NFL Picks Week 5: Breaking Down Bouts Between Division Rivals

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 09: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers leaps between Don Carey #32 (L) and Ricardo Silva #39 of the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 27-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Nothing heats up the stove quite like an NFL division rivalry game.

Every game counts the same in the final standings, but those six inter-division games tend to mean a smidge more for NFL squads. With only 16 games mushed into the season, every matchup plays a role in determining which squad finishes in first.

These teams are sick of each other after facing off twice a year every season. Their history goes way back, and they know what it feels like to dwell in the bottom while the other dances on top.

Here's an outlook at each of Week 5's three games pitting divisional foes against each other.


Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30:  Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches a touchdown during their game against  Prince Amukamara #20 of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by
Al Bello/Getty Images

The team that breaks their cold spell with a win actually stands a solid shot at contending in the NFC East.

As awful as the Eagles and Giants have looked, they play in a grouping where the Dallas Cowboys sit in first place at 2-2. Since Dallas plays the Denver Broncos this weekend, that record could easily turn into 2-3.

Which means the Eagles could hold a share of first place with a victory while the Giants would belong just one game back by notching their first victory a month into the season.

The Eagles have allowed a league-worst 446.8 yards per game after running into Peyton Manning, while the Giants have already turned the ball over 16 times. Philadelphia has surrendered the second-most points this season. Take a wild stab at which team ranks last.

Yep, this game will be the equivalent of a Madden matchup between two players still trying to figure out which button they need to press to tackle.

New York's banged-up offensive line has provided Eli Manning little time in the pocket while carving out the NFL's worst rushing offense. David Diehl will return this weekend, according to's Dan Graziano, but he's not much of a saving grace after a poor 2012 campaign.

With each team entering the bout incredibly flawed, it could come down to which team makes fewer mistakes. After facing Peyton Manning and two of the league's top-five passing defenses, Eli Manning will finally lead the Giants to the win column. 

Prediction: Giants: 38, Eagles 34


Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

A week after making a huge statement with a decisive victory over the Chicago Bears, the Lions could show the NFC North who's boss by topping the Green Bay Packers.

Not only would a win keep the Lions in first place at 4-1, it'd also send the Packers stumbling at 1-3. Triumphing at Lambeau Field would be a demonstrative success for Detroit.

That's also a lot easier said than done. Green Bay succumbed to two tough teams in the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals while Detroit has yet to face a challenging offense.

While Chicago has improved under Marc Trestman, Jay Cutler's bad side resurfaced with three interceptions. The Lions obtained their other victories against the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins, who each notched their first victory last weekend.

Aaron Rodgers is a whole different animal for the Lions to tame. Detroit has allowed 268 passing yards per game to decent, yet unspectacular quarterbacks. Now they get Rodgers, who had two weeks to steam over his two interceptions against the Bengals.

This game also has shootout written all over it, but look for Green Bay to come out on top.

Prediction: Packers 37, Lions 28


San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Antonio Gates #85 and Philip Rivers # 17 of the San Diego Chargers prepare to walk out onto the field against the Atlanta Falcons on September 23, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Ge
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Will this game be worth staying up to watch?

Since the Raiders share a stadium with the Oakland Athletics, this game will take place Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. to accommodate the A's MLB postseason match.

The Raiders have not been much fun to watch in the afternoon. Throw in a late night and fans might doze off before halftime. There's a good chance they wouldn't miss anything.

While Oakland is 1-3 because the scheduling gods were forgiving enough to reward them with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chargers looked revived. They sit at 2-2 with two close losses, but Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates are back to their old tricks.

Rivers, fresh off the worst season of his career, is now embarking on his best. The 31-year-old quarterback has completed 73.9 percent of his passes for 1,199 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, putting him on pace to shatter personal bests in every category.

Skeptics also dug a grave for Gates alongside Rivers', but the tight end has caught 25 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns. This comes after averaging 698 receiving yards over his past three seasons.

Oakland allows a 72.1 opposing completion percentage, and its passing offense is not equipped well enough to exploit San Diego's leaky secondary. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Terrelle Pryor will return as the starting quarterback after missing last week's game versus Washington.

Much like his Monday night showing against the Denver Broncos, he might put up some decent numbers, but they won't be nearly enough to win.

Prediction: Chargers 28, Raiders, 13