2013 NFL Week 5 Preview — 5 Intriguing Storylines to Watch
Several undefeated teams in each conference have dominated the first few weeks of the 2013 NFL season. Here are five storylines we’ll be watching this weekend:
Can the Lions Finally Win in Wisconsin?
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis. — 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 6
After last week’s big victory over the Bears, the Detroit Lions (3-1) have an opportunity to assume the role of pace-setter in the NFC North by beating the rival Packers (1-2) on the road. However, Detroit hasn’t won in Wisconsin since 1991 — a long, painful 22 game losing streak that pre-dates the Brett Favre era in Green Bay. The Packers have been inconsistent in 2013, relying on Aaron Rodgers’ offense to outscore opponents, rather than stopping them. Lions QB Matthew Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson and RB Reggie Bush all seem like they’d enjoy taking a nice hearty bite out of the Cheeseheads.
Tom Brady Faces Geno Atkins & the Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati — 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 6
The New England Patriots (4-0) aren’t as dominant when quarterback Tom Brady faces pressure from the middle of the defensive line. This week, the Pats’ offense must protect its franchise passer from Cincinnati (2-2) and defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The Bengals’ sackmaster will look to take Brady out of his comfort zone, and hope that New England’s cast of no-names around him isn’t able to break down the defense. If Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton doesn’t start looking more like the passer he was in his first two NFL seasons, Atkins might decide to pressure him, too.
The NFC East Is Awful
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ — 1 p.m. (ET); AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tex. – 4:25 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6
There are no good teams in the NFC East this season, but one of these sorry squads is still guaranteed a playoff berth. Philadelphia (1-3) faces the Giants (0-4) at the Meadowlands in a game featuring the league’s worst defenses. Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson and New York’s Victor Cruz might score so often that the game will resemble a dance off between the two speedsters. Speaking of allowing big plays and an embarrassing number of points, Dallas (2-2) hosts Denver (4-0) in a game that figures to pad Peyton Manning’s video game-like stats further. Washington (1-3) will have the best week in the division — they have a bye.
Will the 49ers or Texans Be Under .500?
Candlestick Park, San Francisco — 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6
This week’s spotlight game is the Sunday night clash between the Texans (2-2) and the 49ers (2-2). Both Houston and San Francisco were seen as Super Bowl-caliber teams before the season. After this game, one of them will be 2-3 and in danger of becoming the NFL’s biggest disappointment of 2013. Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Matt Schaub have taken the most blame for their teams’ early-season struggles. Their performance against the opposing defense will once again most likely determine the fate of their team in Week 5. No pressure, or anything.
The Raiders and Chargers Late Show
O.co Coliseum, Oakland — 11:35 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6
Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series between the Oakland A’s and Detroit Tigers forced the NFL to move the AFC West showdown between Oakland (1-3) and San Diego (2-2) to an 11:35 p.m. (ET) start time. Fans who stay up late for the game will likely see the return of quarterback Terrelle Pryor for the Raiders. He missed last week’s loss to Washington due to a concussion. Pryor’s hiatus was just enough time for Oakland to realize how bad QB Matt Flynn is. Originally scheduled to be the Raiders’ starter, Flynn has been demoted to third string, with undrafted rookie Matt McGloin rising to No. 2 on the depth chart. Hopefully Flynn rented instead of buying in Oakland. Unless the start time is past his bedtime, Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers should have a big game against the Raiders’ porous defense.