NFL Bold Predictions; Week 5
The Chargers Keep The Giants Winless
This was a difficult one to call only because I can’t wrap my head around a 0-5 Giants. However, their offense is so appalling I feel comfortable enough making this bold prediction. The Chargers are an unimpressive team, and arguably the worst squad the Giants will face. On paper, this game seems the most likely chance for the Giants to snag their first victory. But, the Chargers are in an advantageous position to keep the Giants winless.
For starters, the Chargers are an okay defensive team… well, at least their secondary is. The defense backs, lead by Casey Hayward, have played solid through the air, not letting any one receiver dominate a game.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles is really inept at stopping the run, which is why they’ve given up a fair amount of points to opposing teams. For three consecutive weeks, the Chargers have allowed 100+ yards on the ground (Jay Ajayi, Kareem Hunt, and LeGarrette Blount). Luckily for the Chargers, the Giants’ running game stinks worse than 2-month-old milk.
Also, the Giants defense, although very talented, has struggled covering the middle of the field. They’ve given up touchdowns to tight ends in every game thus far, which bodes well for the Chargers given Philip Rivers affinity for throwing to tight ends. Rivers other preferred target is slot wideout, Keenan Allen. These three targets will pick apart the middle of the field, which will open up opportunities for chunk gains by Melvin Gordon. The balanced Chargers’ offense will ultimately close out with a 24 – 21 victory.
Adam Thielen And Stefon Diggs Both Go For Over 100 Yards Against The Bears
Every week I’ve included at least one conjecture that leans more towards probable prediction than bold prediction; this is that prediction. Thielen and Diggs are amongst the top receivers in the NFL thus far. Even with Case Keenum under center, both wideouts still have had solid yardage totals.
This upcoming weekend the Vikings square off against the Bears. As I asserted in last week’s bold predictions, the Bears have a pretty soft defense, one that just gave up 35 to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Even if Sam Bradford sits again, I think Thielen and Diggs put on a couple of great performances. Unfortunately, these solid showings will be in part due to Dalvin Cook’s injury (tough thing to see happen to a budding star).
Without Cook, Keenum and the Vikings can’t strike the same run-pass balance they’ve been employing. Their offense is going to give Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon a fair shot, but both backs will be stifled for minimal gains. Inevitably, Keenum will look to air it out to his dynamic receiver duo. Off of a blend of long-distance bombs, mid-range routes, and quick cuts, Thielen and Diggs go for over 200 yards and at least one touchdown to play the pivotal role in the Vikings 17 – 10 finish.
Jay Cutler Throws 3 Touchdowns Against The Titans
I don’t want to belabor the narrative of the Dolphins’ offensive woes. But, how can football fans be that surprised that Cutler is struggling? Despite his handful of impressive games he had as the Bears’ franchise quarterback, the bulk of his career has been slightly better than average. His age and learning a new system with new personnel weren’t going to improve the likelihood of some grand resurgence. That being said, this matchup is Cutler’s best opportunity to bounce back.
The Fins finally get to return home in their contest against the Titans, a detail to this game that shouldn’t be understated. Despite what the coaching staff has been saying, that much traveling is likely going to impact the players’ physical and mental states. Obviously, these are all professional athletes and this is simply a part of the job, but the Fins have had a particularly tumultuous and exhausting start to the season.
More importantly, though, Cutler will be able to guide his offense against a battered Titans’ squad. Unfortunately for the Titans, Marcus Mariota was amongst the many players to be injured this past Sunday, and although the timetable for his return hasn’t been established yet, it is unlikely that he plays in week 5. The Titans’ offense will once again struggle mightily without Mariota, which will provide Cutler with a few more possessions.
Also, the Titans defense was just gashed by rookie Deshaun Watson for 5 total touchdowns this past weekend. I don’t think Cutler will be that productive, but it seems plausible for him to muster up 3 touchdowns. The veteran quarterback will execute a succession of completed short-to-midrange passes courtesy of Jarvis Landry. These completions and the steady movement of the Fins’ offense will bring out the Cutler of old. He will heave some balls downfield, and although most of them will be incompletions, some of them will connect with Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker. This aerial attack, along with a mixture of Ajayi runs, will culminate in a Fins 21 – 7 win.
Carlos Hyde Rushes For 120+ Yards And Scores 2 Touchdowns Against The Colts
There’s little to be excited about in this game. Both the 49ers and the Colts have had rough starts to their seasons, and it seems highly unlikely that either lackluster team will bounce back (I don’t believe the return of Andrew Luck, if that happens at all, will save the Colts). Regardless, if you’re stuck watching this game for whatever reason, hopefully, this bold prediction comes to fruition so you have something to make the game entertaining.
Hyde is arguably the best player on the 49ers (I was originally going to say on either team, but I couldn’t disrespect T.Y. Hilton like that). This is an ideal opportunity for Hyde to have a breakout performance. The obvious main reason is simply that the Colts have an awful defense. Currently, Indianapolis ranks 31st in total defense. This fact isn’t anything new; the Colts defense has been terrible for some time now. However, their deficiencies on defense will pad Hyde’s statistical bottom line.
If the 49ers are able to jump out to a lead, they’ll lean on their “premiere” back to maintain time of possession. Obviously, Kyle Shanahan won’t risk running his main offense weapon into the ground, but the 49ers offense isn’t talented enough to run away with the game, which brings me to my second point.
In all likelihood, this will be a close game. Because the Colts will be within arms reach of catching, or perhaps even a score ahead, the 49ers will be forced to keep pace, albeit a slow and sloppy pace. After a heated back-and-forth contest, San Francisco will mount a game-winning drive, one that will be capped off by Hyde’s 20th carry resulting in a touchdown, pushing the 49ers to their 14 – 13 victory.
DeShaun Watson Does It Again! He Goes For 4 Total Touchdowns Against The Chiefs!
The rookie quarterback dazzled the NFL world this past Sunday with a stunning 5-touchdown performance. The outstanding showing came as a surprise to many, although not so much to this humble writer that predicted Watson’s great game. This upcoming Sunday, primetime, and at home, Watson delivers once again.
Generally speaking, I’ve avoided talking about the same player for two weeks in a row. But, like what Bill O’Brien will likely do this Sunday, I too will ride Watson’s hot hand. However, I don’t think this bold prediction is particularly far-fetched, despite the fact that Watson will be squaring off against the undefeated Chiefs. There are a few key elements going in the rookie passer’s favor.
Watson will be entering this evening matchup with a newly formed confidence courtesy of his teammates, city, coaching staff, and most importantly, himself. As DeAndre Hopkins explained in the Texan’s last post game interview, “the leadership mentality he has, you know he has the pedigree to be great.”
Granted Hopkins approval is part of being a supportive teammate, but since Watson has taken over as the starter, Hopkins has had 17 catches for 183 yards and a score. This impressive stat line is indicative of a major jump from last season’s production for both Hopkins and the rest of the Texans’ offense. Oh, and let’s not forget, Watson just had another full week of practice to build chemistry with Will Fuller V.
On the other side of the ball is the Chiefs’ formidable defense. Although Kanas City’s defensive unit is pretty stout it does have one weakness, its secondary. Since Eric Berry suffered a season-ending injury, the Chiefs defensive backs are looking normal comparatively to the front seven. Granted there still is Marcus Peters (who just gave up two touchdowns to the Redskins), but the other members of the secondary have given decent yardage totals to opposing quarterbacks that aren’t named Philip Rivers. Ultimately, the Texans will happily take their 31 – 28 win as another major stride in their march towards the AFC South title.