Week Five is right around the corner, and there are plenty of big name matchups to watch for this week. No one can watch every game, so here’s some stuff to look out for this week:
Roddy White and Julio Jones vs. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara: The Falcons have not been playing well on the road, and the Giants are coming off a game in which they forced four Kirk Cousins interceptions. Julio Jones is averaging over 110 yards per game this season, and Roddy White manages over 13 yards per carry; but if the Falcons want to start winning on the road they will need more production from their top two receivers. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara have been on top of their game this season. In fact, last week against the Washington Redskins the Giants cornerback duo held Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to a total of three catches and giving up nothing on the sidelines. The combination of the Giants secondary along with their top-notch defensive line may be too much for the Falcons and Matt Ryan to handle on Sunday.
DeMarco Murray vs. Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt: The Cowboys are sitting on a 3-1 record right now largely in part to their transformation into a run-first offense lead by DeMarco Murray. Murray has absolutely shattered expectations and is currently on pace for over 2,000 yards on 5.5 yards per carry this season. Murray hasn’t been perfect—the Dallas running back has three fumbles in four games this season—but the Cowboys are still feeding him the ball early and often each week. Murray brings his NFL-leading yardage total into Week Five against the Houston Texans and their All-Star front which includes names like J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing. The Texans have been giving up 130.2 rushing yards per game this season, but they will certainly be giving the running game more attention heading into Sunday’s game. If Watt and Cushing are able to contain Murray and prevent him from breaking through into the secondary, the Cowboys will be forced to rely on Tony Romo thus giving the Texans the best chance to win.
Peyton Manning vs. Todd Bowles and the Cardinals Secondary: The Cardinals are putting their unblemished 3-0 record on the line in Denver against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Manning is still playing at the top of his game, although the Broncos have yet to reach the record-breaking level that the offense was playing at last season. Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has done a fantastic job this season despite being without Daryl Washington and Darnell Dockett, but it will be interesting to see if he will be able to even phase Manning. It takes a lot to throw The Sheriff off his game, but if Bowles is not able to phase the five-time NFL MVP he will have to sit on the sideline and watch his team get steamrolled by the Broncos offense.