Friday, September 30, 2016

NFL Picks, Week 4


The majority of the country (in terms of map coverage, not necessarily number of households) will see 
Buffalo at New England (CBS, 1 PM)
Seattle at New York Jets  (FOX, 1PM)
Dallas at San Francisco (FOX, 4:25 PM)

The entire country will see 
Indianapolis "at" Jacksonville (CBS, 9:30 AM)
Kansas City at Pittsburgh (NBC, 8:30)
New York Giants at Minnesota (ESPN, 8:30 *Monday*)

Well, last week sucked. I was terrible. This week I will hopefully be less terrible. Let's get to it. Home teams in CAPS.

Indianapolis (-2.5) over "JACKSONVILLE"
Air quotes as this game is being played in England, which means the entire country gets to watch it. Unfortunately, the game involved the Jaguars in the NFL's quest to passive-aggressively convince the English that NFL football is a terrible product and they should definitely not ask for a team. The English invasion would actually make sense if that was the real reason for it. But attributing something that complex to commissioner Goodell...well, it just doesn't fit. 

Cleveland (+7.5) over WASHINGTON
Okay, I know, I know, Cleveland is bad, they're tanking, they're without their 2 best wide receivers, and they just got news that their top WR has chosen rehab over actually playing for the Browns starting next week. Oh, and they're tanking. Despite what their coach says, they are definitely tanking. So why pick the Browns to cover? Well, look at that line. We're really supergluing the Kirk Cousins bandwagon back together because they won 1 game? Against the Giants? That they desperately tried to derp away except Eli Manning wouldn't let them? Really? 

NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) over Buffalo
I'm incredibly disappointed that the Pats weren't forced into starting Julain Edelman at quarterback in this game, because a) it would be fun, b) it would be interesting, and c) it wouldn't drop their chances of winning at all. No Sammy Watkins, no threat of a Buffalo offense. Unless the Pats trade for Carson Palmer by Sunday and start him, they will breeze past the hobbled Bills. 

NEW YORK JETS (+2.5) over Seattle
Yes, I'm backing Fitzy McTurnover in this one. It's not really about the quarterback against this Seahawks defense. I mean, their only loss was to Case Keenum. No, my worry is a) this is a 1PM Eastern time game for a traveling west coast team, and despite the fact that it is incredibly stupid that this is still a thing in 2016 when teams travel on private jets and all, it's still a thing. Also, Seattle's offense came alive last week because they weren't playing a top-5 defensive line. This week they're facing perhaps the top defensive line in the league. 

Carolina (-3) over ATLANTA
I'm not buying on the Falcons. Their offense may be improved, but the defense is still bad because they still have no pass rush. 

CHICAGO (+3) over Detroit
Is Brian Hoyer a downgrade from Jay Cutler? You had to think about it didn't you? The Bears aren't going 0-16 (I don't think even the Browns are going 0-16), so they're going to have to win at least one game. This seems like a decent candidate. When Marvin Jones goes off for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns, you can thank me. 

HOUSTON (-4.5) over Tennessee
Tennessee isn't a good team, but they've quietly put together a pretty good defense. They're 4th in points per drive against. And Houston's offense is, well, you saw them last Thursday night, right? Let's just say the Osweiller bandwagon is teetering. But even without JJ Watt, their defense is still formidable, and I just don't see the Titans moving the ball enough to pull this one out. 

BALTIMORE (-3) over Oakland
I think this game will be close (because Oakland's defense is awful), and I trust the Ravens in a close game far more than I do the Raiders. It feels like the Raiders are going to spend this year learning how to win in this league, and perhaps emerge as a playoff contender next season. 

Denver (-3) over TAMPA BAY
Tampa Bay's defense has given up 24, 40, and 37 points in their 3 games. And the 37 points was to the Rams offense. That's awful. And their offense isn't making up for that against this Broncos defense. 

Dallas (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO
Dallas at least has something working offensively (the running game). And Dak Prescott is much better than Blaine Gabbert. 

SAN DIEGO (-4) over New Orleans
Neither of these teams plays any defense. That's kind of like, I hate both of these candidates. Well sure, both have their warts, but one is certifiably insane and should legitimately scare you. Saying they're both just as bad diminishes just how crazy one of them truly is. How does this relate to football? Calling the Saints defense bad, and saying someone else's defense is just as bad really undersells how rotten that unit really is. 

ARIZONA (-8) over Los Angeles
As long as Palmer doesn't throw multiple interceptions again, there will be plays to be made behind this Rams front seven. Arizona has done a better job of not being overwhelmed by the Rams defensive front than Seattle has, I expect that to continue. 

PITTSBURGH (-5) over Kansas City
The Steelers have put up some inexplicable stinkers in the last few years, but they tend to bounce back the next week. I'm still in on Pittsburgh as the clear #2 team in the AFC (behind the Patriots, with the Broncos slowly but surely narrowing the gap from their #3 perch), but to stay there they need to put away this limited playoff contender. 

MINNESOTA (-5) over New York Giants
Eli Manning against that defense? Yikes. 

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