by Greg Talcott
This isn’t the easiest game in the world to pick despite the fact that Miami is terrible. On the one hand, you have a Jets team which has played well throughout the first three weeks but is far from being called a “good team”. On the other hand, you have the Dolphins who have tons of potential, yet they have played like garbage for the first three weeks and are clearly performing well below expectations. The fact that this is a road game for both teams as they are playing in London gives an edge to the better of the two teams and that is New York. Miami ranks 26th in Total Defense and rank 27th in Offensive Scoring at 17 PPG. The Jets, however, are 4th in Total Defense and average 22.7 PPG which is 17th in the league. The Jets are not going to be confused with the greatest 3-1 teams of all time, but they will be 3-1 after beating the lowly Fins, Jets win 24-10.
The Colts have been one of the biggest disappointments of the start of the NFL season. Andrew Luck has been playing worse than just about any QB in the league and now is dealing with a shoulder injury. Despite all that, they are playing at home against the Jaguars, a team that gives up nearly twice as many points as they score (30.3 points allowed/ 16.3 points scored). If Andrew Luck doesn’t produce this week, fantasy owners need to look seriously at replacing him at QB until he improves. Colts win 27-14.
The Bills are a totally different team under Rex Ryan and could easily be 3-0 if they hadn’t run into the Patriots already. The games the Bills have won have been against two teams that are playing some of the worst football in the entire NFL; Miami and Indianapolis. The Giants could also be 3-0 instead of 1-2 with close losses to the Cowboys on the road and Falcons at home; both are quality football teams. It is hard to pick against the Bills at home in this game, but they are far from an unbeatable defense, ranking 30th in the league in Total Defense and giving up 22.7 PPG. The offensive production is what has been really been surprising with the Bills, averaging 33.3PPG which ranks third in the league. The Giants rank just below the Bills in Total Defense at 31st, and surrender 24PPG vs. scoring 26PPG on offense. Both teams should move the ball well and there should be plenty of scoring. In the end I think the Giants are going to win this one 38-35 over the Bills.
The Panthers come to town with a surprising 3-0 albeit against some fairly weak opponents. Meanwhile, the Buccs have looked far from impressive with rookie Jameis Winston leading the team to a pathetic 16.3 PPG on offense which is 29th in the league while the team is giving up 26.7 PPG on defense. In looking at this game, Cam Newton is clearly the better QB and at the end of the day that should make all the difference in this game for the Panthers to move to 4-0. Carolina wins 24-17
The Eagles are currently tied with the Cleveland Browns for 21st in offensive PPG at 19.3. If you are looking for an indictment on Chip Kelly as a personnel guy and offensive genius, that is it. All of the Sam Bradford hype leading up to the season is starting to look pretty silly and if you are currently starting him as your QB simply because of where you drafted him you shouldn’t be. There is not a lot of weapons on the Eagles offense besides Darren Sproles in open space. Bradford has shown no ability to move the ball downfield on big plays, which limits the value of Eagle receivers outside of PPR leagues. The Redskins have been playing solid defense, running the ball well, and that should be enough to win at home, 24-17 over Philly.
The Bears are underdogs at home to the Raiders and the Cubs are playing postseason baseball… we have officially ushered in the Apocalypse. Jimmy Clausen produced slightly more than both of my dead grandmothers in last week’s game against Seattle; a whopping 77 yards, an interception, and sacked 4 times. Seriously? Find me anybody with a pulse who couldn’t do that. The only good news is the Bears unloaded that stiff Jared Allen this week. Even though Chicago is not getting much in the way of financial savings from that move, at least fans don’t have to suffer through anymore of Allen’s feeble attempts to impersonate a pass rusher. Oakland on the other hand has been playing excellent football and clearly possess the better QB of either team in Derek Carr. It is Carr’s ability to effectively utilize his weapons on offense that allows the Raiders to average 25.7 PPG on offense while the Bears’ awful excuse for a defense surrenders 35 PPG. Something tells me fantasy owners of Carr, Murray, Cooper, and Crabtree will be happy this week. Oakland wins 31-13.
JJ Watt and assorted other players travel to Atlanta to get their butts kicked by the Falcons, 38-17. ‘Nuff said.
Andy Dalton has been on fire to start the season and is making me eat my words for my criticism of him in the Bengals Preseason Update. The Bengals have come out of the gates strong at 3-0, behind the production of Dalton, AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, and Giovani Bernard, who has been more productive than Jeremy Hill so far. The Chiefs have played some good football this year, but they are not playing well enough to win on the road against a hot Bengals team. Cincinnati wins 31-21.
Josh McCown is still starting and thus the Browns are still losing. San Diego didn’t play well last week and they will be eager to get back to .500 with a win over Cleveland at home. Chargers win 24-14.
I would normally step over a Packer fan if I saw them laying in the street, but I feel compelled to caution their fans from wearing their beloved colors this weekend when they visit the thugs of the NFL in the Bay Area. It’s too bad the 49ers’ defense isn’t nearly as aggressive as their low-life fan base is in the stands when they see a jersey they don’t like. Living in Arizona, we get to see this once a year at University of Phoenix Stadium where loudmouthed, drunk 49er fans are starting fights in the stands because their team is getting routed on the field. Of course, they are worse when you go watch your team whip the 49ers on their home field and the fans try to avenge the loss by sucker-punching and attacking fans in hopes an assault charge will bring back the Montana/Rice Era. News flash Bay Area, you make Philly fans booing Santa look classy. The Packers are a great team and San Francisco is anything but; Green Bay wins 38-17.
Cardinal fans will be holding their collective breath from now till the end of this game in hopes Carson Palmer survives against the Rams’ defense. Assuming Palmer is kept upright, there is very little chance of the Rams winning this game in Arizona. The Rams’ offense has produced virtually nothing all season and the Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the league. The Rams will likely slow the Cardinal offense, but not enough to get them a victory. Arizona wins 31-14.
Do you believe Adrian Peterson can beat Denver by himself? I didn’t think so; unfortunately that is the only way the Vikings can win. Teddy Bridgewater is averaging 168 yards passing, .33 TD’s and .66 INT’s per game, he also has 36 yards rushing and a TD. His opponents; Detroit, San Francisco, and San Diego, none of which are as good defensively as Denver. In my mind, Bridgewater could look Jimmy Clausen-esque on Sunday against the Bronco pass rush. For Denver, Manning has been getting the job done so far this season and there is no reason to think Minnesota is going to limit him. The Vikings rank 16th against the pass and Peyton has been improving each week. Broncos win 27-13.
The Saints are expected to get Drew Brees back this week and that should help earn New Orleans their first win of the season against what is left of the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas played well last week, but in the end they still lost which is something Brandon Weeden is familiar with, having lost his last 9 starts. Will this be 10 in a row? You bet. Saints win 30-23.
Bad news for the Lions is the Seahawks are coming off the equivalent of a bye week having played the Jimmy Clausen-led Bears last Sunday. The Hawks looked much better last week with Kam Chancellor back on the field and this week they will be hosting a mediocre Lions team. Seattle is close to unbeatable when they are playing at home and don’t have much to fear when facing Matt Stafford; perennially the most overrated QB in the league. Stafford had in excess of 30 completions in each of the last two games and failed to throw for 300 yards in either while producing 3 TD’s and 3 INT’s; a model of inefficiency. Compare that to an elite QB like Aaron Rodgers who completed 25 or fewer passes each of the last two weeks, exceeded 300 yards in one game and had a total of 7 TD’s and 0 INT’s. Is it fair to compare Stafford and Aaron Rodgers? Perhaps not; but it also isn’t fair that Stafford gets payed 17.7 million dollars to stink year after year. Seahawks win 24-14.