NFL Week 4 Preview and Predictions
Week 4 Headlines
Politics and Sports: Following inflammatory statements by Donald Trump about NFL protest, the league responded with protest. Teams and owners locked arms, kneeled, or skipped the national anthem altogether. In response, some fans denounced their team or went as far as to burn merchandise and tickets.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Trevor Siemian, Dak Presscott, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer
Sitting Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, Alex Smith, Cam Newton
Starting Running Backs: Jay Ajayi, Leonard Fournette, C.J. Anderson, Joe Mixon
Sitting Running Backs: Lamar Miller, Ameer Abdullah, Frank Gore, Paul Perkins
Starting Receivers: Keenan Allen, Golden Tate, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry
Sitting Receivers: Amari Cooper, Terrelle Pryor, Brandon Marshall, T.Y. Hilton
Starting Tight Ends: Kyle Rudolph, Charles Clay, Jimmy Graham, Hunter Henry
Sitting Tight Ends: Evan Engram, Julius Thomas, Coby Fleener, David Njoku
Starting Defenses: Seahawks, Jaguars, Bengals, Packers
Sitting Defenses: Redskins, Bills, Dolphins, Panthers
Bears vs. Packers: This is a scary game for the Green Bay Packers when you consider how banged up their offensive line is. Coming off of a short week and going up against the Bears front seven is a tall task. The Packers O-line is suspect to the point Chicago could drop seven into coverage and still get pressure. And to make matters worse, the Packers are banged up on defense too. And with Kyle Long back for the Bears, that means an improvement on their O-line. That means more running lanes for the Bears backfield duo and more time for Mike Glennon to throw the ball. This will come down to the wire, but I expect the Bears QB to make a fatal mistake and open the door for a Packers victory.
Saints vs. Dolphins: The Saints defense looked competent against the Panthers and the Dolphins found a way to do the unthinkable and lose to the Jets. Miami is bringing back their best coverage linebacker in Lawrence Timmons at a good time, but the Saints also get Willie Snead back from suspension. Both teams have a weakness in their secondary, which could spell success for both quarterbacks. In that area, the Saints have the edge. Another factor will be a road-weary Dolphins team that has yet to play a game in Miami. They’ve basically been living out of a suitcase since Hurricane Irma moved their week 1 game. In this game, I’ll pick the Saints to win.
Panthers vs. Patriots: Carolina fans can officially start mashing that panic button. Their offense looked helpless against the Saints defense…THE SAINTS DEFENSE. Speaking of defense, the Patriots defense is currently the worst in football. Sounds like sacrilege considering who their head coach is. It’s certainly their weakness right now. DeShaun Watson was able to burn New England, so now would be a good time for a Cam Newton resurrection. But considering last week’s performance against New Orleans, my confidence isn’t all that high for that happening. I expect to see flashes from the Panthers, but that’s not enough to beat the Patriots on the road.
Jaguars vs. Jets: The Jaguars defense has been dominant in two games this week and should do the same against the Jets. Give the Jets credit for shutting down the 0-16 talk last week against a divisional opponent, but they won’t win this game unless Blake Bortles allows it to happen.
Titans vs. Texans: Houston played well and probably should’ve won last week against the Patriots. Their defense is beginning to make plays and DeShaun Watson is figuring it out. The matchup to watch is the Texans physical front against the Titans offensive line. Tennessee was able to push Seattle around last week. And given the Titans love of running the ball, expect a physical game. This will come down to skill players and which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. Marcus Mariota is the more consistent option to choose from, so I’ll pick the Titans to win a close game.
Steelers vs. Ravens: There must have been a mixup at customs in London because I refuse to believe those guys wearing the Ravens uniform were actually the Ravens. Blake Bortles looked great against that defense and the Jacksonville defense pushed them around all over the field. Perhaps the injuries are catching up to Baltimore. Pittsburgh has had to deal with off the field issues in regards to the protest and fans turning on them. Plus, their offense still hasn’t had that breakout game yet. One thing we know for sure is that the Ravens offense can’t carry their team to victory when their defense isn’t dominating. So in this matchup, I’ll pick a more balance Steelers team so long as the reported locker room divide is just media fluff.
Bengals vs. Browns: The Cincinnati offense has life, but not enough to beat the Packers last week. Also, I hope the Browns have their insurance premiums paid because Vontaze Burfict will be back on the field on Sunday. As for the Browns, they’re headed in the right direction. They just need to learn how to finish and win games. I expect things to get ugly in this game, but the Bengals will ultimately pull off a close win.
Lions vs. Vikings: Last week, I picked against the Vikings because I didn’t trust Case Keenum. I am an idiot. Keenum proved he’s capable of leading the offense in impressive fashion. That’s good considering Sam Bradford will likely miss more time. Minnesota’s defense will have their hands full against Detroit’s offense. Matthew Stafford and the Lions came one yard short of beating Atlanta but proved they can be a good unit. Their offensive line will be put to the test against the Vikings defense, and ultimately I think the guys in purple will be able to apply enough pressure to eek out a win.
Rams vs. Cowboys: Dallas is a team that still has a lot to prove. They’ve beaten bad Giants and Cardinals teams but were run off the field in Denver. If anything, the Arizona game should at least be a confidence boost after the Denver beatdown. The good news for the Cowboys is the Rams haven’t figured out how to stop the run yet. Expect Ezekiel Elliot to feast in this game. The improved Rams defense will put the Cowboys defense to the test, but they likely won’t have the time to make much of an impact as long as the Cowboys keep churning up yards on the ground. Dallas should win a game that will look close on the scoreboard.
Bills vs. Falcons: Buffalo is a strange team. They don’t have any glaring weaknesses but don’t have any overwhelming strengths either. Heading on the road to Atlanta will be a tough game for them. Atlanta’s offense is still figuring things out, but one thing you can’t deny is their speed and athleticism. The Bills found success against the Denver defense, but they also benefited from plenty of Broncos blunders. The Falcons, on the other hand, should have no trouble finding the end zone with their loaded offense. The Falcons will take this game.
Eagles vs. Chargers: Los Angeles’ newest football team has yet to win a game since leaving San Diego. For the Chargers, it’s never been about talent. In the Philip Rivers era, they’ve normally had enough talent to compete. The problem is they can’t find a way to win close games or consistently play well. They’re the definition of a team with a split personality. The Eagles will provide a tough matchup for them. The strategy to combat Philip Rivers is to rush the statuesque quarterback into mistakes. Philly needs to be careful because their secondary is shaky at best. Where the Eagles can certainly find success is running the football. The Chargers have struggled to stop the run for over a year now. And since the Chargers don’t really have a home-field advantage or much fan support to speak of, I’ll pick the Eagles to win.
49ers vs. Cardinals: Arizona is coming off of a short week while San Francisco has had extra time to prepare. Arizona’s defense isn’t horrible, but Carlos Hyde won’t have to worry about being shut down. The real question is can the Niners offense replicate their effort against the Rams last week. Also, can Carson Palmer play consistently? I’m going with the upset in this game and picking the Niners to win.
Giants vs. Buccaneers: New York showed that their offense has a pulse last week, but they still need to figure out how to win games. Their defense can counter the strengths of the Buccaneers passing attack. The problem is, the offensive line problems aren’t going anywhere anytime soon for the Giants. The only good news for this game is that the Buccaneers front seven is banged up. So there’s a chance they won’t be able to exploit the Giants greatest weakness. If so, the Giants have a chance to use their offensive weapons to their best potential. It’s a dangerous pick, but I’ll pick the Giants to finally get in the win column.
Raiders vs. Broncos: Oakland was physically punched in the mouth and embarrassed on national television last week. Derek Carr looked more like David Carr and the Raiders o-line had their worst possible game. Now they have to go on the road to play the Broncos, who probably should’ve won last week. This is a ‘show me’ game for the Raiders. I think physicality will be the emphasis for them leading up to the game. And with Denver’s secondary playing well, expect the Raiders to try and establish the run and work from there. However, I think this game comes down to Trevor Siemian. If he plays well against the Raiders suspect defense, I can see them winning the game at home.
Colts vs. Seahawks: Seattle went full bizarro last week. After carrying the offense all season, the Seahawks defense was bullied by the Titans while the offense actually played well. The game against the Colts should help this team get on track. While the Colts are better than I give them credit for, I don’t see Jacoby Brissett having much success against Seattle’s defense.
Redskins vs. Chiefs: After the impressive beating they put on the Raiders, Washington faces an interesting task: playing the Chiefs at night in Arrowhead. Both offenses are explosive and both defenses have played well. So this should be an evenly matched game. But I’ll pick the Chiefs for the following reasons. First, their playmakers make big plays seemingly on a weekly basis. Secondly, strange things happen to teams that visit the Chiefs at night.