Last week was one of the most strangest that I can ever recall. The disastrous calls (and non-calls) by the replacement refs hurt some teams and naturally had an impact on our picks. But what was even more telling was that seven games in week #3 were decided in the final minute of the 4th quarter or overtime!
And so we’ll try to right the ship that finished an abysmal 1-4 last week, bringing what was a fairly decent 7-3 record to a more pedestrian 8-7. Here then are our five best bests for week #4:
*Home teams in CAPS:
49ers over the JETS- Looking to bounce back after their stunning defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings last week, the 49ers have two things in their favor. For starters they have the 7th best rushing offense in the NFL and they’re going up against a Jets defense that yielded 169 yards to the Bills’ C.J. Spiller and 185 yards to Dolphins RB Reggie Bush & co. And then there’s the ‘Revis Factor’. Joe McKnight is no Darrelle Revis and I think Alex Smith has an easy time of it through the air & with Gore on the ground.
FALCONS over Panthers- The Panthers are better than their 36-7 blowout by the Giants suggests. They dropped 35 points on the Saints in their win the week prior and held the Bucs to 16 points in their week 1 loss. Their problem has been turnovers and, besides Cam Newton, the absence of any consistent running game. The Falcons have been clicking on all cylinders, in particular QB Matt Ryan is off to an MVP-like start. They are +10 in turnovers which probably is not sustainable but their fairly easy schedule could see them run the table before thier week 7 bye.
Cardinals over the Dolphins- Miami’s been routed by 20 vs the Texans, beat the Raiders, which they always seem to do at Sun Life Stadium, and lost an ugly game that they should have won (2 missed field goals) to the Jets. Reggie Bush is having a career year but a rookie QB is not what you want going up against an over-achieving staunch defense IN Arizona. I do think that this could be a closer game than you might think. If the Cards can’t ruffle Tannehill all that much & Reggie plays at 100% it could make things interesting. Remember the Cardinals won their first two games by a total of 6 points and Skelton/Kolb has been doing it with mirrors so far this season.
PACKERS over the Saints- We picked the Packers in last Monday Night’s “Shame Game” and I’m guessing they are eager as we are to get back to their winning ways. These aren’t last year’s version of the offensive juggernauts that averaged close to 40 points a game. That number has dropped significantly to 23 but should change against the anemic defense of New Orleans. The Saints, following this game, will probably just play out the season and then come back with authority (and Sean Payton) next year.
Redskins over the BUCCANEERS- Even with the ‘Skins injuries there just isn’t enough offensive power on the Bucs to overtake Washington. Josh Freeman has picked up where he left off last season, regressing so bad that in two of the three games this year he failed to reach even 140 passing yards. His only bright spot was in game 2 going up against a Giants secondary that had their fourth unit on the field. RGIII is leading the league in rushing yards among quarterbacks and the ‘Skins have put up an average of 33 points a game this season. The Falcons come into D.C. in week 5 and so at 1-2 the Redskins need this one.