NFL Week Four Thoughts and Predictions
We're taking some risks this week.
Well, a risk. I have one prediction on here where I thought, "Why not?".
Will it backfire? It very well could, but I'm not letting anyone say I wasn't a daredevil (I say as I sit in my cozy office sipping on coffee...).
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
If the Eagles were at full strength, I would opt for them, But I'll take the Packers in a close one.
The Eagles really should have won against the Lions, but dealing with some crucial fumbles from rookie running back Miles Sanders and some key drops plaguing the receiving corps really gifted the perennially sub-par Lions a victory.
It was a similar story with the Packers last week against the Broncos in terms of giving the Broncos chances to stay in the game, only the Packers won.
I think from here on out you'll see the Packers really start to improve on the offensive side of the ball and Aaron Rodgers will flourish, especially now that Rodgers has more chances since the team actually has a defense that can stop teams and get the offense back on the field more.
The Eagles will be fine in the long run once they get out of this stretch of injuries.
Score: Packers 28, Eagles 24
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans (-4.5)
It's amazing the turnaround the Panthers had once they had an accurate passer at the helm. It also helps to have Christian McCaffery in the back field (150+ yards against the Cardinals).
Kyle Allen stepped in for the injured Cam Newton and had a stellar game in week three, notching four touchdown passes.
Now it bears mentioning it was against the Cardinals, whose defense is basically a wet paper towel, but still, Allen was accurate, which Cam simply hasn't been.
He'll also likely be the starter for a while. Newton has a Lisfranc injury in his foot, which usually involves surgery and a long recovery process. He is out indefinitely.
Texans are starting to more and more look like the team to beat in the AFC South. The normally porous offensive line has improved each game this season, which has in turn offered Deshaun Watson a chance to shine.
This will be another close one, but I'll take the Panthers to sneak out of Houston with a win.
Score: Panthers 31, Texans 28
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7)
The Ravens took the L to the Chiefs last week, but who hasn't?
The Ravens are for real. Lamar Jackson has proven everyone wrong. He still has a way to go as a passer, but his improvements in one offseason have been nothing short of amazing.
Also to note, Jackson is 8-2 in the regular season as a starter. Both of those losses? The Chiefs.
As for the Browns, I cool on them with each passing week.
Yes, there the dubious play call of a draw on fourth and nine against the Rams, but as a whole, I'm not at all sold on that offense.
Baker Mayfield can talk all he wants, but he has not once performed convincingly against good football teams. Until he does that, I will be picking against the Browns whenever they play a team over .500..
Score: Ravens 27, Browns 17
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-3)
Okay, now we're cooking.
Daniel Jones, fresh of engineering an 18-point comeback against the Bucs, gets an even worse team to go against.
It won't be as easy of a win without Saquon Barkley who will likely be out a while with an ankle injury that forced him to leave the aforementioned Bucs game early.
Still, he is playing a team that just got pantsed on Monday Night Football in the Redskins, so this should be a victory for the G-Men, and they won't need a double-digit comeback to do it.
Score: Giants 21, Redskins 10
Los Angeles Chargers (-15.5) at Miami Dolphins
Well, would you look at that. The Dolphins gave up fewer than 40 points in a game!
It's not that big an accomplishment, they still lost to the Cowboys for more than two-dozen points, but it's progress I guess?
This game game is just what the Chargers need right now after not playing up to their talents in the first few weeks of the season.
Melvin Gordon now returning to the fold should also give a boost to the team.
Score: Chargers 27, Dolphins 7
Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (-7)
I just don't know what the Raiders can do. They just don't have firepower.
They have some decent pieces in Derek Carr, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs, and Darren Waller, but nothing that won't make them be the underdogs in pretty much every game they play.
As for the Colts, I really like Jacoby Brissett. He's not going to light up the stat sheet i.e. Patrick Mahomes, but he's definitely a good, talented quarterback. He is also making the best of a situation where people were saying the Colts would suck because Andrew Luck retired.
I think a wildcard birth is the Colts' ceiling at this point, but they're definitely not a bad team.
Score: Colts 24, Raiders 13
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Detroit Lions
Seriously, the Lions are probably the biggest overachievers in the league.
In week one, the basically let the Cardinals back in a game they should have wrapped up to escape with a tie, then played two teams that handed them victories.
The Chiefs are winning. Let's not be stupid.
Score: Chiefs 31, Lions 13
New England Patriots (-7) at Buffalo Bills
Okay, I've seen lots, and I mean LOTS of Bills fans on social media getting really carried away with their 3-0 start.
Lots of talk of them being one of the best teams in the league and how everyone needs to watch out.
Stop it. Just stop.
Don't get me wrong, I could definitely envision them as a wildcard team, and that coaching staff they have is the league's most underrated. Josh Allen is also the perfect QB for a cold-weather team like the Bills.
They beat three very, very sub-par teams, and for two of them, barely left with a victory.
"But the Patriots beat three bad teams and everyone still has them as Super Bowl contenders!"
Yeah, but the Pats have a culture and history of being a Super Bowl contender regardless of their schedule. The Bills have a culture of jumping through tables at the slightest whiff of success.
With that being said, (let me take off my Trash The Bills hat) I could see the Bills picking up a win this season against the Pats, and if they are going to do it, it's this week. It certainly won't be in Foxboro.
The Patriots are banged up, and the Bills do well with momentum. Also the Patriots seem to lose one game each year that on paper they should beat. Last year it was the Titans, and this week I think it could be the Bills.
I'll roll the dice on the Bills this week, but long-term, I'm not as high on them as the team's fans are.
Score: Bills 24, Patriots 21
Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons (-4)
What a stinker from the Titans. In what is usually one of their biggest strengths, their offensive line was dominated by the Jaguars. They just could not get anything going.
Taylor Lewan returning after this week's game should help that, but I get the feeling something has to change. No, I don't mean benching Marcus Mariota. Ryan Tannehill's not going to solve their problems. But something.
The Falcons similarly have had a little bit of a dud year so far, barring a last-minute win against the Eagles. Now the injury bug is hitting the team yet again, with the secondary losing Keanu Neal to injury.
I'll go with the Falcons at home, where they just are so much harder to beat.
Score: Falcons 23, Titans 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (-9.5)
The Rams will win this game, but they are starting to worry me.
Todd Gurley just doesn't seem to have it this year. The Rams used to be unstoppable with Gurley in the backfield, but now that dimension of the game is much easier to control for opposing defenses. Overall, the Rams just aren't as dominant as in the previous two years.
Maybe playing the Bucs is what will get the Rams back on track.
Score: Rams 23, Bucs 14
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at Arizona Cardinals
The Seahawks are coming off a home less, kind of rare for them.
They lost a well-managed game against Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints.
The Seahawks will fare much better against a rookie quarterback in Kyler Murray who is still adjusting to the NFL.
This is the kind of game where Russell Wilson can thrive against the Cardinals lackluster pass defense.
Score: Seahawks 35, Cardinals 21
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-2.5)
Both teams coming off of fairly easy wins against poor teams, this one will be a grind.
To be honest, I'm still not sure which way to go. neither team's quarterback blows me away, so it definitely won't be a dazzling display through the air.
The Bears will (for the most part) shut down the running attack of the Vikings, which is where I think Chicago will win it.
Trubisky will do juuuuuuuust enough to win, and the Bears' defense will force Kirk Cousins to win games, which I am not confident he can do consistently against good competition.
Score: Bears 21, Vikings 14
Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos (-3)
This will be a tough game, but the Jags will pull through.
Quite simply, the Jacksonville pass rush, namely Calais Campbell, will harass Joe Flacco all game, just as they did against he Titans. That Broncos offense looks flat as it is.
Gardner Mishew is a great player. I'm not saying he's going to become an all-time great, but he definitely belongs in this league, and will be a starter for many years. Also, the dude is tough as nails, and will come out of Denver with a victory.
Score: Jacksonville 17, Broncos 14
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (-2.5)
The Cowboys are the real deal. Everything is clicking. However, this will be a huge test for them-- their first real test.
Teddy Bridgewater just came off a game where he showed he can run the offense sans-Drew Brees. On that end, the Saints will be fine.
The Saints' pass defense is worrisome, though. That is where the Cowboys will win it. Dak Prescott will continue to have a career year and put up some big numbers on Eli Apple and the secondary.
The Cowboys will hand the Saints a rare dome loss, but man, this will be a fun game.
Score: Cowboys 38, Saints 33
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
Someone please tell me how the 49ers turned over the ball five times and the Steelers still lost.
Part of it is obviously the offense going through some seismic personnel shifts in the last few weeks, but even so, five turnovers practically make it so that you have to try to lose the game.
The Bengals are simply not a good team, but they have been staying in games this year so far, as evidenced by their close losses to the Seahawks and the Bills.
I'll go with the Steelers, but it will be pretty close as the Bengals lose another close one.
Score: Steelers 17, Bengals 16