Thursday, October 3, 2013

NFL Week 5 Picks: Best Chance for the Jacksonville Jaguars To Win a Game This Season

Buffalo (2-2) at Cleveland (2-2)

Could the Browns really have a winning record after this game?

Even with a stalling running game since Trent Richardson was traded, Brian Hoyer has managed to do some damage in the passing game. He has 590 passing yards and five touchdowns, opposed to three interceptions, in two games. His main target? Tight end Jordan Cameron, who has 360 yards receiving and five touchdowns this year. He’s behind only Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham in receiving yards for tight ends this year.

Their defense is also ranked in the top 10 in passing yards against and rushing yards against per game.

Cleveland wins.

New Orleans (4-0) at Chicago (3-1)

Drew Brees is 0-4 at Soldier Field in his career. But they’ve won their past two games by over 20 points.

Chicago has pulled out some squeakers before finally falling to Detroit last week. The game was much more out of hand than the final score suggests. It was 40-16 until the Bears scored two late touchdowns in the final four minutes. The Bears also had four turnovers.

The Saints look too good right now to not go with the hot team.

New Orleans wins.

New England (4-0) at Cincinnati (2-2)

Both these teams are still tough to figure out.

For New England, several plays it looks like their rookie wide receivers are in over their heads. But at the conclusion of the game against the Falcons, Kenbrell Thompkins had 127 yards and a touchdown. Julian Edelman also had 118 yards receiving.

Two weeks ago the Bengals beat the Packers but then last week they lost to the Browns. Granted, that game against Cleveland was on the road and against a division rival, but for a team with deep playoff aspirations like Cincinnati, that’s a game they have to find a way to win.

What may go in the Patriots favor is that the Bengals secondary is really banged up, with cornerbacks Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick and safety Reggie Nelson are all questionable.

New England wins.

Detroit (3-1) at Green Bay (1-2)

The Lions have not beaten the Packers on the road since 1991. This is a divisional rivalry. The Lions play Green Bay on the road every year. That’s 22 years since the last time they won in Green Bay, even though they had a chance to break that streak every single year. That’s just unreal.

The Lions have a nice running game with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, but the Packers – who surprisingly have a much higher rushing yards per game average than the Lions – are eighth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.

Plus they had an extra week to prepare for this game and must be dying to get a win after losing in their last game against the Bengals.

Green Bay wins.

Kansas City (4-0) at Tennessee (3-1)

The last time the Chiefs were 4-0 was 2003 and they lost their next game. Alex Smith had a rough week last week despite the victory. It seems like the Giants give him fits.

But the Titans lost their starting quarterback to a hip injury and the backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick, has struggled with turnovers the past couple seasons.

Kansas City wins.

Seattle (4-0) at Indianapolis (3-1)

Just when it looked like the Seahawks were human, losing 20-3 at halftime, the Seahawks scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to beat a solid Texans team 23-20.

Seattle has now won four consecutive regular season road games, so they aren’t just a good home team anymore.

The Seahawks had to go up against a very tough Houston defense with multiple backup offensive linemen. And they survived. Marshawn Lynch was still able to rumble for 98 yards and a score while Russell Wilson added 77 rushing yards of his own.

The Colts have a better run defense than Houston does, but Seattle is just finding ways to win right now.

Seattle wins.

Jacksonville (0-4) at St. Louis (1-3)

This is probably the Jaguars best chance to win this season. They have just been so bad, one has to wonder if they will mimic the Colts from 2011. The Rams, one win aside, have looked just as bad, however.

Justin Blackmon returns from a four-game suspension, rookie Luke Joeckel is moving from right tackle to his more comfortable position of left tackle, and although Blaine Gabbert still hasn’t shown he is a good quarterback and threw three interceptions, he did throw for more yards and a better completion percentage. Stats can only say so much, but apparently head coach Gus Bradley says he has seen improvement when he watched the tapes.

This is a best a chance at a victory this team will have, so why not?

Jacksonville wins.

Baltimore (2-2) at Miami (3-1)

The Dolphins suffered a setback against the Saints last week and that game showed a lot of weaknesses that were hidden previously because of wins. The Dolphins offensive line is rather rough around the edges. 
Defensively, they also struggle to cover the tight end in their scheme and it opens up a lot of the field.

But the Ravens have struggled mightily this season. Joe Flacco just had a game where he threw five interceptions (as many as Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has thrown all year). They also are doing an awful job running the ball. They are 28th in the league in rushing yards per game and Ray Rice has only 30 rushing attempts for 89 yards and one touchdown. Bernard Pierce has more yards and touchdowns, but his yards per carry average (2.7) is poor.

Since the start of last season, Joe Flacco is 32nd in total QBR on the road. The Ravens have lost four consecutive regular season road games.

Miami wins.

Philadelphia (1-3) at New York Giants (0-4)

If you’re a fan of either of these teams, it’s been more than a rough start to the season for you. History has shown that anything can happen when these two teams face each other.

The Giants have a slight edge being at home. They’ve been terrible this season, but three of their four games have been on the road.

The Giants are 10th in the league in passing yards per game, while the Eagles struggle defending the pass, ranking 31st in passing yards against per game.

New York Giants win.

Carolina (1-2) at Arizona (2-2)

This will be a pretty even match-up simply because there isn’t much to like about either of these teams.
The Panthers are third in the league in rushing yards per game, but the Cardinals are second in rushing yards allowed per game.

Despite the Panthers having Cam Newton at quarterback, the Cardinals have actually done a better job moving the ball in the air this season. They’ve also had to play three of their first four games on the road. They will need to cut down on the interceptions, but they could do something at home, especially with Larry Fitzgerald continuing to be a threat and getting healthier week by week.

Arizona wins.

Denver (4-0) at Dallas (2-2)

The Broncos have yet to win a game by fewer than 16 points this season. Peyton Manning is first in the league in passing yards, touchdowns, fewest interceptions (zero), passer rating and completion percentage. He, and they, just look incredible, maybe even unbeatable.

The Cowboys are 27th in the league in passing yards allowed per game. They could be in for a long day.

Denver wins.

Houston (2-2) at San Francisco (2-2)

A big reason both of these teams are struggling is because of turnovers. Both are in the bottom of their conferences in turnover differential, at minus-four.

Houston’s Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-six in three consecutive games. They’ve also lost three of their last four regular season road games, and four of their last five if you include last season’s playoff loss to the Patriots.

In 49er wins this season, Colin Kaepernick completes over 65 percent of his passes, throws for multiple touchdowns and doesn’t throw a single interception. In losses, he completes less than 50 percent of his passes, doesn’t throw a single touchdown and throws at least one interception.

Houston’s passing defense is ranked first in the league. That being said they have allowed a better completion percentage, more yards and more touchdowns on the road while also not getting as many sacks on the road.

San Francisco wins.

San Diego (2-2) at Oakland (1-3)

Aside from Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers is arguably the hottest quarterback in the league right now. He has 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions, he has completed almost 74 percent of his passes and he has two 400-yard passing games this season which is the most in the league right now.

As for the Raiders, Darren McFadden did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury (surprise!) and while Terrelle Pryor will start against the Chargers he is coming off missing a week because of a concussion. How will he respond?

San Diego wins.

New York Jets (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

The Falcons have not been able to beat the Patriots or the Dolphins this season, making them 0-2 against the AFC East. That should change against the Jets.

The Jets have lost their past four road games. Only two teams have fewer touchdown passes this season. Only one team has thrown more interceptions this season.

The Jets have a good defense, but even against a struggling Flacons team they still seem overmatched in general.

Atlanta wins.

Bye Week: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

Last week:  8-7

Overall: 42-21

Photo Credit.
Blaine Gabbert: AP Photo/John Minchillo

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