What is happening in the league?
On a weekend where players, coaches, and owners across the league showed solidarity in the face of divisive language, the league decided to throw another curve ball in terms of power rankings.
The Jaguars completely and utterly shut down the Ravens over in London Town; Case Keenum guides the Vikes to an impressive win over the Bucs; The Rams winning the thriller in Santa Clara on Thursday night; Newton self-destructs without his top two targets; Indy and Philly squeak out wins against previously hapless opponents; Jets stun the Fins with an *almost shutout; Bills cruise past the staunch Denver defense; Golden Tate’s touchdown reversed keeps the Falcons perfect for now; Titans get confident win at home versus the troubled Seahawks; Rodgers wins his first overtime game of his career; Cousins is near perfect against the Raiders; and Kareem Hunt continues to dominate.
Not going to lie, it was a rough week for me. In my Week 3 predictions, I went 8-8, because I was on the wrong side of most of those upsets. Guess that’s why they’re called upsets.
I was 20-11 going into this week, which means after week 3, I’m at 28-19. Not as bad as it could’ve been, but not great. It was a rough week for a lot of us predictors, I imagine.
In terms of stats predictions, I was around my average of 1-2 correct every week:
- Antonio Brown did outgain all of Chicago’s wide receivers, because Antonio Brown outgained even Mike Glennon’s passing total. Brown had 110 yards, Chicago wide outs had… 9. One catch, for Deonte Thompson. But hey, Chicago won, so maybe that’s what works for them.
- Philip Rivers did indeed throw more interceptions than Alex Smith threw TDs; although that’s not hard when Kareem Hunt is running for darn near 150 yards a game and can rip a long touchdown run on a moments notice. Rivers had 3 picks, Smith had 2 touchdown passes.
Now, let’s get into the Week 4 predictions:
Thursday Night Football, Sept. 28
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
The oldest rivalry in the NFL, and two teams coming off of dramatic comeback overtime wins against AFC North teams. Marc Sessler of NFL Network tweeted an interesting stat that Rodgers tends to struggle against the Bears in prime time games. Strange as that is, he also was 0-7 in overtime games before last week and had only attempted 6 passes in those games combined. I suspect that piece like Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb will be back this game, and Rodgers was nothing if not spectacular after that unfortunate pick six play. Plus, it’s in Lambeau.
Statistical Prediction: Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combine for more yards than Aaron Rodgers throws.
Score Prediction: Green Bay wins, 30-20
Sunday Oct. 1, 9:30 am ET (London) slot:
New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins
Brees and co. are coming off a big win in Charlotte where they finally started to look like the offense they could be, while the Fins are looking to bounce back from an almost shutout by the penciled-in first overall pickers, the New York Jets. Gase has been frustrated all week about the ‘garbage offense’ he’s seen thus far, so I see a bounce back for Jay Ajayi and this Miami offense. I predict a shootout.
Statistical Prediction: Cutler and Brees each have 3+ passing touchdowns.
Score Prediction: Miami wins, 33-28
Sunday Oct. 1, 1:00 pm ET slot:
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
It’s too early to say which divisions are the closest, with most teams being with one victory of leapfrogging the rest of their division, but the AFC South is going to be a very tough and competitive division throughout 2017. Houston is already behind the ball with a loss to Jacksonville in Week 1, so they’ll need to rally behind their young QB, as they did last week against New England, where they almost caused an upset against the defending Super Bowl champs. I still think Tennessee is the better team, and they’ll be riding high from their home win against the Seahawks.
Statistical Prediction: Mariota and Watson both lead their teams in rushing yards.
Score Prediction: Tennessee wins, 31-27
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
Statistical Prediction: There will be 4+ turnovers and 5+ sacks between the two teams.
Score Prediction: Jacksonville wins, 20-17
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots
Statistical Prediction: Cam Newton rushes for 50+ yards and a touchdown and McCaffrey doesn’t pass 75+ scrimmage yards.
Score Prediction: New England wins, 38-17
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Statistical Prediction: Keenum/Bradford will throw for 300+ yards and 3+ touchdowns and lose.
Score Prediction: Detroit wins, 31-24
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons
Statistical Prediction: Tyrod Taylor outrushes Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined.
Score Prediction: Atlanta wins, 37-21
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Statistical Prediction: Neither quarterback eclipses 200 passing yards in this game.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, 17-14
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Statistical Prediction: Both teams have more rushing yards than passing yards, individually and combined.
Score Prediction: Cincinnati wins, 24-20
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Statistical Prediction: Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley combined for 350+ scrimmage yards.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 28-24
Sunday Oct. 1, 4:00 pm ET slot:
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
An AFC West showdown in Mile High, this game will no doubt had seeding implications for the playoffs. Both teams are coming off bad performances against teams they theoretically should have beaten, more so for Oakland that was held under 100 offensive yards until the fourth quarter. It won’t be easy against Denver’s No Fly Zone, and Siemian has managed to make an offense that was erratic and vanilla at times rather exciting to watch this season. I like Denver at home with a bounce back game against a divisional opponent.
Statistical Prediction: Derek Carr is sacked more times than Amari Cooper is targeted by Carr.
Score Prediction: Denver wins, 24-13
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers
Statistical Prediction: LeGarette Blount outrushes Melvin Gordon and Branden Oliver combined.
Score Prediction: Philadelphia wins, 23-14
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Statistical Prediction: Mike Evans has more receiving yards and touchdowns than Odell Beckham Jr.
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay wins, 27-19
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Statistical Prediction: Carlos Hyde outrushes the entire Arizona team.
Score Prediction: San Francisco wins, 24-23
Sunday Night Football, Oct. 1:
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks
Do you think when the NFL team was assembling the schedule, they expected Andrew Luck to be back by now and make this a marquee matchup of the two best quarterbacks of the 2012 draft? Instead we get a shaky and inconsistent Seattle offense against Jacoby Brissett and an ailing Indianapolis team. Yay? Overall I think this game will be much closer than a lot of people will imagine. The Legion of Boom haven’t gotten into swing yet, for whatever reason, and if the offense stalls like it has in the first three weeks, Indy will have plenty of opportunities to score.
Statistical Prediction: Both Russell Wilson and Jacoby Brissett will have 50+ rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Score Prediction: Seattle wins, 26-20
Monday Night Football Oct. 2:
Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs
A very interesting matchup on MNF after a stout performance by the entire Washington team on SNF Week 3. Cousins was near perfect dissecting Oakland’s defense, and Josh Norman and the rest of the Washington defense completely smothered all of Oakland’s offensive drives until the game was safely put away. Kansas City is a much better team all around, in my mind, than Oakland and they have a much better defense. I think this game will be another very close game that may come down to the last drive on who will win. I think Alex Smith and co. will prevail but this is not a game that is going to shake the confidence of any Washington fan.
Statistical Prediction: Kareem Hunt and Chris Thompson combine for 300+ yards of offense.
Score Prediction: Kansas City wins, 30-28