Week 5 NFL Game Previews: Late Games


Photo Courtesy of Robert Robinson


Oakland Raiders (1-3) vs Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)


Preview

This one suits up to be an intriguing divisional matchup in the AFC West. The Chargers come into this one at 2-2, looking to get on the right track this season, while the Raiders are looking for their second win of the season. It will be interesting to see if Oakland can clean up their mess on both sides while going up against a pretty solid Chargers team. Unless things change, this one could get out of hand in favor of the Chargers.


Players to watch

A big reason for Oakland’s struggles this season has been their defense, which has ranked towards the bottom of the league. A player that I look to have a big game against them is wide receiver Keenan Allen. On the opposite side of the ball, I will be looking to see if Derek Carr can get going against this Chargers defense and if Oakland’s offensive line can protect him against the Chargers pass rush, which will be missing a key piece in Joey Bosa.


Keys to the game

Oakland Raiders

  • Limit turnovers

  • Get pressure on Rivers

  • Get Beast Mode going

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Attack the secondary

  • Put pressure on Carr

  • Take advantage of big play opportunities


Injury list

Oakland Raiders

  • Kelechi Osemele, G - Knee (Questionable)

  • Karl Joseph, DB - Hamstring (Out)

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Travis Benjamin, WR - Foot (Out)

  • Kyzir White, LB - Knee (Out)

  • Joey Bosa, DE - Foot (Out)

  • Russell Okung, T - Groin (Questionable)

  • Joe Barksdale, T - Knee (Doubtful)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Keenan Allen, WR (LAC)

  • Amari Cooper, WR (OAK)

  • Marshawn Lynch, RB (OAK)

  • Philip Rivers, QB (LAC)

  • Melvin Gordon, RB (LAC)


Prediction

This one could get ugly for Oakland. I believe that they will stay competitive for a little in the beginning, but the Chargers will pull away in the end. Oakland simply doesn’t have enough answers. I look for Rivers and Allen to have a big game against this Raiders secondary, leading their team to a multiple-score victory.


Final Score: Chargers 31, Raiders 14


Written by: Ryan Lippert



Arizona Cardinals (0-4) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-3)


Preview

Josh Rosen will receive his second career start against Arizona’s division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. A week ago, Rosen drove Arizona down the field and presented a chance for Phil Dawson to take the lead late in the game, but a missed field goal gave the Seahawks and Russell Wilson excellent field position which they took advantage of. The 49ers lost their franchise quarterback to an ACL tear in week 3, and although CJ Beathard played admirably, the 49ers bottom five defense couldn’t stop the Chargers from scoring. Luckily, they won’t be playing Phillip Rivers, and instead, an underwhelming supporting cast captained by a Josh Rosen who threw for 180 yards and a touchdown on 55% passing last week.


Players to watch

CJ Beathard nearly passed 300 yards last week with a pair of touchdowns, but this week he will be playing Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals secondary, which has allowed only 235.8 yards per game through the air. George Kittle is the best player in their offense, and he should be targeted all day as his chemistry with Beathard stretches back to the 2017 season. Josh Rosen will be making his second career start, and it will be interesting to see if he can improve on his first outing. Hampered by a hamstring injury, Larry Fitzgerald has incurred one of the worst months of his historic NFL career. He has only accrued 15 receptions through four outings (8 coming over the last three weeks), but he will be playing against a mediocre pass defense and could find some breathing room in week 5. With David Johnson only averaging 3.3 yards per carry, he will need to step up if the Cardinals want to find their first win.


Keys to the game

Arizona Cardinals

  • Get David Johnson involved early

  • Spread the ball around

  • Pressure CJ Beathard

  • Stop the Ground game

San Francisco 49ers

  • Control the clock

  • Establish the Run

  • Protect the ball


Injury list

Arizona Cardinals

  • Robert Nkemdiche, DT - Knee (Questionable)

  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR - Hamstring/Back (Questionable)

  • Corey Peters, DT - Elbow (Questionable)

  • Markus Golden, DE - Knee (Questionable)

  • Jamar Taylor, CB - Back (Questionable)

  • John Wetzel, OL - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Bene’ Benwikere, CB - Neck (Questionable)

San Francisco 49ers

  • Matt Breida, RB - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Marquise Goodwin, WR - Hamstring/Quadricep (Questionable)

  • Richard Sherman, CB - Calf (Questionable)

  • Mike McGlinchey, OT - Knee (Questionable)

  • Weston Richburg, C - Knee (Questionable)

  • Dante Pettis, WR - Knee (Out)

  • Joe Staley, OT - Knee (Questionable)

  • Jimmie Ward, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • David Johnson, RB (ARI)

  • Matt Breida, RB (SF)

  • George Kittle, TE (SF)

  • CJ Beathard, QB (SF)

  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR (ARI)

Prediction

Arizona heads into week 5 as the only winless team in the league, but with life breathed back into them now that Rosen has taken the reins, this game may be closer than many think. The 49ers defense ranks near the bottom of the NFL, giving up a total of 29.5 points per game, and with Rosen sure to improve on his performance from a week ago, Arizona could be looking at their first win on the season. Look for Beathard and the 49ers offense to make some costly mistakes that pushes Arizona over the edge.

Final Score: Cardinals 23, 49ers 20


Written by: Jason Feiner


Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1) vs Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)


Preview

Both the Vikings and Eagles boast two of the most talented, well-rounded rosters in the league, yet have had their fair share of struggles this season. Anthony Barr has been a huge disappointment for the Minnesota defense, and after a terrible loss to the Bills in week 3 and a shootout with the Rams in week 4, they now find themselves in a bit of a hole. The same can be said for the Eagles, who struggled without Carson Wentz to start the season. This will be a pivotal test for both teams with big playoff implications.


Players to watch

Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery will have to replicate the success they had last week against the Titans, but it won’t be enough — Nelson Agholor will have to win the battle against Mike Hughes in the slot to give Wentz more support. Jay Ajayi and Wendell Smallwood are the two healthy backs right now, and Smallwood, along with tight end Zach Ertz, will need to challenge the Vikings linebackers with their pass catching ability. Anthony Barr simply has to play better. Dalvin Cook’s status isn’t looking great for Sunday, but even if he does play, backup running back Latavius Murray will need to get it going to keep the pressure of Kirk Cousins.


Keys to the game

Minnesota Vikings

  • Win in linebacker coverage

  • Establish the play action

  • Take away Alshon Jeffery

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Contain the Vikings receivers

  • Don’t fall behind early

  • Spread the ball around


Injury list

Minnesota Vikings

  • Dalvin Cook, RB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Tashawn Bower, DE - Ankle (Out)

  • Everson Griffen, DE - Knee (Out)

  • Trae Waynes, CB - Concussion (Out)

  • Marcus Sherels, CB - Ribs (Out)

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Derek Barnett, DE - Shoulder (Out)

  • Corey Clement, RB - Quadricep (Questionable)

  • Darren Sproles, RB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Haloti Ngata, DT - Calf (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Stefon Diggs, WR (MIN)

  • Adam Thielen, WR (MIN)

  • Kirk Cousins, QB (MIN)

  • Carson Wentz, QB (PHI)

  • Alshon Jeffery, WR (PHI)


Prediction

After a strong showing against the Rams, albeit in a loss, I think the Vikings are getting some of their mojo back. Their receivers are too good for the Philly secondary, and if they can just establish a bit of a run game, the Eagles defense won’t be good enough to slow them down. I expect this to be a high scoring affair with the Vikings defense still struggling to generate turnovers, but Minnesota will come out on top.


Final Score: Vikings 35, Eagles 30


Written by: Alexander Amir



Los Angeles Rams (4-0) vs. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)


Preview

The Rams are heading into week five as one of two unbeaten teams. They just dropped 38 points on one of the best defenses in the league, and are rolling on all cylinders. Currently boasting the number 2 ranked offense and the number 5 ranked defense, the Rams are going to be tough to beat and could stay undefeated well into the year. The Seahawks narrowly recorded their second win on the year over first time starter Josh Rosen and the inept Arizona offense. They will need to play a near perfect game if they want to come out on top of week 5. It’s always tough to win in Seattle and the Rams have only accomplished the feat twice since 2005.


Players to watch

Russell Wilson has been running for his life behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and as the centerpiece in Seattle, he may need to put the team on his back to beat a dominant LAR team. Doug Baldwin is getting healthier and will continue to improve. He is a much needed chess piece in the Seahawks’ underwhelming supporting cast. Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh are going to feats in this matchup, as the Seahawks offensive line which currently ranks 30th in the NFL heading into week 5. Without Earl Thomas to wreak havoc in the secondary, Jared Goff is going to have a field day passing to his high powered trio of pass catchers.


Keys to the game

Los Angeles Rams

  • Establish the Run

  • Spread the Ball Around

  • Pressure Wilson

Seattle Seahawks

  • Stop Todd Gurley

  • Force Turnovers

  • Protect the Ball


Injury list

Los Angeles Rams

  • Mark Barron, LB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Tyler Higbee, TE - Knee (Questionable)

  • Greg Zuerlein, K - Groin (Out)

Seattle Seahawks

  • Ethan Pocic, G - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Rasheem Green, DE - Ankle (Out)

  • K.J. Wright, LB - Knee (Out)

  • Frank Clark, DE - Illness (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Todd Gurley, RB (LAR)

  • Jared Goff, QB (LAR)

  • Brandin Cooks, WR (LAR)

  • Cooper Kupp, WR (LAR)

  • Russell Wilson, QB (SEA)

Prediction

The Rams are currently ranked first in the league in pressure percentage and fourth in total pressures. Their defensive front has accrued 65 pressures against 157 drop backs - good for a rate of 41.4 percent. This doesn’t bode well for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. They have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and have already allowed 16 sacks on the year, which is third most allowed in the NFL. If the Rams can keep this dominant pace going, the Seahawks are in for a rough outing this Sunday.


Final Score: Rams 34, Seahawks 20


Written by: Jason Feiner


Dallas Cowboys (2-2) vs Houston Texans (1-3)


Preview

The battle for Texas will take place on Sunday Night Football as the Cowboys and Texans will look to take some of their momentum from last week’s win into this matchup. Dallas finds themselves in a great position to help put themselves in the early running to win the NFC East with a win. Houston needs to find a way to win this game so they don’t go further back into the standings. This should be a hard-fought matchup as both teams are looking to improve after a slow September start.


Players to watch

Ezekiel Elliott has made his case as an early candidate for the league’s MVP award as the Cowboys have heavily leaned on him to get the majority of their yards, even through the air. Dallas will need their first-round pick, Leighton Vander Esch, to help spy on Deshaun Watson so he doesn’t beat their defense with his legs. Lamar Miller will need to help out Houston’s offense by wearing down the Cowboys defense so they can control the game clock and don’t allow their defense to be on the field all night. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney dominated last week and if they do the same thing on Sunday night then Dak Prescott will be running for his life.


Keys to the game

Dallas Cowboys

  • Feed Zeke

  • Contain Deshaun Watson

  • Get receivers going early

Houston Texans

  • Pressure Dak

  • Don’t let Zeke beat you

  • Establish the run game


Injury list

Dallas Cowboys

  • Travis Frederick, C - Illness (Out)

  • Sean Lee, LB - Hamstring (Out)

  • Terrance Williams, WR - Not injury related (Out)

  • Chidobe Awuzie, CB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Maliek Collins, DT - Knee (Questionable)

  • Antwaun Woods, DT - Calf (Questionable)

Houston Texans

  • Aaron Colvin, CB - Ankle (Out)

  • Keke Coutee, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Will Fuller, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Lamar Miller, RB - Chest (Questionable)

  • Brian Peters, LB - Ankle (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB (DAL)

  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR (HOU)

  • Deshaun Watson, QB (HOU)

  • Will Fuller, WR (HOU)

  • Lamar Miller, RB (HOU)


Prediction

The Texans offense started to click last week and it should continue to do so this week. Dallas has an improved defense, but Houston has plenty of options they can choose from to pick them apart. Zeke should help keep the Cowboys within reach for most of the game but Watson and company will find a way to pull ahead in the 4th quarter.


Final Score: Texans 27, Cowboys 21


Written by: Cody Manning

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