Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Three-and-out: NFL’s best matchups of Week 5

With plenty of attention on Tom Brady’s return, we focus on games that actually have contenders on each side of the field with one matchup in each of the Sunday time slots.

HOUSTON TEXANS (3-1)
AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-0)

With the last meeting between the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings taking place in 2012, before either of the head coaches were in place, the history between the two teams is irrelevant, but the matchups are crucial.

The Vikings have proven to be adept at shutting down the top receiving options for each of their opponents this season and they will have a challenge again on Sunday against the Houston’s receiving corps.

DeAndre Hopkins has 27 catches for 348 yards and two touchdowns in his last four games against NFC opponents, but this might be his biggest test yet. The Vikings held Kelvin Benjamin to no catches two weeks ago and Odell Beckham Jr. to his a career-low 23 yards on three catches last week. That could mean a bigger opportunity for rookie Will Fuller, who had a touchdown catch and a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown last week, becoming one of only four rookies in the past 15 yards with that combination of touchdowns in the same game.

Both teams feature new starting quarterbacks in their lineup this year, with Brock Osweiler for the Texans and Sam Bradford for the Vikings. Bradford is getting the best of that with a 105.5 passer rating (third in the NFL), four touchdowns and no interceptions in his three starts. Osweiler has 949 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions in his first season with the Texans.

  TEXANS VIKINGS
SERIES LEADER   3-1-0
STREAKS   Past 3
COACHES VS. OPP. Bill O’Brien: 0-0 Mike Zimmer: 0-0
LAST WEEK W 27-20 vs. Tennessee W 24-10 vs. New York Giants
LAST GAME 12/23/12: Vikings 23 at Texans 6. Minnesota QB Christian Ponder passes for 174 yards & TD. Vikings’ defense holds Houston to 187 total net yards & records 4 sacks.
LAST GAME AT SITE 11/2/08: Vikings 28, Texans 21. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson rushes for 139 yards & TD. Vikings QB Gus Frerotte passes for 182 yards & 3 TDs.
REFEREE Jeff Triplette
BROADCAST CBS (1:00 PM ET): Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots. SIRIUS: 136 (Hou), 108 (Min). XM: 383 (Hou), 228 (Min).
PASSING Brock Osweiler: 90-146-949-5-6-74.8 Sam Bradford: 66-95-719-4-0-105.5 (3L)
RUSHING Lamar Miller: 93-351-3.8-0 Jerick McKinnon: 37-138-3.7-1
RECEIVING Will Fuller (R): 19-323-17.0-2 Stefon Diggs: 25-372-14.9-1
OFFENSE 334.5 290.5
TAKE/GIVE -3 +10 (1L)
DEFENSE 287.8 306
SACKS John Simon: 2.5 Everson Griffen: 4 (T3L)
INTs Andre Hal, Quintin Demps: 1 Trae Waynes: 2
PUNTING Shane Lechler: 49.3 Jeff Locke: 43.0
KICKING Nick Novak: 33 (6/6 PAT; 9/11 FG) Blair Walsh: 30 (6/8 PAT; 8/11 FG)


VIKINGS

QB BROCK OSWEILER is 2-0 as starter in career vs. NFC with 105.6 rating…RB LAMAR MILLER had 150 scrimmage yards (92 rush, 58 rec.) & rush TD in only game vs. Min. (12/21/15 with Mia.). Has 429 scrimmage yards (107.3 per game) in 4 games with Hou…WR DE ANDRE HOPKINS has 27 catches for 348 yards (87 per game) & 2 TDs in past 4 vs. NFC. Rookie WR-PR WILL FULLER had TD catch & 67-yard PR-TD last week, 1 of 4 rookies in past 15 years with rec. TD & PR-TD in same game. Leads NFL rookies with 323 rec. yards…LB WHITNEY MERCILUS has 8.5 sacks in past 6 (incl. playoffs). LB BERNARDRICK MC KINNEY leads team with 38 tackles. Has sack in 2 of past 3. DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY had sack last week. Has 5 sacks in past 8. LB JOHN SIMON has 3 sacks in past 5. CBs A.J. BOUYE (6) & JOHNATHAN JOSEPH (5) lead club in PD. S QUINTIN DEMPS had INT last week.

TEXANS

QB SAM BRADFORD had 3 TD passes in only career meeting (10/13/13 with Rams). Has 100+ rating in 3 of past 4…RB MATT ASIATA had rush TD last week. RB JERICK MC KINNON rushed for 85 yards & TD in Week 4…WR STEFON DIGGS has 100+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3 vs. AFC. TE KYLE RUDOLPH aims for 4th in row with TD catch. Had TD catch in last meeting…DE EVERSON GRIFFEN has 4 sacks in past 3. DT LINVAL JOSEPH has sack in 3 of past 4. LB CHAD GREENWAY had 9 tackles, sack & FF in 11/2/08 meeting. LB ERIC KENDRICKS has 2 sacks in past 3 vs. AFC. Has 6+ tackles in 7 of past 8 at home. CB CAPTAIN MUNNERLYN aims for 3rd in row with 8+ tackles. CB TERENCE NEWMAN aims for 4th in row vs. Hou with PD. CB TRAE WAYNES has INT in 2 of past 3. S HARRISON SMITH had 7 tackles, sack & FF in last meeting. Led team with 9 tackles in Week 4. CB XAVIER RHODES had INT last week.

 

ATLANTA FALCONS (3-1)
AT DENVER BRONCOS (4-0)

The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are known for their defense. The Atlanta Falcons have the NFL’s top offense and the top-ranked passing offense. It’s strength on strength in this matchup.

Last week, Matt Ryan threw for a career-high 503 yards, only the 19th time in NFL history a quarterback surpassed 500 yards. Ryan also had four touchdowns and a 142 rating in that game, and has at least three touchdowns in two of the past three games against an AFC opponent. His top target last week was Julio Jones, who had 12 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown, the sixth player in NFL history with at least 300 receiving yards in a game. However, the Broncos are the fourth-ranked defense and second-ranked passing defense.

Broncos QB Trevor Siemian is in his first season as a starter and has won his first four games, including 2-0 at home. He has a 99.6 passer rating with six touchdowns and three interceptions, but he didn’t practice on Wednesday because of a left shoulder injury. If can't go, rookie Paxton Lynch, who replaced him in a winning effort last week, will get the call.

But with the Broncos defense, LB Von Miller is back to his top-performing ways, winning AFC Defensive Player of the Month in September. He has 10½ sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception in his past six games, including the playoffs.

  FALCONS BRONCOS
SERIES LEADER   8-5-0
STREAKS 2 of past 3  
COACHES VS. OPP. Dan Quinn: 0-0 Gary Kubiak: 1-1
LAST WEEK W 48-33 vs. Carolina W 27-7 at Tampa Bay
LAST GAME 9/7/12: Broncos 21 at Falcons 27. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan passes for 219 yards & 2 TDs for 101.5 rating. Falcons WR Roddy White has 8 receptions for 102 yards & TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 10/31/04: Falcons 41, Broncos 28. Atlanta QB Michael Vick passes for 252 yards with 2 TDs & rushes for 115 yards. Falcons WR Peerless Price has 2 TD catches.
REFEREE Terry McAulay
BROADCAST FOX (4:05 PM ET): Chris Myers, John Lynch, Pam Oliver. SIRIUS: 81 (Atl), 112 (Den). XM: 225 (Atl), 232 (Den).
PASSING Matt Ryan: 101-140-1473 (1L)-11 (T1L)-2-126.3 (1L) Trevor Siemian: 68-101-824-6-3-99.6
RUSHING Devonta Freeman: 55-322-5.9-1 C.J. Anderson: 73-252-3.5-3
RECEIVING Julio Jones: 22-488 (1L)-22.2-3 Emmanuel Sanders: 25-293-11.7-3
OFFENSE 478.8 (1L) 342.3
TAKE/GIVE 3 3
DEFENSE 419.3 283.3
SACKS Dwight Freeney: 2 Von Miller: 5.5 (1L)
INTs Robert Alford: 2 Aqib Talib: 3 (T2L)
PUNTING Matt Bosher: 44.1 Riley Dixon (R): 47.0
KICKING Matt Bryant: 40 (3L) (16/16 PAT; 8/8 FG) Brandon McManus: 31 (10/11 PAT; 7/8 FG)

FALCONS

QB MATT RYAN passed for career-high 503 yards with 4 TDs for 142 rating in Week 4. Performance marked 19th 500-yard passing game in NFL history. Has 3 pass TDs in 2 of past 3 vs. AFC…RB DEVONTA FREEMAN had rush TD last week…WR JULIO JONES had 12 receptions for 300 yards & TD last week, 6th player in NFL history with 300+ rec. yards in game. Has TD in 3 of past 4 vs. AFC. Aims for 4th in row vs. AFC with 100+ rec. yards. WR ALDRICK ROBINSON & TE AUSTIN HOOPER each had 1st career TD catch in Week 4. WR MOHAMED SANU had rush TD in last meeting (12/28/15 with Cin)…DE DWIGHT FREENEY has 8 sacks in past 8. Rookie LB DEION JONES & S KEMAL ISHMAEL lead team with 30 tackles. CB ROBERT ALFORD had 2 INTs in Week 4, incl. 30-yard INT-TD. S KEANUE NEAL had 9 tackles last week.

BRONCOS

QB TREVOR SIEMIAN has won 1st 4 career starts (2-0 at home). Rookie QB PAXTON LYNCH threw 1st career TD last week…RB C.J. ANDERSON has 8 TDs (7 rush, 1 rec.) in past 9 (incl. playoffs). Has 16 TDs (15 rush, 1 rec.) in past 15 at home (incl. playoffs). Aims for 6th regular-season game at home with TD (7 TDs in past 5)…WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS is 1 of 2 in NFL with 6,000+ rec. yards (6,119) & 40+ rec. TDs (43) since 2012. WR EMMANUEL SANDERS has 17 catches for 205 yards & 3 TDs in past 2…LB VON MILLER won AFC Defensive Player of Month for Sept. Has 10.5 sacks, 3 FFs & INT in past 6 (incl. playoffs). In 19 games vs. NFC (incl. SB), has 20 sacks, 6 FFs, FR & INT-TD. Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), ranks 2nd in NFL with 72 sacks. Has 6.5 sacks in past 3 at home (incl. playoffs). CB AQIB TALIB had 2 INTs last week. Has 9 career INT-TDs, tied for 4th in NFL history & most by active player. LB SHANE RAY has 3 sacks & FR-TD in past 3. DE DEREK WOLFE has 4 sacks in past 3.

 

NEW YORK GIANTS (2-2)
AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (2-1)

Three years ago at home, the New York Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 27-13. Three years prior to that, the Packers, playing at home, beat the Giants 45-17. In each of those games, the winner had a 100-yard receiver.

Both of those receivers, Jordy Nelson for the Packers and Victor Cruz for the Giants, are still around and a big part of the strength of each of those offenses. The Packers’ top receiver is still Nelson, who is improving as he works his way back from a lost season because of a knee injury. The Giants now sport Odell Beckham, Jr. as their top receiver and have added a shifty rookie in Sterling Shepard.

Beckham has seven or more receptions in two of his last three games, but was held to a career-low 23 yards on three catches Monday night, while Nelson had six catches, 101 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers’ last game before their bye.

This Sunday night game will be about the aerial attacks behind Eli Manning, who already has 1,186 yards but has as many interceptions as touchdowns (four apiece), for New York, and Aaron Rodgers, who has just over half that many yards but seven touchdowns and one interception, for Green Bay.

  GIANTS PACKERS
SERIES LEADER   27-23-2
STREAKS   3 of past 5
COACHES VS. OPP. Ben McAdoo: 0-0 Mike McCarthy: 3-2
LAST WEEK L 24-10 at Minnesota Bye (Wk. 3: W 34-27 vs. Detroit)
LAST GAME 11/17/13: Packers 13 at Giants 27. New York QB Eli Manning passes for 279 yards & TD. Giants WR Victor Cruz has 8 receptions for 110 yards.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/26/10: Packers 45, Giants 17. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers passes for 404 yards & 4 TDs. Packers WR Jordy Nelson has 124 receiving yards & TD.
REFEREE Ed Hochuli
BROADCAST NBC (8:30 PM ET): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton. SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (NYG), 81 (GB). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (NYG), 225 (GB).
PASSING Eli Manning: 101-152-1186-4-4-87.8 Aaron Rodgers: 55-94-617-7-1-98.6
RUSHING Orleans Darkwa: 23-100-4.3-2 Eddie Lacy: 43-214-5.0-0
RECEIVING Odell Beckham: 22-303-13.8-0 Jordy Nelson: 17-206-12.1-4 (T1L)
OFFENSE 382.3 293.7
TAKE/GIVE -8 0
DEFENSE 346.3 350
SACKS 4 tied: 1 Nick Perry: 3.5
INTs --- Damarious Randall, Joe Thomas: 1
PUNTING Brad Wing: 49.7 Jacob Schum: 41.8
KICKING Josh Brown: 23 (5/5 PAT; 6/7 FG) Mason Crosby: 21 (9/9 PAT; 4/4 FG)

GIANTS

In 2011 Div. Playoff at GB, QB ELI MANNING passed for 330 yards & 3 TDs for 114.5 rating. Has 100+ rating in 2 of past 3 vs. GB...RB ORLEANS DARKWA aims for 3rd in row with rush TD. RB RASHAD JENNINGS had 115 scrimmage yards (59 rush, 56 rec.) in only career meeting (10/28/12 with Jax). Rookie RB PAUL PERKINS had 67-yard reception last week…WR ODELL BECKHAM has 7+ receptions in 2 of past 3…WR VICTOR CRUZ had 8 receptions for 110 yards in last meeting…DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL had INT in last meeting. DE OLIVIER VERNON had 1.5 sacks & FF in only meeting (10/12/14 with Mia). LB JONATHAN CASILLAS leads team with 31 tackles this season. S LANDON COLLINS led team with 10 tackles in Week 4.

PACKERS

QB AARON RODGERS passed for 205 yards & 4 TDs in Week 3. Averaging 330.7 pass yards & 3 TDs for 112.1 rating in 3 career meetings…RB EDDIE LACY has 100+ rush yards in 3 of past 4 at home. Rushed for 103 yards in Week 3. Had rush TD in last meeting…WR DAVANTE ADAMS had TD catch in Week 3. WR JORDY NELSON had 6 receptions for 101 yards & 2 TDs in Week 3. Aims for 4th in row with TD. Had 8 receptions for 117 yards in last meeting. TE RICHARD RODGERShad TD catch in Week 3…LB KYLER FACKRELL had 1st career sack in Week 3. LB CLAY MATTHEWS had sack in last meeting. LB JULIUS PEPPERS has 5 sacks in past 5. Aims for 4th in row vs. NYG with sack. LB NICK PERRY had 2 sacks in Week 3. Has 3.5 sacks in past 3. S MICAH HYDE led team with 11 tackles in Week 3. CB DAMARIOUS RANDALL had INT in Week 3.


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