Game week 5 is a game old after the Seahawks 30-29 win over the Rams on Thursday. With some perfect records to defend and awful form to overturn, there’s plenty of potential talking points.
Vikings and Giants in opposite directions
The first day of the season looks a long way away for both the Giants and the Vikings, for better and for worse. After starting their season with defeats to the Cowboys and the Bills the decision to drop Eli Manning for Daniel Jones has been an unmitigated success. While the Bucs and Redskins are hardly Super Bowl contenders, there is optimism in New York for the first time in years – and that’s even with an injury to Saquon Barkely.
Compare that to the Vikings. Since beating the Falcons on day one, they’ve been in free fall. Beating the Raiders either side of losses to the Packers and Bears has disguised a horrible offense. When their run game doesn’t work (Dalvin Cook had a measly 35 yards from 14 carries against the Bears) Kirk Cousins doesn’t have the ability to pass them out of trouble. Just ask wide receiver Adam Thielen. Don’t be surprised if the Giants and Vikings trajectories continue in the same direction this weekend.
Adam Thielen makes it loud and clear: Kirk Cousins needs to play better 🗣 pic.twitter.com/N3CikVbbrT
— Vikings Nation (@VikingsNationCP) September 30, 2019
Did the Patriots kill the Falcons? Or at least maim them, perhaps? Since being overturned by a record margin in Super Bowl LI they simply haven’t been the same. Over the last couple of years injuries have certainly played their part, but it’s reached the stage where bad runs of form have simply become the status quo.
Against the Titans, a good but limited team, their defense looked awful and their inability to stop the run all year has been their undoing. With the Rams, Seahawks and Texans among their next four fixtures it could get even worse. Sunday could be a good day for Deshaun Watson to get his offense back in the groove.
Beating the bottom of the barrel
There are some genuinely awful teams in the league this season. The Redskins’ injuries don’t fully justify how bad they’ve been and the Dolphins look a mess but at least there’s some method to their full tanking mode. The Bengals, however, might be the worst out of the lot, and now the 0-3-1 Cardinals are in town.
Arizona’s record is poor, but it’s understandable given the infancy of Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure and having a rookie at quarterback. That said, Kyler Murray is the real deal. He’ll make mistakes – not trying to make the big play every time would be a start – but this could be a real launchpad for the former Sooner because the Bengals corners can’t tackle and their linebackers can’t cover the field: a decent recipe for defeat.
Find out about the 49ers
Only three teams still have a perfect record – Patriots, Chiefs and, surprisingly for some, the 49ers. But are they actually as good as their record suggests? After a bye, they now face a Cleveland side that looks as though it may have finally turned a corner.
So far they’ve beaten the Steelers, Bengals and Bucs (who have as many wins as the 49ers combined) so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how good they’ve been, but the likes of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert have added to a run game that looks like it could take them far.
The 49ers’ stats suggest that you should believe the hype. They’re sixth on offense and second on defense – second in overall efficiency, plus Jimmy Garoppolo has successfully passed for more than 20 yards or more on 17.3% of his pass plays. Going into the game as slight underdogs, the 49ers could justify their position at the top of the NFC West.
WEEK 5 FIXTURES
Thursday, October 03, 2019
Los Angeles Rams 29-30 Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, October 06, 2019
Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders (London)
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
Monday, October 07, 2019
Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers
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