Before I get started on this week’s games I think it is once again worth mentioning that my thoughts go out to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano for a speedy and complete recovery from his battle with leukemia.
Another week of great college football. On Thursday Utah almost upset USC with the key play being a would be touchdown being called back when an offensive lineman wandered downfield on a slow developing play, negating a long touchdown pass just before halftime. On Saturday home field advantage was big as three of the top five teams lost. No surprise that the best football was being played in the SEC as LSU ventured into the Swamp and lost to Florida, while South Carolina trounced Georgia by 28. NC State came from behind to nip FSU 17-16, but most everywhere else defenses struggled.
Before you read the following, please note that neither I nor this website am in any way advocating, promoting or recommending gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes. It is just something I do for fun to test myself on my knowledge of the NFL. If you have a gambling problem get help; call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.
When in doubt, pick the underdog. There have already been 23 upsets (i.e., the team favored to win lost) in the NFL thus far. In week three the underdogs went 10-6 straight up, and dogs have won a minimum of five games each week so far this season.
Game Of The Week:
2-2 Denver Broncos at 2-2 New England Patriots
The Pats OL should control the line of scrimmage against an undersized Denver DL, allowing the Pats to run the ball. On defense Vince Wilfork will overwhelm Dan Koppen, stifling Denver’s running game while not permitting Peyton Manning to set his feet. That will lead to a couple of interceptions which will offset a couple of big plays allowed by the Pats secondary.
Patriots 30, Broncos 24
final score: Patriots 31, Broncos 21
4-0 Atlanta Falcons at 2-2 Washington Redskins
Fox; DTV channel 706
This looks like a mismatch in every way, but Washington could surprise and at least keep it close because Alfred Morris runs the ball well (94 yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry) and Atlanta’s defense has struggled mightily to stop the run (146 yards per game, 5.2 yards per carry). That might be enough to keep it close, but it’s not enough to overcome the loss of Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker on defense. If you think the Pats safeties struggle, take a peek sometime at the Redskin’s DeJon Gomes.
Falcons -3 (1 unit), under 51½
final score: Falcons 24, Redskins 17
3-1 Philadelphia Eagles at 1-2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Fox; DTV channel 705
We’ve already seen over the years the extreme difference in the Steelers when Troy Polamalu does not play. He returns this week, as does James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall. Pittsburgh is healthy for the first time all year, coming off a bye, has a chip on their shoulder after losing to the Raiders, and will have adrenaline on their side playing at home with all those players back on the field in a game they need to win to avoid falling to 1-3. The Eagles on the other hand are a team that doesn’t handle success all that well and are coming off a win over division rival New York.
Steelers -2½ (1 unit), under 44½
final score: Steelers 16, Eagles 14
2-2 Green Bay Packers at 1-2 Indianapolis Colts
Fox; DTV channel 704
We have seen in New Orleans what happens to a team that is without their head coach. Once the Packers get the lead watch out; their interior line is weak and then there’s that Clay Matthews guy.
Packers -6½ (3 units), over 47½
final score: Colts 30, Packers 27
0-4 Cleveland Browns at 2-2 New York Giants
CBS; DTV channel 709
The Giants are missing seven starters and the end result is that their pass coverage is subpar. The Browns are bad but they’ll make just enough plays to keep this within two touchdowns.
Browns +13 (2 units), under 44
final score: Giants 41, Browns 27
1-3 Miami Dolphins at 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals
CBS; DTV channel 707
Miami ranks first in run defense, allowing a miniscule 2.4 yards per carry and 56.8 rushing yards per game. They’re no slouches on pass defense either: 12 sacks (8th) with opponents completing only 54.7% of their passes (4th) for a passer rating of 77.9 (8th). Their success hinges on which Ryan Tannehill shows up Sunday: the one that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn against the Jets, or the one that threw for 431 yards against a solid Arizona defense.
Dolphins +4½ (2 units); under 45½ (2 units)
final score: Dolphins 17, Bengals 13
3-1 Baltimore Ravens at 1-3 Kansas City Chiefs
CBS; DTV channel 708
The Chiefs are turning the ball over at what has to be a record setting pace: 15 giveaways in just four games – compounded by the fact that their defense has just two takeaways, giving them an alarming -13 turnover differential. To put that into context the worst point differential for the entire 16-game season last year was -16; the Chiefs are on pace for -52. Their best hope is that Baltimore overlooks them (they play Dallas and Houston next), Eric Berry suddenly reverts to the player he was as a rookie, Jamaal Charles runs wild again, and perhaps their pass rush can get to Joe Flacco. That’s an awful lot of ifs, before even considering that Glen Dorsey is out and Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson are injured.
Ravens -6; under 47 (1 unit)
final score: Ravens 9, Chiefs 6
2-2 Seattle Seahawks at 1-3 Carolina Panthers
Fox; DTV channel 710
The Seahawks have a great defense but in today’s NFL that’s not enough. Marshawn Lynch may be a fantasy football favorite, but running the ball for 100+ yards was not enough to beat the Rams last week. On top of that Seattle has not been that good of a road team, and are crossing three time zones to play. On the other hand Carolina’s run defense is awful (135 yards per game, 4.9 yards per carry).
Seahawks +3 (1 unit); under 44½
final score: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12
3-1 Chicago Bears at 1-3 Jacksonville Jaguars
Fox; DTV channel 711
Jacksonville has no pass rush (2 sacks) so for at least one week Jay Cutler should have time to throw to Brandon Marshall. The only thing the Jaguars do well is hand the ball off to Maurice Jones-Drew, but the Chicago defense is pretty good.
Bears -3 (4 units); under 41½ (1 unit)
final score: Bears 41, Jaguars 3
1-3 Tennessee Titans at 3-1 Minnesota Vikings
CBS; DTV channel 712
Titans are on the road without their starting QB, their top WR, and they own the worst defense in the NFL. We have seen Minnesota win when under the radar; how will they handle success as a favorite? I think Tennessee makes enough plays to keep it close but the Vikings will win.
Titans +6, over 43½
final score: Vikings 30, Titans 7
2-2 Denver Broncos at 2-2 New England Patriots
CBS; DTV channel 713
Pats win but Broncos cover thanks to a couple of long pass plays; more on this game here and here.
Broncos +7½; over 52 (2 units)
final score: Patriots 31, Broncos 21
2-2 Buffalo Bills at 3-1 San Francisco 49ers
CBS; DTV channel 714
The chances of a letdown by SF are slim, just two weeks removed from being upset at Minnesota. The 49ers should be able to run the ball at will against the Bills (4.9 yards per carry), and if Buffalo decides to stack the box they should be able to take advantage of a pass defense that is giving up 270 yards per game.
49ers -8 (3 units); under 45 (1 unit)
final score: 49ers 45, Bills 3
3-1 San Diego Chargers at 0-4 New Orleans Saints
Sunday Night on NBC
Ryan Mathews is starting to get some production after an early season injury and should be able to gash the Saints, who are allowing a league-worst 187 rushing yards per game as well as 4.9 yards per carry. That will open things up for Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd; the Chargers’ defense has improved enough compared to the last couple of years to hold on for a win.
Chargers +3½ (1 unit); over 52½
final score: Saints 31, Chargers 24
4-0 Houston Texans at 2-2 New Jersey Jets
Monday Night on espn
Santonio Holmes is out for the season, and now it looks like both Stephen Hill as well as Dustin Keller may not play Monday. The Texans have the best defense in the league right now; the Jets could be shut out for the second straight week.
Texans -4½ (5 units); under 41
final score: Texans 23, Jets 17
2-Team Teaser: Texans +1½, 49ers -2 (3 units)
final scores: Texans won 23-17, 49ers won 45-3
3-Teams Teaser: Texans +1½, 49ers -2, Steelers +3½ (3 units)
final scores: Texans won 23-17, 49ers won 45-3, Steelers won 16-14
Last week went well with the exception of my top pick of the week, Arizona -5½ versus Miami. Teasers involving the Ravens, Texans, Bengals and Giants all came through.
Straight Up: 13-2 last week, 40-23 for the season
Against The Spread: 7-7-1 last week / 27-35-1
Over/Under: 10-5 last week / 37-26
1 Unit Plays: 2-0 last week / 8-7
2 Unit Plays: 4-2 last week / 14-4
3 Unit Plays: 4-1-1 last week / 10-6-1
4 Unit Plays: 0-0 last week / 0-1
5 Unit Plays: 0-1 last week / 1-1
2-Team Teaser: 2-0 last week / 3-0
3-Team Teaser: 1-0 last week / 2-0
All Confidence Picks: 11-4-1 last week / 35-18-1
Week 4 Total: +1390
Season Total: +3490
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October 7, 1995:
“Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette become the number one selling album in the US.
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