By: Lucas Kochevar
Week five brings a number of games where teams will look to keep their season alive. Unfortunately, I can see this week being an ugly one full of blow outs. There are some fun storylines to follow still. Thursday Night Football shows two divisional foes in the NFC West with LA travelling to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Washington looks to keep up with Dallas as they face the Saints, who are trying to bounce back after losing to the Giants. Justin Fields travels out west to take on the Raiders in a Khalil Mack revenge game. Trey Lance will possibly make his first career start against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. These are some of the best storylines to follow this week, but not the best games. Not a lot of great games to watch, but here are the three I will keep an eye on.
Green Bay Packers vs Cincinnati Bengals
In a shocking turn of events, the Cincinnati Bengals have started the season 3-1 and sit tied for the lead in the AFC North with Baltimore and Cleveland. The Bengals have been fairly solid in the games they've played. The offense has looked really good and really bad. Joe Burrow looks similar to his old self and has shown the connection with rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. The defense has played better than expected with the defensive line showing promise with Sam Hubbard coming off the edge. On the other side, the Green Bay Packers are coming off of three straight wins after getting destroyed week one. Ever since their week one embarrassment, the offense has comeback to life as they've scored 28 points or more in each of their wins. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are back to their old tricks. The defense has also looked inspired as rookie Eric Stokes Jr. looks like a keeper.
As I stated earlier, there aren't a ton of games that are super intriguing, but if the Burrow and the Bengals can hang around, I think this can be the best game of the 1 o'clock hour. The Bengals provide a unique passing attack as they have one of the best slot receivers in Tyler Boyd. They have Chase and Tee Higgins on the outside too. The rushing attack will be a storyline to follow for Cincy as Joe Mixon is likely going to miss the game with a sprained ankle. This could greatly hamper the offense and force Joe Burrow to play hero ball. If the opportunistic Packers defense forces a turnover or two, it could get ugly quickly. Aaron Rodgers will pick on this inexperienced defense, especially if Cincy will miss star S Jessie Bates II. I think Aaron Jones could be in line for a huge game as he looks to find some consistency. The Packers are a threat at any moment to go for forty and if they do this, it will be a blowout. I think there is a chance the Bengals win this as a statement game, however, I see Green Bay handling business.
Green Bay Packers 35, Cincinnati Bengals 17
Cleveland Browns vs Los Angeles Chargers
The Cleveland Browns head out west to take on the Chargers. I absolutely love this game because I think these are the two most complete teams in the AFC. The Browns are coming off an ugly win over the Vikings, where Baker Mayfield struggled mightily. Cleveland's rushing attack has been deadly as ever. The defense is flying around with Myles Garrett getting around the edge with ease. The only variable that has been confusing game to game has been Baker Mayfield. Sometimes he looks like the old Baker, who throws the ball everywhere and plays with that edge. Then, there are other times where he looks like he doesn't belong in the league. The Chargers, on the other hand, have found the guy at QB. Justin Herbert has been playing fantastic and could be an early MVP candidate. The defense has been lights out as they have shutdown some monster offenses. LA looks like they found the guy in HC Brandon Staley.
I'm looking forward to this game, primarily, because of the Browns rushing attack versus the Chargers defensive line. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb are easily the best duo of running backs in the league. Their rushing attack is the primary reason their offense thrives. They set everything up with the play-action. If the Chargers can neutralize this and force Baker into making critical decisions, they could take advantage of any mistakes he makes. The Chargers offense will look to stretch the Browns secondary with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams on the perimeter. Austin Ekeler will be a big threat too. The best one-on-one battle will be Myles Garrett vs rookie offensive tackle Rashawn Slater. Slater has been lights out as a rookie and still hasn't allowed a sack since October 2018. I think this game will play out as a defensive slugfest. In the end, I like the Chargers pulling away late.
Los Angeles Chargers 24, Cleveland Browns 14
Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Sunday is finished off with this primetime match-up. In this Sunday night showdown, the Bills travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. This game will be an AFC Championship rematch. These teams are slightly different from when they last saw each other. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen still run both of their respective high octane offenses. The Chiefs look vulnerable at this moment as they are 2-2 currently. The plot twist is that are two plays away from being undefeated. The Chiefs managed to handle the Eagles last week to get back on track, though. Mahomes and the offense look as dominate as usual, but the defense is aggressively inconsistent. They have looked absolutely horrible on that side and shows that they have a big Achilles heel. The Bills, somehow, lost to the Steelers week one, but have rattled off three straight wins. Since that loss, the offense has rounded back into form and the defense has looked much improved from last year. In my eyes, I think the Bills are the true best team in the league, even over the undefeated Cardinals.
This will be an amazing game to checkout. The Bills would love to avenge that loss and the Chiefs want to get back on track. I can see the Bills coming out and dominating the Chiefs defense with Stefon Diggs being at the center of it. The most interesting battle will be the Bills defense and the Chiefs offense. The Bills defense has looked super dominate, but they were playing super inferior offenses. The defense could be much better than before, but we won't actually know until they play a team like the Chiefs. The Bills defensive line has been intriguing because of the different usage of so many players. Only one player, Ed Oliver, has played over 50% of the snaps. The Bills linebackers and secondary have been playing well as always. I think keeping Patrick Mahomes in the pocket will be key to minimizing the damage. Overall, I think this will be an absolute shootout and the Bills will be able to edge out the Chiefs because of that swiss cheese defense KC has. Give me Buffalo on the road.
Buffalo Bills 41, Kansas City Chiefs 38