I had a pretty decent week of picks last week, but some upsets and my Giants losing AGAIN hurt me a little bit. Here are my recaps.
GB 35 – CHI 14. So the Bears didn’t really have much of a chance here, as they were playing the Packers in Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers threw for 179 yards, which isn’t that impressive. But he had 4 touchdowns to 0 interceptions, which definitely made up for it. It’s good that the Bears are starting Trubisky next week.
NO 20 – MIA 0. I thought the Saints would win, but I didn’t expect a blowout like this. Jay Cutler made the Saints defense actually look good, and with the Falcons loss against the Bills… could the Saints actually compete in this division? Or get a Wild Card spot a least? We’ll see…
CAR 33 – NE 30. Embarrassingly, I’ve gotten my lock of the week wrong two weeks in a row. The Panthers had a terrible showing last week, and I thought they were screwed coming into New England. What I take away is that the Patriots have a problem with their defense; they’ve averaged 32 points per game given up through 4 weeks.
PIT 26 – BAL 9. I thought the home field advantage would help Baltimore here, but their offense continues to struggle badly. Pittsburgh recovered from an ugly road loss, and with the way Cincinnati and Cleveland are, they appear to be on track to win the division. Speaking of those teams…
CIN 31 – CLE 7. I thought the Browns would at least keep it close, though I picked Cincy to win. Andy Dalton and the Bengals have found an offensive identity, as Dalton threw for four touchdowns and 0 interceptions. As for the Browns, it’s another disappointing loss in a game they appeared they could’ve won.
NYJ 23 – JAC 20 (OT). Everyone was high on the Jags… and then they lost to the Jets. But the Jets have won two games in a row! They’re facing the Browns next week… are they actually going to start 3-2? As for Jacksonville, Blake Bortles fell back to earth, going 15/35 with 140 yards. They should be giving the ball to Fournette a lot more.
HOU 57 – TEN 14. Deshaun Watson looked good in this game… and the Titans looked bad. I picked Houston to win, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this. Marcus Mariota being out a few weeks certainly hurts, as Brandon Weeden has been signed to get some sort of opportunity (probably as a backup to Matt Cassell). They should definitely be signing Kaepernick, but that would probably alienate the Titans’ conservative fan base.
DET 14 – MIN 7. I knew Detroit had a road win in them, and they could be 4-0 now if it weren’t for some questionable officiating last week. Case Keenum didn’t repeat his Week 3 success, and the Vikings went back to missing Sam Bradford. Also, the Lions have a defense that has been described as “sneaky good”. If they’ve given up 17.5 points per game through 4 weeks, they must be doing something right.
LA 35 – DAL 30. The Rams are the feel-good team of this year. Before this week, I thought they just wouldn’t get it done in Dallas. However, I thought if they did, they would have a very legitimate shot at winning the NFC West. And they did. Todd Gurley is back to his rookie season form, and Jared Goff appears to be working just fine under Sean McVay. Look out for L.A. (the Rams).
BUF 23 – ATL 17. Well, I wasn’t expecting this! The Falcons came into this game as 8 and a half point favorites, but their perfect start ended, and they fell to 3-1. Speaking of 3-1, your AFC East division leader is the Buffalo Bills, a team I was convinced was tanking. Matt Ryan threw two interceptions in this game, and he threw three last week. Is 2016 Matt Ryan officially gone?
PHI 26 – LAC 24. The Chargers team in L.A. has been an embarrassment through four weeks, both attendance-wise, and how their team performs. They certainly won’t win the “Fight for LA” when they lose every week. They’ve lost by an average of about 5 points this year, with 3 of those games being less than that amount. They just don’t know how to win close games. As for Philly, people seemed to be right in picking them as a sleeper team. The offseason hype for the Giants and Cowboys doesn’t mean anything, as Philly appears to be the biggest contender in this division.
ARI 18 – SF 15 (OT). A lot of people had the Niners had as an upset here, but Arizona was simply a better team playing at home. The 49ers defense should be glad they rebounded here, though. They weren’t supposed to compete this year, anyway. A team that was supposed to compete though would be a team I’ll cover next.
TB 25 – NYG 23. It doesn’t feel good to have your season end at the start of October, but that is what has happened to my poor Giants. Eli Manning showed off his legs on a TD run, and I believe the man can seriously play for a few more years. The offense actually looked decent (Flowers did okay for once!). But, the play calling from Ben was terrible as usual, and the defense CAN’T tackle. Olivier Vernon was sorely missed out there. As for the Bucs, they probably would’ve beat New York by a lot more if the rainy conditions weren’t so bad for their kicker (he missed 2 FGs and one extra point). He made a game-winning kick when it mattered most though, and the Giants have lost in tragic fashion for two consecutive weeks. Offensive guard Justin Pugh said of the Giants “It’ll be cool when we make the playoffs”. Quit it with the optimism, Justin. Jim Mora needs to give you a talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwq7BYOnDrM
DEN 16 – OAK 10. The Raiders offense was thought to be explosive before the season, but they have put up 10 points in back to back weeks. I get it, you’re playing at Mile High against a ferocious defense. Losing Derek Carr for a few weeks hurts, too. As for the Broncos, they bounced back after getting upset by Buffalo. With this Carr injury, the Broncos could compete with KC for the division crown. It should be an interesting race for sure.
SEA 46 – IND 18. The Seahawks took care of business here as expected. Though the Colts had a 15-10 halftime lead, Russell Wilson (and Bobby Wagner) stood up in the 2nd half, and Seattle cruised out with an easy win. Only trouble is, they’ve got the Rams as serious competition in the West now.
KC 29 – WAS 20. We’re only four weeks through the season, and Kansas City is the only team to have not suffered defeat. Though Washington got off to a 10-0 lead, the Chiefs won 29-20 (with a fumble returned for a TD to cap it off). With Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs seem to always have the potential for an offensive explosion.
Here’s my picks for Week 5.
NE @ TB. As I’ve mentioned, this Patriots defense has problems. The Bucs’ offense has plenty of weapons, and they’re playing in front of their home crowd. Give me Tampa to win 31-27, as the Patriots shock the world by getting off to a 2-3 start. This is my upset of the week.
SF @ IND. It looks like Andrew Luck might finally start. Even if it’s Jacoby Brissett, I trust the Colts to get it done here. They win 24-20, and the 49ers start 0-5.
NYJ @ CLE. It may seem crazy, but there’s a very legitimate shot that the Jets could have a better record than New England after week 5. And when we look at this matchup, the Jets defense has done well in recent weeks and the Browns offense… not so good. That’s why they’ve started 0-4. Bilal Powell was a major sleeper candidate to me before the offseason to be the lone bright spot on the Jets offense, and he did quite well last week. Give me the Jets to win 21-17.
JAC @ PIT. I’m 1-3 when it comes to picking the Jaguars this season, as their inconsistency is too hard to deal with. But they should lose to Pittsburgh on the road, right? I’ll pick the Steelers to win 27-17. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the Jags win at this point because they’re just a weird team (after all, they do win on odd weeks).
LAC @ NYG. Oh goodness. Do I have to pick the Giants again? I suppose in the battle of the 0-4 teams, I trust my Giants more. They’ve kept it close the past few weeks, and traveling across the country probably does no favors for the Bolts. These are both talented teams that shouldn’t be in the positions they’re at, but I trust the Giants’ talent a little more. They will win 27-21, and “improve” to 1-4.
BUF @ CIN. It’s been back to back weeks where I’ve said “The Bills don’t have a chance”, and then they beat the team that I thought they had no chance of beating. The Bengals may have won 31-7 last week, but that was against Cleveland. This Buffalo defense is for real, and I don’t know if the Bengals o-line can deal with it. Give me Buffalo to win 23-20, I’ve learned from picking against them.
CAR @ DET. While the Panthers got a huge morale boost by beating New England, they have to face the Lions on the road. The Lions won on the basis of their defense last week, but Matthew Stafford should be able to elevate his game playing back in Detroit. I’m picking the Lions to win 28-20.
TEN @ MIA. Both of these teams got demolished last week, and are in need of a win. I trust Matt Cassell to get it done against Jay Cutler. This Tennessee team has more talent than Miami, and should get it done on the road by a score of 17-13 (you really can’t trust that Dolphin offense).
ARI @ PHI. Philly has started 3-1, and appear to be a big contender in the NFC. The Cardinals barely squeaked by the 49ers last week, and the David Johnson injury has severly limited the offense. Give me the Eagles to win here 30-21, in my lock of the week. Though the Cardinals have beaten the Eagles many times in recent memory, past matches don’t really have an effect on the games
BAL @ OAK. The Ravens and Raiders are both riding two-game losing streaks after starting the season hot, so who ends it? The Raiders are playing in the Black Hole, and Baltimore’s offense has looked particularly putrid. Give me Oakland to win 24-17, with E.J. Manuel getting the W.
SEA @ LA. The Rams have always seemed to get the Seahawks in recent memories, despite usually fielding a much worse team than the Seahawks. Now we can argue the Rams actually have a better team, as Goff and Gurley are playing great under Sean McVay. The Rams will win 31-17, going 4-1 and cementing themselves as the favorite to win the NFC West this year.
GB @ DAL. I think Dallas will shake off last week’s loss at Jerry World, and rebound against Green Bay here. It definitely wouldn’t surprise me if Green Bay would win, but I think Dallas wants revenge after their loss to them in the playoffs last year. The Cowboys will win 30-24.
KC @ HOU. The Texans were dominated by the Jaguars at home, so don’t fall into the trap of them crushing the Titans last week. The Chiefs, by record, are the best team in the NFL right now. They should continue their perfection streak with a 26-17 win in Houston.
MIN @ CHI. Even against a strong Minnesota defense, I think Mitch Trubisky will have a solid debut… by mostly giving the ball to Jordan Howard. That has to be the game plan, right? Chicago will try to ease him in, while the Bears defense will do a good job of stopping whoever the Vikings have at QB. I see Chicago winning 24-17. And losing Dalvin Cook for the Vikings… that hurts.
My Pick Record This Season: 40-23 (10-6 last week)
My Lock of the Week Record: 2-2
My Upset of the Week Record: 2-2