Thursday, Oct. 6
Arizona Cardinals (1-3) at San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
The Cardinals offense has struggled since putting up 40 points in Week 2, scoring a combined 31 points in their last two games. Now Carson Palmer has been ruled out with a concussion and backup Drew Stanton will get the start.
The silver lining for Arizona is that David Johnson is seventh in the league with 300 rushing yards this year and San Francisco is allowing more than 140 yards per game on the ground.
To make things worse for the 49ers, leading tackler NaVorro Bowman is out for the year with an Achilles injury.
Q’s Pick: Cardinals, 27-21
Sunday, Oct. 9
Houston Texans (3-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-0)
If you would have told me when the season started that this would be one of the most intriguing Week 5 matchups, I would have scoffed.
But both of these teams have proved skeptics like myself wrong all season.
Q’s Pick: Vikings, 24-20
Tennessee Titans (1-3) at Miami Dolphins (1-3)
Miami’s defense has been atrocious so far, allowing more than 400 yards per game, now they have to face DeMarco Murray and the 4th-best running game in the league.
The Titans’ three losses this year came against teams with a combined 10-2 record and two of those losses were one-possession games.
If Tennessee can get to Ryan Tannehill and force him to throw picks — which he’s struggled to control all year — they should leave Miami with a big win.
Q’s Pick: Titans, 29-20
New England Patriots (3-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-4)
As if things haven’t been worse for the Browns this season, they get to be at the wrong end of the return of Tom Brady.
Brady may be a little rusty, but he’s playing the right defense to build his confidence.
Cleveland allows more than 378 yards per game, and gives up 118 yards per game on the ground, opening up opportunities for LeGarrette Blount, which will in turn open up opportunities for Brady.
Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-20
New York Jets (1-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
The Steelers are fresh off an absolute dismantling of the Chiefs and the Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown nine interceptions in his last two games.
That’s an intriguing combination, but another key factor is that the Jets’ pass defense is among the league’s worst, allowing 285 yards per game through the air.
That’s good news for Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns in Week 4.
Q’s Pick: Steelers, 31-18
Washington Redskins (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
For the Ravens, life without Justin Forsett begins against a Redskins team that allows more than 133 rushing yards per game, third-most in the NFL.
On the other side of the ball, Baltimore has been hot, allowing the fewest yards per game in the league (256). Washington, on the other hand, allows more than 413 total yards per game.
Q’s Pick: Ravens, 28-20
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) at Detroit Lions (1-3)
The Eagles are fresh off a bye week and the Lions are fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Bears.
That’s not to say the Lions won’t make it interesting, I’m just becoming more and more of a believer in Carson Wentz and the committee backfield.
Darren Sproles has become more popular in terms of usage, especially because he can catch short passes as well as he can run, and the Eagles defense has remained among the best through their three games this year.
Q’s Pick: Eagles, 30-21
Chicago Bears (1-3) at Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
Both of these teams have struggled on offense this season but I would venture to say the Bears have struggled worse.
The Colts are a little more healthy, but their offensive line has been man-handled this year allowing little room for Andrew Luck to perform at his usual level.
This game may come down to who doesn’t play as bad as usual.
Q’s Pick: Colts, 23-17
Atlanta Falcons (3-1) at Denver Broncos (4-0)
The gamechanger is that Trevor Siemian may not start after spraining his shoulder last week. If he doesn’t, Paxton Lynch would make his first career start and that would be a major curveball in Denver’s chances of winning.
Still, defense tends to win games and the Broncos, allowing only 169.5 passing yards per game, have a much better one that Atlanta does.
Q’s Pick: Broncos, 28-24
Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-1)
Both of these teams have shown they can be taken seriously, having both beat legitimate teams so far this year.
The Bills just shutout the Patriots in New England right after routing the Cardinals. The Rams have beat the same Cardinals team and the Seahawks after getting shutout in their season opener.
The big matchup will be the Bills newfound offense against the Rams’ solid defense. In that category, I give the advantage to the home team.
Q’s Pick: Rams, 24-19
San Diego Chargers (1-3) at Oakland Raiders (3-1)
The Raiders are a tale of two teams — they have the third-best offense in the league in terms of gaining yards, and the worst defense in the league in terms of allowing them.
The Chargers should have a much better record than they do, but they continue to fail at closing out close games in crunch time.
Expect a lot of scoring in this one, but the Raiders have more weapons to finish the job and get win No. 4, which would be as many as they’ve had in three of the last four years.
Q’s Pick: Raiders, 36-31
Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Dez Bryant hasn’t been ruled out, but the Cowboys won without him last week so they shouldn’t stress too much about him anyway.
If Cincinnati wants to win, they need to figure out how to stop Elliott, the NFL’s leading rusher, and utilize A.J. Green like they did against Miami last week.
I’m just not sure Green will be able to score enough to counter Dallas’ points.
Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 31-28
New York Giants (2-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Aaron Rodgers has found his touch again and the Packers are refreshed following a bye week — and they get to play in front of their fans on Sunday Night Football.
Odell Beckham Jr. was essentially shutout last week and will certainly look to get back on track against the Pack.
He has a chance against Green Bay’s defense, which allows more than 307 yards through the air per game, but New York will have to rely on that passing attack to win — the Packers have the best run defense in the NFL.
Q’s Pick: Packers, 30-20
Monday, Oct. 10
Carolina Panthers (1-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
Both of these teams’ defenses have struggled early in the season — the Panthers are giving up 29.5 points per game and the Bucs are allowing 32.
That being said, this game could turn into a shootout quickly.
Cam Newton reportedly has a concussion and may not be available to play, but the Buccaneers offense has been too hit and miss for me to trust in this NFC South matchup.