Tom Brady Is Terrible & Other Things You Need To Know Heading Into the NFL’s 5th Week
Division races are beginning to take shape as the NFL heads to the fifth week of its 2014 season. Here are Week 5’s most interesting storylines:
Sunday, Oct. 5
The Battle Of Texas Actually Means Something
Houston at Dallas | AT&T Stadium ; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Heading into the 2014 NFL season, the Week 5 game between the Texans and Cowboys seemed like it would be about as compelling as having Jerry Jones as a creepy, distant relative. Well, come give Uncle Jerry a hug, you rascal! Dallas (3-1) finds itself tied for the NFC East despite a suspect defense and inconsistent execution on offense. Houston (3-1) is the class of a weak AFC South thus far, mostly thanks to a soft schedule and the play of all-world defensive lineman J.J. Watt. The winner of this contest gets bragging rights (but the other team’s fans will probably keep bragging anyway — it is Texas, after all).
One Of These Teams Is Undefeated…No, Not That One
Arizona at Denver | Sports Authority Field at Mile High; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox
The Drew Stanton era has gotten off to a great start in the desert. No, seriously. While spelling the injured Carson Palmer at quarterback, Stanton has thrown for 411 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for the still undefeated Cardinals. With Palmer’s shoulder still not quite fully healed, Stanton is likely to be under center for Arizona (3-0) when they visit the Broncos on Sunday. Peyton Manning is doing Peyton Manning-like things for Denver (2-1) as usual, namely throwing for zillions of yards and touchdowns. A home loss could drop the Broncos into third behind the Chargers and Chiefs in the AFC West.
Chargers Fans Won’t Yell For Michael Vick
N.Y. Jets at San Diego | Qualcomm Stadium; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
The Jets defense deserves a better schedule than the one that has them face Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on consecutive weeks. This week, Rex Ryan’s defense travels to San Diego (3-1) where it will try to contain Rivers and the Chargers. However, the biggest problem quarterback for New York (1-3) could be Geno Smith. The Jets’ starting signal caller has been bad this season to the point where fans at MetLife Stadium yelled for Michael Vick during last week’s loss to Detroit (and he yelled back in the most New York way ever). The San Diego pass defense is tied with the Jets as the league’s 10th stingiest. That doesn’t bode well for Geno avoiding the swear jar this Sunday.
Alex Smith Might Get The Worst Homecoming Ever
Kansas City at San Francisco | Levi’s Stadium; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Former 49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith returns to the Bay Area as a Chief this Sunday when Kansas City (2-2) faces San Francisco (2-2) in a key game for both teams. Smith hasn’t been super effective for the Chiefs’ offense this season, but that’s because he’s been sacked 13 times, second-most in the NFL. The aggressive 49ers’ pass rush could make Smith’s homecoming dance a painful affair, especially if he has to watch Colin Kaepernick, the man who stole his starting job in San Francisco, repeatedly roll past the KC defense.
Is Tom Brady…gulp…Finished?
Cincinnati at New England | Gillette Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Here is something you might have never thought you’d read: Tom Brady is terrible (and, by the looks of that photo above, sad). It’s true. Four games into the 2014 season, the 37-year-old Patriot quarterback ranks 29th in QB rating. That puts him behind Tampa’s Mike Glennon and Buffalo’s EJ Manuel and just ahead of Oakland rookie Derek Carr and the Jets’ turnover prone Geno Smith. New England (2-2) must try to right its course against a skilled Bengals’ defense that will likely pressure Brady and halt the Pats’ running game. Cincinnati (3-0) hopes to be undefeated after four games for the first time since 2005.
Thursday, Oct. 2
Minnesota at Green Bay | Lambeau Field at 8:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 5
Chicago at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Cleveland at Tennessee | LP Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
St. Louis at Philadelphia | Lincoln Financial Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Atlanta at N.Y. Giants | MetLife Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Tampa Bay at New Orleans | Mercedes-Benz Superdome; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Buffalo at Detroit | Ford Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Baltimore at Indianapolis | Lucas Oil Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville | EverBank Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Monday, Oct. 6
Seattle at Washington | FedEx Field; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
On Bye Week:
Bye: Oakland, Miami