We are a quarter of the way through the 2015 season and the New Orleans Saints are 1-3 and find themselves trapped in the basement of the NFC South, with Tampa around to keep them company. Next up for the Saints is another team with a 1-3 record that has been a huge disappointment at the quarter-season mark, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Both teams have been awful in the trenches and have seen their running games sputter and halt. Both head coaches are innovative offensive minds that have seen their offenses fail to gain their familiar traction. The good news for both teams is that both of these defenses have been even less effective than the offenses. This could be the week one of these two teams makes the change that alters the course of their season.
Watching these teams play over the past month has been like seeing a mirror image. The Saints have a real opportunity to pick up their first road victory of the season here. On the other side, Philly will be just as motivated to take advantage of a vulnerable opponent as well. Let's hope the Saints are the team that is ready to change their reflection as well as the fate of their season.
Strangely enough, with only two exceptions, every team with a 1-3 record is facing a team with a 1-3 record as well. Mirror images to be found all around the NFL this week. Lets take a look at the marquee matchups and the entire Week 5 schedule.
Last week I went 10-5
I told you so: Saints over Cowboys!
Thursday, October 8th - Thursday Night Football
This won't be a particularly pretty game, but Indy, even without Luck again, will win almost solely based on the weakness of their opponent. Houston just lacks NFL talent on the roster. Colts win 25-19.
Sunday, October 11th - Early Games
Chicago enters Kansas City fresh off their first win of the season. KC has struggled on defense this year, but they'll secure victory here at home by applying pressure on Jay Cutler, forcing him into crucial mistakes.
Cincinnati is and should be the favorite in this game. They are undefeated, they are at home, and they have the second-ranked offense in the NFL. Here's the thing, though. Their opponents the first month were a combined 6-10, and although their offense has looked as good as ever has in the Andy Dalton era, it's still Andy Dalton, and they're now facing the second-ranked defense in the NFL. This game will be good. This game will be close. Seattle will find a way to win a fantastic matchup.
The only chance Washington has of winning this game is for Kirk Cousins to have the greatest game of his career. He won't and his team won't. Atlanta wins with the greatest of ease.
Jacksonville picks up a close interstate victory in Tampa behind a career passing day by Blake Bortles.
Baltimore will continue its early season turnaround by running over the defenseless Browns.
St. Louis' defense will keep the Rams in the game, but Aaron Rodgers will keep Green Bay undefeated.
No "Music City Miracle" will be necessary in this game. Buffalo will pick up the victory in Tennessee by running the ball early and often.
Saints(1-3) at Eagles(1-3)
The Saints picked up their first victory of the season last week but it took everything they had, against a weakened NFC East opponent. Now the Saints face another weak opponent from the NFC East on the road in Philadelphia. The Eagles are unsurprisingly favored at home, but this team has issues galore, including a disgruntled DeMarco Murray and a quarterback that will face more boos at home than on the road.
Darren Sproles will have a monster game, picking up 170 combined yards, including a 70+ yard TD. The Saints are gonna pull this game out though. Not because they are suddenly any better than they have been all year, but because their opponent is equally as flawed as they are, but without and all-time great quarterback under center. New Orleans pulls out a nail-biter in the end. Saints win 21-20.
Sunday, October 11th - Late Games
Arizona rebounds from a disappointing home loss by continuing Detroit's winless season.
Patriots(3-0) at Cowboys(2-2)
Tom Brady and the NFL's top offense will have a big day in the air, while the toothless Dallas offense continues to play timid.
Denver's top-ranked defense has carried the team this season, while Peyton Manning and the offense has looked anemic. This will be the week where the offense has the look of recent Bronco teams, as they face one of the NFL's worst defenses. Broncos win 44-13.
Sunday Night Football
San Francisco will have to run the ball almost exclusively to have a chance in this game, as they should have zero confidence in their quarterback at this point. Controlling the clock and slowing the game down is all the Niners have, but the Giants are just better, and will make the big plays to win the game. Giants win 19-16.
Monday, October 12th - Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh's offense remains dead in the water until Big Ben returns, meanwhile Philip Rivers and the San Diego passing game should have a big night against this Steelers defense at home.
That's how I see Week 5 playing out. Can the Saints inch closer to a .500 record? Leave us your picks, comments and insight below!