The Pacific Tribune

10 Questions For NFL Week 5

NFL

 

Just like that we’ve passed the quarter mark of the 2016 season. By now we have a rough idea of what each franchise can offer up in the way of a challenge in 2016, although whether these efforts are enough to make the playoffs or contend for a Super Bowl remains to be seen. Slightly different style for our preview this week, here’s 10 questions to be answered on Sunday!

  1. Does Detroit have a chance in slowing down Carson Wentz? Coming out of the draft back in April, Carson Wentz was a considered a long term project in Philadelphia. Many considered him as the third quarterback on the Eagles on the depth chart, yet now a month into the season he’s started every game and is a genuine MVP candidate. Like fellow rookie Dak Prescott, Wentz is yet to throw an interception, and now faces a Lions team weak on defense and with only a solitary take away in the air. Wentz’ decision making has been excellent thus far, the lack of poor choices under pressure or on the move has been super impressive. If that form continues it’s hard to see how the luckless Lions will stop the Wentz train.
  2. Can Brock Osweiler take the next step? For a $70 million quarterback, Brock Osweiler certainly hasn’t lived up to the hype or expectation that has built in Houston over the past six months. Through four games, Osweiler’s touchdown/interception ratio is 5:6, despite the Texans’ 3-1 record. JJ Watt has likely hung his cleats up for the 2016 season, heaping even more pressure on Osweiler. It’s not that Osweiler doesn’t have a strong supporting cast. DeAndre Hopkins is a elite receiver, Lamar Miller is a true three-down back and Will Fuller is as exciting as they come and a true big play threat. Yet, Osweiler has still struggled. This weeks challenge is as tough as they come, an undefeated Vikings team with an elite and frightening defense.
  3. Can Indianapolis’ defense pull its weight and help out Andrew Luck? The situation in Indy right now isn’t a positive one. Andrew Luck is taking a ton of sacks, the running game is basically non-existent, and as for the defense, well…. we haven’t got the space to list all their shortcomings here. The good news is that star cornerback Vontae Davis is back, adding much needed star power to a sub-par secondary, that’s only managed a single takeaway in 2016. The stats indicate that the Colts are a slightly below average defense, but in reality they’re far worse. To this point they haven’t provided any assistance to Andrew Luck, not only in 2016, but since Luck joined the Colts back in 2012.
  4. Is Atlanta’s number one offense up to the task of the Broncos defense? You have to give credit to this Falcons offense, particularly quarterback Matt Ryan and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan. They’ve found ways of getting multiple players involved in various roles, reducing the reliance on Julio Jones (until last week at least!). Now in back-to-back weeks they face a murderous row of defenses, Denver and Seattle. The Broncos defense has been nothing short of exceptional, from late last season to the present. They’ve simply overwhelmed every offensive line and quarterback they’ve encountered, including names like; Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton (twice), Dalton and Winston. Von Miller is a one man wrecking machine, even without the star studded support the Broncos defense possesses. Based on recent evidence, it’s hard to see how the Falcons will find a way through the Broncos’ ‘Orange Crush’.
  5. Can the Jets secondary recover, and slow down the Steelers? Darrelle Revis is no longer the elite hall of fame coverage corner that terrified offensive coordinators and quarterbacks alike over the better part of the last decade. Injuries have no doubt contributed to his decline, but nonetheless the Jets now have a major hole in their secondary. They’re 26th against the pass, and now the big play, explosive Pittsburgh offense is waiting, ready to strike. Roethlisberger will look to throw downfield every chance he gets, and if the Jets pass rush isn’t operating at maximum capability…. Well it could be a long day in the Steel City for the 1-3 Jets.
  6. Is this the start of the Tom Brady revenge tour? Tom Brady’s back, and it’s the poor old Cleveland Browns who’ll be on the receiving end of his fury. Just what to expect out of Brady remains to be seen, perhaps his month away from Foxboro will negatively effect his chemistry with his receivers. Fortunately for Brady the Browns defense shouldn’t offer too many obstacles. If Brady does come out with a frightening demeanor and attitude, combined with his notorious laser accuracy and quick release. Well, it’s going to be a long afternoon for the Cleveland Browns.
  7. How many ways can the Chargers find to lose football matches? Chargers fans must be beyond despair right now. It’s hard to fathom the ways this team has found to lose football matches over the past 2 years. Last weeks efforts against the Saints practically took the cake, up by 13 points with less than 7 minutes on the clock, and with the ball in possession! Had the Chargers been able to close out matches in the 4th quarter, they might very well be sitting at 4-0 or at least 3-1 right now. Just make sure to tune into San Diego and Oakland late in the 4th quarter, regardless of the score, just to be safe.
  8. Are the Bengals the real deal? It’s hard to know what to make of the Bengals through four weeks. There’s yet to be a standout performance, or a shocker, to be fair. The 3-1 Cowboys will offer a serious challenge, with their strong running game and poised young quarterback. But this one is all about the Bengals. The Cowboys defense shouldn’t pose Andy Dalton and his offense too many issues, unlike the Jets or Broncos. The expectation should be for plenty of points. If they Bengals do indeed intend to challenge the perennial division powerhouse, Pittsburgh, this is a matchup they must simply win, and win well.
  9. Are the Bills and Rams genuine threats? After Week 1 the Rams looked utterly desolate, for the Bills the first fortnight seemed to indicate that the Rex Ryan era would be ending shortly! Fortunately for both franchises they’ve turned things around, quite spectacularly. The Bills have knocked off powerhouses New England and Arizona, whilst the Rams have been even better defeating Arizona, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Both sides rely enormously on their defense, to great pressure, and put their limited offenses in strong positions. A win for the Bills will keep them in close contact with the Patriots, and will add to a growing sense of confidence in west New York. For the Rams, another scalp of another in form team would have people’s head swiveling ominously in the direction of Los Angeles.
  10. Will we finally see the promised Giants’ offense? The vaunted Giants’ offense hasn’t come to fruition over the first month of the season. Manning is 4th in the league for passing yards (6th for overall yards), yet they rank an appalling 27th in total points. Completing drives and red zone efficiency are an absolute priority for Manning, as is reconnecting with star receiver Odell Beckham Jnr. Beckham had his quietest game ever in Giants’ colors last week in Minnesota, being held to only 3 catches for 23 yards. The Packers defense certainly doesn’t have quite the same intimidation factor of the Vikings, and after his rough and uncharacteristically slow start to the season look for a big game here from OBJ.
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