Thursday, September 29, 2011

NFL 2011: Week 4 Picks

What an exciting Week 3 of NFL we just had? At one point, all eight early games were one score games in the 4th quarter. Thanks to DIERCTV Game Mix, I had a very exciting morning of football on Sunday, although overwhelming at times. Later in the afternoon, the Packers' trouncing of the Bears made my day. YOTTO ("Year of the Take Over") indeed!

Wish I had done a little better on my picks against the spread, but hey, you can't have it all. I am going to try do a better job this week:

New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)

Drew Brees carried the Saints on his back to make an improbable comeback against Houston last week. As predicted by many, including yours truly, this game was a shootout. And that always favors the Saints at home, especially when they are going against a Wade Phillips coached defense.

The Jaguars managed to keep the game against the Panthers close in the monsoon game last week. Blaine Gabbert looked raw. But can you blame him after being forced into the starting QB role in Jacksonville? Even though the Jaguars are given 7 points at home, it's hard to pick them against the Saints.

Outright Win: Saints
v/s the Spread: Saints (-7)

Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams (PK)

The Redskins defense is deceivingly good. Except for the fact that they keep getting burnt when they go on all out blitzes time after time, especially on 3rd and long situations. A little conservative approach might go a long way in making the defense more effective. Bad Rex Grossman showed up last week when he faced pressure from the Dallas D line. The pressure up front won't be as good this week.

The Rams are in a 0-3 hole now. Still, not to anyone's surprise, they are still more than alive in the NFC West. But a loss here might get them closer to the edge of the cliff. They will have to play a disciplined game and learn not to shoot themselves in the foot. A lot will also depend on how much load Stephen Jackson can carry. I'm not going against a team that has its back to the wall.

Outright Win: Rams
v/s the Spread: Rams (0)

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (-1)

Kenny Britt's injury is a huge loss for the Titans. Especially with Chris Johnson not taking off; at least not yet. Matt Hasselbeck should now find a new favorite target to keep the Titans offense going. The Browns offense seem to be better than their stats indicate. Their defense is also pretty solid. This will be a close game.

Outright Win: Browns
v/s the Spread: Browns (-1)

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5)

Are the Bills are for real? A come from behind win after being down 21 points against the Patriots does make a strong case. But the caveat here is that it was against the Patriots defense. Playing the Bengals on the road should be walk in the park for a 3-0 Bills team, you would think. But this has all the makings of a trap game, with the Bills still basking in the limelight after beating the Patriots. A let down is likely.

Then again, they are going against Andy Dalton and the Bengals, who might not even have Cedric Benson to pound the rock. So I think the Bills will survive this one.

Outright Win: Bills
v/s the Spread: Bills (-3.5)

Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs (+1.5)

The Vikings seem to have a split personality. The "first half" Vikings seem to be able to score some points and also keep opponents from scoring a whole lot. The "second half" Vikings find a way to give up the lead built up over the first half and some more. Why they don't let Adrian Peterson carry the team on his back in the second half of every game, I will never understand.

The Chiefs played the Chargers hard, almost pulling off an upset there. But I wouldn't read too much into it. The Chargers under Norv Turner, as usual, get creative in making things harder for themselves every September.

Outright Win: Vikings
v/s the Spread: Vikings (-1.5)

Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears (-6)
The Panthers managed to win that wild monsoon game against the Jaguars in flood like conditions. Although the rookie Cam Newton didn't throw for a million yards. He had it in him to manage the game in that inclimate weather and pull of a win against a bad team the Panthers think they should beat. If their pass rush can put some pressure on Cutler, they might just make this game interesting.

Mike Martz needs to listen to critics league wide. Reduce the number of deep route play calls! With such a bad O line, play calling could go a long way in masking its deficiencies. With all those complicated routes, taking forever to develop, he's essentially letting Cutler hanging out to dry. Not to mention, he has a weapon like Forte to work with. And someone should remind him that TEs are eligible receivers down field. Use 'em, fool!

Outright Win: Bears
v/s the Spread: Panthers (+6)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans (-4)

I have no idea what to make out of these Steelers. They do seem old and slow when you watch them play. But I am not sure I can discount all that experience they have on the roster. How in the world do they struggle to beat a Curtis Painter lead team?

The Texans played very well on offense against the Saints. Then again, it was the Saints pass defense. But it has got to be a concern for Texans fans that they could not hold onto the 2 TD lead late in the game.

Outright Win: Texans
v/s the Spread: Texans (-4)

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (+4)

Do people still think these Atlanta Falcons are an elite team? They are definitely not elite when they get away from what made them successful last year (I can't say this enough times). Get back to running the ball and moving the chains. They are not built for the quick strike offensive team they are trying to be.

The Seahawk's win over the Cardinals just proves once again about what a disaster the NFC West is. Also reiterates that the home field advantage at Seattle is legit. They are home again this week. But I just don't know if Tavaris Jackson can win two games in a row, even at home?

Outright Win: Falcons
v/s the Spread: Seahawks (+4)

New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals (+1)

Just when everyone writes off the Giants, they show up and beat up the Eagles on the road. I don't think this is sustainable all season long. But they should be fine against a team that just lost to the Seahawks.

That decision to trade for Kevin Kolb, with every passing week, seems to be more and more like a bad one. The only thing the Cardinals have going is for Kolb completing those jump balls to Larry Fitzgerald. My over/under on the time it will take for Fitzgerald to regret signing that contract extension is Week 6.

Outright Win: Giants
v/s the Spread: Giants (-1)

Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers (-7)

The Dolphins are pretty bad, even on the road. Chad Henne might be decent, but he is not good enough to carry his team week after week. Too bad for them that this next game against the Chargers is not in September. The Chargers might just start playing to their potential.

Outright Win:  Chargers
v/s the Spread: Chargers (-7)

New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders (+4)

Brady and the Patriots, I bet, are mad about losing last game to the Bills. Odds are Brady is not going to throw another 4 INTs the rest of the year put together! .... or something like that. This week's game at Oakland is no gimme. Their weak defense might be overwhelmed by the number of speedy, big play weapons the Raiders have. But half the battle will be won if you can curtail McFadden to a certain extent, which is easier said than done, obviously. Not sure the Patriots can do it. So expect another shoot out this week.

Having said all that, the Patriots have never lost 2 games in a row in a loooooong time. Not gonna bet on that now.

Outright Win: Patriots
v/s the Spread: Patriots (-4)

New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)

I don't believe the Jets are still so much respect to be given only 3.5 points on the road against the Ravens. The Jets are not only inefficient in running the ball, but they are not running enough. As long as they keep putting the offense in the hands of Mark Sanchez, they are going to struggle to be elite. Their run defense against Oakland is also something to be seriously concerned about.

The Ravens had a nice win against the Rams. It was good not only because it was a blow out win, but also because they didn't have to use Ray Rice a lot, keeping him fresh for the rest of the season. It will be useful in the long run. I'm going to stay away from contributing to the Torrey Smith hype machine, at least just for the time being.

Outright Win: Ravens
v/s the Spread: Ravens (-3.5)

Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10)

The Colts had a feisty performance against the Steelers last Sunday. I'm curious to see if that is going to be the start of a new look Manning-less Colts run, or if it was the last straw effort by the team that will just go downhill here on.

The Buccaneers are in good hands with Josh Freeman under Center. As long as their defense keeps them in games, I always like Josh's chances in getting his team a win.

Outright Win: Buccaneers
v/s the Spread: Buccaneers (-10)

San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (NL)

Mike Vick will start this Sunday. But the bad news for the Eagles is that he once again faces a team that has a good pass rush. I will not be surprised if Vick does not finish another game. I even doubt if Vick can play to a high level that he is capable of playing.

The 49ers had a nice, yet ugly win over the Bengals on the road. Their decision to stay and prepare for the Eagles game in Ohio might help them, more than people might think. Still, they just don't have enough fire power in the offense to hang with the Eagles offense; Vick or no Vick.

Outright Win:  Eagles
v/s the Spread: n/a

Upset Special of the Week

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-1)

Kudos to that tough son of a gun Romo! Respect. He almost single-handedly led the Cowboys to a win over the Redskins. At times, it seemed like he was playing against some of his own team mates. This week the Cowboys will have to be better prepared. It's quite simply a stiffer test.

The Lions are not 3-0 by fluke. Not only were two of their three wins of the come from behind variety, but they were on the road. Impressive that these guys are unfazed by anything that's thrown at them. Fearless group of Lions!

Outright Win: Lions
v/s the Spread: Lions (+1)

Homer Pick of the Week

Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers (-12.5)

The Packers are making it a habit to pull out a win with a spotty performance week after week. This could be the week where they might start to get things together. The Packer's run defense seems to be doing alright. But their pass defense seems to be in a dire state. Charlie Peprah, who replaced  the injured Nick Collins was a liability in coverage. The tackling in the secondary was nothing to be proud off. Nor was the coverage by the LBs something to gloat about. Dom Capers has a lot of things on his "to be fixed" plate. This week might be a good opportunity for him to experiment a bit and see if he has other alternative game plans.

The Broncos are going no where with Kyle Orton, if he has to be more than a manager of the game. If Willis McGahee is going to be their best ball carrier, it leaves them with no options but to make Orton air it out like crazy. Their defense will get a boost if Elvis Dummerville and champ Bailey return to play this week.

Outright Win: Packers
v/s the Spread: Packers (-12.5)

My 5 STAR Picks   (* Home team in CAPS)

PACKERS (-12.5) over Broncos
Saints (-7) over JAGUARS
RAVENS (-3.5) over Jets
CHARGERS (-7) over Dolphins
Giants (-1) over CARDINALS

Last Week:
Outright Win Record: 13-3
v/s the Spread Record: 6-8

Year to Date:
Outright Win Record: 32-16
v/s the Spread Record: 23-21-2

5 STAR Picks:
Overall Record: 6-9

* Odds as per "Sportsbook" on 9/28/2011

No comments:

Post a Comment