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As we head into the second quarter of the 2019 regular season, I’m trying out something a little different with this week’s formatting. For each game, I aim to supply three informative nuggets to whet your appetite for another weekend of football consumption. Enjoy!
Gregg Rosenthal went 7-8 on his predictions for Week 4, bringing his season record to 37-25-1. How will he fare in Week 5? His picks are below.
SUNDAY, OCT. 6
SNEAKY GOOD GAME OF THE WEEK: Carolina Panthers 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 19
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
1) Ron Rivera is at it again. The Panthers’ transition to a 3-4 defense has helped them withstand the season-ending injury suffered by Kawann Short and allowed Carolina to keep Shaq Thompson on the field for all but a few snaps of his breakout season. The third-ranked pass defense plays terrific assignment football, making this Gardner Minshew’s toughest opponent yet.
2) Kyle Allen passes the eye test, even in a game against the Texans when he fumbled three times. You can’t coach accuracy, and he makes all the throws, including some gems to the outside.
3) It’s hard to believe how much Allen and Minshew appear to belong. If they had the draft pedigree of Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield, they’d be talked up as the next big thing rather than passing curiosities. While they have long seasons ahead, they outplayed plenty of veteran NFL starters in September.
New England Patriots 30, Washington Redskins 10
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | FedExField (Landover, Md.)
1) Ben Watson’s return from suspension should help a Patriots offense that needs more receiving options. Josh Gordon is hurt and clearly not in sync with Tom Brady, while Julian Edelman is not 100 percent. Brady’s struggles in Buffalo were more about the great Bills secondary and the Patriots’ limitations than Brady’s pass protection.
2) To compare pass rushes, the Patriots have 21 sacks and 83 total disruptions, according to PFF, with role players like Lawrence Guy and John Simon providing great value. The Redskins have four sacks and 51 total disruptions with first-round pick Montez Sweat and even perennial Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan struggling to make an impact.
3) It looks like the Redskins might get wide receiver Terry McLaurin back from injury, but lose tight end Vernon Davis. Colt McCoy, if he passes medical benchmarks, appears to be Jay Gruden’s preferred option to start. This is Gruden’s version of going out his way.
Buffalo Bills 20, Tennessee Titans 17
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)
1) The Bills’ Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are the best safety tandem no one talks about, signed in free agency on the same day back in March of 2017 for a combined nine years and $43.5 million. Look for them to limit the Titans’ passing attack from making big plays.
2) Don’t assume starting Matt Barkley — if Josh Allen doesn’t return from his concussion — would end the Bills’ chances to win. Barkley made good decisions and moved the ball better than Josh Allen or Tom Brady last Sunday, even if he has a backup’s arm. There’s a real chance the Bills’ passing game could stay on schedule better without Allen.
3) Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan’s return from suspension is massive for a Titans offense looking for consistency. Last week’s 24-point first half effort in Atlanta — followed by a goose egg after halftime — was their first quarter of the season in a nutshell. I trust the Bills’ defense more.
Baltimore Ravens 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 20
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Heinz Field (Pittsburgh)
1) Ravens safeties Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson take big risks, but lack the same athleticism they possessed earlier in their respective careers. That’s led to some coverage busts and a secondary that looks slow with 33-year-old Brandon Carr starting at cornerback and 31-year-old Jimmy Smith out with injury.
2) The Steelers’ defensive front has quite a trio in Stephon Tuitt, Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt, who are all p
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