Jared Hackmyer picks 7 early Sunday Week 5 NFL games including Eagles vs Steelers, Raiders vs Chiefs, Cardinals vs Jets
FALCONS (52.5) Panthers (+3.5)
Jared’s Pick: Panthers
Breakout Player: WR Robby Anderson
Carolina went into this season looking at 3-4 wins. Now, they are on pace to go 8-8. Atlanta is probably a more talented team, but with the momentum the Panthers have going into Week 5, I can see them pulling off a win. Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson have been one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos, connecting for 377 yards and a touchdown. RB Mike Davis has also been big for this Carolina offense with star RB Christian McCaffrey out. Atlanta’s defense has been awful, and with Carolina crushing the passing and running game this season, I think they will have a big day on offense. Carolina will definitely put up a fight this week, regardless.
The Atlanta Falcons can not seem to get this going. Their offense has been putting up some pretty good numbers, but they can’t finish the game on top. They have blown two huge leads, and arguably should be 2-2. If QB Matt Ryan and WR Calvin Ridley (349 yards, 4 TDs) can continue to connect like they have been, Carolina could have a tough day on defense. With Carolina’s defense not playing well against the run, RB Todd Gurley could have a big day. The Panthers could catch a huge break if WR Julio Jones doesn't play.
RAVENS (-11) Bengals (51.5)
Jared’s Pick: Ravens
Breakout Player: TE Mark Andrews
Despite their loss to Kansas City, Baltimore has looked amazing on both sides of the ball. QB Lamar Jackson has been limited in practice this week with a knee injury, but is still looking like he will start. I’d look for another big game from TE Mark Andrews. Andrews seems to be Jackson’s favorite target, leading the Ravens with four receiving touchdowns. Against this Cincinnati defense, Baltimore could put up a ridiculous amount of points. Baltimore’s defensive line will definitely give RB Joe Mixon a hard time. If their secondary can lock up Joe Burrow’s key targets – Tyler Boyd, AJ Green, and Tee Higgins, Burrow could be in for a tough day.
Cincinnati’s defense hasn’t looked great and they haven’t played a tough schedule. I don’t see the Bengals stopping Lamar and his offense this week.
TEXANS (-4.5) Jaguars (53.5)
Jared’s Pick: Texans
Breakout Player: RB David Johnson
Week 5 is a week I can definitely see Houston getting their first win of the 2020 season. Houston obviously isn’t the team they were last year, but they’ve had a very tough schedule. QB Deshaun Watson is off to a decent start for Houston, throwing for almost 1100 yards, 6 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 1 rushing touchdown. Against Jacksonville’s weaker defense, I think Houston’s offense can definitely get the job done. I can see RB David Johnson having a big game. Houston’s defense is not what we thought it would be this year. it would definitely make sense for Jacksonville not to have an awful game on offense this week just because of Houston’s defense.
Jacksonville doesn’t really have one target on offense, they have been getting the ball to a bunch of different guys in the passing game. Their main guy seems to be RB James Robinson, who has 285 yards and 3 touchdowns. Robinson could definitely be in for a big game with Houston’s defense ranking last in the NFL in rushing yards let up per game. Jaguar QB Gardner Minshew has been serviceable for this offense but one of Houston's strengths has been its secondary.
CHIEFS (-10.5) Raiders (54.5)
Jared’s Pick: Chiefs
Breakout Player: WR Tyreek Hill
The Chiefs did not disappoint last week against New England’s elite defense and QB Pat Mahomes is going into Week 5 with 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Once again, Tyreek Hill has been Mahomes’ favorite target. With Las Vegas’ defense struggling with yards and points let up, I’d expect a big game from the Mahomes-Hill duo. With Patriots QB Cam Newton out, Kansas City’s defense was able to hold the Pats to only 10 points. Vegas should provide a tougher challenge.
With WR Henry Ruggs likely playing this week, Vegas’ offense will be full of weapons and QB Derek Carr is also going into Week 5 with 0 interceptions. RB Josh Jacobs has been huge for this offense in his second year. With Kansas City’s weaker D against the run, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jacobs have a big game. Kansas City, however, is looking great at 4-0, and with a healthy team, I see them as the clear winner of this matchup.
Cardinals (-6.5) JETS (45.5)
Jared’s Pick: Cardinals
Breakout Player: QB Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals lost their second straight last week against after a very good first two weeks. The bright-side for Murray, is he had his first game of the season with zero interceptions, but he's going to need more help in the running game from RBs Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds. This offense can’t only rely on Murray to DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona’s defense has looked good so far; they haven’t given up too many yards or points. Going against an already struggling New York offense without Sam Darnold, I’d be shocked to see the Cardinals let up a lot of points this week.
The 0-4 Jets are hopefully getting RB Le’Veon Bell back this week. The problem is, he won’t have his quarterback. Joe Flacco will be stepping in as QB1 this week with Darnold out due to a shoulder injury in last week’s game against Denver. Darnold has been one of the only positive things for the Jet offense, so his absence could be a big problem. The Jets defense has not looked promising either. They let backup QB Brett Rypien tear up their defense last week and are currently ranked 30th in the NFL, giving up about 33 points per game. Arizona has not looked great the last two weeks, but New York is struggling and I see Arizona as a lock this Sunday.
STEELERS (-7.5) Eagles (46)
Jared’s Pick: Steelers
Breakout Player: RB James Connor
Pittsburgh has been a threat to all teams this year. After an off 2019 season, they are now 3-0 with probably the best defense in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s offense has been above average so far. Philadelphia’s defense has been actually pretty good for their 1-2-1 record. Pittsburgh is going to have to be aggressive this week if they want to put up a good amount of points. I can definitely see RB James Connor having a big game since Philadelphia's secondary has been pretty good and ay cause Ben Roethlisberger to struggle.
Leading the NFC East right now, Philadelphia needs to step things up on offense if they want to have any chance at the playoffs. Going against an elite defense like Pittsburgh, they are going to have to be better than any game they’ve played the season. QB Carson Wentz is going to have to cut down on his interceptions – he already has seven and only four touchdowns. I wouldn’t expect a big game from RB Miles Sanders going up against the league's number one rushing defense. The only way Philadelphia can dominate on offense, is if they are aggressive in the passing game. Pittsburgh still has a very good secondary, but they're better against the run. If Philly wants to have a chance they are going to have to contain Pittsburgh’s average offense.
Rams (-8) FOOTBALL TEAM (45.5)
Jared’s Pick: Rams
Breakout Player: WR Cooper Kupp
Going into Week 5, 3-1, L.A. is looking to beat one of the most struggling teams in football. L.A.’s offense has been a big threat with QB Jared Goff throwing to WRs Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Josh Reynolds, to go with TE Tyler Higbee. I would also expect a big game from Ram RBs Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown against Washington’s struggling rushing defense. That defense will definitely be facing a challenge against L.A.'s potent offense, especially if Washington D-lineman Chase Young is absent once again.
Washington’s offense has arguably been the worst in the NFL. Now, they will get a new look with QB Kyle Allen starting. WR Terry McLaurin is currently leading the team in yards, with 387 yards. RB Antonio Gibson had looked pretty good, recording 186 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, and 98 receiving yards. Unfortunately, Washington ranks 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game and L.A.'s defense has been solid against some decent teams, with their secondary a strength.
Jared Hackmyer is the founder of GOATNYG on Instagram.