NFL Week 5
Follow along here for frequent updates and developments from all of Sunday’s NFL games. Check back after “Sunday Night Football” for a look at the biggest moments and trends to watch.
The Packers turned into a soap opera last week, with Aaron Rodgers passive-aggressively questioning the team’s game plan and play-calling. That led to questions about his relationship with Coach Mike McCarthy, something the two tried to downplay all last week.
On Sunday, personnel was the issue, with two of Rodgers’s favorite receivers (Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison) out with injuries. The result was ugly, with Rodgers unable to get untracked and Mason Crosby missing four field goal attempts and one PAT, in a 31-23 loss to the Lions in Detroit.
Green Bay is 2-2-1, with CBS’s Jason La Canfora reporting that tensions are mounting. That isn’t likely to change this week.
Maybe Beckham should have spoken up sooner: Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t hold back when he was asked about the Giants’ struggles, saying, “I don’t know,” whether Eli Manning might be part of the problem. The jury may still be out on that subject, but the Giants hung in there before losing 33-31 to the Panthers on a 63-yard field goal by Graham Gano with 11 seconds left.
Beckham followed that up by passing for a touchdown himself, hitting Saquon Barkley on a 57-yarder. Oh, and he also had his first TD reception of the season from Manning.
Browns win! Browns win! Browns win! Don’t look now, but Cleveland is 2-2-1, beating the Ravens in overtime on perhaps the ugliest 37-yard, game-winning field goal (by Greg Joseph) you’re ever going to see.
The win is the first on a Sunday for the Browns since 2015, and rookie QB Baker Mayfield completed 25-of-43 passes for 342 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
More for Mahomes: The league’s top scoring offense met the top defense and the defense gave way. On a wet day in Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes completes 22 of 38 passes for 313 yards (with no touchdowns) and was intercepted twice.
Blake Bortles was, well, Blake Bortles, throwing four interceptions, including a pick six to a lineman, in the 30-14 loss.
As far as the Chiefs’ hot start is concerned, beware of swigging the Kool-Aid. They’ve gotten off to hot starts before and ended up with nothing to show for it in January or February.
Reid takes a knee: Eric Reid returned to the NFL with a new team and continued to take a knee during the national anthem to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality. Read more on Reid’s return to the league here.
Top story lines
It can get late awfully early: The NFL season is one-quarter over and John Clayton sees three preseason NFC contenders with cause for concern about making the playoffs because they play in a loaded conference (the Falcons, Vikings and Eagles) and one AFC team that should be worried (the Steelers). Football Outsiders has the Falcons’ playoff odds at 17 percent, the Vikings’ at 24 and the Eagles at 41. The Steelers own 23.9 percent odds. (Read more)
Really, really good news: Roughing the passer penalties were down in Week 4, thank the heavens above. There were five flags thrown for roughing after 34 total in the first three weeks of the season. One NFL executive told The Post’s Mark Maske that the decline is thanks to adjustments by officials, players and coaches. “Some people would say, ‘What’s the reason?’” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said. “I would say it’s a combination of coaching points, officiating mechanics and player adjustments. It was all of those. I don’t think it was any one thing.” (Read more)
Oh, say, have you seen? The NFL’s new stars are shining bright and the NFL is fun again, a year after it . . . wasn’t. (Read more from Jerry Brewer.)
A little something for the NFL: Roger Goodell says he appreciates President Trump’s “leadership” on the new trade deal’s Super Bowl provision. (Read more)
What happened to the anthem controversy? All anyone is talking about is roughing-the-passer penalties. (Read more)
Jets’ DC out dealing with an illness: New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers will miss the game against the Broncos because he’s dealing with what Coach Todd Bowles said is a “serious” illness. Bowles is expected to call the defensive plays.
And they’re off: The Bears and Buccaneers are this week’s bye teams.
Top story lines
Cowboys’ Williams out: Wide receiver Terrance Williams will miss the game against the Texans with a foot injury.
K.J. Wright out: The Seahawks have ruled out linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) against the Rams; defensive end Frank Clark is questionable.
Sproles out: Eagles running back Darren Sproles (hamstring) and defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder) will not play against the Vikings; running back Corey Clement (quadriceps) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf) are questionable. The Vikings’ defensive end Everson Griffen is out indefinitely as he undergoes mental health evaluation because of a number of recent incidents. Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook is a game-time decision because of a hamstring injury.
Olsen closer: Panthers tight end Greg Olsen hoped to play in four-to-five weeks after breaking his foot in the opener. Although he was on the practice field last week, he won’t play against the Giants. Linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) and tight end Evan Engram (knee) are out for the Giants.
Benjamin out: The Chargers’ Travis Benjamin is out two-to-three weeks with a foot injury.