Rambling into Week 5 of the National Football League’s regular-season, Week 4 simply didn’t disappoint. Describing Week 3 as being bananas, it turns out that Week 4 had even more in store. With nine games decided by seven points or less, two teams winning by a miniscule two points and two more needing overtime to declare a victor.
And it took only a month for every team in the league to lose a game, except for one. The Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) are high atop their pedestal with the best record in “footie ball”. All hail the Chiefs, who are the mightiest in all the land due to another phenomenal finish in Week 4 on Monday Night Football. After missing his first career field goal attempt in the first half, kicker Harrison Butker answered in resounding fashion when he nailed his next three in the second half. . . One of which was the game-winner from 43-yards out with 0:04 remaining in regulation.
How about more intrigue? Well, I have it for you. The NFL’s crystal ball had many believing that the New England Patriots would go a perfect 16-0 in this 2017 regular-season. Additionally, another look had the New York Jets going an abysmal 0-16. Hmmm? A clearer picture has both the Pats and Jets 2-2. What? Yes, it’s true. Can anyone predict what’s to come from the Professional Pigskin League? Absolutely not. Talk about exciting!
What scrumptious treats does Week 5 have lurking around the corner? Let’s find out. Here I go.
Patriots @ Buccaneers
Both the Pats and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be forced to play after a short week. I’ve already told you that I despise Thursday night affairs because players don’t have the appropriate time to get normal rest – injuries need time to heal, coaches and players could use the extra days to perfect game schemes and sometimes us fans could use a full week to recuperate.
Angry and hungry after their 2-2 start, the Pats will look to put up points aplenty against the Bucs. Surely, they can do that with quarterback Tom Brady still flinging the rock. But what about their defense? It has been porous thus far this season. Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam “Always Dapper” Newton proved that on Sunday afternoon. Cam’s right arm accounted for 316-yards through the air, and his legs etched his name into the history books. Mr. Newton is the first QB in NFL history to rush for 50 touchdowns. A 7 yard “Nestea” plunge did the trick for the stud on the road in Foxborough, MA. Congrats Cam! The Pats with Brady will most likely do what they do on offense Thursday night. . . Rack up points. But their hopes of flying back home with a “W” at the “Pirates’ Playground” in Tampa will rely on their defenses ability to slow the Bucs down a little while creating turnovers. Simple as that.
Tampa Bay (2-1) is coming off a thrilling 25-23 win over the New York Giants (0-4) as time expired on Sunday. After missing kicks earlier in the game, kicker Nick Folk was the Bucs’ “folk hero”, drilling the proverbial nail into the Giants’ coffin with a 34-yard chipshot as time expired. And how about “Famous” Jameis Winston’s play at QB? Well, 300-plus yards and 3 TDs in his aerial assault on Sunday will do the job. And Winston has weapons galore on offense – WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson as well as tight end Cameron Brate are just a few of the toys that Jameis gets to play with. Look for Mr. Winston to target the frustrated Mr. Jackson (he wants the damn ball) more often to stretch the field in the Bucs’ favor. A dabble of that plus some of that “balance on offense” with the run game, continued solid play on defense, and Tampa Bay will most likely improve to 3-1 with a win over the defending champs.
Panthers @ Lions
You already know that Cam showed-up and showed-off against the Pats on Sunday. Heading to the “Lions’ Den” which is Ford Field in Detroit come this Sunday, Newton will be facing a superior defense compared to the Patriots. In this one, Cam will need the help of running back Jonathan Stewart to have a chance of spreading the pigskin around to his WRs and TEs. Indeed, I’m going there again. A little “balance on offense”, creating the possibility for the play-action pass is just what the doctor ordered for the Panthers. With their defense playing like they did versus the surprisingly gifted Buffalo Bills (3-1) a few weeks ago (allowing just 3-points in the contest), Carolina can escape the Great Lakes area with a victory on their plates during a flight home to Charlotte.
Defense is starting to get some love. For the Detroit Lions, their essence is ferocious defense. Coming off a commanding effort defensively against the Minnesota Vikings on the road in Minneapolis, defensive end Anthony Zettel is now being looked upon as the fearless leader of this Detroit “D”. Zettel accounted for two QB sacks, four hurries and a fumble recovery on Sunday afternoon. As a unit, the Lions’ “D” created three total turnovers en route to their 14-7 road “W”. It’s clear as day. . . Carolina will be facing a defense that resides on the other side of the coin in comparison to New England. And Detroit’s balanced offense was on display as well with QB Matthew Stafford’s 31-attempts, and RB Ameer Abdullah’s 20-carries for 94-yards and one visit to the house. The Lions should be able to expose some cracks in the Panthers’ defense with another well-rounded offensive attack.
Chiefs @ Texans
As I’ve already said, the Chiefs are the sole unbeaten team left one quarter of the way through the NFL’s 2017 regular-season. They look every bit like the best team in the league right now. Trailing 10-0 to the Washington Redskins, Kansas City wasn’t fazed being down two scores in their own building on MNF. The Chiefs continued to play their game – pound the pigskin with the otherworldly talent of rookie RB Kareem Hunt, control the clock and rely on mistake free play from QB Alex Smith. Don’t let that “mistake free” comment fool you. Mr. Smith can ball out. His poison against the Redskins on Monday night was TE Travis Kelce. . . He’s arguably the best pass catching TE in football, and he opens the middle of the field for Alex when the running attack is clicking. That has been every week with Mr. Hunt’s stout legs, finding plenty of green behind the “Human Hogs” on KC’s offensive line.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston has continued to be the Chiefs’ shark on defense. He’s the tone setter. If he’s firing on all cylinders, it’s likely that ten other comrades on the defensive side of the ball are smelling blood in the water. All the above are key if the Chiefs plan to sneak away from Houston’s NRG Stadium with a victory, bolstering their record to 5-0.
Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt and OLB Jadeveon Clowney will be salivating at the chance to take on the Chiefs’ O-Line. These two freakish beasts will have their minds on one thing. . . The complete and utter annihilation of KC’s “Human Hogs!”
If these two freaks of nature can help the Texans’ “D” own the line of scrimmage, Kansas City could be staring down the gun barrel of their first loss.
Enter star rookie QB Deshaun Watson for Houston, fresh off a National Title in his senior year at Clemson, and the Texans suddenly have a potently explosive offense. What were the Texans thinking starting Tom Savage ahead of Mr. Watson to begin the regular-season? Does anyone have a clue? C’mon Texans! This was a no-brainer. On Sunday afternoon, Deshaun gashed the Tennessee Titans in a 57-14 throttling. Mr. Watson ended his brilliant effort with an NFL rookie record five touchdowns tossing sweet lil dimes all day for four scoring strikes through the air as well as one rush for six. Houston will be looking for RB Lamar Miller behind a very solid O-Line to tote the rock close to 20-times to create, you guessed it, a balanced offensive attack. Meanwhile, Deshaun will be focused on picking apart a fantastic Chiefs’ secondary with the hefty use of play-action while targeting WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.
The Texans can end Kansas City’s undefeated run, but I’m afraid that Houston’s hopes rest firmly upon the shoulder pads of the electrifying one, Mr. Watson. And don’t think he can’t deliver.