Week 5 NFL Predictions

Boxscores and stats from every upcoming game
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
September 30th, 2008

Each Tuesday morning, we will preview every NFL game of the upcoming week. All of our NFL content, including our most recent power rankings and weekly fantasy projections, is located here. If you want to take WhatIfSports weekly college football and/or NFL picks with you (to your MySpace, Facebook or personal homepage), please see the widget below on the right or at this page.

The inputs to the 10,001 simulations of each upcoming game are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings and then makes modifications for injuries and depth at each position.

Game of the Week: #5 Washington 20 @ #6 Philadelphia 23
With Atlanta, San Francisco, Arizona, Houston and Miami winning in the simulations far more than many may expect, Week 5 could ultimately have an "any given Sunday" feel, but for now, we have to focus on the NFC East again for our game of the week. Coming off of a road win against what is probably the most talented team in football, Washington is looking as good as any team in the league right now. Jason Campbell is clicking in Jim Zorn's offensive system and the defense is finding ways to keep the opposition out of the endzone. Philadelphia is 2-2 after a Sunday Night loss at #7 Chicago. Brian Westbrook is still likely to be out and Donovan McNabb does not look like he's 100% (is he ever?). So how do the Eagles prevail 55.2% of the time and by an average score of 23-20? Homefield advantage has a little to do with it. On a neutral field, this game is even; and Washington would be favored at home. Playing a bigger role though, is McNabb's efficiency. Chicago got pressure on the Eagles, sacking McNabb three times. The Redskins failed to sack Tony Romo last week and only have six sacks on the season. Washington defensive coordinator Greg Blache's focuses on pressure from the front four, while aggressively ball-hawking downfield to force as many turnovers as possible. With Jason Taylor still on the shelf and Shawn Springs now out, look for the Eagles to take advantage of that strategy and personnel by forsaking the run and using the short passing game to players like Correll Buckhalter, a healthy L.J. Smith, Hank Baskett and Lorenzo Booker to set up the deep throws to DeSean Jackson and Reggie Brown. That may sound very similar to the strategy that the Cowboys invoked last week (because it is), but this Eagles team is built to throw the ball more than 60% of the time and use screens and slants like a running game. The team with more big plays of 30 yards or more should win this game.

Click on the Boxscores below to see detailed team and player stat projections for every game.

Week 5 Scores for Every NFL Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Cincinnati @ Dallas9510-35Boxscore
Seattle @ New York88.112-29Boxscore
Kansas City @ Carolina86.117-28Boxscore
Minnesota @ New Orleans71.120-27Boxscore
Atlanta @ Green Bay69.721-29Boxscore
Washington @ Philadelphia55.220-23Boxscore
Tampa Bay @ Denver48.826-22Boxscore
Tennessee @ Baltimore47.317-14Boxscore
New England @ San Francisco46.326-21Boxscore
San Diego @ Miami45.327-21Boxscore
Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville43.823-19Boxscore
Indianapolis @ Houston40.327-21Boxscore
Buffalo @ Arizona38.327-20Boxscore
Chicago @ Detroit28.427-17Boxscore

Paul Bessire is the Senior Quantitative Analyst and Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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