nfl week 5: four things to keep an eye on
By Tayyib Abu
The NFL finally touched down in London after a year off in 2020. Week 5 welcomes the first London game of the season as the Jets and Falcons take over Tottenham. Week 5 also sees a possible AFC Championship preview between the Chargers and Browns. Meanwhile, there is a championship rematch as the Bills clash with the recovering Kansas City Chiefs.
The Cardinals aim to go 5-0, and the Cowboys and Giants renew their old rivalry. It promises to be another exciting and dramatic week in the NFL
Here are four things to watch in Week 5 of the new season…
The First London Game Of The Year
The first London game of the season is here! After scrapping the International Series in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NFL returns to Tottenham Hotspur as the Jets play the Falcons.
The London games feel like a mini-Superbowl because so many people from the NFL UK community attend the game. Despite the Jets and Falcons being two lowly teams with no dreams of winning anything significant in 2021, it promises to be an intriguing matchup.
The Jets got off the mark last weekend as they outlasted the Titans in an overtime thriller. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson showcased the skills that made Joe Douglas and the Jets front office fall in love with the BYU product. Wilson’s big arm and playmaking ability were on show as he finally looked as advertised at the NFL level.
The Titans were a weak defense, and Wilson gets to play against another one in the Falcons. Atlanta has conceded more than 30 points in their three defeats this season. The Falcons are 29th in defensive DVOA, only better than the Jags, Lions, and Chiefs.
Conversely, the Jets are 18th. How much of that is masked by playing Mac Jones, Teddy Bridgewater, and a recovering Sam Darnold is TBD. The Falcons attacked a talented Washington defense, and Matt Ryan’s deep ball looked solid. It is arguably the first acid test for Robert Saleh and this re-tooled defense.
If the Falcons can move the ball on offense, it may force Zach Wilson to let it rip. Wilson produced a perfect passer rating in Week 4 on his deep balls. Moreover, he is only behind Kyler Murray in CPOE on passes 20-yards or more. Furthermore, the Falcons can’t cover wideouts on deep passes. 31.3% of the time, the receivers are open against the Falcons on deep passes. That is the fourth-highest mark in the NFL. If the quarterbacks end up duelling fans are in for a treat.
At that point, this London game could develop into a shootout. Yes, it is an underwhelming matchup on paper, but the Jets and Falcons could light up North London.
Is Urban Meyer A Dead Man Walking?
Urban Meyer emerged on Wednesday after enduring a chaotic and dramatic weekend. Meyer abandoned his Jaguars side last Thursday night off the back of a defeat to the Bengals in Ohio. Meyer opted to ‘clear his head’ and visit his bar.
Over the weekend, a video circulated on NFL Twitter depicting Meyer slumped over, fornicating and fondling a lady a lot younger than him. The uproar and backlash were intense. Incensed owner Shahid Khan published a statement criticizing Meyer. Several cryptic tweets came from player accounts, and chatter about locker room division spread like wildfire.
It is staggering to think Meyer is still in a job. Alas, he is, but for how much longer no one knows. The Jaguars have a date with an angry, redemption-seeking Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Titans laid a complete egg as they stuttered and stumbled to defeat at the hands of the Jets.
The Titans have displayed tremendous ability under Mike Vrabel to bounce back from adversity. The Jags need to find something herculean to save Meyer from the sack. They played pretty well at Cincinnati. However, poor teams with many new players need to avoid distractions. The Jags have endured a week from hell, and a defeat to the Titans could send Meyer packing and back into the collegiate game.
Can the Cardinals Stay Undefeated?
The Cardinals are the big surprise in the early phase of the NFL season. The Cards defeated the Rams, and they are undefeated and atop of the NFC West. Arizona’s passing attack is excelling, and Kyler Murray is experiencing his Josh Allen leap.
Murray still has the elusive mobility and electrifying speed that makes him a nightmare to catch in the pocket. However, Murray is adding elite passing skills alongside his mobility. The former Boomer Sooner is in rhythm with his wideouts, and he currently ranks third in QBR.
The 49ers’ defense underwhelmed in a defeat to the Seahawks last Sunday. It feels like a big game for the Niners. A loss here would make them 0-2 in the division and extend the Cardinals’ lead. Rookie Trey Lance looks set to start after Jimmy Garoppolo once again went down due to an injury.
Kyle Shanahan must delve into his bag of offensive tricks to implement a game plan for Lance’s unique skills. The Cardinals’ defense has started well. Chandler Jones is hurrying and harassing quarterbacks, while JJ Watt is still showing bursts of violence.
If the Cardinals move to 5-0 and win over another divisional rival, it affirms to people that they are the real deal. It’s a massive battle in the desert. The Cards have all the offensive weapons to keep the Niners off balance.
Lamar Jackson Isn't a Running Back
We hate lazy tropes here at the Touchdown. One of the laziest tropes in the NFL over the last few years that Lamar Jackson was just a running back. Well, the former Heisman Trophy winner is changing that narrative.
After every running back in Baltimore went down, the NFL’s 32nd passing attack in 2020 is starting to fly. Jackson has taken charge, and he leads the league in average air yards per throw. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is molding the offense around Jackson’s passing ability.
The Ravens rank second in attempts downfield; they are evolving into a passing offense. The Ravens are still dealing with teething problems; they are one of the worst teams in drop percentage. But Jackson’s play is not, and that is underlined by owning a higher QBR than Dak Prescott.
The Colts are the worst defense against downfield passing. Indianapolis has surrendered the highest completion percentage on downfield throws. That indicates that the big-play is there for Jackson to take. Yes, he looks a little different, and he will always be a better runner but don’t blink because Lamar Jackson is evolving into a high-quality passer.
Tayyib is an avid NFL fan and, as a follower of the detroit lions, is a permanent resident in the honolulu blue heartbreak hotel. writing football articles since 2019, tayyib loves everything about the sport except that wins are not a qb stat. follow him on twitter @TayyibABU1