NFL 2020 Week 5 Recap: A devastating day in Dallas

What an active past seven days we have had in the NFL! Since we wrote the Week 4 recap, two head coaches have been dismissed and the General Manager in Atlanta has also departed. Throw into the mix a second postponed game and another moved to Tuesday night and we really did get a little of everything in the build up to Week 5. However, now we should turn our focus to events on the field in the Week 6 recap of the 2020 NFL season.

Get well soon Dak

NFL Week 5 2020 recap
Oct 11, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leaves the field with an injury in the third quarter against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Dallas Cowboys played in another electric and dramatic game yesterday. Thankfully for them, this time they pulled out a late comeback win. 

However, Andy Dalton was at the reigns at the end of the game following the horrific injury suffered by Dak Prescott. I can only really and truly wish Dak – who is on his way to being a true superstar in this league – the speediest and safest of recoveries. 

However, the show must go on in Dallas, and what a show Dalton put on. Just like the Saints last season, who had Teddy Bridgewater to keep their season afloat when Drew Brees went down, you’re now seeing just why the Cowboys signed Andy Dalton to back up Dak. They have a QB with a lot of proven NFL experience, and weapons around him that can cover up his deficiencies. 

Spare a thought for the Giants, who had one of my favourite play calls of all time (the fake field goal pass for a TD) called back for an egregious illegal shift… only to watch the cowboys march down the field and pull out their own trick play for a receiving touchdown for Prescott. Killer. Devonta Freeman looked good, but without Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard you wonder if the G-Men’s only chances at winning games this season will come in their two showdowns with Washington. 

The Cowboys are back atop the NFC East, and they’ll still be there come December. Get well soon Dak.

The Cleveland Browns are for real

It’s amazing what a difference a month makes. After a lop-sided opening day defeat to the (very good) Baltimore Ravens, there was panic in the streets of Cleveland. And yet here we are – in mid October – and the Browns are 4-1. And this win, against one of the most respected defenses in the league, has even more importance tied to it because it was the Baker Mayfield show from start to finish. 

The big question mark with this team has been “is Baker for real?” The weapons at his disposal are incredible – Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Austin Hooper & David Njoku are all Pro Bowl candidates and there’s a couple of undeniable superstars in that list too. 

They also invested heavily in the offensive line during the off season, and the rushing attack (300+ yards last week) and pass protection (only gave up one sack yesterday) have been thriving as a result. Sure, there were still two picks (that Mayfield needs to eradicate from his game), but Baker was calm and poised throughout,

Additionally, Kevin Stefanski is proving himself to be one hell of a play-caller with these trick plays that are working week in week out. Next week they face the undefeated Steelers, which is another acid test. If the Browns make it to 5-1… we need to start talking about Playoff runs.

Derek Carr still wants a career

Well, the dream of the Kansas City Chiefs going 16-0 took a pounding from John Gruden and his silver and black attack. Let’s give some credit to a man who has been much maligned in recent times, but turned in a great performance yesterday. Derek Carr still wants to be a starting Quarterback in the NFL. 

Yes, it helps a lot to have Josh Jacobs to hand the ball off to, and yes, Henry Ruggs speed is lightning and taking the top off the Chiefs was essential to them winning this game, but Carr did his job. 347 yards and a 3-1 TD to INT ratio is a very good performance against the defending champs. 

As for the Chiefs? Let’s not overreact. It’s one loss. All this shows is how difficult it is to go 16-0 in the NFL. Mahomes is still Mahomes. That throw to Tyreek Hill which was nullified by holding was legitimately jaw-dropping. They’re gonna be just fine. 

Yesterday was finally a day to celebrate for the Raiders, who have been victimised so often by Mahomes since his ascension into the league. Gruden made the (correct) and ballsy call to go for it on 4th down and seal the win. Another head coach wasn’t quite so fortunate later on Sunday…

Russell Wilson is the man

Poor Mike Zimmer. I think it was the right call. It was surely the right call. End the game with a first down… or give Russell Wilson a chance to take it to overtime if they kick the field goal. I like the decision. He’s just so unlucky that Alexander Mattison didn’t bounce the ball outside and end the game. But then again, this is the Vikings. Am I surprised? Not at all. 

Give credit to Zimmer: the game plan was excellent. Minnesota controlled the pace and flow of the game and limited the Seahawks offense to minimal time of possession in the first half. And then Dalvin Cook got hurt and the ceiling fell in on the Vikings. The Seahawks went on a 21-0 run in a little over a minute. Two turnovers helped, but it’s that instant offense and explosiveness that makes Seattle such a viable championship contender this season… IF they can fix their defense. Jamal Adams return can’t come soon enough. 

However, Russell Wilson continues to defy logic. His partnership with DK Metcalf is fast becoming one of the most deadly in the league, and completing THAT pass on 4th and 10 and then THAT OTHER pass on 4th and Goal to win the game?! And Chris Carson is a beast. And Tyler Lockett is still impossible to cover. And Russ is cooking? Come on man. The Seahawks are legit. Russ? MVP.

Monday & Tuesday Night Football Predictions

(Season Record: 5-1)

Bit of a weird one here, as we’re reaching the peak of COVID-NFL times, with a doubleheader including a Tuesday night game in Nashville. It’s two good games, with three teams who have legit playoff aspirations, and a new Quarterback looking to put his stamp on Monday Night Football.

Tonight, the Chargers head to New Orleans to face the strange case of the Saints. Michael Thomas is being sat out for disciplinary reasons which is incredible to me considering they’re 2-2 and REALLY need the win. Justin Herbert is looking great for the Chargers and tonight is his first official start as “the Starting Quarterback.” However, no Austin Ekeler for LA is a hard pill to swallow. I’m taking the Saints, largely because Alvin Kamara is almost impossible to stop, and TreQuan Smith is quietly filling in fantastically for the aforementioned Mr. Thomas.

On Tuesday, it’s a big meeting for the Tennessee Titans (trying desperately to stave off COVID de-railing their season) and the Buffalo “Josh Allen for MVP” Bills. I think both these teams win their divisions, and both have aspirations of reaching the AFC Championship game, but I’m taking the Bills in this one. Josh Allen is just irresistible right now, and I think it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from a Titans team who haven’t really practiced in almost two weeks due to NFL restrictions following positive tests. Give me Buffalo on Tuesday.

Official Picks: Saints & Bills

Quick Hits

  • I know it was only the Jets, but Kyler and the Cardinals are so electric when they get going. Hopkins was incredible again. I love the Cardinals; really hope they can usurp the Rams, finish second in the NFC West, and nick a playoff spot.
  • Goodbye Dan Quinn. I will always wonder just how different your legacy would have been if 28-3 hadn’t become 28-34.
  • We already spoke about the Browns, but the Colts are gonna have a lot of success for a long time moving forward with Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman and that defense. They need a younger QB though.
  • Ravens Defense… I see you.
  • Thank you to the Houston Texans for moving on from Bill O’Brien, and thank you to Deshaun Watson for remembering how good Brandin Cooks can be.
  • Have a day Chase Claypool. Do the steelers EVER miss when drafting wide receivers?!
  • Shout out Teddy Bridgewater. A very good quarterback who is proving he deserves to be a starter in this league.
  • FITZMAGIC BABYYYYYYY. Don’t let the Dolphins get hot!!
  • Jimmy Garoppolo is not and never will be a true franchise QB. I will die on this hill.

Looking Ahead

Yes please Week 6. Cleveland-Pittsburgh, Dallas-Arizona, Kansas City-Buffalo and The Battle of the Bay (Green vs Tampa). Gimme all of that. Have a good week and stay safe.

Callum Squires

NFL Analyst