Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week Four NFL Picks Part I

Week 4 NFL Picks
Football is such a great metaphor for life because of how quickly the fortunes of any one team, player, or individual fan can change. After the first two weeks of football, I was in constant euphoria. My four fantasy teams; A Boy Named Ndamukong Suh, The Vonne-gut Punch, Dr. Swagg and The Ghost of Lil’ Greg, were a combined 7-1 and my Redskins were 2-0. All my sleepers and fantasy targets were hitting, the Redskins looked far better than anyone would have dared dream in August, and I felt my football knowledge prowess pretty much vindicated. Sure my picks weren’t doing that great so far, but this is the first time I’m doing it, so it was still fun.
Then last Sunday happened and my fantasy teams went 0-4. Then, Monday night came and it all got so much worse. If you are a Redskin fan, or know and love one well, you know that the week after a Redskin lost we are generally in a bad mood all week. I consider myself pretty happy on the whole, but if you look at the Redskins’ record over the past decade or so, you can safely assume I have been pretty grumpy for much of the autumns and early winters of my life so far. If not for being a Redskins’ fan, I could have spared myself a lot of pain and frustration over the years. But, I wouldn’t change now or take all those years back even if I could. I love my team and the prospect of a win any given Sunday or a win in the Super Bowl sometime in the future makes it all worthwhile.
So my fantasy teams go winless, which is a total bummer, then we lose a completely winnable game against our arch-rivals and blow a chance to embarrass them in their fancy new house. It wasn’t just that they lost it was that they lost while holding Dallas without a touchdown. They lost to field goals. On the last play I was forced to watch Rex Grossman’s fat ass get stalked down in slow motion by a 300 pounder for the inevitable game clinching fumble that you could see coming for a mile away. The loss hurt, and any loss to the Cowboys is ten times worse anyway, and then when you add in the way they lost it football suddenly seemed a futile pursuit.
Everything you have can be quickly taken away. The brightest of days can quickly turn into storms. It is here where you prove your character. I felt incredibly lazy this week after such a trying two days. Things I usually delight in like hitting profootballtalk, playing the next week’s matchups on Madden, or scouring the internet for local news became like chores. This is entirely the reason that I am scurrying to finish this before Sunday comes. It is easy when things are good. When things are bad, you must call on your determination. You must show your endurance. You must continue on.

Last Week 10-6 Season 24-23-1
Lines taken from ESPN Pig Skin Pick-Em Game
My pick in bold.
Sunday 1 PM EST
Bills @ Bengals +3.5
This feels like a trap game for the Bills. The Bengals have won one game and have two very close losses this season. They can run the ball and have a formidable defense. The Bills are at a delirious high after their amazing comeback win over the Pats and are ripe for an off game. The Bills can’t come back from 20 down every week, but fortunately for them, the Bengals won’t score 21 most likely. Still, I’ll take the home team with the points.
Panthers @ Bears -6.5
I’ve picked against the Bears every week so far and have been arguing the case that they were a fraudulently good team from last year for some time. However, Cam Newton is a rookie and the Bears still do have a good defense. I think Peppers and Crew harass Newton into some big mistakes that turn the game. Cam could beat them with his absolutely best game, but in almost any other circumstances the Bears win this game.
Titans +1.5 @ Browns
I think this is the game the floodgates finally open for Chris Johnson. The Browns defense is better than in the past, but this is still the kind of matchup that left fantasy owners salivating in recent years. Even without Kenny Britt, the Titans still have a better passing game than last year and Chris Johnson’s raw speed and talent will win out eventually. Fret not fellow fantasy dorks, CJ2K will be back in effect Sunday at the expense of the Browns.
Lions +3.5 @ Cowboys
I have been riding the Lions hard so far. I feel like they have to have an off game, or a debilitating injury, sooner or later. The Cowboys’ biggest problem, both figuratively and literally is DT Ndamukong Suh. I think if Suh gets one good hit on Romo, it could break him. The Cowboys have injuries and other problems in their secondary and Matt Stafford had been a top 3 quarterback so far this year. I’m sticking with the Lions to the bitter end.
Vikings @ Chiefs +1.5
I like the way the Chiefs came out last Sunday and put up a fight against a division rivals while everyone else was already singing their funeral dirge. I don’t think this team will give up. The first two weeks went as bad as they possibly could for the Chiefs, and I think they continue their modest rebound at home. The Chiefs are tough at Arrowhead, and I’ll take them as a home dog against a McNabb quarterback-ed team any day.
Redskins +0.5 @ Rams
I don’t really feel good about this game at all. The Rams have not put together a good game yet, and the Redskins are 2-1, but have not shown that they have an ability to put away inferior teams. This game might be close, and low scoring, and kickers might feature prominently again, and the Redskins will win, barely.
Saints -7.5 @Jaguars
The Saints will keep doing what they have been doing and the Jaguars will not be able to stop them. The offense will put a ton of points on the board and the Jaguars will not. I don’t have anything else to say about that.
49ers @ Eagles -6.5
Michael Vick has been knocked out of the last two games and has yet to really have a definitive performance this year. I think this is the game. I don’t buy the 49ers having a great defense as much as I buy that they play the rest of the NFC West twice a year. This is the game the Eagles offense goes back to the passing game and has their first dominant game of the year.
Steelers @ Texans -3.5
I think the Texans are finally coming together as a team while the Steelers are falling apart. They have a mean pass rush and an improved secondary. Their offense has always been above average with the best wide receiver in football and the ability to seemingly make any running back elite. I think the problems on the Steelers’ offensive line will be too much for them to salvage this season.
Sunday 4:05
Falcons -4.5 @ Seahawks
The Falcons need a statement game. They can’t seem to find a real identity on offense. They are throwing a lot more, but that’s not resulting in consistent points yet. Michael Turner hasn’t been getting his usual binge of carries and he’s not doing much with the few he’s getting. The Seahawks were much better at home last week, but they’re not playing another team from the NFC West this week. The Falcons are a superior team and I think this is the game they start to get it going.
Sunday 4:15
Giants @ Cardinals +1.5
I have no idea really of what to think of the Giants. They’re 2-1. They looked brutal in their loss to the Redskins, were pretty forgettable in their Monday night win against the Rams, then looked really impressive beating the Eagles. Before I felt like the Giants were less than what to all their separate parts add up to. They still have a lot of talent on the team and the defensive front four might still be the best in the NFL. The Giants have better players, but I’m not sure they will be the better team, but I think they will.
Broncos +13.5 @ Packers
This is my bold gut call of the week. The Broncos make a game of this and Tim Tebow will play a role. I know the Packers have been tough so far, but I think they also are due for an off game. The Packers have not lost since the end of the regular season last year, and at home, undefeated against a team they should stomp, I think they come out flat and the Tebow era begins in Denver.
Patriots @ Raiders +4.5
The Patriots defense has not been able to stop anybody thus far. Both teams have an only a crazy Bills comeback to blame for their lone loss. I take the team at home getting the points with the better defense and run game.
Dolphins @ Chargers -8.5
I kept thinking up so many excuses to take the Dolphins this week. Their defense played better last week. Rivers has been pretty average so far. Antonio Gates is out again this week. The Chargers failed to cover a big spread last week against a team that’s probably worse than this Dolphins one. Then I asked myself why I do I keep trying to talk myself into the Dolphins? I know that the Chargers are the better team still, by far I think, so I’ll just take them and move on.
Sunday 8:20
Jets @ Ravens -3.5
The game tonight will be a dandy; Rex Ryan against his old employer, two nasty defenses chasing around two promising former first round pick quarterbacks, cheers of “Yea Hun!” coming from the Baltimore crowd. Ultimately, I think the setting makes the difference. When two good teams play and there is no clear advantage on either side, then I will always take the team at home, especially when there is personal beef between the teams, as is the case here.
Monday 8:30
Colts +9.5 @ Buccaneers
Another instant classic for ESPN on Monday Night Football! Man, they have been killing it this year. Maybe these teams will combine for more than one touchdown! But, they might not, that’s why I’ll take the Colts with a load of candy. The Bucs haven’t demonstrated that they can beat any team like that yet and there is a chance that Curtis Painter will play better than Kerry Collins did. The Colts might be dead, but not that dead.

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