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NFL Week 5 predictions

Eagles (1-3) at Bills (3-1)

1 p.m.

Eagles by 3, 50

When Eagles QB Vince Young described his new club as a "Dream Team," he wasn't talking about this sort of nightmare. The Eagles can't shake the funk they're in, and the next few weeks arguably will present one of the biggest tests coach Andy Reid, above, has faced. He has had much success and flirted with many Super Bowls, but can he regroup this team, especially his sorry offensive line? He has plenty of time to do it, but how long before it all implodes?

Eagles 26, Bills 21

Saints (3-1) at Panthers (1-3)

1 p.m.

Saints by 6½, 51½

One of these weeks, Panthers QB Cam Newton is going to score a very, very big upset. He'll dissect the defense of a contender and leave it wondering what happened. He'll dazzle with his quickness and impress with his decision-making. It's only a matter of time. Here's the question: Will this be the week? The Saints' Drew Brees, above, will have something to say about that but not by much. In its three losses, Carolina has given up 92 points. That's a lot for a young QB to overcome.

Saints 31, Panthers 24

Raiders (2-2) at Texans (3-1)

1 p.m.

Texans by 51/2, 48½

This looks like one of the week's tougher calls. Injured star WR Andre Johnson is out for the Texans. That shouldn't entirely change the complexion of the game, but it will make it tougher for QB Matt Schaub, above. The timing of the hamstring injury is somewhat fortuitous because RB Arian Foster is back, providing the Texans with a much-needed answer to Oakland's Darren McFadden. The Raiders are a threat and will continue to be, but their defense has a little more to prove.

Texans 28, Raiders 24

Chiefs (0-4) at Colts (1-3)

1 p.m.

Colts by 2½, 38½

The Colts are playing on a short week and have injury problems that go beyond that of star QB Peyton Manning. Curtis Painter made a couple of plays last week vs. the Bucs, but he completed just 43 percent of his passing attempts. That's not getting it done. This game is something of a tossup but not because it will be a barn burner. Still, if the Chiefs can play soundly and QB Matt Cassel, above, continues to move in the right direction, there's no reason the Chiefs can't close this out.

Chiefs 23, Colts 17

Bengals (2-2) at Jaguars (1-3)

1 p.m.

Jaguars by 2, 37

Pop quiz: Who has the NFL's top-ranked defense? The Bengals, of course. Okay, that's not obvious, and that's because their defense is not star-laden. DT Geno Atkins, above, one of the best linemen you've never heard of, has 21/2 sacks in his past three games. LB Rey Maualuga has been roughing up ball carriers with a team-leading 32 tackles, and S Reggie Nelson, a Jaguars castoff and ex-Gator, has a team-high 22 solo stops. It could be a tough day for Jags QB Blaine Gabbert.

Bengals 23, Jaguars 18

Cardinals (1-3) at Vikings (0-4)

1 p.m.

Vikings by 3, 45

The Vikings need a win. Coach Leslie Frazier, above, needs a win. QB Donovan McNabb needs a win if he intends to keep his starting job. All that desperation could be enough to allow this team to break through and get a win. Adrian Peterson leads the NFC in rushing, giving the Vikings the ability to mount long, time-consuming drives such as those in the first half of their loss to the Bucs. If they do that, they will keep Cardinals game-changing WR Larry Fitzgerald off the field.

Vikings 20, Cardinals 17

Seahawks (1-3) at Giants (3-1)

1 p.m.

Giants by 10, 43

All the telltale numbers look good for the Giants. They've got a plus-4 turnover margin, a product of Eli Manning's eight touchdowns vs. two interceptions. They're pressuring quarterbacks, with USF product Jason Pierre-Paul, above, leading them with 41/2 sacks. Then there's this: 254, Seattle's offensive yards average per game, not nearly enough. Look for the Giants to attack QB Tarvaris Jackson and keep RB Marshawn Lynch in check to stay atop the NFC East.

Giants 27, Seahawks 14

Titans (3-1) at Steelers (2-2)

1 p.m., Ch. 10

Steelers by 3, 39½

The Steelers' offense long has been about chewing up yards with the running game and taking advantage of opportunities in the deep passing game with targets such as WR Mike Wallace, above. But their offense cannot get on track. Pittsburgh is averaging 16 points a game and produced just 10 in last week's loss to Houston. The defense, not surprisingly, has been the saving grace. But now star LB James Harrison is injured, a major blow. Will someone step up?

Steelers 23, Titans 20

Chargers (3-1) at Broncos (1-3)

4:15 p.m.

Chargers by 31/2, 46

You have to believe that at some point during game preparations, Chargers QB Philip Rivers, above, gleefully watched Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers throw for 408 yards and four TDs against the Broncos last week. This game has perhaps the week's most obvious game plan: Keep the pressure on Denver's defense with deep shots and a healthy dose of RB Ryan Mathews. Opposing quarterbacks have a cumulative rating of 110.7 against Denver, highest in the NFL.

Chargers 34, Broncos 24

Jets (2-2) at Patriots (3-1)

4:15 p.m., Ch. 10

Patriots by 71/2, 49

The Patriots' defense has been something of a punch line lately, but no one expected greatness from it. The same cannot be said about the Jets' defense. Despite being vaunted, it has been more talk than production. The Raiders scored 34 points against it, led by Darren McFadden's 171 rushing yards, in Week 3. Now the Patriots and QB Tom Brady, above, are on deck. Does coach Rex Ryan have a remedy? Not unless he plans to arrange for Brady to be kidnapped and held for ransom.

Patriots 30, Jets 17

Packers (4-0) at Falcons (2-2)

8:20 p.m., Ch. 8

Packers by 6, 53½

Sit back with your favorite beverage and watch the Aaron Rod­gers Show. Packers fan or not, it is enjoyable to watch the NFC's — maybe the NFL's — hottest quarterback, above. The difference between this game and the teams' playoff game in January, in which the Packers rolled, is the Packers' defense isn't the same. The Falcons are great at home, and QB Matt Ryan has added WR Julio Jones to his arsenal. But the Packers still have too much firepower.

Packers 33, Falcons 28

Bears (2-2) at Lions (4-0)

8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN

Lions by 5½, 47½

This is a really interesting intradivision game that could be a preview of how the NFC North will play out. The view from here is the Lions are a bit overhyped. The Bucs and Cowboys got outcoached by them and played right into their hands. And Detroit barely has a running game. But the emotion of the home crowed, coupled with Chicago's rightful obsession with stopping WR Calvin Johnson, above, will enable some Lions to make enough plays.

Lions 21, Bears 20

NFL Week 5 predictions 10/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 8, 2011 7:25pm]
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