In a year that’s featured some not very exciting games (up until recently), this week featured some exciting endings and some true upsets.
Carolina bested New England at home, Buffalo has now beaten Denver and Atlanta in back to back weeks, the Rams beat the Cowboys in Jerryworld, and two overtime matches that showed an interesting lack of urgency despite the shortened quarter.
Last week I went 10-6, and I was 28-19 beforehand, meaning at the quarter mark of the season I am 38-25. Not too bad, all things considered.
As for statistical predictions:
- Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott combined fro 354 scrimmage yards, definitely more than the 350 I had predicted. Nice.
- LeGarette Blount went off last game and easily outrushed Melvin Gordon and Branden Oliver combined, 136 to 23.
- Carlos Hyde also outrushed the entire Arizona team, 68 to 51.
- Cam Newton didn’t quite rush for 50 yards; he was so close at 44! Gah, can’t win… well, most of them.
Let’s get into the picks for this week!
Teams on Bye Week: Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos
Thursday Night Football, Oct. 5
New England Patriots (2-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
The defending Super Bowl champs have struggled at the start of this season, and that is no fault of Tom Brady’s. He’s been near perfect a quarter of the way through the season, as the Patriots usually dominant defense has been porous and disorganized against offense they could easily beat. I expect Jameis Winston and co. to also be effective against a troubled defense, but I like Brady’s chance with the bright lights of nationally televised football against a Tampa Bay team that has also struggled to stop opponents.
Statistical Prediction: Brady and Winston combine for 7+ touchdown passes.
Score Prediction: New England wins, 38-35
Sunday, Oct. 8, 1 pm ET slot:
Carolina Panthers (3-1) at Detroit Lions (3-1)
Two teams that have been sneaky in getting to 3-1 at the quarter mark of the season. Panthers have played good defense and bad offense, up until this last game in New England. Detroit has been effective on both sides of the ball so far, with Matthew Stafford putting together a pretty great start to this season. I’m putting some faith in Cam and company riding the high of last week, and I think that the defense will make a stand against a stout Detroit offense.
Statistical Prediction: Cam Newton has more rushing yards than all of Detroit’s running backs.
Score Prediction: Carolina wins, 27-23
Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) at New York Giants (0-4)
Statistical Prediction: Neither team will have a rushing touchdown.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 30-24
Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)
Statistical Prediction: Joe Mixon outrushes LeSean McCoy.
Score Prediction: Buffalo wins, 24-13
Tennessee Titans (2-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Statistical Prediction: Matt Cassel and Jay Cutler combine for 0 touchdowns and 3+ interceptions.
Score Prediction: Tennessee wins, 17-6
New York Jets (2-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-4)
Statistical Prediction: Josh McCown and Deshone Kizer combine for 4+ interceptions.
Score Prediction: New York wins, 20-17
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Statistical Prediction: Jacksonville defense will have as many sacks as Antonio Brown will have catches.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, 23-10
Arizona Cardinals (2-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Statistical Prediction: LeGarette Blount will outrush the entire Arizona team by double.
Score Prediction: Philadelphia wins, 27-13
San Francisco 49ers (0-4) at Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
Statistical Prediction: Brian Hoyer will have more rushing yards than Jacoby Brissett.
Score Prediction: San Francisco wins, 27-21
Sunday, Oct. 8, 4 pm ET slot:
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-1)
A classic rivalry that has some great matches despite the Rams not being very good in recent years. Except now, the Rams are good. And the Seahawks have struggled mightily this season so far, and away from home, the Seahawks are worse off. I think this game is going to be very close, but I think right now in the season, the Rams are the better team.
Statistical Prediction: Todd Gurley will have more receiving yards than any individual Seattle receiver.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 27-24
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (2-2)
Statistical Prediction: Neither team will have more than 50 yards rushing.
Score Prediction: Oakland wins, 24-20
Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
Statistical Prediction: Aaron Rodgers will lead a four quarter drive for a walkoff win in Dallas again.
Score Prediction: Green Bay wins, 31-27
Sunday Night Football, Oct. 8:
Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) at Houston Texans (2-2)
Remember when a matchup between these two teams would’ve been a snorefest? Alex Smith used to be a boring quarterback to watch operate, efficient as he was. And Houston has had a proverbial turnstile at quarterback that made their offense look different each time they took the field. But now, this matchup could end up being one of the best games of the whole year. I still think Kansas City takes this, because of a better offense and defense overall, but an upset wouldn’t surprise me, as Watson shines brightest with the lights are on.
Statistical Prediction: Alex Smith and DeShaun Watson will lead their respective teams in both passing and rushing.
Score Prediction: Kansas City wins, 33-30
Monday Night Football, Oct. 9:
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) at Chicago Bears (1-3)
An NFC North classic. The Bears have made a change at quarterback, as Glennon was proving to not to be the answer for Chicago. This is ripe pickings for a staunch Minnesota defense that has been pretty tough this season so far. This is a pretty easy game to pick, even if the Bears managed to beat the Steelers only two weeks ago. This is just another building year for Chicago.
Statistical Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky, in his NFL debut, has more passing yards and touchdowns than whoever is starting for Minnesota.
Score Prediction: Minnesota wins, 23-14