NFL Week 5
Follow along here for frequent updates and developments from all of Sunday’s NFL games. Check back after “Sunday Night Football” for a look at the biggest moments and trends to watch.
We’re in the midst of a wild, wacky, wonderful season and you have to wonder whether the insanity can last.
The NFL clearly hopes so, with TV ratings once again solid and a president who isn’t tweeting. Offenses have been running — er, passing — wild and games have gone down to the wire. (Let’s vow not to discuss all the ties.) At least one game has gone into OT in each of the first four weeks, something that has happened only three other times (in 1979, 1983 and 2002). And the average margin of victory, 9.90 points per game through Week 4, is the lowest in a full season since the NFL record (9.13) was set in 1932.
Five quarterbacks passed for at least 400 yards in Week 4: the Rams’ Jared Goff had 465; the Colts’ Andrew Luck had 464; the Raiders’ Derek Carr had 437; the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins had 422; and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan had 419. Twelve times this season, quarterbacks have passed for at least 400 yards, the most in NFL history through the first four weeks of the season. There were 228 touchdown passes thrown through Week 4, the most in NFL history and a total that far exceeds 2013’s 205.
What does that mean for Week 5? Two quarterbacks entered the week on the verge of making history by entering the 500-touchdown club. Tom Brady got to 500 Thursday night against the Colts and Drew Brees goes into the Monday night game against the Redskins with 496. Peyton Manning holds the record with 539 and Brett Favre is second with 508.
But enough about quarterbacks and their stats. Let’s look at overall offensive performances. Through Week 4, teams scored 3,030 points, the most in NFL history, eclipsing 2,986 in 2012. And the 344 touchdowns scored are the most through Week 4 in NFL history, surpassing 2015’s 332.
We’ll get a good idea whether offenses are going to continue to hold sway when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, ranked first in the league in a number of categories, face the Jaguars defense, which also happens to be tops in the league.
As far as the Chiefs’ hot start is concerned, beware of swigging the Kool-Aid. They’ve gotten off to hot starts before and ended up with nothing to show for it in January or February.
Mack has company: Khalil Mack may get all the headlines for his gaudy contract and his impressive play on the Bears’ defense, but let’s pause to note that the Texans’ J.J. Watt is tied with him for the league lead in forced fumbles (four).
Top story lines
It can get late awfully early: The NFL season is one-quarter over and John Clayton sees three preseason NFC contenders with cause for concern about making the playoffs because they play in a loaded conference (the Falcons, Vikings and Eagles) and one AFC team that should be worried (the Steelers). Football Outsiders has the Falcons’ playoff odds at 17 percent, the Vikings’ at 24 and the Eagles at 41. The Steelers own 23.9 percent odds. (Read more)
Really, really good news: Roughing the passer penalties were down in Week 4, thank the heavens above. There were five flags thrown for roughing after 34 total in the first three weeks of the season. One NFL executive told The Post’s Mark Maske that the decline is thanks to adjustments by officials, players and coaches. “Some people would say, ‘What’s the reason?’” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said. “I would say it’s a combination of coaching points, officiating mechanics and player adjustments. It was all of those. I don’t think it was any one thing.” (Read more)
Oh, say, have you seen? The NFL’s new stars are shining bright and the NFL is fun again, a year after it … wasn’t. (Read more from Jerry Brewer.)
A little something for the NFL: Roger Goodell says he appreciates President Trump’s “leadership” on the new trade deal’s Super Bowl provision. (Read more)
What happened to the anthem controversy? All anyone is talking about is roughing-the-passer penalties. (Read more)
And they’re off: The Bears and Buccaneers are this week’s bye teams.
The Rodgers (and Packers) report: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a full participant in practice Thursday (the Packers don’t practice on Fridays) in preparation for facing the Lions and Coach Mike McCarthy described his knee as “improving.” Wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) has been ruled out, though. Receivers Geronimo Allison (groin/concussion) and Davante Adams (calf) are questionable, as are cornerbacks Jaire Alexander (concussion/hamstring) and Bashaud Breeland (hamstring), but Adams is expected to play. For the Lions, defensive end Ziggy Ansah (shoulder), guard T.J. Lang (concussion) and tight end Michael Roberts (knee) are out.
Cowboys’ Williams out: Wide receiver Terrance Williams will miss the game against the Texans with a foot injury.
Ravens’ Williams out: Linebacker Tim Williams (hamstring) will miss the game against the Browns; cornerback Brandon Carr (knee) and tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) are questionable.
Three Falcons out: Cornerback Justin Bethel (knee), defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (knee, ankle) and defensive end Derrick Shelby (groin) are all out against the Steelers.
K.J. Wright out: The Seahawks have ruled out linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) against the Rams; defensive end Frank Clark is questionable.
Vaccaro out: Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro (elbow) will not play against the Bills.
Freeman likely a go: Falcons Coach Dan Quinn said running back Devanta Freeman, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury he suffered in the season opener, is likely to play against the Steelers after practicing all week.
No Fournette, no Hayden: Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and cornerback D.J. Hayden (toe) will not play against the Chiefs.
Sproles out: Eagles running back Darren Sproles (hamstring) and defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder) will not play against the Vikings; running back Corey Clement (quadriceps) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf) are questionable.
Williams’s streak likely to end: Steelers linebacker Vince Williams is likely to miss a game for the first time in his career, with a hamstring injury bringing to a close an 83-game streak that began with the second game of his rookie season.
Dolphins hurting: Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake is listed as doubtful against the Bengals with a knee injury; cornerback Bobby McCain (knee) and tight end A.J. Derby (foot) are out. Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard will miss two-to-four weeks with an MCL sprain, but Joe Mixon (knee) will return. Wide receiver John Ross (groin) will not play.
Eric Berry doubtful: Chiefs safety Eric Berry (heel) is listed as doubtful against the Jaguars, with linebacker Dee Ford (groin) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) questionable.
Olsen closer: Panthers tight end Greg Olsen hoped to play in four-to-five weeks after breaking his foot in the opener. Although he was on the practice field last week, he won’t play against the Giants. Linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) and tight end Evan Engram (knee) are out for the Giants.
Benjamin out: Chargers Travis Benjamin is out two-to-three weeks with a foot injury.
Start/sit tips: Start Alex Smith against the Saints on Monday night. (Read more)
The must-haves: The mismatch of the week is Packers running back Aaron Jones. (Read more)
Week 5 Cheat Sheet: Dig in and dominate. (Read more)
ATS Betting Tips/Picks
The top trends and insights from Las Vegas. (Read more)