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Week 5 NFL predictions: Scores for every game

NFL Nation reporters predict the outcomes and scores for Sunday’s and Monday’s Week 5 games.


PickCenter | Tickets

The Bills might be 3-1 and playing the 1-3 Bengals, but Vegas seems to like Cincinnati in this game. Buffalo is at least a three-point underdog on the road, suggesting this could be a trap game for the Bills after big wins over Denver and Atlanta. The Bills’ offense — which has gone three-and-out on 48 percent of drives this season, second most in the NFL — will be playing short-handed at wide receiver because of a thumb injury to No. 1 wideout Jordan Matthews. Tyrod Taylor has excelled in passing to Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy this season, but the Bengals boast the NFL’s lowest yards per catch (6.49) by opposing tight ends and running backs. Bengals 13, Bills 9Mike Rodak

The Bengals have a tough matchup against one of the league’s best defenses (Buffalo is 10th overall), but it looks like their offense finally has begun to click in the past two weeks. The Bengals can build on their momentum here, and a win would make them 2-3 prior to their bye. Bengals 14, Bills 10Katherine Terrell


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Coach Todd Bowles says “2-2 is nothing to brag about.” In most cases, he’d be right, but there has been a sense of satisfaction this week in the Jets’ locker room — a possible red flag. It wouldn’t be a shock if they underestimate the Browns, but they have too many matchups in their favor to lose the game. Josh McCown has completed 75 percent of his passes against the blitz, which bodes well against the blitz-heavy Browns, who have allowed a 127 passer rating when blitzing. It sounds crazy, but the Jets will win their third straight game. Jets 20, Browns 17Rich Cimini

Old friend Josh McCown is healthy and completing 70 percent of his passes, and the Jets have won two in a row with the kind of run-pass balance that the Browns should study. At 0-4, the Browns talked a good game all week, but there was a feeling that folks were looking over their shoulder. That’s not the attitude a winless team needs. Jets 24, Browns 10Pat McManamon


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The Lions are strong against the run, which makes the timing of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton finding his timing against New England most important. But the key in this one will be the ability of the Carolina defense to make the Lions one-dimensional and force Matthew Stafford to beat them. Stafford already has been sacked 12 times, and the Panthers, with future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers playing at a high level (4.5 sacks), have the firepower to get Stafford off his game. Panthers 24, Lions 21David Newton

Defending Newton will be tough, and linebacker Luke Kuechly could cause Stafford some issues, but the Lions have shown they are one of the better teams in the NFC. They also have a good secondary, which already has five interceptions. These teams are evenly matched, so quarterback play could make the difference. In that case, at home, Stafford has the edge. The Lions’ defense gets another interception and Stafford throws for three touchdowns. Lions 28, Panthers 20Michael Rothstein


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This is the second of three consecutive road games for the Niners, and they’re coming off a trio of games they lost by a combined eight points. Given the Colts’ struggles protecting the quarterback (they’ve allowed 14 sacks, tied for fifth most in the league) and the Niners’ ability to take advantage of porous offensive lines (nine sacks total against Seattle and Arizona), this would seem to be the type of game the 49ers can win. However, Indianapolis figures to be rocking as Peyton Manning is honored with a statue, and mobile signal-callers like Jacoby Brissett have helped mitigate some of San Francisco’s pass-rush ability. This feels like it could go either way, but the edge goes to the home team. Colts 23, 49ers 20Nick Wagoner

The last thing the Colts can do is overlook the 49ers. The Colts’ three losses have come to the same three teams that San Francisco has lost to — Arizona, Los Angeles Rams and Seattle — and Indianapolis lost those games by a combined 68 points. The Colts, like in previous seasons, are struggling statistically on defense, ranking 31st overall. Things are lined up — on paper at least — for the 49ers to get their first victory of the season. But this will be an emotional weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Colts. Peyton Manning is getting his own statue in front of the stadium and will have his jersey retired Sunday. Chuck Pagano has never started a season 1-4 as coach of the Colts. They’ll do just enough to keep things that way. Colts 21, 49ers 17Mike Wells


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Marcus Mariota‘s playing status could be unknown until Sunday, but the Titans have problems to solve even if he does find a way to play. The Titans’ pass defense was a disaster as the Titans gave up 57 points to the Texans in a Week 4 rout. And the Dolphins’ struggling offense presents three receivers who could give them fits once again. These two teams played last year in similar circumstances, with the Titans leaving with the victory due to Mariota’s four touchdowns and a stout running game. They’ll have to do it Sunday with a lot of attention on the running game, whether Mariota or Matt Cassel is under center. Dolphins 19, Titans 17Cameron Wolfe

The Dolphins allowed 235 rushing yards in last year’s loss to the Titans. However, Miami is vastly improved in that area, allowing just 3.1 yards per rush and 78 yards per game this season. If the Titans can’t run, they are in trouble against the Dolphins, especially with the uncertainty of Mariota (hamstring). Dolphins 17, Titans 14James Walker


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The Chargers finished 1-3 on trips to the East Coast last season and are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. So this is a game the Chargers normally would lose, which is why I’m picking them to win — along with the fact that I believe the Giants will have trouble stopping the Bolts’ talented pass-rushing duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Through the first four games, the Giants have played three starting offensive line combinations up front. Chargers 20, Giants 19Eric Williams

The Giants are at home in a game they badly need to keep from imploding. It helps the Chargers are also winless (0-4) and can’t run the ball (28th in NFL). The Giants have had trouble stopping the run, and it could be a problem again this week with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul struggling with injuries. But the Chargers are the right opponent at the right time. Eli Manning beats Philip Rivers for the first time in his career. Giants 24, Chargers 23Jordan Raanan


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The Cardinals are 0-2 this season against NFC teams not in their division, but the biggest question mark will be whether the Cardinals can keep Carson Palmer on his feet. Arizona has given up 17 sacks while the Eagles have 10 on the season, but Palmer called the Eagles’ front seven one of the best he will face this year. However, Arizona’s primary hope for winning this game lies with its run defense. It’s ranked fourth in rushing yards allowed per play (3.2), while the Eagles are ranked fifth in rushing yards gained per play (4.7). Eagles 27, Cardinals 17Josh Weinfuss

Larry Fitzgerald long has tortured the Eagles, averaging six catches, 99 yards and more than a touchdown per game against them in seven meetings. Paired with fellow receivers John Brown and Jaron Brown, the Arizona wideouts pose a threat to a vulnerable Eagles cornerback group. With DT Fletcher Cox still working through a calf injury, there’s a chance Palmer will have a little more time to operate. If that’s the case, the Cardinals could pull off the upset. Cardinals 30, Eagles 27Tim McManus


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It’s hard to know what the Jaguars are going to get from QB Blake Bortles each week, and this week may be even more of a mystery because the Jaguars may be without WR Marqise Lee because of a rib injury. That would mean bigger roles for undrafted rookie Keelan Cole (four catches) and recently signed first-year player Max McCaffrey. That will make it even harder for the Jaguars to do much in the passing game, especially downfield, to open things up for RB Leonard Fournette. Plus, the Jaguars gave up 256 yards rushing last week to the Jets and now face the league’s best back in Le’Veon Bell. If the Jaguars have the same kind of issues along the defensive front they did last week, it’ll be another long day. Steelers 24, Jaguars 10Mike DiRocco

The Steelers’ offense is poised to break out eventually; Ben Roethlisberger has only one completion of more than 40 yards this season — which came in Week 2, his only home game. Big Ben’s 3-1 home-away touchdown ratio since 2015 looms large here, especially with Bell looking like his 2016 self and Jacksonville entering the week allowing 5.7 yards per carry, the league’s worst by a large margin. Plus, Antonio Brown is angry and wants the ball, which means he’s due for a big game. Steelers 27, Jaguars 20Jeremy Fowler


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The Seahawks are coming off one of the more dominant halves of football they’ve played under Pete Carroll, outscoring the Colts 36-3 and holding them to 32 yards in the second half last week. That was a reminder that their defense remains one of the NFL’s best. The offense remains a question mark, however, and could be without starting left tackle Rees Odhiambo because of a chest injury. Even at full strength, Seattle’s offensive line will have its hands full against a Rams front four that has given the Seahawks all sorts of trouble during the past few seasons. Russell Wilson‘s QBR in five road games against the Rams is 48.6 compared with 71.5 in his 37 other road games. This has the makings of another close loss. Rams 24, Seahawks 23Brady Henderson

The Rams are feeling really good about themselves, coming off a big road win against the Cowboys. Their offense is clicking on all cylinders, and their defense finally showed signs of life in the second half Sunday, holding Dallas to a mere six points. They’ll be energized, while at home against a tough division rival, and will sneak out another close win. Rams 23, Seahawks 20Alden Gonzalez


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The Ravens catch a break with EJ Manuel starting at quarterback for the injured Derek Carr. But Joe Flacco‘s struggles (one touchdown in his past 28 drives) and Baltimore’s poor history traveling out west (five consecutive losses) make it difficult to have any confidence in the Ravens. Raiders 20, Ravens 13Jamison Hensley

As easy as it would be to go with Baltimore — the Raiders have converted just two of their past 24 third-down opportunities and are without starting QB Derek Carr — the home crowd is the X factor, and so is the confidence Oakland has in Manuel. The Raiders opened the season with three of their first four games on the road. Expect the Raiders’ overachieving defense to make a play or two — paging Khalil Mack and his four sacks — to jump-start the offense, and all will be right in Silver and Blackdom … for a week, at least. Raiders 23, Ravens 16Paul Gutierrez


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Three key players from the Packers’ playoff victory over the Cowboys are gone — Jared Cook (the tight end who caught the sideline pass to set up the game-winning field goal), Micah Hyde (the safety who had an interception) and T.J. Lang (the Pro Bowl guard who protected Aaron Rodgers). Sure, the Packers have found replacements for all three, but those were big-time players who performed in the clutch. They might miss them Sunday. Cowboys 27, Packers 23Rob Demovsky

For the second consecutive week, the Cowboys are facing a team with a 10-day break. The advantage for the Packers does not lie so much in the schematics, but the rest, which allowed four key offensive players more time to get ready. But it’s not like Rodgers needs time to get ready to face a Rod Marinelli-coached defense. Including playoffs, Rodgers has thrown 29 touchdown passes with just eight interceptions in 15 games. Most important, Rodgers is 13-2 in those games, dating back to 2008. Packers 33, Cowboys 27Todd Archer


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The Chiefs are 8-1 against quarterbacks in their first season as starters since Andy Reid arrived as head coach and Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator in 2013. That doesn’t mean they’ll have an easy time against Houston rookie QB Deshaun Watson. They’ll give up some yards and some plays. But they’ll defeat him as they have other young quarterbacks except for Oakland’s Derek Carr as a rookie in 2014. Chiefs 24, Texans 20Adam Teicher

Deshaun Watson and the Texans’ offense made a big statement scoring 57 points against the Titans. But this week, players and coaches have been quick to say that was one game and the Chiefs present a different challenge. Watson will continue to play well, but the Texans’ defense will have a tough time containing the speed Kansas City has on offense. Chiefs 27, Texans 20Sarah Barshop


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The Vikings’ defense aims to take advantage of Mitchell Trubisky’s inexperience at quarterback by disguising coverages and playing hide-and-seek with its blitzes. There’s not a whole lot of tape out there on Trubisky, which is a disadvantage for Minnesota in game planning. Since Chicago isn’t a huge threat with its receivers, the defense will focus on Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard in the running game. If Sam Bradford makes it through three days of practice this week and is ready to play, he will start in Chicago. And regardless of who’s at quarterback, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs need to spark the Vikings’ aerial attack early while the running game gets in its groove with Latavius Murray taking the reins for an injured Dalvin Cook. Vikings 20, Bears 17Courtney Cronin

The Bears are 14-2 in their past 16 home games against the Vikings dating back to the 2001 season. But Minnesota’s defense is tough. The Vikings sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford six times in a losing effort last week. Overall, Minnesota is tied for eighth in points allowed (19.0) and third in rushing yards allowed (71.3). There’s a ton of excitement in Chicago about Trubisky — and rightfully so. But Trubisky is making his first career start on Monday Night Football. No one really knows what to expect. The Vikings are banged up on offense but probably still good enough to squeak out a close victory. Vikings 27, Bears 26Jeff Dickerson

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