This is probably one of my favorite times of the sports year. Meaningful baseball is about to start. College Football is starting conference play. We're starting to get a clearer picture of the contenders in the NFL. And the NBA season is right around the corner... It's also Rosh Hashanah which is my favorite Jewish Holiday because it phonetically sounds exactly like my mother's full name. So at least we have that going for us... click for NFL Week 4 picks after the jump.
Sunday, October 2nd (1:00 ET Kickoffs)
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)
These are probably two of my top dogs so I'm a bit split on this one. The Lions appear to be the real deal. They've figured out that all you have to do on offense is throw the ball in the same stadium as Calvin Johnson and he'll come down with it. I fully expect Johnson and Stafford to continue their connection as they play against a beaten down Cowboys Secondary. The Cowboys will be without WR Miles Austin again and anyone that watched the MNF game knows they need a WR that understands where to lineup on the field and how to run a pattern properly. The Cowboys have been winning ugly, but at the end of the day they find a way. If they can master the art of hiking the football from the Center to the Quarterback they'll be in much better shape against Ndamukong Suh and that Lions D. I'll take the Cowboys to win what should be a great matchup.
New Orleans Saints (-7) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Saints have one of the best offenses in the league. The Jaguars will not be able to stop them. With QB Blaine Gabbert under center for the Jags I could see the Saints blitzing him all day, putting him under pressure, and causing three turnovers. The Saints also get WR Marques Colston back after missing only two games. It's not like they need the extra help here because this game will be over early - ride with the Saints to cover on the road.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-9)
The Eagles definitely did not look good on the field or in the paper last week against the Giants. They need a bounce back game, and a game at home against a team from the NFC West is exactly the right cure. The 49ers have gotten off to a 2-1 start with their only loss coming in OT to the Cowboys. They play good defense - but their offense is barely functional with Alex Smith and a banged up Frank Gore. Former Eagle, David Akers will probably account for most of the 49ers points this week. I see the Eagles getting out to the early lead in this one and never looking back. I'll take the Eagles minus the points in this one.
Washington Redskins (-2) vs. St. Louis Rams
RB Steven Jackson will be back and getting most of the workload in the backfield for the Rams. He came back last week against the Ravens but was limited to only 4 carries. If the Rams can get him back to full health they should be able to turn this thing around and get back into contention with the rest of the NFC West. In this desperation game, I'll take the Rams plus the points at home.
Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns - No favorite
Really? The Browns have wins against the Colts and the Dolphins and lost to the Bengals and they aren't underdogs in this game to a solid Titans team? Oh that's right, WR Kenny Britt is out for the season and Chris Johnson is the running back. Both of those factors will definitely limit the Titans offense in this game. I think I just talked myself into taking the Browns because the 'Dog Pound' is always a tough place to get a win no matter how bad the Browns team is. I'll take the Browns. Writing that last sentence made me feel like I was in a Racial draft.
Buffalo Bills (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
There hasn't been a more exciting team in the past two weeks than the Bills. On the reverse of that, there hasn't been a more painful team to watch than the Bengals. This is absolutely the type of game for the Bills that they must win on the road to let the rest of the league know that they are for real. Although it would probably be a little bit easier if we didn't go down by 3 scores in the first half. Who am I kidding, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson will find a way to win this game and the Bills will improve to 4-0. Take the Bills and lay the number here.
Minnesota Vikings (-2) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The battle of the Defeateds! When it comes down to it the Vikings have playmakers on both sides of the ball. They've shown that they can stick with 3 solid teams (Chargers, Bucs, and Lions) and have lost those games by a combined 14 points. They've addressed that the need to feed Adrian Peterson "All Day" instead of "First Half". If they can get that right I don't see how the Chiefs will be able to stop them. Take the Vikings on the road in this one.
Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears (-6.5)
Cam Newton logged his first win last week. I've picked up on a trend too. If Cam Newton throws for more than 400 yards, mark a loss down for the Carolina Panthers. If Cam Newton throws for less than 400 yards, the Panthers will win. I'm going to play the percentages here and say that Newton throws for less than 400, but the Panthers win this game. Take the Panthers plus the points on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans (-3.5)
Did anyone else watch the Steelers / Colts game on Sunday night? It was a tough game to watch, but if you noticed the Steelers could not stop anyone from getting through their offensive line. This Texans team is no joke and can put up points in a hurry - and with an improving defensive line I think that they will be too much for the struggling Steelers. I'll take the Texans minus the points.
Sunday, October 2nd (4:00 ET Kickoffs)
Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle is one of those places that is always tough to come away with a win. That won't be the case this week. Much like last weeks Ravens/Rams matchup this looks like a number too good to be true. I know that the Falcons are 1-2 but they just have too many threats on the offensive side of the ball for the Seahawks to contend with. I expect the return of Michael Turner to open things up for Matt Ryan to throw all over this Seahawks secondary. Take the Falcons on the road in this one.
New York Giants (-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Giants looked pretty good against the Eagles last week and the Cardinals looked like ass against the Seahawks. But on any given week things change. I look for the Cardinals to get things back on track this week at home. The Cardinals also get RB Beanie Wells back this week which should help them control the ball on offense. I'll take the Cardinals at home in this one.
Miami Dolphins vs. San Diego Chargers (-7)
Both of these teams have gotten off to sluggish starts. The Dolphins haven't gotten a win yet, while the Chargers' only loss came on the road to the Patriots. Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has seemingly made more bad decisions with the football than Lindsay Lohan with her Mother. However, I think the Dolphins will mail this game in and continue their streak for imperfection. The Chargers will be able to cruise to another victory, I'll take the Chargers minus the touchdown in this one.
Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers (-12.5)
This game will definitely be a survivor pick for a lot of players this week and while I don't think that the Packers will lose I look at this number as too much to give up to the Broncos. Part of me is still a little queasy after last week's scare with Tennessee but I think the Broncos legitimately have some weapons on their team. The Packers have not played very well on Defense as they've given up 25 pts/game and over 400 yards / game. I look for the Broncos to keep this close and will take them plus the points here.
New England Patriots (-4) vs. Oakland Raiders
I like this Raiders team this year. Strong Running game, good defense and their only blemish so far has been to the Juggernaut that is the Buffalo Bills. But there's just no way that the Patriots hit a two game losing streak this early on in the season. I know the Pats D can't stop anyone but I fully expect the Pats to outscore the Raiders in a shootout. Take the Patriots on the road.
Sunday, October 2nd (8:30 ET Kickoff)
New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
This absolutely looks like the type of a game that will involve a lot of hard hits, 2-3 yard gains per play, and about 17 punts. Defensive battle with both offenses struggling to move the ball. After last week's dud in Oakland I expect Rex Ryan to get his troops prepared for an all out battle in Baltimore. I'll take the Jets plus the points in this one.
Monday, October 3rd (8:40 ET Kickoff)
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10)
I took the Bucs as my survivor pick this week and did so thinking about the spread in this game. Not only do I like the Bucs to win outright, but I'll also take them minus the points here. The Colts will struggle to move the ball against a very solid Bucs defense and I don't expect many fireworks from the Bucs on offense either. In what will likely be another ugly game involving the Colts, I'll take the Bucs and lay the big number here.
Let's enjoy another great week of action!
Last Week: 9-7
Season Record: 29-17-2