Thursday, Oct. 13
Denver Broncos (4-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-4)
The Broncos saw their undefeated season come to an end last week at the hands of the Falcons, but they are expected to get quarterback Trevor Siemian back for this game.
Siemian missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury allowing rookie Paxton Lynch to make his first career start. Lynch was decent, but it wasn’t enough.
The Chargers have had chances to win every game this season, but they have failed to maintain leads and/or failed to take leads. Unless Philip Rivers finds a way to exploit Denver’s secondary — which is third-best in the league allowing only 185.6 passing yards per game — the Chargers will lose another close, tough game.
Q’s Pick: Broncos, 30-24
Sunday, Oct. 16
San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)
The news surrounding this game is that Colin Kaepernick will be making his first start since Nov. 1 of last season.
The veteran hasn’t thrown a regular season touchdown pass in almost a year, Oct. 18 against the Rams, but the 49ers seem to think he’s an improvement over Blaine Gabbert.
Buffalo put up a a 30-spot on a Rams defense that’s better than San Francisco’s, so they will be coming into this one with confidence.
The 49ers have the second-worst run defense in the league (146.8 ypg) and LeSean McCoy ran for 150 last weekend.
Q’s Pick: Bills, 27-21
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
The Redskins only rush for about 86 yards per game and the Eagles only allow 73.3 yards per game on the ground.
Unless the Redskins can find a way to disrupt Wentz or contain Darren Sproles (which most teams have had trouble doing), the Eagles have every reason to win this one.
Q’s Pick: Eagles, 30-26
Cleveland Browns (0-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)
The Titans rolled over the Dolphins last week and now get to play an even weaker defense.
The Browns’ defense is one of only five in the league that allows more than 400 total yards per game, and is one of only three that allows 30 or more points per game.
On the other side of the ball, Cleveland picked Kevin Hogan off the practice squad to play quarterback after QB-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor had to play behind center last week following yet another Browns QB injury.
That inconsistency doesn’t bode well against a team like Tennessee, which boasts DeMarco Murray who has the second-most rushing yards in the league (461).
Q’s Pick: Titans, 31-20
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at New England Patriots (4-1)
Tom Brady showed the NFL last week that he’s back and isn’t going anywhere. Now he’s home at Gillette Stadium against Cincinnati’s average-at-best defense.
The good news for the Bengals is their offense — Andy Dalton has thrown the second-most passing yards in the NFL (1,503) and A.J. Green has racked up 518 receiving yards, also second most in the league.
The only way they have a shot to upset Brady and Rob Gronkowski is if they can shut down the Patriots’ offense and put together a near-perfect offensive performance of their own.
Q’s Pick: Patriots, 34-28
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at New York Giants (2-3)
Both of these offenses have struggled to score points, with neither averaging more than 19 points per game this season.
Baltimore has been able to win games by relying on their defense, which is in the league’s top-5 in most key categories.
The Ravens will have their hands full with Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., but the Giants’ running back situation is still up in the air and since Baltimore only allows 76 yards per game on the ground, they have the advantage no matter who lines up in the Giants backfield.
Q’s Pick: Ravens, 24-19
Carolina Panthers (1-4) at New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Cam Newton is expected to return to the Panthers this weekend after missing last week with a concussion, but even with him they haven’t been very good this season.
The offense has been less of an issue than their defense, which is in the bottom-third of the league allowing 27 points per game.
The Saints had a bye week last week and are rested but they have the worst defense in the NFL in points allowed and are second-worst in yards allowed.
Q’s Pick: Saints, 31-28
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-4)
To make matters worse for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill has struggled, throwing an interception in four of five games this year and two interceptions in three of those games.
The combination is a recipe for a blowout, but something tells me the Dolphins will keep it somewhat close. That doesn’t mean they will win.
Q’s Pick: Steelers, 31-23
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at Chicago Bears (1-4)
The Bears continue to struggle offensively, scoring only 17 points per game, second-fewest in the league.
The Jaguars are coming off a bye following their first win of the season, a solid win in London against the Colts.
Statistically, the Bears have a slight advantage in a few categories, but if there’s going to be an upset this week, I like the Jaguars on the road.
Q’s Pick: Jaguars, 24-21
Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Detroit Lions (2-3)
The Lions scored a big win against the previously undefeated Eagles last weekend then added veteran free agent Justin Forsett this week to take on a Rams defense that allowed 193 rushing yards last week against the Bills.
The Rams are still struggling on offense behind Case Keenum, who has led the league’s third-worst passing offense (202.4 ypg) and has thrown five interceptions in five games.
Q’s Pick: Lions, 27-23
Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (4-1)
The Raiders were the beneficiary of another late-game collapse from the Chargers last week, but that in no way means they are unworthy of their record.
Oakland has the juxtaposition of one of the worst defenses and best offenses in the league — but their offense has done just enough to give them their best start since 2002 when they reached the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs are coming off a bye and are 15-2 under Andy Reid when doing that, but they’ve only averaged 13 points in their two road losses this season.
Q’s Pick: Raiders, 31-27
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
This may be the game of the week and a possible playoff preview, even this early in the season.
The Seahawks are at home following a bye, but they are taking on a Falcons offense that is the only one in the NFL averaging more than 400 yards per game (457.4)
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones lead the league’s best passing offense (333.4 ypg) which provides an intriguing matchup with Seattle’s defense which only allows 183.8 passing yards per game, second-fewest in the league.
Russell Wilson is finally healthy but the offense has been mid-major. This game completely relies on how well Seattle’s defense shuts down the Falcons high-flying offense.
Q’s Pick: Falcons, 29-22
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Green Bay Packers (3-1)
The Cowboys are rolling behind the league’s leading rusher, rookie Ezekiel Elliott.
Unfortunately for Dallas, Green Bay has the best rushing defense in the league, allowing only 42.8 yards per game on the ground.
If Green Bay can stabilize the Cowboys’ offense, they can look to Aaron Rodgers to lead the Packers offense alongside Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the latter of whom posted 108 receiving yards last week.
Q’s Pick: Packers, 27-23
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at Houston Texans (3-2)
The Texans return home this week where they are 3-0 this year against a Colts team that has struggled to protect Andrew Luck and is 0-2 on the road.
On the other hand, Houston has the best pass defense in the league (181.0 ypg) and Luck is going to need a little more than his surname to beat the Texans in that category.
Q’s Pick: Texans, 26-19
Monday, Oct. 17
New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
The Cardinals season has started off as one of the most disappointing ones in the franchise’s history.
Once thought Super Bowl favorites, Arizona now just needs to focus on making the playoffs.
This week they get quarterback Carson Palmer back and they’re going to need him — David Johnson has to face off against a Jets defense that allows only 68.4 yards per game on the ground, second-best in the league.
On the flip side, the Cardinals secondary must take advantage of Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s lack of control this year — he’s already thrown 10 interceptions.