam Bradford and the sputtering Philly offense. If free agent disappointment DeMarco Murray wants to break out and show that he indeed does deserve more touches, this is the week to do it.
Will the Aaron Rodgers / Packers Streaks Continue?
St. Louis at Green Bay | Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
How long has it been since Aaron Rodgers last threw an interception at Lambeau Field? Donald Trump wasn’t a viable presidential candidate. Heck, the last U.S. presidential election was held less than a month earlier. Rodgers leads Green Bay (4–0) against a Rams team that knocked the Cardinals from their unbeaten perch by hitting Arizona QB Carson Palmer nine times and recording four sacks. Yes, the Packers’ offensive line protects Rodgers better, but St. Louis (2–2) can and will test him and Green Bay’s unbeaten streak.
Uh-oh, Cowboys — the Patriots Are Rested
New England at Dallas | AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Averaging a league-high 39.7 points per game, New England (3–0) looks like a juggernaut (again) thus far in 2015. The Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady come off their bye week healthy and rested as they head to Dallas, where the Cowboys have lost two consecutive games since losing quarterback Tony Romo.
Dallas (2–2) has struggled on defense, most notably in the pass rush. The Cowboys have just six sacks, tying them for 23rd in the NFL. They must hope that defensive end Greg Hardy can come off his four-game ban for a domestic abuse arrest to lead the attack on Brady.
Raiders-Broncos May Be a Rivalry Again Soon
Denver at Oakland | O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Once one of the NFL’s best rivalries, Broncos-Raiders hasn’t been very interesting since Peyton Manning came to the Mile High City. That could soon change. Denver (4–0) heads to Oakland (2–2) as one of the league’s six remaining unbeaten teams, but the Raiders’ talented young trio of quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Latavius Murray give the Silver & Black hope for the future. Manning is much smarter than the Raiders’ shaky secondary, but he may want to use his running game to set up the pass attack in this AFC West contest instead of exposing himself to the aggressive Oakland pass rush.
Thursday, October 8
Indianapolis at Houston | NRG Stadium, Houston; 8:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, October 11
Chicago at Kansas City | Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.; 1 p.m.(ET) on Fox
Washington at Atlanta | Georgia Dome, Atlanta; 1 p.m.(ET) on Fox
Jacksonville at Tampa Bay | Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Cleveland at Baltimore | M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Buffalo at Tennessee | Nissan Stadium, Nashville; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Arizona at Detroit | Ford Field, Detroit; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox
San Francisco at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Monday, October 12
Pittsburgh at San Diego | Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Bye Week: Miami, Minnesota, N.Y. Jets, Carolina