NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Four; 2015)

[New York (Jets) vs. Miami] (London game)

The first of a few London games means no team is necessarily “at home.” Both will probably face crowd noise. Both will probably go through the motions of having momentum from the audience. This will be a match-up of skill.

With the amount of talent Miami has on their team, there’s no reason they should be 1-2. New York had a bad outing against a better defense in Philadelphia. I would think that Miami’s defense would be just as good, but they haven’t shown it thus far this season, especially after last week, giving up over 40 points to Buffalo. At home.

Reports are speculating that head coach Joe Philbin may be fired if he gets blown out in London. If that’s the case, his players may be playing for Philbin’s job tomorrow. The question is, do they want him there? Juicy, juicy gossip, indeed. I like the stability of New York in this match-up, even if their team isn’t exactly as well-balanced as Miami should be.

Winner: New York

[New York (Giants) @ Buffalo]

New York beat a visiting Washington team last week, so they have reason to be optimistic against Buffalo, who went toe-to-toe with New England.

In all seriousness, I don’t think this game will even be close. Eli Manning has too few weapons and Buffalo’s defense has too many playmakers. I’d be surprised if New York scored more than 17 points. Tyrod Taylor may be new to starting, but he’s proved better than Kirk Cousins so far this season. LeSean McCoy is out this week, but Karlos Williams had a great game against Miami last week. I doubt New York’s defensive line is better than Miami’s. Logically, this isn’t even close. And Buffalo’s at home, too.

Winner: Buffalo

[Carolina @ Tampa Bay]

Carolina struggled a little last week against an awful New Orleans defense last week. Now they’re going up against an awful (but sometimes okay) Tampa Bay defense. Despite the close game with New Orleans, Cam Newton had debatably his best game of the season, and so did Greg Olsen. If they can keep up that chemistry, I think they’ll go through Tampa Bay just fine. Carolina’s defense should prove a problem for Tampa Bay’s offense.

Mike Evans will definitely help Jameis Winston, who used him effectively last week against Houston. What worries me is the offensive line, who has let Winston get sacked 7 times this season, which isn’t too bad, but Carolina’s defensive line now has Jared Allen in the place of Charles Johnson. Yeesh. Let’s just hope for their sake that Brindza can make some field goals this week.

Winner: Carolina

[Oakland @ Chicago]

If Jay Cutler plays this game, Chicago has a chance. If not, I don’t see Chicago winning. They’ve had the displeasure of facing three elite-ish teams in the first three weeks of the season. Now, they’re facing a team that seems to be emerging in quality, but still needs to prove it down the stretch. If Chicago plans to get the winning started, they need to start it with Oakland.

Trading Jared Allen and Jon Bostic, along with releasing Brock Vereen last week may be a sign of trouble with Chicago’s current situation. They’re planning for the future, knowing their current team can hardly be salvaged. This is just speculation, but can you blame them? In the meantime, Oakland is rolling and looks to improve to 3-1 for the first time in, man, I don’t even know. 1998? Oh, according to Reddit, it was 2001.

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are looking to be the next Andy Dalton/A.J. Green. Not to mention Latavius Murray running well behind Oakland’s revamped offensive line. Oakland’s offense looks to be headed for a bright future. Their defense, however, still needs some improvement. But hey, they have time to fix it up. And Charles Woodson is the best 38 year-old defensive back in the NFL today. Fun fact: he’s the only one. You’ll get there next year, Terence Newman.

Winner: Oakland

[Kansas City @ Cincinnati]

I have a confession to make: I think Kansas City is in the same boat as Pittsburgh and Miami. It has a great team with a lot of good players, but bad coaching decisions prevent them from being any better than their current records (2-2, 1-2, 1-2). Andy Reid has shown me something I noticed in their Week Two game against Denver: he thinks he’s smarter than the opposing team’s defense. All sorts of trick plays and illusions of screens and fakes and blah blah blah. He’s a cute coach, or should I say, finesse. I think that’s his biggest drawback.

Kansas City’s defense is good. I know it’s good. Last week at Green Bay was an exception, because Aaron Rodgers is a god. However, it’s given up a lot of points due to miscues by the offense. Kansas City’s offensive line is a huge negative for Kansas City, which leads to misguided throws or fumbles, which leads to shorter fields for the opposing offense, which usually leads to points. It’s a deadly cycle, and it’s unfair on a really strong defense.

Cincinnati’s defensive line has come alive this season and they should find no problem getting to Alex Smith tomorrow. More of those pressures are going to lead to mistakes, mistakes Kansas City can’t afford to make. In the meantime, Cincinnati looks to be a near-elite team. But hey, Andy Dalton hasn’t played a primetime game yet!

Winner: Cincinnati

[Houston @ Atlanta]

Atlanta, while not as strong as most other 3-0 teams, has fought their way through some tough games and have earned their wins. Julio Jones isn’t a guaranteed active, but he’s likely to play regardless. If he does, hopefully his injury doesn’t slow him down, because he’s been the best wide receiver so far this season. Leonard Hankerson will not carry this offense on his back.

Their defense looked really bad in the first two quarters against Dallas last week, but didn’t allow a single point during the second half. Chalk it up as another “bend, but don’t break” performance for them, much like against New York and Philadelphia before. They’re looking like a good, solid team, but not great.

Houston, on the other hand, is slowly adjusting to starting Ryan Mallett. He got his first win as a starter this season last week against a self-imploding Tampa Bay team. Even so, he played very meh. I think Atlanta’s defense will give him more trouble in the secondary than their defensive line, but it should be a close game, as Houston’s defense is better than I think it is. Though, I trust Matty Ice more than Mallett Rice.

Winner: Atlanta

[Jacksonville @ Indianapolis]

Y’know, Jacksonville beat Miami a couple weeks ago…. Maybe they can beat Indianapolis?

Y’know what, I’m tired of shitting on Jacksonville. They’re a good team, damn it! And I believe in them! They’re gonna kick Indianapolis and their overrated ass! Suck with Luck! Posluszny can have my children!

Winner: Indianapolis

[Philadelphia @ Washington]

Washington is at home tomorrow against a Philadelphia team that seems to do better on the road for some reason. Philadelphia’s defense is also really, really good. It just has a disgustingly inconsistent offense with Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. Ryan Mathews had a much improved performance last week than DeMarco did… any week. How many rushing yards does DeMarco Murray have on the season? 11? Right, got’cha.

Washington didn’t have a pass rush last week. That doesn’t fare well when Philadelphia’s offensive line is very weak, especially in the middle. If they can’t get any pressure on Bradford, they aren’t gonna win the game. DeAngelo Hall, debatably Washington’s best cornerback, also won’t be in this game, so that leaves little corner help for Washington. Ryan Kerrigan and company has to step up the pass rush if they want to throw Philadelphia off-balance. Oh, and Kirk Cousins has to flat-out play better. Philadelphia’s defense won’t be an easy ticket.

Winner: Philadelphia

[Cleveland @ San Diego]

Okay, Philip Rivers. You got this. You’re elite. Cleveland’s defense has been inconsistent this season AND you’re at home. You can’t fuck up this game. It’s Cleveland. And Josh McCown. Just stay calm and throw touchdowns. Keenan Allen has grown to be a reliable target. Use him. If not Woodcock.

Okay, Josh McCown. You got this. You had a good season once for Chicago some years ago. San Diego’s defense has been inconsistent this season AND you have cool hair. You can’t fuck up this game. Johnny Football is right behind you whispering voodoo curses upon your throwing arm so that he can play. Just stay calm and don’t throw interceptions. Your defense should do the rest. Rely on it. If not Travis Gabriel.

This should be a stupid game. I can smell it.

Winner: San Diego

[Minnesota @ Denver]

One of, if not the most interesting match-up this week. Ever since getting destroyed by San Francisco in Week One, Minnesota has been on fire. Teddy Bridgewater has done less and Adrian Peterson has done much, much more. Coincidence? Peyton Manning has effectively re-taken control of his team because that bully Gary Kubiak tried to make him take snaps from under center! He isn’t as good as he was last year (before St. Louis), but he’s still better than half the starters in the league.

Denver’s defense and Minnesota’s defense are both bruisers. They get a lot of sacks and hold the run. Their secondaries are pretty spiffy, too. The reason this game is so interesting is because they’re pretty evenly matched on paper. It’s hard to choose a team in this case. Though, you should never count out Peyton Manning in the regular season. Wait until the postseason to do that.

Then again, Adrian Peterson is still a monster, too. But will the offensive line be able to hold up Denver’s punishing defensive line? That may be the key to this game. I’m sticking with the home team in this case.

Winner: Denver

[Green Bay @ San Francisco]

Colin Kaepernick played really, really badly last week against a good defense. Now, he’s going up against a slightly worse defense in Green Bay. I’m not ready to give up on Kaepernick yet, but a bad game tomorrow may further his descent into back-up territory. Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, whether he’s at home or on the road.

It’s funny, a lot of people are saying that San Francisco has a great chance at upsetting Green Bay, because they’ve done it a few times before. Uhhh. That was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. This is not the same San Francisco team that ran for 500 yards against Green Bay’s defense in the playoffs. I don’t think they have any chance, frankly. I don’t think it’ll even be close.

Winner: Green Bay

[St. Louis @ Arizona]

Uhhhhh.

Winner: Arizona

[Dallas @ New Orleans]

See now, if it wasn’t for Brandon Weeden and Joseph Randle putting on a no-show for the second half of last week’s game against Atlanta, I would’ve picked Dallas immediately, Drew Brees or no Drew Brees. That offensive line is way too good. It devours any defensive line and makes room for many, many rushes. But again, that was the first half of the game. Second half: nothing. Just stop after stop after stop.

But again, this was Atlanta’s defense. New Orleans’ defense is a little worse. And by that, I mean it’s a lot worse. It’s near shit. It’s pathetic. But its offense is okay… sometimes. It actually looked better with Luke McCown in at quarterback than Drew Brees! But hey, what do we know? One performance isn’t entirely telling.

This is hard, it really is. I don’t trust Brandon Weeden. I don’t trust New Orleans’ defense. My trust in Dallas’s offensive line is strong. My trust in Drew Brees is fading. There are so many variables in this match-up that virtually anything could happen. It’s tough. Do I go with my brain and pick Dallas? Or do I pick with my heart and choose New Orleans? Mrmm. Mrmmmmm. Mrmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Winner: New Orleans

[Detroit @ Seattle]

Seattle is a little fishy this season. They were beat by St. Louis in overtime in Week One. Then they were beat by Green Bay in Week Two. In Week Three, they destroyed Chicago. The difference? They were at home against Chicago. They were on the road against Green Bay and St. Louis. This only leads me to believe that Seattle is shit on the road and amazing at home. Like that’s a surprise to anyone who’s followed Seattle the last few years.

Detroit is even fishier. They’re 0-3, and were beaten by teams with records of 1-2, 2-1, and 3-0. They were at home last week against said 3-0 team: Denver. They have given up a good amount of points in each game and all games have similar qualities: Matt Stafford throws at least one interception, the running game was atrocious, and the offensive line allowed at least one sack per game, along with a few more QB pressures. This only leads me to believe that Detroit’s 2014 run was a fluke. But hey, it’s early. They have time to turn it around. They just won’t against Seattle at home.

To any fantasy football fans: I’d sit Matthew Stafford for this game.

Winner: Seattle

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