After Week # 4, Season record: 13-7-0
Pick #1: (-7) Packers @ Colts – Packers win it, 30-17.
That’s a lot of points to swallow, but after dealing with the 9ers, Bears and Seahawks in Seattle, it’s kind of nice to face a bad AFC team. They play indoors, it’s what Brady, Manning and Rodgers want as there is no wind indoors for the better offenses. At quarterback, the OL and Special teams? Huge edge Green Bay! As far as coaching, Chuck Pagano was diagnosed earlier this week with treatable leukemia, so he’s out! I think that severely damages a young football team. Rodgers got beat up in Seattle and Green Bay hasn’t been sacked, Rodgers that is, in his past 67 drop backs – a massive improvement. The Colts’ Reggie Wayne can be trouble but Tramon Williams of the Packers, one of the best cover men in the NFL, will negate his afternoon. Green Bay’s secondary (Sam Shields, Casey Hayward) have overachieved this year, they’re really good players. Rodgers has been absolutely superb in the red-zone, has no discernible weakness. The Colts’ offensive line with Clay Matthews on fire is a huge weak spot. Green Bay wins it; I’ll easily swallow the points, 30-17.
Pick #2: (+3) Seahawks @ Panthers –Seahawks win it, 21-20
I get 3 points and I get the better team! Seattle has the 2nd stingiest run defense, 63 yards a game is all that they give up, what does that mean? Cam Newton is going to have to throw – no thank you! I don’t trust him. Seattle’s pass rush is really good and they’re secondary is absolutely outstanding! Now, there are parts about the Seahawks that I don’t like – they lead the NFL in pre-snap penalties (what’s new, it’s a Pete Carroll team, they lack detail like USC did when he was there) But I get Seattle +3 and I get the better team. Russell Wilson up until this point has been managing games, thrown fewer passes than any other starter in the league and their asking him to manage the games – I’m okay with that right now. I feel like I get an absolutely superior defense, an absolutely superior special teams and at least Wilson won’t lose the game for me. I’m taking the points, Seattle goes cross country – they have been bizarrely affected when flying cross-country like when they beat the Giants (remember that?) take Seattle to win it, 21-20.
Pick #3: Chargers @ Saints (-3.5) – Saints win it, 31-21
I’ve been taking a lot of dogs this year and it’s paid off so far – but this weekend feels like a favourites weekend to me, so take the Saints at (-3.5). San Diego’s lone dome stadium game – first time they are playing on artificial turf since last year when they got smoked by Detroit. Remember what this game means: Sunday night at the Superdome, Drew Brees is going for a record, it will be an absolute nuthouse. Don’t kid yourself about San Diego – did you know Kansas City out gained them with 6 more first downs? The problem with the Chiefs though is that they keep turning it over. Drew Brees at home – for all the criticism this year, he’s still on pace for 40 TD’s, over 5,000 yards and 67% completion. Special teams? Edge Saints! Jimmy Graham creates major match up issues for San Diego down the middle. New Orleans’ running game with Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas darting, pounding and slashing guys gives you a lot of different looks and New Orleans showed signs of regaining their swagger, even though they lost to Green Bay. I think San Diego is in trouble and I’m taking New Orleans to win comfortably, 31-21.
Pick #4: Eagles @ Steelers (-3.5) – Steelers win it, 31-21
I love this game and nobody agrees with me, Pittsburgh is at home (getting starters back – key guys and veterans, smart players too) against Michael Vick, Steelers at (-3.5) I’ll take them all day. Listen, Steelers now have been sitting around resting and ticked off after that miserable performance against Oakland. Philadelphia, by the way, has 3 wins this season by a combined 4 points and is coming off a big rivalry game against New York and now Pittsburgh is sitting there. Don’t kid yourself; Big Ben at home is a different quarterback. At home? 45-15 TD’s to INT ratio in his last 30 home games so I’d give the edge at quarterback to the Steelers. Steelers also have a Special team’s edge and they are at home. The Eagles’ pass protection has been totally inconsistent with 11 sacks as Vick has been knocked down 18 more times than the next guy in the league. James Harrison is back, Troy is also back and Michael Vick in the end has a 57% completion rate, 4TD’s with 6 picks and in the redzone is atrocious. Philadelphia is 30th in scoring, are you kidding me? With all those weapons? Same score I had in the last game, Pittsburgh hammers Philadelphia, 31-21.
Pick #5: Broncos @ Patriots (-6.5) – Patriots win it, 31-24
Why not keep going on favourites, you know that Vegas is going to hate me, but Belicheck has Stevan Ridley whose on pace to have 1400 yards and they also have a rookie running back in Brandon Bolden who has become a beast, it is a one/two punch. The Patriots love to spread the field and with Aaron Hernandez out – they are using 3-wide receiver sets, what does that mean? Von Miller is going to have to be in coverage, he’s okay as he is what he is as a pass rusher. Peyton Manning is effective on getting rid of the ball and avoiding sacks, but right now, Denver’s protection schemes appear to be a work in progress – ton’s of blown assignments. Brady is on fire!! He looks better than last year, Gronk and Welker have both eclipsed 100 receiving yards, now Buffalo is bad, but passing attacks – especially tight ends, have given the Broncos trouble this year. Despite popular opinion, the Patriots’ offensive tackles the offensive line has been pretty good this year: Brandon Bolden, Stevan Ridley have been pounding away in between the tackles. Devin McCourty, New England’s best cover guy, shutting down Demaryius Thomas. New England will challenge Manning to throw deep and right now, that is not his strength. New England wins it 35-24. I’ve been on the dogs all this year in my picks, decided to change it up and make it a favourites week.