John Canton: It's week four of the NFL season. As always I'm joined by my friends Bret Clev and Mike Maloney to go over every game this week.
The regular referees are back in action, which is a great thing. They didn't make any really bad calls in the Ravens/Browns game last night and there was a better flow to the action than what we saw with the replacement referees out there. It's so nice to be able to focus more on the games again rather than worrying if the referees are going to screw something up enough that it costs a team the victory like it did the Packers last week.
By the way, the referees make $150,000 per year. By the end of the decade it will be around $200,000. Not a bad gig for five months if you can get it.
This is also the first week for teams on a bye as the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers are getting the week off. It's probably a good thing for the 1-2 Steelers because it gives some time for aging defensive stars James Harrison and Troy Polamalu to recover from their injuries.
Standings Straight Up:
Mike 28-20 (9-7 Last Week)
John 27-21 (6-10)
Bret 26-22 (8-8)
On behalf of the group, we all have to do better. My 6-10 was awful especially after a great 12-4 week two, so hopefully I can get on the winning track once more.
We all picked Baltimore to win on Thursday, so we all have one right heading into the 14 games remaining this week.
Byes: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh
All game times are Eastern.
Seattle (2-1) at St. Louis (1-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: First, don’t get too excited about Seattle just yet. They really are two different teams at home and away - as much as I don’t like to believe things like that, I think it’s proven itself to be true over the last few years. I want to see Seattle win against someone like Green Bay – legitimately – on the road before they’re a team I can trust.
However, they’re still good enough to win in St. Louis. I think both offenses struggle in this game, but I’ll put my faith in Marshawn Lynch more than Steven Jackson at this point. This won’t be a pretty game, but I like Seattle to pull it out. Seattle 23 – St. Louis 17
Mike: Not sure how this one will play out, but I think I like the under either way. Similar teams that find their strength in their defense and are somewhat limited offensively. That being said, Seattle has a top tier defense so far through the season as is evidenced by games against the Cowboys and Packers, while the Rams are more in the above average category. I expect Seattle to a nice job of containing Stephen Jackson which will should cause serious issues for them as I don’t see their passing game being able to sustain their offense. Seattle 13 St. Louis 6
John: My Rams really need a big game from RB Steven Jackson. He's the best player on the offense, but I'm not sure how healthy his groin is right now. With a Thursday game looming against the Cardinals next week they may choose to limit him here or go all out with him here with the idea that he's too banged up to play in both games. I really don't know. As we saw against the Bears last week, the offense can struggle if the running game doesn't get going early against a good defense. Bradford's been okay so far this year, but the Seahawks defense has shut the passing attacks of much better offenses this year, namely the Packers last week.
I'm not sure if the Seahawks will have a lot of success on offense. They're a run first team with an athletic QB in Russell Wilson, but the Rams have a lot of speed on defense as well. They should be able to contain him. Can they stop Marshawn Lynch? I think so.
This won't be a pretty game to watch. A lot of punts. A lot of missed throws. Some drops from the WRs. I think the Rams will leave with the victory though. They're a young team that plays a lot better at home and I think coach Jeff Fisher will have them ready for this big game.
For the record, I really miss the Greatest Show on Turf era of the Rams. You have no idea. Rams 20-16
San Diego (2-1) at Kansas City (1-2) - 1:00 PM
Bret: There’s just nothing about San Diego that makes me take pause. Every time I’ve watched San Diego play I’ve just been bored by their offense and unimpressed by their defense. Kansas City is – outside of New Orleans – the most disappointing team in the NFL this year. No matter who wins this game, I’m still going to be down on both of them.
I think whichever team manages a couple of long plays wins this game – and I like Kansas City’s playmakers a heck of a lot more. Kansas City 28 – San Diego 17
Mike: Last week was such a Norv game. “Hey look at us, we’re 2-0, we’ll give the Falcons a good fight.” DUD. I feel bad for Chargers fans, it has to be pretty terrible. And Kansas City really should be 0-3 but the Saints inexplicably imploded after going up 24-6 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. 3 4th quarter field goals and a safety later, they go into OT and win with a field goal. They are still not a good team, and needed almost 300 yards of offense from Jamaal Charles just to pull out the close win. I may not think much of the Chargers, but I think even less of the Chiefs. San Diego 28 Kansas City 20
John: I picked the Chiefs to win this division before the year. Nobody is going to run away with the AFC West, so if they win this they would be tied at the top of the division with two wins no matter who wins the other AFC West game. Last week they realized "hey Jamaal Charles is our best player by far" and they fed him the ball as they came back in New Orleans to win. That formula is pretty easy to follow. They'll ride the legs of Charles once again for the narrow victory here. Chiefs 28-24
Tennessee (1-2) at Houston (3-0) - 1:00 PM
Bret: Tennessee’s rush defense has looked awful the last few weeks. Against Houston, that spells disaster. Most of Tennesse’s points last week were kind of fluky as well. They’ve really got nothing to compete with Houston who are really, really, impressive as an all around team.
In fact, I really can’t remember a team in the last 5 years who have been as complete as Houston this year. They’re running the old Broncos play action roll-out and they’re better at it than the Broncos ever were. They’ve got all the pieces offensively. They’re going to roll once again in this one. Houston 31 – Tennessee 14
Mike: I wonder how high this line would have to get before I’d seriously consider taking Tennessee to cover. Maybe 20. You can look at the scores from last week and maybe justify this being a close game, but it’s not happening. Houston was pretty dominant in that game and only a couple of 4th quarter TDs in a comeback attempt by Peyton Manning made the score seem close, and Tennessee had a punt return, a kickoff return, and a fumble return to help them beat Detroit (Although to be fair to the Titans Jake Locker did go 29-42 for 378 yards 2 TDs and no INTs, kind of makes you wonder about the Lions’ secondary).
The Titans have one of the worst running games in the league (Chris Johnson, fantasy superstar!), and Houston might have the best running game in the league. Really, I think the game begins and ends right there. I expect Houston to dominate the ball and not give Tennessee many opportunities to score. Houston 31 Tennessee 10
John: The Texans are a dominant team, especially at home. They're also very healthy right now with no major injuries to key players, so as long as they can keep that going they will roll through their subpar divisional opponents like the Titans. Expect a big game from the Texans RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, I think. Texans 34-7
Minnesota (2-1) at Detroit (1-2) - 1:00 PM
Bret: This is the hardest game of the week for me. I worry about Matthew Stafford’s healthy. I worry about why the Detroit D-Line is playing so average. I worry about the way Detroit is playing on both sides of the ball.
For Minnesota, I think Adrian Peterson just keeps getting stronger. I think Ponder has figured it out. I think Jerome Simpsons will – if nothing else – stretch the defensive coverage.
I think, if you stacked it up player for player, Detroit is the better team, but I think Minnesota’s playing better football right now. I’ll take them in a really fun game. Minnesota 30 – Detroit 28
Mike: Maybe I just listen to too much Bill Simmons of Grantland.com, but I’m not sure I buy this narrative that suddenly the Vikings are a borderline playoff team, and maybe they’re the third best team in the division, and they should be able to beat the Lions this week. Yes, the Vikings played a fantastic game against the Niners, did exactly what they needed to do to beat them. They got the lead early which forced the Niners to play out of their comfort zone. They controlled the clock, and ran the ball 21 more times than San Francisco did. Nice job on their part.
But you can’t base a season on one game. This is still a team that lost to the Colts at home and barely beat the Jaguars in overtime. They are still not a good offensive team, although Ponder did well to avoid any turnovers last week (Nice job Toby Gerhart, by the way). Their defense was effective against the Niners, but I expect them to struggle quite a bit more against a much better passer in Matthew Stafford. I’m not a big believer in their secondary; a secondary that finally came up with its first interception of the season late in the game on Sunday.
I'll also give you a good stat from the Vikings’ beat writer for the Star Tribune: Since January 2010, the Vikings are 1-11 in division games and 4-16 in contests away from the Metrodome. I’m not trying to jump on the “Lions to the Super Bowl” bandwagon or anything, but I think they’re a bad matchup for the Vikes. Detroit 27 Minnesota 17
John: Tough game to pick. I think the Vikings are much better than last year when they just gave up towards the end of the year. They have way more heart this year and while you can't measure something like that in stats, you can certainly see it when they play. Lions need a win here because if they fall to 1-3 in a competitive NFC North then they'd be in a hole that may be too difficult to climb out of. I think their offense will have a big day at home.
I know QB Matt Stafford is banged up with a bad hip, but it appears like he can play through it. Big game for Calvin Johnson here. I also was impressed by RB Mikel LeShoure last week, who gives them a running game they didn't have before. I can see a lot of points in this game because the Lions defense is pretty bad. It's good for fantasy football purposes, though. Lions 34-26
Carolina (1-2) at Atlanta (3-0) - 1:00 PM
Bret: I’m coming around to the idea of writing off Thursday night games as a way for judging teams. Carolina surely can’t be that bad? Then again, I don’t think they’re that good either. This might be Michael Turner’s last hurrah as a respectable runner – if he’s going to do it any week, it’s going to be this week.
The Atlanta defense is really good – but their talent seems to be confusing. I don’t know how much confusion will affect what the Panthers do. Atlanta’s the better team, but this will be closer than most are expecting. Atlanta 28 Carolina 27
Mike: I find this game interesting mostly from a spread perspective. I’d be pretty surprised if Carolina managed to win (I mean, Cam Newton could somehow go off, but based on how they’ve looked so far I wouldn’t plan on it), but Atlanta is favored by a touchdown. I can’t help but wonder if maybe this is a bit of a letdown game for the Falcons, after a big statement win in Denver last week, coming back home against a clearly inferior opponent in the Panthers. Maybe they let their guard down a bit or the energy isn’t quite there.
Carolina looked really bad against New York, but it was also a Thursday night game which tends to produce screwed up results, and that also means they’ve had extra time to prep for Atlanta. Ultimately I think I’m going with Atlanta to cover because I just think their offense against Carolina’s defense is too good to pass up, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this ended up being a closer game. Atlanta 28 Carolina 20
John: I don't think this will be a very close game. I'm all in on the Falcons offense being the best in football right now. It's not like the Panthers have shown they can stop anybody either. Big day for the Falcons here. Falcons 38-20
San Francisco (2-1) at N.Y. Jets (2-1) - 1:00 PM
Bret: San Francisco is going to absolutely control this game. I don’t see the Jets offense being able to do anything against an angry 9ers defense. (Not that the 49ers offense will be gangbusters either.) Crazy prediction – San Francisco’s defense will outscore the Jets offense. San Francisco 24 New York 6
Mike: I learned my lesson earlier this year. Even though it throws all logic out the window, we’ve got a West Coast team playing a noon game (I'm in the Central time zone) on the East Coast. That’s right, I’m taking the J-E-T-S. Now granted, I’m sure since I mocked the football gods earlier this year by taking Oakland over Miami I will be punished appropriately and San Fran will mop the floor with the Jets.
There are a couple things I think go in the Jets’ favor. The loss of Darrelle Revis may not be a huge issue in this game, as the Niners are full of good receivers, but no one elite that someone like a Revis would be necessary to shut down. Second, the Jets could pull off the upset if they can get something from their productive punt return unit. Jeremy Kerley has shown a little flash this year, including a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown. If they can use special teams to win the field position battle, I think it sets them up well for the upset. New York Jets 17 San Francisco 16
John: This has upset potential, but I'd like to continue my trend of not picking the Jets. The Niners losing to the Vikings shocked me. I think they're good enough to bounce back quickly, though. Their defense will be very angry and I think they will create havoc for a Jets offense that has difficulties putting up points. I like the Jets to cover the four points, though. 49ers 17-14
New England (1-2) at Buffalo (2-1) - 1:00 PM
Bret: Very dangerous spot for New England here. Buffalo has given them trouble at home the last few years, and a loss here would put New England in a world of hurt (Denver and @ Seattle the next two weeks are both tough games). They need this game.
If Fred Jackson and/or CJ Spiller play, I think Buffalo has a chance. New England’s defense has been pretty soft the last two weeks, and a fast passed running game could really take advantage of that. However, I don’t really think either guy will play, and Choice is pretty much the epitome of league average.
Offensively for New England, they really need to change up what they’re doing. It’s seemed to me that McDaniels, in typical McDaniels fashion, has been getting too cute and not just putting the ball in the hands of his best playmakers. If they keep that up, they’ll struggle – especially if Buffalo can get its pass rush going. Quick passes to Lloyd, Welker, and Gronk and a fast paced offense could carve up the Buffalo defense though.
Tough game to pick without knowing what’s going on in the Buffalo backfield, but I’ll say neither guy plays and New England does just enough to win. New England 27 Buffalo 24
Mike: It’s too bad CJ Spiller is hurt and will probably miss this game. I think if he’s at 100% then this is a tough game for the Patriots. As is, though, with the Pats coming off two straight losses, I just don’t have enough faith in Buffalo to give them a third. The one thing that might give them the edge is the lack of Aaron Hernandez. New England has looked a little lost without him in the lineup. I don’t expect this to be a blowout and the four point spread is probably pretty fair since it’s not in New England, but I just think the Pats are going to come out in full force for this game. New England 31 Buffalo 24
John: I'm going with this pick simply based on the idea that the Patriots are way too good to be 1-3 after four weeks. They lost by two at home to the Cardinals in week two and would have won the game if their kicker hit a makeable field goal at the end of the game. Then last week at Baltimore they were in a game where they blew a nine point lead in the last five minutes. They're likely very angry right now. Seething mad. And they will take it out on the Bills.
However, it's not like the Bills are a bad team. I had them making the playoffs in the preseason and it might happen. This is likely their biggest home game of the year even this early in the year because it's against the perennial division champions who would be two games worse than them if the Bills win. Still, I think the Pats are superior and believe they will find a way to get it done. Right now Tom Brady has 4 TD passes in three games. That’s it? Last year he threw 7 TDs in two games against the Bills. I think he finds that form once again to lead his team to a close victory. This time he won't leave it up to his defense or kicker to save the win in the final stages. Patriots 33-24
Oakland (1-2) at Denver (1-2) - 4:05 PM
Bret: This is a make or break game for Denver. You can chalk up the last two losses as growing pains for Manning’s offense and playing maybe the 2 best teams in the league. You can’t dismiss an at home loss to the Raiders so easily.
Luckily for us Broncos fans, I don’t think we’ll have to. The Oakland secondary is, maybe, the worst in the league at this point and their defense really lacks depth everywhere. Denver will find success with the no huddle offense, carving up that defense and wearing it out.
The Raiders offense has played well, but seemingly not put up the points to match the yardage production. I’m not sure why that is, but at some point the TDs will show up. This may be the week, as I’m still convinced the Denver running defense is spotty at best, and not having Mays or his backup Irving for this game won’t help that. I think we’ll see a lot of points in this one, but Denver scores last and wins the game. Denver 34 Oakland 28
Mike: Some more week 3 narratives I haven’t been giving too much attention. Oakland might somehow be a decent team after beating Pittsburgh last week. Sorry, not buying it. Pittsburgh is not that great of a team, especially without Troy Polamalu and James Harrison. It’s an old team that has no semblance of a rushing game whatsoever, and I just don’t think beating them at home is anything to really hang your hat on, especially when you needed 13 fourth quarter points to do it.
Oakland’s defense is really bad. While Peyton Manning has struggled somewhat the last two games against Atlanta and Houston, I expect the Broncos’ offense to look much better against this Raiders unit. They should be able to run the ball better, which will make things better for Manning. Denver 35 Oakland 20
John: The Broncos return home after losing to the Falcons and Texans on the road, who may be the two best teams in the NFL. The Raiders are good at home. On the road? Not so much. I think the Broncos will throw all game on them against the Raiders pass defense that has a lot of holes in it. Look for Peyton Manning to have a huge game here. Broncos bounce back at home. Broncos 27-13
Cincinnati (2-1) at Jacksonville (1-2) - 4:05 PM
Bret: Does anyone have any idea what Jacksonville is right now? I sure as hell don’t – and I’ve watched every snap they’ve played. Cincinnati confuses me too. I thought coming into the season their defense would be their strength – clearly it is not. I haven’t figured out why yet.
This will be another ugly game with plenty of field goals and punts. A real barn burner. I like Cincinnati to be competitive this year, but until that defense turns around I’ll have a hard time picking them against a team that can run well. MJD for another 170 yards and 2 TDs. Jacksonville wins at home. Jacksonville 23 Cincinnati 21
Mike: So Blaine Gabbert went 10-21 for 155 yards and 1 TD last week. Not very good by any stretch of the imagination. But then you take into account that the Jags won the game against the Colts last week with an 80-yard pass to Cecil Shorts with 45 seconds left in the game. Discounting that pass, Gabbert’s line is 9-20 with 75 yards and 0 TDs. But hey, at least he didn’t turn the ball over!
They’re fortunate Maurice Jones-Drew loves running on the Colts (28 attempts for 177 yards). Cincy looks to be similar to their team last year; good enough to beat the bad teams, but not good enough to beat the great teams. Their offense is probably better than last year, and their defense is probably worse. I’d expect them to win this one on the road. Cincinnati 27 Jacksonville 20
John: I like the Bengals offense quite a bit. They're averaging 28 PPG, but they're giving up 34 PPG. Luckily for them the Jags don't have a lot of firepower. I like the Dalton to Green combo for Cincy too much to go against them against a low scoring team like the Jags (17 PPG). Bengals 24-17
Miami (1-2) at Arizona (3-0) - 4:05 PM
Bret: Reggie Bush banged up at best. Not-that-bad Tannehill up against an angry defense with a ton of momentum at home? Miami is frisky, but they’re still pretty bad. Arizona keeps their streak of seeming a little better than they really are alive in a romp. Arizona up by 17 at half. Arizona 27 Miami 10
Mike: I respect the Cardinals’ defense. I really do. But am I terrible person if I don’t buy them as anything more than a fringe playoff team at best? I just hate their offense so much. Now granted, I also hate the Dolphins’ offense, although I certainly like their rushing prospects a lot more. I do think the Cardinals will win this game since they’re at home, but I’m going out on a bit of a limb here and saying that the Dolphins will cover the 5.5 point spread. The Cardinals first two wins were by a combined 6 points, and that Philly game was really just a mess from a combustible Eagles team. I think they’re a team that will thrive on winning close games but I don’t expect to see too many blowouts from them. Arizona 20 Miami 17
John: I knew the Cardinals defense was legit to end last year. They have been even better this year. Tough road game for the Dolphins. On offense the Cards are doing their best to limit turnovers and let the defense win the game for them. I like the Cardinals to win this one comfortably. Cardinals 20-6
Washington (1-2) at Tampa Bay (1-2) - 4:25 PM
Bret: Are we over the OMG RG3 now? The guy looks like he’s going to be pretty good, but he can’t play cornerback and he can’t rush the passer. Tampa Bay, fortunately, can do a little of both. As long as McCoy is on that D-Line they’re going to be tough to run against as well.
I’m really down on Washington overall, and I think Tampa is a classic ‘do some things well, but not a lot of talent’ team that will win when it should and lose when it should. Here they should win. Tampa Bay 17 Washington 9
Mike: Tampa getting less than three points at home against the Redskins is a mistake if you ask me. Their offense was largely shut down last week against an underrated Cowboys defense, specifically Brandon Carr, who held Vincent Jackson without a catch for most of the game. Their offense should thrive against a depleted Redskins defense that made Andy Dalton look like an MVP candidate (No offense Andy). Their defense did a good job against the Cowboys’ offense, and I think there is still some carryover from their loss to the Giants where New York scored 25 points in the 4th quarter. Don’t get me wrong, Tampa won’t win this game by double digits, but I still think they have the tools to win the game by a touchdown. Seriously, the Redskins’ defense is really, really bad. Tampa 34 Washington 28
John: Flip a coin? Neither team is playoff caliber. I don't think home field matters. They both have holes all over the place. I think both teams are pretty poor defensively, so there will be points to be had as the young QBs have quality games. I'll go with my boy RG3 to make enough plays for his team to win a close game. Redskins 27-24
New Orleans (0-3) at Green Bay (1-2) - 4:25 PM
Bret: Poor New Orleans. Desperately need a win, and they’re going into one of the most pissed off week 4 crowds and teams ever. Green Bay is going to make sure this one isn’t close at the end, and unless the defense has had some sort of revelation over the past 6 days, I don’t think they can do anything about it. This looks like a massive statement game for Green Bay to me. Green Bay 38 New Orleans 21
Mike: Sigh…I just hope the Packers have moved on and focused on the next game come Sunday. While they should relish the idea of facing the swiss cheese defense that the Saints throw out there every week, it is a bit of a tough spot going up against an 0-3 team with postseason aspirations who you know is desperate and backed into a corner.
Green Bay can either use the debacle in Seattle as a motivating tool and a rallying cry to come out fired up and wipe the floor with the Saints, or it’ll become a distraction that could get under their skin and cause mistakes. I’m leaning towards the former being the case. Generally the team is pretty mentally strong and capable of moving on past things like this.
I do think it’ll be a good opportunity for the offense to find some kind of rhythm after facing three tough defenses (San Fran, Chicago, Seattle) to start the season. As for New Orleans…eh, they’re just not good. Good enough that I’m happy with Drew Brees as my fantasy quarterback, but in terms of winning games? Not so much. Green Bay 38 New Orleans 27
John: Is there a team angrier than the Packers right now after last week's debacle in Seattle? No. Is there a worse defense in the league than the Saints? No. I know last year's Saints nearly won in Green Bay on opening night, but that was a much better team. This year's Saints team can still score, but their defense is worse than ever. It seems like a simple prediction to me. To you Aaron Rodgers fantasy owners out there, this is the four TD game you've been waiting for. Packers 41-21
N.Y. Giants (2-1) at Philadelphia (2-1) - 8:20 PM
Bret: Someday there will be an entire series of 30 for 30s on Michael Vick. One entire episode could be dedicated to “Mike Vick – no one affects a game like him” He seems like he either directly leads to amazing wins or amazing losses. He never has an average game – and for a really talented team like Philadelphia, all they really want or need is average right now. I think a swarming Giants defensive line could harass him all night, he gets booed and we spend Monday talking about the possibility of Nick Foles as the future of the Eagles.
If, though, Vick can not turn the ball over, I like the Eagles in this one – simply because they're the more talented team overall. I don’t trust that to happen. New York Giants 28 Philadelphia 24
Mike: I’m not sure I would bet on this game even if you gave me the money to bet. Philly is 2-1 and could easily be 0-3, yet they’re still favored by 1. The Giants look to be a strong team overall, but it’s Eli, and you know he’s just waiting to screw over the betting public as soon as people expect him to win. So what to make of this game?
Philly is just such a mentally weak team. Vick is a turnover machine, Andy Reid doesn’t give McCoy the ball enough (what else is new?) and the defense is good but not good enough to make up for their mistakes on offense. But the line is still Philly -1. I’m taking the Giants to win here, but this seems like the weird line of the week (kind of like Baltimore/Philly, actually) so I fully expect to be wrong. New York 24 Philadelphia 21
John: The Eagles are last in scoring at just 15.7 PPG. They have all these weapons in Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin yet they are not playing like it. The Giants offense is much more potent scoring 31 PPG. I'm leaning towards the Eagles, though. In their last seven matchups, the Eagles have won six times. I know Vick is struggling and the Giants pass rush could give him problems, but I think this is a game where LeSean McCoy shows why he's an elite RB and he'll be the one that carries his team to victory. Eagles 20-17
Chicago (2-1) at Dallas (2-1) - 8:30 PM MON
Bret: This will be a nice defensive struggle. With both Forte and Bush banged up, and Claiborne able to completely shut down Marshall (not to mention DeMarcus Ware making Cutler yell at his linemen again) I think Chicago is going to struggle to do much of anything offensively.
Likewise, I think the Chicago D-Line may be playing the best football in the league at the position right now, and they’ll keep Dallas one dimensional and only able to rely on short passes. They’ve been having success with a skinny post route by Dez Bryant that’s pretty much unstoppable. If they continue to run that play – and run it more – they’ll find success, but like Cutler, I don’t think Romo will have much time throughout the game. I see both QBs throwing at least 2 INTs and there being 1, maybe 2, defensive TDs. I’ll take the home team in that type of game. Dallas 24 Chicago 21
Mike: Do you know who has the #1 defense in the league in terms of yards allowed per game? The Dallas Cowboys. Remember what I said about Brandon Carr shutting down Vincent Jackson last week? Guess who has an offense that largely depends on the production of its #1 wide receiver? The Chicago Bears. If Brandon Marshall can’t be effective in this game, I think it’ll mean bad news for the Bears. And if Cutler can’t find Marshall, that means he’s going to have to spend more time finding open receivers, which means DeMarcus Ware will have more time to find and break Jay Cutler and…yeah.
I’d be really surprised if Chicago’s offense could put up 20 points in this game. I’m sure Dallas will have its own struggles against the Bears defense, but not to the extent that Chicago is going to find going up against Ware & Co. Dallas 23 Chicago 16
John: The Bears offensive line is a big problem right now. I think it's going to lead to their loss on Sunday against a defense that can get pressure on the QB and cover WRs pretty well, especially against a Bears team that doesn't have a lot of weapons at WR. The Cowboys offense needs to play better (tied with the Giants for least amount of points scored at 15.7 PPG) and I think they will thanks to the defense creating turnovers against an INT prone QB like Jay Cutler. The Cowboys offense may have a better game than you'd think too. Cowboys 30-20
The Degenerates Dungeon
This is where we give you some picks for our best bets of the week. Note that lines moves from the time we write this (Friday AM) to the time the games kickoff. We keep track of the odds and we'll use that to write down our records too.
Records so far:
John 8-7 (2-3 Last Week)
Mike 8-7 (3-2)
Bret 5-10 (3-2)
1. Cleveland +13.5 over Baltimore (Picked it in the Thursday column)
13.5 is a lot to cover in A) a Thursday night game or B) coming off a tough Sunday night game or C) playing a divisional rival. Combining them all made it an easy pick.
2. Minnesota +4.5 over Detroit
I think they win outright (+193 if you want to go that route) so giving me more than a field goal is more than enough for me.
3. Carolina +8 at Atlanta. Divisional games really get more than a TD.
4. Oakland +7.5 at Denver. Same thing, I always like divisional games with more than a TD
5. New York Jets under 19. Enough said.
Seattle @ St. Louis Under 39 – I’m really tempting fate here taking a sub-40 point under, but I’m hoping for no special team/defensive touchdowns.
Minnesota @ Detroit -4.5 – When in doubt, vote Megatron.
New Orleans @ Green Bay Over 53 – Yeah, maybe they won’t get to 53 points. Green Bay’s offense, that is.
Cincinnati -1 @ Jacksonville – When in doubt, vote against Blaine Gabbert.
Tennessee @ Houston -12 – Yeah, I know, the big spreads with the really good team against the really bad team haven’t been working out so well so far, but I’m just too dumb to stay away from them.
I'm only going with point spread and over/under for this section.
@ Packers -9 over Saints - Ever seen The Incredible Hulk when he gets mad? That's the Packers this week. Sorry Saints.
@ Texans -12 over Titans - I'm a big fan of betting on the team that I think is the best in the NFL at home when they're against a bottom five. I doubt the Titans score much.
Giants/Eagles under 47.5 - More of a defensive game than an offensive one.
@ Cardinals -5.5 over Dolphins - All in on the Cardinals, at least until they play in St. Louis next week.
Lions/Vikings over 47 - Gut feeling. And I don't believe in the defenses very much.
That's all from us for this week. Follow us on Twitter:
You can also email John Canton at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.