MOST INTRIGUING MATCHUPS- WEEK 5
Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals
My favorite morning game pits two-first place teams against each other as the surprising 3-1 Bengals take on the 3-1 Packers. While the Bengals may be in a 3-way tie for first, they have still been impressive this far into the season. 2nd year quarterback Joe Burrow has looked great after recovering from an ACL tear in his rookie campaign and has been able to sustain multiple fantasy relevant wide receivers. It looks like Tee Higgins will be able to suit up for this game after missing the last two with a shoulder injury as well. Then, we add rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase and solid veteran Tyler Boyd and this Bengal’s wide receiver group is looking like one of the best trios in the league. It’s disappointing that Joe Mixon is unlikely to play, but we will get to take a look at Bengals’ backups Samaje Perine and Chris Evans. The Bengals will compete in this game, that is, unless Aaron Rodgers catches fire again. Outside of their first 6 quarters of football this year, which included a shellacking from the Saints and a slow start against the Lions, the Packers have picked up where they left off last year offensively. It’s still a three-man wrecking crew comprised of Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams, but someone else on this Packers squad will have to step up to put them over the top going forward. The Bengals can keep it close for a while, but the Packers will eventually pull ahead and come out on top.
Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers
You can call me biased or whatever you would like, but the Chargers have looked like the most improved team in the NFL on both sides of the ball. Justin Herbert is not putting up the flashiest of numbers that we would have liked to see for his sophomore season breakout, but the Chargers are putting him in advantageous situations. Austin Ekeler has looked great and continues to run angry. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are both coming off disappointing performances on Monday night against the Raiders, but both standout wide receivers enter the week as top-20 players this far into the season. The Browns, on the other hand, have been playing absolutely smash mouth football. They are the league leaders in rushing yards and rank 4th in yards per attempt, riding the backs of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. This Kevin Stefanski offensive scheme has been a dream for both of these backs over the last two years. Baker Mayfield has had his ups and downs so far, but he is reliable enough of a quarterback to support fantasy relevant pass catchers. The only question we have to ask of the Browns passing game is who and when. Odell Beckham Jr. has looked good in his return, but there hasn’t been much consistency outside of that. This game will end up going to the team that has the ball last, but regardless of who wins, it will be the game I’m most interested in from the afternoon games.