15 NFL Players Who Must Step Up in Week 5
15 Players That Need To Have Big Games For Their Teams in Week 5
It's hard to believe, but September football is already in the books. We're a full month into the season and the contenders and pretenders have been established for the most part. The Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints seem to be the class of the league. While on the flip side, the Jacksonville Jaguars seem like a real threat to become the second team in history to go winless.
Week five will usher in another slate of fantastic games across the league. Fans will be treated to such gems as: Patriots vs. Bengals, Lions vs. Packers, Seahawks vs. Colts, Saints vs. Bears, Broncos vs. Cowboys and Texans vs. 49ers. To say that there's a lot riding on those key matchups, would be putting it lightly.
Week five also acts as a point of no return for teams that just can't get it together. For the squads that finish the week at 1-4 or 0-5, a chance at making the playoffs will be all but eliminated.
It's with all that in mind that we'll take a look at 15 players that need to step up for their respective teams. It's football, so of course a lot of the players are quarterbacks. As they say, quarterbacks get too much of the blame when things go wrong and too much credit when things go right. However, I think we can all agree that if you don't have a good QB in the NFL, you're team isn't going to go very far.
Here are 15 player who need to have big games in week five:
Flacco had one of the worst games of his career in week four. The Super Bowl MVP tossed five picks as the Ravens lost to the Bills. Now as Baltimore heads south to take on the improved Dolphins, Flacco will have to be back on his game if the Ravens are to have any chance at victory in week five.
Richardson has had a couple of decent games since joining the Colts in week three, but it's now time for him to really emerge as a reliable weapon on offense. Indy has a date with the tough Seattle defense on Sunday, so establishing the run will be key going up against the best secondary in football.
With Kroy Biermann done for the year, the Falcons are counting on Massaquoi to get pressure on opposing QBs for the rest of the season. He's yet to record a sack in 2013, but he should have a good opportunity to get on the board against the Jets in week five.
Dalton didn't have a great outing in week four as the Bengals lost to the Browns. Now with his team sitting at 2-2, the Patriots are coming to town. For Cincinnati to have any chance at victory, Dalton will have to get back on track in a big way.
The Cowboys' former first round pick did not have a good game in week four. But if he thought facing Phillip Rivers was tough, he hasn't seen anything yet. Peyton Manning and the high-flying Broncos are coming to Big-D on Sunday and the Cowboys need Claiborne to get his act together in a hurry.
Bad Jay was out in week four as the Bears lost their first game of 2013. Week five will bring the high-powered Saints' offense to town, so it's safe to assume Chicago will need to put plenty of points on the board. Good Jay needs to reemerge and cut out the turnovers.
The Packers can almost always count on Rodgers for a big game. He's rarely off, but come Sunday, he'll need to be on in a big way. The Lions are invading Lambeau Field with their fifth ranked passing offense and you can bet that they'll put plenty of points on the board. The Packers need Rodgers to have one of his games to avoid going 1-3 and falling behind in the NFC North.
Never heard of Tourek Williams? Don't worry, most fans haven't. He made the list because he's Dwight Freeney's backup. The proven veteran pass-rusher is out indefinitely with a torn quad, so Williams will be one of the next players up. The first huge game of his career will come against the Raiders, which is a decent matchup. However, he'll have a hard time chasing down the speedy Terrelle Pryor all game long.
After the disheartening injury that Jake Locker suffered in week four, the Titans have no choice but to turn to Fitzpatrick against the Chiefs. Thus far, the KC defense has been one of the best units in the league. If Fitzpatrick can't get it going through the air, Tennessee will be in big trouble.
We all saw how awful the Rams' offense looked in week four against the 49ers. Forget touchdowns, they couldn't even get a first down in the second half. But week five brings some good news with it - the Jaguars are coming to town. If Sam Bradford and company can't get back on track against the league's worst team, Rams' fans should start to panic in a big way.
Matthews has played well in 2013. He's totaled two sacks in three games and he's been his usual self. But with the pass-happy Lions in town on Sunday, the linebacker needs to make Matthew Stafford's life a living you know what. If he can pull it off, the Packers have a much better chance of getting back to .500.
Gore returned to form in week four as the 49ers got back to .500 on the young season. He had by far his best game of 2013 by amassing 153 yards on 20 carries. Fans shouldn't expect those kind of numbers again in week five, but it's clear the 49ers are a different team when they can run the ball effectively. With the Texans coming to Candletstick on Sunday, Gore will have his work cut out for him.
Wallace's career in Miami has been meh so far. He's played alright, but certainly not up to the level the Dolphins were expecting after they inked him to a $60 million dollar deal. A quarter of the way through the season, Wallace only has 176 yards receiving. If he can get near that number in week five, fans will forget all about the first four games.
Bruce Arians called out Mendenhall this week after the RB struggled yet again in week four. The Cardinals will return home to face the Panthers this Sunday and they'll have a chance to get to 3-2 on the young season. Arizona needs Mendenhall to get his head on straight and regain his form from a few years back.
It's debatable, but I don't think anybody had a worse week four than Schaub. He threw one of the most terrible interceptions you'll ever see to essentially lose Houston their game and now fans are turning on him in a big way. However, he can redeem himself by leading the Texans to a tough road win against the 49ers in week five.