Here are my picks for the NFL's Week Four:
Sunday, September 30th, 2007
Green Bay (3-0) at Minnesota (1-2) *Metrodome* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Green Bay by 2)
Of the five remaining unbeaten teams, the Packers are the biggest surprise. They haven't had an easy schedule either, beating the Chargers, the Eagles, and the Giants on the road. Brett Favre looks like he has another five seasons in him. The Packers major weak spot is their unreliable running game. Minnesota has a strong ground attack and a solid defense, but their passing game is laughable. However, the Vikings almost always play tough at home.
RJ's Pick: Packers by 4
Oakland (1-2) at Miami (0-3) *Dolphin Stadium* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Miami by 4)
Oakland was very lucky to get a win last week against Cleveland. The Raiders blocked a last-second field goal attempt by Browns kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson had actually made the field goal on the previous play, but it didn't count because Oakland called a timeout just milliseconds before the snap. Miami nearly beat the Jets on the road in Week Three, thanks largely to a great game by RB Ronnie Brown. But in the end, they still lost, and therefore remain winless. The Dolphins offense has shown some signs of life early this season, and I think this is the game where they put it all together for the win.
RJ's Pick: Dolphins by 2
New York Jets (1-2) at Buffalo (0-3) *Ralph Wilson Stadium* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Jets by 4½)
The Bills are just having an awful season. Injuries, an anemic passing game, and a tough early schedule have all contributed to their winless record. The Jets have a healthy Chad Pennington at QB now, so they should be able to get to .500 with a win on the road.
RJ's Pick: Jets by 7
Houston (2-1) at Atlanta (0-3) *Georgia Dome* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Houston by 3)
Houston is surprisingly good this year, while the Falcons are predictably awful. It's not a good sign when Joey Harrington puts up Peyton Manning-type numbers, and his team still loses, as happened in Week Three.
RJ's Pick: Texans by 6
Chicago (1-2) at Detroit (2-1) *Ford Field* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Chicago by 3)
The Bears were spanked at home by Dallas on SNF last week. Their offense was anemic, but that's expected with Rex Grossman at QB. What was surprising, however, was that their defense couldn't stop either the run or the pass. Detroit was utterly destroyed by Philadelphia last week, 56-21. The Lions defense was embarrassing to watch, as Eagles receivers were left wide open and RB Brian Westbrook seemed to break at least five tackles every time he had the ball. QB Jon Kitna put up great numbers in a losing cause. I believe the Lions can score on anybody this season with their high-powered passing attack, so they should be able to put some points on the board in this one (even if rookie WR Calvin Johnson cannot play due to a bruised lower back). Grossman has been benched in favor of Brian Griese, which should give the Bears offense a boost. This one could go either way.
RJ's Pick: Lions by 2
Baltimore (2-1) at Cleveland (1-2) *Cleveland Browns Stadium* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Baltimore by 4½)
Baltimore is has been very mediocre so far this season. They've lost to the 1-2 Bengals, and they've barely beaten the 1-2 Jets and the 1-2 Cardinals. Meanwhile, since a pathetic performance in Week One, the Browns have put 51 points up in a win against the Bengals and nearly beat the Raiders on the road. I'm thinking upset in this one.
RJ's Pick: Browns by 1
Saint Louis (0-3) at Dallas (3-0) *Texas Stadium* – 1:00 PM (Sheridan's line: Dallas by 11½)
The Rams have a poor defense and a crippled offensive line. The Cowboys have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. Need I say any more?
RJ's Pick: Dallas by 21
Tampa Bay (2-1) at Carolina (2-1) *Bank of America Stadium* – 4:05 PM (Sheridan's line: No Line)
This is a tough game to predict. Tampa Bay has an over-performing defense, and Jeff Garcia has shown himself to be capable at QB. But it's always tough to pick against Jake Delhomme-Steve Smith combination unless it's against an elite opponent (which Tampa Bay isn't). When uncertain, it's usually wise to pick the home team.
RJ's Pick: Carolina by 3
Seattle (2-1) at San Francisco (2-1) *Monster Park* – 4:05 PM (Sheridan's line: Seattle by 2)
San Francisco isn't as good as their 2-1 record would seem to indicate. Their two wins came from barely beating the Cardinals and barely beating the Rams. Last week, they were shredded by Pittsburgh. The 49ers could easily be 0-3 right now. Meanwhile, the Seahawks would be 3-0, except for a late-fourth quarter collapse in Arizona back in Week Two. This game should be kept close, however, because it's at Monster Park.
RJ's Pick: Seattle by 4
Kansas City (1-2) at San Diego (1-2) *Qualcomm Stadium* – 4:15 PM (Sheridan's line: San Diego by 12)
San Diego has been unimpressive so far this year, as has their star RB LaDainian Tomlinson. He is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry, and has as many passing TDs this season as rushing TDs (1). However, the Chargers should improve as the season wears on. Kansas City, meanwhile, is just thoroughly bad. Their defense isn't horrible, but their offense certainly is. San Diego is going to win this game, but I'm not sure if it will be a low-scoring game with a small margin of victory, or a total blowout. That's the only tough part about making this pick.
RJ's Pick: San Diego by 17
Pittsburgh (3-0) at Arizona (1-2) *University of Phoenix Stadium* – 4:15 PM (Sheridan's line: Pittsburgh by 6)
This game should be a rout, since the Steelers are playing as good as anybody right now (with the possible exception of the Patriots). But Kurt Warner is in at QB for the Cardinals, and he looked very impressive last week taking over for Matt Leinart. I don't expect an upset, but Warner could keep it close.
RJ's Pick: Steelers by 3
Denver (2-1) at Indianapolis (3-0) *RCA Dome* – 4:15 PM (Sheridan's line: Indianapolis by 9½)
Denver nearly lost to the hapless Bills in Week One, then nearly lost to the Raiders in Week Two. Last week, they got whipped at home by the Jaguars, and their running game was completely shut down. Indianapolis looked beatable the last two weeks, but both were away games. They aren't going to lose at home this week (or perhaps all season).
RJ's Pick: Colts by 13
Philadelphia (1-2) at New York Giants (1-2) *Giants Stadium* – 8:15 PM (Sheridan's line: Philadelphia by 3)
The Giants defense looked horrible all season – until the second half of last week's game against Washington. The Eagles offense looked horrible all season – until the entire-freakin'-game against the Lions last week. So, there are two important questions surrounding this game. 1) Which Giants defensive unit will show up? 2) Which Eagles offensive unit will show up? I guess I'll go with the Eagles, because you just know Brian Westbrook will put in a solid performance no matter what.
RJ's Pick: Eagles by 1
Monday, October 1st, 2007
New England (3-0) at Cincinnati (1-2) *Paul Brown Stadium* – 8:30 PM (Sheridan's line: New England by 7½)
New England will score 38 points again this week, and that may be by the second quarter. I'm not a betting man, and I do not encourage using my picks for betting purposes (although I did quite well against the spread last week…), but if I was, and if I did, I would happily place a double sawbuck on the Patriots, and encourage others to do the same.
RJ's Pick: Patriots by 20
[Bye Week Teams: Tennessee (2-1), New Orleans (0-3), Washington (2-1), Jacksonville (2-1)]
RJ's Week Three Picks:
- I picked seven Home teams and seven Away teams
- I picked eleven Favorites and two Underdogs (one game had No Line)