Week 5 of the 2023 NFL regular season is in the books. We saw plenty of blowouts for the second straight week, including five teams winning by 17 or more points. Today we look back at the fifth week of action and give you some takeaways, as well as look forward and preview some of the Week 6 slate.
(All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
San Francisco 49ers
Plain and simple, the San Francisco 49ers looked like the best team in football on Sunday night. San Francisco dominated Dallas on both sides of the ball, finishing top three in the league in offensive and defensive EPA/Play. The 49ers’ signal-caller, Brock Purdy, tossed four touchdown passes and led all Week 5 QBs in EPA + CPOE, EPA/Play, and success rate. San Francisco’s defense held Dallas to just 197 total yards and recorded four takeaways. The two teams did not look even close to a level playing field and the Niners continued to look unbeatable in 2023.
The Jaguars sure do love playing in London. Jacksonville played in their second-straight game across the pond and came away with a crucial 25-20 win over the Buffalo Bills. Jacksonville dominated the day with their ground game, rushing for 196 yards as a team including a 35-yard run from Travis Etienne that sealed the win with 2:56 left. The Jaguars, who were 1-2 before heading to London, now sport a 3-2 record and face the Colts, Saints, and Steelers, in the next three weeks. Jacksonville could very easily win all three of those games and hold a 6-2 record heading into the second half of the season.
Last week I mentioned how Cincinnati's Week 5 matchup against the Cardinals had the chance to be a get-right game for Joe Burrow and his team. That is indeed what took place, as the Bengals finally found their stride on both sides of the ball, beating the Cardinals 34-20. Burrow and star wideout Ja’Marr Chase rekindled their dynamite connection on Sunday as Chase caught 15 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns. Cincinnati’s defense also played very well, posting the third-best defensive EPA/Play of the week and recording three takeaways. For at least one week, the Bengals looked like the old Bengals again.
This one is painful, but so obvious. The Cowboys were easily the biggest loser in the NFL last week. Dallas came into their Sunday Night Football matchup with the 49ers looking to make a statement. They did just that, but not in the way you would have hoped. The Cowboys and 49ers did not look like they were even playing the same sport. Dallas’ defense had the worst success rate allowed (61.4%), dropback SR (66.7%), and rush SR (57.5%) of any defense in the league in Week 5. On the offensive side of the ball, Dak Prescott played one of the worst games of his NFL career, posting a -0.416 EPA/Play. The big-picture ramifications of this loss will run deep, but overall Dallas got outclassed and embarrassed by the 49ers once again.
For whatever reason, the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens cannot seem to figure out how to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Against every other team, Jackson usually plays like an MVP candidate, but against Pittsburgh, things look completely different. Jackson is 2-4 in his career against the Steelers, completing just 59% of his passes and recording an average QB Rating of 66.8, his worst against any team in football. Jackson and the Ravens had a chance to drive down the field and win the game Sunday with a little over a minute remaining, but he was strip-sacked by T.J. Watt giving the Steelers the win. With the loss, Baltimore fell to 3-2 and spoiled a prime opportunity at opening up a nice lead in the division race.
New England Patriots
It’s almost hard to believe how bad things have gotten in New England. Over the past two weeks, the Patriots have been outscored 72-3. Mac Jones, who was benched again on Sunday, has not made it into the fourth quarter in New England’s last two matchups, and their entire team has looked abysmal. On Sunday, New England got dominated on both sides of the ball, losing 34-0 to the New Orleans Saints. New England managed just 156 yards of total offense and turned the ball over three times. It’s starting to look like it’s time for a major reset in Foxborough.
Game of The Week (Week 6)
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Los Angeles Chargers
This may be a bit biased, but the Kellen Moore revenge game is certainly going to be must-watch TV. It will be very interesting to see a couple of things. 1) How Dallas bounces back after the embarrassing performance in San Francisco. 2) How Kellen Moore and the Chargers’ offense will try to attack Dallas’ defense. It’s interesting to see the Cowboys open as a 2.5-point favorite after the beatdown last Sunday and the Chargers coming off their bye week.
Favorite of The Week
Philadelphia Eagles (-7) at New York Jets
Going back to the well here after it worked last week. Zach Wilson against the Eagles’ defensive front seems like a nightmare matchup for the Jets. Wilson has played much better over the last two weeks, but this Eagles’ defense is a different animal. Even on the road, Trust Philly to cover the seven-point spread.
Underdog of The Week
Washington Commanders (+2.5) at Atlanta Falcons
Staying in the NFC East here. The Commanders looked awful losing at home in Week 5 to the Chicago Bears, but I really like them in a bounce-back spot here against the Falcons. Atlanta is bottom-ten in the league in Dropback EPA so Sam Howell and Washington’s offense should be able to move the ball through the air. The NFL is a week-to-week league and I see that being reflected on Sunday.
Over of The Week
Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers O/U 43.5
The surprise 4-1 Detroit Lions get another favorable matchup this week as they travel to Tampa to take on the Buccaneers. This total is a bit higher than ideal, but the recent success of the Lions offense makes the call feel more confident. Detroit should be able to put up 26 or more points on their own giving this over a good chance if Tampa can hold their own.
Under of The Week
New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders O/U 41.5
Sticking with New England Patriots’ unders here. No matter who starts at quarterback for the Patriots, their offense is going to not look good. The Raiders don’t have the best offense in the world either, creating confidence in the under here.