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(Harry How/Getty Images)
(Harry How/Getty Images)

Pullett’s NFL Picks - Week 5

Last Week’s Record: 12-4

Season Record: 29-19

Bears @ Commanders

The Chicago Bears will take on the Washington Commanders on Thursday night to kick off Week 5. Both the Bears and Commanders are on losing streaks coming into this game. Chicago has yet to win a game this season, while Washington has lost two straight. The Commanders, however, have impressed many this season. After starting 2-1, Washington almost beat the Eagles but fell short in overtime. Given how well Sam Howell has led this offense in 3/4 games, the Commanders should be able to beat a Bears team that has not lived up to expectations this season. Chicago losing to Denver, a team that previously let up 70 points, is a microcosm of their season. Washington should be able to get everything going against the Bears who seem unable to stop anyone. The path for Chicago to upset the Commanders would be for the Bears’ defense to show up in a big way. Chicago has allowed at least 27 points in each of their first four games, making it very hard for their offense to keep up. If the Bears can slow down either Sam Howell or Brian Robinson, they could have a real chance at this game. However, they have not shown anything to make me believe they could.

Commanders 30, Bears 17

Jaguars @ Bills

After an impressive victory over the hottest team in football, the Buffalo Bills take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The Bills have looked unstoppable this season, scoring 41 points per game in their wins. Buffalo may be the team to beat right now, as they average the second-most points per game in the league, while also allowing the second-fewest. The Bills only have one true concern at this point in the season. How will their defense perform without Tre’Davious White, who is confirmed to have suffered a torn Achilles? Given how well their defense has played so far, this could be a huge blow for Buffalo. Jacksonville could exploit this hole in the Bills’ defense, given their offensive firepower. The Jaguars will need to click on all cylinders offensively and defensively to beat Buffalo, but likely won’t be able to keep up with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs.

Bills 31, Jaguars 23

Texans @ Falcons

The Houston Texans have been extremely impressive in their last two games, defeating the Jaguars and Steelers. Houston has scored at least 30 and held their opponent to fewer points than their median in their wins. C.J. Stroud has been outstanding for them, winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month Award for September. The Atlanta Falcons have had an opposite stretch to the Texans, losing their last two games. Atlanta has struggled to score as of late, putting up only 13 points in their two losses. Desmond Ridder in particular has struggled, throwing two interceptions and one touchdown in these games. The Falcons could still take this matchup if they can dominate on the ground. Bijan Robinson has been a bright spot for Atlanta, and he could help them to a win. This game may not be one of the most watched games, but it should be a great game to judge both of these teams and how they align in their division.

Texans 27, Falcons 20

Panthers @ Lions

The Carolina Panthers have struggled offensively this season, scoring fewer than 18 points in three of their four games. Bryce Young has shown promise in his three starts, but has also had his troubles along the way. Young is 33rd in passing yards per game, only above Dorian Thompson-Robinson and both Colts quarterbacks. Given their leading rusher is 36th in rush yards per game, Carolina will struggle against Detroit. The Lions have scored at least 20 points in each of their games this season and Jared Goff should be able to game-manage his way to a blowout win, especially if David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs perform as well as they did last week.

Lions 31, Panthers 13

Titans @ Colts

King Henry is back after a 122-yard performance on the ground that yielded multiple touchdowns both on the ground and through the air. The Titans have performed well offensively in two of their games, and have struggled in the other two. If Tennessee can become more consistent, they could be one of the better teams in the league. In this game specifically, they should be able to run the ball against the Colts this week. Indianapolis allowed both Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers to average over four yards per carry, against an average offensive line at best. Anthony Richardson would need to take a step up in the throwing department this week if the Colts want a chance. With both teams exhibiting inconsistency early on, this game could go many different ways. However, the most likely would see Tennessee taking control of the ground to victory.

Titans 27, Colts 17

Giants @ Dolphins

The New York Giants have played one impressive game this season, and have struggled in the other three. New York needs Saquon Barkley to play this week to have a chance in this matchup against the Dolphins, as the star running back’s status remains up in the air. Daniel Jones has moved the ball well, but he has struggled mightily with turnovers, committing six in four games to hold the Giants back. The Miami Dolphins, on the other hand, have been electric. The improvement in their run game from last year has been astonishing. Both Raheem Mostert and De’von Achane average over five yards per carry, and are top 16 in rushing yards. This, combined with the speed of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, makes for an electric offense that should outclass New York.

Dolphins 34, Giants 13

Saints @ Patriots

Both the Saints and Patriots have struggled offensively this season. New England and New Orleans are among the bottom third of the league in points per game respectively. This game could come down to how the Patriots use Mac Jones, following his mid-game benching last week. Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe could spark the New England offense if put in the position to play. The Saints also have slight quarterback issues with Derek Carr dealing with a shoulder injury, with Jameis WInston and Taysom Hill as possible options to replace him. The best unit in this game is the Saints’ defense, who are top 10 in points allowed per game. If the Patriots can get Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott going on the ground, they should have a chance. This game should be a close, low-scoring affair, but the Saints should be able to shut down the Patriots and put up enough points of their own to pull it out.

Saints 17, Patriots 9

Ravens @ Steelers

In an AFC North battle, the Baltimore Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Acrisure Stadium. AFC North battles are known to be some of the more physical games in the league, and this one should live up to that stereotype. The one thing sticking out about this game is the difference between the offenses of the Ravens and the Steelers. The Ravens have scored 25 or more in three games, while the Steelers have done that once. Per usual, Lamar Jackson leads his team in rushing yards and should be the leading rusher in this game. On the other side of the field, Najee Harris has somewhat struggled behind a weaker offensive line. Even with evenly-matched defenses, the Ravens advantage on the ground should propel them to a win..

Ravens 24, Steelers 14

Eagles @ Rams

With Cooper Kupp returning to practice this week, the Los Angeles Rams should take a step forward offensively. Puka Nucua and Kyren Williams have both played well to start the season and adding Kupp can only help Matthew Stafford. With the potential of the Rams’ offense improving, they could give the Eagles trouble. However, Philadelphia is looking like one of the best teams in the NFL this season. The Eagles did struggle last week against the Commanders, but their team is better on paper than Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford’s health will determine whether or not the Rams can give Philadelphia a fight. Stafford suffered a hip injury against the Colts and he was severely impaired, not able to walk around without limping. The Eagles may dominate due to this, but they should still win whether or not Stafford is healthy.

Eagles 34, Rams 13

Bengals @ Cardinals

The Cincinnati Bengals have struggled to start the season, and a matchup against the Cardinals should say a lot. Joe Burrow is 30th in passing yards per game this season and has struggled to lead this once-explosive Bengals offense. After scoring three points twice this season, Cincinnati fans would hope that the Bengals bounce back, as they made a Super Bowl when they were at their best. On the other hand, Arizona has been impressive this season, even in their losses. Joshua Dobbs has led the Cardinals to at least 16 points every week and has given almost every team they’ve played their best effort. James Conner is third in total rush yards, and he could continue his dominance this week. Cincinnati allows the second most rushing yards per game and would need to improve this aspect of their defense if they want to bounce back this week. This game will come down to the Bengals’ offense and run defense. Based on this year alone, the Cardinals look like the better team and with home-field advantage could pull it off.

Cardinals 24, Bengals 23

Jets @ Broncos

After struggling to defeat the Bears in Week 4, it is hard to imagine the Broncos winning many more games this season. However, the Jets haven’t been amazing. Thus far, New York has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the AFC in Buffalo and Kansas City. Zach Wilson had one of his most promising games as a pro last week, even though it ended in defeat. New York’s defense has challenged Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, and their impressive performances should continue against Russell Wilson. Denver has been able to score at a decent rate despite their record, but their defense hasn’t been the same as last year. This game could go so many ways, but the Jets winning in a lower-scoring game is likely due to the inconsistencies that both teams have at quarterback and New York’s stout defensive play.

Jets 17, Broncos 14

Chiefs @ Vikings

Last season, the Vikings were 11-0 in one-score games. This stat was seen to be an anomaly, and has been proven so as Minnesota is 1-3 in one-score games this year. The Vikings are able to stay in close games against those considered better than them, but also struggle to put lower-level teams away. This being said, a matchup against the reigning Super Bowl champions should test this. Kirk Cousins has thrown for the third most yards in the NFL while also providing for Justin Jefferson to lead the league in receiving yardage as well. While 3-1, the Chiefs have struggled offensively, relative to last season. Kansas City averaged 29 points per game last year, while “only” averaging 25 this year. Travis Kelce should continue his success after swiftly coming back from a knee injury earlier this season. This game should be a shootout, and no one is better at those than Patrick Mahomes.

Chiefs 31, Vikings 28

Game of the Week: Cowboys @ 49ers

The Dallas Cowboys take on the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday night. The Cowboys’ season has been one of the more confusing ones in the NFL so far. They have dominated in three of their games, but lost to the Arizona Cardinals. Given that the Cardinals are having a relatively impressive season, but the Cowboys are expected to handle teams like Arizona. The 49ers on the other hand have not missed a beat this season. Neither team has played any elite-level squad so far, so this game should be a big test for both teams. Dallas is a little banged up, with some offensive line injuries and the season-ending injury for Trevon Diggs. The Kyle Shanahan offensive system has proven to be extremely hard to stop, no matter who it goes up against. Brock Purdy, a former seventh-rounder, has not lost a regular season start thanks to this system. Although the Cowboys have been great this season, it is hard to imagine how they could end this streak on the road. 

49ers 27, Cowboys 24

Packers @ Raiders

After losing to the Detroit Lions for the third time since last season, the Green Bay Packers need to look at how they can improve if they want to win the NFC North. The Las Vegas Raiders provide that opportunity in this matchup. Aidan O’Connell looked very impressive in Week 4 against the Chargers, almost leading a fourth-quarter comeback to tie the game. O’Connell’s struggles came in the first half where he may have been adjusting to true NFL speed and in-game decision-making. If Green Bay is fully healthy, they should be able to bounce back in Week 5. The health of Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and Jaire Alexander will largely determine Green Bay’s playmaking ability. Both Watson and Jones were on snap counts last week, and they should see an uptick in workload with the extra day of rest. The Packers’ offense has lacked short-yardage playmakers, and Jones returning should fix that problem. On the defensive side, Jaire Alexander and Devondre Campbell, arguably Green Bay’s best defensive players, are both questionable to play. They would need to suit up to fix some of the problems that the Packers had in the first half against the Lions. Jordan Love shouldn’t need to do much on his own to win this game for Green Bay, and it will likely come down to how their defense can stop Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams.

Packers 24, Raiders 13


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