In Week Five, six NFL teams that sit at 2-2, sixty minutes away from a winning record. With a quarter of the season gone, teams begin to establish some of their identity in October. Despite a pandemic, 2020 does not deviate from that thought process. As of this writing, six teams sit at 2-2.
Still smarting from their Monday beatdown by the Chiefs, the Pats welcome the Denver Broncos to Foxborough. Am I the only one old enough to remember it spelled, Foxboro? Anyway, without Cam Newton, the Pats face a Broncos team missing just about everyone else. Granted, injuries remain a part of the game, but Denver endures more than their fair share. Three linebackers, including Von Miller, will watch from home. Also, the loss of Courtland Sutton looms large. Meanwhile, Bill Belichick endeavors to schematically suffocate Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy’s 15.6 yards per catch stands out. Look for the Pats to rebound.
Derek Carr has a specific problem. Well, a few, but this one pertains to Sunday. Carr hasn’t claimed victory in Kansas City. The Chiefs remain a monster stumbling point at home for Carr. Whether it’s temperature or composure, Carr fails to look the part of a competent franchise quarterback in the unfriendly confines. On the other hand, Patrick Mahomes will operate against a defense boasting one interception and four sacks to the point. If the Raiders cannot generate a consistent rush, this game ends early.
Despite massive losses on both sides of the ball in the offseason, the Panthers managed to cobble together a 2-2 start, including a win versus Arizona. Behind Tedd Bridgewater, the Panthers’ offense chugs along. To his credit, Bridgewater does complete 73.1 percent of his passes. More importantly, the 8.1 yards per attempt screams big play. This weekend, they head to Atlanta to face the Falcons. Atlanta is a hot mess in a beautiful stadium. Panthers find a way.
The Saints continue to trudge on without Michael Thomas, nursing an injured ankle. In his place, Tre’Quan Smith gives Drew Brees an emerging target. In contrast, the usage of Taysom Hill remains baffling. With the whole stadium expecting him to get the ball when he’s on the field, Sean Payton needs to rely less on a gimmick and the Hall of Famer under center.
With an overabundance of starter talent sidelined, San Francisco plods along. Nick Mullens continues to add zeroes to his next contract with steady play. Granted, he’s not setting the world ablaze with dazzling numbers. yet, he is making due with what the Niners feature. Defensively, Fred Warner remains one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. Warner only allows 7.9 yards per completion when he drops back. Despite the IR full of defenders, the Niners face the middle of the pack Dolphins offense. If the Niners can squeak out a win, they can build momentum.
Please explain the Cardinals. During the first two games, they defeated the Niners and the WFT. The last two featured losses to the Lions and Panthers. Is it Kyler Murray? No. The pass rush? No. Through four games, the Cards claim eleven sacks. So, what is the problem? Coverage. Five of their opponents ten touchdowns arrived via the pass in the red zone. Budda Baker looks to return and Sam Darnold and the Jets provide ample opportunity to get healthy.
In the NFL, .500 should be a stepping stone, never a destination. Jeff Fisher jokes aside, this weekend will see a few of these teams climb, while others tumble.