The New England Patriots are coming off their first loss of the 2016 NFL Season as the Buffalo Bills came into Gillette Stadium and dominated to the tune of a 16-0 victory. It was quite a surprise after the Patriots had opened the season 3-0 despite not having star quarterback Tom Brady, who was suspended for the first four games of the season.
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The good news for New England is that Brady’s suspension is over, and he will return in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. While the Patriots did a nice job of getting to 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, having Tom Brady back will take the offense to a whole other level. Brady will likely want to put on a display on Sunday as he feels he was wrongfully suspended by the NFL for “Deflategate.”
The Browns, on the other hand, are the only winless team in the NFL, but they’ve been in every game except Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 2, Cleveland jumped out to a 20-0 lead over the Baltimore Ravens but then allowed their division rivals to score 25 unanswered points to pull out a 25-20 victory.
Cleveland had multiple opportunities to win Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins, but newly signed kicker Cody Parkey missed three field goals, including the potential game-winner that ultimately sent the game to overtime. In the extra session, Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi scored the game-winning touchdown to beat the Browns, 30-24.
Last week, the Browns took a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins but were unable to close out the victory, as the Redskins scored two touchdowns in the final 10:39 of the game to escape with a 31-20 win. Kirk Cousins hit running back Chris Thompson for a five-yard touchdown pass before Matt Jones closed out the victory with a one-yard touchdown run with 4:25 remaining.
Now that you have a little background on how these two teams have performed up to this point in the season, let’s get to some bold predictions for this Week 5 matchup.
5. Julian Edelman Will Have At Least 100 Yards Receiving And A Touchdown
Through four games, the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver has 19 receptions for 196 yards and zero touchdowns as the team has been forced to alter its style of play with Brady out. Look for Josh McDaniels to have a pass-heavy gameplan on Sunday with Tom’s return, and Edelman should be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
4. Isaiah Crowell Will Have Over 100 Yards Rushing
If the Browns are going to have any chance in this game, the offense is going to have to run the ball successfully in order to keep the explosive Patriots’ offense off the field. Crowell is second in the NFL in rushing with 394 yards, and he should get a healthy amount of carries against New England.
3. James White Will Have More Total Yards Than LeGarrette Blount
Blount is No. 3 in the NFL in rushing yards with 352, and White only has 12 carries for 47 yards and 13 catches for 102 yards. That being said, the Patriots have always used their running backs heavily in the passing game with Brady under center, and I expect White to have a breakout game against the Browns.
2. Terrelle Pryor Will Have Another 100-Yard Receiving Effort
Pryor has really come into his own this year as a wide receiver, as he’s posted 19 receptions for 290 yards and a touchdown through four games. Although the Browns will likely try their best to establish Crowell and the running game, the Patriots are going to score a lot of points in this game, which means there will be a lot of garbage time yards available for Pryor.
1. Tom Brady Will Have A Monster Game And Lead Patriots To Blowout Victory
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Brady feels that he was wronged by the NFL, which means he’s going to play with a purpose during his first game back. The Browns are going to feel the full wrath of an angry Tom Brady, which means they will be in for a long day. Look for the New England Patriots to crush the Cleveland Browns in Week 5 of the 2016 NFL Season, 45-17.
[Featured Image by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]