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NFL Picks Week 5

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Each week, the Steelers Now staff is picking each NFL game. For Week 5, they’ll go up against some special guest pickers.

Joining us this week in picking each NFL game is former Steelers kicker Jeff Reed. See how the guys stack up to a Steelers great. Think you can do better? Prove it in the comments.

STANDINGS

Alan Saunders: 41-20
Parker Hurley: 37-24
Mike Asti: 36-25
Ron Lippock: 35-26

LAST WEEK

Mike Asti: 7-7
Parker Hurley: 8-6
Ron Lippock: 7-7
Alan Saunders: 10-4

THURSDAY

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

JEFF REED:
Seahawks
Asti: Rams. Maybe last week exposed the Rams, but I’m banking on it being more of an aberration.
Hurley: Seahawks, Russ Wilson in primetime in front of the 12th man feels safe.
Lippock: Seahawks, 20-17
Saunders: Rams. Just closing my eyes and pretending last week didn’t happen.

SUNDAY EARLY

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals

JEFF REED:
Seahawks
Asti: Cardinals
Hurley: Cardinals
Lippock: Bengals
Saunders: Bengals, I guess. Someone gets to go winless in five games as a rookie head coach.

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans

JEFF REED:
Bills
Asti: Bills. I’m not drinking the Bills Kool-Aid as much as some people, but they’re still better than the Titans.
Hurley: Titans, just because they are at home
Lippock: Titans
Saunders: Bills impressed in a loss against New England last week.

Chicago Bears vs Oakland Raiders in London

JEFF REED:
Bears
Asti: Bears. The Raiders won’t be able to get much going against the Bears defense.
Hurley: Bears, as Khalil Mack gets revenge on his old team
Lippock: Bears
Saunders: Bears’ better defense should give them advantage in always-wonky game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

JEFF REED:
Saints
Asti: Saints
Hurley: Bucs, Bruce Arians is starting to tame Jameis Winston and good things may come.
Lippock: Buccaneers
Saunders: Saints

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants

JEFF REED:
Giants
Asti: Vikings
Hurley: Vikings
Lippock: Vikings
Saunders: Vikings

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles

JEFF REED:
Eagles
Asti: Eagles
Hurley: Eagles
Lippock: Eagles
Saunders: Eagles

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

JEFF REED:
Steelers

WILLIE PARKER:
James Conner and Jay Samuels will play a huge role this week. Ravens defense is having trouble stopping the run! I’m looking for the Steelers to test that area out early in the ball game! Our defensive front will have to get hits on Lamar Jackson early!! Ravens last game LJ didn’t look like the QB from previous weeks! Devin Bush and the Steelers LB corps and secondary have to play smart!! If the Steelers can get a block punt or huge play from special teams My prediction goes from 20-17 to the Steelers winning by 10!!”

Asti: The outcome of this game basically decides if the Steelers season is over or they actually have a shot at contending. But one impressive showing against Cincinnati doesn’t really equate to confidence in beating a now pretty balanced Ravens team, especially one that’s hungry coming off a loss. Conventional wisdom tells me Baltimore wins, but I actually think Pittsburgh pulls it out somehow to stay alive and keep the division race interesting.

Steelers 26, Ravens 20

Hurley: We think the defense made a statement on Monday that with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush in the mix. Now, they get a dynamic Ravens offense coming off of two losses. This is a big game for Bush as a spy on Jackson and with Joe Haden following Hollywood Brown, the defense wins the Steelers another division battle and makes that AFC North even tighter.

Steelers 24, Ravens 17

Lippock: The Steelers offense was innovative – a transformation last week versus the Bengals. Unfortunately, the Ravens, despite a poor showing versus the Browns, are a much superior defense – and offense – than the Bengals. This is going to put more pressure on the Steelers offense and defense.

Baltimore will move the ball and score points. The conservative offensive approach Pittsburgh has utilized won’t work this week. The concern is that the Steelers will stick to conservative offense until it falls too far behind, putting Rudolph in a tough spot, coming from behind versus Baltimore’s defense.

Ravens 23, Steelers 13

Saunders: Steelers have little reason to feel good about this game. They haven’t seen much of Lamar Jackson and their offense has plenty of issues. But the Ravens lost a winnable game against the Browns last week, giving the Steelers (and me) hope.

Steelers 20, Ravens 17

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

JEFF REED:
Patriots
Asti: Patriots
Hurley: Patriots, they get Jay Gruden fired.
Lippock: Patriots
Saunders: Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers

JEFF REED:
Jaguars
Asti: Panthers. This game may be the most boring game all week.
Hurley: Panthers, McCaffrey is a valuable weapon
Lippock: Jaguars
Saunders: Jaguars. I will not lose to Kyle Allen three week in a row. I will not lose to Kyle Allen three week in a row. I will not lose to Kyle Allen three week in a row.

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans

JEFF REED:
Texans
Asti: Falcons
Hurley: Texans
Lippock: Texans
Saunders: Falcons

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers

JEFF REED:
Chargers
Asti: Chargers
Hurley: Broncos, the bleeding has to stop eventually
Lippock: Chargers
Saunders: Chargers

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

JEFF REED:
Cowboys
Asti: Cowboys
Hurley: Packers
Lippock: Packers
Saunders: Packers

SUNDAY NIGHT

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

JEFF REED:
Chiefs
Asti: Chiefs
Hurley: Chiefs
Lippock: Chiefs
Saunders: Chiefs

MONDAY NIGHT

Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers

JEFF REED:
Browns
Asti: Browns. This will be a battle of defense, and while the 49ers defense could easily cause Mayfield to make mistakes that cost his team the game, Cleveland could force turnovers too. This game may look similar to the Steelers-49ers affair.
Hurley: 49ers
Lippock: The 49ers’ run defense has been top 5 in 2019 and this will be a difficult issue for the Browns to overcome. Once the Browns’ offense is turned one-dimensional, Mayfield makes mistakes. And the 49ers are very opportunistic on pass defense. Expect a number of long yardage situations for the Browns’ offense and mistakes by Mayfield that are the difference in this game.

49ers 27, Browns 20
Saunders: 49ers

NFL

NFL, NFLPA Announce 19 New Positives From Last Testing Period

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The NFL and NFLPA have announced their latest COVID-19 results from their most recent testing period.

The league had 19 new positive cases between Oct. 18 to 24. There were eight new positive tests among players and eleven among staff members.

In total, 42,687 total tests were administered to 7,817 players and personnel over the seven-day period.

The NFL has had 55 positives from players and 82 among personnel dating back to Aug. 1. Over 500,000 total tests have been administered.

Tier 1 and 2 individuals continue to be tested daily, white Tier 3 personnel are being tested on a weekly basis.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had any coronavirus-related issues since running back Jaylen Samuels was removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list back on Aug. 13.

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Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. Suffers Torn ACL

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The Cleveland Browns may have improved to 5-2 with their comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but they suffered a significant loss.

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, the organization announced Monday morning.

Beckham suffered the injury in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win over Cincinnati on Sunday, attempting to make a tackle on an interception thrown by quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The star wideout was off to a strong star in his second season with the Browns, catching 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. He also had rushed for a score.

While the loss of Beckham is significant, the Browns appear to have enough offensive weapons to overcome the injury. Mayfield posted one of the best performances of his career on Sunday, completing 22 of 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns after Beckham left the game.

Financially, Cleveland is still likely on the hook for Beckham’s $12.971 injury guarantee, which will convert to a full guarantee if he is rostered on the third day of the next league year, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. This means that Beckham is uncuttable, and a trade is very unlikely considering the injury.

Selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Beckham has caught 487 passes for 6,830 and 51 touchdowns over his career. He has been selected to three Pro Bowls, but not since 2016.

The Steelers and Browns do not face off again until Week 17 in Cleveland.

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Around the NFL: Mayfield Leads Browns to Late Win; DiNucci Fills In for Dallas

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Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap early-week action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective. 

AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEKEND

Cleveland Browns 37 Cincinnati Bengals 34

Following their beatdown at the hands of the Steelers last week, the Browns got back on track Sunday with another shootout win over the in-state rival Bengals, sweeping the season series.

After rough 0-5 start that included an interception, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield rebounded to produce the best game of his career, completing 22 of his final 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns. He set a franchise record in the process by completing 21-consecutive passes. Mayfield’s remarkable day was capped off with a game-winning touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones with eleven seconds remaining.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett continued his streak of dominance Sunday, sacking Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow twice and forcing a fumble. Garrett entered Week Seven second in the league with seven sacks and three forced fumbles.

Burrow continues to show exactly why he is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1-overall pick, but his stellar play has repeatedly demonstrated just how far Cincinnati’s roster is from being competitive and the amount of help he needs. With 406 yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing score Sunday afternoon, Burrow is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game.

The Bengals will continue the hunt for their second win when they host the Titans, while the Browns will welcome the Raiders to town.

Washington 25 Dallas Cowboys 3

A former WPIAL standout threw his first NFL passes, but the 2020 season went from bad to worse for the Cowboys on Sunday as they were blown out by Washington, suffering their second-straight loss.

Already without star quarterback Dak Prescott of the remainder of the season, Dallas backup Andy Dalton was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on an illegal hit by linebacker Jon Bostic, who was subsequently ejected. Dalton’s injury thrusted former Pine-Richland and Pitt quarterback Ben DiNucci into his first extended NFL action. DiNucci completed two of three passes for 39 yards, including this 32-yard dime to wide receiver Amari Cooper on his first career throw.

Meanwhile, Washington snapped a five-game losing streak yesterday behind a pair of impressive performances from their dynamic, young duo in running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver Terr McLaurin. A rookie out of Memphis, Gibson rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown, while McLaurin, the second-year star out of Ohio State, caught seven passes for 90 yards and a score.

DiNucci is expected to make his first career start when Dallas travels to Philadelphia next week. Washington hits their bye week before hosting the Giants on Nov. 8.

San Francisco 49ers 33 New England Patriots 6

While Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not play as well as he probably would have liked in his return to Foxborough, San Francisco still thumped the Patriots behind a suffocating performance from their defense.

New England quarterback Cam Newton, who looks lost since returning from the Reserve/COVID-19 list a few weeks ago, was a disaster on Sunday, completing just nine of fifteen passes for 98 yards and three interceptions. Newton was a non-factor on the ground as well, carrying just five times for 19 yards. The 49ers defense recorded four interceptions total, also picking off Jarrett Stidham in relief. Cornerback Jamar Taylor had two of the four.

Garoppolo was better, but just slightly. He completed 80% of his passes for 277 yards, but tossed two interceptions of his own and no touchdowns. The ground game was what truly swung the game in San Francisco’s favor. The Niners rushed for 197 yards and four scores as a team, 112 and three of which came from running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Unfortunately, Wilson’s phenomenal day ended abruptly when he was carted off the field with a leg injury in the third quarter that appeared significant.

San Francisco will aim to win their third-straight when they visit Seattle next Sunday. New England goes back to the drawing board ahead of a key divisional matchup against the 5-2, AFC East-leading Bills.

Kansas City Chiefs 43 Denver Broncos 16

Even though the volcanic Chiefs offense was able to sustain its excellence through blizzard-like conditions Sunday, it was the Kansas City defense and special teams that dominated the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs sacked quarterback Drew Lock three times and forced four Denver turnovers, including a 50-yard pick six by safety Daniel Sorensen. Safety Tyrann Mathieu picked Lock off a second time, and the Kansas City defense forced  running back Melvin Gordon to fumble twice. Not to be out done, Chiefs wideout Byron Pringle returned a kickoff 102 yards to the house at the end of the second quarter, an impressive play put over-the-top by the legendary Kevin Harlan.

Kansas City Patrick Mahomes was uncharacteristically quiet, throwing for 200 yards and connecting with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a single touchdown. Hill is off to a tremendous start to the year, having now scored a touchdown in six of seven games this season Former Steelers and Jets running back Le’Veon Bell was used sparingly in his Chiefs debut, carrying the ball six times for 39 yards. His compatriot in the backfield Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed eight times for 46 yards and a score.

Kansas City will host the winless New York Jets at Arrowhead next week, and just as a friendly reminder, the largest margin of victory in history is Chicago 73-0 over Washington back in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. Denver welcomes the Chargers to Mile High.

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

Philadelphia Eagles 22 New York Giants 21

Detroit Lions 23 Atlanta Falcons 22

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Tennessee Titans 24

Carolina Panthers 27 New Orleans Saints 24

Buffalo Bills 18 New York Jets 10

Green Bay Packers 35 Houston Texans 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45 Las Vegas Raiders 20

Los Angeles Chargers 39 Jacksonville Jaguars 29

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 8:20 p.m., WPXI-TV

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams, Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

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