After four weeks of an NFL season we can begin to see who teams really are.
During that time, we can also see division races start to take shape with certain teams starting to pull away from the rest of the pack.. With that being said, there are a handful of teams facing must-win games if they want to have a realistic chance at making the playoffs 2018.
While you cannot completely write a team off after five weeks, the following four teams are at a crossroads in their 2018 season and face must-win games in Week 5.
Week 5 opponent: New York Jets
This game is going to feature highly-touted rookies Sam Darnold, Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, and Royce Freeman. But the two guys with the most on the line are clearly Denver quarterback Case Keenum and head coach Vance Joseph.
It’s no secret that Joseph is on the hot seat (reports came out in week 17 of last season that he was likely going to be fired after the team’s final game before General Manager John Elway ultimately decided to give him a second season on the job).
As for Keenum, fans and the team alike are growing impatient with his inconsistencies. Keenum has only thrown three touchdowns this season and they all came in week one against the Seattle Seahawks. Keenum is also tied for the second most interceptions in the NFL with five.
The Broncos not only need to win this game so Vance Joseph can keep his job for another week, but they also need Keenum to get back on the right track — and resemble the player he was in 2017 for the Minnesota Vikings.
With another loss, the Broncos will essentially be out of the race for the AFC West title.
Week 5 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs
As of right now, the Jaguars and Chiefs look like the two best teams in the AFC.
Jacksonville comes into this game with a 3-1 record with their only blemish coming in a highly-disappointing loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3. With serious Super Bowl aspirations in 2018, the Jaguars have their sights set on capturing home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. And their biggest competition for the No. 1 seed appears to be the Chiefs.
When it’s all said and done, this is a game we can look back to in December as a potential playoff tiebreaker.
Week 5 opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
If I had told you during the offseason that the Dolphins and Bengals would have better records than the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers at this point in the season, you likely would have laughed me out of the room. But that’s the case going into Week 5, and this is a borderline must-win game for both teams.
For the Dolphins, this game is all about holding onto their lead over the Patriots — and lets just be honest, every NFL fan not cheering for New England would love to see any other team win the AFC East.
On top of that, a source close to me has told me Miami head oach Adam Gase is coaching to save his job in 2018, despite the fact that he combined with Peyton Manning to orchestrate the greatest offense in NFL history in 2013 as offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.
For the Bengals, their focus has to be staying hot and holding onto their lead in the highly-competitive AFC North.
Whoever comes out on top here is going to be sitting pretty heading into Week 6.
Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers
The Falcons (1-3) and Steelers (1-2-1) were both popular Super Bowl picks going into the 2018 season. Now, both teams are fighting to keep their postseason hopes alive, making this a must win for both teams.
There’s not much to say here. Atlanta and Pittsburgh both need to have a sense of urgency or their respective offseasons will begin much earlier than expected.
More from The Odds-On Favorite:
- NFL ATS Records Through Four Weeks for All 32 Teams
- NFL Picks: Potential Against The Spread Upsets in Week 5
- Week 5 NFL Point Spreads, Odds, Over/Unders, Money Lines