NFL: Week 4

By: S. Davis

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My laptop took a dive last week and I was caught completely off-guard, so much that I thought about putting the column on the shelf for a few weeks…but I like to make people insane with my picks. It baffles me why people actually use my scores for bets. Apparently one of my readers has won money over the years by noting my scores. Gambling is the ill of society! Too preachy? Ha! I threw in my Week 3 picks, while omitting my thoughts that usually follow, due to time constraints.

Do you hear the cries coming from the fans of the 0-3 brigade? If you listen close enough you’ll hear spouses making plans to book trips to places that don’t involve violent collisions, being on the coaching hot seat or being fired from your post as the offensive coordinator when the defensive side of the ball needs more attention. General managers will continue to pull their hair out of their ears and move to fire coaches way too soon…while oddly extending others.

The panic makes me pine for the days when coaches had security – well, more than they have currently – and didn’t have to fear starting off too slow out of the gate. Lastly, it’s senseless for any coaching contract to be terminated before three full seasons. There’s no continuity within the franchise if the head coaching post is constantly being turned over. Give every coach three seasons to make progress and then move on if they haven’t justified an extension.

Week 4:

Miami 13 @ Cincinnati 29: Ryan Tannehill is not a world beater, which is obvious, but why exactly is this a make or break year for him as the quarterback of the Dolphins? Has the entire football bubble ignored that everyone in the AFC East is playing for second place – and will continue to do so for as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are tied to the New England Patriots. They’ve ruled over the division for fifteen years – and they show no signs of giving up their spot.

Can someone name the quarterback for the Dolphins that’s going to raid the kingdom up in Boston? Is he in college? High school? Tannehill isn’t among the top-tier at his position but he’s competing in a division where second place is all the Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills can hope for.

Indianapolis 27 @ Jacksonville 13: Andrew Luck has a good deal of Brett Favre in his game – and I don’t think that’s a great thing. I like Favre but I think intelligent football fans know where I’m going with that assessment. Far too many talking heads have these large expectations for a Colts squad that needs stout offensive linemen, a running back to pair with Frank Gore, and another top receiving target for their quarterback.

I picked the Colts to win the division due to Luck, mostly. He’s a good player and he’s talented enough to put the team on his shoulder pads but one man can’t carry it all; not in professional football. Luck is the guy to have under center but his risk taking doesn’t mesh with the team he has at his disposal. He has to play with a level of control because he’s on his way to gaining a reputation of being a guy that will gift an interception or two at a crucial moment.

What’s changed about the Jaguars? Am I missing something?

Tennessee 17 @ Houston 19: Texans?

Cleveland 17 @ Washington 26: When the schedule was released this game was one that garnered a peculiar level of attention. I wonder why. I really hope Hue Jackson strings together some wins because not everyone has the job security of Jeff Fisher.

Seattle 35 @ NY Jets 17: I like the C.J. Spiller signing for an offense that’s been running on fumes. So a Week 4 game is a “must win” for the Jets, huh? How great is a season going if a “must win” comes in the first quarter of the regular season? Ryan Fitzpatrick turned back into Ryan Fitzpatrick last week in a grizzly performance with six interceptions. (That turned my stomach just typing that.) I’m not sure if Chan Gailey forgot that Matt Forte is on his team but I think he’ll be featured this Sunday. It’s a must win after all, right?

Buffalo 21 @ New England 30: Rex Ryan leads his team to a win versus the Cardinals and now he opens his mouth again. Sure…whatever, I guess.

Carolina 27 @ Atlanta 23: The Panthers are desperate and I don’t think the Falcons, defensively, can beat on Cam Newton in the same manner in which he’s been thrown around this season.

Oakland 16 @ Baltimore 17: I do like the Raiders more than the Jaguars – across the board – and I do understand why they have buzz they do. However, the Ravens will ugly this one up real nice to come out on top.

Detroit 30 @ Chicago 19: Lions.

Denver 27 @ Tampa Bay 21: The Broncos were supposed to dominate defensively while treading water offensively. Trevor Siemian wasn’t impressed with a “game manager” label and seems to have more control and confidence over the system with every week that passes.

LA 13 @ Arizona 27: If someone would’ve told me that Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick switched jerseys last week I would’ve believed it – and that’s not a compliment.

New Orleans 37 @ San Diego 40: The Saints’ defense is making fantasy owners pull their tongues out – and now it’s obvious that Rob Ryan wasn’t the problem everyone thought he was.

Dallas 23 @ San Francisco 20: Cowboys.

Kansas City 23 @ Pittsburgh 29: The bright side of taking the beating they took at the hand of the Philadelphia Eagles last week is that it was…last week. Le’Veon Bell is returning to the field this Sunday and I think it would be a great wrinkle to use him as a receiver primarily while handing him some carries from the backfield, of course.

I like the Chiefs to make the postseason – I picked them for the AFC West title – but I can’t pick them in a week where the Steelers are looking to rebound in a massive way.

NY Giants 26 @ Minnesota 23: At some point Eli Manning has to play a solid game versus the Vikings – and he does just enough this week.

Week 3:
Houston 21 @ New England 23
Arizona 30 @ Buffalo 21
Oakland 24 @ Tennessee 17
Cleveland 16 @ Miami 20
Baltimore 18 @ Jacksonville 9
Detroit 17 @ Green Bay 35
Denver 24 @ Cincinnati 20
Minnesota 17 @ Carolina 23
Washington 21 @ NY Giants 24
Los Angeles 10 @ Tampa Bay 23

San Francisco 20 @ Seattle 24: The Seahawks have managed to score one touchdown thus far in the young season and while that’s worthy of focus, it is not a harbinger of certain doom. This is a great week for their offense to get on track but the offensive line has to hold up in pass protection and in the running game. Russell Wilson doesn’t have the time to make his reads because the pocket collapses upon receiving the snap.

The line has been a puzzle in motion for three years and without Marshawn Lynch to lighten the burden, their shortcomings are magnified. They have to make Jimmy Graham a priority. Pete Carroll doesn’t run the Sean Payton style of offense but there’s no reason why Graham should be an afterthought. When you factor in the subpar play of the Seahawks’ blockers upfront, it’s almost criminal to deny Graham more attention. He’s a weapon and he should begin to be treated as such.

NY Jets 23 @ Kansas City 24
San Diego 17 @ Indianapolis 20
Pittsburgh 26 @ Philadelphia 21
Chicago 10 @ Dallas 13
Atlanta 40 @ New Orleans 30

Last Week: 11-5
Season: 28-20

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