The New England Patriots tell us where they're going in Week Six and with Week Five wrapping up, we look ahead to Week Six.
Broncos over Chargers - The Broncos got exposed by the Falcons and Paxton Lynch showed a lot less as a quarterback than Trevor Siemian, rumored to be the starter. Regardless of which one starts for the Broncos they face a Chargers team that cannot finish any game, is minus-one in turnover differential, and is 47-54 this decade entering this game. Philip Rivers' volume stats are good, but he's not getting it done and really hasn't as shown in the 47-54 record.
Jaguars over Bears - While Brian Hoyer has shown more and more improvement compared to Jay Cutler, the Bears continue to struggle and they get a Jaguars team that finally got some momentum entering their Bye week. Hoyer's overall quality of play does offer reason for hope, but he has to start winning.
Titans over Browns - The Browns have won the last two meetings with the Titans (and five of the last eight dating to the last year of the old AFC Central) including 2014's stunning comeback win from down 28-3 after Jake Locker, who'd been head-hunted by the Browns, got knocked out after whacking his throwing hand on a player's helmet. Ironically present Browns quarterback Charlie Whitehurst took over from there and stormed the Titans to that 28-3 lead - and failed to stop the bleeding. Now Whitehurst may have to face his old team that clawed to a needed win at Miami and is showing some improvement, this as the Browns at 0-5 are now staring at 0-16.
Steelers over Dolphins - The Steelers have it going all around right now, and the Dolphins don't have anything going.
Lions over Rams - The Lions pulled off the win over a good opponent last week and now host the Rams, reeling from an ugly loss to Rex Ryan's Bills. Case Keenum's promising beginning has taken a turn for the worse when he threw two picks last week and now has five picks to just four touchdowns this season, though this matchup might favor him given he beat the Lions last season.
NY Giants over Ravens - The Ravens were the weakest 3-0 team seen in awhile and it showed with losses the last two weeks, enough that Marc Trestman was unceremoniously dumped as offensive coordinator. Marty "I'll take the wind" Mornhinweg takes over as offensive coordinator; his career as such has been uneven at best, though his teams (especially when he was with the Eagles) have a good record against a Giants team that looks mediocre at best.
Panthers over Saints - Carolina's struggle against the Bucs shows how much of a mess the Panthers are, Cam Newton or Derek Anderson, but even with that the Saints are their own mess despite good offensive numbers. They did get it done in a shootout at San Diego.
Eagles over Redskins - The Eagles despite the setback at Detroit remain in the top-3 in points and points allowed while the Redskins are stuck in the middle third in both. The Skins do have momentum on their side having won three straight and are plus-3 in turnover differential, though the Eagles are better at plus-5.
Patriots over Bengals - The rallying cry of 2014 gets renewal as the Patriots have Tom Brady back and face a Bengals team that is just 2-3 (though plus-2 in turnover differential) and only 24th in scoring. The embarrassment at Dallas showcased the Bengals are hitting another rut that has pockmarked Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton's careers.
Bills over 49ers - Maybe we better start believing in the Bills after three straight wins, and they get a reeling 49ers squad that may make the mistake of putting the worthless Colin Kaepernick back under center, this after he basically blew off preseason preparation. Believe it or not the Bills are actually decent in offense (15th in points) and Tyrod Taylor has been effective at quarterback with six touchdowns and just two INTs, though his yards per throw (6.7) leaves something to be desired.
Raiders over Chiefs - The Raiders have surged to 4-1 and Derek Carr seems to be getting ever better, presently at 11 touchdowns to just two INTs. And lost in the shuffle is the Raiders run game is at a very healthy Five yards per carry. The odd stat is they've been outgained in the air in yards and touchdowns. The Raiders host a Chiefs team that's again off to a slow start; though the Chiefs are plus-3 in turnover differential this number is skewed by the disaster that was the NY Jets. The Chiefs are 2-2 and aren't scoring a whole lot (just 50 points the last three games).
Cowboys over Packers - Dakota Prescott and company have surged to a 4-1 start and take on a Packers team that's only 12th in points and points allowed (Dallas is 9th in scoring and 8th in points allowed) and has been mildly atrocious against passing attacks (1,098 yards at 6.9 yards per throw and seven touchdowns allowed; the differential between Packers passing yards and yards allowed is over 250 yards); the Packers are also minus-one in turnover differential. The old saw about the Packers - they can frontrun like crazy and can't stage a comeback when they need one - remains true as they've outlasted the teams they've beaten rather than put them away. The Cowboys for their part aren't great shakes against passing attacks either (1,303 yards, 6.6 yards per throw, nine touchdowns allowed) and are minus-two in turnover differential; their running game has accounted for eleven scores but goes against a Packers team allowing just two yards per attempt, so this game should be a taut one.
Falcons over Seahawks - having shot down both Superbowl teams - the first team to do that in over 30 years - the Falcons stay out west and head to Seattle's king of a semi-dome. The Falcons bullied Denver's vaunted defense but take on a Seahawks defense that's noticeably better - third in points allowed, just 5.4 yards per throw allowed, and just one touchdown allowed. The big gap is in points scored as the Seahawks are only 21st; their passing game is hitting seven yards per throw but the Seahawks are stuck on the ground at just 3.3 yards per rushing attempt. The Falcons remains atop the league in points and their 25th ranking in points allowed is a little deceiving, as they're winning despite that, in at least part because they are plus-three in turnover differential.
Colts over Texans - Suddenly the Houston Texans don't look like a playoff team anymore. The Colts rallied to their second win of the season and the Texans were dismal at Minnesota and have looked out of sorts since getting humiliated in Foxboro. Start with a disturbing turnover differential - minus-four. More and more Brock Osweiler looks not like a future star but a future washout, with sluggish throwing motion, only five net yards per throw, 58% completion, and more INTs (seven) than touchdowns (six). Nor has Bill O'Brien lived up to the promise shown as Penn State's coach after the disasterous end of Joe Paterno's regime.
Cardinals over NY Jets - In the old days a down-in-the-dumps team could regain some confidence when the NY Jets came up on the schedule. The Cardinals are top-11 in points and points allowed but only 2-3 thanks to some poor play by Carson Palmer and his three losses. Drew Stanton is no solution down the road but so far he's kept it in a positive direction. He and the Cards play host to the NY Jets, who have imploded - hilariously illustrated in their plus-NINE turnover differential, this despite not turning over the ball once at Pittsburgh. The once-vaunted pass defense of the Jets has disintegrated with Darrelle Revis' career - twelve scores in the air, 8.2 net yards per throw allowed. Meanwhile Ryan Fitzpatrick has played down to his quarterbacking competence with ten picks and just five touchdowns - no wonder Rumor Control Central now has it that the Jets are working on a package to trade to Dallas for Tony Romo.
And so we're onto Cincinnati, Coach.