NFL Week 4 Predictions: B-B-B-Bortles and the Jets

So Week 3 was fun. Let’s see if Week 4 can keep it up (Thursday wasn’t a good start).

Saints vs. Dolphins

I might actually get up early to see this one, especially since it’s on TV this time. Expectations are wide open in a London game after seeing the Jaguars just dominate Baltimore on both sides of the ball last week. We’re used to low-scoring, shitty quality London games. The Saints did play one of the best back in 2008 against the Chargers. I think they won 37-32 or so. I think this is a good opportunity for Drew Brees to light up an underwhelming Miami defense. I don’t like what we’re seeing out of Miami’s offense so far with Jay Cutler and Jarvis “My Team Gets Worse the More They Throw Me the Ball” Landry. Jay Ajayi is primed for a bounce-back game though. Miami really should be 0-2, but you know how the Chargers are in crunch time. I’ll take the Saints in this one.

Rams at Dallas

This is a weird one since we thought the Rams would be really good on defense and the Cowboys would need carried by their offense. So far this year, the Rams are clearly better on the offensive side of the ball (thanks, Sean McVay) while the Cowboys have a sneaky good defense and haven’t quite put things together on offense. However, I would note that the Dallas defense has had incredible starting field position this year, which makes their job a bit easier. This is an interesting matchup with the top RBs of the last two draft classes (Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott). I think Elliott gets on track at home, and I’m still a big believer in what Dak Prescott is doing. Dez Bryant should have an easier matchup this week with the Rams’ secondary. But if the Rams get the win, I think there’s much more to believe in this 3-1 start as opposed to last year’s fool’s gold with Jeff Fisher and Case Keenum.

Lions at Vikings

Speaking of Keenum, WTF was that last week, Tampa Bay? He lit them up, and it’s not the first time in his career. On a similar note, can he light up the Lions like he did for most of the game in Detroit last year, only to throw a game-ending interception late? The Vikings certainly have improved the OL, and I like the skill players, so it’s not hugely surprising to see Keenum fare alright last week, his second start of 2017. That’s why I think this game can be very interesting. These teams played two low-scoring nail-biters last season, and Detroit pulling out both games late is why they went to the playoffs while the Vikings were 8-8. Detroit looks solid so far and was inches away from a 3-0 start, but I kinda like what the Vikings have been doing in these two home games this year. And I still like Mike Zimmer over Jim Caldwell.

Panthers at Patriots

Well, this was a really good game in 2013, but I don’t think we’ll see a good one here. Then again, I thought the Patriots would walk all over Houston last week instead of needing a last-minute touchdown to win a shootout. The New England defense is in a poor state right now, but if Carolina couldn’t take advantage of the Saints at home last week, why should I believe the offense will do anything in Foxboro this week? Cam Newton hasn’t been good all year, Greg Olsen is out, and Kelvin Benjamin is banged up. No thanks. Patriots should get a comfortable home win for a change this year.

Bills at Falcons

This one could be good if Buffalo’s offense shows up. Need to see more LeSean McCoy, less Mike Tolbert. The Falcons still aren’t great defensively, but that offense still leads the NFL in yards per drive and points per drive. Matt Ryan should be sharper at home as he usually is. I know Buffalo’s defense is No. 1 in points per drive allowed, but they haven’t played a good offense yet. This is a huge test. Truthfully, the Bills have played the most consistently of the AFC East teams and would be 3-0 if Tyrod Taylor delivered a slightly better pass to Zay Jones against Carolina. Atlanta could easily be 1-2 if the Bears and Lions connected in the red zone on their final plays. So I’m interested in seeing how competitive this one is.

Steelers at Ravens

I thought we’d see a battle of 3-0 teams, but both disappointed last week. Joe Flacco may have had the worst game of his career. I think the defensive performance in London was an aberration. Baltimore is better than that defensively, just not as good as the first two weeks against Ohio. The Ravens always play the Steelers tough in Baltimore where Ben Roethlisberger is 2-6 as a starter. I don’t like really anything the Steelers are doing offensively this year. It could be that Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant’s timing is off after one skipped the offseason and the other was suspended all of last year, but this is Week 4. Time to start producing. The offensive line is not blocking well for Bell either, and I’m not sure that will just improve itself against a quality front seven here. It’s Steelers-Ravens, so you expect a close, low-scoring game, though they have tore that script up a few times in recent years. Still, I’m going to lean with the home team as I just don’t care for how Pittsburgh has started this season.

Oakland at Denver

Big game here. I don’t know how Denver pulled off four home games in the first five weeks, but big home-field advantage at Mile High. Derek Carr has to get over the hump of not playing well against the Broncos and Chiefs. He has never had a real quality game against Denver. He has a few wins, but that doesn’t mean he played that well. I think the Denver defense is still outstanding, and having the worst starting field position in the league because of the offense’s turnovers is hurting their scoring numbers this year. If Trevor Siemian and the offense hang onto the ball, they’ll win this game. Oakland played so poorly last week that I can’t imagine we won’t see a bounce-back effort, but this is not a good matchup for this offense to shine. And I still think the defense is pretty weak.

Jaguars at Jets

Imagine that, the Jaguars can be 3-1 or the Jets can be 2-2 after this one. I have yet to cover either team in Clutch Encounters since all of their games have been so one-sided this year. So I’m looking to see if we’ll have a competitive one for a change. I believe in the talent of the Jacksonville defense, though I’m still skeptical of Blake Bortles. Big game last week, but Marcedes Lewis catching 3 TDs against Baltimore may go down as the “WTF? Game of the Year.”

Colts at Seahawks

This might have been pretty intriguing if Andrew Luck was still alive, but I expect to get my nap in during this game. And I’ll just leave this here.

Redskins at Chiefs

Much like Buffalo, Washington is another “who gives a shit?” franchise that could easily be 3-0 with a better throw from the quarterback. The defense seems legit, though I don’t like what’s happening with Kirk Cousins and his wide receivers. Terrelle Pryor is looking like a free-agent bust so far. I think you need strong wide receiver play to match up with the Chiefs, who defend RBs (Chris Thompson) and TEs (Vernon Davis/Jordan Reed) quite well. That’s why I think Cousins will struggle to repeat his recent success, and the Chiefs have been playing like the best team in the NFL this year. So I’ll take the Chiefs at home in this one.

2017 Week 4 Predictions

I had the Packers on TNF, because Mike Glennon is only good for two things: being tall and beating the Steelers. Seriously, he’s 2-10 in his last 12 starts and both wins were over Pittsburgh.

Winners in bold.

  • Saints vs. Dolphins
  • Bengals at Browns
  • Rams at Cowboys
  • Titans at Texans
  • Panthers at Patriots
  • Steelers at Ravens
  • Bills at Falcons
  • Lions at Vikings
  • Jaguars at Jets
  • Giants at Buccaneers
  • 49ers at Cardinals
  • Eagles at Chargers
  • Raiders at Broncos
  • Colts at Seahawks
  • Redskins at Chiefs

Yes, I like the Bengals and Giants to get their first wins of the season this week. I think Odell Beckham Jr. goes off for 100+ for the first time this season.

  • Week 1: 8-7
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 9-7
  • Season: 28-19
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