Week 5 is upon us and there are two big games for three NFC North teams. I will travel to Ford Field to watch the Lions start their epic North title rise and clown-stomp the Green Bay Packers. Look for me on the television apparatus. The Vikings travel to Philadelphia to get Philly specialed in a tough but winnable matchup.
Vikings (1-2-1) at Eagles (2-2) 4:25 PM FOX
This is a rematch of the NFC Championship game from last season. The Eagles got Carson Wentz (93.2 rating) and Alshon Jeffrey back from injury and the Vikings defense has continued to struggle all season (as they did in the Championship game).
Jay Ajayi (4.2 YPC and 3 TDs) is banged up but will play through a back injury. Dalvin Cook counters with an injury as well for the Vikings at running back. We’ll see how effective these run games are in the game.
Kirk Cousins (103.7 rating, 8th in league) is familiar with the Eagles from his days with Washington. Diggs (311 yards and 3 TDs) and Adam Thielen (473 yards and 2 TDs) will need big days for the Vikings to keep up with the Philly offense. The Eagles defense is still very talented led by Jim Schwartz. The key to the game will be the Eagles pass rush. If the Eagles dominate and pressure Cousins all day, the Eagles should win handily. Kyle Rudolph (188 yards and 2 TDs) will need to be a security blanket if the Eagles rush is strong on the day. Cousins has been sacked 13 times and pressured a good amount but has been able to play well for the most part. The Eagles have 11 sacks but plenty of pressures.
The Vikings defense has not looked good through 4 weeks. Danielle Hunter (4 sacks) leads the way at defensive end with Everson Griffen dealing with mental issues. The pass rush took a step back and the Vikings secondary has struggled because of it. Trae Waynes, rookie 1st round pick Mike Hughes, Andrew Sendejo and Mackensie Alexander have especially given up big plays. Harrison Smith is still a beast but even Xavier Rhodes has been burnt this year. The Vikings must shore up the coverage because the Eagles have the weapons to exploit them.
Alshon Jeffrey got the rust off last week and Zach Ertz is a good tight end (327 yards). Nelson Algoholor has the speed to burn the Vikings and 2nd round pick Dallas Goedert is stepping up as a rookie tight end. If Wentz gets time, he can carve up the Vikings like Foles did last year.
The Vikings are in a hole at 1-2-1 and must keep pace in the North. This is a tough game that they will need to pull out on the road.
Packers (2-1-1) at Lions (1-3, tru 3-1)
LKP returns to Ford Field in glory to watch the Lions take on the gimpy Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have some ailing WRs too with Randall Cobb out (hamstring), Geronimo Allison dealing with a concussion and Davante Adams with a hamstring injury. If Adams and Allison can’t go, it might be an all-rookie WR group facing the Lions.
Rookies J’Mon Moore, Equanimeous Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling could be the Packers WRs for this game. Jimmy Graham will be at tight end and the Lions have trouble covering tight ends. Lance Kendricks should see more action too.
Detroit must shore up coverage but have safety injuries with Quandre Diggs (broken hand), Tracy Walker (ankle) and Tavon Wilson (back) banged up. Darius Slay will blanket his guy but Nevin Lawson and Jamal Agnew have been beaten too often this year. Glover Quin has fixed his early struggles and must bait Rodgers into a turnover. The Lions must force some turnovers in this game to make life easier for Stafford. Detroit only has forced 3 turnovers on the year and need more.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams lead a solid running attack for the Packers and Detroit has had trouble stopping the run in 3 of 4 games this season. Detroit must shore up the run defense and pressure a less mobile Rodgers enough so he doesn’t carve them up.
Devon Kennard (4 sacks), Eli Harold (3 sacks) and D’Shawn Hand have gotten some good pressure but the Lions need more from other players (Robinson, Ziggy if healthy, Kerry Hyder, Ricky Jean Francois). Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) has been limited and missed the last 3.5 games. Hopefully he can play and boost the Lions pass rush on Rodgers.
Detroit has played well on offense but have come up short in 2 of the last 3 weeks due to defense. Stafford had a terrible Week 1 with 4 picks but rebounded with 3 games over 100 rating in the last three weeks. If Stafford gets time, he can carve up the Packers young secondary.
Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark is a big test for the Lions offensive line. They have played really well limiting sacks and have the second least QB hits so far this year. TJ Lang (major concussion) is hurt which has caused more pressure with Kenny Wiggins at RG. Decker and Wagner have played well at tackle and Ragnow has been great the last 2 weeks at LG. Glasgow is a solid center but they must be on point and protect Stafford from a good pass rush. This will allow the Lions great weapons in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay to shine. Kerryon Johnson is having a great start to the year at running back but needs more touches and Riddick is still a good receiving RB. The Lions have the weapons to drop 30 points on the Packers, but Stafford must be protected for that to occur.
This game will come down to turnovers and protection of each QB. The Lions need a big win to get back into the race and the Packers want to almost catch the Bears (3-1 and on a bye).
Lions win 24-21 or LKP take down the jumbo-tron himself.