If the Dallas Cowboys want to climb atop the mountain in the NFC, they will first have to force a frequent tormentor down from the peak. The past two seasons saw the Cowboys’ Super Bowl hopes get squashed by the San Francisco 49ers. It’s hard to tell yet if Dallas is properly equipped to prevent that from happening again.
The Cowboys’ challenge will be reversing their recent struggles against one of the league’s top defenses. Dallas just can’t score in the red zone. In the first four games, the Cowboys only scored touchdowns on 36.8 percent of their trips inside the 20.
Against rival San Francisco, the Cowboys can’t afford to be that inefficient. The 49ers have an aggressive defense that can stifle the best offenses. No one has found a way to stymie San Francisco all season.
The 49ers are undefeated and have found an efficient system behind quarterback Brock Purdy. With running back Christian McCaffrey playing at All-Pro levels, that provides the offense with impeccable balance.
This Sunday’s battle between Dallas and San Francisco will be the game everyone wants to see. But that isn’t the only highlight for the NFL in Week 5.
Ravens Set to Rule the North
Meetings between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers usually leave both teams feeling bruised and battered. Fortunately for the Ravens, the Steelers have already been softened up before Baltimore heads to the Steel City. Pittsburgh second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett is questionable after injuring his knee during a 24-point loss to Houston last week.
Even if Pickett was 100 percent, he hasn’t looked the part of an NFL starting quarterback this season. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing record since taking over the team in 2007, but the Steelers have serious problems they may not recover from.
That’s a common trend among AFC North teams. Cleveland has also been brutalized by injury. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has a shoulder injury, and running back Nick Chubb is out for the year with a serious leg injury. Cincinnati looks like a shell of itself, with quarterback Joe Burrow struggling.
Baltimore has to capitalize against its archrival this Sunday. If the Ravens beat the Steelers, they will be 3-0 in the division. While injuries have also hampered Baltimore, Black Sports News notes the Ravens still have quarterback Lamar Jackson playing at a high level.
Rams Ready for Real Test
Top sports news today shows the Los Angeles Rams may finally get superstar receiver Cooper Kupp back soon. The Rams hope quarterback Matthew Stafford can still throw him passes. Stafford suffered a hip contusion during the Rams’ win over Indianapolis last Sunday.
The team feels Stafford will be ready for Sunday. Los Angeles will need him if the Rams are going to beat defending the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The Rams have started the season 2-2 and played San Francisco tough during the team’s first meeting.
The Eagles are off to a 0-4 start, but something feels off. Philadelphia’s offense hasn’t been as crisp. The Eagles have survived one-score decisions against Washington, Minnesota, and New England to start the season. Even in a game that the Eagles dominated, a 25-11 win over Tampa Bay, Philadelphia didn’t look sharp.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 959 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Philadelphia running back D’Andre Swift has 364 rushing yards with two touchdowns this season. If Swift can continue to run well, the Eagles won’t need to worry as much if Hurts takes more time to settle in this season.
The Curious Case of the Tennessee Titans
The Titans will battle the Colts for first place in the AFC South this weekend. Although, so is every other team in the division, as all four teams are 2-2 on the season. Tennessee turned in a surprising performance against the Bengals last week.
After only scoring six points in the previous two weeks, the Titans scored 27 points and picked up a 24-point win. Tennessee running back Derrick Henry ran for a touchdown pass and threw for another against the Bengals. The Colts are a fascinating team.
Rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson finally escaped injury and turned in an inconsistent but sometimes spectacular performance. Richardson only completed 11 of 25 passes but threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. Indianapolis rallied from 15 points down against Los Angeles last week before losing overtime.
Broncos Find A Pulse
The Denver Broncos wouldn’t be blamed for hiding in a deep, dark hole. After taking a 50-point beatdown in South Beach in Week 3, the Broncos needed something good to happen. Falling behind by 21 points to the pitiful Chicago Bears last Sunday wasn’t what coach Sean Payton was looking for.
However, the Broncos may have put together a second half that could save their season. This Sunday’s game against the New York Jets should provide insight into how far Chicago has come. The Broncos rallied to beat the Bears 31-28 last weekend.
While the Jets didn’t beat the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, they had to be encouraged; former first-round pick and quarterback Zach Wilson looked good. New York was able to stay in the game until the bitter end. Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson will need another solid performance to crack the Jets’ defense.
Jacksonville Gets Another Stearn Test
If you love competition early in a season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have already been sufficiently challenged to test their mettle. The Jaguars failed their first test, losing to Kansas City in Week 2. Playing a red-hot Buffalo team on the road will be a stiff test.
Up-to-date sports news shows the Jaguars need to make improvements on offense. Jacksonville has had a hard time finishing drives. The Jaguars only scored 23 points in London last weekend against a middling Atlanta team.
The Bills have scored 37 points or more in their last three games. Buffalo has also been excellent on defense. The Bills have only allowed a combined 33 points over the past three games.
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