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Welcome to the “Missouri” edition of the Matchup Mania for NFL Week 5. No, that’s not a reference to the Georgia Bulldogs and their scare in nearly losing to the Tigers of Mizzou in college football, but rather to Missouri’s nickname as the “Show Me” state. The slate of pairings on this week’s MuM are teams that have a chance to “show me” as The Student of the Game if they should be taken seriously as playoff contenders and possibly division winners.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns
Jacoby Brissett may not have been what Browns fans hoped to see to start the season, but he is playing better than expected as Cleveland is currently 2-2. And the argument can be made that they should be at least a game better based on the mishandling of the Jets game in Week 2.
But this is the kind of game the Browns should win in hosting a Chargers squad that is devastated by injuries to major players all over the field, including quarterback Justin Herbert and top pass rusher Joey Bosa. After all, if the Jaguars can do it, why can’t they? However, should Los Angeles hold serve, it would help make a heck of a case for Herbert in MVP candidacy.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
So for all the hype surrounding Cooper “Riptide” Rush filling in for the injured Dak Prescott as the Cowboys’ quarterback and Matthew Stafford allegedly struggling under center, someone is either going to get silenced or hear criticism get louder.
If the Cowboys with all their injuries are still a playoff team, a victory here would do a lot to convince fans that a weak 2022 schedule would help Dallas surprise some people come week 18. Moreover, the pressure put on Stafford will only increase if he and the defending Super Bowl Champs were to drop this game.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Last Thursday night, the Bengals supplanted the once hot Miami Dolphins who are now drowning in scandal surrounding their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and how his health has been handled. Amidst all those headlines, Cincinnati in their Siberian white uniforms possibly returning to form seems to have been buried.
Other chatter that seems to be hiding the hype of the stripes is head coach Jon Harbaugh and his mishandling of the game in their loss to Buffalo. With both of these franchises vying for a shot to champion the AFC North, this game is of supreme importance. Be it for division standing or playoff hopes, expect to be noticing this contest as the reason for success or failure to launch come January.