Jesse: What a disaster, and I’m not talking about Clint and Tom’s picks.
Week 3 was an interminable blunder-filled bloodbath, with inept refereeing stretching games past the four-hour mark while seemingly every game featured a horrific killshot that often went uncalled. This fiasco culminated in the most idiotic ending in NFL history, in which two refs made contradictory calls at the same time, then were provided cover by the NFL official upstairs so they could hightail it outta there. The incompetence, arrogance and hubris on display also happen to be the defining traits of Roger “I Am The Owners’ Personal Pet” Goodell, whose mastery of idiotic handshakes lies in stark contrast to his inability to do what’s best for the game. I want the Super Bowl to be played tomorrow just so I can bask in the boos that the New Orleans crowd will surely rain down upon his head. At least the replacement refs were kind enough to wait for Steve Sabol to shuffle off this mortal coil before pissing all over the game that he helped make great.
- Bill Barnwell lets the replacement refs have it. (Grantland)
- Drew Magary eloquently states his case for Goodell’s resignation. (Deadspin)
- Before ordering players to dive during the kneel-down, Greg Schiano already had a reputation within the NFL as a bully. (Yahoo!)
- Chris Brown of SmartFootball.com looks in-depth at the great Larry Fitzgerald. (Grantland)
- Phil Simms teabags himself. (SB Nation)
Week 4 Picks:
Cleveland Browns(0-3) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Clint: There is a side to me that wants to pick the Browns. I think the Ravens offense struggles against hard defenses and sometimes forget they have Ray Rice. I don’t think the Ravens are going to win easy, but I do have to side with them. In the end, I smell upset, but don’t have the balls for it.
Tom: No contest here–the Browns have a good D, but no Joe Haden. And the Ginger Cringer Brandon Weeden is probably good for a few picks. The Ravens know they got away with one last week and won’t let it stay so close this time. And as stated, not picking the Browns. Ever. Maybe.
New England Patriots(1-2) at Buffalo Bills(2-1)
Tom: And right out of the gate, I got an AFC East matchup that has kept people guessing the past few years. No matter how good the Pats have been, the Bills at some point in the season seem to have their number. New England probably should have beaten the Ravens (hey, I did get that one right last week–thanks, replacement refs), but they have been really Jekyll and Hyde as of late. And the Bills just lost CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson isn’t due back for another few weeks, so the bearded one Ryan Fitzpatrick probably will be throwing the ball…a lot. New England’s forte’ on defense lately is definitely not defending the pass–they’re in the bottom 3rd of the league. But then again, so is Buffalo. Once again, I feel this could be close because it’s in Buffalo, but with no “star” RB in the game for the Bills, I will have to bow to Brady and his magnificence.
Clint: You have much more faith in the wounded bison than I do. Let’s face it, without a dominate rushing game, I don’t think they stand a chance against the Pats. Fitzpatrick can throw, but for some reason this team just never seems to want to win enough, at least not enough to be able to take out their division rival this week.
San Francisco 49ers(2-1) at New York Jets(2-1)
Clint: WTF San Fran? The Vikings? Really? You should feel ashamed of yourself. If you feel like you should, then you should take it out on the vulnerable Jets. No Revis and an offense that cowers against powerhouse defenses. How can this go any other way?
Tom: Yeah, with Revis out, I see maybe Randy Moss actually catching a pass or two here. The Jets defense isn’t the same without him. Plus, the 49ers got embarrassed by the Vikings and will take it out on NY. Sorry, Sanchez. Maybe it’s Tebow Time soon.
Seattle Seahawks(2-1) at St Louis Rams(1-2)
Tom: So, have you heard about the end of that game Monday night with the Seahawks? No? Do you speak English and are you alive? What did that game show us other than the NFL probably shouldn’t be hiring referees that were fired by the Lingerie Football League? Seattle has a pretty good freaking defense. And that should probably be enough to shut down the Rams offense and secure them the win. St. Louis’ defense has gotten better, but I think they’ll be gashed by the Beast and Russell Wilson–was there any guy ever more made for the NFL? Both his first and last names are also popular manufacturers of sporting goods. Plus the Seahawks are giving up the least points per game in the NFL. No hail mary needed this time.
Clint: How does it feel Seattle? To have your victory hinge on a poor call? Are you going to give up the win? After whining for years about how they lost the Superbowl due to officiating, there were so many things to give you the Green Bay game that you had to wonder where the refs were getting paid from. I really hope I am wrong and the Rams hand you the beating you should have received last week.
Carolina Panthers(1-2) at Atlanta Falcons(3-0)
Clint: Another game ripe for an upset. Cam Newton is going to be looking for revenge after being shutdown on national tv last Thursday, but he’s going to have to wait. The Falcons are hot right now, both on the field and in the legal spotlight
Tom: I was actually at the Carolina/Falcons game in the dome last year. They have Newton figured out, and Eli carved up that secondary. I don’t think we lose any of our undefeated teams this week.
Minnesota Vikings(2-1) at Detroit Lions (1-2)
Tom: The Lions scored 41 points last week, but it wasn’t enough vs. a team that scored more last week than they had their last 2 games combined–hell, maybe half of their season combined last year. And Stafford’s status is up in the air. The Vikings are getting it done with decent defense and consistent play from 2nd year QB Christian Ponder, who now has had a whole off-season under his belt and it shows. Jerome Simpson will also return at WR for the Vikings, giving Ponder yet another weapon. And I would suggest they take advantage of Peterson as much as they can early–his comeback from an ACL tear is amazing…but I would guess toward the end of the season he will wear down a little quicker than normal, especially with his running style. But this is the NFC Norris division, and these teams fight to the death–but my fearless prediction is that the Vikings will continue to amaze.
Clint: It’s time to disagree. The Vikings are hot and cold. They beat the Jaguars and then lose to the Colts, but they felt that wasn’t split enough on who they could and couldn’t beat so they go and off the undefeated Niners. Adrian Peterson is getting healthier every week and that affords Ponder to get more time to settle in to the pocket. The Lions are under performing everywhere they go, have a losing record and a questionable defense. Their offense is the number one ranked passing offense and Leshoure is a boost to the running game. I have to think they find a way back to their strengths this week and win this game.
San Diego Chargers (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
Clint: The Chiefs came through last week with a win. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, as they don’t look good so far this year. Who else doesn’t look good? The Chargers. They have to be in shame after having their asses handed to them with dominance by the Falcons last week. One of these teams will be in a position to make the public opinion of them change. Look for Ryan Mathews to have a big game this week.
Tom: I think the Chiefs winning last week was the 2nd most unexpected win behind the Vikings beating the 49ers. Does that mean the Chiefs are better than we think, or is New Orleans’ defense just that terrible? I’m thinking the latter. Philip “Little” Rivers band of Chargers will take advantage of a questionable Chiefs secondary and as stated, Ryan Matthews is back. I’ll roll with San Diego, but if KC is going to make a statement, this is where they need to do it.
Tennessee Titans(1-2) at Houston Texans (3-0)
Tom: I will sum up this game in one sentence: Jake Locker has more rushing yards than CJ2K through 3 games.
Clint: Though it seemed strange for the Texans to pass after the game had been secured and Schaub’s ear was sacrificed, this team continues to look like one of the best in the AFC. The Titans, though lucky last week continue to look like one of the worst.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars(1-2)
Clint: I rolled with the Jags last week. Even after taking some feedback for downgrading them my first week. I benefitted from picking them last week, but this week, the red hot Bengals are coming to town with the ability to torment the Ravens by staying right on their ass. Look for them to dominate the Jaguars here, not because the Jags are that bad, but because the Bengals are playing that good.
Tom: The Bengals handled the phenomenon of RGIII last week with little effort, therefore I think Blaine Gabbert will be cake for these guys. MJD will probably still get his, but Andy Dalton is on a roll with an OC that dominated the AFL in Jay Gruden. And the law firm of Ben Jarvus-Green Ellis is finding his groove still, but he’s a big, bruising back that will wear down on defenses. They are the Bungels no more…at least for this week. Cincy (because I can never accurately spell Cinnci…Cincinatt…forget it)
Oakland Raiders(1-2) at Denver Broncos (1-2)
Tom: I chose the Raiders last week vs. my beloved Steelers and unfortunately I was correct. The Raiders defense still doesn’t look great (unless they give points for how punches their DL throws in a game) and Peyton, even through 2 losses, has carved up much better defenses so far this season. They also have RBs to spare with Willis McGahee out, Moreno is in. Peyton shouldn’t need a 4th quarter comeback for this one.
Clint: The Raiders still look bad. I don’t care if they beat my Steelers, I think that was more about the Steelers losing than the Raiders winning. The Broncos need to find their rhythm again, and what a perfect butter defense to grease their wheels.
Miami Dolphins (1-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-0)
Clint: Who would have thought the second to last ranked offense would be undefeated. Who would have thought the Dolphins would have been ranked above any other offense? Unfortunately, their offense was Reggie Bush. With Reggie out, look for them to struggle like a fish out of water against one of the best defenses in the league.
Tom: Arizona, as I mentioned last week, is doing it with defense and just enough offense, circa the Ravens in the early ‘oughts. And as Clint alluded to, Miami lost their best offensive player, at least for a week. Arizona is beginning to understand that once you have a team down, you put your foot on their throat and finish them off. The undefeateds stay undefeated this week. Fleed, I swear I will pick
Washington Redskins (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
Tom: See, these games are tough–the Bucs looked great in their first 1 ¾ games, and then Eli came along and it all fell apart in the 4th quarter vs. the Giants. And last week was U-G-L-Y vs. the Cowboys, and they ain’t got no alibi for that. The Redskins Cinderella in RGIII ran into a stout Cincy defense and turned into a pumpkin. However, the interesting thing to see in this game is that Washington leads the NFC in rushing and is 6th in total offense, and Tampa is the top run defense in the NFL, allowing just over 2 yards a carry. And coincidentally, the worst offense in the NFL in total yards. Only the Jags, Panthers, and Titans have run fewer plays on offense. Romo and Eli aren’t exactly runners, so can the Bucs contain a guy like RGIII? I think they can, but the Bucs offense is what will decide this game. Their one win was over the Panthers (see above comment). I don’t think RGIII goes crazy here, but I don’t think Tampa has enough in the offense tank to match the Redskins.
Clint: Both these teams looked like Superbowl contenders after the first week. That’s what it was though, the first week. RGIII continues to amaze. The Bucs look as if they are trying to underwhelm. Even though I hate him for Fantasy Football reasons, Shannigans coaching has that Skins offense looking strong. Look for them to claim another scalp.
New Orleans Saints (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (1-2)
Clint: This couldn’t be worse for the Saints. Not only does their Defense look like the only thing it could stop is their cars in the parking lot, but they are going to Lambeau against a pissed off Packers team that is going to be out for blood. The Saints may put up some offensive numbers, but look for it after garbage time begins
Tom: Saints have the worst defense in the NFL, period, and people are just waiting for the Packers to explode on offense like they did most of the time last year. The Pack have played probably the best two defenses in the league in Seattle and San Francisco and are just itching to score some points and prove that they are still a team to contend with and make cheese jokes about. This one could be a shoot-out but the Packers defense is still light years ahead of New Orleans.
New York Giants (2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Tom: The Eagles have to figure out how to stop turning the ball over and maybe they’d win a game or two. They showed promise against Baltimore, but man did the Cardinals just destroy them, and Vick. I think the turnover count may turn into how many snaps can Vick survive before his next concussion/injury/peeing himself. The Giants let us all know last Thursday that they are indeed the reigning champs, and versus a conference foe (and arguably the weakest team in the NFC East) I don’t think they will stop bringing the pain. McCoy is hard to stop, but Vick has to stop giving the ball to the other team. Have I mentioned that yet? The Giants made me look a fool last week, but no more! At least this week.
NY Football Giants
Clint: Turnovers aside, statistically speaking, Philadelphia is the better team here. There defense puts them ahead. The problem is that the defense has gotten it’s rank by playing the Browns, the Ravens and the Cardinals with Kolb at the wheel. None of those teams are known to be offensive juggernauts, and that is not because the opposing defenses have been that good. When Philly has to face a strong offense I look for some holes to open and the score to go up. I’m expecting big numbers from this game, but in the end all that will be left is a dead bird.
Chicago Bears (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Clint: Jay Cutler has not proven himself as an every week kind of guy. The Cowboys have been looking good this year, but will surely choke later in the season. Lucky for them, later is not now, and I go with the Cowboys.
Tom: The Cowboys, had they played anyone else in the league last week besides Tampa, would have gotten smashed at home. I know Tampa has a tough defense but good gravy, Dallas’ offense looked downright terrible. Robert Z’Dar had a better chance of scoring with the Cowboys cheerleaders last week. I think they will rebound this week and Jay Cutler throws a few picks vs. the new look Dallas secondary.