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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# NFL
Chargers to bolt past Jets - NFL week five preview
We preview both tonight’s live televised games.

Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers – 6pm

Packers Bears Football Jeff Haynes Matt Forte should enjoy this week's match-up with the Panthers. Jeff Haynes

WITH SEVEN OF the 16 teams that make up the NFC having a 2-2 record before Thursday night’s win for Green Bay, results this weekend could go a long way towards determining the course of the 2014 season.

While neither Chicago or Carolina have been spectacular this season, the Bears will be glad to get away from Solider Field this week after losing both home games so far while picking up two wins from two on the road.

Also in their favour is the fact they’re facing a Carolina defence that has failed – for any number of reasons – to live up to last year’s performance and is giving up an astonishing 5.7 yards per carry against the run.

The Panthers also have the league’s second worst defence in the redzone – allowing opponents score on 80% of possessions – while only Green Bay and Atlanta have converted more opportunities from 20-yards out than the Bears (71.5%).

For Carolina, they know it’s possible to turn their season around. They entered week five last year with a 1-3 record before winning 11 of their final 12 games to win the NFC South.

Line: The Panthers are 1.5 point favourites.

Best bet: Matt Forte over 77.5 rushing yards (5/6)

Fantasy advice: Matt Forte should run riot this Sunday, get him started.

Verdict: The Panthers haven’t shown they can’t score enough when they get close to the endzone. Bears by 5+

New York Jets @ San Diego Chargers – 9.25pm

Lions Jets Football AP / Press Association Images Will there be a change of quarterback in New York? AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Had the Chargers not given up 12-unanswered points in the fourth quarter to Arizona in week one, they’d enter week five of the NFL with an undefeated record though they are still one of the most in-form teams in the league.

What’s so impressive about San Diego this season is that Philip Rivers is putting up incredible passing numbers despite the fact that opposition defences know the Chargers are incapable of running the football.

With both Danny Woodhead and Ryan Matthews injured, only the Raiders and Broncos (and Denver has played a game less) have run the football for less than the Chargers’ 278 yards and nobody ranks worse than their 2.4 yards per carry.

Knowing that Rivers is going to throw and stopping him connecting with his receivers are two different things though. The Jets do have a formidable pass rush to put pressure on the quarterback and will hope to add to their NFL leading 14 sacks.

Unlike San Diego, the Jets have many question marks hanging over their quarterback with Geno Smith turning the ball over no fewer than seven times already this season (five interceptions, two fumbles) and 32 times since the beginning of 2013.

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Will we see Michael Vick become the Gang Green quarterback if things start to go badly for Smith? Is he the right answer? Only Rex Ryan can answer that.

One thing we do know for sure is that, with the AFC East there for the taking thanks to a stuttering New England, the Jets will have to enter win-now mode very, very soon.

Line: San Diego are 6.5 point favourites

Best bet: Chargers (-6.5) and over 43.5 points, 23/10

Fantasy advice: Start Philip Rivers and any Chargers receivers you can pick up off the waiver wire.

Verdict: The Chargers should be 4-0 but they will be 4-1 after today. San Diego by 7+

Other games and picks*

Houston Texans @ Dallas Cowboys -6.5
Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions -6.5
Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts -3.5
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jacksonsville Jaguars +6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints -10.5
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants -3.5
St. Louis Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles -6.5
Cleveland Browns @ Tennessee Titans -1.5
Arizona Cardinals @ Denver Broncos -7.5
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Francisco 49ers -5
Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots +1
Seattle Seahawks @ Washington +8

*Remember, the team in bold is picked to beat the spread, not necessarily win the game.

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