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Around Week 4 in the NFL:
Week 5 promises to be a great week of football. Let’s get to the picks. As always, picks are in bold.
Philadelphia @ Buffalo 34-30
The Eagles have scored SEVEN points in the fourth quarter this season, all of which came in a Week 1 rout of the Rams. That means that in the fourth quarter, they have been outscored 36-0 in their last three games. The Bills know a thing or two about fourth quarter comebacks. But like I said before, I’m not panicking about the Eagles just yet. If they lose this game, then I’ll start worrying.
Arizona @ Minnesota 27-20
They need one of those 35 carries, 150 yards, and 2 TDs games from Peterson. That’s really the only way I can see the Vikings winning games with McNabb at quarterback. This is a golden opportunity for the Vikings to pick up their first W of the season.
Seattle @ New York Giants 27-13
About the Victor Cruz play, when I first saw it I thought it was a fumble. Had Victor Cruz given himself up? Yes, but I’ve seen it called the other way in the past. The game commentators were claiming that Cruz stumbled, I don’t buy that, I think he deliberately went down. The more I see it, the more I agree with the decision on the field. Regardless, that was such a boneheaded play but he got away with it. The ensuing play after the chaos, touchdown Nicks on a simple fly pattern. How about Eli Manning sorting the third best passing rating in the NFL behind only Rodgers and Brady?
Kansas City @ Indianapolis 20-17
Got to be impressed with the way the Colts battled the last two weeks. In the end, the defense just got worn out because the offense could not sustain drives. The Bucs had almost a 2:1 time of possession advantage. The Colts are going to have to run the ball more than 18 times if they want to win this game. You can’t expect Painter to go out there and win you a ballgame. Indy has to win a game eventually right?
Tennessee @ Pittsburgh 17-14
Reason the Steelers are losing:
In all fairness, they lost to two really good football teams. But it’s not the fact that they lost to Baltimore and Houston, it’s the fact that they got dominated. Arian Foster ran for 155 yards against them and Ray Rice went for 107 on only 19 carries. If Ben is healthy enough to play (and he should be), I think the Steelers win this game. If not, all bets are off.
Cincinnati @ Jacksonville 13-10
A.J. Green is proving to be some player. The Bengals rode an aggressive defense to an AFC North title in 2009. Last year something was just off with the defense, for whatever reason things just weren’t going too well. This year, the defense seems to be playing at that same level it was in 2009. That being said, there is a certain ebb and flow to the NFL, and right now it’s difficult to see the Bengals winning two in a row.
Oakland @ Houston 27-23
The Texans looked great last week against the Steelers, yet they only won by seven. Foster looks healthy and that’s a scary sight for the rest of the league. The problem with Houston is they continue to make mistakes that could potentially cost them games. Daniel Manning’s illegal block in the back (although I do think the block was clean, it looked like he got the block on the shoulder) that wiped out blocked-FG touchdown return at the end of the first half. They just cannot keep making mistakes if they want to become an elite team. And by the way, Andre Johnson looks like he’ll miss several weeks with a leg injury.
Tampa Bay @ San Francisco 17-16
This is probably the pick I have the least confidence about (yes, I am more confident that Atlanta can upset GB than this game). There is something about the 49ers that intrigues me, maybe it’s Jim Harbaugh. They could and probably should be 4-0 right now. So why am I praising SF but picking the Bucs? Simple, look at TB’s next six games (NO, Chi, bye, @NO, Hou, @GB, and @Tenn) and you’ll see that the Bucs need to win this game.
New York Jets @ New England 31-13
This would have been the marquee game this week but I don’t have confidence the Jets can beat most teams right now. The offensive line is in complete disarray. The bright side is that the Pats don’t really rush the passer well. They don’t have Terrell Suggs and Ngata. They also don’t have Joe Flacco, they have Tom Brady so the defense should be allowing more than 10 points. Buffalo has proven that in order to beat the Patriots, you need to outscore them. Can they Jets score more than 20 points at this point?
San Diego @ Denver 31-20
TEBOW! TEBOW! TEBOW! TEBOW! It’s inevitable right?
New Orleans @ Carolina 38-30
If you’re a fan of offense, particularly passing, this is the game for you. I think the Panthers are at the point where they’ve proven they can move the ball effectively. Their problem is that they cannot play defense and Newton still turns the ball over far too much. The future for the Panthers does look bright though. In the end, it’ll just be another day at the office for Drew Brees.
Green Bay @ Atlanta 21-17
You can call this pick a gut feeling or overconfidence after going 2-0 on my last two upset specials, one of which was actually Atlanta. Maybe I’m being stubborn by continually putting my faith in the Falcons, but I’m an honest believer in teams playing better when they’re angry. The Falcons were embarrassed by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last year.
Chicago @ Detroit 27-24
The Lions return to Monday Night Football for the first time in nearly a decade, and deservedly so. They’re kings of the comeback, twice coming back from 20+ deficits. I have a feeling a comeback wouldn’t be necessary this game. For all the Lions improvements, they are still vulnerable to the run. Matt Forte is coming off a 205-yard game and the Lions will need to hold him under 100 to be successful. Has a receiver dominated games the way Calvin Johnson is dominating this year? It seems like anytime the Lions need a play, Stafford just throws it up to Johnson and he makes an improbable, spectacular catch. Expect another one of those big plays in the fourth to lead the Lions to a 5-0 start. Let’s just hope he hangs onto the ball when he comes down with the ball in the end zone this time. The Lions will be lone undefeated team after Monday, go figure.
Last Week: 13-3
Best Pick: 3-1
Upset Special: 2-2