Jason’s Top Three NFL Games of Week 5

By Tim Marcin
Elm Staff Writer

Philadelphia (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-2)
The quad-annual Battle of the Keystone State takes place this Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh as the Eagles travel to the Steel City to play the Steelers in an interconference matchup.

Philadelphia won its third close game of the season this past Sunday night with a 19-17 win over the New York Giants as the Giants last second field goal from 54 yards came up short. The Eagles are the first team ever in the history of the NFL to win their first three games by two points or less…the first two wins were by one point each. Philadelphia was 2-5 in games decided by seven points or less last year and now 3-0 in the same category this year. After turning it over 12 times in the first three games, Philadelphia did not turn it over on Sunday. Will the Eagles be able to go two straight games without a turnover against the historically strong Steelers defense? Philadelphia also had a balanced attack on offense and got 191 yards rushing. Will they be able to do that on Sunday?

The Steelers had the bye in Week 4 and are hoping to get safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and linebacker James Harrison (knee) back for this week from injury. Both have won NFL Defensive Player of the Year and have combined for just one game played so far, Polamalu in Week 1. The Steelers fell in Week 3 to the Oakland Raiders, 34-31, losing on a field goal on the final play. The Steelers are hoping the return of Polamalu and Harrison will help bolster their defense, which has allowed 75 points in the first three weeks.

Philadelphia leads the all-time series 47-27-3 and dates back to 1933. Since Pittsburgh joined the AFC in 1970, the two teams have met just 10 times with the Eagles winning seven of them including the last meeting, a 16-6 win in 2008 in Philadelphia. The two teams combined for one year during World War II, known as the Steagles, and went 5-4-1.

Atlanta (4-0) at Washington (2-2)
One of the three undefeated teams left in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons travel to suburban Washington to play the Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland in hopes of getting to 5-0.

The Falcons rallied past the Carolina Panthers 30-28 in Week 4, scoring on a winning 48-yard field goal by Matt Bryant with five seconds remaining. Atlanta started the winning drive from its own one-yard line and got to past midfield on just one play thanks to a 59-yard pass play from quarterback Matt Ryan to wide receiver Roddy White. Running back Michael Turner had 171 total yards, 103 rushing and 68 receiving, and scored one touchdown. The Falcons are seeking to go 5-0 for the first time ever. In 1986 and 2004 Atlanta began the season 4-0, but lost both times in the fifth game to Philadelphia and Detroit respectively.

Washington blew a 21-6 lead to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but got a 41-yard field goal by kicker Billy Cundiff with three seconds left to lift the Redskins to a 24-22 win last Sunday in Atlanta. Washington got 323 yards passing and 43 yards rushing from Robert Griffin III along with a running score from RGIII. After this Sunday the Redskins will have played three games against the NFC South in the first five weeks and are currently 2-0 versus the NFC South. In the first four weeks the Redskins have scored 123 points and given up 123 points.
Washington leads the all-time series in the regular season, 14-6-1, and has won the lone playoff meeting after the 1991 season.

Denver (2-2) at New England (2-2)
From 2001-10, quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady faced each other nine times in the regular season and three times in the playoffs when Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts. On Sunday, Brady will be facing Manning again, but this time with Manning in a Denver Broncos uniform as the Broncos travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots. Brady has won eight of the 12 meetings.

The Broncos handled the Oakland Raiders, 37-6, on Sunday out in Denver. Manning threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in his best performance as a Bronco. The Broncos amassed 503 yards of total offense and held the ball for 37:25 in downing the Raiders at home for the first time since 2007. However the Broncos lost center J.D. Walton for the season with a broken ankle. Will his absence upset the rhythm of the Denver offense that is so imperative to Peyton Manning being at his best? The Broncos do get linebacker Joe Mays back who was suspended for Week 4 due to a vicious hit on Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub that tore a piece of Schaub’s ear off.

The Patriots turned a 21-7 deficit into a 52-28 win in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills. New England put 45 points on the board in the second half. Brady threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown too as the Patriots gained 580 yards in the win. Will the second half be the catalyst for the Patriots the rest of the way? The defense forced six Buffalo turnovers, including a fumble by the Bills late in the second quarter as they were marching to go up 21-7. New England also netted three sacks in the win.
The Broncos lead the all-time series 25-17 in the regular season and have won two of the three postseason meetings. The Patriots won in the regular season last year, 41-23, and in the playoffs, 45-7.

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