Denver at San Diego (+3), 45 o/u Thursday, 8:25 p.m. EDT
Comments: Paxton Lynch did a lot last week to bolster Trevor Siemian's MVP case. Lynch wasn't terrible in his first NFL start, but his inability to consistently move the chains led to Denver's first loss and first game this season with less than 20 points. Siemian is expected back from his shoulder injury for this one, and shouldn't have too much trouble picking apart a San Diego defense that's lost three-quarters of its starting secondary from Week 1 Brandon Flowers (concussion) and Jahleel Addae (collarbone) are both out, while Jason Verrett (knee) is on IR. Even third corner Craig Mager (shoulder) could miss the game, as well. Demaryius Thomas tends to have his way with the Chargers anyway (eight TDs in his last eight games against them, with four 100-yard performances in his last six), but if Siemian is healthy enough to get him the ball, he could explode. ... Where have you gone, Danny Woodhead? Chargers Nation turns its lonely eyes to you. After watching the Falcons' backs run circles around the Broncos' linebackers last week on pass routes, Woodhead would be the perfect weapon with which to try to duplicate that success. Alas, the shifty scatback is also on the shelf, and even Dexter McCluster is nursing a hamstring injury, so San Diego will simply have to find another way to keep the game close before falling apart in the fourth quarter. ... Melvin Gordon's seven touchdowns are obscuring the fact that he really isn't playing any better than he did as a rookie. His 3.4 YPC is dreadful, and the fumbling issues that plagued him in 2015 have reared their ugly head again. The Bolts really don't have any better options, so he'll continue seeing plenty of carries and targets, but don't expect him to do to Denver what Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman did.
Predictions: C.J. Anderson rebounds with 80 combined yards and a TD. Siemian throws for 240 yards and two touchdowns, both to Thomas. Gordon picks up 100 combined yards, mostly through the air, while Philip Rivers throws for 210 yards and a score to Travis Benjamin but also gets picked off twice, including a pick six to Chris Harris. Broncos, 31-10
San Francisco (+8) at Buffalo, 44 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: You could argue that Blaine Gabbert is just the fall guy for Chip Kelly's 1-4 start in San Francisco, but Gabbert's numbers certainly suggest that it's time to give someone else a shot as his completion percentage, YPA and TD:INT have all taken big steps backwards from the second half of 2015. To no one's surprise, Colin Kaepernick will get that shot, putting even more eyeballs on him than there were when he was simply kneeling on the sidelines. There's the usual chatter about the explosive potential of a mobile QB in Kelly's offense but, really, has that play ever paid off? Michael Vick didn't exactly set the world on fire as an Eagle in 2013, and defensive coordinators have had a lot of time to get wise to Chip's tricks since then. For that matter, Kaepernick himself hasn't been particularly good since 2013 either there's a reason Gabbert took the job from him last year, after all. The Kaep Crusader won't even get an easy matchup in his return to the starting lineup, as the Bills sit seventh in QB rating against thanks largely to 17 sacks (fourth in the league) and six INTs versus just two passing TDs allowed. ... Carlos Hyde may not be able to give the Niners passing game much support Sunday. Buffalo's giving up a 3.6 YPC, sixth in the league, and Marcell Dareus (hamstring) hasn't even played a snap yet, so the San Fran ground game could have trouble getting out of the blocks. Then again, the Seahawks are third in YPC allowed and Hyde gashed them for 103 yards and two scores in Week 3. Expecting a mobile quarterback to do well in Kelly's offense might be a sucker bet, but expecting big things from his lead running back usually isn't. ... The Niners head east with a number of injured players. Vance McDonald (hip) may not be ready to rejoin the lineup, while Jeremy Kerley (ankle) has been limited at practice. The defense is in worse shape, as DeForest Buckner (foot), Glenn Dorsey (knee), Ahmad Brooks (groin) and Jimmie Ward (quad) are all less than 100 percent, which doesn't even consider the loss of NaVorro Bowman (Achilles). The Bills of course are still without Sammy Watkins (foot), but Dareus excepted are otherwise relatively healthy.
Predictions: Hyde bangs out 80 yards and a TD. Kaepernick 2016 debut doesn't go smoothly, as he throws for 180 yards and gets picked off twice, but he does run for 50 yards. LeSean McCoy gets some belated revenge on his former coach, piling up 150 combined yards and scoring twice (once on the ground and once through the air). Tyrod Taylor throws for 240 yards and a second score to Robert Woods. Bills, 23-16
Philadelphia at Washington (+2), 45 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: A lot went wrong last week for the Eagles, including a massive penalty disparity that you can blame on either bad discipline, bad refereeing or both, but if you have to lose your first game of the season, a one-point loss on the road is the way to do it. On paper, Washington shouldn't be any tougher an opponent than the Lions were their run defense is atrocious, dead last in YPC allowed (5.1) and rushing TDs allowed (eight), while their pass defense is merely mediocre but if they played the games on paper, Philly would still be undefeated. ... It's deja vu all over again in DC, as Washington has put together a three-game winning streak after an emotional comeback win in Week 3. As with last year's run to the NFC East title, Kirk Cousins has been leading the way, posting a 6:2 TD:INT and 68.9 percent completion rate over the winning streak, compared to a 1:3 TD:INT and 65.2 percent during the team's two season-opening losses. The Eagles' pass defense is a notch above any of the ones Cousins has faced so far though, ranking in the top 10 in the league in QB rating against (ninth at 80.1) and sacks (tied for fifth with 14, despite playing one less game than most other teams). Even during their Week 5 loss to the Lions, they really only played two bad quarters, holding Matthew Stafford almost completely in check in the second half. Unless that somnambulant unit from last week's first half shows up again, or Theo Riddick gets dealt to Washington over the weekend, Cousins could be in for a long afternoon. ... Making the day even longer for Cousins could be the absence of Jordan Reed, all but ruled out due to another concussion. Both of Washington's starting cornerbacks are banged up too, as Josh Norman tries to play through a wrist injury and Bashaud Breeland attempts to come back from an ankle sprain after missing two games. The Eagles head into the game fairly healthy, although Fletcher Cox showed up on the injury report with an ankle issue.
Predictions: Ryan Mathews picks up 120 yards and a score, while Carson Wentz throws for 250 yards and TDs to Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. Matt Jones grinds out 70 yards. Cousins throws for 270 yards and a touchdown to DeSean Jackson. Eagles, 24-13
Cleveland (+7) at Tennessee, 43.5 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: Does anybody have Bernie Kosar's phone number? Brian Sipe's? Heck, Tim Couch's? First Robert Griffin (shoulder) gets hurt, then Josh McCown (collarbone). After a couple of games respite with rookie Cody Kessler at the helm, Kessler (ribs) gets knocked out of Week 5's loss before his replacement, journeyman Charlie Whitehurst, hurts his knee and gets released with an injury settlement in the aftermath. Heading into this week's tilt with the Titans, Kessler is apparently well enough to start, but his backup will be another rookie, Kevin Hogan (drafted in the fifth round by the Chiefs this year before getting cut and washing up on Cleveland's practice squad). That's an incredible five QBs in uniform in six games, six if you count Terrelle Pryor. Given the circumstances, it's a bit of a miracle that the team isn't dead last in scoring (they're only 29th!). Tennessee sits fifth in QB rating against (75.4) and 10th in points per game allowed (20.2) though, so get back to me on that one Sunday night. ... DeMarco Murray isn't quite on his 2014 pace, but it's close. At present, he's headed for 374 touches, 1475 rushing yards, 77 catches for 550 yards (both career highs) and 16 total TDs. 2014 was also the only season he played all 16 games though, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Murray hit a speed bump or two on his way to his second 2000-yard campaign. The Browns have been at least solid against the run, but asking them to do what only the Vikings have done so far hold Murray under 80 yards from scrimmage could be beyond them. ... Not that the Titans have any receivers worth covering, but Joe Haden is back on the injury report due to his lingering groin issue. Gary Barnidge (hip/forearm) is also playing through bumps and bruises. Tennessee doesn't report any significant injuries.
Predictions: Isaiah Crowell manages 50 rushing yards. Kessler gets knocked out of the game again in the second quarter, and neither he nor Hogan top 100 passing yards. Murray tops 100 combined yards and scores, while Marcus Mariota throws for 190 yards and a touchdown to Delanie Walker. Titans, 20-9
Baltimore (+3) at N.Y. Giants, 44 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: After last week's inept display, I'd want to fire someone too. Just as Greg Roman was in Buffalo, Marc Trestman became the fall guy for a head coach who's maybe a little too set in his ways to see the bigger picture. Sure, Joe Flacco's 5.9 YPA under Trestman this season was abysmal, but we're talking about a QB whose career best is 7.4, and that happened back in 2010. The Ravens simply don't have the talent on offense to scare anyone, no matter what scheme they use. Steve Smith is still seeing significant snaps as a broken-down 37-year-old. Mike Wallace is on his fourth team in five years for a reason. And while it's great that Terrance West has improved his eating habits and gotten in better shape after nearly washing out of the league, his only two good games this season have come against probably the two worst run defenses in the NFL. Blaming Trestman for not molding that crew into a dangerous offense is like blaming Gordon Ramsey for not walking into a McDonald's and immediately earning it a Michelin star. All that said, they're playing the Giants this week, and Ben McAdoo had already mastered the art of lowering his actually talented offense to the Ravens' level, so Baltimore could fall into a win and make John Harbaugh look brilliant for switching things up at offensive coordinator. ... Incidentally, Smith (ankle) will probably be out Sunday, as will Elvis Dumervil (foot) and likely C.J. Mosley (hamstring). The Giants could get Rashed Jennings (thumb) back, but their defense is also banged up with Jason Pierre-Paul, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple all dealing with groin injuries. Maybe New York needs to fire their pre-game stretching coordinator. ... Both teams could struggle on the ground, despite those injuries on defense. The Giants (3.5) and Ravens (3.6) both rank in the top 10 in YPC allowed, with Baltimore also in the top five in rushing yards allowed per game, while they've given up a combined five rushing TDs in 10 games. Not that that will stop either coach from trying to pound the rock every chance they get, of course.
Predictions: West manages just 40 yards. Flacco throws for 240 yards and a TD to Kamar Aiken. Jennings starts but rushes for only 60 yards. Eli Manning has his best game of the season, throwing for 340 yards and touchdowns to Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard, with OBJ pulling in 120 yards. Giants, 20-13
Carolina at New Orleans (+3), 53 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: The Panthers were in the Super Bowl last year, right? That wasn't just a mass hallucination brought on by flashbacks to Katy Perry's halftime show? Cam Newton's concussion doesn't help, but there's more wrong in Carolina than the health of their quarterback. Nowhere is that collapse more apparent than in their turnover differential. Last season the Panthers nearly lapped the field with a league-leading plus-20, six ahead of the second place Chiefs and more than double the fourth place Cardinals. This year? Try minus-7, with only the Jets posting a worse mark through five weeks. The Saints' defense doesn't exactly force the issue (just six takeaways in four games) but the Panthers' struggles are more about their own lack of execution than the great play of their opposition so far. Newton is on track to return Sunday, but he won't single-handedly cure their ills. ... Another area of concern for Carolina, and one that New Orleans can actually exploit, is their pass defense. The Josh Norman-sized hole at cornerback has only been exacerbated by second round pick James Bradberry's foot injury, and the result has been an 8.4 YPA allowed so far, 29th in the league. Drew Brees' YPA at home this year is 8.3, which is right in line with his usual numbers at the Superdome during the Sean Payton era (8.5 in 2015, a ridiculous 9.1 in 2013, etc.). Carolina still has plenty of talent in their front seven, but until the secondary matures it's hard to see them becoming one of the league's dominant defenses again. ... While a healthy Cam can't solve the team's issues on defense, he can still win a shootout. He put up 41 points in this building last December, and the Saints' defense hasn't gotten any better since then, ranking 26th or worse in all of the following areas: YPC allowed, rushing yards per game allowed, rushing TDs allowed, YPA allowed and QB rating against. They have only given up five passing TDs, but that's just because teams haven't needed (or, in the Giants' case, haven't tried) to air it out against them. Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) seems close to returning and Cameron Artis-Payne is coming off a two-TD game, so even if Newton is a little gun-shy when it comes to scrambling, the Panthers have the horses in the backfield to potentially chew up yardage and clock on the ground, and keep Brees on the sidelines.
Predictions: Stewart runs for 70 yards and a touchdown, while Mike Tolbert also scores. Newton throws for 330 yards and TDs to Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn. Mark Ingram responds with 90 combined yards and a score, while Brees throws for 390 yards and three TDs one each to Brandin Cooks, Brandon Coleman, and Coby Fleener, with Cooks topping 100 yards. Saints, 34-31
Jacksonville (+2.5) at Chicago, 47 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: If any team needed an early bye this year, it was the 1-3 Jaguars. The offense has been out of sync, the young defense hasn't gelled, and a close win over the Colts in London didn't seem so much a turning point as a narrow escape. Getting some offensive balance out of the running game would take the pressure off Blake Bortles (on pace for more pass attempts but fewer yards, fewer TDs and more INTs than 2015), so giving Chris Ivory an extra week to recover from whatever it is he's recovering from can only help. A game against the Bears, who rank in the bottom half of the league in both rushing yards allowed per game and QB rating against, could be just what they need to get their feet under them, but at this point any improvement from the Jags has to be taken on spec. Until they take that next step forward, this is a roster that seems far less than the sum of its parts. ... Of all the ways Jay Cutler's career could have ended in Chicago (something that seems like it's been imminent for years now), getting Pipped by Brian Hoyer was somewhere around "retiring to wander the globe fighting injustice" on the betting chart, and yet here we are. Hoyer's topped 300 passing yards in three straight games with a 6:0 TD:INT, and done so without the services of a fully healthy Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), instead providing players like Eddie Royal and Cameron Meredith with big lines. He's had good runs before during the five-game stretch last season leading up to the Texans' bye, he put together a 7.4 YPA and 12:2 TD:INT but this is arguably the best the 31-year-old QB's looked in his entire career. Jacksonville's been mediocre against the pass this season, sitting 19th in QB rating against (92.7), so it seems unlikely that they'll be able to slow him down. The ride will end eventually, as anyone who watched Houston's loss last postseason can tell you, but for now Hoyer is in a groove. ... The Bears are playing through injuries up and down the roster, and their injury report includes Jeffery, Royal (calf), Zach Miller (ribs), Leonard Floyd (calf) and Jerrell Freeman (wrist). The Jags come into the game with their key players predominantly healthy.
Predictions: Ivory has his first solid game for Jacksonville, rushing for 70 yards and a score. Bortles throws for 280 yards and three TDs, two to Allen Hurns and one to Allen Robinson, who tops 100 yards. Jordan Howard racks up 100 combined yards and a touchdown, while Hoyer throws for 290 yards and scores to Meredith and Jeffery. A missed field goal by Connor Barth ends up deciding the game. Jaguars, 31-30
Los Angeles (+3) at Detroit, 43.5 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: Chris Liss wondered after last week how bad Jared Goff must be looking in practice that Case Keenum is still the Rams' starting QB, but that assumes Jeff Fisher is even paying that much attention. It's just as likely that he came into the season with a plan to use Keenum up through the team's bye, then turn the reins over to the kid. Maybe he even wants to give Goff a shot, but thinks he can't while the Rams are winning (which, technically, they are at 3-2). At any rate, the job is still Keenum's, which is a break for a Lions' defense that ranks 31st in QB rating against at 116.9, and tied for deal last in TD passes allowed with 14. ... The Rams' front seven has been surprisingly poor against the run so far, ranking 24th in YPC allowed (4.4) and 28th in rushing yards allowed per game (122.2), but they too could get a break in this one. Somewhere between catching those first half TD passes last Sunday and this week's practices Theo Riddick hurt his ankle, which now leaves the Lions' backfield in the hands of rookie Dwayne Washington, himself not 100 percent due to an ankle injury, the uninspiring Zach Zenner, and Ravens castoff Justin Forsett. After a couple of weeks of trying to chase down David Johnson and LeSean McCoy, this could seem like a bye week vacation for the Los Angeles run defense. ... Brian Quick (calf) and Robert Quinn (shoulder) are also banged up for the Rams, while Eric Ebron (knee) and Haloti Ngata (shoulder) are out for the Lions. Ezekiel Ansah (ankle) could make his return to the lineup Sunday, however.
Predictions: Todd Gurley has his best game of the season, running for 110 yards and two TDs. Keenum throws for 180 yards and a touchdown to Lance Kendricks. Forsett ends up leading the Detroit backfield with 60 combined yards, while Matthew Stafford throws for 250 yards and a score to Marvin Jones. Lions, 23-21
Pittsburgh at Miami (+7.5), 47.5 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: In four of five games this season, Ben Roethlisberger has throws for three or more TDs and averaged over 300 passing yards with an 8.4 YPA. That's, uhh, pretty good. The fifth game was the dud in Philadelphia, and while it's reassuring to know that the Steelers' passing game isn't an unstoppable juggernaut, Miami sits 27th in QB rating against at 101.5, largely due to the fact that they've managed only one INT. Not to jinx him with an Achilles injury, but if Big Ben's Achilles heel is simply being on the road, maybe the Dolphins have a chance to slow him down. If not, this could get ugly. ... So far, Adam Gase hasn't been able to turn Ryan Tannehill into Peyton Manning, or even Eli Manning. Dolphins fans would probably settle for Clay Manning at this point. He's had two decent games and three awful ones so far, and if there's a common denominator in them, it's the quality of the pass rush Tannehill was facing. The three poor efforts all came against teams that have 10 or more sacks on the season, while the two reasonable performances came against teams that didn't. The simple fact of the matter is that after being sacked 149 times over the last three seasons, he simply can't handle pressure. That actually bodes well for Miami on Sunday, though, as the Steelers have just eight sacks through five games. ... Arian Foster (hamstring) has been able to practice in a limited fashion this week and will likely be a game-time decision. If he's ruled out again, Jay Ajayi will again assume lead duties. Pittsburgh's allowed just 77 rushing yards a game so far, fifth in the league, but that's a product of game flow their 4.1 YPC allowed puts them 19th. Sammie Coates (finger) could join Markus Wheaton (shoulder) on the sidelines for the Steelers.
Predictions: Le'Veon Bell piles up another 130 combined yards and his first touchdown of the season. Roethlisberger throws for 320 yards and three TDs, two to Antonio Brown (who tops 130 yards) and one to Jesse James. Ajayi starts and gains 70 yards, while Tannehill throws for 340 yards and TDs to DeVante Parker, who also goes over 100 receiving yards, and Jarvis Landry. Steelers, 34-17
Cincinnati (+9) at New England, 47 o/u Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Comments: While teams like Carolina and Arizona have attracted more attention for their stumbles out of the gate, Cincinnati's quietly been one of the more disappointing teams in the league through five games. They haven't had the easiest schedule, but they also got thoroughly man-handled by the Cowboys last week, which is the kind of thing the Bengals have built their reputation on doing to others, not having it done to them. On the offensive side of the ball, Andy Dalton's been efficient and is headed for a career high in passing yards, but he's also only thrown five TDs through five games, as Tyler Eifert's ankle and back issues have left him without a reliable second option behind A.J. Green. On defense, they've been ineffective both on the ground (4.4 YPC allowed, 23rd) and through the air (96.5 QB rating agains, 22nd), which is a bad way to head into a game against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. ... Brady's Eff All Y'all tour got off to a rousing start last week, and the Pats now get a three-game run through the pretenders in the AFC (Bengals, Steelers, and a revenge game against the Bills) before their bye in which to establish a hammerlock on the conference title. He made excellent use of new weapons Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan while allowing Rob Gronkowski to return to form, although Julian Edelman disappointed, so it wasn't quite a perfect return from suspension for the 39-year-old. Brady's always been at his most dangerous when he had multiple ways to beat you, and this New England offense might be as diverse as any he's ever had. That's bad news not just for Cinci, but for the entire rest of the league. ... As per their new SOP, the Pats dumped a ton of players on the injury report as questionable, but there's no indication that anyone important will miss Sunday's game. Other than Eifert, the Bengals are fairly healthy heading into the game.
Predictions: Giovani Bernard leads the Cinci backfield with 70 combined yards. Dalton throws for 260 yards and a TD to former Patriot Brandon LaFell. LeGarrette Blount pounds out 80 yards, while Brady throws for 330 yards and touchdowns to Gronk, Edelman and James White. Patriots, 24-16
Kansas City (+1) at Oakland, 47 o/u Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Comments: Jamaal Charles' return prior to the Chiefs' bye amounted to nothing more than a cameo: 10 snaps, two carries for seven yards, and one target he didn't bring down. The coaching staff's been coy about how much action he'll see Sunday, saying only that his workload would be expanded, but with two weeks to further strengthen his knee it seems likely that he'll resume his starting role, especially considering that Spencer Ware has fumbled three times in four games. Ware should still get some touches, but if you've been patiently waiting for Charles to finally provide some value, your time may finally be at hand. The Raiders' run defense has done an effective toreador impression so far this year, with their 4.9 YPC allowed ranking 30th, so whoever gets carries for Kansas City should be able to pile up some yardage. ... Oakland's backfield, by contrast, is now the one in turmoil. Latavius Murray is out due to turf toe, and while DeAndre Washington appeared to be the heir apparent earlier in the year, it was Jalen Richard who stepped up last week with 97 yards from scrimmage on 14 touches. The Chiefs have been nearly as bad against the run as the Raiders (4.5 YPC allowed, 27th in the league), but if Richard and Washington are stuck in a time share, it could be tough for either of them to be consistently productive. ... If you're looking for a hidden edge in this one, it might come through the return game. The Raiders are giving up 15.1 yards per punt return, and in fact are the only team this season giving up more than 14 yards a return who haven't given up a punt return TD yet. Given Tyreek Hill's wheels, their luck could run out on that front Sunday.
Predictions: Charles answers the question of whether he's back with 120 combined yards and a touchdown. Alex Smith throws for 220 yards and a TD to Travis Kelce while also running in a score. Hill also adds a punt return TD. Richard leads the Raiders' backfield again, but this time with only 70 combined yards. Derek Carr throws for 320 yards and touchdowns to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, while Karl Joseph scoops up a Chris Conley fumble and returns it to the house, but it's not quite enough. Chiefs, 31-27
Atlanta (+6.5) at Seattle, 46 o/u Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT
Comments: Running up the score against the likes of the Saints and Raiders is one thing, but back-to-back games hanging crooked numbers on the Panthers and Broncos requires some re-evaluation of who the Falcons really are. Julio Jones has absolutely no support on the outside, representing the team's only threat down the field, but when Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are carving up the middle of the field and forcing the other team's safeties to play up, one deep threat might be all they need. Sunday's game in Seattle will represent their toughest test yet though, and arguably their final exam. If they can get into the end zone regularly on the road against a Seahawks defense allowing just 13.5 points per game, they can do it anywhere and against anyone. ... Maybe I should have saved that John Wick clip above for Jimmy Graham. The former Saint headed into Seattle's bye with back-to-back 100-yard games, and now that he's fully healthy he looks every bit as uncoverable as he was a couple seasons ago in gold and black. The Falcons' defense has been very vulnerable to tight ends so far, giving up five TDs to them in five games, and their best cover linebacker, Deion Jones, is dealing with calf and ankle injuries. Atlanta also lacks the consistent pass rush to get Russell Wilson off his spot, though with the bye week to heal up his ankle may no longer be much of an issue anyway. Wilson could be able to find Graham whenever he wants in this one. ... The biggest injury for either team is the groin strain Kam Chancellor picked up in practice this week, potentially giving the Hawks one less option for trying to shut down the Falcons' RBs.
Predictions: Coleman picks up 90 combined yards, while Freeman hits for 70 and a receiving score. Matt Ryan throws for 250 yards and a second TD to Julio. Christine Michael gains 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Wilson throws for 270 yards and two TDs, both to Graham, while Doug Baldwin tops 100 yards. Seahawks, 24-20
Dallas (+4.5) at Green Bay, 47.5 o/u Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT
Comments: Just stop, Ezekiel Elliott. We get it, you're good. Three straight games with 130-plus rushing yards suddenly has the fourth overall pick on pace for nearly 1750 yards on the season and potentially within striking distance of Eric Dickerson's 33-year-old rookie record. Sure, he's getting a lot of help from the Cowboys' offensive line, but Darren McFadden wouldn't have 412 yards over a three-game stretch no matter how many gaping holes to run through you gave him. That unstoppable ground game may be about to run into the proverbial immovable object in Lambeau, though. The Packers have given up an absurd 2.0 YPC and 42.8 rushing yards per game so far, but they've also faced some really poor rushing attacks in the Jags, Giants and Lions, and the one good running team they've played (the Vikings) lost Adrian Peterson midway through the contest. Unless Elliott gets hurt too, Green Bay's front seven could be in for a bit of a rude awakening. ... Aaron Rodgers is finding a way to be somewhat productive, throwing multiple TDs in three of four games in 2016, but it looks like his MVP-caliber seasons are a thing of the past. It's been 11 months since his last 300-yard passing game (Week 10 of last year), and he's only topped 250 yards three times in 11 games since that outburst. Jordy Nelson looks healthy and the Packers' WR roster legitimately runs seven deep (imagine the snaps someone like Jared Abbrederis would be getting in, say, Cincinnati right about now), so there really are no excuses any more. Either Rodgers has become skittish about stretching the field, or Mike McCarthy has, and either way it's kneecapping a once-scary offense. Ben McAdoo is rightly getting pilloried for what he's squandering with the Giants, but maybe it's past time some of that ire is directed towards Wisconsin as well. ... Rodgers may have no choice but to throw a lot in this one though. Eddie Lacy left last week's game early with an ankle injury, and usual backup James Starks hurt his knee replacing him in the fourth quarter and has been ruled out. If Lacy can't suit up either, the carries might have to go to Randall Cobb on jet sweeps and fullback Aaron Ripkowski on plunges up the middle. Even a Dallas front seven allowing 4.6 YPC should be able to handle those options. Dez Bryant (knee) is officially questionable but is unlikely to non-catch a ball Sunday.
Predictions: Elliott gashed the Pack for 110 yards and a touchdown. Dak Prescott finally throws a pick, but also 240 yards and TDs to Jason Witten and Brice Butler. Lacy plays but gains just 40 yards, while Rodgers throws for 220 yards and touchdowns to Nelson and Richard Rodgers. Cowboys, 24-20
Indianapolis (+3) at Houston, 46.5 o/u Sunday, 8:30 p.m. EDT
Comments: No one appears to be running away with the AFC South just yet, which makes this game kind of important even if it only Week 6. The Texans also haven't lost a game at home yet while the Colts are 0-2 on the road, making this spread officially fishy. Then again, the road team did win both games in this series last year while Indy hasn't lost in Houston since 2012, so maybe Vegas knows what it's doing after all. ... Lamar Miller's been something of a disappointment as a Texan so far, but this could be his chance to earn his free agent money. The Colts' run defense has given up 4.6 YPC, 28th in the league, and five rushing TDs in five games. Not to be out-done though, the J.J. Watt-less Texans have given up seven rushing TDs in five games. If Miller can't out-do Frank Gore though, the front office should just ship him back to Miami. ... T.Y. Hilton's hip injury isn't expected to keep him out of action Sunday night. Will Fuller was limited in practice this week with a hamstring strain, but should be good to go.
Predictions: Gore rushes for 60 yards but doesn't score. Andrew Luck throws for 270 yards and TDs to Hilton and Josh Ferguson. Miller bangs out 110 yards but also doesn't score, while Brock Osweiler throws for 230 yards and touchdowns to DeAndre Hopkins and Jaelen Strong. Adam Vinatieri calmly wins it in overtime. Colts, 26-23
N.Y. Jets (+8) at Arizona, 46.5 o/u Monday, 8:30 p.m. EDT
Comments: At least Ryan Fitzpatrick stopped throwing INTs last week. That still didn't stop the Jets from falling to 1-4 though, and another loss could have the front office watching a lot of Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer game film this winter. Eric Decker (shoulder) landing on IR doesn't help an offense that's managed only nine TDs through five games, although Quincy Enunwa's been a capable enough replacement. The Cardinals have had a lot of problems so far, but pass defense hasn't been one of them they sit third in QB rating against at 69.7, and already have seven picks on the season. Gulp. ... One of Arizona's other problems partially resolved itself when Carson Palmer was cleared through the concussion protocol. His numbers on the season still look a lot more like his 2013 performance than 2015, but the Cards can live with 2013 Palmer they went 10-6 that year, after all. A Jets pass defense that ranks dead last in QB rating against (118.6) should be able to help him regain his 2015 form, though. ... David Harris and Darrelle Revis are both questionable for Monday with hamstring injuries, although in Revis' case that may not be a bad thing for the Jets. The biggest name on the injury report for Arizona is Darren Fells, who was limited in practice due to a neck stinger.
Predictions: Matt Forte rushes for 80 yards and a TD. Fitzpatrick throws for 290 yards and touchdowns to Brandon Marshall and Enunwa, but also gets picked off twice. David Johnson has his worst game of the season, but still produces 90 combined yards. Palmer throws for 360 yards and three TDs, one each to Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd. Cardinals, 30-24
Last week's record: 6-8, 8-6 ATS, 7-7 o/u
2016 regular season record: 41-36, 34-41-2 ATS, 39-36-2 o/u