Buccaneers @ Falcons
Jamies Winston will make his first start of the season after replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick in the week four loss to the Bears. He’s going to face a defense which is injury ridden and pretty generous when it comes to letting teams waltz into their end zone. However, this is Jamies and I’ve never been convinced by him and with the Falcons at home and the firepower they have on offense we could see a shootout which I think the Falcons will win
Steelers @ Bengals
These are two divisional rivals that simply don’t like each other. Both teams are coming off wins and both are free scoring. The Steelers defense showed an improvement against the Falcons last week whilst the Bengals D showed it can put up points itself. It’s that slightly better defense that I’m going to plump for this week with the Bengals continuing their good form and the Steelers continuing what will end up as a mediocre season.
Chargers @ Browns
Fair to say, in 2018 the Browns are fast becoming a hard team to beat. They’ve been in every game in the fourth quarter this year and what’s more, they’re unbeaten at home. Denzel Ward is fast becoming one my favourite defenders to watch and Rivers would do to keep the ball away from the rookie cornerback who is justifying the 4th overall pick that Cleveland used to get him. Rivers and co will need to be at their best to beat this defense and on offense they’ll need to be quick to get to Mayfield. As it;s in Cleveland, and with them on a high, I’m going for a Browns win.
Bills @ Texans
Despite the win last week, this is not a good Bills team. They do have the ability to grind out a result if the opposing team is playing badly, but I think the Texans are improving as a team. The Bills O-Line is still bad and JJ Watt is well on his way back to the JJ Watt we all know and love – it doesn’t bode well for rookie quarterback Josh Allen.
Bears @ Dolphins
Dolphins have lost two on the bounce to good AFC teams and now host what is fast turning into a good NFC team coming off a bye week. A week off, and another week in the Chicago system could see Khalil Mack getting even better. Adam Gase will need to be at his playcalling best to beat this Bears defense and the run game has to yield better results than it has in previous weeks. Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky will need to carry on from where they left off to beat a decent enough Dolphins defense but I think they have it in them
Cardinals @ Vikings
The Cardinals beat a depleted 49ers team last week, a far cry from the outfit they have to face in Week 6. The Vikings are coming back home off of a win away to the Eagles, completed in style with their offense really clicking under the stewardship of Kirk Cousins. The defense too is strong and this isn’t a great Cardinals attack.
Colts @ Jets
The Jets are one of the harder teams to make a call on in 2018. On their day they can look as good as any. Take last week when they beat the Broncos and ran the ball for a few hundred yards. The problem is consistency. The Colts meanwhile are losing close games but Andrew Luck is getting fitter and better each week. They’re not going to win the Superbowl or even get into the playoffs but the team rebuild is on a good footing. Luck’s best weapon in Week 5 though, tight end Eric Ebron, hasn’t practiced all week and TY Hilton is still getting back to fitness. This is a good Jets defense so I’m going to give them the win but really I could make an argument for it to go either way
Seahawks @ Raiders (London)
At the start of the year this really looked like a terrible match with which to kick off the International Series in London. However, the Seahawks are coming back into form, despite losing, they ran the unbeaten Rams very close last week. Phil Carroll seems to have stumbled back on the recipe that made the Seahawks a good team – running the ball. The Raiders continue to be bad on both sides of the ball. Not much else you can say about them really that hasn’t been said already. Shame they haven’t got a pass rush because the Seahawks O-Line still isn’t amazing…
Panthers @ Redskins
The ‘Skins were very disappointing against the Saints on Monday night football. Some of it down to the fact that their run game didn’t function at all. Alex Smith needs that to be working if you’re going to get anything positive out of him. The Panthers scraped by the Giants last week with a mammoth game winning field goal from Graham Gano. They let slip a lead in the 4th quarter and need to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.
Rams @ Broncos
The Broncos defense were letting anybody that fancied a go run through them last week in New York. This week they face Todd Gurley and the Rams. If this were in LA, it could be getting very messy. As it’s in Denver though, they’ll hopefully have a better chance with the home crowd behind them. The bigger problem though is Case Keenum facing this Rams defense line. Can’t see him doing well there.
Jaguars @ Cowboys
The Cowboys offense failed against a good Texans defense last week and face a much better one this week. Any Cowboy fan, executive or casual admirer is kidding themselves if they can’t see that the receiving corps is just not up to scratch. That should mean plenty of opportunities for the Jags pass rush to get at Dak. Blake Bortles needs to be better than last week – if he can just make it to a level slightly above average I’d have no worries about saying the Jags would be going a long way in the playoffs. Hopefully he’ll get there on Sunday.
Ravens @ Titans
After both teams had disappointing losses last week they’ll each be looking to bounce back. Both teams though have previously been in good form. The Titans are a niggly team and are developing a strong defense, on offense they need to get more from their run game and running back Derek Henry in particular. The Ravens offense had a lot of momentum going into last weeks match against Cleveland but they couldn’t get it going there – I think they will in Tennessee and whilst it could be a close match I think the Ravens will have enough to win
Chiefs @ Patriots
Another ‘match of the week’ involving the Chiefs, this time going to the home of the current AFC Champions and the team everyone loves to hate. Last week Pat Mahomes threw his first INTs and whilst they did win, he didn’t throw any touchdowns. This week they’re up against a defense that isn’t as good. But the thing is, young quarterbacks rarely get a win over the wily old Bill Belichick. The Pats offense is starting to click and will be a real challenge to the Chiefs whose defense is far from the strongest unit in the league. If the Chiefs get a fast start, they could win handedly, but the Pats have the ability and know how to drag out a result.
49ers @ Green Bay
And so to Monday night and the Shanahan takes his 49ers team to Green Bay. The 49ers are struggling with injuries and form. Turnovers are a big big issue for CJ Beathard, if he can eradicate them (or even halve the amount), he’ll be beating expectations in terms of performance. But this Green Bay team will be looking to take advantage of a poor 49ers defense and expect Aaron Rodgers and his receivers to have a big night.