Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (5-0)
After two big wins in a row, it’s safe to say the Eagles are finally on a roll. Though quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t play well during the Eagles 27-7 massacre of the Giants, running back DeMarco Murray finally took form and passed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time all season. With the help of their special teams and secondary, the Eagles racked up 27 unanswered points following the Giants’ early touchdown score in the first quarter.
Though the Panthers are off to a 5-0 start, there’s really not too much to be excited about in Carolina. The Panthers have had a relatively easy schedule, taking care of the Jaguars, Texans, Saints and Buccaneers in their first four weeks, each in a game that was probably a bit closer than most expected. That being said, winning five games in a row in the NFL is tough, and it deserves praise. Quarterback Cam Newton has played relatively well this season, but again, hasn’t done anything too exciting. Carolina’s defense has held its own, ranking in the top ten in nearly every statistical column. Don’t expect too high of a scoring matchup this weekend.
Eagles 16 Panthers 13
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) at New York Giants (3-3)
As it always is with the Giants and Cowboys, it all comes down to whoever the home team is. Case-in-point: Week 1. The Cowboys are down six with 94 seconds left in the game; quarterback Tony Romo drives down the field and throws an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten. Placekicker Dan Bailey proceeds to kick the extra point, and boom, just like that, the Cowboys win. No matter who’s injured for the week or who’s starting, this matchup always seems to come down to the last few minutes.
The Giants’ season represents a string of inconsistencies. To quote Forrest Gump, “Life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” That’s the Giants this year. You never know which team is going to show up: the team that beat the Bills 24-10 in Week 4 or the team that lost to the Eagles 27-7 in Week 6. I do, however, think that this game will be the exception. I’m basing this prediction solely off of two factors: the Giants have home field advantage and the Cowboys haven’t won a game since Romo got injured in week two. That being said, I’m sure it will still be close, but I wouldn’t expect any nail-bitters.
Cowboys 23 Giants 30
Cleveland Browns (2-4) at St. Louis Rams (2-3)
The Browns, despite their 2-4 record, didn’t play that poorly in their last two losses, both of which came in overtime. In fact, quarterback Josh McCown has shown some signs of hope, especially in their Week 5 loss to the Ravens when he threw for 457 yards and completed 71 percent of his passes. Yet, as McCown has publicly noted, the Rams’ defensive line is composed of five first-round draft picks, an unusual combination of bodies that could pose a great deal of difficulty to anyone who challenges it.
After coming off of a bye, the St. Louis Rams (and running back Todd Gurley) will be well rested when they host the Browns. Gurley has improved in each of the games he’s played this season, most notably racking up over 300 rushing yards on 49 carries in the Rams’ last two games. It just so happens that the Browns defense has allowed a league worst of 150 rushing yards per game. Although quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t panned out as the man that the Rams expected, he should have an easier time throwing the ball this week if Gurley can break through the first line of defense.
Browns 16 Rams 27
New Orleans Saints (2-4) at Indianapolis Colts (3-3)
Despite a botched fourth down attempt, the Colts’ offense finally looked like itself in their 34-27 loss to the Patriots. Quarterback Andrew Luck completed 60 percent of his passes for 312 yards with three touchdowns; Luck and running back Frank Gore also combined for 113 rushing yards. After starting the season 0-2, the Colts won three in a row before losing last week’s game — a definite sign of life in Indianapolis.
New Orleans has problem similar to New York’s: nobody knows which Saints team is going to show up. Last week, the Saints knocked off their division rival (and the previously undefeated) Atlanta Falcons 31-21. Yet in Week 5, the Eagles blew them out 39-17. The biggest takeaway from these two games, and from their Week 4 victory against the Cowboys: both wins were at home and their loss to the Eagles was in Philadelphia.
Saints 27 Colts 34
Last Week’s Record: 2-2
Season Record: 13-10