Everything You Need to Know for Week 5
The lowdown: Most assume New Orleans 4 0 start stems from the performance of its offense. There certainly truth to this claim, with Drew Brees and company averaging 419.5 total yards per game (fourth best in the NFL). Yet it the Saints defense that has Cheap Michael Kors spurred on this prosperous start, as new coordinator Rob Ryan crew is holding opponents to a meager 13.8 points per contest. With formidable units on both sides of the ball, the Saints have emerged as a Super Bowl contender through the first quarter of the season.
Historically known for their defensive prowess, the Bears are living by a feast or famine approach. This strategy has led to a league leading 14 takeaways, including two touchdowns. It also correlated to 28.5 points allowed per game. New coach Marc Trestman effect on the Chicago offense is garnering the Windy City headlines, but it the execution of the defense that will dictate the Bears fruition.
Key injuries: CHI CB Charles Tillman Groin (Questionable), CHI WR Brandon Marshall Ankle (Probable); NO RB Mark Ingram Toe (Out), NO S Roman Harper Knee (Out)
Line: New Orleans 1, 49 points
Fantasy impact: Until last week, second year wideout Alshon Jeffery had failed to translate his talent on the practice field to Sundays, boasting a pedestrian 37 catches for 471 yards and three scores in his career. Luckily for Chicago, Jeffery began to put this skill on display versus the Lions, snagging five receptions for 107 yards and a trip to pay dirt. With Brandon Marshall dealing with an ankle injury, envision Jeffery to see an elevated rate of pigskins in his direction against the Saints.
The lowdown: Forget that Manning guy in Denver.
Unfortunately, New England was dealt a blow with a season ending injury to All Pro Vince Wilfork. Wilfork absence will be put to the test immediately, as the Bengals boast a dynamic running attack with emerging star Giovani Bernard and former Patriot BenJarvus Green Ellis. Green, the Patriots defense will have its hand full in the Queen City. For the Who Deys, can Andy Dalton rebound from a disastrous showing in Cleveland, or will the Red Rifle continue to impede the Bengals potential?
Key injuries:CIN DE Michael Johnson Concussion (Questionable), CIN CB Leon Hall Hamstring (Doubtful); NE LB Jared Mayo Ankle (Questionable), NE WR Danny Amendola Groin (Questionable)
The lowdown: Here an odd circumstance: the calendar reads October and the Packers have a losing record. Green Bay 1 2 record is not indicative of the offense display. Flaunting a mark of 454.7 total yards per contest (third best in the NFL), the Cheeseheads are putting up 32 points per game, second only to the Broncos for tops in the league. Rather, it the team resistance, which is one of five squads relinquishing over 400 yards per game, that not holding its merit. Specifically, it the pass defense that falling short, giving up 311 yards, fifth worst in the NFL.
It this group that will be under scrutiny at Lambeau Field on Sunday, for few offenses sling it around like the Detroit Lions. At 3 1, Matthew Stafford leads an attack posting 309 aerial yards per outing. Although Green Bay focus will be halting Stafford, it the Lions backfield that has the Motown faithful excited. Featuring an explosive one two punch of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, Detroit versatility from its backs has added a layer of unpredictability. It this vitality that could push the Lions back into the playoffs in 2013.
Key injuries: DET WR Calvin Johnson Knee (Questionable), DET S Glover Quin Ankle (Questionable); GB LB Clay Matthews Hamstring (Probable), GB RB Eddie Lacy Concussion (Probable)
The lowdown: What crazier: that a Kansas City win puts the Chiefs at 5 0, or a Tennessee W brings the records of both clubs to 4 1? This is 2013, right?
The Chiefs revitalization is easier to trace. The offseason arrivals of Alex Smith and Andy Reid have delivered a fresh air to a dormant franchise, and Kansas City victories over three NFC East teams acquired national attention. Smith effective, steady presence under center has opened room to run for speedster Jamaal Charles. Coupled with a daunting defense featuring playmakers in Eric Berry, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, this Chiefs team is built to make a playoff run.
Though lacking the household names of other NFL playoff contenders, the Titans have constructed a sound roster on the foundation of defense. Allowing a scant 17.3 points per game, Tennessee has also been opportunistic on D, creating nine turnovers through four games. As Jake Locker and the Titans offense have been protective of the rock, Tennessee enters Week 5 tied for first in turnover differential at nine. The other team atop this leaderboard? You guessed it Kansas City.
With Locker on the sidelines nursing a hip injury, the responsibility falls Fake Sunglasses to Ryan Fitzpatrick to keep Nashville hopes afloat. While Fitzpatrick is capable in his own right, envision Chris Johnson to see extended action this weekend. Inserting the Titans is a bit of a gamble, but one could argue that, with a flawless display through September, the Chiefs offense is due for regression.
The lowdown: The Andrew Luck versus Russell Wilson matchup will grab the spotlight, yet it's the defenses that have carried each club in the early going.
The Seahawks are surrendering a meager 11.8 points per game, second lowest in the NFL, and the Colts aren't far behind with an allowance of 12.8 points per contest (second best in the Cheap Replica Sunglasses AFC). Amazingly, both are utilizing the strength of their secondaries to reach this goal. Seattle's group of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor is the more famous of the two units, and their bite lives up to the bark: a league low 60.7 QB rating, 191 passing yards per game and a touchdown to interception ratio of 3/7. While they lack the name recognition of their Seahawks compadres, the Colts have produced similar numbers: a 65.8 QB rating, 201 passing yards per game and a 2/6 score to pick figure. Given the pass happy scenery of the NFL, such resistance is rare, and quite remarkable.
Nevertheless, it's the offenses that will ultimately rule the fates for the Colts and Seahawks. In this regard, most football fans believe the teams' strategies diverge. In truth, the path of sameness continues. Wilson gets the media love, but Seattle is a run based operation. Led by Marshawn Lynch, the Hawks average 144.3 yards per game, fifth best in the league. Wilson and backup tailback Robert Turbin contribute on this front, yet it's the involvement of Lynch, who enters with 79 carries (fourth most attempts in the NFL), that acts as the piston to this engine. Whatever Wilson adds in the passing game is merely icing on the cake.
Indianapolis is thought to be on the other end of this spectrum, and with good reason: Luck's 4,374 passing yards were an NFL rookie record. However, new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has changed the script in Indy this year, letting the ground game fuel the offensive attack. This sentiment is illustrated in the Colts' 149.5 yards per outing. As a corollary, Luck is averaging 44 yards less per contest, but his efficiency is vastly improved, hitting 64.1 percent of his intended targets Michael Kors Cheap (compared to last season's 54.1 figure) with just two turnovers (versus 2012's 23). It's an equation Indianapolis is hoping leads to a lengthy postseason stay.
Key injuries: SEA TE Zach Miller Hamstring (Questionable), SEA OT Breno Giacomini Knee (Out); IND S LaRon Landry Ankle (Out), IND RB Ahmad Bradshaw Neck (Out)
Line: Seattle 2.5, 43.5 points
Fantasy impact: Noted above, the Seahawks defense is more celebrated, but the Colts aren far behind in aptitude. Wilson hasn put the greatest numbers up under center, making the Indianapolis D a sneaky start in Week 5.
The lowdown: So much for a grace period. After single handedly losing last week clash with Buffalo thanks to a franchise record five interceptions, Joe Flacco looks to bounce back against the Dolphins. Miami is looking to dust itself off as well following a beatdown at the hands of the Saints on the big stage.
Of greater concern than Flacco ahem, for the Ravens is the state of the backfield. Ray Rice returned from a hip injury last week but was inept in limited action, and backup Bernard Pierce added little of substance as well. Baltimore defense may lack the superstar power of yesteryear, but it remains a solid corps, and, lack week miscue aside, Flacco is a sufficient field general. The destiny of this Baltimore company resides in the effectiveness of the run game. With Rice seeing heightened incorporation in practice this week, imagine a big day from the Pro Bowl back.
For Miami, the assimilation process of marquee pick up Mike Wallace needs to accelerate. The former Steeler hauled in three or fewer balls in three of the Dolphins four games, equating to a modest 15 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Tannehill has quietly developed into a steadfast option under center for the Fins, but if he hopes on taking Miami to the next level, he needs to get on the same page as Wallace in a hurry.
Key injuries: MIA DE Cameron Wake Knee (Questionable), MIA WR Brandon Gibson Ankle (Questionable); BAL CB Ladarius Webb Thigh (Questionable), BAL WR Marlon Brown Thigh (Questionable)