Jake’s Takes: Looking Forward to Week 5’s Biggest GamesBlog
Jake’s Takes: Looking Forward to Week 5’s Biggest Games
Jake Moszkowski joins us for the latest edition of "Jakes Takes"...
Just like that, we’re already 25% done with the 2023 NFL regular season. Some teams have impressed, like the Philadelphia Eagles or San Francisco 49ers, both 4-0. Some teams have disappointed, like the 1-3 Denver Broncos or the 1-3 Minnesota Vikings. Others have been pleasant surprises, like the 3-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the 2-2 Houston Texans.
Heading into Week 5, we’ve got some juicy matchups, including my favorite rivalry game in the NFL – between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. On paper, the Steelers and Ravens are trending in different directions. The Ravens already own a 3-1 record (2-0 in the AFC North) and just flattened the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland in Week 4. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Houston Texans by a score of 30-6.
That said, rivalry games have a tendency to be close, particularly between these two AFC North foes. In fact, the last time a game between these two teams was decided by more than a touchdown was back in December of 2019, almost four years ago. Right now, the Ravens are listed as 4-point favorites, but I’d happily take the Steelers +4. Their last four games? Decided by a combined 9 points.
Another divisional clash that should be fun this week features the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts. All four teams in the AFC South have identical 2-2 records, so division wins at this stage in the season are paramount. This represents the Titans first chance to beat a divisional rival this season, and break up the logjam of four teams currently tied with the same record.
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The Colts would appear to be better off at the moment, with the Titans losing back-to-back road games and now heading to Indy. Like most Titans games, I’m going to guess that the Titans will pound the rock with stalwart RB Derrick Henry. Tennessee has the more experienced team, and the Colts have allowed 100-yard rushers in each of their past two games. I think this will be a game where we see “King Henry” log at least 25 carries to “carry” the Titans to victory.
The third and final game that intrigues me features last year’s Super Bowl champions facing off against one of my underperforming disappointments this year. The Kansas City Chiefs are 3-1, but most of their season has been either a reflection of some ugly offensive play (wide receivers being the main culprit) or the burgeoning romance between star tight end Travis Kelce and global music superstar Taylor Swift.
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On the other side of the spectrum, Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has 33 catches for 543 yards and 3 touchdowns after only 4 games. He’s on pace for 140 receptions (would be a career high), 2,308 receiving yards (would be an NFL record), and 13 touchdowns (would be a career high). Despite his offensive brilliance, the Vikings sit at 1-3, suffering 3 one-score losses to open the year before beating the Panthers in Week 4. A season after winning 11 one-score games, this feels like regression to the mean.
I have a hard time believing that the Vikings defense slows down Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, but their offense is certainly capable of keeping up. I’ll avoid picking a winner in this affair, but I feel comfortable banking on the over, with the O/U currently set at 52.5 points.
One way or another, we’re in for an exciting NFL weekend, so grab your chips, kick back on the couch, and get ready for some more fooooooootball!