Steve Believes: Week 5, 2018 NFL Season

  • Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots. The Colts lost another heartbreaker, as they turned it over on downs in their own territory against the Houston Texans in overtime. The Texans eventually won with a game-ending field goal. As for the Patriots, they made a statement against the Miami Dolphins, as they thoroughly outplayed their division rival in a 38-7 win. Andrew Luck is under the most pressure in this game, as he is 0-5 lifetime against the Patriots. Make it 0-6, because I don’t see him winning in Gillette Stadium, minus T.Y. Hilton.
  • Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills. Who leads the AFC South right now? The Titans, by virtue of their head-to-head win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Based on how they have played this season, the Titans are the least glamorous of all the division leaders. But they’ve won by playing tough, which could make them scary come January. As for the Bills, the 27-6 win against the Minnesota Vikings was a mirage, as they were thoroughly outplayed by the Green Bay Packers last week. Look for Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis to each rush for at least 100 yards, and look for the Tennessee defense to shut down the Buffalo offense. I like Mike Vrabel’s bunch to make it four in a row.
  • Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals. This year’s Dolphins won’t be in the same conversation with the 1972 Dolphins, as Adam Gase’s bunch got their butts whooped by the Patriots. As for the Bengals, they rebounded nicely with a last second win on the road against the Atlanta Falcons, and now return back to Paul Brown Stadium after their two-game NFC South road trip. The Dolphins will play better, but I like the Bengals at home.
  • Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns. The Ravens played a complete game last week in their 26-14 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they dominated in all three phases. As for the Browns, they lost a heartbreaker in overtime against the Oakland Raiders, thus extending their road losing streak to 23 games. Now they return home to FirstEnergy Stadium, where they face a Ravens team that is 11-4 against rookie quarterbacks in the John Harbaugh era. That’s bad news for Baker Mayfield. Especially against a team that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the second half thus far this season. Mayfield has been good in relief of Tyrod Taylor, as well as his first career start last week against the Raiders. But he’ll have a very rough one against T-Sizzle & Company. I like the Ravens in this one.
  • Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions. The Packers are coming off a 22-0 win last week against the Bills, in which their defense held the Bills to 145 total net yards, along with amassing seven sacks and three turnovers of rookie quarterback Josh Allen. As for the Lions, they lost a heartbreaker at the buzzer against the Dallas Cowboys. Now they face the quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) who has tormented them in their own stadium in two of the past three years. Both of those games were Green Bay wins. I don’t see it this time though, because I see the Lions using last week’s loss against the Cowboys as fuel for their second victory of the year.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs. The two teams who I chose to meet in this year’s AFC Championship Game meet in an early season game which could determine homefield throughout. The Jaguars defense has picked up from where they had left off last season, while the Chiefs have the best quarterback going right now this season. Calais Campbell & Company vs. Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs offense is strength on strength, so this game will come to Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense against Justin Houston and the much-maligned Kansas City defense. Given how the Chiefs have something to prove on defense, I think they rise to the challenge against Jacksonville’s offense and make it a rough one for Bortles. Look for Houston to add to his three sacks this season in this one and look for the Chiefs to go 5-0.
  • Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets. For the first time in 14 seasons, the Broncos blew a 10-point lead at home and ultimately lost 27-23 against the Chiefs. As for the Jets, it’s been tough sledding for them, as they have lost three in a row following their opening week win against the Lions. Sam Darnold faces a rugged Denver defense, which is led by Von Miller. Look for the Broncos to take it out on Darnold after their heartbreaking loss last week against the Chiefs. Broncos to get back over the .500 mark.
  • Atlanta Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. After holding the Philadelphia Eagles to just 18 points, the Falcons have allowed an average of 34.6 points per game the past three weeks. The Steelers have fared a little bit better, as they’ve allowed 31.7 per game in that same span. The Steelers are also 0-2 at Heinz Field. However, I don’t see it being 0-3. Steelers to right the ship.
  • New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers. Last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints went as I predicted, with it being close for the Giants until the fourth quarter. Now they face a ferocious Panthers team that’s coming off their bye. And they face them in Charlotte. Including the playoffs, the Panthers are 21-5 at Bank Of America Stadium since 2015. Make it 22-5 after this week.
  • Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders got one in the win column last week against the Browns, in which they tied the game with 30 seconds to go in regulation and then eventually won in overtime with Matt McCrane’s 29-yard field goal. As for the Chargers, Philip Rivers led them back from an early double-digit deficit with three touchdown passes, and got help from Melvin Gordon, who ran for a season-high 104 yards. They also got a clutch stop late in the game, thanks to Derwin James blitzing C.J. Beathard into throwing an interception to Isaac Rochell, which ultimately ended any hopes of a comeback for the 49ers. The Chargers haven’t been over .500 yet this season. However, that will change against a Raiders team that they’ve dominated for much of the past 14 seasons.
  • Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams meet for the first time since the Eagles demolished the Vikings to get to Super Bowl 52, a game that they ultimately won. However, the rematch doesn’t have the same luster, as the Vikings defense has come undone without Everson Griffen, while the Eagles have stumbled to a 2-2 record thus far. The Eagles let one get away last week against the Titans. Look for them to use that as fuel this week and add to the Vikings’ misery.
  • Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals have played better the past two weeks, but they are still winless at 0-4. As for the 49ers, they return to the friendly confines of Levi Stadium after a heartbreaking Week 4 loss against the Chargers. The 49ers have won three straight at home dating back to Week 15 against the Titans, although those three wins were with Jimmy Garoppolo. C.J. Beathard is the starter this time around and for the rest of the season, as Garoppolo is out for the year with a torn ACL. The Cardinals are due for a win, but not this week against the 49ers. 
  • Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks. While the talk around the league has been about Pat Mahomes, the Rams are actually leading the league in scoring, with an average of 35 points per game. Plus, they come into The Emerald City at 4-0. As for the Seahawks, they have a two-game winning streak, but a big loss for the rest of this season, as Earl Thomas went on injured reserve with a fractured leg. And because of that, a potential upset could be a mismatch without the last remaining member of the Legion Of Boom. They have Bobby Wagner, but Thomas’ loss might be too much for the Seahawks to overcome against the Rams. Rams to make it 5-0.
  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans. The Lone Star State teams meet for the fifth time in NFL history, with the Cowboys winning the last three. Both of these teams are coming off games in which they ended with winning field goals, with the Cowboys beating the Lions in regulation, while the Texans beat the Colts in overtime. The Cowboys have alternated wins and losses this season and that will continue, because I look for the Texans to build off their big win in Indianapolis with their second all-time win against the Cowboys.
  • Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints. As it stands right now, the Redskins have sole possession of the NFC East lead heading into this game. The same goes for the Saints in the NFC South. They return to the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this week, after finishing 2-0 on their two-game road trip against the Falcons and Giants. There’s also history on the line, as Drew Brees needs only 201 yards passing to become the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader. Look for him to reach that milestone and look for the Saints to win their fourth in a row.