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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