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NFL Week 5: Mark Craig’s Five Story Lines

October 6, 2018

Top offense meets No. 1 defense

Jacksonvilles top-ranked scoring defense (14.0) travels to Kansas City to face the leagues highest-scoring team (36.3). Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes still hasnt thrown an interception but admits hes gotten away with some bad throws that were dropped by defenders. Jacksonvilles Blake Bortles is averaging a career-high 6.8 yards per attempt and could get some more big chunks against a leaky Chiefs defense.

Rodgers mobility in the Motor City

With five scrambles for 31 yards in last weeks win over the Bills, Aaron Rodgers showed his injured knee is on the mend. Hell take the 2-1-1 Packers into Detroit to face a 1-3 team whose 28th-ranked pass defense couldnt even stop the Cowboys toothless passing game a week ago. With the surging Bears (3-1) on a bye week, this is Green Bays chance to gain some ground while boosting a sputtering offense.

Adrian returns to the Big Easy

Drew Brees quest for the NFLs career passing record isnt the only story line in New Orleans on Monday night. Former Saint and current Redskin Adrian Peterson (above) returns to the Superdome as the leagues 13th-ranked rusher with 236 yards and a 4.2 average in three games. Hes coming off a bye week and has returned to practice since twisting an ankle in a win over the Packers. New Orleans counters with the sixth-ranked run defense.

Goff takes deep ball to Seattle

What can Rams quarterback Jared Goff do for an encore after throwing five TDs and a posting a perfect passer rating in a win over the Vikings? Answer: Go to Seattle and light up a fifth-ranked pass defense thats now without All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Against the Vikings, Goff went 5-for-5 for 190 yards and four touchdowns on passes traveling at least 20 yards in the air. And, oh yeah, the Rams also have Todd Gurley at running back.

Steelers, Falcons in knockout game?

A year ago, the Steelers and Falcons were a combined 23-9. This year, they head into Sundays meeting in Pittsburgh with a combined mark of 2-5-1. If they lose, the Steelers (1-2-1) will match last years loss total. The Steelers cant stop the deep pass and are struggling offensively as Ben Roethlisberger ranks 23rd in passer rating (90.2). The Falcons have turned the ball over only twice, yet theyre 1-3.

PREDICTION

The Prediction of the Week is now tied with Arizona at 0-4 on the season. But the POTW motto is Swing hard in case you hit it. With only two undefeated teams left, the prediction here is only the Rams will reach 5-0. Theyll win at Seattle, but Kansas City will fall to Jacksonville at home in a rare victory for those who still like defense.

MARK CRAIG

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