NFL Week 5 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 5 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are Derrick Gunn's five matchups to watch for Week 5 of the NFL season.

Ravens at Steelers (Sunday 1 p.m., CBS)

Week 4 was kind to the Steelers but very unkind to the Ravens. Pittsburgh, 0-for-2019, was elated to run into a hapless Cincinnati squad while the Ravens got embarrassed at home by Cleveland. The Steelers' defense had not been playing up to expectations but was able to sack Andy Dalton eight times. The Ravens' usually stingy D gave up 193 rushing yards to the Browns. QB Mason Rudolph has played well since taking over for Ben Roethlisberger (67.6 completion percentage, 6 TDs, 2 INTs, 103.2 QB rating in three games). The Steelers have won four of the last five meetings, but look for Baltimore to get back on the winning track this time around.

Vikings at Giants (Sunday 1 p.m., FOX)

Giants fans are elated with the progress of their new young signal caller, Daniel Jones. In the two games Jones has started, the G-Men are 2-0, but those wins came against Tampa Bay and Washington. Now Jones steps up in competition to face a Vikings defense that has 11 sacks and has given up 15.8 points per game. The Giants won’t have RB Saquon Barkley in their backfield. He’s out with a high ankle sprain, and the QB of their defense, ILB Ryan Connelly, is out for the year with an ACL tear. Jones will fare well, but not enough to beat Minnesota.

Bills at Titans (Sunday 1 p.m., CBS)

The Bills' defense gave the Patriots all they could handle and even held Tom Brady to his lowest passer rating (45.9) since 2006, but they couldn’t seal the deal. Also, QB Josh Allen is in the concussion protocol, which means Matt Barkley could get a rare start. The Bills' run game (147.3 YPG) will be a good test for the Titans' run defense (103.8 YPG against). The Bills have won the last two meetings, but not this time. Tennessee successfully defends its home turf.

Packers at Cowboys (Sunday 4:25 p.m., FOX)

It could be a long season for the Packers if they don’t find a way to fix their porous run defense. The Eagles' ground attack ran through them for 176 yards, and for the season the Pack has allowed 142.3 yards per game. The Cowboys' run game got stonewalled by the Saints' defensive front, rushing for just 45 yards). The last thing Green Bay's defense needs to see right now is Ezekiel Elliott and that Dallas offensive line — a line that is expected to be without Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith, who’s dealing with an ankle sprain. Aaron Rodgers has been a thorn in the Cowboys' side in recent years, but his big-time receiver Davonte Adams has a toe injury. The 'Boys at home this time will be too much for the Pack’s limited attack.

Browns at 49ers (Monday 8:15 p.m., ESPN)

Still don’t know what to make of the Browns. Are they the real deal or pretenders? They looked legit after going into Baltimore and putting up 40 on the Ravens. Cleveland is in first place in the AFC North after four games for the first time since 2013. The 'Niners coming off a bye are one of only three unbeaten teams left. Turnovers could be huge in deciding the outcome of this one. San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo has served up four INTs in three games while Baker Mayfield has tossed six picks in four outings. The 'Niners' defense ranks third overall, sixth against the pass, fifth versus the run, and eighth in points allowed. I’ll pick the 'Niners in a close call.

(On a bye: Detroit, Miami)

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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