NFL Week 5 bold predictions: Cowboys shred 49ers; Zach Wilson and Josh Jacobs notch career firsts

Throughout the 2023 season, NFL Network analysts will provide one bold prediction heading into each week’s slate of games (see the full Week 5 schedule).

Maybe I was blinded by what I saw last Sunday night, but Zach Wilson appears to be turning a corner. The much-maligned Jets quarterback got the ball out quickly and moved the offense against the Chiefs. This week, he gets to face a Broncos defense that hasn’t been able to stop much of anything. Armed with a new confidence — and perhaps a better knowledge of the offense — I expect Wilson to hit new career heights by throwing three touchdown passes for the first time as a pro.

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My bold prediction hinges on the status of Cooper Kupp, who returned to practice this week after missing the first four games with a hamstring injury. If Kupp makes his 2023 debut on Sunday — and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says the veteran wideout should be good to go — rookie Puka Nacua will still lead the Los Angeles Rams in receptions and receiving yards, recording his fourth 100-yard game of the season. If Kupp doesn’t play, the Eagles’ defense will hold Nacua to fewer than five catches for the first time this season.

After rushing 340 times last season (second-most in the league, behind only Derrick Henry), Josh Jacobs is now pacing all running backs with 25 targets entering Week 5. Only 28 percent of his fantasy points came from receiving in 2022, but 61 percent of his fantasy points have come via the pass this season. Despite being targeted 225 times in his career, the Raiders’ fifth-year back still has zero receiving touchdowns — the most targets without a score since targets became a stat in 1992. With Green Bay allowing the third-most receptions to running backs this season, Jacobs logs his first ever TD grab on Monday night. 

I’ve got a fever. And the only prescription is … more long touchdowns! After we saw just two TD runs of 50-plus yards in the first month of the season, Week 5 will give us four — which would be the most in a week since 2019 (also in Week 5). Oh, I’m not finished. The players to do it? Travis Etienne (against the Bills in London), De’Von Achane (against the Giants … is this even bold?), Breece Hall (against the Denver Swiss Cheese … I mean Broncos) and Josh Jacobs (against the Packers). Get them into your fantasy lineups.

Rashee Rice is getting more playing time and led Chiefs wide receivers with five targets against the Jets. Now he gets a Vikings team that has allowed the third-most yards to receivers. A Kansas City wideout is bound to step up soon to become the playmaker Patrick Mahomes has been searching for, and I believe it will be Rice. The rookie breaks out with 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns to lead fantasy waiver wire columns everywhere next week.

We’re in for a treat Sunday night with a highly anticipated matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. There are so many scenarios that could shake out between these two talented teams, but I’m going to say this: The Dak Prescott-led Cowboys take it to the Nick Bosa-led 49ers and rack up an astonishing 500 yards and 30 points in a road win.

Full NFL Week 5 schedule

Thursday, October 5

  • Chicago Bears 40, Washington Commanders 20

Sunday, October 8

  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills in London (9:30 a.m. ET on NFL Network/NFL+)
  • Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
  • Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
  • Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
  • New York Giants at Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
  • New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
  • Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals (4:05 p.m. ET on FOX)
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET on FOX)
  • New York Jets at Denver Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET on CBS)
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET on CBS)
  • Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC/Telemundo/NFL+)

Monday, October 9

  • Green Bay Packers at Las Vegas Raiders (8:15 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/NFL+)

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