After an exciting weekend in London, in which the Vikings got one over on the Steelers and put themselves 1-3, whilst Pittsburgh are now 0-4 going into week 6! Michael Donnelly predicts the outcomes of this weekend’s match ups.
BUFFALO BILLS (2-2-0) @ CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-2-0)
Seriously? Talk about a ratings booster.
PREDICTION: Bills 13-17 Browns
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-3-0) @ NEW YORK GIANTS (0-4-0)
A meeting of two contrasting sides on opposite paths, or at least that would have been the case if the revolutionary spread offence system were translating to wins for the Eagles. As for the Giants, it’s been a frustrating effort so far, with familiar woes being compounded by personnel issues. Though Brandon Jacobs was given a hero’s welcome on his return to East Rutherford in week two, he has not managed to turn the tide for the Gmen as of yet. Of the two line-ups, the Eagles look more threatening on the ground, but in terms of the passing game neither Michael Vick or Eli Manning will inspire confidence for either team. A relatively tame Giants pass rush crew may see this as an opportunity to finally wake up from an impromptu hibernation, so the fortunes of the game may depend greatly on how hard they can hit the Eagles runners, and how tricky the Eagles runners can be in return. Were this game in Philadelphia, the Eagles would be likely winners. However, it is in the Giants’ home stadium, and that will allow them to edge this one.
PREDICTION: Eagles 13-20 Giants
DENVER BRONCOS (4-0-0) @ DALLAS COWBOYS (2-2-0)
For all the criticism Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo receives, he might well be the joker in the Broncos schedule. While Peyton Manning sets his sights on records aplenty, the Broncos have exhibited the kind of swagger and ruthlessness which comes in handy in the postseason. Yet the fact they are doing so just a quarter of the way through the regular season will either allow them to build momentum, or fatigue and peak early. The Cowboys have blown hot and cold so far, but Romo, Bryant and Witten will relish the chance to compare themselves to Manning, Welker and Thomas as the epitomising passing offence. The Broncos have comprehensively swept aside all in their path so far, but even great teams can make an occasional error. Perhaps they will do so in the midst of a partisan Dallas crowd?
PREDICTION: Broncos 23-27 Cowboys
HOUSTON TEXANS (2-2-0) @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-2-0)
The current trend appears to be for NFL commentators and observers to slate Matt Schaub as a quarterback in danger of missing his best chance at success, while also weighing down Colin Kaepernick with the burden of peaking too soon. With both of them and their teams heading in to this game finely balance at .500, the respective doubters will be silenced at least in part for one, while the other takes further flak. On the face of it, this game should be entertaining with two legitimate run-games and a few charismatic players each within the ranks. The Texans were always liable to face a stern test in 2013 after running away with the AFC South in 2012, and a defeat in this matchup will likely dent their hopes of a repeat even more. The 49ers have had a hiccup or two so far, but can expect to win this game at home.
PREDICTION: Texans 18-21 49ers
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-0-0) @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-1-0)
In contrast to the Broncos, who were not anticipated to hit a hot streak from the off, the Seahawks have largely followed the odds by bursting past the 49ers, Jaguars and resiliently vanquishing the Texans so far this campaign. Yet the first signs of difficulty for franchise quarterback Russell Wilson were evident in Houston, showing that even the most dangerous offensive players can struggle at times. Likewise, Andrew Luck is still waiting for his bubble to burst in Indianapolis, with the 2012 number-one draft pick further expanding his talents in the first month of the season by throwing, scrambling and ‘clutch-ing’ his way to an almost perfect start. Of all the games this weekend, this is the most simplistic in terms of key components. Whichever of the two has a better game will settle it…well, that and an overtime field goal.
PREDICTION: Seahawks 21-24 Colts (overtime)
- Saints (4-0-0) @ Bears (3-1-0) Bears win 21-17
- Patriots (4-0-0) @ Bengals (2-2-0) Patriots win 37-10
- Lions (3-1-0) @ Packers (1-2-0) Packers win 23-10
- Ravens (2-2-0) @ Dolphins (3-1-0) Dolphins win 31-17
- Jaguars (0-4-0) @ Rams (1-3-0) Rams win 27-6
- Chiefs (4-0-0) @ Titans (3-1-0) Titans win 19-17
- Panthers (1-2-0) @ Cardinals (2-2-0) Panthers win 35-17
- Chargers (2-2-0) @ Raiders (1-3-0) Chargers win 27-14
- Jets (2-2-0) @ Falcons (1-3-0) Falcons win 38-10
Byes: Buccaneers, Steelers, Vikings & Washington
A fan on fitba, NFL and ruggerby league in that order. Dundee exile, based in Perth. A journalist as well apparently.