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NFL Week 5 viewer's guide

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The Green Bay Packers made easy work of the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, but there's still a full slate of games Sunday and a prime-time matchup Monday. Around The NFL's Kevin Patra fills you in on the key storylines for each matchup. Here's your guide as you settle into your couch for all the NFL action.

Cam Newton admitted this week he hasn't been as mobile as he thought following offseason ankle surgery. One area in which he has improved is the deep ball. With rookie Kelvin Benjamin stretching defenses, the Panthers already have nine receptions of 20-plus yards in the air -- last season they had 12 total. Expect more of that against a shaky Bears back end.

Jay Cutler has played well on the road this season, throwing for six touchdowns and no interceptions. However, he's thrown for 300-plus yards only once in his last 25 road games. The Bears need Good Jay versus a Panthers defense that knows it must bounce back from two poor performances.

Pregame reading material
Where do Cutler and Newton rank in the quarter-season QB Index?
Newton said his offseason ankle surgery was bigger than he thought it would be
The Panthers will be without Frank Alexander even longer than originally expected
Where do the Bears and Panthers rank among 2-2 teams?

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Panthers.

Brian Hoyer has guided a steady ship in his first three starts of the season. He's been economical, if unspectacular. Perhaps the quarterback's best attribute is not turning the ball over. He's gone 156 straight passing attempts without throwing an interception (the best in the NFL). He'll need to continue that streak against a Titans defense that has earned a takeaway in every game this season (six total).

Bishop Sankey has proven the past two weeks he is the most talented running back in the Titans' backfield. We hope to see him more Sunday against a Browns run defense allowing 153.7 rushing yards per game (29th in NFL).

Pregame reading material
Jake Locker is expected to start versus the Browns
Titans runner Sankey will see an increased role in the offense
Browns tight end Jordan Cameron expects to deal with sprained AC joint all year

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Browns.

The Austin Davis show hits Philly this week. The young quarterback has the NFL's best completion percentage (73.2) and faces an Eagles secondary that is allowing 257.5 passing yards per game. Davis must continue his impressive play on the road for the Rams to have a chance at the upset.

The Eagles' offensive line gets some help with Lane Johnson's return from suspension. It needs it after getting destroyed by the 49ers last week. The banged-up group faces a defense that has just one sack all season. Robert Quinn hasn't equaled the performance of last season (zero sacks, four QB hurries). If the Eagles keep him away from Nick Foles, Philly's offense should bounce back this week.

Pregame reading material
Davis has earned the starting job, said coach Jeff Fisher
Eagles' Lane Johnson returns to help an injury-riddled O-line
Fantasy: Is it time to cut ties with LeSean McCoy?
What defines the Eagles through the first four weeks of the season?

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Eagles.

Matt Ryan is without 60 percent of his starting offensive line. The quarterback has put up good numbers this season but could be under constant heat from Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers and the rest of the Giants pass-rushing front. If the Falcons can't keep Ryan upright it could be a long day in New York.

Eli Manning has picked apart defenses, completing 73.1 percent of his passes the past two weeks -- inching closer to that 70 percent season mark (he sits at 66.9). Facing a hapless Falcons pass rush should benefit Manning greatly. The Falcons have zero sacks in three of their four games this season.

Pregame reading material
Teammates think Prince Amukamara's big season is less X's and O's, more birds and bees
Giants' TE Larry Donnell benched himself in fantasy last week and had a big day
Who has the better QB-RB-WR trio between the Giants and Falcons?
Fantasy: How does Victor Cruz rank as a Week 5 fantasy matchup?

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the Giants.

The Saints' offense hasn't been the big-play machine we are used to seeing. But Drew Brees at home should change that against a Bucs defense allowing a passer rating of 118.4 this season, which would be the highest passer rating allowed in NFL history.

Mike Glennon could force his coaches into a tough decision if he puts up a good performance against a stumbling Saints defense. The second-year signal-caller had his first career 300-yard performance last week and faces a New Orleans team that has given up 67 plays of 10-plus yards this season (31st in NFL).

Pregame reading material
What has defined the Saints and Bucs through the first quarter of the season?
Are rookies Brandin Cooks and Mike Evans candidates for Rookie of the Year?
The NFC South is among the first-quarter winner and losers
Is it time for the Saints to panic?

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Saints.

The Cowboys boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. It'll be interesting to see how good that group does against MVP candidate J.J. Watt. According to Pro Football Focus, Watt has 32 quarterback pressures this season. One thing I'm dying to see is Watt and DeMarco Murray meeting in a hole. Wow, that'll be fun.

The Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Texans are averaging 21.8 PPG -- second-fewest among all teams with winning records. If Houston can't produce against an overachieving Cowboys defense, it could end up being left in the dust by Tony Romo and Co.

Pregame reading material
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne is out for the season
J.J. Watt had one of the plays that explained Week 4
The Dallas trio of Romo, Murray, and Dez feature among the top QB-RB-WR trios in football
The Cowboys don't regret not drafting J.J. Watt

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Cowboys.

Good ol' Jim Schwartz -- Mr. Challenge Flag Rule, Mr. Goatee, Mr. Nothing is Wrong with Stafford's Mechanics, Mr. Yells at Fans -- returns to Motown. He brings with him one of the best defensive units in football to face Matthew Stafford and an offense he knows well. If anyone knows how to frustrate the quarterback, it should be Schwartz.

In a humorous twist of fate, Schwartz's return coincides with the Lions leading the NFL in defense -- something he could never coax out of his teams. That heretofore-stout unit will face Kyle Orton in his first start for the Bills. The veteran signal-caller has been getting positive reviews from teammates this week since taking over for EJ Manuel. Orton is 4-0 in his career vs. the Lions with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Pregame reading material
The Bills have benched EJ Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton
Sammy Watkins sees some differences between Orton and Manuel already
Lions TE Joseph Fauria injured himself trying to keep his puppy from peeing in the house
Megatron didn't play full snaps on injured ankle but expects improvement this week

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Lions.

Baltimore has not allowed a sack in his last three games, which could continue against a toothless Colts pass rush. That means Joe Flacco should again have all day to throw. The quarterback is on pace for a career-high 4,220 yards this season.

After two cream puffs, the competition stiffens again for Andrew Luck. Over the first two weeks of the season, Luck failed to complete a pass of 20-plus air yards (0-for-6). In the last two weeks, he has completed nine such attempts, most in the NFL. But he'll face a Baltimore defense allowing 15.0 points this season (T-second in NFL).

Pregame reading material
Terrell Suggs on Andrew Luck: "He's really (expletive) good"
Chuck Pagano said the rumor of the Colts piping-in crowd noise is an 'insult'
One Preview: Luck, Flacco guiding two of NFL's top offenses
Fantasy: Owen Daniels against the Ravens defense is a fantasy matchup to watch

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Colts.

This has all the makings for a Steelers offensive explosion. Pittsburgh is the only team in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in total offense (fifth), rushing offense (fifth) and passing offense (eighth). They now face a Jaguars team that has allowed 152 total points and 400-plus total yards in each of the four games this season.

It will be fun to see Big Ben and Clone Ben, Blake Bortles, on the same field. Bortles has been highly entertaining to watch. His pocket presence and elusiveness allow him to function behind a disastrous offensive line. He's been on point on short passes, completing 87.9 percent within five yards of the line. But he is just 1-for-7 with two interceptions on throws of 20-plus yards. He'll need to be better deep to keep pace with the Steelers' offense.

Pregame reading material
Roethlisberger calls Bortles "a young me"
The penalty-heavy Steelers invited officials to practice
What is the identity of the Steelers through the first quarter of the season?
Fantasy: Will Antonio Brown finish as the No. 1 scoring wideout?

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Steelers.

The Broncos' rushing attack has been anemic and faces a stiff test versus the Cardinals' fourth-ranked run D. It follows that we should see Peyton Manning air it out plenty at Mile High on Sunday. The Broncos hope the bye week helped Demaryius Thomas become healthier, which could cause a problem for Arizona's feisty secondary.

All Drew Stanton does is win. He's won his last four starts dating back to 2010 and doesn't hinder what the Cardinals do offensively. He'll need protection from his offensive line in order to do damage against the Broncos in the vertical passing game. Otherwise, DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller could wreak havoc on that winning streak.

Pregame reading material
Carson Palmer is playing the waiting game with his nerve issue
Bucky's Best: Peyton Manning vs. Todd Bowles a great matchup
Fantasy prediction: Larry Fitzgerald will be the bust of 2014
Will the Cardinals stay undefeated? Elliot Harrison makes his pick

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Broncos.

Alex Smith returns to San Francisco. The quarterback has overcome a feeble offensive line to put up solid performances this season. He'll have to put on another spectacular performance against a Niners defense allowing just 2.7 yards per rush in the past three games.

San Francisco finally re-discovered Frank Gore last week. We expect the 49ers to employ a similar ground-and-pound attack against a Chiefs rush defense giving up 116.5 yards per game.

Pregame reading material
Chiefs wideout Donnie Avery will reportedly undergo sports hernia surgery
Alex Smith didn't have any regrets leaving the Niners
Alex Boone said he knows for a fact everyone on the 49ers loves Jim Harbaugh
Michael Crabtree echoed Boone's thoughts

Who will win? Four of five Around The NFL writers pick the 49ers.

The Jets are allowing 2.98 yards per rush (fourth-lowest in the NFL). The Chargers are averaging 2.38 yards per rush, the lowest average in the NFL. Expect to see Philip Rivers sling it a lot against a feeble Jets secondary. We also expect running back Branden Oliver to see increased time playing the Danny Woodhead-role this week.

If the Jets are to stop their losing streak, they must rely on Chris Ivory. Too often the Jets have gone away from their best back, and it's hindered their progress. Ivory has been held under 70 rushing yards in seven of eight road games with the Jets and received just 17 carries last week. Both of those stats must change.

Pregame reading material
Geno Smith bristled at questions regarding backup Michael Vick
Sheldon Richardson wants Geno critics to shut up
Is Rivers the top quarterback through the season's first quarter?
Rivers' amazing start has him among the Players of the Month

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers pick the Chargers.

The Bengals have not allowed a sack this season, making them the third team in the last 25 years to not allow a sack in the first three games. Andy Dalton should have plenty of time again this week against a Patriots pass rush that has struggled to get after the quarterback with any consistency the past several weeks.

Tom Brady's struggles have been mighty this season. His pass yards per game (197.8), pass TDs (1.0) and passer rating (79.1) are all career lows (minimum two games played). He gets no reprieve against a stout Bengals defense that is allowing a passer rating of 56.9 with six interceptions and has stymied the likes of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco already this season.

Pregame reading material
Aaron Dobson was reportedly benched by Pats for mouthing off
"There's no magic scheme," said Tom Brady on Pats' struggles
Will the Bengals stay unbeaten? Elliot Harrison has the answer

Who will win? Three of five Around The NFL writers pick the Patriots.

Russell Wilson has a 9-8 career record on the road. However, he faces a defense that got ripped by Eli Manning a week ago. Wilson has a 108.9 passer rating with a 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio this season. Look for Wilson to have fun against a maligned Washington secondary.

Trent Williams said the Seahawks are beatable because "They're not robots." In order for Washington to pull off the upset, Kirk Cousins must be better. He was awful last week. His prize is facing the Legion of Boom. If he continues to miss throws and force passes it will be another long night in prime time for the Redskins faithful.

Pregame reading material
Redskins' Williams on Seahawks: "They're not robots"
Fantasy: Sit DeSean Jackson this week, says Michael Fabiano
What's the Seahawks' identity through the first quarter of the season?
Where does the Seattle's trio of Wilson, Lynch and Harvin rank among the best in the league?

Who will win? All five Around The NFL writers picked the Seahawks.

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