National Football League predictions, week 5

After defeating the Patriots, San Francisco 49ers will blow past Buffalo Bills

Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, Oct. 7 1 p.m.

Their wins are not pretty, but they are still wins. The Eagles won another close game last week against the Giants, becoming the first team in NFL history to win their first three games by a combined four points. Their defense looked outstanding all night. Even without getting a sack, they flustered Eli Manning all game and forced him into numerous bad throws. LeSean McCoy broke free in the second half for some huge gains and, most importantly, this was Philadelphia’s first game of the year with no turnovers. Pittsburgh will be tough to beat coming off the bye week, but they have not looked very good so far this season. Expect the Eagles to get through to Ben Roethlisberger many times this game due to the shoddy Steelers’ offensive line.

Prediction: 17-10 Eagles

Green Bay Packers @ Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, Oct. 7 1 p.m.

If Green Bay hasn’t seemed like its normal dominant self, that’s probably because they’ve been playing against some really outstanding defenses in the early season. In their shootout with the Saints, Aaron Rodgers threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. They overcame a bad call on a fumbled kickoff late in the game that allowed the Saints to retain the ball, and they walked away victorious. Off Indianapolis’ bye week, they should have a fairly good game plan going into this game. They simply aren’t talented enough to beat the Pack, however, and Green Bay should win easily.

Prediction: 31-17 Packers

Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants

Sunday, Oct. 7 1 p.m.

The Browns actually did a good job hanging with the Ravens, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. Even though they are winless, they have stuck with every team they’ve played this season, mostly due to their defensive play. The Giants are notorious for playing badly in the early season, but they have been performing better this year. Their defense has not played to their Super Bowl potential, but Eli Manning has been able to bail them out of trouble. This game, however, is a perfect set up for a trap game for New York. They play San Francisco next week, and if they start looking ahead to that game and let the Browns hang around, Cleveland could easily shock the Giants.

Prediction: 20-17 Browns

Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Redskins

Sunday, Oct. 7 1 p.m.

Atlanta is considered the best team in the NFC. They have looked outstanding their first four weeks, winning even when they aren’t playing their best. Matt Ryan looks like an MVP, with a 70 percent completion percentage and an 11-2 touchdown-interception ratio. Washington won a crazy game last week against the Buccaneers with a game winning drive by Robert Griffin III. He has certainly carried the Redskins into respectability, but they still are not good enough to challenge Atlanta. Atlanta wins big.

Prediction: 34-10 Falcons

Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, Oct. 7 1 p.m.

Even in a loss, Ryan Tannehill had the best game of his young career. He threw for over 400 yards and nearly led the Dolphins to an overtime win over the undefeated Cardinals. Tannehill has been improving every week and is developing into a serviceable starting quarterback. Cincinnati has been clicking on all cylinders since their week 1 loss to Baltimore. Although their opponents haven’t exactly been great teams, Andy Dalton and A. J. Green have been terrific in the early season. The Bengals can win a shootout with anybody, and their defense can hold back teams enough to get by.

Prediction: 28-13 Bengals

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, Oct. 7 1 p.m.

Baltimore did what they were supposed to last week and beat division rival Cleveland. They played well although the score was closer than they would have liked. Joe Flacco had a great game, and he looks to have really improved from last season. The Chiefs have looked awful this season, especially in their latest game against the Chargers. They had six turnovers that led to a 37-20 blowout loss. Their offense goes as Jamaal Charles goes, and Baltimore knows that. Expect the Ravens to shut Charles down and win easily.

Prediction: 31-10 Ravens

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers

Sunday, Oct. 7 4:05 p.m.

Seattle has been one of the most inconsistent teams this season. Fresh off their win against the Packers (questionable or not), they should have been able to come into St. Louis and put in a better effort than they did. Russell Wilson was terrible, throwing 3 interceptions in the game. He really needs to play more consistently if the Seahawks want to win the competitive NFC West. Carolina almost topped the NFC-leading Falcons last week, mostly due to their ferocious pass rush that sacked Matt Ryan seven times. If they can get that kind of pressure on Wilson, he will become flustered and the Panthers may be able to squeak out a win.

Prediction: 17-13 Panthers

Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, Oct. 7 4:05 p.m.

Chicago looked great in their win against Dallas, grabbing 5 interceptions and returning two of them for a touchdown. The duo of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall was having trouble producing so far this season, but they seemed to figure it out last week. Jacksonville relied heavily on Blaine Gabbert last week rather than their All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew. This proved to be a bad decision, as they were beaten handily by the Bengals and failed to get anything going on offense. Chicago will easily take advantage of this stagnant Jaguars offense.

Prediction: 30-7 Bears

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots

Sunday, Oct. 7 4:25 p.m.

Denver routed the Raiders last week, largely on the arm of Peyton Manning. Manning had a great game going 30/38 for over 300 yards. The Patriots, on the other hand, looked terrible in the first half, allowing the Bills to gather a 14-7 lead at halftime. Tom Brady then proceeded to lead the Patriots on six straight touchdown drives to end up blowing out the Bills. This game brings back memories of the epic Peyton Manning/Tom Brady battles of old, but it may not turn out that way. The Patriots are much better than the Broncos and Manning, while still a good quarterback, isn’t who he used to be. Brady wins this one.

Prediction: 34-23 Patriots

Buffalo Bills @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 7 4:25 p.m.

With the return of Fred Jackson, Buffalo should be able to compete for a playoff spot in the AFC this year. After scaring the Patriots, they have shown that they can hang with the best teams in the NFL, at least for one half. If they can maintain that level of play they should be fine going forward. The 49ers returned to their form last week after losing to the Vikings the week before. They absolutely dominated the Jets in every facet of the game. They rushed for over 200 yards and their defense looked outstanding the whole game. Expect them to blow past the Bills.

Prediction: 27-7 49ers

Tennessee Titans @ Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, Oct. 7 4:25 p.m.

Chris Johnson finally had a Chris Johnson-esque game, rushing for 141 yards. Even more impressive, his game came when the Titans played the Houston Texans, who have one of the best defenses in the league. Minnesota has been surprising thus far this season, coming up with their third win against the Detroit Lions. They returned two kicks for touchdowns and Percy Harvin showed us why he is considered one of the most explosive players in the league. Their defense has been outstanding for the past two weeks, and their play is reminiscent of the team they beat last week, the 49ers. If they continue to play like this, they should be able to grab a playoff spot.

Prediction: 17-13 Vikings

San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints

Sunday, Oct. 7 8:20 p.m.

The Chargers are playing very well at the beginning of the season, which is a good sign for San Diego fans. They have won largely due to their great rush defense that forces teams into mistakes. The Saints just can’t get a break. Still winless on the season, it looks as though this year is lost. Drew Brees goes into Sunday Night’s game looking to make history, as he tries to throw a touchdown in an NFL record 48 consecutive games.

Prediction: 34-24 Saints

Houston Texans @ New York Jets

Monday, Oct. 8 8:35 p.m.

Houston has easily been the most impressive team in the NFL. They won handily again in another all-around game, with contributions from their defense, Arian Foster, and Matt Schaub. The Jets, on the other hand, have looked like the least impressive team. After being blown out by San Francisco last week, murmurs are starting around the league as to whether or not Mark Sanchez could lead New York to a Super Bowl and if backup Tim Tebow should get a chance to start. If Sanchez looks bad again this week, Tebow may get that chance sooner than he thinks.

Prediction: 34-7 Texans