One of the most incredible things about the NFL season is how quickly storylines develop, progress and then reach their conclusions. Ryan Fitzpatrick took the league by storm in the first two weeks of the season and now he is a backup quarterback. The Buffalo Bills have gone from awful to up-and-coming and back to awful in the span of three weeks. And the New England Patriots have vacillated from ordinary to Super Bowl contenders depending on the week.
A lot can happen in the NFL in seven days. So which storylines are worth following the closest this week? Here is a look at the top five games we are looking forward to watching in Week 5.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
Line: Kansas City -3.5
Let’s start with one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season and a potential AFC championship game preview. The league’s No. 1-ranked offense clashes with one of the AFC’s top defenses in a classic matchup of strength vs strength. The Chiefs have put up some absolutely monster numbers and suddenly everybody is talking about Andy Reid’s side as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s offense came out firing on all cylinders in last week’s 31-12 win over the New York Jets but is probably going to be without Leonard Fournette in this one.
Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Pittsburgh -3.5
Two teams that were expected to be playoff contenders have combined for just two wins heading into this contest. It’s almost shocking to know that after this matchup, one of these teams will still be a one-win outfit.
Expect a high-scoring affair in this one. Both defenses have been abysmal as the Steelers rank 25th in points allowed per game (29.0) while the Falcons are 29th (30.5).
Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers
Line: LA -5.5
Speaking of trouble, the Raiders barely survived the Cleveland Browns last week when they needed a miracle to pull out a 45-42 overtime win. Now the Raiders travel for a tough AFC West showdown with the Chargers. Los Angeles is coming off a closer-than-expected 29-27 win over the C.J. Beathard-led San Francisco 49ers. The Chargers continue to play sloppy and underachieve. However, a win gets them above .500 and into the wild-card playoff conversation. A loss drags them down to Oakland’s level.
Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Philadelphia -3
Most experts had the Vikings projected to contend for a Super Bowl following the addition of Kirk Cousins in the offseason. However, Minnesota has stumbled since opening the season with a win, falling to 1-2-1. They’ll have 10 days to prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles in a revenge game. As you might recall, the Eagles ended the Vikings’ season last year when they beat them in the NFC championship game.
Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans
Line: Houston -3.5
While neither the Cowboys nor Texans are projected to contend for a Super Bowl, both teams are projected playoff contenders that have disappointed early on. Dallas has alternated wins and losses through the first four weeks, including a narrow 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, Houston lost three straight before a 37-34 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts in a must-win game last week. Both teams need this win. That will give a little more of an edge to this Battle of Texas on Sunday Night Football.