- Alabama 11-0
- Clemson 10-1
- Miami 10-0
- Wisconsin 11-0
- Oklahoma 10-1
- Auburn 9-2
- Georgia 10-1
- Notre Dame 9-2
- Ohio State 9-2
- Penn State 9-2
- USC 10-2
- TCU 9-2
- Washington State 9-2
- UCF 10-0
- Mississippi State 8-3
- Michigan State 8-3
- Washington 9-2
- Oklahoma State 8-3
- LSU 8-3
- Memphis 9-1
- Stanford 8-3
- Northwestern 8-3
- Boise State 9-2
- Virginia Tech 8-3
- USF 9-1
The Steelers beat the Ravens 26-9 in a game where the defense dominated and the offense started to look like last year’s. Le’Veon Bell looked like his old self, rushing for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. This was a huge win on the road against their arch rival. This game may have given the Steelers the AFC North division, as crazy as it sounds after only 4 games. Lets look at the winner(s) and losers:
Heeeeee’s baaack!! Bell finally was like his old self, recording 186 total yards and 2 touchdowns. The Steelers offense hasn’t looked right all year and the general consensus is because Bell was rusty or recovering from surgery in the offseason. If Bell is back to his form where he’s the best running back in the league, that’ll make the rest of the offense return to top form.
The Offensive Line
If part of the blame for the lousy running game before this game was put on Le’Veon Bell, the other part could be on the offensive line. This was supposed to be one of the best lines in football and it has under-performed. The line created some huge holes for the running backs and only gave up 1 sack.
Say hello to the new slot receiver. Eli Rogers was a healthy scratch and JuJu Smith-Schuster looked just fine in the role. He’s getting more and more comfortable and had 3 catches on 4 targets for 47 yards and a touchdown
The Defensive Line
Stephon Tuitt played his first game since getting injured in the first game, so this was the first time Tuitt, Javon Hargrave and Cameron Heyward played together this season. They wreaked havoc on the Ravens.
Lets look at the stats:
Heyward: 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, forced fumble, fumble recovery
Tuitt: 3 tackles, .5 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 2 QB hits
Hargrave: 1 tackle
If this line can stay healthy, they’re going to have a lot of days like this.
Ryan Shazier was all over the field Sunday. He had 11 tackles, 10 solo tackles, 3 passes defended and 1 interception. He’s another player that, if healthy, can dominate.
Mike Hilton looked great Sunday. He did it all as he recorded 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended and 1 interception. He’s another player that is looking better and better every game.
The Steelers are still committing way too many penalties. They had 8 penalties this game, all on offense or special teams. Many of the penalties killed drives.
Antonio Brown had a very below-average day, with 4 receptions for 34 yards on 9 targets. Ben Roethlisberger this week said he was focusing too much on throwing to Brown, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he spread the ball around. But what lands him on the ‘Loser’ list is his temper tantrum after being wide open on a play and not getting thrown to. That kind of behavior doesn’t help anyone and hopefully he realizes this and acts more professionally.
Ben was 18 of 30 for 216 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 ‘interception’ (which was actually the officials making a horrible call). The numbers were ok, but there are times when Ben looks old and can’t make the throws he used to. It’s hard to argue with the quarterback of a team that’s 3-1, but he’s not as good as he used to be and that’s concerning.
Photo Credits: USA Today
Now is not the time to wallow in the past. In week 3 the Raiders were on the wrong end of a thorough beat down by the Washington Redskins and it wasn’t even close. QB Derek Carr threw an interception on his first pass and things didn’t get much better after that. The offensive line had zero push in the run game and gave Carr no time to throw most of the night. When Carr did have enough time and actually hit his target, receivers were dropping balls. The defense wasn’t much better, giving up numerous big plays and too many yards in chunks, the low light came in the 3rd quarter when the team had a breath of life after scoring on a shortened field thanks to a muffed punt being recovered. The defense had a chance to get the ball back, it was 3rd down and 19 when they preceded to give up a 74 yard screen pass to Redskins running back Chris Thompson. That was the back breaker. Final score Washington 27 Oakland 10.
The important thing now is to put that game in the rearview mirror and don’t look back because this Sunday’s divisional matchup in Denver will a go a long way in showing the league, and proving to themselves, the Raiders are for real.
Heading into the game, Vegas has Oakland pegged as a 3 point underdog and for good reason. They are on the back end of consecutive road games and have played 3 of the first 4 games away from The Coliseum. Although they were upset last week by Buffalo, Denver (2-1) will provide a tough challenge as their defense is looking more like the top ranked unit of 2016 that won a Super bowl, while the running game is rolling. Their run game is averaging 143 yards a game good for 3rd in the league.
3 Players to Watch
Amari Cooper– The AC half of AC/DC really needs to step up his game. After 3 games Amari Cooper has only 10 catches for 101 yards and just a single trip to the end zone. To add to that Amari has once again developed a case of the droppsies as he leads the league in drops with 6. The next highest player has 3. Michael Crabtree who suffered a chest injury in Washington is listed as doubtful and is a game time decision after missing Friday’s practice. If Crabtree isn’t able to suit up, it’s going to add to the pressure on Cooper to re-find his hands and be a reliable target for Carr, especially in the red zone.
Khalil Mack– As mentioned earlier the defense had a rough go last week in Washington. They were smacked around and possibly had their confidence shaken, it is at this time they will be looking to their leader for inspiration. Reigning defensive player of the year, Khalil Mack, has had a strong start to the season and was possibly the only bright light in the Washington debacle, racking up 9 tackles and a sack, his second in as many games. In Denver KMack will meet a familiar foe in former Raider Menelik Watson, who left for mile high after 4 seasons in Oakland. Watson has struggled early this season giving up 6 sacks already. If the Broncos don’t give Watson help with an extra blocker or two, Mack may have a repeat of his 5 sack performance in Denver two years ago where he virtually won the game single handedly.
Derek Carr– You might say I picked the easy route choosing Derek Carr as a player to watch. He plays the most important position on the field and all, but it will be interesting to see how Carr bounces back from one of the worst statistical performances of his career and certainly the worst since his rookie year. Carr doesn’t exactly have an easy rebound game as he will be taking on Denver’s vaunted “No Fly Zone” secondary, which is currently ranked tops in the league. All great quarterbacks have bad games here and there, it’s how they respond to the adversity that helps make them special. Is Carr ready to join elite status? This Sunday’s performance can help towards answering that question.
In as an important of a game as you can have in week 4. The loser of this game will go down to 2-2, for no better than 3rd place in the AFC West, the toughest division in football, so both teams will be playing extra hard in this one. Oakland will win the war in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The OLine is going to make some huge holes for Marshawn Lynch to pound through, which will set up Carr for some sweet play-action. Look for Jared Cook to have a big day up the middle. Conversely Mario Edwards Jr., Eddie Vanderdoes, Justin “Jelly” Ellis, and Khalil Mack are going to make it a long day for Broncos QB Trevor Siemian.
Final score Oakland 23 Denver 21.
Photo Credits: The Mercury News
Oh boy. This is just getting harder and harder to write about as the Giants keep losing game after game. They lost an absolute heart breaker last week to the Philadelphia Eagles on a last second 61-yard field goal. Just unfair. They travel to Tampa this weekend to face the Buccaneers who are coming off of an ugly loss to a Case Keenum led Vikings team. I will be at the game this weekend, so I am hoping I did not travel from NY to Tampa for another disappointing game.
Keys to a Giants Victory
1. Build off the 4th quarter
The Giants scored 24 points in last week’s game against the Eagles. All of those points came in the final quarter. It looked like a completely different team out there, while every was on the same page. Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns with Odell Beckham hauling two of those in, Sterling Shepard hauled the other TD and had over 100 yards, and Brandon Marshall finally came alive. The Eagles secondary is not very good, but neither is the Buccaneers’ secondary. The Bucs are dead last in passing yards allowed per game. The Giants can thrive once again in this passing game if they replicate their formula from the 4th quarter of last week. They were throwing screens, slant routes and curls so Eli can get the ball out of his hands quickly and not take any sacks. This opening up the deep ball as well. The Giants have plenty of weapons on the offensive side and they just have to use them. Giving the ball to Beckham, Shepard and Evan Engram lets these wide receivers use their biggest asset, SPEED. The defensive backs then start to play press coverage and that is when Eli can hit his receivers on the deep pass. If they continue doing so, they can be very successful.
2. Continue to slow down opposing passing attacks
Another week, another team who is very one-dimensional. The Buccaneers will once again be without RB Doug Martin, who is serving the final game of his 3 game suspension. The Bucs will rely on Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber in the backfield. Neither of these running backs are anything to brag about. Therefore, the Bucs will rely heavily on Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and company to beat the Giants through the air. The Giants have done a phenomenal job so far this season at stopping opposing pass attacks. The Giants are currently 6th in the league in passing yards allowed per game with 181 yards. They have shut down some big receivers already this year such as Dez Bryant, Golden Tate and Alshon Jeffery. Mike Evans will be their biggest test yet, but the Giants secondary is stacked and ready to go. Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Landon Collins all have a PFF grade of 80+. They are always up for a challenge and I think the “NYPD” will shutdown another strong passing attack.
3. Stop the rush
As I mentioned in my point, the Buccaneers do not have a very good rushing attack. However, neither did the Eagles. In their first two games, the Eagles had 165 total rushing yards. However, last week against the Giants, the Eagles rush for 193 yards as a team. The Giants are currently dead last in football with 153.3 rushing yards allowed per game. They have had great success stop the pass, but have been terrible against the rush. They have to be a complete unit this Sunday if they want to beat the Buccaneers. Jacquizz Rodgers has had some big games and if the Giants cannot fix their rushing defense woes, he can be in line for another big game.
When it is all said and done, I just do not see Eli Manning letting this team fall to 0-4. They have not played well this season, but they are too talented on both sides of the ball to fall that far back. Only 5 teams, since 1980 have started 0-3 and made the playoffs. Can the Giants be number 6? It all starts this week. If they go to 0-4, they might as well tank for a high draft pick.
Prediction: Giants 28, Buccaneers 24
Photo Credits: The News Burner
Well my fellow Cheeseheads, at least for our Packers, week 4 is in the books. After nearly giving all of us a heart attack in a close win last week against the Bengals, this week’s matchup featured the oldest rivalry in the NFL. Coming into the game, the all-time series between the two was deadlocked (94-94-6) with the Packers playing catch up since 1933. Last night the Pack broke through picking up win number 95, and in impressive fashion I might add. Both teams came into this showdown off victories. For the Packers, they were able to muster a 4th quarter comeback in Lambeau against the Cincinnati Bengals, taking them down 27-24 in OT and moved to 2-1 on the season. The Bears on the other hand, picked their first win of the season in the form of a 23-17 victory against a very tough opponent, the now 2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Green Bay sure didn’t struggle getting things rolling early on, jumping out to a 14-0 lead with 9:00 remaining in the 1st quarter following a costly fumble on the first offensive play from Chicago. After a lengthy weather delay, the Packers got back to work with the help of their third-string rookie RB Aaron Jones, who found the end zone for his first career TD. Green Bay took a 21-7 lead into the half, and never looked back finishing off the Bears with a 35-14 victory.
- Aaron Rodgers– Aaron Rodgers came out looking sharp right from the get go, finding WR Davante Adams and WR Randall Cobb for touchdown strikes on back-to-back first quarter drives. The second half belonged to the dynamic duo as Rodgers found his favorite target WR Jordy Nelson for a pair of scores to seal this one. Aaron finished the day 18-26 for just 179 yards, but that was enough as he added 4 touchdowns.
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix- One of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was able to pick off his first pass of the season. A Mike Glennon pass to Kendall Wright sailed high and Ha Ha was able to capitalize, he also added 8 tackles, 1 TFL, and another pass deflection.
- Clay Matthews– While he didn’t fill the stat sheet with his 3 tackles, Clay Matthews is on my standout list because of his sack fumble of Glennon on the first play for the Bears. The play set a tone early on and helped give the Packers a two possession lead. The sack was also number 75 in Matthews’ illustrious career in Green Bay, setting a new Packers’ franchise record. Congratulations go out to Clay.
More Injuries for Green Bay
Ty Montgomery was knocked out in the first quarter with a chest injury, Montgomery started off the game with the hot hand getting the ball on five of the Packers first six plays. It was a shame to see him go down, and initial reports were that he may have broken one or more ribs on the play. Montgomery is officially listed as day-to-day.
Davante Adams was carted off the field on a stretcher late in the 3rd quarter after a very questionable (in my opinion DIRTY) helmet-to-helmet collision. Bears’ LB Danny Trevathan came into the play after Adams had already been corralled by a couple of Bears’ defenders and had his forward progress stopped, Trevathan lowered the crown of his helmet and struck Adams flush in the face mask, the hit looked terrible at first sight and upon review…it looked even worse. Trevathan was flagged on the play, and I fully expect to see the league office take serious action with either a fine, a suspension, or possibly both. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday afternoon.“Davante Adams is technically in the concussion protocol,” so it remains unclear what his status will be. Fortunately for the banged up Packers, they will have a few additional days to heal up.
Next week: Green Bay(3-1) will travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys(2-1) in a rematch of a very exciting NFC Divisional round matchup, which the Packers won on a 51 yard Field Goal from Mason Crosby as time expired.
Follow me on twitter for more insights @brando_sports
and as always, #GoPackGo.
Photo Credits: SaukValley.com
Nick LoPrinzi: 20-11
Ismael Diaz 20-11
Joe Toscano: 19-12
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
The Bears pulled off an upset last week as they beat the Steelers in Chicago in overtime. They relied heavily on their running backs. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 266 total yards, 9 receptions and 2 touchdowns. They may be able to find success once again doing so this week as the Packers are 21st in rushing yards allowed per game. However, it is going to come down to the Bears’ defense. They are allowing 238 passing yards allowed per game, which is 20th in the league. They will be playing in Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers thrives. I do not think they will be able to slow Rodgers down with all the weapons he has at his disposal.
Score: Packers 30, Bears 21
Chicago squeaked in a win against the Steelers at home, but they have no passing game and are dealing with a lot of injuries. This could get ugly.
Score: Packers 42, Bears 13
What an unpredictable week it was last week, after a very predictable Week 2! Both of these teams came away with surprising results. The Bears beat the Steelers and the Packers had to take it to OT to beat the lowly Bengals at Lambeau. The oldest rivalry in football returns, but I think the result stays constant to what has happened in their recent battles with the Packers coming out on top. I like the tandem of Cohen/Howard, but other than that I’m not too fond of the weapons the Bears have compared to those the Packers have. Pack take this one by a TD.
Score: Packers 28, Bears 21
New Orleans Saints vs. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins should be embarrassed after last week’s lost to the Jets. They were only able to score 6 points against a team that is currently 24th in the league in points allowed per game. Jay Cutler looked serviceable, but they did not feed Jay Ajayi enough. Ajayi only saw the ball 11 times, while only able to put together 16 rushing yards. The Saints are allowing 126.7 rushing yards per game, 24th in the league. The Dolphins need to feed Ajayi if they want to win this game. Drew Brees and the Saints dominated the Panthers last week, beating them 34-13 in Carolina. Brees and Michael Thomas finally seemed to click, as Thomas hauled in 7 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. I think this is going to be a very tight game, but the Saints build off of last week’s win.
Score: Saints 28, Dolphins 24
London games are hard to predict. It’s almost like the bizarro world. Who saw Jacksonville scoring 44 on Baltimore? Miami looked awful against the Jets, so look for a bounce back game.
Score: Dolphins 27, Saints 26
The Saints only allowed 13 points against the Panthers last week on the road, but I think that’s mostly in part to Cam Newton‘s piss-poor QB play. I think Jay Cutler will bounce back this week against a still terrible Saints d, but I think Brees has an even better game especially with Willie Snead returning from suspension. Anything can happen in London, but Saints come away with a win.
Score: Saints 33, Dolphins 28
Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots
Plain and simple. The New Orleans Saints shut down Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense last week, while Drew Brees dominated their defense. What do you think Tom Brady and the Patriots’ defense is going to do to this Panthers team in Foxboro? I am giving the Panthers no chance in this game
Score: Patriots 33, Panthers 14
If Cam Newton can’t get going at home against New Orleans at home, do you think he’ll do it against the Patriots in Foxboro?
Score: Patriots 30, Panthers 20
Led by Tom Brady, the Pats were all over a fairly tough Texans defense, but needed to win with a TD with 23 seconds left in the game. Think the Panthers D is a bit worse than the Texans D, so I think Brady will have another big game. Cam Newton on the other hand isn’t playing well to really any standards, so there’s not much direction with their offense. Pats win big at home.
Score: Patriots 34, Panthers 20
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets
Matt Forte is reportedly out for the Jets this weekend, not like it makes much of a difference anyway. However, I think the Jets will go back to being the Jets this weekend, while Blake Bortles will go back to being well, Blake Bortles. The Jets always play the Dolphins well, but they will struggle against the Jags. Saying that just sounds weird.
Score: Jaguars 24, Jets 10
Call me crazy, but I think Jacksonville is going to win a lot of games this year. The defense is good and the offense has to be just good enough.
Score: Jaguars 20, Jets 12
Jags pulled off a huge win last week against the Ravens in London, even forcing Joe Flacco to be pulled from the game. They now face-off against the Jets who beat the Dolphins last week and their offense looks better than expected. I see the Jags completely stifling the Jets this week, even getting a safety, and winning by double digits.
Score: Jaguars 25, Jets 14
Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
The Titans have looked very good so far this season. Marcus Mariota is leading a dynamic offense that contains DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Delanie Walker and many more weapons. The defense needs to improve a bit if they want to truly contend, but I do not think they will have a problem against the Texans this week. It will be a tight game as Deshaun Watson proved he is capable of keeping his team in games. However, I think the Titans’ offense is too much to handle.
Score: Titans 28, Texans 20
A great matchup against 2 evenly-matched teams. The difference is Deshaun Watson’s inexperience.
Score: Titans 21, Texans 17
Titans picked up the win last week against Seattle, so they’re riding high into Houston for their Week 4 match-up against the Texans. I think in terms of both sides of the football, the Titans are trending upwards led by Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray. Deshaun Watson had a pretty good showing last week against the Pats, but I don’t think he has that much success this week. I believe these two teams will be fighting to win this division till the very end, but I think the Titans take game 1.
Score: Titans 27, Texans 24
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
This game might be the hardest to predict. The Steelers are not playing anywhere near what people were expecting. Le’Veon Bell has yet to get going, while Ben Roethlisberger has looked mediocre. Their pass defense has been the bright spot of the game so far as they rank second in the league in passing yards allowed per game (259.3 yards). However, this game is going to come down to if the Steelers can stop the Ravens rushing attack. The Ravens are currently 4th in the league with 142.3 rushing yards per game, while the Steelers are 22nd in the league in rushing yards allowed per game with 122.7 yards. I do not think the Steelers will be able to slow down the three-headed monster of Terrance West, Javorius Allen and Alex Collins.
Score: Ravens 20, Steelers 17
Both teams looked awful last week and are major bounce-back candidates. Steelers always do poorly in Baltimore, but this will be a great game.
Score: Ravens 24, Steelers 22
Both the Steelers and the Ravens had bad games last week, but they now look to Week 4 to move to 3-1 while also achieve bragging rights in what has been one of the most interesting rivalries for quite some time. Roethlisberger isn’t all that great on the road, as evidenced by his performance last year, but probably isn’t nearly as inconsistent as Joe Flacco can sometimes be. I see this being low-scoring with the Steelers winning late in the 4th quarter.
Score: Steelers 23, Ravens 20
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
A game between two winless teams. Someone has to get their first win, right? Both Andy Dalton and DeShone Kizer have turned the ball over like crazy, while neither team can find a way to run the ball successfully. The Bengals pass defense is top 5 in the league right now and I think this gives them the advantage.
Score: Bengals 24, Browns 13
Oh Cleveland. I thought you’d be good this year considering you played the Steelers tough. Maybe next year Browns.
Score: Bengals 35, Browns 20
The Bengals finally, sort of, showed up last week when they took the Packers to overtime last week. The Browns took it to the Colts last week, but also ended up losing by just 3 points. Each team is looking for their first win, but the Bengals are simply just the better team. Joe Mixon seems to be getting a bigger role and is doing well in it, and A.J. Green just keeps doing his “thang”. Kizer will eventually get it all together, but he’ll need time and the Bengals won’t be an easy task for him to overcome. Game ends with the Bengals winning in a low-scoring game.
Score: Bengals 21, Browns 16
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings shocked a lot of people last week when Case Keenum lead the Vikings to victory over the Buccaneers. However, if Sam Bradford is out again and Keenum is forced to start, I do not think we see a repeat of last week. The Lions are a very good team and are not given enough credit. Matthew Stafford has a lot of receivers to throw to and their defense is much improved.
Score: Lions 24, Vikings 17
Minnesota might also be following the Jaguars plan – great defense and hope the offense scores enough. Problem is, if Case Keenum is the quarterback, the offense won’t be good enough.
Score: Lions 18, Vikings 15
Two different endings came about with these two teams last week, the Lions losing in controversial fashion against the Falcons and the Vikings who had their way with the Buccaneers. Case Keenum had a really good game, airing it out to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, which I think he’ll do again this week against the Lions. Matt Stafford loves to play in dome arenas, but something about play on the road against the Vikings in a dome doesn’t sit well with him, causing him to not play all too well. I expect this to be a great game with a close finish, with the Vikings getting the W.
Score: Vikings 28, Lions 27
Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys
I am still not sold on the Rams being a good team. They beat two bad teams and lost to a mediocre team. They have not proven enough to me just yet. However, they are much improved. Jared Goff seems as if he has taken a step in the right direction, while Todd Gurley is looking like the running back that everyone expected him to be. However, the Rams defense has been bad. They let up way too many points to an awful 49ers team last week. I think Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and company are going to have a field day on that defense.
Score: Cowboys 30, Rams 24
The Rams have been better than I thought they’d be and Jared Goff might be the real deal. However, it’s hard to win in Dallas.
Score: Cowboys 26, Rams 23
Both teams last week won, but neither really displayed much defense, don’t think this game will be much different. Gurley ran circles around the niners like I predicted, Zeke had a better game on Monday night against the cardinals. This just goes to the QB play, clearly Prescott is the better guy and will expose some of the weak points that the Rams defense has. I think Goff will have a decent game, but he’ll be outplayed by Dak. The Cowboys should be able to win this game.
Score: Cowboys 30, Rams 24
Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are the best team in the NFC and may be the best team in football. The scary part is that Matt Ryan has yet to hit his stride. Once he gets going, this team is going to be hard to stop. The Bills just do not have the firepower to keep up with the Falcons’ offense. They played well against Denver last week, but the Falcons are on a whole other level.
Score: Falcons 27, Bills 17
The Bills’ defense has been good, but they face the best offense in the league at home. This won’t be close.
Score: Falcons 37, Bills 21
The Bills pulled off an upset at the hands of the Broncos, who crushed the Cowboys at home the week before. Tyrod Taylor is probably one of the most underrated QBs in football and his connection with Charles Clay right now is something cool to see. I think the Bills give the Falcons a run for their money, but in the end Matt Ryan is just too much for the Bills secondary to handle and they escape with a victory.
Score: Falcons 28, Bills 24
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
David Johnson might be my MVP this year just because of how valuable he has proven to be to the Cardinals, while he has been sidelined. The Cardinals look lost without him. Larry Fitzgerald is still a monster, but that is all they have going for them on the offensive side of things. Carlos Hyde has been running the ball very well for the 49ers, so their game plan must be to stop him. If they do, and I think they will, the Cardinals will win this game.
Score: Cardinals 23, 49ers 13
The Cardinals are hurt and still trying to cope with David Johnson’s absense, but they are at home and that should put them over the top.
Score: Cardinals 28, 49ers 22
Similar to the Rams/Cowboys, who these two teams faced last week, the Niners and Cards displayed little defense in their losses, which brought them both down to 0-3. I’ll give the edge here to Arizona since they’re at home and have more key defensive play-makers than the Niners have. Wouldn’t be surprised if this game turns into a slug-fest or even a very low-scoring game, who knows.
Score: Cardinals 27, 49ers 23
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Chargers
I just cannot see Philip Rivers and the Chargers falling to 0-4. The loss of Darren Sproles for the year will have a bigger impact than people realize. The Chargers have been very good against the pass this year, as they are currently ranked 5th in the league in passing yards allowed per game with 176 yards allowed per game. That is the key to slowing down Carson Wentz and the rest of the Eagles offense. I think Rivers turns back the clock this week and leads the Chargers to their first win.
Score: Chargers 27, Eagles 24
The Chargers haven’t looked good so far, so they should bounce back. Maybe it’s a myth, but teams traveling from one coast to another don’t seem to do well.
Score: Chargers 31, Eagles 19
Another week, another pretty good game from Carson Wentz. He had a solid game in a win last week against a depleted, yet still tough, Giants defense. Now he goes on to face the Chargers, who also have a depleted defense at the moment. Chargers underwhelmed on offense last week, they should get some points up on the board, but I don’t think Rivers will do much in this game. Eagles move to 3-1 on the season.
Score: Eagles 28, Chargers 17
New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Giants are in the same boat as the Chargers. I cannot see them falling to 0-4. The Buccaneers were torn about by Case Keenum and the Vikings offense last week, while Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ offense looked horrible. Eli Manning and the Giants offense seemed to have found their stride in the final quarter against the Eagles last week. I think they build off of last week and get their first win here this week. Hopefully, we do not see Odell Beckham make himself look like a fool again.
Score: Giants 28, Buccaneers 24
The battle of 2 teams not playing well. Bucs win because they’re at home.
Score: Buccaneers 20, Giants 13
The mess gets messier with this Giants offense, even though OBJ had a huge game last week. Eli Manning has just been awful this season and is getting no help from his offensive line and running game. Jameis Winston also hasn’t really had a great season, but I think he’ll find it soon. Manning might show how bad the Bucs secondary truly is, like the Vikings did last week, but the Bucs will find a way to win whether on the ground or through the air. It’s hard to imagine a team who went to the playoffs last year in the Giants to go 0-4, but I don’t see them picking up their first win on the road here.
Score: Buccaneers 27, Giants 21
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
The Raiders look downright awful on Sunday Night Football against the Redskins. Derek Carr and the rest of the offense did not move the ball at all. They are once again on the road, but against a much better defense. However, the Broncos did not look much better as they dropped a game against the Bills. Trevor Siemian came back down to Earth, while C.J. Anderson did not get anything going either. One team will bounce back and I think that team will be the Raiders due to quarterback play.
Score: Raiders 27, Broncos 23
If Steelers-Ravens isn’t game of the week, then this one is. This is always a great game so expect it to come down to the wire.
Score: Broncos 33, Raiders 31
Upset alert! Well maybe, not really, but I think most people go with the Raiders here, but not me after last week. Kirk Cousins had his way with the Raiders D and their offense didn’t have the “firepower” that it usually does. Now they go to Denver to play the Broncos and their renowned defense. The Broncos’ secondary shuts down the pass game of the Raiders and Siemian plays well again at home to bring their fans a W.
Score: Broncos 27, Raiders 24
Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has been playing horrible football, but at home against a Colts team still without Andrew Luck looks like an easy win for the Seahawks. Russell Wilson had a great game last week, but the Seahawks’ defense just could not stop the Titans. I think an easy win at home will be just what they need for their confidence.
Score: Seahawks 30, Colts 13
Does it seem like the Seahawks always start the season poorly, then go on a tear? This might be the start of that.
Score: Seahawks 44, Colts 14
Now this might turn out like the 49ers/Rams game on Thursday Night where people, including myself, thought it wouldn’t be a good game, but ended up being a high-scoring affair and went down to the wire. I’m going to go with my gut and say Seattle dominates the Andrew Luck-less Colts. Look for Chris Carson to have a big game, should be a guy in a bunch of DFS lineups.
Score: Seahawks 31, Colts 13
Washington Redskins vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Redskins beat up on an AFC West opponent at home last week, but this week they will be the team traveling from coast to coast. I do no think they have a repeat performance this week. Kansas City has been the best team in the AFC up to this point in the season. Their defense looks dominant, even with the loss of Eric Berry, and Kareem Hunt is an emerging star for their offense.
Score: Chiefs 35, Redskins 20
The Chiefs are undefeated, look great and are playing at home. The Redskins don’t stand a chance.
Score: Chiefs 27, Redskins 20
Redskins are coming off a Sunday night upset over the Raiders and now they go to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs. I’m just too infatuated with Kareem Hunt right now, he’s playing at a real high level and until he shows any sign of slowing down, it’ll be hard for opposing teams to stop him. I see a shootout here, but with the Chiefs on top, joining the Falcons as the only remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.
Score: Chiefs 31, Redskins 28
Waiver wire pickups are crucial to make a championship run in any fantasy football league, especially in the first few weeks. They can offer a great bridge player until someone returns from injury, or their season could take off and they could earn a full time starting spot. Players may start making repeat appearances on my lists, and that is because they are still relatively unowned in most leagues. Below are 6 players to target this week on the waiver wire.
1. Travis Benjamin, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Travis Benjamin had a relatively quiet first two weeks, but he blew up last week against the Chiefs. He caught five passes for 105 yards, and was a touchdown away from being one of the top receiving options in the league. The speedy receiver looks to tear up the Eagles injury plagued secondary this week from the slot. He is a good start this week, and worth an add, especially if the injury prone Keenan Allen goes down. (Percent owned: 4.6 NFL, 1.0 ESPN)
2. Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Paul Richardson has caught a touchdown pass in back to back weeks. Combined with the fact that they are playing the Colts this week, and starting receiver Doug Baldwin suffered a groin strain on Sunday, Richardson is poised for a big week. If Russell Wilson can get him the ball, look for at least one big play out of the young receiver. (Percent owned: 2.4 NFL, 2.6 ESPN)
3. Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
The Giants finally got their passing game going last week and Sterling Shepard was a big beneficiary. He scored a 77 yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and scored 26 fantasy points (PPR). They play Tampa Bay this week, who is going through a myriad of defensive injuries. This should pan out well for Shepard and the entire New York Giants. (Percent owned: 15.1 NFL, 34.3 ESPN)
4. Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Due to Darren Sproles’ traumatic ACL tear/broken arm combo, Wendell Smallwood is in for a big uptick in touches. LeGarrette Blount should get short yardage and goal line carries, but Smallwood should take care of most passing downs and play more downs that Blount. (Percent owned: 2.1 NFL, 2.9 ESPN)
5. Jamaal Charles, RB, Denver Broncos
Jamaal Charles finally reached the end zone last week against a stout Buffalo defense. Although C.J. Anderson plays more, they both received ten touches last week. Although one good week does not mean that Charles is back to his All Pro form, it does not hurt to add him in case he breaks out. (Percent owned: 22.3 NFL, 23.1 ESPN)
6. Branden Oliver, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Branden Oliver saw less carries compared to starter Melvin Gordon last week (33-31). However, Gordon aggravated a knee injury and could miss time. If he does, Oliver will see a lot more touches. He is a must add for any Gordon owners in case he cannot play Sunday. (Percent owned: 0.2 NFL, 0.5 ESPN)