NFL Week 5 X-Factor #2: Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields
Matt Eberflus' must find a way to lead his team to victory this week. The Chicago Bears have lost fourteen consecutive regular season games - the longest active streak by any franchise. Their last win was a 33-14 win against the New England Patriots in Week 7 of the 2022 season. A primetime Thursday Night Football stage will be the perfect opportunity for the second-year Head Coach. He'll rely heavily on his dual-threat quarterback to add points to the scoreboard.
A win against a stout defensive front will help Justin Fields build confidence. He's struggled to find time in the pocket heading into Chicago's Week 5 match-up. This season, Fields ties third in most times sacked (16) but deserves part of the blame. He's indecisive when looking for receivers - resulting in unnecessary losses. Chicago's offensive line is ranked tenth in pass blocking (66.1) and will fair well against the Commanders pass rush. We can expect Chase Young and Montez Sweat to hunt Fields relentlessly. Jack Del Rio's group ranks 21st in pass rush (67.5) and 16th in coverage (70.5). They have weaknesses Fields can exploit, but it's up to him to make plays.
NFL Week 5 X-Factor #1: Dallas Cowboys DE Micah Parsons
A 28-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals did not sit well with the Dallas Cowboys defense. Joshua Dobbs and James Connor led Drew Petzing's offense to a Week 3 victory. Micah Parsons voiced concerns to the media following the game. "I think we just beat ourselves" Parson stated. " We put ourselves behind the eight ball a couple of times. It just wasn't championship football." Dan Quin's group responded well to their disappointing performance. They destroyed the New England Patriots 38-3 to restore order.
Defeating the San Francisco 49ers requires a team effort. Brock Purdy continues to perform well in his second season as a starter. He's tied for twelfth in passing touchdowns (5) and ranks fifth in completion percentage (72.3). The 49ers offensive line tries their best to keep their quarterback clean. Kyle Shanahan's group ranks 26th in pass block grading (53.7) but has only allowed seven sacks on the year. Micah Parson' is a skilled edge rusher with instincts for hunting quarterbacks. The third year edge rusher ranks fourth in pass rush grading (91) and seventh in sacks (4) among edge rushers heading. He is the X-Factor for the Cowboys in the biggest game of the season so far. I am sure he'll show up and perform well.
The upcoming slate of NFL action will help fans understand where their favorite franchises stand in league power rankings. Struggling teams must find ways to win. Relying on superstar X-Factors is the best way to make it happen.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com.