ok so NFL Girl went 12-4 last week. Not bad. Shoulda picked the Pats at home, but oh well. So here we go for week 4.
Detroit Lions (1-2) vs. Chicago Bears (2-1)
Kudos to the Lions for breaking their losing streak at 19 games & beating the Redskins at home. Matthew Stafford & his duo of receivers Johnson & Johnson (Calvin & Bryant) finally delievered on their potential. While Calvin was held to just 5 catches for 49 yards, Bryant caught 4 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Smith ran for an impressive 101 yards on 16 carries. Matthew Stafford threw for 241 yards and a touchdown. While the win wasnt too impressive it did give the Lions a much needed boost in confidence. They definitely have some great possibility in the future. The Chicago Bears in the meantime have won 2 straight after the debacle in week 1. Last week against the Seahawks they looked superb. Jay Cutler completed on 21/27 passes for 247 yards and 3 TDs w/ only 1 pick. Devin Hester is turning into a great #1 receiver last week catching 5 passes for 76 yards and a TD. The Urlacher-less D has stepped up in the last 2 weeks and kept them on the winnning track. While I’m happy for the Lions to have gotten their 1st win since 2007, I dont think they have a chance against the Bears in this game. I’m picking the Bears.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-3)
The Bengals pulled out a very impressive win last week against the Steelers in the closing minutes of the game. Carson Palmer may have only thrown for 183 yards and 1 TD, but more importantly he didnt throw a single pick (he threw 4 picks in the first 2 weeks). Cedric Benson ran for 76 yards on 16 carries for 1 TD. While Chad Ochocinco and Andre Caldwell didnt put up impressive numbers last week (neither caught a TD) they did consistently keep the ball moving down the field. The Browns meanwhile have looked downright atrocious. It isnt just that they are 0-3, it is how bad they have looked while losing. Brady Quinn was pulled during last week’s game after throwing an interception (his 3rd in 3 weeks) and Derek Anderson was brought in who immediately threw 3 interceptions of his own. To top off the horrendous offense, the defense has done nothing to stop their opponents from scoring. Mangini may be able to work some magic on the Browns this season, but the Bengals have looked good in their 2 wins and their D is tough. I’m taking the Bengals.
Oakland Raiders (1-2) vs. Houston Texans (1-2)
Ahh the Raiders. How 1 team can have such a great defense and such a gawd awful offense at the same time boggles the mind. Last week JaMarcus Russell’s QB rating dropped to an all time low of 22.6% as he went 12 of 21 for only 61 yards 0 TDs and 2 INTs. Darren McFadden was held to 45 yards on 12 carries as the Raiders went on to get blown out at home against the Broncos 23-3. Unless the issue at quarterback is addressed immediately this season is going to be a lost cause for the Raiders. The Texans in the meantime looked good up til the very end when a final drive by the Jags cost the Texans the win. Matt Schaub completed 26/35 for 300 yards and 3 TDs (but also 1 INT). Texans D has been impressive even in their losses keeping them close in games. Raiders are on a downward spiral with little chance of pulling out much of a mediocre season. Texans are at home this week and the D with Mario Williams have been looking good. I’m picking the Texans.
Seattle Seahawks (1-2) vs. Indianapolis Colts (3-0)
With Hasselback being doubtful for this game, it is most likely that Seneca Wallace will once again start for the Seahawks. Last week he threw for 261 yards and a TD but also 1 INT. With T.J. Houshmandzadeh & Deion Branch probable for the game, it will open up the passing game more this week (though Nate Burleson did catch 9 passes for 109 yards last week). Julius Jones was held to 98 yards on 19 rushes with 0 TDs. The defense has played inconsistent. However I still believe they will have a so-so season. The Colts have started out quick jumping out to a 3-0 start. Last week the always impressive Peyton Manning threw for 379 yards and 4 TDs w/ 1 INT in a crushing win against the Cardinals in Arizona. Reggie Wayne caught 7 passes for 126 yards and a TD. The D has been very impressive in their wins with Antoine Bethea having another INT last week. The Colts are at home where they always play on a higher level. I’m picking the Colts.
Tennessee Titans (0-3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Who knew the Titans who looked so great last season would start out 0-3 this season. Last week Kerry Collins looked terrible against the Jets finishing with a 41.5 QB rating throwing for 170 yards 1 TD and 2 INTs. Chris Johnson only managed 97 yards and 0 TDs. The special teams looked bad last week as Ryan Mouton fumbled a kickoff and lost a punt which contributed to 14 of the Jets points. Only their D kept the game close as the O & special teams struggled. The Titans have a tough schedule and are going to really have to work to get wins. The Jaguars scored their first win of the season last week against the Texans in Houston. David Garrard completed 18 of 30 passes for 214 yards with Mike Sims-Walker catching 6 of those passes for 81 yards. Maurcie Jones-Drew had a blowout game rushing for 119 yards on 23 carries and 3 TDs. Neither team actually has been playing that impressive with both Garrard and Collins playing poorly. That being said I want to believe that the Titans will get their 1st win of the season. My upset pick of the week- I’m taking the Titans.
New York Giants (3-0) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)
Last week the Giants looked incredible as they shut out the lowly Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. Eli Manning completed 14 of 24 for 161 yards and 2 TDs. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed on 14 carries for 104 yards while Brandon Jacobs rushed 26 times for 92 yards and a TD. Steve Smith had 7 receptions for 63 yards and 1 TD. The D has been tough through all 3 games and last week was no exception keeping the Bucs scoreless. The Kansas City Chiefs are in a rebuilding year with rookie head coach Todd Haley & 1st time starting QB Matt Cassell. Last week Cassell completed 14 of 18 for 90 yards and 2 TDs in a losing effort to the Eagles. Larry Johnson was held to just 38 yards on 19 rushes and 0 TDs while receiver Mark Bradley caught just 4 passes for 28 yards and 1 TD. Kansas City is not going to have a good season unfortunately but are always play tougher at home. That being said I’m still taking the Giants.
Baltimore Ravens (3-0) vs. New England Patriots (2-1)
The Baltimore Ravens are an amazing team to watch. While the D has always been good, it is their offense behind 2nd year QB Joe Flacco that has become a force to be reckoned with. Last week at home he completed 25 of 35 for 342 yards and 1 TD as the Ravens blew out the Browns 34-3. Wide receiver Derrick Mason caught 5 passes for 118 yards and 1 TD & running back Willis McGahee rushed for 67 yards on 7 carries and 2 TDs and Ray Rice rushed for another. There is nothing that ever needs to be said about Ray Lewis & the Ravens D. Last week against the Browns they interecepted the ball 4 times. The Patriots meanwhile havent looked like the same squad from the 18-1 season of 2007. They eeked out a win against the Bills, got beat by the Jets and then beat the Falcons at home. Tom Brady completed 25 of 42 for 277 yards and 1 TD last week against the Falcons. After being held to just for 4 catches for 24 yards against the Jets, wide receiver Randy Moss caught 10 passes for 116 yards. The defense looked good last week against the then undefeated Falcons, but the Ravens arent the Falcons. I know I shouldnt have picked against the Pats at home last week but the Ravens are a much tougher team. I’m picking the Ravens.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) vs. Washington Redskins (1-2)
The Bucs are in a rebuilding year after firing head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen and his successor Mark Dominik in the offseason. Rookie head coach Raheem Morris then fired his newly hired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski just a week and a half before the beginning of the season, promoting his quarterback’s coach Greg Olson to offensive coordinator. The Bucs are going to struggle this year. Quarterback Byron Leftwich has looked awful in the team’s first 3 losses so last week Morris brought in 2nd year quarterback Josh Johnson at the end of the game. After putting together an impressive drive at the end of the game, Johnson was named the starter for this week (Leftwich was moved to 3rd string behind rookie qb Josh Freeman). We’ll see if this move will help their struggling offense. Last week they were shut out and the D looked downright pitiful as the Giants scored on them at will. This will be another issue that will have to be addressed if the Bucs have any hope of having even a modest season. The Redskins are sitting ugly at the bottom of the NFC East division after starting the season 1-2. They suffered an ugly loss against the Giants to start the season, beat the pathetic Rams in week 2 and then suffered an embarassing loss to the Lions last week. The Redskins offense has been anemic, having scored only 40 points total for their season so far. But there are some sparks of hope on this team. Last week Jason Campbell completed 27 of 40 for 340 yards and 2 TDs & 1 INT and wide receiver Santana Moss caught 10 passes for 178 yards and 1 TD. Their D has kept them in games, keeping them from getting blown out, but with the offense struggling they are on the field way too much. The Skins have potential, it is whether they can put all the pieces together and start winning games that remains to be seen. Redskins are home this week against the struggling Bucs. Neither team is doing well but I suspect after that embarassing loss last week, the Skins will be looking for redemption. I’m picking the Redskins.
Buffalo Bills (1-2) vs. Miami Dolphins (0-3)
The Bills started the season looking good in a loss to the Pats, looked great in a win against the Bucs and looked bad in a loss to the Saints (but hey the Saints make everyone look bad). This week they have a match up against their divisional foe the Dolphins. Last week Trent Edwards had an awful game against the Saints completing just 20 of 35 passes for 156 yards, 0 TDs & 1 INT. Fred Jackson rushed for only 71 yards on 18 carries and Lee Evans only made 4 receptions for 31 yards while Terrell Owens was shut out. The D allowed New Orleans to run all over them as they got blown out 27-7. Despite this the potential is still there for the Bills to have a good season. The Dolphins last season made the playoffs after finishing 1-15 in 2007. This season they have stumbled out the gate starting 0-3. They were blown out in week 1 against the Falcons, lost a close one against the Colts in week 2, and lost by 10 to the Chargers last week. Last week Chad Pennington completed just 8 of 12 for 54 yards before injuring his right shoulder. His back-up Chad Henne came in and completed 10 0f 19 for 92 yards and an INT. Ronnie Brown rushed for only 75 yards on 18 carries and Ricky Williams had only 8 rushes for 55 yards but 1 TD. I suspect Coach Sparano will turn this team around and maybe the loss of Pennington will spark some new life in them. However, the Bills just look better all around and their D has been playing much stronger. I’m picking the Bills.
New York Jets (3-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (3-0)
Another battle of the unbeatens. This is going to be a good match up. The Jets came storming out the gate this season beating up 3 AFC teams. This will be their first battle against a NFC opponent. Last week Mark Sanchez threw for 171 yards and 2 TDs w/ just 1 INT. Jerricho Cotchery caught 8 of those passes for 108 yards and 1 TD. More impressive has been the Jets D which has held opponents to 17 points and under. They are leading the AFC East division and look to be able to sustain this momentum. New Orleans Saints are a beast. A force of nature that seems nearly unstoppable. Even with Drew Brees playing subpar last week completing only 16 of 29 for 152 yards and 0 TDs, the team rolled up another win behind their running game (Mike Bell had 17 rushes for 86 yards and 1 TD) and tough D. Jets are going to have a great season but the Saints have a high powered offense with a bruising D. I’m taking the Saints.
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) vs. Denver Broncos (3-0)
Cowboys have looked good this season. Even in defeat they kept themselves in the game losing by only 2 points in week 2. They recovered last week as they beat the lowly Panthers at home 21-7. Tony Romo completed 22 of 33 for 255 yards. Running back Tashard Choice had 18 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown after Felix Jones left in the 3rd quarter on a knee injury. Even the defense scored as cornerback Terence Newman intercepted Jake Delhomme and returned the ball 27 yards for a touchdown. Cowboys have a high powered offense & a crushing D. They will have a great season in the tough NFC East division. Broncos have gotten off to a great start this season by going 3-0. So far however they’ve only faced weak opponents as they beat the Bengals on a fluke and defeated the sorry Browns & Raiders. Kyle Orton is a conservative quarterback. Last week he completed 13 of 23 for 157 yards and 1 TD. Correll Buckhalter rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries and Knowshon Moreno rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries & 1 TD. Brandon Marshall finally scored his 1st TD of the season last week against the Raiders. While the offense has been consistent but conservative the defense has played outstanding. Elvis Dumervil scored another 2 sacks last week giving him 6 so far this season. This will be the first time that Brian Dawkins has faced his former divisional foe and he is ready to play. I believe the 2 defenses cancel each other out, but the Cowboys have a high powered high scoring offense having scored no less than 21 points while the Broncos have scored no more than 27. Felix Jones is out this game but Marion Barber will be back though playing hurt. Tony Romo has played up and down from week to week but he has great receivers and their running game is reliable. I expect the Broncos to play well but playing conservative will not get the job done against the Cowboys. I’m picking the Cowboys.
St. Louis Rams (0-3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
Not a whole lot positive can be said about the Rams. The injury prone Mark Bulger injured his right shoulder early in the game last week and is questionable this week. The defense has played (I use that term loosely) poorly. If this team has any hope of finishing better than last year’s 3-13 they will have to put together some type of consistency on the field. San Francisco meanwhile has looked marvelous. Shaun Hill put together another impressive game last week finishing 15 of 25 for 195 yards and 2 TDs (1 INT) in a heartbreaking last second lost against the Vikings. Unfortunately they lost Frank Gore on a foot/ankle injury during the game. Rookie Glen Coffee will start this game. Even with the rookie at running back, the offense is going to be too much for the Rams pathetic defense. I’m picking the 49ers.
San Diego Chargers (2-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
After losing to the Ravens in Baltimore in week 2, the Chargers bounced back last week to beat the Dolphins at home. Philip Rivers looked good completing 18 of 33 for 303 yards. Vincent Jackson had 5 catches for 120 yards. The always tough D held the Dolphins to just 13 points. They are in 2nd in the AFC West divison but they have the potential to tie the Broncos this week with a win (and Broncos loss of course). The Steelers lost a last minute shocker against the Bengals in Cincinnati last week. Ben Roethlisberger completed 22 of 31 for 276 yards and 1 TD but also 1 INT (the difference of the game). Willie Parker is doubtful this week with a toe injury. Troy Polamalu is still out with a knee injury and the defense has struggled without him. Despite the fact that the Steelers are playing at home the key losses on the D and the running game will make this game nearly impossible for them to win. I’m picking the Chargers.
Green Bay Packers (2-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (3-0)
Talk about a highly anticipated match-up. Ever since the Vikings signed Brett Favre during preseason this game has been circled on many people’s calendar. I mean “The Legend” facing his former team and heir apparent Aaron Rodgers at the home of his new team. Wow. Last week against the sad Rams Aaron Rodgers completed 13 of 23 passes for 269 yards and 2 TDs. Donald Driver caught 4 of those passes for 95 yards and 1 TD. Ryan Grant rushed for 99 yards on 26 attempts. The Packs D is always remarkable. They face a tough challenge this week in their divisional foe the Vikings. Last week the Vikes looked like they were going to have their 1st loss of the season against the 49ers, but never count Brett Favre out as he put together a phenemenol drive at the end of the game to maintain their undefeated record. Even with Adrian Peterson held to just 85 yards on 19 rushes, Favre finished the game 24 of 46 for 301 yards and 2 TDs (1 INT). The Packers D is susceptible to big plays giving up 117 yards last week to running back Steven Jackson and after being held under 100 yards last week, Peterson is ready to break loose on them. I’m picking the Vikings.