Around the NFL  

 

Week 5 Cheat Sheet

Print

Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...

Harrison: Power Rankings, Week 5
Elliot Harrison completely reassesses the NFL hierarchy at the quarter pole, with 31 of 32 teams switching spots. READ

Key game-time decisions

All players questionable unless noted

Calvin Johnson (ankle) WR, Detroit Lions

Megatron returned to practice on a limited basis Friday. We would be surprised if he didn't play this week, but could be used in a decoy role as he was last Sunday.

Eric Decker (hamstring) WR; David Nelson (ankle) WR, New York Jets

Decker didn't practice all week. At some point he might miss games if he's going to get right. Nelson was a surprise at practice on Friday, perhaps providing some positive news for Gang Green's receiving corps.

Vernon Davis (back) TE; Anthony Davis (knee, ankle) T; Vance McDonald (knee) TE, San Francisco 49ers

Vernon Davis seems like a long shot to play after missing all week. Anthony Davis was limited. McDonald also missed all week.

Odell Beckham (hamstring) WR, New York Giants

Beckham believes he will play but will have to test out the hamstring before he makes his first NFL appearance. UPDATE: NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL GameDay First that Beckham had a great week of practice and that he's available for the full playbook.

Andre Johnson (ankle) WR, Houston Texans

The veteran wideout sandwiched a limited practice between two missed sessions this week. He is slated to play Sunday, according to Rapoport.

Terrell Suggs (thigh) LB, Baltimore Ravens

NFL Media's Stacey Dales reported, per a source close to the Ravens, that Suggs will test his thigh pregame and decide whether he'll play against the Colts.

Dwight Freeney (knee) LB, San Diego Chargers

Freeney returned on a limited basis on Friday.

Tavon Austin (knee) WR, St. Louis Rams

The receiver was limited all week, but Rapoport reports that he'll suit up Sunday.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) TE; Gerald McCoy (hand) DT; Michael Johnson (ankle) DE; Mark Barron (abdomen) S; Mason Foster (shoulder) LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Is everyone on the Bucs' defense injured? Also, tight end ASJ didn't practice on Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday.

Arian Foster (hamstring) RB -- PROBABLE -- Houston Texans

The running back was limited Friday but should be good to go. He is slated to play Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport.

Nigel Bradham (knee) -- DOUBTFUL -- LB; Kyle Williams (knee) -- DOUBTFUL -- DT, Buffalo Bills

Missing two key defensive pieces will be big for Jim Schwartz's defense in his return to Detroit. (However, fantasy owners of Reggie Bush will like this news.)

Jared Allen (illness) -- PROBABLE -- DE; Brandon Marshall (ankle) -- PROBABLE -- WR, Chicago Bears

Allen lost a ton of weight due to pneumonia, so how productive he'll be remains a big question. Marshall said he's more explosive this week.

Jonathan Stewart (knee) -- DOUBTFUL -- RB, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers' backfield is a mess.

MNF

Jordan Reed (hamstring) TE; Trent Williams (knee) LT; Niles Paul (Concussion) TE, Washington Redskins

Reed did not practice on Saturday and is questionable once again. Trent Williams was limited all week. Paul practiced for the second straight day, which is a good sign for his availability.

Weather Tracking*

Another week, another slate of warm and sunny games across the football landscape.
*Forecasts courtesy of Weather Underground

Brooks: Must-see matchups
What are the most intriguing Week 5 battles in games across the NFL? Bucky Brooks provides his scouting eye. READ

Three matchups to watch

J.J. Watt vs. Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys' rookie right guard will get the toughest test of his young career when he's crouched across from the Texans' Monster. Watt has been an immovable force wherever he lines up and it's not just the big plays. The defensive lineman singlehandedly destroys play designs and disrupts inside runs. Martin and his fellow offensive linemen will have to move Watt in order to get to the second-level defenders. The Cowboys' offensive line has opened huge holes in the running game. Doing it against Watt -- and keeping him from breaking Tony Romo in two -- will be a big key for Dallas.

Demaryius Thomas vs. Patrick Peterson

The Broncos receiver hasn't been himself lately. Denver hopes the bye week allowed him time to get healthy and back to his dynamic ways. Thomas will face off against Peterson, who generally mirrors the opponent's best receivers. The Cards cornerback has been targeted 15 times and allowed nine receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns, with one pass defensed this season. If Peterson shuts down Thomas it will go a long way towards the Cardinals making it a statement game. If not, it could be a field day for Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense.

Travis Kelce vs. 49ers' back seven

Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs' tight end, is proving to be one of the toughest matchups in the NFL. He's too fast for most linebackers and too big for most safeties. The man called "Baby Gronk" is a nightmare to cover in space. The 49ers absolutely shut down the high-flying Eagles last week. Patrick Willis and company will have their hands full again matching up with Kelce. In a game where Alex Smith's return is getting most of the attention, I want to see how the 49ers attempt to slow down the dynamic tight end who burst into the national consciousness last week.

Did You Know?

General Knowledge

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' win last week, the 2014 season is tied for the most teams with one or more victories through four games since realignment in 2002 (2005, 2012).

Peyton Manning has 499 career touchdown passes in 17 seasons with Indianapolis and Denver. He is on the verge of joining the exclusive 500 club, where Brett Favre (508) sits alone.

J.J. Watt is the only player in NFL history with at least 35 sacks (38.5), an interception-return touchdown and a receiving touchdown in his first four NFL seasons.

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

Jay Cutler is the first Bears quarterback in the team's 95-year history with 10 touchdown passes in his first four games of a season. Cutler has thrown over two TDs in all four games.

How healthy is Cam Newton? He has been sacked more times (nine) than he has rushed the ball (eight). Newton has now gone seven straight games without a rushing TD, the longest drought of his career.

Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

The Texans have allowed zero points in the first quarter this season. They are the only NFL team that can make this claim. Houston has allowed three points in the third quarter this season, which is tied for the fewest in the NFL with the Broncos, who have played one fewer game.

After falling behind 28-3 in the first half of Week 1 versus San Francisco, the Cowboys have outscored their opponents 112-58.

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions

In his return to Detroit, Jim Schwartz brings a defense allowing only 2.8 yards per rush to opposing running backs, second-best in the NFL. The Bills have not allowed a rushing TD and boasts the 10th-ranked total defense this season (337.8).

Golden Tate had 104 more receiving yards than Calvin Johnson in Week 4. The only other Detroit players who outgained Megatron by at least 100 receiving yards in a game are Roy Williams (Week 3, 2007), Jahvid Best (Week 2, 2010) and Nate Burleson (Week 9, 2010).

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

Steve Smith's 429 receiving yards are the most ever by a 35-plus-year-old player in the first four games of a season.

The Ravens have not allowed more than 23 points in any game this season (one of five teams to do so: BAL, BUF, CIN, ARI, SD).

Over the first two weeks of the season, Andrew 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.

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

The Falcons have rushed for over 120 yards in three of four games this season. Matt Ryan has lost eight straight starts in games played outdoors.

The drive for 70 percent: Manning is now up to a completion percentage of 66.9 for this season after completing 73.1 percent of his passes in the last two weeks.

Eli Manning loves October. Manning is 29-7 in the month of October, for a winning percentage of 81.1 percent, his best of any month.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Ben Roethlisberger is completing 68.1 percent of his passes this season (eighth in NFL). If he keeps that pace it would be a career high (previous high is 66.6 percent in 2009). Big Ben completed over 73.0 percent of his passes in each of the last two games.

Overall, Blake Bortles is completing 70.5 percent of his passes this season (third in NFL). Two of the top three (Austin Davis of STL ranks first at 72.3 percent) QBs in this category never attempted an NFL pass prior to 2014. The QB currently ranking second, Drew Brees, also ranks second in NFL history in completion percentage.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay has been outscored by 55 points in the first half this season (worst in NFL).

The Saints' defense, meanwhile, is allowing 396.0 yards per game (29th in NFL) and 27.5 points per game (T-27th). The unit is allowing 67 plays of 10-plus yards this season (31st in NFL) with only one takeaway (fewest in NFL).

St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Who is Austin Davis? He's the guy who broke all of Brett Favre's passing records at Southern Miss -- yards, passing TD, completion percentage. (That's two Favre references in one post; I should get a free razor.)

Last week the Eagles' 11 drives without an offensive TD included six punts, two fumbles, two INTs and one turnover on downs. Chip Kelly's longest single-game streak of consecutive drives without an offensive touchdown at Oregon was seven, on Oct. 10, 2009 (his first season).

Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans

Quarterbacks have a passer rating of 155.3 when targeting Joe Haden, which is thirrd-highest in the NFL among all cornerbacks playing at least 25 percent of their team's snaps.

The Titans are allowing 127.0 rushing yards per game this season (22nd in NFL) but have only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season (DeMarco Murray -- 167). Tennessee's defense has at least one takeaway in every game this season (six total).

Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos

How important will the ground game be for Arizona? The Cardinals are 9-0 when Andre Ellington rushes over 10 times in a game. On defense Arizona has not allowed a rushing touchdown in any of their last four road games.

This season, Peyton Manning's third-down passer rating is just 65.4, by far his lowest of any down. Last season, Manning had a passer rating of 101.8 on third down.

New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

The Jets are allowing 2.98 yards per rush (fourth lowest in NFL). The Chargers are averaging 2.38 yards per rush.

Philip Rivers has gone three straight games with a completion percentage of 72.0 or better (his longest streak is four games in 2009 and 2013). He has gone 24 straight games with a passing touchdown, breaking his own team record.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers

Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick have very similar stats since the 49ers traded Smith before the 2013 season. Smith is 13-6 in the regular season, while Kaepernick is 14-6. Smith's completion percentage of 61.6 is 1.2 points better than Kaepernick's 60.4. The Chiefs signal-caller has a passer rating of 90.2 that is 1.3 points less than that of Kap's. Smith has thrown 30 touchdowns. Kaepernick has thrown 27 TDs. Smith has tossed 10 interceptions. Kaepernick has thrown 12 picks.

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

Quick Stats:

The Bengals' defense has not allowed more than 16 points in a game this season. The Patriots' offense has scored 16 or fewer points in each of their last two games.

The Bengals' defense is allowing an opposing passer rating of 56.9 (best in NFL). Tom Brady has posted a passer rating under 56.9 in 13 of his 195 career starts.

Cincinnati is allowing 5.1 yards per rush this season (29th in NFL). New England is averaging 2.4 yards per rush at home this season (worst in NFL).

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

Russell Wilson has a passer rating of 108.9 this season (third in NFL) and faces a Washington defense allowing an opposing passer rating of 104.8 (28th in NFL).

Courtesy of Pro Football Focus: Kirk Cousins has a 146.5 passer rating on play-action passes (best in NFL). The quarterback has a 67.2 passer rating on non-play action passes (worst in NFL).

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 5 game and explains why Sammy Watkins is now a favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Print